I cannot stress firmly enough that this is just one report, based on one source, which might not ultimately be true. That said, it’s from Ken Rosenthal, who isn’t going to put his name out there on something like this unless it’s moderately solid.

And it’s not great news.

According to Rosenthal, for now, Ryan Dempster prefers to block the trade to the Atlanta Braves – which would have netted the Cubs Randall Delgado, a hell of a great return – while holding out hope that, in the next week, the Cubs can work out a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cubs and Dodgers previously stalemated on trade talks, presumably because of the Cubs’ insistence on the inclusion of top pitching prospect Zach Lee. If the Cubs are now forced to go back to the Dodgers, hat in hand, not only would they not get Lee, they wouldn’t get a value even coming close to Delgado.

In short, if true, this could be disastrous for the Cubs.

But that’s the rub: “if true.” Many other sources, including the Atlanta Braves, remain optimistic and hopeful that the Braves deal will still get done.

We don’t know the details for certain, but it had been reported that the Braves were second on Dempster’s list of preferred trade spots. The Dodgers were first.

Try to do your best not to rush to judgment here, though I know how this looks for Dempster. We don’t know what’s really going on yet.

UPDATE: Carrie Muskat reports that the claims that Dempster is holding things up because he was blindsided by the trade are not true. Instead, “Sources say he did know about the Braves offer, but was surprised at how public the deal became before he had made his decision.” Maybe he was surprised/angered that the deal became public because he knew he preferred to go to LA, and he didn’t want to look like the bad guy when he asked the Cubs to keep trying to get him to LA. Sounds like a pretty good theory to me.

UPDATE 2: Phil Rogers says folks in Atlanta are confused about Dempster’s reasons for not (yet) approving the deal. Rogers adds: “He prefers to be on the West Coast, Rosenthal suggests, because he has family in Vancouver and wants his three children to be close to relatives while he’s away. It’s unclear if Epstein can re-engage the Dodgers in trade talks. They backed away over the weekend, unwilling to meet the Cubs’ demands for a player they might have only for the rest of this season, and that led to the agreement with the Braves. This could become quite a mess, especially given how happy the Cubs were to have agreed to a deal bringing right-hander Randall Delgado from the Braves.”

UPDATE 3: Mark Bowman, who broke the original story about the trade, writes that Dempster has not yet officially rejected the trade, but that the Braves are losing some confidence that he’ll ultimately approve the deal. And then Bowman started writing about other Braves options, like Zack Greinke, and I got very sad. I also got sad when he mentioned that the Braves deal also included “at least” one more minor league player coming to the Cubs.

UPDATE 4: A source tells Jayson Stark that the status of Cubs/Braves/Dempster should be resolved “shortly,” and the Cubs have stayed in contact with the Dodgers and Braves throughout this process. Tim Brown adds that the Cubs anticipated this possibility, and stayed in touch with the Dodgers about Dempster (and Garza) yesterday.

UPDATE 5: Remember Kevin Goldstein’s comment yesterday that a source told him there is a 24-hour moratorium on 10/5 players approving these trades. So, if the trade was agreed to around this time yesterday, we might be hearing VERY soon.

UPDATE 6: Doug Padilla says Ryan Dempster has arrived in the Cubs’ clubhouse, and adds this: “Deal w Braves looks to be dying on the vine.”

UPDATE 7 (at 3:19pm CT): Dempster has finally spoken with the media, which quotes you can track from the beat guys on Twitter. He said he’s weighing his options, and plans on starting tomorrow for the Cubs. When asked if it’s 100% certain he starts tomorrow for the Cubs, he said that is his “mindset.” He wishes he had more options (translation: wishes a Dodgers deal was on the table), and he might take as much as a week to weigh the decision with his family. He wasn’t blindsided by the deal – the Cubs kept him informed. He was blindsided by the fact that the deal leaked to the media before he had a chance to decide. Dempster says he hasn’t made any decisions (in other words, he’s not formally blocking a trade to the Braves yet).

UPDATE 8 (at 3:22pm CT): Are the Cubs really going to let Dempster start tomorrow? I understand if Demp wants his time to think things over, but, since the world already knows he wants to go to the Dodgers, and only *might* go to the Braves, there is NOTHING to be gained by starting him tomorrow. There is only something to lose.

