Getting to know: Ryan Dempster
The biggest problem for the Red Sox in the 2012 season was their starting pitching. Going in to the offseason, GM Ben Cherington seemed to know that changes had to be made if the Sox hoped to make a playoff run in 2013. Cherington ignored many of the big name players on the market and instead signed Ryan Dempster—comedic personality and all.
Dempster’s career can be summed up in one word: decent. He is not a great pitcher by any means; he boasts a 124-124 record over 15 years along with a 4.33 ERA and a less than spectacular strikeout/walk ratio.
Dempster was an unusual signing, that much is for sure. Josh Beckett was thrown out of town in August of 2012, and though he took his defiant personality to LA, he left a pretty big hole in the rotation in Boston.
In signing Dempster, Cherington did not replace Josh Beckett’s skill in the No. 2 spot of the rotation. What Cherington did do was sign a hard-working veteran presence to provide leadership in a Sox clubhouse that desperately needs it.
Dempster is never content with simply pitching every five days and making a hasty exit to the showers. He is well known for his endurance and determination to stay in the game as long as he can and has vocalized his excitement at the thought of playing in Boston.
“That’s why we play,” Dempster said. “The money and things like that in baseball are great, but I came here because I believe this team has a chance of winning as much as anybody else. I’ve always believed that should be your mentality going into any season.”
Dempster’s work extends beyond the clubhouse. He works tirelessly at his charity, The Dempster Family Foundation, which provides aid to families with children diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome. Dempster’s own daughter was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome, and he has done his own part in raising awareness and providing relief to families in the Chicago area.
Dempster is not always so serious though. Like any ballplayer, he enjoys a good laugh every once and a while. Dempster is very well known for his series of impressions, most notably his impersonation of Chicago announcer Harry Caray. While the Sox have gained a great deal of star power over the past few years, they have lost their loveability in Boston. It is possible that Dempster can bring that attitude back in 2013, along with 10-15 wins.