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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.

  • DarthHater

    I feel a great disturbance in the Dark side of the Force… as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in bitter disappointment and rage. I sense that something wonderful has happened.

  • Fastball

    If I’m Ricketts I make Dempster hand out hats to every Cubs fan that comes through the front gate at the next home stand. Sorry about your luck Dumpster. It’s fan appreciation day….

  • RoughRiider

    I have no problem with Dempster using his 10 & 5 rights. The only thing that Dempster owes to the Cubs is going out and pitching to his ability and to being a good teammate. I believe he’s delivering on both counts. I would have no problem with the Cubs not trading Dempster and offering a quailifying offer. Signing for 1 year or not it’s a win win situation. I would have no problem with the Cub s not trading any of the starters. The only regular player I’d like to see them trade or dump somehow (but not for nothing) is Soriano. He’s playing well but I think this is his last hurrah. Maybe Houston would be a good fit as a DH for next year.

    • bbmoney

      I doubt Houston is all that concerned with picking up a bat for the next couple of years. Especially if they have to trade any kind of a reasonable prospect. They’re in much the same mode as the Cubs right now. Re-stocking the farm system which was already much worse than the Cubs.

    • Coolbeans

      Another person who likes the maybe we should run out the same team and see how it works AGAIN mentality

      • RoughRiider

        Wrong. We need an upgrade at third, catcher, outfield and pitching prospects. With Dempster, Garza & Maholm ( the three pitchers that have been mentioned in trades) there is a solid if not spectacular starting three). You don’t KNOW that you are going to get prospects in a trade that will deliver. I believe we have our own prospects that can deliver at Third and the Outfield. Third possibly as soon as next spring. I have no problem letting Dempster leaving for free agency and getting an extra pick, or signing fo another year. Garza is the type of pitcher you build a staff with. Maholm is the leading game winner and has been fairly consistent for a long time and is left handed. Teams win with pitching and defense. Trading away the quality pitchers you have for unproven pitchers is questionable. Notice I said the only regular player I would like to see them rid themselves of is Sorriano. I consider: Rizzo, Barney, Castro & DeJesus as the only “regular players” on the team. The rest are all part time players and any and all of them can go. As to my saying that Soriano might be a fit in Houston. Playing in Houston as a DH in the American League (assuming that the Cubs pay most of his paycheck ) he could put up huge numbers and be something of an attraction and a veteran presence on a team that doesn’t have much.

  • Eric

    One thing is probably for sure, I seriously doubt we resign Dempster in the off-season.

  • OlderStyle

    More wild mood swings for Cubs fans. I’m bummed the trade didn’t happen but he’s a classy guy and a very good pitcher for this org. If the deal hadn’t been leaked nobody would be hyperventilating. Cut him some slack, sheesh. The deadline hasn’t passed yet and they don’t HAVE to deal him.
    Remember how so many fans wanted to trade and re-sign him in offseason? Now the mob has torches and pitchforks wanting to run him out of town on a rail. If the fans turn on him the FO truly will lose all leverage in negotiating any value.

    • Nathan

      The fact is, he lied to the entire cubs organization. The cubs tried to send him to LA and work out a deal and didnt like the offer! They then, went to Dempster’s “second choice” and liked the offer, made a deal, and dempster all of sudden decided to change his minds. He would have been a 2 month rental and nothing else if he did not want to stay. Do not tell an organization you want to do what is best for them in the long run and then pull this crap.

      • Caleb

        Literally none of that is true. Read the related posts. Follow BN on twitter.

      • OlderStyle

        I don’t see it as his lying. He said he would what’s best for him and the org. If he meant himself first and then the org, I don’t see the betrayal that fans are reacting to, simply their interpretation being clouded by expectations being built up. Additionally, his personal/family situation may be more complicated than it was when he made those comments.

    • KyleJo

      The guy is backtracking on what he said he would do. It is ruining his credibility with Cubs fans and that is understandable. He said he’d do one thing, now he’s doing another and to the detriment of the team. Exactly the opposite of what he had previously claimed. Yes, there would be no outrage if it hadn’t got out, but guess what, it did.

    • Matthew Paulish

      I WAS WITH YOU UNTIL ABOUT 10 SECONDS AGO WHEN THIS HAPPENED….

