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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.

  • Fastball

    This site has turned into what pro sports daily used to be like. People are way over reacting. Tjis trade to LA or Atlanta doesnt make the Cubs a contender. The return probably isnt even an upgrade over.Dempster. he will be traded its just going take few more days. This isnt the Babe

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s one day, and it’s a pretty extreme story. The reactions – even though I don’t agree with many of them – are understandable.

      • Sandberg

        And this response is a perfect example of why you are able to run the best sports website on the internet.

        • calicubsfan007

          Hey Sandberg, got a little something on your nose there… Just Kidding, Brett is an awesome dude.

          • Sandberg

            I’ll brown nose Brett at any time. And that’s not just because he beat me in bags.

            • calicubsfan007

              You are an alright dude Sandberg. Good to see a good sense of humor and a good sport.

              • Sandberg

                As all Cubs fans know, you have to have a good sense of humor to survive. :)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Thanks, Sandberg. Always a good guy.

  • Josh

    Ok Ryan. You said either trade me to the Dodgers or Braves. We traded yo to the Braves. We just lost all leverage. Make up your mind or I will start calling you Brett Favre or Dwight Howard

    • Scotti

      It is very possible Ryan Dempster told Theo that he would ONLY accept a trade to the Dodgers and that Theo intended to use a deal with Atlanta to get the best that he could from LA (i.e. Theo intended to merely use ATL all along). ATL putting this out there certainly put a wrench in any plans (and could very well have been planed by Wren to try to smoke out the ferret).

      Regardless, all indications are that Dempster has been open with Theo. How is this in any way his fault. As ALL parties agree A) this would have taken time regardless of it getting out into the media and B) Dempster did not put it out there.

  • mooks

    Ryan Dempster really cannot win here. No matter what he does he either screws himself, or the Cubs..Thing is we are not privy to the discussions that go on behind closed doors with Jed,Theo and Ryan..Maybe Ryan feels betrayed a little..maybe he knows more about what is really going on than we do. Maybe he realized that he made a blanket statement about what he would do for the team with an understanding of what they could do for him. We can do nothing but speculate but I think it is weak for people to trash him like they are. I am disappointed that the deal with Atlanta may not get through. I am not excited at all about L.A. and that includes Zach Lee. In the end Dempster is likable and he tries hard and cares which is a lot more than I can say for a great many Dbag that has worn Cubbie Blue..Even some of the “greats”. I HOPE Demp goes to Atlanta then gets a nice contract somewhere else next year because I can’t see any reason for the Cubs to bring him back if rebuilding with youth and for him to even want to come back with the way some people talk about the guy. I don’t know him..and I don’t claim him to be a saint..or even much above average..but I think he is a CUB..He’s the kind of player I like to root for. I’m sure people will take shots at me but I don’t care. I’m just giving MY opinion.

  • Fastball

    Any player headed to Chicago might be hating life if he reads these sites LOL.

    • DarthHater

      Right, because this is totally different than the way fans react to such situations in other cities. Gimme a break.

  • FiveFifty550

    Only Ronnie knows what tomorrow will bring…..

  • steve

    The trade don’t make us contenders, but it does give us a solid piece to put into the rotation & grow with. I don’t think we can win cause dempster has put us into a bad spot with this stuff. No way LA ups their offer, & its quite possible atl goes elsewhere. We end up with a far lesser return, & that’s BS. I like Demp, but he has to man up & do what he said he’d do for this team. The garza deal will happen but the injury will hinder our return.

  • Kevin

    Players who have 5 & 10 rights, in which they need to approve a potential trade should sign a. letter of intent stating they will accept a trade to teams A, B & C. If they don’t want to be traded they are under no obligation to agree to any trade and not required to sign any letter of intent. This current situation, with Dempster, possibly really hurt the Cubs, unless Ryan has a change of heart and decides to sign with the Braves. We need to move forward to build up our farm system. I’m worried time is running out and the Cubs may have missed out on some golden opportunities to trade for prospects. I still have my fingers crossed everything works out.

  • thejackal

    THATS IT im calling my boy demp up……. bro u gtta get over to BN 2 defend ur self bro or ull be going down and mentioned as the name….. god should i dare say it….. BARTMAN

    • calicubsfan007

      OOOOOOOOO! Dude, don’t say the “B” word!! (=

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    Lolz

  • thejackal

    lmao ill get ran off here srry bro trust me i still have nght mares about B

    • calicubsfan007

      I will call the priests and get the holy water. “The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!” Wow, I am really using a ton of movie quotes today.

