The Ryan Dempster Era Will Continue
UPDATE: Here are the contract terms according to SI.com: $8 Million in 2008 with a $4M bonus ($12M total). $12.5M in 2010, $13.5 M in 2011 and a 2012 $14M player option which is almost a guarantee to be picked up. And as I mentioned earlier, I'm about 90% certain he's earned 10/5 no-trade rights.
It's being picked up by multiple news sources that the Ryan Dempster Experience will call Chicago home for the next four years. It sounds like it might be for a total of $52M a year or $13M on average. That's a pretty good deal if he pitches like he did last year, not so much if he pitches like 2001-2003. For what was out there though and for how much the Cubs and Dempster seem to like each other, it sounds like the right deal. He really did have a fantastic 2008 season. His 152 ERA+ was good for third best in the NL.
When you consider he pitched in the NL Central and Wrigley Field, a real hitter's paradise in 2008, his numbers compare quite favorably to that one Padre pitcher the Cubs have been pursuing, who pitches at the baseball equivelant of Yellowstone National Park.
Plus Dempster had a .288 BABIP, which may rise a bit, but it's not too far off what is normally expected (around the .300 range).
That's not to say that Dempster is as good as Peavy, it's to say that he was last year. Peavy is still younger, has a longer track record of success and better "stuff", but Dempster isn't going to cost the Cubs their entire arsenal of prospects. And for all we know the Cubs could still acquire Peavy as well.
We'll see what the contract specifics end up being as I expect a good number of incentive bonuses in there. I believe with Dempster resigning, he automatically gets 10/5 rights so a no-trade clause should kick in.