It doesn’t matter if he’s Canadian. It doesn’t matter how well he pitched with the Cubs before he was traded. The Jays need pitching but if they sign Ryan Dempster, it’s a mistake. Ryan Dempster isn’t the type of guy that they need.
He’s performed pretty well, but…
- Ryan Dempster has been better-than-average in three-and-a-half of the last five seasons (his FIP has ranged from 3.41 to 3.99);
- In 2011 he was bad, but in 2012 he pitched very well in a poor pitchers’ park for a bad team, while in Texas he pitched very poorly in a poor pitchers’ park for a good team;
- An issue in TEX was the long ball: Rogers, YSIII, Fenway, and Camden Yards all ranked in the top 15 in home runs yielded this past season; the Trop ranked #24 (I knew that park had value…)
- About three out of four or five starts (60-75%) would come in one of those parks.
He has too much experience…
- He’ll be 36 in May: the Jays need experience but not that much experience;
- Hiroki Kuroda is in the same age bracket and would take a one-year deal;
- The Jays need to focus on younger pitchers: they’ll require a greater outlay but they’re much more likely to contribute positively for a longer period of time.
His Second Half in 2012 is Closer to the Truth…
- Let’s face it: pitching in the AL is different from pitching in the NL, and Dempster has pitched poorly during Inter-League play during his career;
- The AL East has typically been a strong hitters’ environment;
- Even with favourite receiver Geovany Soto going to TEX, Dempster yielded four or more earned runs five times in 11 starts.
This table shows his performance vs. the AL East for his career:
It’s a decent sized sample (about three-quarters of a season), giving us a better idea of how he would perform pitching for the Jays. Using the table as a guide (minus his numbers against the Jays), an average line against an AL East team would look something like this: 5.9 IP, 6.3 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2.3 BB, 4.9 K. It’s close enough to say that he’d make a quality start, but just barely.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs suggests a contract of 3 years/$36MM for Dempster. Two things need to be said about that: it’s a great contract length for a younger pitcher; and TOR ought to put that money toward a younger pitcher.
Ryan Dempster might be a shrewd pick-up for a contender but he wouldn’t be for a team like the Jays. So, with apologies to the folks in Sechelt, I’d prefer if the Jays let someone else sign Ryan Dempster. The Jays’ best marketing scheme is a winning team, and he wouldn’t necessarily help them do that.