Ryan Dempster

– Gordon Wittenmyer writes in today's Sun-Times that Mark DeRosa's cardiac issues are not a major concern to DeRo or Cub doctors, nor will they be the impetus for any personnel moves by Jim Hendry.

Wittenmyer also thinks the Cubs are more likely to add that
proverbial, right-handed hitting, three-position outfielder before
Opening Day than they are He Who Must Not Be Named.

Baseball Musings sizes up a potential Cubs rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Dempster, and Marquis (Where is your Lieber?) based on the Marcel the Monkey projections
and foresees a cumulative 4.28 ERA for the fivesome. That's a few ticks
above the 4.19 ERA Cub starters pitched to last season, when their ERA
was second best in the NL, but still pretty solid.

One highly questionable element in the projection: Ryan Dempster's
projected 4.50 ERA. Only once in his career as a starting
pitcher--Dempster's All-Star season in 2000 down in pitcher-friendly
Florida--has Dempster ever had an ERA at or below 4.50.

As you might have heard, and if you haven't...well you certainly will, the Cubs will go 100 straight years without a championship if 2008 is not the year. And at least one Cub is ready for battle:

"I think we're going to win the World Series. I really do. I wouldn't have worked as hard as I did and everybody worked as hard as they did to not believe that."

That Cub would be Ryan Dempster and I applaud his optimism. What fun would it be if they didn't believe that on the first day of spring training in the warm Arizona sun, a place where optimism should flow like water over Niagara Falls. I hope Dempster is equally optimistic he'll still be a Cub by the time October rolls around because I'm not so sure he will be.

There isn't much else to be said, the first workouts are scheduled for tomorrow, and I think we're all jonesing for any brief snippet of information. I did find this passage amusing though:

The first day was a chance to get reacquainted and organized as coaches discussed the game plan for most of the morning. Zambrano showed off his sleek, black Lamborghini, Michael Wuertz brought red licorice for his teammates, while early bird position players like Ryan Theriot, Tyler Colvin, Sam Fuld, Jake Fox and Koyie Hill took grounders on the half field at Fitch. Position players don't have to report until Feb. 18.

Yes, nothing shows the difference between arbitration-eligible and first free agent contract like a Lamborghini and red licorice.
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The only other news of the day comes from Lou who says that he'll try to settle on a closer about three-quarters of the way into spring training. The other spring training competitons will be center field between Felix Pie and Sam Fuld and coming up with the five-man rotation (three of which are set). LDM (Lieber, Dempster, Marquis), and the two Sean's will compete for the final 2 spots and I suppose Kevin Hart might be in there as well. The losers of that competition will likely round out the bullpen which has five set in stone (Howry, Marmol, Wood, Eyre, Wuertz). Tim Lahey and Jose Ascaino will also be in the mix and dont' be surprised if Chad Fox ends up on the Opening Day Roster somehow....and then ends up on the DL by May 1st.

Today, Carrie Muskat asks herself, "Can Dempster make a successful conversion from closer to starter?"
Her answer:

After three seasons as the closer, Dempster is switching back to the rotation for the first time, full-time, since 2002. The right-hander has trained hard this offseason, but it won't be easy to go from one-inning outings to seven or eight. He'll be challenged with the addition of Lieber.

I think Dempster will mostly be challenged by the fact that he is not a very good starting pitcher.
Dempster's career numbers as a starting pitcher only, along with those of another guy who we often kick around:

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