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.

  • quintz

    My wife and kids are kinda annoying, but I’d for sure do what’s best for me.

  • florida Al

    ef dumpster…he knew atl was in the picture….and he was willing to go there..hes turned this whole thing into “all about him” when he was saying all year as long as its best for the team…blow me dumpster youre a drama queen…

  • florida Al

    he should be thankful for the cubs to take ce on himafter he lew out his arm and th cubs wee the only team willing to offer him a contract…

    • Jeff1969


    • Failblog.org

      then he shouldnt have said anything. Lost all my respect. he had 100 games sitting on the bench to “weigh his options”. Incredible. Everyone talks the talk, but never walks the walk. If I was Theo, I’d say screw you Ryan and send his ass down to A ball as a pitching coach. Peoria sounds a hell of a lot more fun than Atlanta, right Ryan?

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    Does dempster realize that he is not the only one the cubs want to move? Does he realize he might be holding up other moves?

  • gratefulled

    These trade talks are almost as worn out as Dumpster’s Harry Carey impersonation.

  • quintz

    So had Dempster not said anything at all about being traded and just vetoed the trade, none of you would have a problem with him?

    Maybe the lesson here is that if you are one of these 10-5 guys, you should never comment on future trade scenarios. Just veto and everyone will be cool, even if it screws them out of a good deal.

    • BeyondFukudome

      If the player does not indicate to the front office that he’s willing to consider a trade, then there would never be any negotiations, and hence nothing to veto, Brainiac.

      • nkniacc13

        what about the Carlos Lee deal?

  • Spencer

    So, I’m not gonna read 500 comments to catch up, but what’s the consensus? Dempster is evil and terrible for not accepting a trade? Or that its his right to decide?

    • TWC

      Consensus? Here?

    • josh2

      Yes everyone now hates Dempster. Feels lke being in a room full of Phliadelphia fans. sad

      • BeyondFukudome

        Somebody pass me a cheesesteak!

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

    5:34pm: The Dodgers are holding out on including pitching prospect Zach Lee in a potential Dempster trade, sources tell Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).

    Like I said its Atlanta or nothing!

    • BeyondFukudome

      If the Dodgers weren’t willing to trade Lee for Dempster a couple days ago, why would it be different now? Because Dempster says he’d rather to go to LA? Well guess what, Ryan. Your chosen team doesn’t think you’re good enough to make a worthwhile offer.

  • nkniacc13

    This may work for the Cubs as they can say to Demp we tried to get a deal done with LA but they didn’t come close to matching ATL.

  • cubsin

    Dempster, in his public, team-first persona, said he’d accept a trade to a contender, and named L.A. as his first choice and Atlanta as his second choice. Whether he expected L.A. to make a better offer or Atlanta to make an inferior offer isn’t relevant. He lied to the Front Office and the fans.

    He has every right, as a 10/5 player, to reject this trade. But he has forever lost the respect of this fan.

    • josh2

      I didn’t know he publicly named atlanta as a 2nd choice. I heard speculation that it was his 2nd but I wouldnt call him a liar based on media rumors. imho

      • Whiteflag

        ^ exactly, we don’t know anything for sure.

  • nkniacc13

    He hasn’t rejected the trade yet

  • Brian Peters

    If I were Theo, I’d bench Dempster for the rest of the season, disallowing him to compete on this level. Dempster deserves to be horse whipped.

    • Failblog.org

      now this is too much

    • quintz

      Whipping leaves marks, which could hurt his trade value (what with the physical and all). Nothing less than water boarding during off days until he agrees to waive no trade clause.

  • nkniacc13

    The interesting thing is has this hurt his chances of coming back to Chicago this offseason if he wanted to?

  • Justin

    @BleacherNation Being that this is Ryan Dempster’s probably last year to get a decent contract, couldnt the Cubs push him a little bit and threaten to nontender him for the 12 1/2 million next year.  With the new CBA rules anyone that would sign Dempster after being non-tendered the following year would have to give up a draft pick.  

    • Pat

      Incorrect. They would have to offer him the qualifying offer and have him turn it down to be eligible for a pick. No offer, no pick.

  • scorecardpaul

    I love the fact that for this article your picture is of Dempster sitting next to Zambranooooo
    nice to still see humor on a down day!!

  • Roy Hobbs

    Brian Peters is my new favorite person.

    I was wondering who would ring the “bench, and horse whip” bell, thanks for being the guy dude!!

    Haha, horse whip his ass, haha, I seriously can’t stop laughing.

    U da man Brian!!

    • Bric

      Agreed. These comments about horse whipping him and boycotting dinner at his house are gold. And some of the commenters haven’t even started drinking yet. It’s gotta get better.

  • MightyBear

    Dempster sucks.

  • MightyBear

    I’m with you. Horse whip him. (I don’t know what that means but it sounds wicked.)

    • BeyondFukudome

      Hard to find somebody big enough to swing the horse…

    • Bric

      The term comes from the U.S. Congress. Back in the olden days when a senator wouldn’t vote with the party, the guy they called the “Senate Whip” would whip him.

      • BeyondFukudome

        I think not. “Horse whip” comes from the act of whipping someone with the whip you use on your horse. D’oh.

