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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.)

  • leroy k.
    • calicubsfan007

      Wouldn’t mind that cash.

  • Joshua Edwards

    What did I do today? I spent a good hour hitting the refresh button three or four times a second.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Joshua: Sounds like a productive day to me! I’ve been doing the same thing!

    • Aaron

      I’ve been doing the same during the last few days. Just wait, the focus shifts to Garza now…

  • kubphan82

    If the Cubs were able to receive Delgado +1, wow. Delgado would be impressive enough. I mean think of it, after last year for Dempster, most people were looking at Dempster being an overpaid veteran who wouldn’t bring ANYTHING in a trade. HE improved the Cubs single-handedly… Thank you for your time Dempster and your willingness to improve the Cubs.

    If it is “names” then I would doubt it’s Delgado +1… Maybe I would be right to say JR Graham and one of if not both of Luis Merejo and Mauricio Cabrera from rookie ball…

    • kubphan82

      Sounds like I may have been wrong…

      @keithlaw Filed to ESPN – if the Dempster trade is completed, Randall Delgado is in it, as well as something to balance the money

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Easily the busiest the site has ever been by the way, eclipsing the Soler signing and the Pujols/Angels signing. Right now, there are about 5,000 people on the site. And the site hasn’t exploded yet!

    • ETS

      Both congrats on the traffic and nice work on the stability. :internethighfive:

      • calicubsfan007

        @ETS: High five slap!

      • Cyranojoe

        Yes! Brett, you ROCK!

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Lol Brett the explosion is coming when and if Garza gets traded=)

    • Jack Weiland

      o/\o

      (high five)

    • Whiteflag

      This site deserves that kind of traffic all day everyday. Congrats!

    • cubmig

      confirmation of Delgado to Cubs may be the thing that will “explode” the system……lol. A giant celebratory firecracker!!!!

  • @cubsfantroy

    I don’t consider myself a Braves fan since my number two has always been the Royals, but I will consider myself a Braves fan for the rest of the year and root for them to win it all so Demp gets the ring and the right to call himself a WS winner. He deserves it.

  • North Side Irish

    keithlaw ‏@keithlaw
    Filed to ESPN – if the Dempster trade is completed, Randall Delgado is in it, as well as something to balance the money.

    Balance the money?

  • Toby

    Keith Law is saying, via Twitter, that it is Randall Delgado and something to balance the money. So, they might be getting another player for Cubs picking up rest of Demp’s contract.

  • Rich

    another donation for B. Nation for a larger server if this one goes down.

  • Spencer

    Goldstein just confirmed Delgado.

  • kubphan82

    In other news…. Mather is playing 3B today, lol

  • Polar Bear

    This is awesome! It is great to have some people in charge that know what they want and how to get it. Great work as always, Brett!!!

  • KidCubbie

    BOOM-Shaka-laka!!!!

  • NCMoss

    Alright, this is a trade I’m good with. My mom is a huge Braves fan so it’s going to be easy to root for them now that Dempster is on the team. Plus, DelgadOMG!!! Hmm, not the same…

    • calicubsfan007

      @NCMoss: It works, but you are right, not the same as RizzOMG!

  • Fishin Phil

    Squeal !!!!!

  • Patrick

    I think the BEST thing about this is not only are we getting a MLB ready guy, that has #1/2 starter potential. Its the that Dempster was the lesser of our two big guys… I’m just imagining what the price of Garza REALLY is going to be now.

  • thejackal

    good luck braves and demp im pullin 4 ya. delgado to cubs? HOLY COW lol

  • dudeski

    theo and jed are wizards

    • calicubsfan007

      @dudeski: Agreed.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    SQUEAL!!! I gotta say thank you Brett, Luke, and all others who contribute to this site. Your work is truly appreciated!!

  • North Side Irish

    Kevin Goldstein ‏@Kevin_Goldstein
    Safer, but not as much upside. RT @jrey4d: @Kevin_Goldstein is Delgado a better prospect than Zack Lee?

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I am cool with safe considering how much Lee has struggled. His fastball has been very flat. Something you can’t have anywhere, but especially Wrigley. I personally would prefer this.

  • Joshua Edwards

    I think one effect of the CBA is more cash included in deals to acquire prospects. It’s the new way to “overspend” on the draft–you buy them later as part of a trade.

    • Jack Weiland

      Not sure I agree. In this case, yes. But most big market teams are in contention every year (or so they should be) and thus would be trading away prospects, not acquiring them, via trade.

      • Joshua Edwards

        I think your scenario describes the traditional model for big-market teams: buy superstars and trade away prospects. And if you believe big-market teams are competitive every year then your scenario makes sense, and I’d buy into that.

        But big market teams have always had the advantage to spend more for prospects/players. That hasn’t changed.

