FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before Ryan Dempster told the Red Sox he wouldn't be pitching this season, the club had six established starters vying for five spots.
But even after Dempster announced his decision on Sunday, Boston still has plenty of depth in the rotation.
Barring injuries, Boston will open the season with a starting five of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront.
If there is an injury or downturn in performance from anyone in that group, the Red Sox can turn to their young depth, which includes Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens.
"Other guys we're going to look to get multiple innings and stretch out [during camp] will be Brandon Workman for one, we've got Allen Webster, De La Rosa, [Drake] Britton," said manager John Farrell. "And then the other three young guys we have, Owens, Ranaudo and Barnes, we've got a good core group or good young group of what we feel are strong prospects. They're long on talent and they're short on experience. We feel confident with the talent that's here."
The one thing Dempster's departure does create for the Red Sox is some payroll space. He was due to make $13.25 million in 2014, meaning Boston might have more flexibility to re-sign shortstop Stephen Drew, who remains a free agent.
Red Sox sign former closer Cordero to Minors deal
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox have added another potential piece to an already deep bullpen, signing former closer Francisco Cordero to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Cordero, 38, has 329 career saves. He didn't pitch in the Major Leagues last season.
The righty has history with Red Sox manager John Farrell, having pitched for him in Toronto for 41 games in 2012.
"He will be here tomorrow. He's a guy that's got a lot of experience in the back end of the bullpen," Farrell said. "I have personal familiarity with him from when he was in Toronto. Given some of the numbers in camp, there's been nothing guaranteed to [Cordero], but it's a chance for him to come in and demonstrate what he still has."
Cordero has been well-traveled in his career, pitching for the Tigers, Brewers, Reds, Blue Jays, Rangers and Astros. He is a three-time All-Star and has a 3.38 ERA over 14 seasons.
Red Sox will miss Dempster's presence in clubhouse
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Though Ryan Dempster's Red Sox teammates fully respected his decision not to pitch in 2014, it was difficult for many of them to know that the righty wouldn't be around the team.
"It's tough," said first baseman Mike Napoli. "He's a guy that meant a lot to this clubhouse. The fun we had in here. The comedian he is. He's amazing. He's just really fun, keeps everyone loose. He's a great friend and will be missed. He's like a brother. Everyone in this clubhouse, we have a strong bond."
In just one season with the Red Sox, Dempster turned into an invaluable teammate.
"I think it shocked everybody," said lefty reliever Andrew Miller. "Everybody wants to soak in their last moments of being around him. He's a great guy. He'll be remembered fondly. You learn as much as you can from a guy like that."
A professional on the mound, Dempster made his teammates howl in the clubhouse. Dempster didn't just crack jokes. He did full comedy acts.
"His comedic value will be sorely missed for sure. As good of a player as he was for us, he was even better in the clubhouse," Miller said. "You can't replace that. Nobody else can do what he does to keep everybody loose and keep everything positive and fun. He made the game a lot more fun."
"There's a void within the clubhouse," said lefty Craig Breslow. "There aren't too many people who can say the time is right to walk away from the game you love, particularly when there's a pretty sizable amount of money to be left on the table."