        • Bric

          It’s a reference to a Seinfeld episode. But unfortunately in these days of The Twitter and The Facebook, such shows don’t get watched much anymore. Double d’oh!

          • BeyondFukudome

            Yadda yadda yadda :)

            • Bric

              Well played, sir.

  • MichCubFan

    The FO is not thinking about this ordeal as the fans on here are. Fans are reactionary and their emotions cloud their judgment. The FO is used to making tough decisions like what they are dealing with going into this trade deadline. They are not going to punish Dempster or make him look bad….That would make us look very bad in the future for players we go after.

    • BeyondFukudome

      Yes, it’s the fans’ job to punish him, not the team’s. And I’m confident they’ll be up to the task.

      • Pat

        Yes, shitting on your better players on their way out of town is a great way to attract free agents.

        • BeyondFukudome

          Yes, when free agents get offered 20 million per year, what they’re really worried about is finding a city where the fans don’t act like fans.

          • Pat

            When that city already has prehistoric facilities and a (deserved or not) reputation for racism? I’d say it factors into the decision.

  • Patrick G

    That chipper comment is quite interesting

  • Chris Sanchez

    Who’s a better pitching prospect delgado or lee ? ?

    • dudeski

      lee has a little more upside but delgado is safer, but at this point it doesn’t matter. the cubs couldn’t lee when they had leverage a week ago and won’t get him now that they have none

  • Atfinch

    I understand everyone’s frustration, but he hasn’t said yes or no yet it sounds like. He’s earned the 10&5 rights. We still have 7 days before deadline, lots and lots can still happen.

    • BeyondFukudome

      Yea, that’s 7 days in which the Braves will find a different deal and the Cubs FO will waste all their time reacting to Dempster’s bullshit instead of working on trading other players.

      • Pat

        If the front office can’t concentrate on more then one trade at a time, we have far bigger problems than the return for Dempster.

        • Austin

          Pat they can but when you try and trade 2 players like that it will hurt the trade possibilities and will lead to less teams talking about the players to help bring their value up.

          • Pat

            Absolutely. But if these guys aren’t prepared for plans B, C, D and E they should be sent back to Boston. If they need to trade Dempster first in order to make things work then they aren’t very good at their jobs. Might the total return be less, sure.

            They didn’t make Dempster’s life any easier by making him say the trade was not finalized, instead of taking the initiative themselves. Why is he supposed to make their lives easier by immediately agreeing to whatever trade they propose?

  • Bender

    I dont see how Dempster can come back to the team after this. Had he simply stated from the beginning that he wouldnt waive the no-trade, it all would be a minor footnote, but he publicly put out there that he was open to helping the team. Im disapointed, and may just give up on foollowing the big club until they call up Jackson or Vitters.

  • nkniacc13

    just curious if they hadn’t named Delgado as one of the players coming back and it had been 2 class a or AA pitchers with no 3 celings as starters would all you be this upset that hes taking his time and hasn’t approved or rejected a deal?

    • dudeski

      if the cubs were getting pitchers with little upside, we’d all be angry if he approved the trade

      • MikeL

        Of course we would….but the cubs aren’t getting pitchers back with little upside in this trade….that’s the difference….

        • dudeski

          i know. i found the question to be kind of odd. of course we’re upset that he’s preventing us from getting a possible #3

  • hchinaski

    the braves have pulled delgado off the table and any trade for dempster will have to be re-negotiated from scratch. dempster has completely de-fanged the cubs front office. good luck getting any real prospects now.

    • Carew

      Fact or speculation

  • hchinaski

    am watching the braves vs. marlins game. pre game wren says that they are now listening to other offers. link (scroll down to dempster news)http://capitolavenueclub.com/

    • Whiteflag

      Didn’t read anything about the deal being off the table…read if a deal gets done (unlikely) will still involve Delgado. This sucks, but its the life of a cubs fan.

  • Bric

    Mr. (or Ms.) hchinaski, how dare you introduce a reasonable assertion into this unruly mob website? I say good day to sir. No need to respond, I said GOOD DAY!

  • curt

    if he was going 2 play the family card,why onearth would he let the cubs do all this work to set up a trade then decide oh now i dont want to play there, say it from the start that atlanta wasnt a place hed go , way 2 screw the cubs dempster, please do not let him make his start tomorrow he doesent need to make it nothing good can come of it for the cubs, bench him until he decides what hes willing 2 accept. nows when you earn yr cash ,theo and jed.

    • Pat

      So you think the player’s association would be ok with benching a player because he turned down a trade that he had every right to turn down?

      • Failblog.org

        we can say that he had a cramp in his tricep

      • Bender

        Im not saying that I agree with the original idea, but as long as he’s getting paid, isnt that all the MLBPA cares about?

        • dudeski

          benching him would lower his FA value, among other things

          • dudeski

            not to mention benching him over this and not doing anything about it would make 10-5 rights/NTC completely useless as teams can threaten benching you to get the deal they want

  • Chris Sanchez

    The brewers would like to trade aramis ramirez for zach lee , If the cubs trade ryan dempster to the dodgers they better get lee

  • nkniacc13

    And now you have Miami who would like LAD to become involved in a hanley deal