Ryan Dempster recently re-signed with the Cubs for 4 years, $52 million. Yeah, I know it sounds exorbitant to those of us who are mortal and cannot throw a leather sphere 98 miles per hour past a man wielding a finely honed tree limb who starts every morning by drinking a protein shake consisting of two parts steroids, one part bull semen. But by baseball's salary scale, this really isn't that bad. Dempster was a legitimate ace last season, and the Cubs had a decent amount of money to throw around when this signing happened (Dempster probably had nothing to do with the Tribune® bankruptcy). But I just don't see it continuing. His strikeout rate has been good throughout his career, but his walk rate has always been far higher than it was last year. Maybe his increased reliance on his fastball (56% of pitches in 2008, 46% in 2007 (46%?!? For a closer? [Bulimia])) helped with his control, but his ability to draw swings at pitches out of the strike zone diminished, which can't possibly be a good thing. Anyway, after that brief digression into alluded numbers (If you don't trust that I've done my homework, [sweep the living room] off), there is one further factor:
2007 Innings pitched: 66 2/3
2008 Innings pitched: 206 2/3
His arm is going to fall off. Which sucks for the Cubs, but probably even more for him.