Dempster’s back; Cubs Dec. 5 Recap

Former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster retired from baseball on Friday and was named special assistant to the Cubs front office. Arismendy Alcantara and Luis Valbuena homered in winter league action. Also some video of Javier Baez taking BP in Puerto Rico.

Dempster retires, joins Cubs front office

The Cubs announced on Friday that former Cub pitcher Ryan Dempster will retire from his 16-year MLB career as a Cub and was named special assistant to President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. In his new role with the organization, Dempster will spend time with the club during spring training, visit the club's minor league affiliates during the season, evaluate amateur players leading up to the draft and perform professional scouting assignments.

Dempster retires as a two-time All-Star and a World Series Champion with the Boston Red Sox in 2013. He was an All-Star with the Marlins in 2000 and the Cubs in 2008, a season that marked his return to the rotation in which he went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA to help the Cubs to their second-straight N.L. Central division title. Overall, Dempster spent nine seasons with the Cubs from 2004-12 and posted 67 wins and 87 saves, the only pitcher in club history with more than 50 wins and 50 saves.

The right-hander completed his big league career with a 132-133 record with 87 saves and a 4.35 ERA in 579 appearances, including 351 starts, with the Marlins (1998-2002), Reds (2002-03), Cubs (2004-12), Rangers (2012) and Red Sox (2013). The Cubs traded Dempster on July 31, 2012 for RHP Kyle Hendricks and 3B Christian Villanueva.

In a phone interview with reporters, Dempster said he has talked with free agent Jon Lester about playing for the Cubs and added Lester had a tough decision ahead of him.

Cubs News and Rumors
Here’s you daily Jon Lester update. After saying it was likely he would make a decision before the winter meetings, its now being reported that Lester will probably wait until after the meetings as he continues to mull the offers in front of him. Cubs are currently leaders in clubhouse with six years and $138 million but there is a reported six teams dealing with Lester.........The Tigers have signed a pair of former Cubs relievers— Alberto Cabrera and RHP Rafael Dolis—to minor league deals. Both right-handers are currently pitching in the Dominican Winter League.

Hot Stove News
Tampa Bay has replaced Joe Maddon with 36-year-old Kevin Cash, who spent the last two seasons as the Indians bullpen coach and before that was the Blue Jays advance scout in 2012........Kansas City Royals have re-signed Luke Hochevar to a two-year $10 million contract......The three-way trade between Yankees, D-backs and Tigers was made official. The Yankees get SS Didi Gregorius from Arizona, the Tigers received RHP Shane Greene from the Yankees, and the D-Backs receive LHP Robbie Ray and IF Domingo Leyba from Detroit.......The Yankees weren’t done as they singed the top left-handed reliever on the free agent market, inking Andrew Millers (Orioles) to a four-year, $36 million deal.

Venezuelan Winter League
Luis Valbuena smacked his first homer, a two-run shot in the five-run fifth as Lara rallied for a 5-4 win. Valbuena (.211) finished 1-for-4 with 2 K.

Dominican Winter League
Arismendy Alcantara hit his third homer, a solo shot in the third as Licey defeated Toros 3-0. He also walked and swiped his third base.

Ivan Pineyro made his second start for Estrellas and lasted 2.1 innings. He allowed one run but did surrender three hits and three walks to go along with three punchouts. LF Junior Lake double in a pair of runs and continued to show some new found plate discipline with his 21st walk in 31 games. Lake finished 1-for 3 in the 3-1 win over Aguilas. Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3 with a walk and knocked in the only run.

Mexican Pacific Winter League
Playing in LF for his third straight game, Christian Villanueva double in Obregon’s only run and finished 1-for 4 in the 5-1 loss to Hermosillo.

Puerto Rican Winter League
CF John Andreoli (,224) double in four trips to the plate batting leadoff in San Juan’s 8-2 defeat to Mayaguez. 3B Jonathan Mota (.210) was 0-for-4 for the Senadores.

Javier Baez is getting ready for his debut in the Puerto Rican League as he was taking batting practice at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Baez told a reporter that he’s excited to play in Puerto Rico for the first time and that his family will be abel to see him play. According to the report, Baez will play five games a week and see action at second, short and DH. Here’s video of Baez’ BP.

Cubs Winter League prospects stats

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