      Braves move on from Dempster; Cubs prepared to take draft pick compensation if Dodgers don’t improve offer significantly for him

  • Keith Franson

    I am very disapointed in Dempster we as Cubs fans supported him in many ways even when he was blowing saves and walking batters I hope he gets booed next time he pitches in Chicago

  • Whiteflag

    What time is the game today? Cubs website says 11:35am but MLB trade rumors says Dempster is scheduled to pitch tonight.

    • Patrick G

      Afternoon game

      • bbmoney

        12:35 eastern. so we’re running out of time here.

  • JK

    I don’t see how the FO let’s Dempster go out on the mound tonight. At least it is out of town.

    • BeyondFukudome

      Not tonight. The game starts at 11:30 am Central. Can’t wait.

  • Fastball

    Game is on TV WGN at 12:35 EST

  • TSB

    It appears that Mr. Dempster’s previous statements were just spin and public relations blab. Do I see a career in politics for Dempster when he retires?

  • Barry

    Screw Dempster. Jedstein should tell him “You’re not going to LA. You’re going to stay here in Chicago and suffer with the rest of us.”

  • RoughRiider

    Since I’m a Cub Fan I hope Dempster goes out and pitches a 9 inning shutout.

    • Whiteflag

      Me too.

    • TWC

      I do, too. Of course, being a Cubs fan, I expect Dempster to get shelled for 8 runs in the 1st.

      • TonyP

        Lol TWC

      • @cubsfantroy

        @TWC: that got a good chuckle out of me after reading all of the negativity this morning.

    • @cubsfantroy

      Me too.

  • Master Dan

    The week before the trading deadline is turning into a nightmare.

    [Ed. - eh, I don't think we need to see that.]

  • Fastball

    I am going to watch this game for sure. He is gonna get boo’d off the field by the cubs fans at this game. He might want to wear a rain coat.

  • poot007

    The man has a no trade clause. He should be able to exercise that without everybody giving him so much shit!

    • MikeL

      And I’ll bet you’ll be one of the first ones to complain when it turns out that the Cubs weren’t able to make any moves to make the team better because of this…..

      • @cubsfantroy

        You’re doing enough complaining and whining for everyone,

    • Nathan

      Then he should not have said all of the bullshit that he said. If he did not want to go to Atlanta than he should have said that from the get go. Now, he is holding the Cubs hostage! He said he wanted to help the Cubs for the future and he listed the Braves as a top two destination he wanted to go to. The Cubs tried working out a deal with the Dodgers and the deal the Dodgers were offering simply was not good enough. The Braves “his second choice” offered a great deal and now Dempster goes back on his words. The only bad guy here is Dempster

  • Spriggs

    2 weeks ago, every TV baseball analyst was saying Dempster was the hottest commodity going. I thought they were overstating it, but I kept hearing that over and over. You can’t go from hottest on the market — to getting nothing — without the Front Office bearing the brunt of the blame for this.

    And now with Garza hurt, they get shut out there too? Could this have unfolded in any worse fashion? They go from having two of the hottest tradeable commodities – to getting nothing of what they were looking for – and people are MAINLY upset with Dempster?

    Reminds me of fishing… those big ones that got away at the last second. Disappointing to say the least. Theo has lost his sainthood as of today.

    • bbmoney

      I don’t know how much you can blame Theo. He worked out a great trade for Dempster….which was blocked. And Garza got hurt….Theo’s fault?

      Certainly things couldn’t have gone much worse so far this week. And it doesn’t help that a few other deals have been made and the Marlins seem to be motivated sellers and could move a pitcher with similar value to Garza.

      • Spriggs

        Bad timing? – Houston has pulled off a few trades already without playing games into the last week.

        Plans,B,C or D? Where did he put these? He risked waiting for the best deal and looks to get no deal right now. I cannot blame all that on Dempster. The FO is responsible for it.

        • bbmoney

          Again..he made a deal with Dempster…which was blocked. Plan B…the Dodgers apparently aren’t offering enough, you’d rather he accepts pennies on the dollar?

          Garza was never getting traded before Dempster and almost certainly not before his last start when he got hurt. You can’t honestly blame Theo for that.

