We’re getting mighty close to an Obsessive Ryan Dempster Trade Watch, aren’t we?

Ryan Dempster, a free agent after this season, remains one of the Cubs’ most valuable trade pieces as we approach mid-season, but a number of facts continue to complicate what would otherwise be a relatively simple decision to deal him. First, Dempster has 10/5 no-trade rights, so he can veto any trade. Second, Dempster loves Chicago and the Cubs love Dempster. And third, any team trading for Dempster can no longer get draft pick compensation for him (thanks to changes in the CBA, only a team who’s had a player for the entire season can make a “qualifying offer” in an effort to get draft pick compensation if that player leaves). In other words, Dempster might have more value to the Cubs than to a team trading for him, which makes a trade pretty difficult.

With those issues in mind, each of Dempster and President Theo Epstein shared thoughts on what will happen with Dempster as trade season heats up.

‘‘I love being here, man,’’ said Dempster, according to the Sun-Times. “I love being a part of this organization …. I want to be here and be part of what’s going to be a bright future. Sometimes you have to endure some of the tough times in the present to get to that. We’ll just see how it goes.’’

Does that mean Dempster would veto a trade to a contender if the Cubs tried to move him?

Epstein may not yet be sure, but he plans to discuss the matter with Dempster soon.

“I have a pretty good feel for where he’s coming from,” Epstein said, according to CSN. “We have an open dialogue. We just chatted about chatting at some point. There’s nothing to talk about right now. I think I know him pretty well.

“Long-term, sure, I think the organization’s better for having him. We’ll have to take a realistic look of where we are. And if there are ways to get better, every option has to be on the table.”

In other words, bringing Dempster back in 2013 may not make sense unless the Cubs are “going for it” next year. And if they aren’t planning on bringing Dempster back next year, maybe that “chat” will include a frank discussion about whether Dempster is better off accepting the trade to a contender, where he can be spotlighted in a pennant race and/or the playoffs.

Dempster, himself, wouldn’t commit one way or another when it comes to vetoing a trade.

“I haven’t heard anything either way,” Dempster told Paul Sullivan. “If [the Cubs] did approach me, I’d have to think about it.

“Whatever happens, happens. Obviously, there will be questions, and I’ll get more and more as the season goes along. But honestly, I don’t even think about it. I mean, I do have days when I think about it. But, for the most part, I just do my job the best I can.”

If Dempster keeps doing his job as well as he’s been doing it so far this year, he’s definitely going to have some thinking to do when trade season rolls around.



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