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. Whiteflag

    Anyone else worried about the national media coverage, favoring the cubs so much in this trade? Dempster is giving the braves to much time to rethink the trade.

    1. AD

      The Braves have always scouted players quite well and usually have found some flaw in the prospects that they deal. I don’t think that the national media will have any impact on this deal. Obviously the Braves like Dempster enough to do the deal. (I hope!)

      1. Jack Weiland

        I’m not sure you can assume they “found a flaw” in the prospects they deal. Perfectly possible that they still like their prospects very much, but see the price as fitting to acquire a piece that helps them now that they like more.

    2. nkniacc13

      No because im guessing that 2 things have happened its been sent to the comish because of $ going the braves way so it can’t be turned down unless Demp doesn’t agree. And because its in the national media the braves would look really bad if they tried to unagree

    3. Carew

      Nah. If GM’s like and want a player, they stick to their guns. At least the good ones do

      1. Whiteflag

        all good points…

  2. AD

    Regardless whether or not the Dempster trade goes through or the Cubs missing out on Jacob Turner, I think both the Dempster and Detroit deals can only benefit the market for Matt Garza. Based on the potential enormous returns for Anibal Sanchez and Ryan Dempster I think the Cubs can only benefit from today’s trades. His return should be quite substantial if dealt.

  3. Whiteflag

    Anyone else worried about the national media coverage favoring the cubs so much in this trade? Dempster is giving the braves to much time to rethink the trade.

    1. Cubs Dude

      Yeah, I hear what you’re saying but if these mlb execs listened to fans and writers every team would make terrible moves constantly. They know what they’re doing, especially Thed and the Atlanta FO.

    2. W_Francisco

      Its the Braves fault too, they shouldnt have leaked anything. Thats why I love Theo and Jed so much, although it can get annoying nothing ever gets leaked until its official official

  4. Cubs Dude

    I know Demp has 10/5 rights. But in the future Thed please never give a guy any type of NTC. Please!! This is ridiclous.

    1. Scotti

      Theo hands out NTC’s just like any other GM. It’s what happens in baseball’s free agency.

  5. W_Francisco

    Anyone else think Jon Heyman is a total idiot?

    1. Cubs Dude

      Yes to that. Completely. Although he looks like a genius compared to Nightengale’s b.s.

      1. W_Francisco

        Not to mention he kind of looks like Alf…

        1. Nick Nesler

          Damn thats funny!

  6. Matthew Paulish

    Anyone who doesn’t want to see Dempster traded because they love watching him in a Cubs uniform is sooooooooooooo dumb. I love Dempster too but you have to want the Cubs to build a winner right ??

    1. The Cubs have to draft well , (so far so good it seems under Theo Hoyer)
    2. You have to give up stars for multiple prospects that may turn into multiple major leaguers, they’re trying to do that now.

    I was a little shocked that the Dodgers rumors for Garza got really hot after the Dempster deal was public and then came to a halt after the Dempster self tweet of NO TRADE.

    1. nkniacc13

      This is also why I depending on who comes back in any trade the Cubs make after this suppose one I think you could see the Cubs sign some players to 1 year deals and do this all over again in July if they stuggle next year in an effort to build the farm system while putting a decent product on the field for atleast half of they year

  7. Wester

    Im on board with the theory that Dempster wants at least another day with the guys. If he was going to veto the trade wouldn’t he have done so already?

    1. Cubs Dude

      Yeah I think he wanted a day with his teammates, and needed to workout in the bullpen anyways. So that is what I am thinking. It did Carlos Lee like 3 days to veto his trade to the Dodgers earlier in the yr though..

      1. Wester

        Yeah, but I don’t think lee had the same kind of understanding before hand with their FO that Dempster has with ours. I can’t see them wasting their time making a trade to a team they know Dempster won’t go to.

        1. Wester

          But then again I guess I can see that if this trade is strictly to up his value. Would be a clever move if thats what Hoystein planned, and then leaked it themselves.

          1. Scotti

            If this had gone down under Hendry it would be because he’s some bungling fool. But since it’s the Boyz it’s because they are so much brighter than everyone else… Icky.

    2. BeyondFukudome

      More likely he wants at least another night with the nanny.

      1. Carew

        Hey none of that please. Come on man

  8. nkniacc13

    I think if they agreed to this this morning then Demp would already approve it since it was late afternoon then I think he will wait until after the game to approve this deal

  9. A.J.

    I don’t know why people would think Demp is an asshole. He has been nothing but a class act while wearing blue pin stripes! He has the right to pick his spot (pretty much) Im guessing hes hesitant to sign and extension because he would rather be a Cub! If he leaves I will miss his interviews. I hope he does’nt do a Chip Carey impersonation.

    1. Cubs Dude

      I don’t think anyone thinks Demp is an ass unless he vetoes this deal. He has said all along that he’ll go to any contendor. So if that’s not true, that screws the Cubs over. But yeah, if Atlanta is asking him for an extension that’s another story..

