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Ryan Dempster Is Officially Retired From Baseball

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This wasn't unexpected, but now it's official.

Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

When Ryan Dempster decided to sit out the last year of his contract with the Boston Red Sox for 2014 (thus forfeiting $13.25 million), it was widely speculated that he wouldn't return as an active player.

Via MLB Daily Dish, we learn that Dempster is officially retiring:

Right-hander Ryan Dempster will not pursue a contract this offseason and is now officially retired from baseball, according to an industry source. Dempster forfeited his $13.25 million salary with the Red Sox in order to sit out the 2014 season, but had publicly kept the door open for a 2015 return until this point.

Dempster joined MLB Network as a studio analyst in April, and is expected to continue with his role there. MLB Daily Dish wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

I, too, wish Dempster the best as he heads into a broadcasting career. (Say, maybe someday he could return to the Cubs in that role.) Despite the somewhat odd way he left the team, Dempster had a fine nine-year career with the Cubs, posting a 67-66 won-lost record and 87 saves in 374 games (154 starts) with an ERA of 3.74 and 1,070 strikeouts, which ranks 11th in Cubs history. Dempster compiled 19.9 WAR as a Cub, 24th-most among all Cubs pitchers in franchise history, and he peaked in 2008, with a 17-8 record, 2.96 ERA, an All-Star selection and sixth place in Cy Young voting.

I've met Dempster several times, and always found him to be friendly, engaging, personable and down-to-earth. He's one of those major leaguers who, for lack of a better term, "gets it" -- he truly understands how fortunate he has been to make as much money as he has playing baseball. He's still living in Chicago. As you might remember from my post back then, he sat in the bleachers for a game last April, spending a couple of innings with our group and showing off his Red Sox World Series ring (which was pretty awesome, incidentally, and I'm sorry the photo I took of it turned out blurry, or I'd post it). I'll always remember him the way he appears in the photo above, smiling, always seeming to enjoy every bit of his baseball career.

Lastly, we can probably thank Dempster for the Atlanta trade fiasco, because when he was eventually traded to the Rangers, one of the players that came in return was Kyle Hendricks, who is likely going to be a big part of the next Cubs contending team.

Best of luck, Demp. Stop by in the bleachers sometime next year.