        And many of those prospects you mention them trading away were bought in the draft. Since they can’t do that anymore they’ll find other ways to use the money to their advantage. I think the Dempster trade represents one of those ways.

  • Derrick

    I think we should be a lil worried that the Atlanta Braves gave up on a young pitcher for a rental. Calm down he is a 3 at best.

    • North Side Irish

      Very true. But he’s 22 year old “#3 at best” making $480K and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2018. That’s a pretty nice asset to acquire for two months of Dempster in a lost year for the Cubs.

    • Jack Weiland

      The “Braves pitchers” thing is really overblown. I’d say Texas did quite well trading for Braves young pitchers a few years back. And at any rate a cost-controlled ML #3 has a ton of value, ESPECIALLY for an expiring asset like Dempster. Not being excited about this kind of return is absurd.

  • cjdubbya

    Early June 2010, I was at a Cubs game in Pittsburgh and scored five autographs. I never suspected that James Russell would be the last one of those five still with the team. (Others that signed that day? Xavier Nady, Ted Lilly, Derrek Lee and one Ryan Dempster)

    • ETS

      Nice day’s work.

    • calicubsfan007

      @cj: That is a pretty decent collection of autographs. I agree, definetly wouldn’t have thought that Russell would be the last man standing, so to speak.

      • cjdubbya

        @ETS & @Cali – best autograph day ever for me, by far. Was a makeup game, wife and I were on a 9-day baseball road trip (her planning – best wife EVER), we just happened to be swinging back through Pittsburgh for a 12:35 first pitch, and we hit a game in Cleveland that night. Crazy how it worked out, but it definitely worked out well!

  • Spencer

    How much service time does Delgado have?

  • Dave

    Not trying to be a jerk…but is this really SQUEAL worthy? Most scouts on twitter (including Kevin Goldstein) say Delgado is a #3 starter, MAX. I can’t get TOO excited about that.

    I’m glad we got something decent for Demp but I’ll be more interested to see what we can land for Garza.

    • Jack Weiland

      A #3 cost-controlled has a heck of a lot of value.

    • Jack Weiland

      Funny you reference KG, who thinks a #3 is no slight at all, and is also saying via Twitter that it’s a great return and Cubs fans should be very excited.

      Guess you can just pick and choose which statements of his you value now, huh?

      • @cubsfantroy

        Isn’t that how it is with most people? haha

        • Jack Weiland

          I don’t value this statement so I’ll ignore it. But say something else and I will act like it’s gospel. hahah

    • Drew7

      I think it is.

      Getting a 22 yr old pitcher with a good chance to be a #3 in exchange for a 36 yr old, much more expensive #3 with an expiring contract seems like a very solid move.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Really Dave? Wow, can’t please them all I guess. Most thought we would struggle to get a lower level borderline top 100 player, let alone a top 50 at AAA who is 22. I will take this.

      • Dave

        Don’t get me wrong. Getting Delgado is a nice return, I’m just saying – I don’t get all the excitement and crazyness over a possible #3 starter.

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          On a good team with a good pitching staff Dempster is probably a #3. I’ll take a 22 year old #3 for a 35 year old #3 any day.

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            This. Most don’t know the difference between 2-5. A 3 is typically your 2nd starter. A safe 3 is essentially someone you should look at as a successful above average pitcher. If we would have got a number 1 type of a pitcher, I would have been shocked. I was worried we would have ended up with a projectable relief pitcher.

            • Scotti

              The only thing that makes a 3 above average is that a 3 eats innings. Other than that, he’s an average pitcher (for a starter). A 1 is likely your best starter (not always an ace). A 2 is above average. A 3 is average. A 4 is below average and a 5 is as far from a 3 as a 1 is but just in the other direction.

              Some teams have two or three #1′s. Some have two or three #5′s.

              • Jack Weiland

                No team has two or three #1s. That’s laughable. In this context (again, Kevin Goldstein’s) he considers there to be like 8-10 #1s LEAGUE WIDE.

                Most teams best pitcher is in actuality a #2. Most teams second best pitcher is a #3. Dempster during his Cubs career was a 2-3. And he’s a two month rental, who is due for significant regression, and the team acquiring him won’t get a comp pick.

                It’s an incredible return.

                • Jack Weiland

                  Okay, other than Philly. That’s certainly an unusual circumstance though.

                  • Scotti

                    Did I say it was usual? It happens (and it has happened to the Cubs). It isn’t laughable…

                    Did I say it wasn’t a good return? No. much better than what many were predicting (and right in line with what I said Dempster’s value is in this market is).

                    • Jack Weiland

                      Saying “So-and-so is a three” is speaking in generalties. And in this context, scouting speak,a #3 is quite good. There’s an extremely limited supply of #1s (generally less than 15 at a given time) so saying “some teams have 2-3 #1s” is laughable. Totally laughable.