UPDATE 9 (at 3:26pm CT): This tweet from Paul Sullivan stings: “Demp: Decision ‘gets harder when something that wasn’t supposed to become public knowledge becomes public knowledge.'” And he’s right – if you don’t see why, just read the comments for all the anger and vitriol. Unrelatedly, and, as I suspected, Dempster is open to an extension, but isn’t asking for one as part of the process.

UPDATE 10 (at 3:30pm CT): I respect Dempster’s right to take his time making a decision, but the longer this drags out, it just hurts the Cubs in so many ways. Maybe the Braves decide to move on. Maybe teams want to wait on making a Garza offer until they know what’s happening with Dempster. Maybe the market shifts strongly downward as more teams start selling. Maybe Dempster gets hurt. This isn’t a worst case scenario quite yet, but this is just going horribly for the Cubs.

UPDATE 11 (at 3:43pm CT): Dempster can say he might take this decision up to the deadline, but that won’t happen – the Braves will pull the offer long before then, because they’ve got to figure out what they’re going to do. The Cubs probably can’t wait that long, either. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here: the Cubs lined up a deal with the Braves after talks with the Dodgers fell through. It wasn’t final, and it wasn’t going to be announced. The Cubs were going to take it to Dempster, and Dempster was going to say, “well, can you try to get a deal to the Dodgers first?” And the Cubs would go to the Dodgers and try to beat the Delgado offer, or at least get a comparable deal (fat chance without Zach Lee – and fat chance on Zach Lee). But, since the story broke, Dempster and the Cubs were both put in a crappy spot. Dempster now looks like a bad guy, and the Cubs have no leverage with the Dodgers.

UPDATE 12 (at 3:54pm CT): Dave O’Brien (Atlanta Journal Constitution) says the Braves are looking at other options while they wait on Dempster. We knew that would happen. He adds that the deal is neither officially nor unofficially off the table quite yet, though.

UPDATE 13 (at 4:18pm CT): Just great. From Mark Bowman: “Dempster’s decision to wait has led a number of teams to call the Braves today about their top pitching prospects. Teams seemed to have gained interest once they saw Braves might be willing to go for it all this year by dealing one of these prospects.”

UPDATE 14 (at 4:39pm CT): Jon Heyman says the Cubs have, indeed, re-engaged the Dodgers in trade talks. I doubt they ever really stopped. For now, the only leverage the Cubs have with the Dodgers – assuming Dempster isn’t open to going to Atlanta while L.A. is still in the picture – is by saying, “you don’t step up your offer, and we’re fully prepared to keep him, make him a ‘qualifying offer’ ($12.5 million) after the season, and try and get a draft pick.”

UPDATE 15 (at 5:08pm CT): Braves’ GM Frank Wren made some comments to the media, including saying that it’s not a good thing that this deal got out (blame your own front office, dude), and the Braves still have scouts all over the country scouting other pitchers. They’d like to acquire a pitcher before the break. For now, the deal for Dempster is not dead, and is in Dempster’s hands. Wren added that, even if word of the deal hadn’t gotten out, Dempster was still going to need time to think it over (per my earlier explanation, I take that to mean: Dempster was going to need a little time to ask the Cubs to try and make one last push to deal him to the Dodgers).

UPDATE 16 (at 5:54pm CT): Interesting comments from Chipper Jones, via Dave O’Brien: “People have got to want to come here. But it’s not over. I’m sure that when you’ve been in one spot for a really long time, being traded is a big adjustment, and there’s more than just the business of baseball at hand. You’ve earned the right as a 10-and-5 guy to pick and choose where you go. And family becomes a big part of the decision-making process. The fact that we’re in the Southeast and we train in Florida, all that stuff is a factor. So, bottom line is Ryan is going to make the best decision for him and his family. And if decides that he doesn’t want to come here, then that’s just something that we’re going to have to deal with and move on. These trades just don’t happen overnight. There’s days and days and weeks and weeks of communication between the two sides to try and get something done by a specific deadline. We were led to believe that this could happen, which is why we put the effort into it. Now it seems like that might not be the case. It puts Frank in a tough spot, but that’s why they pay Frank the big bucks. He’s got to have Plan B through D. I’m sure that if Ryan decides to stay in Chicago or go someplace else, Frank will have something on the back burner.”

