Atlanta Braves’ GM Frank Wren was on the radio this morning, and his message changed dramatically from last evening’s “we’re ready to wait on Ryan Dempster” line.

Now, he says, it’s time to move on.

“We’re not going to be painted into a corner,” the GM said on an Atlanta radio station this morning. “We have moved on.” Wren added that it is “highly unlikely” that the Braves will now acquire Dempster, and said that the parameters of the deal the two sides had in place “expired yesterday.”

Leverage grab? Maybe. But, either way, this is terrible news for the Cubs. Your hopes for Randall Delgado – which, just two days ago seemed like an expectation, not a hope – have probably been dashed. Wren doesn’t flip flop his statements so completely in the span of 15 hours unless he received new information.

It was unfair to expect the Braves to wait too much longer on Dempster, and even if the story hadn’t broken on Monday, this is how it might have played out. It seems Dempster does not want to go to Atlanta, for whatever reason.

This will probably become the home to many more updates as we approach Dempster’s scheduled start today (he’s in the lineup, as of right now).

UPDATE 1 (at 8:39am CT): This is just my own thought, not a substantive update. What I can’t understand, and what I hope we’ll soon find out: if Dempster didn’t want to go to Atlanta, and he was kept in the loop on everything, why in the world did the Cubs go to the trouble of not only negotiating, but finalizing a deal with the Braves? The narrative that has made the most sense to date is that Dempster was willing to go to Atlanta if the Cubs couldn’t work something out with the Dodgers, and he asked for a delay in accepting the Braves trade so that the Cubs could go back to the Dodger well one more time. The only way that narrative is now true (and it’s just about the only narrative that paints Dempster in a favorable light right now) is if a *good* trade with the Dodgers is immediately forthcoming. The overnight Hanley Ramirez/Nate Eovaldi trade suggests that’s possible, but Dempster is still in the starting lineup for the Cubs.

UPDATE 2 (at 9:06am CT): As you reflect on the above, think on these quotes from Dempster to the media before last night’s game: “It makes it harder when something that wasn’t supposed to be public knowledge becomes public knowledge, especially before I even knew it was public knowledge. That’s when it gets harder is when you get everybody’s opinions of what is going on and it really isn’t what was going on or what took place. You don’t really get to focus your full attention on what you’re trying to do you have to focus on everybody’s perception of what is going on.”

UPDATE 3 (at 9:25am CT): From Buster Olney: “The Dodgers are feelingly increasingly confident they can work out a deal for Dempster, because CHC don’t have many alternatives. We’ll see.” As far as we now know, the Cubs’ *only* alternative is to keep Dempster through the deadline, and then make him a qualifying offer ($12.5 million) after the season, hoping he rejects, and they can get a draft pick after the first round. Randall Delgado, that is not.

UPDATE 4 (at 9:30am CT): Here are the more complete quotes from Frank Wren, thanks to Doug Padilla: “I think it’s very highly unlikely. We put parameters on the deal that expired [Tuesday]. We were moving on from the time we heard that there was the potential of another club being really where he wanted to go. And he had a lot of personal reasons for that. We haven’t stopped pursuing other pitchers. We’ve had scouts in ballparks seeing everyone. It’s one of those bumps in the road but at the same time we put parameters on it that expired yesterday so we’ve moved on.” In other words, from Wren’s perspective, Dempster didn’t want to be in Atlanta for personal reasons, and the Braves didn’t want to keep waiting on a guy who didn’t really want to be there.

UPDATE 5 (at 9:45am CT): A lot of fan anger toward Dempster is based on the idea that Dempster has previously said that he would go wherever the Cubs could get the best offer. I’m not sure that’s exactly what he said, though he did allude to it. The statements came from an early June radio interview, which I wrote about here. Here’s the relevant quote: “I don’t know what direction they want to go, I don’t know any of those answers. Whatever it ends up being [i.e., if it’s a trade] I’ll have to take a look at it and see what’s the best for me, best for the Cubs and I respect that and I understand that. Hopefully I’m here, but if not it’s somewhere that can ultimately give them the best opportunity to improve the Cubs for the future. I believe I’m a part of that and trying to help us for the future and help us for the present as well.” So, did he really say that he would go wherever the Cubs could get the best offer? Not exactly. But close. I guess he did also add this in a separate interview with Paul Sullivan: “Any one of us is susceptible to being traded. For me, it’s a little different because I have the right to say ‘no.’ … Obviously I want to do what’s best for this organization. They’ve done nothing but right by me.” Hmm.

UPDATE 6 (at 10:21am CT): Wren just backtracked on his backtrack ever so slightly, saying that the deal isn’t dead, and the Braves haven’t ruled out a Dempster deal. It’s just very unlikely. We do know that some “parameters expired” yesterday, which I’m still going to assume is Randall Delgado.

UPDATE 7 (at 10:32am CT): Buster Olney and Jim Bowden report that the Cubs now plan to keep Dempster through the deadline (and try to get a pick after the season) unless offers improve. To me, that sounds like a desperate intentional leak to get the best possible offer before Dempster’s start today.

