The Red Sox have their pitcher.
Just a couple of hours after Ben Cherington said the Sox "were engaged" with a free-agent pitcher and after our report this morning that a deal was close, we've been able to confirm a FoxSports.com report that the Sox have agreed to terms with veteran Ryan Dempster on a 2-year, $26.5 million deal.
The deal is pending a physical.
Two general managers had told me this morning that they thought the Red Sox would land Dempster and were willing to go a third year either through an option or straight deal. All indications are they didn't have to go to a third year. Dempster had turned the Red Sox down on a 2-year, $25 million deal last week.
Now comes the issue of how will Dempster do in the American League?
The feeling is Dempster will have more problems against good American League lineups.
"The Red Sox are aware of this, and will certainly try to manage who he pitches against if possible," one National League general manager said.
The Sox needed someone who could give them between 180 and 200 innings and Dempster fits that.
Sox general manager Ben Cherington said at a press conference today to announce Shane Victorino's signing, "We’re engaged on a pitcher, but that’s all I can say at this point. We’re still working on a number of things."
Cherington added, "We feel we’re further ahead than we were when we left Nashville. We’re talking to free agents and working through some trade options. We’re not ready to comment on any specific player or trade scenario. We’re working on a number of things. We’ll see where it leads us."
Asked about obtaining a pitcher who can throw 200 innings, Cherington said, "We struggled in that area for different reasons. One of the things we’ve been lacking is reliability and someone who can be a reliable and durable part of the rotation. That is something that we’ve focused on this offseason and haven’t executed anything yet. Hopefully we can do that. We feel like we need to go into 2013 with more starting pitching depth we have right now. Hopefully we’ll be able to add somebody."