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.

  • WNebCub

    he’ll probably sign with ATL in the offseason.

  • Fastball

    Maybe our FO is to blame? Just throwing it out there. As a long time business leader and father of 6 between 21 and 30 you wonder where the miscommunications took place. As a Dad I have selective hearing so I am told. As a business leader I deal with more personalities than the pope. I’m thinking the communication up and down the corporate ladder isn’t what it’s thought to be. How often is Sr. Management actually listening to the employee’s. The Cubs are a business and it is being lead by a somewhat cocky couple of guys who appear to know it all. Maybe something got lost in translation along the way. Or some big assumptions were made that shouldn’t have been. If Dempster played Theo and Jed. Theo and Jed need to have Dempsters ass in the office for a sit down and read the dude the riot act. A good ole professional ass chewing and put him in his place real fast. I have been told this is one of my strengths :) … If they don’t have the balls to do it… There are a bunch of ways to F*ck with a dude who isn’t following the plan. I would hold his ass back from the trade market. I wouldn’t start him again the rest of this season. Yep I would bench his ass… You don’t want to cooperate then sit your ass on the bench and be miserable for the rest of the summer. How’s that help your FA market this off season. Every GM in the business is going to know you are on the black list. Good luck finding a job. Then I offer him the amount that is required right at the penny to stay and I tell him that if he excepts it he will continue to sit on the bench all next year and I don’t have any problem with it. I would put him on the 60 day DL and file an insurance claim with Lloyds and get my salary back. While I am f-ing with him on a daily basis to the point he starts losing his mind. He will eventually quit or take a trade to the Houston Astro’s just so he can get the hell out of town. One last thing you could do to him that might help him make up his mind real quick. Tell him he has to hand out free hats to everyone who comes to the next home stand. Deal with all our pissed off Fans when they show up. We would sell out Wrigley at standing room capacity because everyone will want to say Up Yours Dempster when they get there free hat. LOL…

    • WNebCub

      Free hat day wrigley sponsored by KY Jelly!

      • WNebCub

        edit:@ wrigley

    • JoeyCollins

      As soon as the cubs tried any of that shit the MLBPA would step in and the cubs would get smacked for it. Then if all of this did seem to have any affect on his ability to get a contract the PA would claim collusion.

    • Noah

      You can’t treat MLB ballplayers like the employees at the McDonald’s franchise you own and/or manage (and based on the way you say you treat your employees, that’s the only place you could get away with that.)

  • DRock

    I love Dempster, but he is screwing the Cubs right now…

  • Aaron

    This may have been said before – tough to say with there being thousands of comments made to the site in the last couple days – but Dempster made a comment about how this is made harder when things that aren’t supposed to be made public are.

    This is more true than we think. We made no secret that we wanted to move Dempster. Dempster made no secret that he would waive his no-trade rights to a contender, and revealed his preferences. Someone leaked out the confirmed deal to Atlanta before Dempster could officially (I’m assuming that he has to actually sign a document to waive his 10-5 rights legally) ok it.

    Because of all this, we’re now to the point where the Cubs have virtually no leverage that we know of.

    However, I just want to make the case that Dempster for ANY top pitching prospect from a respectable system is something we should be happy about. Before this year, he was just another contract waiting to expire. He’s being generous enough to even entertain a trade at all, and we should be happy about that.

    Now, would we prefer Delgado? Yes. But I think we should be happy to get anything.

  • Beer Baron

    I still think if they aren’t getting what they want – and as of now I can’t see how they will since the Dodgers know they don’t have to out-bid anyone – then keep him and offer him arbitration for next year. What is the down side – it would be approx $12million, which is actually a slight pay cut from this year, and if he keeps pitching like this he seems worth every penny. Then he will have to decide if he wants to stay here or go after that one last multi-year deal…my guess is he goes for the money, and we’ll get a draft pick. Worst case, he signs for 1 year and we can try to trade him again next July. Actually, that’s second worse case – worst case is being forced to trade him to LA and getting nothing.

    • WNebCub

      i think the worst case is happening now: we look like the cubs once again! hopefully Theo and Jed can pull one out of the hat.

  • JulioZuleta

    What a disappointment. Dempster absolutely lost a fan in mr and I know many others too. I’m pretty bummed that this is how its going to end.

  • mak

    Been trying very hard to not jump on Dempster (if you’ve ever met him, even just for a minute, you’d understand why), to see both sides of this. But its very difficult to understand why he’d put Theo in the position to make this trade (by putting Atlanta #2 on his list, supposedly and letting it be generally known he wouldn’t stand in the way of a trade). No need for ad-hominem attacks or name calling, but its extremely difficult to defend Dempster’s actions on this one.

