BREAKING: Chicago Cubs (Probably) Agree to Trade Ryan Dempster to Atlanta Braves for Randall Delgado (UPDATES – Cautious Optimism)

After days (weeks (months)) of rumors and speculation, today the Chicago Cubs finally pulled the trigger on a Ryan Dempster trade. He goes to the Atlanta Braves, according to MLB.com’s beat writer for the Braves, Mark Bowman. There were multiple reports moments ago that the deal was close, and it looks like it’s happening.

Bowman suggests that Randall Delgado could be part of the return, but he isn’t sure yet. Obviously, that would be an insane return as I’ll explain later, if it actually comes to fruition.

I’ll be updating this post obsessively as we learn more.

UPDATE 1: David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution acknowledges that the deal is happening, and says the Braves believe they’ve got a shot to sign Dempster to an extension, given his history with Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren back with the Marlins.

UPDATE 2: While I have a moment, I’ll say I’d be pleasantly shocked if this is a straight up Dempster (and cash) for Delgado deal. At 22, Delgado is already an average-ish pitcher in the bigs, and, coming into the season was the 41st ranked prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball Prospectus. Baseball America had him at 46. Even if his stock has fallen a bit this year, that would be an absolute coup.

UPDATE 3: Ken Rosenthal joins the chorus saying it’s a done deal. Still no word on financial details or total package.

UPDATE 4: Dave Kaplan offers the first confirmation from the local guys. He adds that he hears the Cubs made a “great deal” to get young pitching. He’s working on finding out the “names.”

UPDATE 5: For what it’s worth on Delgado – again, we don’t know yet whether he’s included – Kevin Goldstein says he would no longer have Delgado in his top 50 prospects (and not just due to graduation to the bigs). He still thinks Delgado would be a heck of a return for Dempster, though.

UPDATE 6: Keith Law reports that the deal DOES INCLUDE RANDALL DELGADO and money going to the Braves, but he adds “if the deal is completed.”

UPDATE 7: Kevin Goldstein confirms that Delgado is in the deal, and that Cubs fans should be thrilled. Oh, we are, Kevin. We are (squeeeeeeeaaaal).

UPDATE 8: Goldstein adds that Delgado’s ceiling is as a number three, but keep a few things in mind: he’s considered a somewhat “safe” three, as in, he’s modestly likely to reach that ceiling. Also, a “three” doesn’t necessarily mean the third best pitcher on an average team. It’s some kind of scouting thing, and many guys who are the second best pitcher on their teams are considered a “three.”

UPDATE 9: I’m going to save further thoughts on Delgado, specifically, for a separate post once various pundits have weighed in – I’d say you can already tell my gut reaction, though (did I mention SQUEAL!?!?). Something else great about this deal: the high return on Dempster theoretically makes the high asking price on guys like Garza and Maholm even more reasonable. That’s a very good thing. Further, the Braves weren’t rumored to be in on either Garza or Maholm, so the Cubs didn’t hurt their market. So far, there’s, like, nothing but awesomeness about this deal.

UPDATE 10: Kaplan, who earlier confirmed the deal, now says it is NOT a done deal. A source tells him only that “talks are ongoing.” Hopefully it’s just a matter of crossing some t’s. Goldstein adds that he now also hears the deal is not finalized, but guesses it’s just a formality. Keep in mind, if there’s a bunch of money coming from the Cubs, there usually has to be approval from the Commissioner’s Office. That can take time.

UPDATE 11: Dempster’s official Twitter says the following: “THERE IS NO TRADE dont know where this info came from!” If this trade falls through, it will be the worst mis-report in the history of trades. Keep in mind, that account usually only tweets Dempster Family Foundation stuff, and is not really Dempster, himself.

UPDATE 12: Kaplan suggests the hold-up is the Ryan Dempster approval. Kap doesn’t say it isn’t forthcoming, but says it hasn’t been given yet. Makes you wonder whether Dempster is holding out for an extension from Braves.

UPDATE 13: If you saw that Joe Sheehan tweet and crapped your pants, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, it was a joke. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, good. It was a terrifying 30 seconds.

UPDATE 14: Dempster has arrived at the Cubs’ clubhouse in Pittsburgh, so I’m sure he’s about to be deluged with questions. And he’ll probably say very little.

UPDATE 15: No surprise, Dempster declines to talk to the media, only joking that, “if it’s on the Internet, it must be true.” Clearly the deal has been agreed upon, but is pending either Commissioner approval or Dempster approval (or both). Dempster could be trying to leverage an extension here, which could partly explain the Cubs’ great (theoretical) return.

UPDATE 16 (seriously, 16 updates? Never a good sign): Phil Rogers agrees with my take, figuring that the reporting has simply gotten out in front of the formalities. The leak obviously came from the Atlanta side.