UPDATE 17 (at 7:52pm CT): You’ll have to forgive me. The last two days have been a bit frustrating for me (though I’m not complaining!), so I had to step away for a bit to play some tennis. I’m blacked out from tonight’s game anyway. In any event, Jon Morosi tweeted earlier that “Source says there are ways for Dodgers to get Ryan Dempster from Cubs without surrendering Zach Lee.” You’ll forgive me for hoping that isn’t true, but, without much leverage, it sure could be. Also, BN’er Jim is at the game tonight, and he says Dempster hasn’t been in the dugout. Anyone else seeing that? It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and, at most, might mean only that Dempster has been having conversations that require him not to be in the dugout.

  • Ben

    I would rather take the qualifying offer pick than two Dodger fringe pitching prospects or whatever the f the offer is going to be now

  • Jesse

    Cubs are going to ethier get screwed or not trade him at all.

  • calicubsfan007

    Look, I like Demp a ton, but he can not come out of this looking like a good guy unless he agrees to go to the Braves and asap. He says that he is willing to go wherever the Cubs send him (as long as it is a contender) in order for the Cubs to get the best possible return. I am pretty sure the Braves are contenders this year and the return from them is better than what the Dodgers could throw together. It just looks like Demp is screwing the Cubs over by waiting and saying that he would rather go to the Dodgers. I like Demp and wish all the best for him and his family and I do feel bad that the deal was announced before he was ready, but come on!

  • JennyDempster

    I hope he gets shingles.

    • calicubsfan007

      Jenny: Awww…. Don’t wish shingles onto anyone. It sucks and it hurts.

      • JennyDempster


        • stillmisskennyhubbs

          Karma, Jenny….

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    (UPDATE 17) in a unrelated matter, soriano vetos a trade that would have sent bryce harper and other prospects to the cubs for soliano and ryan dempster who had already told the local media that he would go to any contender and especialy if it would help the club.when rumor of this trde came in dempster got pissed off and decided he would rather go someplace else and that he was taking his ball and his left fielder home with him…and stuck his tongue out at reporters.

  • MikeL


    The Brewers broadcast keeps showing Braves scout Jim Fergosi in the stands scouting Grienke…who is consistently hitting 95 and above on the radar……which means not only did Dumpster screw the cubs out of prospects by rejecting the trade, but Randall Delgado and crew might end with a division rival. WAY TO GO, DEMP!!!

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Sounds bad, but I will turn real bitter on Demp if he doesn accept. 10-5 bullshit idc, the cubs show faith in him, and has made him very rich over last half decade

    • BeyondFukudome

      Doesn’t sound bad at all. Sounds like you’re a serious Cubs fan. Don’t let all these smug goody-goodies get inside your head, man.

  • BeyondFukudome

    Strangely enough, I suspect that the Braves already realize that Greinke is better than Dempster.

  • Brian Peters

    Eff Demp and his family, Brett. He said he’d be willing to go to Atlanta. The Cubs obliged, and Demp turncoated them. I hope he rips his rotary cuff like tomorrow.

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Nice sentiment…..I’m sure that with all your powers, he’s done.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Demp will get paid after the season most likely. He will only have to be in atlanta for 2 months and has a chance to win it all!!! I dont feel bad for him at all!!!!! He makes a boat load of money. I’m suppose to feel bad that his family has to take a extra couple hours 1st class plane ride to atlanta instead LA. Cry me a river Dempster

  • Carew

    I dont blame Demp at all. I blame the braves and media

    • dudeski


    • Andrew

      You don’t blame dempster at all? What you smoking? He goes and says he will not get in the way of a trade to a contender then cubs pull a trade off and demp goes and blocks it. What an ass. Hell yes he’s to blame all respect for him down the toilet

      • nkniacc13

        He hasn’t blocked anything he just hasn’t approved it either.

        • Carew

          Exactly. He still hasnt blocked it. And apparently I’m smokin the good stuff. Care to join Andrew?

          • Whiteflag

            I’ll kick back and relax with you. We can talk about how life will go on even if this trade doesn’t go through.

  • Njriv

    If he goes to the Dodgers and Lee, Reed or Webster aren’t involved I’d be hella pissed.

    • BeyondFukudome

      If the front office accepts a lesser deal from the Dodgers, I’ll be fed up with this organization.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    It’s starting to sound like Dempster will go to the Dodgers without Lee in the mix. That leads me to believe that Webster & Reed are involved, maybe more. Is that an enough of a return, in your opinion, Brett?

  • BeyondFukudome

    Yea, the Braves and the media made him insist on holding out for an offer from LA. Try again.

  • art

    he wants to say good-bye to the Chicago fans Friday, get his semi ovation then he’ll approve the trade. problem is the Braves will have moved on by then.