    • MikeL

      Seems to me that Dempster is pretty fake. He puts on a good show in public, but he is showing his true colors now. This isn’t just about Dempster declining a trade….this is Dempster screwing up the entire organization by saying, “I am going to wait until the last minute on the last day of the trading deadline because I am Ryan Dempster and because I can.” So that what does is that it puts all other potential trades that the Cubs on hold because Dempster is effectively manipulating the market. This is why Cubs fans are pissed.

  • WNebCub

    and why does dempster “have to focus on everyone’s perception of what is going on”? just curious how his comments have anything to do with accepting a trade to atl or not…it doesn’t add up. clearly he was sitting in his hotel room reading the message boards, twitter and facebook to see the reaction. the pro athletes are more vain than anyone could ever imagine.

  • JB88

    I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, at this point, if I were the Cubs, I’d probably just keep Dempster, give him a QO and tell him to reject it or we’ll sit his ass the entire year and force him into retirement, and get the supplemental pick. That is, unless the Dodgers grossly overpay, which I suppose is still a possibility, though a fleeting one.

    • Beer Baron

      I agree – except with the part about threatening him and forcing his retirement…that is a bit over the top. But the guy leads the majors in ERA – he’ll get a 3 year deal from someone this off season, and it will be his last real contract of his career. No way he passes on that to sign the Cubs 1 year qualifying offer. So if the Dodgers offer isn’t close to a comp pick in value, then the Cubs have to pass.

  • Ben in Nebraska

    Of course LA is confident. Why wouldn’t they be? I’m sure they’re equally confident that they can get him for a song as well since Dempster, the “team first guy” decided to hamstring the franchise by pulling this #*%& on Theo & Co.
    The thing that I continue not to understand is how the guy can have a list, can put Atlanta on the list, has known since April he’d be traded and when the whole thing goes down and Theo makes his best deal to the #2 frickin team on his stupid list he starts backpeddling and acting like this whole situation is new to him. Screw you Dempster.

  • BeyondFukudome

    “It makes it harder when the fact that you’re an arrogant, selfish asshole becomes public knowledge.”

  • Robbo

    If ATL was Dempster’s 2nd choice and he declined a trade there, I guess LA is the ONLY place he will accept a trade? I’m sure Cubs FO will have great leverage in those discussions. Son of a….

  • BeyondFukudome

    So now the Cubs are supposed to trade this POS to LA for a bunch of crap that will never make any significant difference to the Cubs so that he can spend two months joking around in the dugout with Ted Lilly? F that nonsense. Send his aging ass to the bullpen and bring up some young arms from the farm. They’ll get experience and the Cubs will get the #1 draft pick, which they now need more than ever.

    • Wester

      Which young arms from the farm would you prefer to see?

  • A B

    Obsessive follower of this thread update:

    I feel like a teenager watching a Justin Bieber twitter rumor or something.

    My wife just said “Maybe you should consider being a Nationals fan”? Ouch! :-)

    • Carew

      Whoa whoa dont show teens in such a negative light. Only the really, really stupid ones follow that chick.

  • BD

    Theo should tell Demp he’s stuck on a loser this year, and then get his comp pick. Get another young pitcher who’s better than what the Dodgers are offering.

    • bbmoney

      In a perfect world that would be awesome. But, Demp might accept a qualifying offer and the Cubs might not want to risk that. And who’s to say there is a pitcher available in the draft (pick in the 40-50 range) better than what the Dodgers are offering. If they really are offering their 2nd best pitching prospect (still top 100 to most), I doubt it.

  • BeyondFukudome

    There isn’t going to be any compensation pick because the Cubs aren’t going to make this guy a qualifying offer. He’d take the offer and the Cubs would be left paying a big salary for a 36-year-old mediocrity who has no role in their long-term plans.

    • Pat

      If the front office is dumb enough to not offer a qualifying offer, then there are bigger issues than where Dempster will accept a trade.

  • Curt

    wtf happened to getting the best deal for the cubs and atl was on the list mr.dempster explain this please and even if atl wasn’t yr 1st choice it was only fr a couple months geez.

  • DP

    Maybe we can still get Delgado. ATL being linked to Garza at all? If Garza pitches well Monday in his return proving he is healthy. Delgado and Teheran for Garza??

  • Jim

    I was in the “leave Dempster alone” camp. But looking at it, what do the Cubs owe him really? The Cubs are the team that picked him up off the scrap heap, gave him a chance to reinvent himself twice, and paid him handsomely the entire time. He may be a nice guy, but please don’t act like the Cubs owe him anything.

    • Pat

      And the guys who did that are gone. Who does he owe allegence to, the fans? Based on how they are reacting here without knowing the full story?

      • GovernorQuinn

        I hereby declare today “All Dempster Apologists Can Go F Themselves Day” in the State of Illinois.

  • BeyondFukudome

    Can’t wait until today’s game starts. Hope the Pirates beat Dump like a red-headed stepchild.

