I mentioned Dempster as potentially a good fit for the Red Sox this morning, due to the fragility of Clay Buchholz and the inconsistency of Jon Lester. Boston's rotation past those two players is a big question mark, with Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, Franklin Morales, and John Lackey all as possibilities to start in 2013. But all of those players have questions about them, from Doubront's lack of experience, to Bard's disastrous starting experiment last season, to Morales' shoulder problems, and Lackey's questionable return from Tommy John surgery and all-out struggles since joining the Red Sox.
While Dempster's performance has been extremely consistent, the $13.25 million average value of this contract is only a slight pay cut from the $14 million he made in 2012, which was split between the Cubs and Rangers. The Red Sox are going to be paying for his age 36 and 37 seasons, and that salary is just a small dip from the $15 million that Hiroki Kuroda will make for the Yankees in 2013 for his age 38 season. But another thing this signing reflects is an era of change in Boston. They haven't given any free agent longer than a three-year deal, and appear to be setting themselves up for more financial flexibility in the long-term. While that's a better strategy than handing out five to eight year deals like candy, it's not a long-term fix by any means, and seems to be signing players "that fit" as opposed to signing players you can build around.