      1. Cyranojoe

        I don’t recall ever hearing or reading Dempster saying he’d go to just “any” contender.

        1. SP24

          He has said it repeatedly, would accept any trade as long as it benefited the Cubs. He’s been saying it since spring training.

          1. MichiganGoat

            I think he is still planning on accepting the trade but just needs the 24hrs to collect himself and possibly get a statement properly written. He does have a large charitable footprint in Chicago and I’m sure he wants to be able to address the concerns about what would happen if he goes to Atlanta. I wonder if a couple of Braves FO people and Atlanta media members are getting a closed door meeting about talking when things are not official.

  10. Cubs Dude

    Thanks a ton for the many updates on this craziness Brett. Much appreciated!

  11. Abe Froman

    My internal Occam’s Razor compass has landed on the following conclusion:

    Dempster is being traded to the Atlanta Brazes for Randall Delgado and another player once he approves the trade, which he will do tonight or tomorrow morning.

    Sounds like the story was leaked by the Atlanta media before the Cubs had a chance to get the go ahead from Dempster, which they were confident he would agree to based on past conversations. Due to this premature leak it has sent fans into a tizzy as we have been wound tightly with trade deadline anticipation. My total, based on nothing but gut feeling is that an extension is not even part of the trade parameters (as almost every trade is).

    This trade may fall through and cause a collective groan and many fists through drywall. Maybe.

    But I think it goes through, and freaking hooray. Delgado is either the second or third best prospect in a good system, and near MLB ready (sounds like he needs a little seasoning in AAA). If so, what a score for the FO that everyone has been quick to chastise, and inspires confidence that value WILL be had for any of the remaining deals, hopefully an insane haul for Garza.

  12. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    It is funny how much people turn on the guy when things aren’t what they want. Dude is a human being who has lived in the city for the better part of a decade. I think this gets done, but maybe it isn’t as easy as snapping a finger. I highly doubt anyone here would be as loyal or do the things Dempster has done to openly help his value to help the Cubs. He could say go to hell and have the right to. He won’t end up doing that. It is a shame that people are acting this way. Give the man time to let it all soak in.

    1. BeyondFukudome

      As a Cubs fan, I have 104/0 rights that allow me to be as pissed off as I please. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

      1. baldtaxguy

        That’s a lot of rights. Don’t let Demp push you around.

      2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        BeyondFukudome that is fine, if you don’t like what I wrote, then don’t read it. It goes both ways. I don’t believe I responded to you, but you did respond to me. Why don’t you take your own advice.

        1. BeyondFukudome

          Aren’t you late for math class?

          1. baldtaxguy
    2. Whiteflag

      I agree with better news…but it sure will be disappointing if the trade doesn’t go through.

      1. TWC

        Whoa whoa whoa… please: that’s EvenBetterNewsV2.0. NOT BetterNews.


        1. Whiteflag

          my apologizes…big difference between the two.

          1. MichiganGoat

            ***almost threw up in my mouth*** glad that was all corrected.

    3. falselife

      Wise words. His life is changing and it impacts more than just him. Give him some time.

  13. Abe Froman

    Braves, the Atlanta Brazes is not a team…I don’t think.

    1. baldtaxguy

      Z is within 3 keys of V, so it counts as team

    2. dabynsky


  14. Eric S

    I love the back and fourth of, we’re not waiting on anything. Oh wait Dempster has to agree. Wait no one told Dempster? There’s no deal? There is a deal, but we’re waiting on Dempster? No one told him? It just seems there’s a lot of cat and mouse confusion going on and I gather it gets done either Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. Maybe Dempster is stringing the Braves along so he can pitch for the Cubs on Wednesday and get one last hurrah in a Cub uniform before he goes. Who knows!

  15. nkniacc13

    maybe he didn’t want to leave the Cubs shorthanded off the bench so he’s waiting till after the GAME.

    1. BeyondFukudome

      (a) if there’s really a trade in place, then there’s no way in hell he’d be available off the bench

      (b) if there’s no trade in place, he’s still scheduled to start on Wednesday, so there’s no way he’d be available off the bench

      (c) don’t be ridiculous

  16. pfk

    THIS JUST IN!!…Larry O’Brien had voided the trade!!

  17. Turn Two

    Still say this is cut and dray. Braves agree to give a better prospect (delgado) if demp signs extension. Both sides agree. Braves reporter leaks it to the public. Thus the Braves have an upper hnd in negotiations. They know if Dempster turns it down, Cubs fans will be upset with him. This does not force Demps hand, but in a negotiation it certainly gives them a slight edge. If Demp gets angry, the Braves can completely deny, it was jus a reporter speculating. Dempster meanwhile, has one sizeable contrct left in his career, so he vehemently denies the rumors and says a deal was never in place. Both sides begin weak denials to back him up, Dempster is deciding right now if he wants to finish his career with the Braves and if the money is worth it. Cubs maybe even willing to throw in some extra money to supplement Dempster’s extension and help Demp. Hence, the speculation over how much money the Cubs are including.

