BOSTON — Ryan Dempster is the newest member of the Boston Red Sox starting rotation and from a pure baseball and statistical standpoint, there is not much that impresses me about this signing.
Last week, GM Ben Cherington said a pitcher’s success and limited experience in the American League has to be taken into account when examining him as a possible acquisition.
Cherington added that when a pitcher has spent limited time in the AL and also hasn’t pitched well in his limited sample size, it obviously makes the process of projecting his success with the Red Sox that much more difficult.
That said, the 35-year-old Dempster, who was introduced at a press conference at Fenway Park yesterday after signing a two-year, $26.5 million deal, has been in the majors for 15 years and has spent all but two months pitching in the National League.
His only AL experience came last year when he recorded a dismal 5.09 ERA in 12 starts for the Rangers after posting an impressive 2.25 ERA in 16 starts for the NL Chicago Cubs to start the season.
Dempster also is 11-15 with a 4.63 ERA in 50 games (35 starts) pitching against AL teams in inter-league play during his career.
He is 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA in his five career starts against the Yankees and was 0-2 with a 11.20 ERA in three starts last year against the hard-hitting Angels.
I got the chance to chat with Dempster one-on-one in early August when the Rangers visited Fenway.
I asked him about transitioning from one league to another, adding that some say a pitcher’s ERA inevitably increases by a run when he goes from the NL to AL.
“I added on about six runs,” joked Dempster, who without a doubt has a great personality. “No, I think if you just make your pitches, it doesn’t matter where you’re pitching, what league you’re pitching in. It comes down to executing pitches. The more quality pitches you can execute, the better results you’re going to have.”