          And don’t site the Astros trades, look at what the Astros got back….nothing but organizational players by most accounts, nothing anywhere close to what the Cubs would want for Dempster and certainly not for Garza. They were just trying to unload at least some of Wandy’s and Lee’s contract, and that Happ trade was a serious Poopoo plater…both ways.

    • anotherjp

      This is the fault of Theo? What should he have done differently… insist on a gag order for the Atlanta press corp? And please explain how they could have prevented Garza from suffering a tricep strain in SL….

      • willis

        Yeah this is in no way the FO’s fault. They put a great deal together, that was accepted by the enemy. It was blocked by a player who has every right to block it. Sure this trade season didn’t work out like some of you wanted. That sucks. But regarding demp I don’t think there’s any way one can point the finger at Theo and Company.

        And there’s still a week left. We’ll see what happens.

  • Section 409 Row 2

    I understand that the Dodgers have a lot of leverage in this situation but accepting a mediocre return is not our only option. We still can offer Dempster a qualifying offer and he most likely would not accept it knowing he isn’t in the Cubs future. I think it is the least he could do. With that said, I hope Cubs fans show some class and do not boo him tonight.

    • bbmoney

      Well they won’t boo him tonight….but they might in about an hour.

  • 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.

  • Patrick G

    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.

    So does that mean a deal with Atlanta is slightly possible, not involving Delgado?

    • Beer Baron

      I think if in 90 minutes Dempster takes the mound…Atlanta deal is officially finished. If he doesn’t start today, then the Braves (or anyone else) can get one extra start for themselves which makes him a little more valuable. I’m not saying it will happen, but I think first pitch is the absolute drop dead point.

  • Matthew Paulish

    Im still kinda pissed Dempster is being a baby but the fact is he has 10/5 rights , The Cubs can and probably will get a nice return from him the Dodgers have more than Lee inter system , the Cubs should be able to work something out.

  • AD

    Buster Onley reporting that the Cubs are looking to keep Dempster at this point unless offers drastically improve. Im pretty much indifferent at this point.

    • anotherjp

      Awesome development IMO… use Maholm, Garza, et. al. to make a deal with Atlanta or Texas and leave Dempster in limbo until the deadline. If they can’t deal him let him rot in Chicago with a team with AAA talent. Enjoy being the “hammer” for another week Demp, your leverage is about to run out.

  • bbmoney

    Buster Onley with a very upbeat tweet…..sigh.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    If dempster pithes I am buy a ticket today and booing his ass. Lost all respect, u are out dempster, go to hell dempster. I’m done with him

  • SouthernCub

    I don’t think there’s anyway the Cubs can allow Dempster to pitch again for them, there’s literally 0 upside to this

  • Matthew Paulish

    Ok , nevermond , NOW IM PISSED at Dempster !

    Braves move on from Dempster; Cubs prepared to take draft pick compensation if Dodgers don’t improve offer significantly for him

  • Dustin S

    My reason for being upset with Dempster is that I feel he BS’d the fans to try to make himself look better, which people don’t appreciate.

    If he only wanted to go to the Dodgers, fine…do an Aramis and don’t say anything.

    Problem is, he tried to play the good guy acting like he just wanted to help the team when in reality he would veto a trade to all but 1 team. Then he tried to completely BS everyone again by not actually rejecting the Atlanta trade, knowing if he just waited a day or two it’d get pulled and he wouldn’t have to look bad. It’s pretty vain and it is really treating the public like they’re not smart enough to see through it. Again I’m fine if he wants to veto, that’s his right and he’s earned it. But he was trying to have his cake and eat it too, playing up for fan appreciation on one hand and bending the team over with the other hand. I think that’s what has lead to the fan uproar. Plenty of other players have refused to be traded and people generally respect that. But if he isn’t traded, I’m not sure what kind of reception he’ll get at the rest of the home games this season. I feel bad saying all this because Dempster is overall an awesome guy who has done wonderful things for Chicago on and off the field, it’s just left a bad taste.

    SO…with that off my chest . I would ask for Webster plus at least a C prospect from LA as a minimum, or just keep him and go for the conditional pick. I really doubt he’d re-sign so the 12.5M offer would be fairly safe.