    1. nkniacc13

      I don’t think they have an agreement that allows the braves to work on an extentsion with Demp as both sides would have to agree and get Commishes approval for that by then we would have known all the players in this deal as well as any money the Cubs are including

  18. pfk

    OOPS…David Stern voided the trade.

    1. TWC


  19. Featherstone

    Rangers most consistent starter Colby Lewis is done for the season with a torn ligament in his throwing arm. I dont know how the Rangers aren’t looking at Garza as a possibility. Here’s hoping the Phillies resign Hamels and the Brewers resign Greinke.

    1. Ryan G

      I think it’s a joke that ESPN is mentioning Liriano as an ace and with the likes of Hamels and Grienke but no mention of Garza.

      1. Featherstone

        It really is a joke. Liriano is at best a tier 2 pitcher, but his inconsistency puts him solidly in the 3rd/4th tier. Garza is a 1st/2nd tier starter. The fact that he isnt even being mentioned is egregious.

  20. MichiganGoat

    Wow this is becoming a blog-a-thon if it’s own.

  21. Cubs

    Brett, I know we want/need pitching but what if we get a chance to acquire Olt from Texas. Do we do it or hold out for a pitching prospect?

    1. Whiteflag

      You run screaming down and the hallway, yelling YES! Then again I am biased, I have a bit of a crush on Olt.

  22. Spencer

    New record for comments?

  23. Spencer

    Random question that I don’t have a good spot for so I’m asking here: Does anyone know if compensatory picks can only be traded if the teams are flip flopping? Does it have to be someone like the Pirates and Royals trading places, or could the Pirates just give their comp pick away to the someone like the Yankees in a trade like what happens in every other sport? I hope what I’m asking is clear.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      They can be traded however they see fit.

  24. nkniacc13

    They careadethe picks to anyone I believe

    1. TWC

      I know that’s a typo, but I think I’m going to incorporate ‘careadethe’ into my vocabulary. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

  25. Serious Cubs Fan

    Well the Cubs just lost the Tigers as a trade partner. Trade Jacob Turner, and 2 other minor leaguers to the marlins for Sanchez and Infante. Shit

  26. cubfanincardinalland

    Yet another example of how Twitter is the downfall of American journalism.

    1. cubfanincardinalland

      Brett, the problem is people use it irresponsibly. For every legit source, there are 5 guys just shooting out rumors. There was a time in journalism that if you reported information that turned out to be incorrect, it was a disaster for the writer. Now it’s no big deal. There is no accounability for many journalists today.

      1. Jack Weiland

        Wouldn’t agree with any of this. Acting like journalism days of yore were the bastion of responsibility is a farce. And the fact is in this case it was broken by a well respected MSM writer, and confirmed by numerous other well-respected baseball writers.

        Not every episode needs a narrative, you know. Sometimes people just make mistakes.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Yes there is a very “in the good ole days” tone when we try to compare today’s journalism and that of the past. They both have great flaws, but I like that in today’s world it is much harder to keep the truth from rising, there was the day when being friendly with a couple of journalist meant you could get away with anything.

        2. Bric

          Remember the Maine!

          1. calicubsfan007

            Bric: Scott Maine? (= Kinda hard to forget that era!

            1. Bric

              Ah, that’s a good one… If you want to forget about Scott Maine just think of Esmailen Caridad. Hopefully Luke’s already gone to bed and doesn’t see this comment.

  27. Cheryl

    Give Dempster credit. He has the right to turn the deal down with no recriminations from us. No matter what he does he’s always been a class act. I wish him the best!!!

  28. Rich

    This Dempster trade mass confusion is like every Three’s Company episode ever.

  29. Fastball

    My guess is somebodies in the Cubs Locker Room Kissing Dempster’s butt big time. And doing some begging. Which is probably what it’s going to take. I think he will say okay after he gets the lipstick off his backside.

    1. calicubsfan007

      Fastball:I suggest him using either Oxiclean and/or a Sham-Wow to clean that off. They are very effective at removing all sorts of stains!

  30. Peter Michals

    Well the trade could go through, it could not, but I have a feeling it will not. Dempster will veto the trade, not sure why players have 10/5 rights or a union for that matter; they dont need one. When a player is making millions of dollars, it’s easy to temporarily relocate or deal with the stigma of having to live somewhere else long term; they certainly have the money and means to do so. If he vetoes the trade he really does not care about the teams future or the fans because he will not help the team in the future, he’s not young enough to help down the road and is robbing the team of a high upside prospect. Besides, he like most baseball players today get paid way more than they are worth. Of course all this is providing if the deal is even real.