  • MC2

    Read back thru the thread and who really looks like cry babies? The guy has 10/5 rights if any of you slop hogs had tenure in your jobs and all of a sudden the company wanted to move you to Pluto you may not want to go either, it’s his choice!!!! Delgado is a prospect he may not even work out, it was far more of a return than anyone anticipated for Dempster to begin with. If Delgado is projected that high what’s the hurry in Atlanta to dump him?? Atlanta in not that desperate especially the way Sheets has been throwing. 4 months ago the Majority of you were saying, “I hope we don’t get rid of Dempster and Garza, I really like them”, Now Dempster’s a bum, boo him, trade him to Houston! You’re CUBS FANS! We’ve put up with a lot worse crap over the years and you’re whining about this? How bout Neffie Perez leading off when he should have been riding pine, constant 1 yr. deals to players like Grace who end up going elsewhere to win? I’m ashamed some of you call yourselves Cubs Fans today. Dempster has played every role this team has asked him, been good for the club and the city, yet you turn on him like a pack of rabid dogs over 1 minor league prospect… …Think about it FELLOW CUBS FANS!

    • The Pubic LaHairs

      If you want to be traded to a contender, which I believe Dempster does, you’ve got to accept that you might not end up going to your first choice. Giving the Cubs FO only one option isn’t very respectable. Make you out to look like Dwight Howard.

  • czechxican

    Sucks to be Theo and Jed now. Part of me hopes they ‘sabotage’ a Dodger deal to spite, and Demp stays right here, all year long, with the Cubs at the bottom.

    • Wester

      If you’re saying that to spite dempster, keep in mind that he probably doesn’t mind being on the cubs the rest of the year.

      • BD

        Yeah, but no chance at the WS that way.

      • Matt

        His numbers are NOT going to improve.

        His value is as high as it’s going to go.

        If his numbers tank drastically then he’s costing himself money on his next contract.

        If he won’t agree to a deal that gets us a solid prospect, then we’re going to go for the worst record (at his expense) and get the best draft picks we can.

        • czechxican

          exactly right. Demp wants to go to LA, but that just may not happen. It’s how it works Demp, sometimes we just don’t get what we want. Especially, after you’ve pissed off 2 teams in 48 hours.

  • Spriggs

    Theo and Jed,
    Welcome to Cubdome. Great, isn’t it?

  • say it aint so ryan

    when we signed Maholm did anyone believe he would lead us in wins? or that Demp would be pitching well enough to net us a Delgado or that type player? Man this year has been a miserable one for us the on field product has been lack luster and then we cant get this trade done because of demp holding out for a better offer. what a joke.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    The Dodgers have been garbage for the last month or so, and that fast start is a distant memory. Dempster choosing to go there shows that he cares more about sitting beside TRL in the dugout than he does about a ring.

    I bet that if he starts today, the Pirates pound the shit out of him, decreasing his value that much more.

  • say it aint so

    have we cubs fans not suffered enough. it was bad enough that Cardinals have won 2 WS recently now i have to listen to the Cardinal fans at the office that we cant even complete a trade…….why oh why

  • CM

    There’s a movie quote that goes something like “you guys turned an Easter egg hunt into a butt-f&@k-a-thon”. Seems rather appropriate here, what a disaster this has become. I love the fact that every expert said a Dempster trade would open the flood gates to the trade market, when in fact, a non Dempster trade did it. I’d say the chances of re signing Dempster to a “team friendly” deal have taken quite a turn for the worse.

    • RY34

      did we really expect anything less from the cubs? new FO or not, we are still the cubs. all the buzz about trading demp, garza, maholm, soto, soriano and most of went to hell in a hand basket in about 24 hours. typical!

  • BD

    “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.”

    Brett reposted his story on Demp, which included the above quote. I know it doesn’t say anything about Atlanta or whatever, but to me blocking this trade doesn’t jive with that quote.

  • Fastball

    I was with you until about an hour ago when I changed my mind. Not sure about this but an Dempster be put on waivers? Does he still have 10-5 rights if we put him on waivers and somebody claims him and we negotiate a trade that way. I don’t know what the rules are if he is put on waivers. Then he can be claimed by the first eligible team on the list. He could end up pitching for the Toledo Mudhens LOL.

    • Pat

      He can be put on waivers. He would still have 10 and 5 rights as long as he is a Cub, so he could still block a trade.

    • Brett

      Players retain their 10/5 rights on waivers. If a team claims him, my understanding is he can block that as well.

      But we’re getting very far afield here. That’s not going to happen.

  • Fastball

    I was with you until about an hour ago when I changed my mind. Not sure about this but can Dempster be put on waivers? Does he still have 10-5 rights if we put him on waivers and somebody claims him and we negotiate a trade that way. I don’t know what the rules are if he is put on waivers. Then he can be claimed by the first eligible team on the list. He could end up pitching for the Toledo Mudhens LOL.