UPDATE 8 (at 10:54am CT): Jon Morosi says a Dempster deal with the Dodgers isn’t dead, but a source tells him the Cubs are frustrated after losing leverage. Source? Yeah, that source would be everyone who’s been paying attention.

UPDATE 9 (at 11:02am CT): George Ofman, who’s been ahead of a lot of this stuff, says this: “Stuff is very fluid. Minute by minute. Braves deal not completely dead.”

UPDATE 10 (at 11:31am CT): Interesting. Buster Olney reports that the Cubs are still hoping Dempster changes his mind on the Atlanta deal. Is it still available, then? He adds that the Cubs hope that decision comes quickly, though, because the Braves are still looking elsewhere.

UPDATE 11 (at 11:34am CT): Len and Bob just did their pre-game thing without any mention of Dempster not making his start today. It’s almost like they were avoiding it intentionally (all Bob said was that Demp had some distractions to work with).

UPDATE 12 (at 11:43am CT): Here we go. Ryan Dempster is actually starting this game. I am incredulous.

UPDATE 13 (at 1:25pm CT): Through six innings, Dempster’s given up three runs, but one was on a cheapy solo homer down the line. He allowed just five hits, no walks, and struck out six. That’s actually a pretty great start. He was pretty pissed after that sixth inning, though, where he gave up the lead with two outs. He shoved a water cooler and chucked something against the wall.

UPDATE 14 (at 1:53pm CT): To be clear: the “meltdown” that you’re going to hear a ton about from the media was all kinds of nothing. He shoved a cooler, and threw a cup at the wall. That’s it. He wasn’t out of control, he didn’t endanger himself or others. It was the kind of thing that happens ALL THE TIME in dugouts. I’m a media defender, but other folks – especially those who weren’t actually watching – blow this up to more than it was, I’m going to be displeased.

  • EQ76


  • Martin

    Screw Ryan Dempster. If you didn’t want to go to The Braves, you has plenty of time to say so.

  • EQ76

    I really wonder what the reception would be for Dempster if this game was at Wrigley tonight.

    • Pat

      I imagine you’d have a bunch of fools booing a guy with the best ERA in the league

      • bt

        Because ERA is the only criteria for adoration?

  • AD

    And nearly all of our leverage is gone. At this point we have to weigh our options as to whether we should just keep him at this point in time.

  • JoeyCollins

    WTF… There goes all of my hope that this would still work out today or tomorrow

  • Ben in Nebraska

    Well, thanks for showing us your true colors Ryan, they’re obviously not Cubbie Blue! That’s all fine and dandy that he’s got his 10/5 rights and that he used them after insisting he’d do what he could to help the Cubs. I don’t like it, I don’t respect it either. The guy just hamstrung the front office after they’d done all they could to keep him in the loop. He had indicated he’d play in Atlanta and then backpeddled and acted like the whole notion that he was going to get traded was a surprise. This flat out sucks, I hope you get shelled today.

  • cjdubbya

    Interesting to see how Houston’s systematically traded off seemingly all of its significant assets, whereas the Cubs have dealt with nothing but headaches. Still a touch under a week to go before the trade deadline, but I’m hoping like stink that the FO is simply doing its due diligence. Trying to remain patient.

  • Jack Weiland


  • Mitch

    There is no reason Dempster needed to drag this out. Either veto right away or accept. He has known this was a possibility for a while and should have been prepared. The Cubs might end up getting very little in return this year with Dempster leverage gone, Garza hurt…Sad

  • Cerambam


  • A B

    ugh, stabbing feeling in the gut…

  • Doug

    Well that news sure gives the Dodgers leverage. Thanks for letting everyone know you are no longer interested in Dempster Mr. Wren. You guys screwed the Cubs twice within 48 hours with your big mouths.

  • Ben

    It’s sad how this went down, but now most of the blame has to fall on Dempster. It was his right, but if he didn’t want to go to the Braves, just say it. I don’t think Theo/Jed would have pursued a deal with Atlanta unless Ryan gave them the go ahead. Now we have to hope the HanRam trade gets LA to up their offer to all in. That’s all we have left at this point, and even then, I doubt the return will equal what Atlanta was offering.

    • TonyP

      Why didn’t the FO know where Dempster would accept a trade to before hand (If he only would accept a trade to the Dodgers then they should have gotten the best they could and move on). The FO is full of dumb asses or Dempster is a liar. Which is it???????????????

      • Jack Weiland

        We’ll never know the answer to that question.

      • MikeL

        Uhm….no. I highly doubt that would’ve traded him to just any old place knowing that he might likely decline it. Rumors were that Dumpster had said that he would be willing to approve a trade to Atlanta. What I think happened is that the Cubs asked Atlanta to give Dumpster a couple of days and Atlanta leaked the details of the trade to gage where Dumpster was at that point in time. Once they realized that Dumpster was whiny and being a drama queen and didn’t want to go, they pulled out…..Atlanta simply didn’t want to wait.