  • Josh

    If Dempster starts tomorrow he is dead to me

  • Cub Fan Dan

    via twitter

    @jonmorosi

    Sources believe #Cubs would consider a Ryan Dempster offer built around #Dodgers prospect Allen Webster.

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

      This just keeps getting more depressing. He’s obviously not going to Atlanta. I would keep him and get compensatory pick over a deal built around Allen Webster.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Webster is one Brett and I disagree on slightly. For me, Lee and Webster are 1 and 1.3 on my priority list. If the Cubs could land Webster and Reed, for example, I’d be perfectly happy.

      Although I’d rather have Delgado.

      • calicubsfan007

        Luke, what is the scouting report (shortened version) on Webster?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          He did not starting pitching consistently until after he was drafted by the Dodgers (he was drafted as a shortstop). He looked rough early, and as a result of having to learn how to pitch he spent two years in Rookie ball. Lately, however, he has had some of the best stuff in the Dodgers farm system. He is a great ground ball pitcher, is ridiculously stingy with the home runs, has the ability to pick up the strikeout when he needs it, and seems likely to be a workhorse on the mound. Some reports give him three plus pitches, and his change up apparently has the potential to be something special.

          Lee and Delgado both have the higher ceiling, but Webster is not a crappy consolation prize. He would be among the best pitching prospects in the Cubs system, and clearly the best in Double A or higher.

          • calicubsfan007

            I agree Luke, he sounds way better than what we have in our minors (excluding the guys just drafted, not fair to rate those guys yet).

      • yoga master

        Luke I’ll tell you what I’m happy about, Big z 19mm, Demp 14mm byrd 6.5mm Carlos 5mm done in 2012. The new FO knows what they are doing. If we can keep people like dempster and Cindy Sandberg away from the team we have a winner.

    • BeyondFukudome

      I’ve never been a huge fan of Lee, so a package built around Webster might be okay. But any deal with the Dodgers that does not include Lee or Webster would be a total sell-out.

    • The Show

      I wouldn’t mind Webster, Reed and O’Sullivan/Landry.

  • yoga master

    Dempster is a sissy. Kicked off his pee wee hockey team.

  • Jared

    I don’t think any of us knows Demp personally…I am probably mistaken, but I never saw his list of teams he would accept a trade too…ATL was prolly on it, but he might have had something along the lines of “(if it has to be)” written in an ink pen behind it??? I am all about the benefit of doubt, so that’s what he gets from me… Came in and said “yup, I’ll close”, followed that up with “sure, I can start”, played some seriously good ball for the team during some really REALLY bad times. I have nothing but love for Demp! It may not turn out the way we all want it to, but none of us have ever been in his shoes…we don’t know what kind of decision this is…

  • Joe N

    Just a thought… What if he just doesn’t want to get traded to a team that would leak a pending trade like that before it was done. I know that he’s a big boy and understands that stuff happens, it just could have rubbed him the wrong way, that’s all I’m saying. Also, I fully understand that I am probably wrong… just food for thought ( probably because I like him and don’t want him to be the bad guy in this, but that’s the way that I’m taking it until something firm is given on the reason ).

    • Sandberg

      This whole thing has played out so poorly for Dempster. He now looks like a prick when really this is the Braves’ fault. It’s difficult to look at the situation and think that they didn’t do this on purpose to force Dempster’s hand. Ahh well, only the Cubs.

  • yoga master

    I have to do a real job for a living, not play a game. Help me out here, go down to atlanta, pitch every 5th day for 3 months and get paid 5 million dollars.

    • calicubsfan007

      Do you teach yoga? I am curious, not being sarcastic or rude or anything. Sorry if I come off that way, just your title kind of would give my that impression.

      • yoga master

        How do you upload a pic?

        • calicubsfan007

          Brett might know. I am not too sure.

        • Spencer

          gravatar.com

      • yoga master

        Are you High calicubsfan007? Not being rude or sarcastic! Just kind of would give my impression.

        • calicubsfan007

          No. Sorry, I was just trying to have a conversation. I won’t ask you any more questions.

          • yoga master

            I’ve been hitting the refresh button every 5 minutes on the mlb trade rumors site for the last month, I’m such a loser. Sorry for venting big cat.

