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’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. Jason "Thundermug"

    Gm’s don’t give players 10-5 rights if the Player is in Major League Baseball for 10 years and 5 with the same team he has earned 10-5 rights

  2. Fastball

    Hey Theo, this is Jed. Dempster wanted me to tell you that he’s gonna be a little late. And the reason is because he’s a dick.”

    1. stillmisskennyhubbs

      As my mom said, :”Takes one to know one.”

  3. Turn Two

    Seems cut and dry. Braves wont trade Delgado unless Demp approves an extension. Explains why Demp is denying it, explains why Braves were first to leak it. They know Demp looks bad if he doesn’t sign the extension, because they knew Cub fans would be excited with Delgado.

  4. matt

    Jake Peavy all over again.

    1. RY34

      Peavy is a major asshole; I wouldn’t characterize Demp like that just yet.

  5. calicubsfan007

    If Demp refuses, he will really be in the dog house with Cubs fans.

    1. matt

      Why? He EARNED his 10-5 rights, maybe he doesn’t WANT to leave, and the Braves aren’t good enough to win the world series anyway. Everyone is too hung up on “prospects”

      1. calicubsfan007

        I agree matt, I am really giving credit to the Braves for how they played this. Shrewd business move.

      2. Cyranojoe

        That is the thing. I was/am hoping Demp gets to go to a team with real prospects of getting to the WS. Not sure where the Braves stand in respect to that, but they don’t seem like prohibitive favorites. On the other hand, any team that is isn’t likely to be wheeling and dealing for somebody of Ryan’s caliber, much as we like the guy.

      3. BeyondFukudome

        I don’t give a rat’s backside what Dempster has earned. If he wanted to sit on his 10-5 rights, he should have said so from the beginning, instead of making the remarks he made about being willing to accept a trade.

        1. Hawkeye

          First we have no idea what is going on sense every report seems to be off and I’m sure Demp doesn’t give a rats backside how you feel. It’s not Demps job to make cubs fans happy with the percieved value of his return, he can do as he wishes.

        2. baldtaxguy

          You are right, he has stated he would be willing to accept a trade, especially if the Cubs benefit. Don’t you think its different if the deal includes a conditional extension?

    2. @cubsfantroy

      Myself, in all honesty, would not be mad at him for refusing the trade if that is the case. Or if he chooses to reject any trade. I love seeing him in a Cubs uniform and will love for him to be in Chicago for the rest of the year.

      I guess it is all of those mixed emotions about him leaving and/or staying. I’m fine with how any of this plays out.

  6. Wester

    So, stupid question, but those Garza to the Dodgers conversations that took place for 5 minutes when we thought this was done…are those on hold now too?

  7. Steve

    if this doesn’t go down, I’m afraid I’m going to have to drink a lot.

    1. Cubs Dude

      Me too, my man. Me too.

      1. matt

        Wait til you find out Garza’s elbow will require surgery.

        1. stillmisskennyhubbs

          You know this because you once met a guy who saw an ad about a guy who once played a doctor on TV….

        2. RY34

          as true cub fans we would only find that out after we signed him to a long term contract!

  8. Fastball

    Dempster is in his Cubbies uniform in the PNC Park bullpen getting his throwing session in. I don’t need to read a bunch of Tweet’s. This trade is BS and a bunch of people in the media are dumb asses.

    1. TWC

      Well. You sure told us. Burn.

    2. matt


    3. stillmisskennyhubbs

      And there you are, following the same media you denigrate…..

    4. Ian Afterbirth

      So ouchie!!!

  9. HawkClone

    Bob Nightengale‏@BNightengale

    @baseballfan30 There are two players heading to Chicago if deal becomes official.

    1. matt

      I don’t believe it.

    2. Cheryl

      Who’s the second player if it’s approved?

  10. Joker

    Who says the trade had to be leaked from the Braves’ side? The public pressure might also have been to the Cubs advantage in driving up the price for Demp. Perhaps the delay is just crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s at this point, but if the deal fell through, the Cubs might just benefit by having publicly established Delgado as Demp’s suggested cost. Potentially a win-win here regardless of the results of this trade (provided the Cubs don’t wait too long to pull the trigger on whatever the final deal winds up being).

    1. Whiteflag

      The trade was first leaked by braves beat writer Bowden.

      1. Whiteflag


        1. ChaChi

          Whiteflag.. I think I love you.

          1. Whiteflag

            ChaChi…I think you need to move on to a cardinals website. I’ll even help you find one.

            1. Carew

              Please just ignore it

          2. stillmisskennyhubbs

            “Get a brain, ‘moran’.”

          3. Frank

            But I wanna know for sure . . .

            1. Frank

              Sorry–Wild Thing flashback . . .

            2. calicubsfan007

              Frank: Hahaha, nice!

              1. Frank

                Thank you, Cali . . .

          4. Joker

            Has the internet not taught you rule #1? Even if the picture is of a girl, it’s a dude. It’s ALWAYS A DUDE.

            1. Whiteflag

              Not true.

              1. Joker

                Sure… ; )

            2. @cubsfantroy


            3. jimi lives on

              or a tranny

              1. Whiteflag

                I going to take this as a joke…and hope I don’t look like man.

                1. Carew

                  You’re a good sport. And dont worry, you do not.

      2. Joker

        Gracias – totally overlooked that in my conspiracy laden thinking. : )

        1. Whiteflag

          Hypocritically, the cubs could have leaked it to Bowman (just unlikely). That would really be a clever use of deception.