UPDATE 17: Kap has spoken with Delgado’s agent, who – predictably – says they’ve heard nothing about a deal. Unfortunately, Delgado would have been the last to hear, and would have heard directly from the team, but that’s not how the modern era of reporting works.

UPDATE 18: With the game looming, we might not hear anything more on this until tonight or tomorrow. Which, I know, is exactly what you don’t want to hear.

UPDATE 19: Bob Nightengale says Dempster is, indeed, the hold-up, and everyone is just waiting on him to give his approval. It could be that he’s trying to get an extension from the Braves first, or it could be that, literally, word of the trade leaked before the Cubs had a chance to confirm with Dempster (having previously talked to him, and learned that he’d be “open” to a trade to the Braves). Also, random, but Len Kasper has tweeted a goodbye of sorts to Dempster, but it was two hours ago, and that might as well be from March.

UPDATE 20: Dale Sveum told the media that he spoke with the front office, and they said no deal was ever in place, and it’s not just a matter of getting Dempster’s sign-off. Maybe that’s true, but the front office obviously has a reason to say that – if the deal isn’t done, they don’t want to screw it up, or maybe they wouldn’t hate another team jumping in at the last minute.

UPDATE 21: On the Braves’ side, manager Fredi Gonzalez says he knows what we know (“well, a little bit more”), and that we’re in a “holding pattern.” To me, that sounds like a Dempster approval issue, but who knows at this point.

UPDATE 22: I keep hoping each update will be the last. This might be worthless if things don’t take a positive turn, but Bob Nightengale says there are two players coming to the Cubs if the deal gets done.

UPDATE 23: Ken Rosenthal hears that the issue isn’t Dempster wanting an extension, but instead is Atlanta insisting on one, and Dempster not really wanting to execute one. I’m not sure I buy that theory, if only because the leak of the deal came from Atlanta’s side. If they weren’t sure Dempster was going to agree to an extension that they required, why would they leak a completed deal? To put pressure on Dempster to sign the extension? Why would that work? I hope it’s not a situation where the Cubs have agreed to two deals with the Braves: (1) if Dempster signs extension, the Cubs get Delgado; (2) if Dempster doesn’t sign extension, Cubs get lesser prospect(s).

UPDATE 24: David O’Brien reports on things from the Atlanta side, expressing the surprise of some sources that a deal hadn’t been announced yet. They don’t seem to know what the holdup was, as the Atlanta media – if not the Braves, themselves – assumed Dempster would gladly approve a deal to the Braves. And Rosenthal adds that he’s got a source telling him the Braves are still confident a deal gets done.

UPDATE 25: This is the update where things descend into madness. Jon Heyman reports that, now, the trade is only 50/50 to be completed. Funny thing: the source saying it’s 5o/50 doesn’t know what the holdup is. So, somehow he knows it’s only 50/50 now, but doesn’t know why?

UPDATE 26: Bruce Levine reports that, as we’ve pretty much known for a while now, the deal has been agreed to by the Cubs and Braves, but the teams are just waiting for sign-off from Dempster.

UPDATE 27: Phil Rogers doesn’t agree with Jon Heyman’s 50/50 prognosis, and instead still thinks the deal gets done. Phil takes a stab at what happened: the Braves jumped the gun on letting the news out, believing that the Cubs already had Dempster’s thumb’s up on the deal (which, if true, could have been the Braves’ fault for misunderstanding, or the Cubs’ fault for mis-communicating). Dempster was blindsided by all of this, and was pretty pissed off. Thus, Dale defends his player (and the Cubs) by saying things like the story was “fabricated.” Hopefully that’s all true, and hopefully the Cubs can smooth things over with Dempster. I would certainly understand being pissed, but I couldn’t understand letting this torpedo the deal.

UPDATE 28: Kevin Goldstein cites a source who says there’s a 24-hour moratorium on deals involving players with 10/5 rights (I guess on the belief that you don’t want teams pressuring a guy on the spot – this way, he’s guaranteed to get 24 hours to think about it), so, if the deal is presented to Dempster for approval after the game (or, I guess, before or during the game), we might not hear a formal announcement until tomorrow night. Bet you can’t wait for that! (I bet we will have heard long before that, though.)

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

553 responses to “BREAKING: Chicago Cubs (Probably) Agree to Trade Ryan Dempster to Atlanta Braves for Randall Delgado (UPDATES – Cautious Optimism)”

  1. steve

    I’m just taking a relax & wait approach to this whole thing. I think Dempster to the braves is gonna happen, I wonder who the other prospct is. As far as Garza I really hope we can just trade him somewhere besides the dodgers. Lee may end up a good one but I believe we can do much better than him for Garza.

  2. #1lahairfan

    If this trade falls through…….

  3. #1lahairfan

    We should do this every time the cubs mess up.

    If the cubs had kept josh Hamilton…………………..

