Atlanta Braves’ GM on Dempster: “We Have Moved On” (UPDATES: But Says Deal isn’t Dead?)

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

549 responses to “Atlanta Braves’ GM on Dempster: “We Have Moved On” (UPDATES: But Says Deal isn’t Dead?)”

  1. CubsWon08

    Looks like Demp truly is very worried about not being viewed as the bad guy as he did not reject the deal he just did not accept “Not my fault I was deciding”. This is stupid, the FO would not have gone as far as agreeing on a trade with Atlanta without preliminary approval from him, then when reality hits he shows true colors. I would not trade him unless we get what we want.

    Seems like we are dealing with a spoiled child!!!

    1. ColoCubFan

      My view of Dempster exactly! WAAAH! If he didn’t want to go to Atlanta, he shouldn’t have listed them as an OK place to go!

    2. Ajbearsfan

      Why dumpster why? *shakes head*

  2. Curt

    Thanks Ryan,what a douchebag, last time I take a player at his word obviously it’s worth much.

  3. kluv

    dumpster is a prick.

  4. Matt

    I’m in line with the thoughts of many others; if Dempster was really only willing to go to L.A. and nowhere else, he should’ve said as much.

    Instead, he postured about helping the Cubs’ long term, purportedly giving them a list of teams that were acceptable destinations and so forth.

    Bad call. He dug his own PR grave on this one.

    1. Pat

      Maybe the front office asked him to say he’d go anywhere, even if it wasn’t true, in order to get more teams involved and hopefully drive up the price.

      1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        If that is why they said and they didn’t think he would go to Atlanta why waste their time? Why if it was only ever LA did we never hear about a mystery team to get more for him from LA? Just saying, there is nothing out of everything that happened that ever shows he was saying from the beginning he would only go to LA.

  5. Barry

    This is typical Cubs bullshit. Where was the due diligence by the Cubs brass? Did they really expect ATL to sit around and wait for Dempster to decide he didn’t want to play there anyway? I look forward to watching Lilly and Dempster give each other hand jobs on the Dodger bench. Hope the Braves win the WS!

    1. George Cotugno

      Barry,

      I really think the Cubs organization did everything in their power to make sure the Braves were an adequate landing spot for Dempster. Unfortunately this is all on Dempster, like it or not, he earned this right. The fact that he reportedly misled the Cubs organization is the pill that is hard to swallow here. I feel the same way about this, the return from Atlanta was top notch, sucks that it’s off the table now.

      1. Barry

        Apparently, he was less than candid with Jedstein. He should have said THEN that he wanted to go to the Dodgers…or wherever. Eamus Catuli!

        1. George Cotugno

          I totally agree. That’s the one thing I can’t really get past, I understand he has rights, but he also has the right not to be a dick, he doesn’t seem to be excorsizing that right.

    2. David

      Seriously? You’d wanna watch that?

  6. ramon

    Oh well! We still have Dempster. If he stays all year we get a draft pick. Theo will draft a pitcher. Another piece in the pipeline. Garza stays, too. He’s under control anyway. Re- up Maholm. Next year you have Garza, Maholm, Samardzija, and Wood. Not bad of a rotation. You’re still young, draft more pitchers, keep building, keep getting better, and hopefully win 85 games next year for the 2nd wild card.

    1. ColoCubFan

      The only way to get a draft pick is to offer arbitration and have him reject it. I’m not sure he would, in fact he’d probably accept it!

      1. Grant

        It’s not arbitration anymore. It’s making a qualifying offer, which, based on current salaries, is approximately $12.5 million for 1 year. There’s a chance he doesn’t accept that and we get a pick between the first and second rounds, or we get another year of a guy that most cubs fans don’t want to have anything to do with right now.

      2. Jack Weiland

        And then we could do this all again next year! Yay!

    2. czechxican

      Are you completely lost Ramon? Keeping either will net us crap, because THIS is where you have leverage, not in the winter

      1. ramon

        Czechxican, that’s a cool name! No, I’m not lost. I just believe that the cubs lost all their leverage after this fiasco. IMO.