  • HeyChicagoWhatyaSay

    Anyone else seeing the similarities between Dwight Howard and Ryan Dempster right now? Basically giving their team a “My destination or I’m not going anywhere” ultimatum. C’mon Demp you gotta give us at least two options here.

  • Kyle

    There it is. See this is why Dempster went from loved to public enemy number 1. I understand that he had the right to reject a trade but the way he went about it was so wrong. He said he wouldn’t mind going to Atlanta. He wanted to help the cubs. However all along he just wanted to go to the dodgers. He is a liar. If he wanted to reject a trade that’s fine, but don’t lie and say you are going help when in reality you have just made things so much worse for the cubs. That’s the problem I have with this whole thing.

  • Smitty

    I was fully supportive of Dempster yesterday, but this is garbage. If he told the FO that he would be OK with them exploring a trade to Atlanta, then he should already been OK with making the move. He shouldn’t of had to think about it.
    It doesn’t matter that the other side leaked the deal. This decision making is totally contrary to what he has been saying to the press this entire year about helping the Cubs get the best value.

    Very disappointed in Dempster. It will be hard to root for him moving forward.

  • Wester

    Maybe the FO knew he wouldn’t accept to the braves, but the braves offered Delgado, so they leaked it themselves. It’s out there, but everyone knows they don’t leak anything, and it would say to other teams that he’s worth Randall Delgado…like I said, out there…

    • rhino70

      The first reports on this came out of Atlanta, not Chicago. Their writer broke the story from his sources.

      • Pat

        Oh right. Because its only possible to leak to the writers for your team. Forgot about that.

  • SouthernCub

    Obviously we don’t know all the details, it does seem that Dempster had enough time and info to tell the Cubs front office that he didn’t want/ wouldn’t go to the Braves before the deal got that far along.

  • Rob

    Long time reader, first time poster. First website I read in the morning and last one I read at night. Well done Brett.

    I wonder if the conversation went something like this.
    Dempster ” I’d love to help out the Cubs assuming you make promises you will resign me next year”
    Thoyer “We can’t make that kind of promise”
    Dempster “I’m suddenly not so concerned about helping the Cubs”

  • Dick pole

    Its possi le there is a sleeper suiter out there for Demp.

  • Mdel78

    Thanks for the update. I’m certainly disappointed, I’m just not sure if that should be directed toward Atlanta or Dempster. Maybe Demp was open to Atlanta, but when they leaked the deal before he knew he decided that he didn’t want to be pressured by them. Maybe they leaked the deal because Demp said he would only approve to LA.

    At the end of the day I’m a Cubs fan first and foremost, and hope that they can still turn this situation into a positive for the organization long term.

  • AD

    When you make $14 million in a season and you can’t get on a plane and go to Atlanta for ten weeks. Whether you respect the decision or not, this certainly does not look good.

  • Other JP

    Brett – based on Update 1 (love the time tag), if you are right, I’d expect we would hear about a deal in the next couple hours (as I assume Demp will run squealing through the halls of Wrigley Field after IMMEDIATELY approving the trade.


    Otherwise, we lose leverage with each passing minute.

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  • 2much2say

    Dempster has never been tested for his loyalty before. This is all about the business.
    For 2-3 months of play on a winning team he should have taken the offer. The fact is
    long term he would sign with LA so why postpone the inevitable. Bottom line Dempster
    is a selfish person and has no concern for the fate of the Cubs.

  • rbreeze

    I think there are more customers out there! But certainly this doesn’t help the Cubs in any trade negotiations over the next week. Theo and Jed are dealing with the old regimes children. They jump hit a speed bump. Hendry raised them and gave them more than a lot of teams may have. And know Dempster is the next spoiled child that says No I don’t want to go there! I want to stay here and lose with you guys!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kyle

    Also, what’s to be gained from starting him today? I can only see it hurting

  • Tom

    Brett – how much is going to cost for you to start your marathon blogging now? Seems like all the trades are happening this week – I fear your going to be awake for 30 hrs next week with nothing to talk about :)

  • dob2812

    The worst thing is that this whole little episode has made perfectly clear how fans are from players and how misguided we all are in thinking everyone is in this together. Sure, I know I’m cheering for laundry but I don’t to be reminded of the fact like this. Ryan Dempster is doing what is best for Ryan Dempster and he is of course entirely entitled to do so. He has no loyalty to the Cubs. He has no interest in helping the Cubs. He is loyal to himself and his family. And so he should be. That’s normal. Unfortunately, fans and media and I dunno, I guess human nature, have created a situation where guys like him have to say they care and they’re interested and it’s not all about the money and it’s not all just for me. That’s our fault, more than it is Ryan Dempster’s. It’s just seriously lame to see it exposed as the sham it is in such a public manner. It makes me wish I didn’t care and wonder why I do. Seriously lame.

    Of course the answer to that is it’s just baseball. But I don’t want to think about that right now.

  • Chef Brian

    The only thing Dempster has earned right now is all the anger and ire of Cub’s fans everywhere. He is a fraud and an absolute jerk.