  11. Mysterious4th

    Maybe they are waiting until after the game or tomorrow morning to announce the trade so it doesn’t distract the team (not like the cubs could have hit the broad side of a barn this weekend against the cards) its just a thought.

  12. someday...2015?

    SBerthiaumeESPNSteve Berthiaume
    #Rangers say Colby Lewis to DL with right forearm tendinitis. Martin Perez will be recalled from Round Rock to start Tuesday. Did Garza just get more valuable?

    1. HawkClone

      Particularly with Oswalt’s start being skipped, if that ends up being serious

    2. I traded for Ryno. Dallas Green.

      U want Garza. I want: Profar, Olt, M Perez, Scheppers. Now that’s was easy. (hint; 1 more WS loss and the Rangers become the Buffalo Bills, Vikings, etc………Nolan Ryan can’t stand for that!). Profar is blocked by Andrus, Olt by Beltre, the other 2…….whatever.

  13. nkniacc13

    It would be interesting to see if Demp would want an extenstion from Atl if he does that drives up the asking price for the Cubs a bit IMO which may account for 2 players going to CHI. You would have to think tho that they leaked this they had a deal for him to ATL regardless if he agrees to an ext with different players going barring the ext

  14. John Neave

    “Dempster also told that he became aware of the planned trade after waking up from a nap Monday afternoon. He claimed that he still plans on making his next scheduled start for the Cubs on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

    1. baldtaxguy

      His also has daily nap rights, and todays must have been violated. Capt America is pissed.

  15. PJ

    I hope Nightengale is right. I always get nervous trading one proven player for one prospect, no matter how good the prospect is. Even if Delgado is the centerpiece, it would be nice to recieve another prospect, even if he is A or AA and a few years away. Dempster is a proven commodity and will definitely give the Braves a great chance at taking the division.

  16. oswego chris

    I feel sorry for Brett today….it’s exhausting for us…I can’t imagine what it’s like to do this all day long….

  17. Patrick W.

    I think we’re about 1.5 hours from the official announcement.

  18. cubs82

    RT @jonmorosi: #Tigers acquire Infante and A Sanchez from Marlins

    1. nkniacc13

      guess that takes the Tigers out of a barney and Garza deal

    2. EB

      Turner going to the fish

  19. someday...2015?

    Anyone got any ideas on who the other player in the trade could be?? Dempster, Delgado, and _______?

    1. TWC

      Delino DeShields?

  20. nkniacc13

    Id guess a low a pitcher

  21. stillmisskennyhubbs

    That takes one suitor away from Garza and Barney.
    (Almost wrote “Sutter”)

  22. cubs82

    The Tigers acquired Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from the Marlins, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. The Marlins will acquire Jacob Turner in the deal,’s Joe Frisaro reports (on Twitter).

    The Marlins are extremely disappointed by their team’s performance and are prepared to make a series of trades, Ken Rosenthal and Morosi report (on Twitter

    1. Wester

      I have to believe that our FO didn’t want turner. There is no way the Tigers think that those two players are better than Garza and Barney.

      1. Wester

        Either that or castellanos was a requirement.

        1. nkniacc13

          or what olney said was true they wanted to trade Demp first then concentrate on Garza and let the Tigers know they wanted prospects not players on the 40 man for any Garza deal

      2. someday...2015?

        EXACTLY!! We can all thank the Tigers for raising Garza’s trade value. If Sanchez and Infante get Turner and im guessing Rondon think about what a package of Garza, Camp, and Johnson or Baker could get. Maybe Olt, Buckel, and a low A prospect from the Rangers??

  23. nkniacc13

    OK say the Demp deal happens. Who is the next to get traded? Does anyone think that other than Demp, Garza and maholm gets traded if so who?

  24. calicubsfan007

    Kinda sad we couldn’t get Turner, but the Tigers kind of got crappy players in return.

  25. Tarzan Joe Wallis

    typical for Cubs faithful; if it appears to good to be true; it is; at least for Cubville. Guessing the Braves are insisting on an extension and Demp wants to come back; so all this hype and it won’t be Delgado. At that point, Cubs need to pull trade and say Next! Now it’s Delgado or bust………….and the Cubs waiting just cost them a grade trade partner; cubs could use a stud C prospect(brantley) and future #1 or 2 in Turner…………wow.

  26. Wester

    Let’s hope the marlins light minOr up tonight, and the braves are reminded just how badly they need Dempster.

  27. someday...2015?

    Well after that last update im convinced that Demp wants one more night as a Cub. Someone said it already on here and I agree. The long time Cubs leader wants to be with his team one last game before he approves the trade and moves on to Atlanta.

    1. nkniacc13

      Yeah id expect him to maybe approve it after the game is over

  28. nkniacc13

    I really hope that Dempster doesn’t sign an extenstion and comes back to the Cubs after the year I also hope that Delgado is in the deal no matter what and maybe the 2nd player is the extenstion or not

  29. Njriv

    When a door closes a window opens. Tigers might not be a spot for Garza anymore, but how about the Rangers with Lewis’ injury?

  30. Josh

    Someone explain the dempster trade to me, I took a nap and now I’m confused

    1. Carew

      There was a trade, then there wasn’t. Now it depends on Dempster

      1. nkniacc13

        It was always goi to come down to Demp becasue he had 10/5 rights

        1. Carew

          I know. I realized it was kinda dumb to mention that afterwards