                      Most teams best pitcher is a 2. And their next guy is a 3. For most of his Cubs career, Dempster was between a 2 and a 3.

                    • Jack Weiland

                      Also the Cubs never had three #1s. Ever.

                  • Scotti

                    “so saying “some teams have 2-3 #1s” is laughable. Totally laughable.”

                    The 2011 Phillies were laughable? Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels were not laughable.

                    “Also the Cubs never had three #1s. Ever.”

                    First, the comment was “two or three.” Second, in 2003 Prior was 3rd in WAR (7.2) of ALL MLB pitchers and Wood was 10th (5.9). There are your two #1′s (Aces even). Zambrano was also 10th in MLB starters ERA and 8th (5.2) in NL WAR (the third highest total of his career). All three had 30, or more, starts and 200, or more, IP. Wood and Prior were 1, 2 in K’s in all of baseball.

                    “(generally less than 15 at a given time) ”

                    There certainly were not 15 better starters than Wood, Prior or even Zambrano in 2003 (WAR, ERA, IP). Maybe someone had more wins, and maybe someone’s sock bled more, but those three were top 15 easy.

                    • Jack Weiland

                      The 2011 Phillies had a historic rotation. When saying “so-and-so is a 3″ you’re speaking in generalties. Can’t pretend an outlier is the norm. THAT is what’s laughable.

                      Neither Zambrano nor Wood were #1s in 2003.

                    • Jack Weiland

                      Not sure whose WAR you’re using, but Z was 14th per Fangraphs, and Wood was 24th.

                      Not 1s. Very, very, very good pitchers, and very valuable, but not 1s.

                  • Scotti

                    “Can’t pretend an outlier is the norm. THAT is what’s laughable.”

                    Uh, sorry, you must be confusing me with a poster that pretended an outlier was a norm. I said that it happens while you said it NEVER does (again, using the rubric on 2-3). You were obviously wrong.

                    “Not sure whose WAR you’re using”

                    Baseball-reference WAR for PITCHERS.

                    “…but Z was 14th per Fangraphs, and Wood was 24th. Not 1s. Very, very, very good pitchers … but not 1s.”

                    First, if there are, per you, 15 #1′s and, per you, Z was 14th in WAR, then, per that metric, Z was a #1. Second, anyone that thinks there was 23 better starters than Wood in 2003 has a whole in their bucket. Wood led all of MLB in K’s, K/9 and H/9. Any system that has Kerry Wood’s best season as the 24th best MLB starter has an “outlier” problem.

  • Evolution

    We should get something nice for Demp…candlesticks. Candlesticks are nice.

    Maybe a cake.

    I love the return…but, I do hate to see him go.

    Class matters…and, he’s got it.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Evolution: Crap, now I want cake…

      • @cubsfantroy

        Me too. I would go to the store, but I am hanging out here and on Twitter. Wish I could send my daughter, but she is only 2.

  • Spencer

    How much service time does Delgado have? Will the Cubs have control over him for 5 or 6 years?

    • North Side Irish

      Arbitration eligible in 2015, free agency in 2018.

  • Evolution

    If (all) he is a 22 year-old with #3 potential…that would be HUGE for Dempster.

  • RoughRiider

    Me thinks you all are too thrilled.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Brett, does this all but guarantee a return for Garza with a teams 1st and 2nd best prospect as well as another top 10? I mean, this just boosted Garza. No way this hurts Garza’s stock.

    • Jack Weiland

      No way it hurts Garza’s stock, but I honestly doubt it boosts it that much either. Teams are quite capable of analyzing an asset’s value on their own, and I’d venture to say they don’t really care what another team was willing to overpay for a different asset.

      What it DOES say, however, is that the Cubs must be asking for a hell of a lot for Garza. And if they move Garza, they’re probably going to get a king’s ransom. Because as assets go Garza >>>>> Dempster and the Cubs know that as well as anybody.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        True, but part of negotiating is trying to get the deal in your teams favor. With us getting this, I think we can all but say, “you will give us this or someone else will.” I think it increases our bargaining leverage, but that is just my opinion. I agree, it can’t hurt so it is all around good news.

        • Cyranojoe

          That’s a good point. The effectiveness of the FO just got established, which gives them leverage — more so than the exact value that Dempster may be returning. That’s kind of cool. In fact, I think that may be what many of us are cooing about. Delgado is great and all, but the fact that Jedtheoyer have concocted such a deal is promising about *their* abilities, both now and in the future.

        • Jack Weiland

          Agree on all of the above. Stuff like this is why I was so excited about hiring Theo and Co. I have full confidence in them.

  • EB

    Seeing as Delgado is from Panama, I propose the nickname… The Panamaniac!

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