    • BeyondFukudome

      He’ll be lucky if he doesn’t have to listen to his “semi-ovation” through a security cordon.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    In other words, what LA prospects appease the angry Cubs fans?

    • BeyondFukudome

      Webster would absolutely have to be included in any acceptable deal that did not include Lee – along with at least one other high-ceiling prospect.

  • Gcheezpuff

    I’d be suprised if the Cubs dont trade Demp to the Dodgers tonight, Demp will get his way as there is no way he starts for the Cubs tomorrow. In the end, the FO will have no choice to settle for a lesser package from LA. With the uncertainty of Garza, I’d bet a Maholm trade comes quick as well.

  • Andrew

    Way to look like a freaking prick dempster. Prepare to be booed tomorrow

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      I’m with you, Whiteflag. “This too shall pass.”

  • pfk

    Sorry folks…but this falls on Theo and Dempster’s shoulders. Obviously they weren’t on the same page or Theo wouldn’t have gone down such a serious road with Atlanta. Either that or Dempster changed his mind after giving a clear indication to Theo he would be OK in going to Atlanta. Say what you want about all the pundits, tweets and posts…those are just the result of bad communication between Theo and Dempster. I respect Dempster’s right to have a say in the matter, but whatever he told or lead Theo to believe wasn’t clear. If he was that iffy on Atlanta, Theo would have treated the Dodgers differently.

    • Gcheezpuff

      Maybe LA called Demp’s agent and said we want him but Theo’s demands are too high. Maybe Demp was pissed Theo never brought the deal to him. At any rate, it is 2 months… Demp needs to suck it up, trades are part of baseball.

      • nkniacc13

        I read where the cubs kinda liked a LAD deal but that Atl deal blew away what was offered by the dodgers. this will be interesting to see where he goes and what he brings back in a deal with all this going on.

        • Gcheezpuff

          I am guessing theo is doing what he can to expand the trade, maybe add players/prospects so Zach Lee is included… Just so they appear to get market value for Demp… Multi team interest Leverage was lost so this should be a good test of his negotiation skills.

  • Dustin S

    Morosi – Source says there are ways for #Dodgers to get Ryan Dempster from #Cubs without surrendering Zach Lee. https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/227911112274878464

    Gee ya think now lol? I want a job as a sports reporter. Some are great, but some are just funny…

  • nkniacc13

    Im really wondering who else gets traded now after this whole mess. I figured there would be atleast 6 off the 25 man roster but now im not sure they will trade more than 2 or 3 players

  • jimi lives on

    last season we thought they were planning a fire sale but all they unloaded was fukudome. we waited all season for this week and its gona suck…big time..

    • nkniacc13

      I don’t know Id feel better on a fire sale if Johnson, Hamels and Grenkie weren’t also avaliable.

  • nkniacc13

    Anyone think now if Demp goes to LA that LaHair or someone else goes with him?

  • Jonski

    Dempster was given a job in mlb baseball when most people would have just passed he is at the very least a high ego piece of shit! The Cubs need to get what they can from Dodgers and move on.

    • BeyondFukudome

      Why let the high ego piece of shit get his own way by accepting a crap deal from the Dodgers? Make him spend the rest of the season losing in Chicago and hope that Cubs fans make his life so miserable that he pitches like garbage, trashes his own free agent value, and helps us get the number one draft pick.

  • nkniacc13

    I gotta believe that by tomorrows start time he will either be traded to Atl or he will reject that deal.

    • spearman

      I’m afraid he has to be gone before friday!

  • ThereWillBeCubs

    Wow… the jerk store called… 600+ times

    • EB

      Lol what’s the difference you’re their best seller.. Love that show

  • Gcheezpuff

    I wonder if the pirates FO is calling Theo about Maholm tonight just so they don’t have to face him again.

  • Cheryl

    Rather than have a problem beyond this the cubs wil try and just get rid of him as fast as possible. The result won’t be very good but he’ll not be the cubs problem anymore.

  • jimi lives on

    funny how everyone loved dempster for yrs until 24 hrs ago. thats the nature of sports. same for lebron and pujols. ITS A DANG BUSINESS YO!

    • BeyondFukudome

      Part of the business is that fans cheer players who help their team and boo players who hurt their team. Dempster is now hurting the Cubs and business is business…

      • jimi lives on


  • JP

    Wow Paul M has made the pirates at this point sorry they didn’t resign him I bet. That dude has been lights lately.