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Links: Cubs Sign Ryan Dempster

-P- The Cubs have re-signed Ryan Dempster  for four years and $52 million, which seems like quite a lot to give someone who was having a perfectly mediocre career until this year.

It beats $48 million for Carlos Silva, I suppose. Dempster was thoroughly good in 2008--his excellent ERA wasn't entirely the result of a fluky BABIP, or anything like that (although he did strand a few more runners than you might expect). He may experience a late-career peak much as Kelvim Escobar did after switching back from relieving to starting. But I wouldn't bet on it.

-P- The Yankees have signed Sergio Mitre to a minor league deal with a team option for 2010. That sounds excessive for a pitcher who's rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and was never that dominant to begin with, but Mitre pitched admirably in 2007 in front an atrocious Marlins defense. This signing could look pretty nifty for the Yankees in two years.

-P- Finally, in a story that my brother Sam found weird and emailed to me, Ken Griffey Jr. has been named an American Public Diplomacy Envoy. My initial response was, "Envoy to what? The 1990s?" Apparently, though, it's fairly common for athletes to take this position. Other evnoys include Michelle Kwan and Cal Ripken. Also Fran Drescher, who I can't imagine in a diplomatic role, but that's just me.