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Dempster's struggles continue to end

SAN DIEGO -- The Chicago Cubs finished the season a disappointing 71-91, their worst record since 2006.

For Ryan Dempster, his last nine starts of his season have to be like going to the dentist every time out. He was 0-6 with three no-decisions since his last win against Washington on Aug. 11.

"I certainly don't like ending the season that way," said Dempster, who was tagged for nine earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 9-2 loss to the San Diego Padres in Wednesday's season finale. "But I'm proud of the way I battled all year. I certainly had a tough one today. And it's been a rough season for us. So we should all just go home and take a little breather and be ready for next year."

Dempster had the dubious distinction of tying Matt Garza for the team lead in wins with 10 and also leading the Cubs in losses with 14.

He will go into 2012 with some tough decisions to make. A Cub since 2005, Dempster has one year remaining on a four-year, $44 million contract. But he has a players option in 2012 where he can reject the fourth year and become a free agent.

As it stands, Dempster would make $14 million as a Cub next season.

Asked if he had thought about coming back, he said: "I don't know. I haven't even thought about that. I'll just try to relax and then take a look at things. Those things will just work themselves out."