Dempster deferred $3M to help Cubs

CHICAGO -- Ryan Dempster deferred $3 million of this season's salary during the offseason to help the Cubs gain financial flexibility, a source told ESPNChicago.com on Friday.

The team used that windfall to sign outfielder Xavier Nady to a one-year contract, a move that likely would not have been possible without Dempster's offer.

Fox Sports first reported on Friday that Dempster had deferred that portion of his $12.5 million contract for 2010.

According to an ESPNChicago.com source, Dempster came to the team at the Cubs' winter convention in January and asked how he could help. Dempster will get his money back over the next two years. The Cubs pitcher signed a four-year, $52-million contract before the 2009 season.

Deferred money in baseball is a common practice. Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, signed to a long-term deal, allowed the team to defer some of his salary in 2005. And according to a major league source, the Cincinnati Reds did the same thing last year with one of their players in order to add Scott Rolen, who was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com