Weeks ago, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster fell from the rumor rails after he suggested he wasn’t interested in leaving the Chicago Cubs. As a player with no-trade rights, and a very well-liked player, no one really gave Dempster much grief for his decision.

But, setting aside personal and/or family considerations for staying in a particular city, why exactly do Cubs players – Dempster, Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood, among others – refuse to accept trades that could take them (temporarily) away from a team on a slow boat to China to a team in the heat of a pennant race? Why would they choose to stay and lose, when they can leave and win?

For Dempster, he says it’s a matter of wanting to win with the Cubs, and not wanting to run away from the team’s problems. In fact, he sees accepting a trade to a playoff team as quitting on the Cubs.

“I’ve never been a quitter,” Dempster said. “My whole career, whether it’s somebody telling you you’re not going to get drafted when you’re in high school, or somebody telling you you’re not going to make it to the big leagues … I wouldn’t go, ‘Oh, well, then OK, I’ll just try something else.’

“It would be easy to just say, ‘Oh, I’ll go somewhere else and win.’ But the hard thing to do, the more admirable thing to do, is to try and turn it around here and put a winning team on the field.”

When I read Dempster’s comments, for whatever reason, Hamlet’s famous words immediately popped into my head: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?”

Is it more noble – or “admirable,” in Dempster’s words – to stay with the Cubs, and suffer the slings and arrows of a 100 loss team, or to take up arms with another team that actually has something to fight for? Clearly Shakespeare had written a few trade deadline articles in his day.

Dempster may be doing the “admirable” thing in his mind, but he recognizes it is not without risk.

“My window [for getting a ring] is obviously getting smaller, but it’s not that small yet,” he acknowledged. “Hopefully it’ll happen here because that’s what it’s all about.”

Again, I can’t be mad at Dempster. Sure, it’s even easier not to be mad at him this particular year (he currently sports a 4.98 ERA, and the return in trade would probably not be terribly exciting). But if he wants to stick it out, and if he remains productive, then I suppose that’s not something to decry.



  • Dean

    Unless Dempster is the fifth starter, he won’t be in Chicago to win a ring. He is not going to get better in the future.

    While some may view his wanting to stay as admirable, to me it’s simply selfish.

  • ron

    because Hamlet usually pops into my head also….

  • die hard

    What if he had decent April and Wells and Cashner turned out ok..problem is Cubs had no plan B to use if didn’t happen as planned…which is indicitment of Hendry et al

  • ron

    If I am drinking Mich Ultra and then eat a rediculously huge peanut butter and jelly sandwich should I just be drinking Budweiser?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You should be drinking a Budweiser milkshake.

      • ron

        Only if there is a banana in it, gotta get my potassium.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Don’t say banana ’round here, or else some dudes will start talking about their hammocks.

          • TWC

            Yeah! SOME DUDES indeed.

            I look good in a thong. Should I be ashamed about that? What can I say?

            • MichiganGoat

              I may have to stay up just for TWC

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I couldn’t decide if I should reference you by name. I didn’t want to be exclusive.

  • Lynne Hansen-Salak

    What would Ernie Banks say?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Let’s play two?

    • Jeff

      “We Stinks!”

  • MichiganGoat

    Ah Shakespeare, I’m more partial to Polunius’ description of Hamlet’s behavior, it sums up the confusion and ineptitude of this of this year.

    Find out the cause of this effect,
    Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
    For this effect defective comes by cause.
    Act II, scene 2, line 101.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Who says blogs have destroyed good writing?

      • MichiganGoat

        Hey if in hour twenty you are writing in iambic pentameter, I’ll be smiling.

        • TWC

          Hell, if he can *spell* iambic in hour twenty, he’ll be in good shape.

  • STG3

    As admirable as what he is saying is, it is also very selfish. If they were willing to accept a trade it would help the team. If they were concern with the good of the organization they would accept a trade insteadbelieve they can fix the team themselves.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah. But if he – like Hendry (sigh) – thinks the Cubs can compete in 2012 with a couple tweaks, then I can see why he’d want to stay. He’s got an option for 2012 that he intends to use.

  • Ralph

    what happened to the Geovany Soto to the Giants talk a few weeks ago? Posey to first base when he gets healthy again and Castillo/Clevenger combo next year?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing came of it. I think the Cubs just don’t trust Castillo as the starter next year (and Clevenger might be an acceptable backup (defined as better than Koyie Hill)).

  • Ralph

    Surely Castillo can hit 12 homers and bat .250… I guess they don’t trust him with the staff?…. seriously… are the defensive/ game calling reviews of Castillo that Bad?

    • MichiganGoat

      I heard he was sent back to AA to work on defense… But I hear a lot, and often hear it wrong.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, it’s the defensive side of things that is supposedly the hold up.

    • Hogie

      He really does seem to make lazy attempts to block pitches. What’s the story on Clevenger?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Probably won’t have a big-league bat, but decent catcher. Was converted later in his playing career, if I remember correctly.

  • Ralph

    Clevenger just seems to keep rising through the system but nobody ever talks about him… he recently got promoted to AAA where (last time I looked) he was batting over .400 in just under 100 at bats…

  • brian

    I hate to play the blame game but since Larry left, our staff has been awful…. To think that geo is calling pitches is ludicrous and Mark has no idea what he’s doing and the staff has suffered for it. Sure, offense hasn’t been there but I don’t see anything worthwhile coming from pitch to pitch that any minor leaguer goodbye figure out

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      While correlation does not necessarily equal causation, it certainly hasn’t been a banner year for Mr. Riggins or his mustache.

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