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’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.)

  • cubsin

    I’ve been bouncing between BN and Twitter. Lots of tweets about Garza to the Dodgers for Lee and other prospects.

    • North Side Irish

      saw it on MLB Trade Rumors too…busy day…

  • Patrick

    Hopefully Delgado will assume Dempster’s spot in the rotation so we won’t need to call up Volstad or Wells again. I’m sick of seeing those two.

    • Carew

      Volstad should stay in minors for awhile and Wells should be flatout released

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Kevin Goldstein says Delgado’s max ceiling is a #3 starter. I’m still extremely happy with the trade but brought me down to earth a little. People are thinking hes a #2 guy but sounds like he thinks he isnt wit that analysis

    • Scotti

      Delgado is a 2-3. Could go either way and, as with ALL prospects, he could not pan out.

  • Chris

    With earlier reports from LA that they’d “cooled” on Dempster (likely in an effort to lower the asking price for Dempster), I’ve got my fingers crossed that this deal forces LAD’s hand in discussions for Garza that center on Lee…

    • Sean
    • Spencer

      A deal for Garza better include a lot more than Lee.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I would be even blown away if Lee was the center piece of a Garza trade. Dodgers farm system doesn’t have much else. Lee isn’t a blow you away elite pitching prospect. Yes hes a solid top 50 prospect but I would rather get RHP Barnes and maybe SS Xander Bogaerts. That deal seems reasonable to me, and not really lopsided. For one Barnes is a much better pitching prosepct, and the dodgers dont have anyone in the league of Bogaerts in their system.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          dodgers are going to have to get creative to get Garza, because a Zach Lee center piece might not cut it. I’m not over valuing garza either mind you. Zach Lee is great but what else to they got seriously? Zach Lee and Chris Reed? I dont think that would cut it either

  • Cerambam

    on a related note is this talk about garza to the dodgers for zach lee by jim bowden just speculation or do you think that deal was affected by this one and is therefore immediately taking shape

  • Tim Noonen

    I have not been this excited as a Cubs fan since 84. Awesome!!!

  • leroy k.

    new talk of Garza for Zach Lee. Could be a long night guys….

  • calicubsfan007

    I agree with you Chris about forcing the Dodgers hand. They have to be getting at least a little more desperate. Hamels will probably have that extension, teams don’t seem to desire Greinke as much as the analysts do, and Demp just got traded.

  • Spencer

    David Kaplan seems to think nothing is done yet.

  • AD

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have Zach Lee at our disposal, but I would still like to see the Blue Jays get involved for Garza. I think the Dodgers might have the best overall prospects, but the Blue Jays could give us the best overall deal.

  • North Side Irish

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman
    Just spoke with great source. No deal has been agreed upon. Talks ongoing. Nothing done yet.


  • cubmig

    From rotoworld (Garza to Dogers deal?)

    hope I posted link correctly.

    • calicubsfan007

      @cubmig:I clicked on your link and it says that the address isn’t valid.

  • calicubsfan007

    Stupid Dave Kaplan… Everyone else is saying that something happened!

  • CubsfanKevin

    i remember watching Delgado at Wrigley in May. His ERA was quite high then as i recall. I was impressed though. He had good velocity and seemed to have something extra when he needed it. I also recall thinking it was strange he did not throw many breaking balls, fastball/change. It kept the Cubs off balance that night. I am excited. Although now that he might be a Cub I am waiting for him to turn into Angel Guzman and have his right arm explode.

    • Jack Weiland

      That is strange, because he’s supposed to have a good curve. He also has control issues, so maybe he wasn’t commanding it well at the time and had shelved it?

  • LWeb23

    From MLBTR:

    Dodgers discussing Garza for Lee swap.

  • Toby

    Phil Rogers is writing that a deal is close that would send Garza to LAD for Z.Lee and others.

  • Cerambam

    it seems everyone is just sourcing bowden

  • Pingback: Report: Now Cubs Are In Serious Talks with Dodgers About Matt Garza | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • T Wags

    I am totally blown away… Shocked. Stunned. I haven’t even squealed yet because my mind is still blown. I’m even more convinced we may be better off keeping Garza now that we have a MLB ready 22 year-old potential #3 to add to what we have. Garza, Shark, Delgado, Wood and a solid free agent pickup like Maholm(or Maholm himself if we keep him) sounds like something we can compete with next year. I trust our front office’s judgement but if we deal him it better be a WOW offer like this one was. I applaud you Jedstein! Well freaking done!

    • Sinnycal

      If we go that route, I would hope they really shoot for it and aim higher than Maholm in free agency.

      • T Wags

        I agree. But that was just to say that we don’t necessarily have to break the bank to put a competitive rotation on the field next season. We have the money no doubt and I wouldn’t mind them using it but our FO has said they wont be spending big this winter.

  • Fastball

    And what I really like is the Dodgers don’t have nearly enough to bid on Garza. Screw the Dodgers!!! And the Pirates want Maholm back so we can take their two Lefties and fleece them like old times. Maybe we send LaHair to the Pirates and really leave them feeling violated. I would tell Ned in L.A. to get his pencil sharpener out of his desk drawer. They don’t even have enough to come after Garza at this point. The market has been set. I think we see the Big Boys come out and play right about now.

  • Evolution

    To those who think we’re “all too thrilled”, or “he’s just a #3″…even if Delgado is a bust (knocks on wood…spits on floor), it was STILL a great trade.

    And…I LOVE Dempster.

  • CubsfanKevin

    another interesting story line to the game i was at: Delgado faced Ryan Dempster that chilly evening

  • leroy k.
  • cubmig
    • leroy k.

      nothing cubmig

  • @cubsfantroy

    Dave Kaplan just said on Twitter the deal hasn’t been agreed upon, just in place. I hope he is just behind the time on it being done…

  • Tony


    Strengths: Athleticism; plus 75-77 mph curveball; ability to miss bats; low-90s fastball

    Weaknesses: Control; tendency to overthrow

    Comments: Tall, athletic pitcher with solid arm action that gives him outstanding movement to his fastball and curveball. High three-quarters slot allows Delgado to pitch on a downhill plane. He can overthrow at times, which leads to control issues. His curve might be the best in the system and change-up give him three above-average offerings.

    Not looking for the next Verlander through this deal but he’ll be a solid pitcher if he cuts the walks down. I like the deal. Hard to assess young kids ceilings. I say he could pitch in the WS in a few years.

  • Tony

    3 above average pitches…SOLID!

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Not going to lie I would try to extort the Dodgers last second for Zach Lee for dempster and see if they’d take the bait. Zach Lee over Delgado anyday. But i would still be happy with delgado

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    Garza to Dodgers for Zach Lee, Allen Webster, Chris Reed,

  • PKJ

    This is VERY exciting. Well done, Cubs.