  7. Cub Fan Dan

    Why are are constantly screwed as a fan base? I mean even when things go right, they go wrong. (make playoffs 07-08 — 0 wins, have 3 tradeable pitchers — trade none)

    I see Dempster throwing his back out today & Delgado on the 2015-2022 all star teams…

  8. d-seg

    If he pitches again in chicago this year, I hope he gets booed off the mound in the 1st inning. If he had 2 years, or even 1 year left on his deal i could understand him weighing his options because of his family. But we’re talking about 2 1/2 months, with 50% of that on the road anyways. I was once a fan of his, now I’m not.

  9. Evan

    I just don’t get it. Even dating back to when Theo had the highly publicized meeting with Dempster that they eventually conceded that it was about him waiving his no trade clause, Dempster said he would waive it if it was in the best interest of the cubs. Even when it came out that L.A. was his 1st choice Atlanata was his 2nd it was still widely believed that he would do what was best for the cubs. Jed worked his ass off to get an amzaing deal and also send you to a team that you said you would waive your no trade clasue to. What else do you want? Now we have to go back to he dodgers with no leverage and accept a trade below the value of Delgado. I just don’t get how it went from I’ll do whats best for the cubs to I still do whats best but i would like to go to L.A. or Atlanta to now I just want L..A.

  10. George Cotugno

    Remember when everyone thought that Dempster would pretty much say okay to anywhere because it would help out the Cubs and he could play for a chance to be a winner? That was a fun time.

    1. Evan

      It’s either all the highly regarded writers and columnists and their sources were wrong when it came to Dempster, or he just can’t keep his word. It he didn’t want to go he should just said so the cubs coulda used that offer as leverage now he has shown everyone that he wants to go to L.A. Cubs have no leverage.

      1. George Cotugno

        The fact that the Cubs not only negotiated with Atlanta, but had a deal agreed to tells me everything I need to know about what Dempster told the Cubs. I would think that the Cubs wouldn’t go anywhere near Atlanta if they didn’t think Dempster was okay with going there.

  11. deej34

    I have loved dempster. I understand with 10/5 he has earned the right to veto. But he is totally screwing the cubs over. And I get that LA was his #1 choice, because of how close it is to Vancouver and he’s thinking of his family.. but there are TWO months left in the season!! Is it really THAT big of a deal?!! Can you family not be alone for summer break??

    And the cubs got a GREAT deal in Atlanta.. his number 2 pick of a place to be traded!! What more do you want dempster!?! If Delgado turns out to be great I will be irate.

    Never thought I’d say this… but I am on the verge of not caring if demp comes back next year.

  12. BD

    The only way this can all work out is:

    Dempster goes to LA
    Greinke goes to ATL
    Josh Johnson goes to BOS
    and LAA and TEX (and their prospects!) are left fighting over Garza

    Right?

  13. Carew

    well shit

  14. Patrick G

    MLBtraderumors mentions the Rangers are high on Josh Johnson and willing to part with Mike Olt for him. Not sure, but why would you want him over Garza? I know Garza is hurt NOW, but he is pretty consistent and has usually been pretty healthy throughout his career. Johnson has 1 200+ IP seasons in his career always being hurt.

    1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Well, any move the Rangers make is to win THIS year. There are no guarentees Garza is 100% healthy until he proves otherwise. I don’t see how this doesn’t make sense for the Rangers at this point?

  15. Fastball

    Makes me wonder if Dempster and Theoyer were ever on the same page on any of this!! It seems to be playing out like they may not have communicated as much as everyone thinks they have. Maybe Dempster doesn’t like the fact that Theo never offered him an extension in Chicago which is where he really wants to be. So he just decided to give Theo the High Hard One!!! Meaning Up Your JoBoo… Wouldn’t be the first time that a player didn’t necessarily like a GM and just wasn’t public about it. There is more to this than we are hearing!!

