By Carrie Muskat /

CHICAGO — Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster has exercised his $14 million player option for 2012. The Cubs were informed of his decision on Saturday.

Dempster, 34, is coming off a 10-14 season in which he did reach the 200-innings mark for the fourth straight year. However, he also posted his highest ERA in four seasons as a starter with the Cubs (4.80) and had one of the worst Aprils, logging a 1-3 record and a 9.58 ERA in six starts.

“I’m excited,” Dempster said on Saturday. “I had a chance to talk to Theo [Epstein, president of baseball operations]. I’m excited for the Cubs organization and not just for myself personally. They want to be a place where they’re not trying to just win the World Series. They want a chance to be contenders every single year. I think that’s awesome

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