  • Brent

    Last year, it was Aramis. This year, it’s Dempster. Is there a clause that Cubs players sign that says they have to do their best to avoid getting traded in the final year of their contract, and then walk away for nothing after the season (and yes, i know a between 1st and 2nd round pick is not “nothing”, but wtf)?

  • Pete

    The only good thing coming out of all of this is that it is laying to rest the silly dreams of some fans that we would trade Demp and then re-sign him because he is such a nifty guy and can imitate Harry Caray, blah, blah, blah. Demp is, first and foremost, a professional athlete in the 21st century. They view the sport (correctly) as a business. In spite of the fact that there is lip service about playing for teammates, I doubt that many of them really even do that, much less for the team or for the fans.
    BTW, this is not an apologetic for him. He probably should have just kept his mouth shut during this entire process. However, the 21st century professional athlete all too often is not particularly bright, and does not realize that dimness, and thus, so he feels the need to speak up without thinking of future ramifications.

    • anotherjp

      And for player who thinks RD is such a great teammate, just wait until they have to negotiate with a FO that just got burned by another 10/5 rights holder. Anyone with 9/4 years of service better have their bags packed.

  • Nick

    Important News:

    The Cubs now plan to keep Dempster and make him a qualifying offer after the season, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. Doing so would allow the Cubs to collect a compensatory draft pick in 2013.

    • anotherjp

      A high hard ball from Theo… gotta love it.

    • JB88

      (FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve been advocating this for a couple days now) This is the right move to make. Both for purposes of reacquiring some negotiating position, but also because this is the best way to improve the team rather than acquiring filler.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        No. Acquiring Delgado was the right approach.

        • JB88

          Demp sort of screwed that pooch. My point then and now is that if Delgado is not an option, the Cubs best option is to hold onto Demp, QO him, and take the comp pick as what the Dodgers appear to be offering is not worth as much as a high draft pick.

          • Jack Weiland

            My point: the slot value for that pick should be another consideration with the new draft rules. Having that extra money could be very useful for this FO. The pick itself is one thing, the extra cash is another.

            More cash, more options, more ability for this FO to hit a home run in that draft.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I would *much* rather have Webster than the pick. And I don’t even love Webster.

            The pick is the equivalent of a Paul Blackburn that you have to pay to sign. I’m sure Blackburn is a fine prospect, but he’s nowhere near Webster.

            • Jack Weiland

              Not really sure Webster is even being offered though, are we? Just that the Cubs have moved off Lee to ask for him. I’d take Webster over the pick as well, but would I take Gould or Withrow over the pick? I’m not so sure.

            • cubs1967

              is webster the son of ex-cub legend mitch webster? not sure that he is, just a shot in the dark with the same last name?

    • Jack Weiland

      Theory: since the Cubs will have a very high draft pick, and the slot value of the comp pick will be fairly high, they might be trying to get that comp pick to increase their total pool next year, and there are many, many ways they could attack that. Go over slot early, etc, do sort of what the Stros did this year …

      Very interesting.

    • Jonathan

      The Cubs and Dempster are now engaged in a game of chicken. You won’t go to Atlanta, fine that is your right. We will not trade you to LA and are going to limit your attractiveness as a free agent.

    • cubs1967

      do you really think any team will give up a pick to sign a 35 yr old. no way. basically this screws demp from ever getting a 2 or 3 yr deal; as it’s doubtful that at age 36 he’ll duplicate this season so basically he’ll be getting 1 yr deals from now on, most likely from different teams each year as he’ll only be an innings eater and most contending teams won’t want him as he’s not about winning. not sure if the arrogrant prick clown demp thought all this thru, but wondering how being on different teams every year will be good for the family OR maybe he’ll stay 1 more year and then retire like the other big crybaby derrick lee who could not accept lower pay. what goes around comes around, that big noise in the distance is the train headed your way, mr prickster.

  • Puma0821

    I have reserved judgement on any public forums until now but at this point I can’t say anything good about Dempster. He has single handidly sabotaged the trade deadline “season” for the Cubs and possibly set them back in their rebuiliding. Sans a decent return from LA, out of spite I would be OK with shutting Demp down for the year or relegating him to long relief under the guise of getting young guys experience for the future and to keep him healthy for next year (which really would be fso he’s wanted by other teams and not take a QO).

    • Puma0821

      Wow and as I was writing that this news comes out!

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