    1. David

      If, and I don’t think this is the case, TheoJed are partially to blame for this who f-up, I expect to hear them step up and admit so once it’s all over. Actually, unless they’re completely furious with Dempster, I’m half expecting them to take some of the blame anyway, just to take some of the heat off of him. Right now, the court of fan opinion is killing Dempster, and I agree with that. But if the FO is at all at fault, they need to step up and say as much.

  16. MaxM1908

    Ryan is dead to me. For all the apologists out there saying “wait and see” and “cut the guy some slack,” now is the time to face the facts that Dempster screwed us. Big time. He lied to us. He misled the front office. He acted like a prima donna when the time came to do the right thing. He may use his family as an excuse, but a real man would have been upfront about that from the beginning…with the front office AND the fans. He acted like a grade A chickensh*t, and I’ll never forgive him for it. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Dempster.

  17. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    Very concerned Dempster takes the mound today and gets absolutely shelled. Would be terrible but at least it would be some vindication for the anti-climatic hoopla Cubs fans have been put through. Why can every other team make successful trade yet the Cubs make it look like amateur hour…

  18. LouCub

    I hope Dempster doesn’t take the hill today or ever again for the Cubs….He’s a selfish prick multimillionaire who lied about “doing what’s best for the Cubs”…If he had multiple years remaining like someone suggested, he’s in the right…with 2.5 months of a season left and a chance to go far with the Atl a class organization he’s a tool..Screw him, his buddy Ted Lilly , Ned Coletti, Magic Johnson and all of the LA Dodgers..I hope they sink like a boulder in the lake!!!!

  19. dabynsky

    Fair or unfair, unless the Cubs get something good for Dempster, his legacy is costing the Cubs Randall Delgado.

    1. MikeL

      I would say that is fair only if Delgado reaches his potential. We might get to be reminded of Dumpster’s legacy constantly as Delgado might get traded to the Brewers.

      1. EQ76

        Yeah, and we’re all sort of expecting for Delgado to dominate us as a Brewer for the next half decade.

  20. Matt

    It certainly appears that Dempster has screwed the cubs.

    If that turns out to be the case then I say every start he makes from here on out features the absolute worst line-up possible.

    Might as well go for the worst record and take any leverage Dempster may have had in the off-season with it.

  21. czechxican

    Well Dempster backers, defend him.

    1. Leroy K.

      wedon’t know the whole story—despite all the sources. I am not defending him—but not bashing him either.

      1. czechxican

        are you kidding me.
        1. He listed the Braves as his #2 team.
        2. If he didn’t want to go there, then he shouldn’t have listed them.
        3. He publicly said weeks ago, he would help the Cubs in the return.
        4. Doing so, has pissed off 2 teams (and their fans)
        5. He says “No Trade, don’t know where this information came from!” — it came from social media Ryan—the same medium you’ve decided to participate in when you said we’ll be “the first to know”.

        What else is there to know? How can you NOT bash him?

        1. Leroy K.

          So you have talked to Ryan Dempster/Theo/Jed personally and know that Atlanta was his #2 team?

          That’s right, I’m jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon ;)

  22. @cubsfantroy

    It is Dempsters choice. Has no one else here ever changed their mind? If he don’t want to go, he don’t want to go.

    1. George Cotugno

      agreed, BUT if he really did tell the Cubs that Atlanta would be an acceptible destination then backed out once a deal was in place that really paints him in an unfavorable light. But I guess he is allowed to do that, just not a very popular decision that’s all.

    2. MikeL

      I am really getting sick and tired of the Dumpster defenders saying, “He can change he is mind!!!! He was a mediocre pitcher!!! But I love him!!! He was my favorite Cub!!! Leeeeeaaaavvvveeee Ryan Dempster ALONE!!! *sobs*”

      Ok….so what if I told you that by not trading Ryan Dempster for a top prospect or two it will take another year or two before the Cubs are competitive. But hey, thank GOD we kept Ryan Dempster…..because he is a nice guy and all……

      ……and some Cubs fans wonder why we haven’t won a world series in 103 years…..

