The rumors have been circulating for weeks that Milwaukee would be in the hunt to add a veteran arm to what is shaping up to be an incredibly young rotation in 2013. One name that has been mentioned in the discussion is that of former Chicago Cub Ryan Dempster who split time between Chicago and Texas in 2012. Dempster who was 12-8 with an ERA of 3.38 in 28 starts is one of a thin crop of talented free agent starters who could fill a key role for a Brewers team that is looking to make a playoff run in 2013.
To add fuel to the fire is the fact that Brewers’ beat writer Tom Haudricourt has reported that both sides are mutually interested in getting a deal done. The hitch? The length of the deal that Dempster is looking for.
Dempster, who turns 36 next year, is seeking a 3 year deal meaning he would be under contract until the age of 38. The Brewers, however, have made it publicly clear that they would not be interested in offering any potential pitchers a contract longer than 2 years. And frankly, who can blame them?
In the recent past, the team had signed long term free-agent deals for both Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf only to be burned by both deals. Suppan showed diminishing returns each year that he remained in Milwaukee with an ERA that climbed from 4.62 in 2007 to 7.84 in 2010 while his wins fell from 12 in 2007 to 0 in 2010.
Wolf on the other hand managed to put together two 13 win seasons to start his tenure in Milwaukee with an ERA that improved from 4.17 to 3.69 from 2010 to 2011. The wheels, however, came off in 2012 as Wolf was only able to piece together 3 wins in 24 starts while his ERA climbed to 5.69.
Additionally, Dempster comes with some concerns of his own. Beyond the fact of his age is how his season broke down last year. While with the Cubs, Dempster was 5-5 in 16 starts and carried an ERA of 2.25. Impressive! However, once traded to Texas his ERA climbed to 5.09 while posting a 7-3 record over 12 appearances.
So, is Dempster the answer? Maybe, but not at the current asking price.