            • calicubsfan007

              Don’t worry about it. I understand. (=

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    MlBtraderumors is reporting the cubs want a Allen Webster center piece for dempster. Who is better Webster or Delgado????

  • MIkeL

    Delgado by a mile…

    • Njriv

      City or Country?

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    Is there any scenario where Maholm brings us Delgado from Atlanta?

    Delgado for Maholm and 1 or 2 of Barney (he could play SS)/Soriano/LaHair/Johnson/Baker

    Then Dempster for Webster/Eovaldi/ and one of Gould and Withrow

  • Ryan G

    F Dempster. If he doesn’t want to go to Atlanta then F him. I’m not giving him what he wants and trading him to LA unless Lee is in it. And even then I prefer Delgado.

  • Dustin S

    Looks like Webster’s ranked 95 currently in top 100 overall (66 last year if that tells you something), #2 in Dodgers system…he’s 22 and has had a setback year so far at AA. Fairly hard thrower and good slider, but needs work on the curve and change-up. Some good write-ups about him online if you look around. The more I read about him I cooled down a bit after initially reading it. I would feel a lot better with another decent prospect in the deal. He’s a higher risk/higher ceiling project kind of guy for sure than Delgado. Probably a year or 2 away imo, if he can figure things out. But considering the Cubs are bent over a barrel right now they could do much worse from the Dodgers.

    • Mike S

      Link to the updated Top 100 Prospects???

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

      If Reed or Eovaldii comes with then that would be a good deal for the Cubs.

    • Scotti

      Actually, his year has turned around for the better. He was sent to the pen to work on some things and has been back in their rotation for a while now and is lighting it up. IMHO, he’s got better stuff–and a higher ceiling–than either Delgado or Lee. He’s a higher risk guy, yes, but I like him more than Lee.

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    Is there any scenario where Maholm brings us Delgado from Atlanta?

    Delgado for Maholm and 1 or 2 of Barney (he could play SS)/Soriano/LaHair/Johnson/Baker

    Then Dempster for Webster/Eovaldi/ and one of Gould/Withrow. Or reed

  • Tony S

    This whole saga highlights for me why our FO tries to keep trade talks as inhouse as possible. Without the leak, we have a player with 10/5 rights, with a trade offer in front of him, who is considering his options which is perfectly reasonable. Sections of the fanbase wouldnt be foaming at the mouth based on rumours and guesses and RD could make his decision privately.
    I havent read any quotes from Dempster that he has definitely said ‘no’ to the Atlanta trade or that Atlanta has definitely taken Delgado off the table. It wouldnt surprise me if, after taking a day or two to think if over, Dempster ends up agreeing to that trade and it all goes through as planned.
    We as fans only ever get snippets of the whole story surrounding trades and it is unfortunate that this time, the leak happened causing everything to blow up before the process had been completed.
    Theo described the Cubs needing waves and waves of pitching so possibly missing out on Delgado (who is no sure thing anyway) is just a blip on the radar when considering the bigger picture. The FO has done a good job so far with the last draft, signing most of those they really wanted, getting Soler and also that latest international pitcher (whose name escapes me). Sure its disappointing if this deal falls through but there will be others.

  • Cheryl

    It’s time to call this discussion of Dempster a day. No good can come of it except we get more irritated at things beyond our control. Dempster has 10 and 5 rights, which most everyone acknowledges. So, he has a perfect right to do what he’s doing. I’m disappointed in what has happened but its better to try and focus on what the FO is attempting to accimplish overall rather than on Dempster, as hard as that is to do right now.

    • MichiganGoat

      Well said, I guess Hater be hating this too will pass.

      • calicubsfan007

        Ton of hating, but there were some cool people on here still.

  • Oswego chris

    Damn…it is almost the deadline…when is Hendry going to do something?
    Sorry, force of habit…

    • Jimmy james

      Hendry is buying….we are looking good, couple pieces and we are in this man

  • KWD22

    Dodgers just traded for Hanley Ramirez. Wonder if this takes them off the table for Dempster.

  • gutshot5820

    Dodgers just traded for Hanley Ramirez!

  • calicubsfan007

    Why do they need Ramirez? He isn’t really even that good these past two years!

    • calicubsfan007

      Sorry, meant “Has not”, not isnt.

  • thejackal

    ya but diff scenery might help himhe needed out of miami that place a messsss

  • thejackal

    no [rolly not maybe demp tho mike

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