  4. Harry-Jack-Ronnie

    how could demp be blindsided? this is really confusing. seems like there is something missing. demp really can’t be blindsided? braves are a good organization. tell him to call mad dog maddux. they have chipper and tim hudson; 2 good guys. none of this makes sense. every freaking year; 1st it was mcgriff, then dlee wouldn’t lee, then aram, now demp; does any other team go thru this? or is it just me becuz wayyyyyyyyy too diehard with this team……….Damn!

    1. NCBrad

      It just feels like this happens all the time because everyone that the Cubs would want to trade received a full no-trade from Hendry, or the have 10-5 rights. But you’re right, it just feels like the Cubs have had this issue more often than other teams

      1. Scotti

        Just to reiterate, the reason that these Cubs had no-trade deals when “the Cubs would want to trade them” is because the Cubs wanted to trade them after their peak usefulness. The vast majority of players of this caliber (DLee, ARam, etc.) get no-trade deals when they sign contracts. It is standard in the industry and, yes, Theo does it too.

        1. NCBrad

          Obviously the no-trade is a tool used when negotiating contracts (including Theo), but when a GM has 6 players (Dempster,DLee, ARam, Soriano, Zambrano, and Samardzija–who was in Triple A at the time) with no-trade rights (no-trade clause & 10-5) he really hamstrings his options. In 2010, 25% of the Cubs 25 man roster was UNTRADEABLE! That’s insanely high compared to other league averages. Hendry got himself into a bad place by having so many untradeable assets,and he was basically at the mercy of his roster.

  5. Vladimir

    They showed some footage of Delgado on comcast after the game. He’s got a cool delivery and there really seems to be some snap to his fastball and good movement on his offspeed pitches. It looks like the way he delivers he hides the ball well. I dunno I just like the look of his pitches. Hope this deal does happen, wow what a great return for Demp if it does.

    1. dabynsky

      And more than a few places are reporting that the Cubs got another young player in return on top of Delgado. If true that is a hell of a return for 2 months of a 35 year old starter.

      1. Vladimir

        I am being really cautious with my celebrating here because the trade is not official yet and you never know. JUST getting Delgado, a guy who was ranked as one of baseballs top 50th prospects for Dempster. Is an AMAZING haul. Which is why I am not celebrating until it is official. To expect anything MORE than that? It’s just insane. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but it’s very unlikely if it’s JUST Dempster going back.

  6. Mike

    Any way it could be bethancourt Catching prospect?

    1. someday...2015?

      If it is Bethancourt that would complete my dream Dempster deal. I said it earlier… Betancourt = Future Star.

  7. Mike F

    As to Gaza the rumors are everywhere, MLBTR quoting the experts, CSNChicago to the Cubs are close to dealing Matt Garza to LA for Lee and prospects. I wouldn’t have had an issue with that for Dempster, and unless it’s a 3 way trade sending Barney to another team and something from the Dodgers so the Cubs got Lee, Reed and at least two other good arms and a position player, not to impressed.

    Delgado is a more certain thing and it appears the Cubs will receive another pretty nice prospect in exchange for cash for Dempster’s contract. So I just think the price for Matt Garza should be considerably higher. Maybe they will wow us, but blatantly I would send Garza to them for Lee who does;t turn my boat, Reed and Gould. Just me. I am though surprised that later today this was getting a lot play.

    The only thing bothering me with Dempster is his hammer and nail comment and I do find it objectionable if after all his talk he turns out to operate like Ramirez. The Cubs are being very generous in this and trying to show him wide latitude and respect so we’ll see.

  8. fester30

    My sources (MLB 12 The Show) tell me that Randall Delgado winds up being the Cubs number 2 and helps them to the 2017 World Series. I got him, funny enough, by trading Dempster. (Also threw in a blah prospect from AA for a high upside AA prospect).

  9. White Sox Nation

    If the Cubs get Delgado from Atlanta and Lee from the Dodgers in the Garza trade woohoo!!! Great

  10. TonyS

    Anxiously awaiting update 29……..aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!!

    1. dabynsky

      I’m waiting for the conclusion of this obsessive watch with Dempster accepting a trade to a real nice situation for himself for 2 months and help the organization.

  11. BlueHorizons

    The suspense is killing me… I keep thinking the longer this drags on, the less likely it is to happen. It’s a real shame if the leaking of this story too early put the kibosh on the whole transaction.

    Soo.. Cubs “luck” appears to remain strong… “tremendous deal” gets clobbered by an over-zealous tweet… Garza’s looming trade and potential value gets harpooned by a “freak injury”…

    Dang! I swear, I CRINGE and break out into a cold sweat every time I see the “God at the computer” icon and see that infamous headline “God’s Wrath Watch”… geesh, that’s nightmare material!

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  13. Timmy

    This is actually not a bad trade. But the administration is going to blow it somehow.

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