      1. Leroy K.

        Come on you know Theo isn’t thinking like that. And he and Jed are the one who are making the decisions. This argument doesn’t work for the 103 year sentence.

        HOWEVER I hope that Jed and Theo are doing everything in their power to do this deal, but their hands are pretty tied IF it’s true that Dempster ONLY wants to go to LA. That is dumb.

        , If I said hey I am leaving the Army and I was really wanted by the other branches, if I said I only want to go to the Air Force, the Air Force isn’t going to pay me as much because they don’t have to barter against some of the other teams for leverage.

      2. @cubsfantroy

        I’m getting really sick of people who all of a sudden hate Dempster and are calling him selfish because he doesn’t want to go to Atlanta. I’m not defending him or throwing him under the hate bus. He has earned his 10/5 rights, plain and simple.

        All of you haters are calling supporters crybabies and Dempster a crybaby, yet you are the ones who are crying more than anyone about this whole thing.

  23. HeyChicagoWhatyaSay

    I wish he didn’t have 10/5 so we could trade him to the Astros for punishment…

  24. Matty

    Dempster should definitely not pitch today. If Theo can’t get what he deems appropriate from the Dodgers, just hold on to D-bag, I mean Dempster. If that happens, I would put Dempster on a 115 pitch MINIMUM limit for the rest of the year. Good luck getting a good contract as a free agent this winter. Don’t let the door hit your *ss on the way out!

  25. George Cotugno

    I really think the original plan here was to never have this information become public. We weren’t supposed to know about any Dempster saying no to anything. But it’s out there, I guess not every team wants everyone to think that Dempster is who he wants everyone to think he is. Cubs did everything they could to make Dempster look like a good guy, accepting a deal “anywhere to help the Cubs” when in reality he might have said no to three deals already before accepting one to the Dodgers. Braves let it slip, maybe because they were tired of sitting around waiting.

  26. Patrick W.

    I cannot find it in me to be upset at Ryan Dempster. I just don’t get it all. I can’t make assumptions based on rumors of what he said or didn’t say.

  27. Jack Weiland

    The clearest implication of this trade not going through, to me, is now Randall Delgado is virtually guaranteed to end up being a legit ML #1 and shoves it at the Cubs for the next 15 years. I don’t see any way in which that doesn’t happen now.

    1. bbmoney

      haha. Oh, if only I didn’t believe that will now happen.

  28. WNebCub

    So what are you saying Brett? that public knowledge of this factored into dempster’s decision? Seems like maybe he’s just butt hurt from a) realizing cubs fan love the cubs more than they love him and b) sitting up on his high horse.

    of course he can use his 10/5 rights anyway he’s sees fit. but unless our FO is filled with bafoons, which it isn’t, then he mislead the FO completely. he says Cubs kept him in the loop the entire time yet the whole time they were doing that he was lying to them about being willing to go to a contender and that ATL was an acceptable landing spot. I think this move while totally within his rights, which no one is denying him, reeks of arrogance.

    Maybe we should all have gone to twitter, facebook, and the message boards and cried because we were losing him. that would have made him feel good i guess.

    totally mislead FO.

    And if this going public had anything to do with it then it’s a joke. that’s just his easy way out. should have been more honest with Theo.

    please no more Harry impressions Dempster. ever.

    and if somehow he ends up going to atlanta and we get delgado i’ll erase all my tweets this morning.

    1. Pat

      How do you know what he said to the front office? You know what was reported. Is that the extent of the discussions? I doubt it.

  29. JB88

    My opinion of Dempster has truly plummeted in the last 48 hours. From a guy who seemed to bleed Cubbie blue to the point that he’d accept just about any good deal to help the club to a guy whose public comments run quite contrary to his public acts.

    Very disappointing and probably another reason why athletes should probably just STFU when it comes to discussing these sort of things with the media.

  30. johnbres2

    boy, an awful lot of ink was spilled and time wasted on something that did not even happen!