Cubs re-sign Dempster to four-year deal

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs have re-signed right- hander Ryan Dempster to a four-year contract extension. Although financial terms were not revealed, the contract is believed to be worth $52 million and it will keep him in a Cubs uniform through 2012.

"Was there more money on the open market? I'm sure there probably was," said Dempster. "Maybe there was five years, you never know. That's a question I'll never be able to answer, but truthfully I don't even care to know because I'm happy with what I have and it's more money than I could ever dream of getting."

Dempster returned to the rotation on a regular basis for the first time since 2003 this past season for the Cubs and enjoyed a career year, going 17-6 with a 2.96 earned run average in 33 starts, while helping Chicago to its second straight NL Central title.

He had been the Cubs' closer the previous three seasons.

"It's a weird thing. I never thought negotiating over $50-something million would be such a hard thing to do," said Dempster. "Given as close as we've been the last two years just I thought this is where I want to be. I just enjoyed so much playing there."

Dempster began last season 10-0 at Wrigley Field, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to do so since Rick Reuschel in 1977. He ended the campaign 14-3 on the North Side, the most victories by a pitcher at Wrigley Field since Fergie Jenkins won a franchise-record 15 games in 1967 and the most by any major league pitcher at home since Atlanta��s Russ Ortiz won 14 games at Turner Field in 2003.

The 31-year-old hurler re-joins a rotation that already includes righties Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden, as well as lefty Ted Lilly. Chicago has also been in talks with San Diego about acquiring former NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy.

Dempster broke into the majors with the Florida Marlins in 1998 and has also pitched for the Cincinnati Reds. He is 76-81 lifetime with 87 saves and a 4.55 ERA in 420 games (195 starts).

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