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.

  • CBP

    Are we about to be deadline loser? Because as of right now we might be the biggest losers.

    • Nomar’s Left Glove

      On all fronts. LA won’t include Lee because they don’t have to. The Braves won’t again include Delgado because we snubbed them.

  • TonyP

    This is the only Cubs blog I go to, I assume Dempster is getting ripped about everywhere?

    • Brett


      • TonyP

        This whole situation reeks and hope it ends very soon.

    • TonyP


    • BeyondFukudome

      This place is usually Mister Rogers Neighborhood compared to most sports blogs. So after reading what’s going on here, I shudder to think what is being said elsewhere.

      • Brett

        It’s ugly out there. I don’t recommend it.

        (Not that I can recommend half of the comments here in the last two days.)

  • SouthernCub

    Next stop for Dempster……..DL

  • morgan

    just sad b/c dempster isnt good enough to be deciding on where he ends up, lets face it, before last year he was nothing more than a 3 sometimes a 4 in our rotation, thats why everyone is worried about him making his next start b/c we all know that demp isnt as good as hes showing, so anytime he can go back to the dempster that we know,

    • PJ

      Not sure what team you have been watching, but except for last year, Dempster has been a one or two in our rotation, some of which were awfully deep. 2008 he was our best. 2009 he and Lilly were one and two. 2010 he was our two. 2011 he did slip but he’s better than ever this year.

    • Jumbo

      That’s why I wanted him traded ASAP. Even worse, if we keep him and offer him arb, I think he will accept (knowing $12-13 million is much more than he would get on the open market), and deprive us of a draft pick as well.

      Basically, he’s pitched much better than he ever will again and his value will never be higher. Simply put, failing to trade him right now is a huge missed opportunity.

  • Cheryl

    The best way for fans to treat Dempster at this point may be to completely ignoe him. He is a non-entity and it does absolutely no good to keep bashing him. Let the FO do what they will. I hope that they don’t trade him to the Dodgers. If they do, it raises the question of who is responsible for trades – a player or management. Yes, a player has input, especially in 10-5 situations, but it is management who is responsible for deals.

    • BeyondFukudome

      Not true. Fans have a duty to boo him so lustily that he won’t EVEN think about accepting the QO after the season is over.

      • BeyondFukudome

        or “won’t even THINK about it” – stupid absence of edit button :)

  • hardtop

    the comments on here make me ashamed to be a cubs fan. none of this is Dempster’s fault. All he did was pitch well enough in a Cubs uniform to be in demand by contending teams. “God what and asshole! How dare he! I’d like to punch him in the beard for pitching well enough to potentially get us some building block for the future. His terrifc pitching as ruined the franchise forever!” blah blah blah.
    its no different than Ramirez last year, except Dempster has always been a notch above the rest in terms of his clubhouse presence and love for the fans. if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at … actually, you cant be mad at anyone. this is how it works. if you cant deal with that reality, I’ve heard there is a team on the south side who embraces an ignorant fan base.

    • TWC

      I’m mad at Jim Hendry.

      • Fishin Phil

        I’m mad at you.

      • hansman1982

        I’m mad at Tom Ricketts for buying the team over Mark Cuban. If Markey Mark were in charge we would have won 5 World Series’ by now.

        • Fishin Phil

          and an NBA championship, 2 Superbowls, and a Stanley Cup!

          • Beer Baron

            Plus he would have already personally rebuilt Wrigley with his own bare hands, stopping only briefly to save 20 orphans from a burning building.

        • quintz

          I think the owners won’t approve Cuban as an owner. I know it’s absurd, but I think that is the case.

    • 34275

      None of this is Dempster’s fault? He’s the one keeping the deal from happening. It’s entirely his fault.

    • Matt

      It’s not like Ramirez.

      Aramis didn’t play the PR game with the fans. He said he wouldn’t accept a trade and didn’t.

      Had Dempster done the same, or omitted the statements about doing right by the team then it’d be a non-issue.

      “I’m open to a trade if it meets with my family and I’s needs” is all he had to say. Pretending he cared what the cubs got in return is what has drawn the negative attention and rightfully so.

    • MaxM1908

      Usually, I agree with you Hardtop, but not on this one. I think it is perfectly acceptable for fans to be upset with Dempster based on how things have played out. While I agree that the decorum could be higher in how we speak about a person who’s been a respected member of the team for so long, I do not think we should give him a free pass simply because he’s been a respected member of the team. Based on all the evidence I have (which, granted is rumors, leaks, public statements, etc.), it appears that Dempster wasn’t completely forthright about his intentions with the FO or the fan base. That led the FO to take actions (with an opportunity cost for time spent going back and forth between Atlanta and LA that could have been devoted to other trade negotiations). His inability to come clean about what he really wanted damaged the FO’s ability to do what’s best for the team. It takes a lifetime to build up a reputation, but only one bad act to destroy it. He has the right to reject the Atlanta trade, we have the right to be angry with him because of it.

      • Kevin

        Well said Max!

    • Sosa23

      Everyone loves Dempster so much… does anyone remember what he was before the glove twitch? A CRAPPY RELIEVER. He had a few good years in chi own big deal. Everyone acts likehes Fergie Jenkins or something i’m sorry but he is not. He’s always making excuses for his bad play. He’s a spoiled brat who thinks hes funny.

    • Patrick W.

      I agree with Hardtop wholeheartedly. Well said indeed. What a dick Dempster is, being all good and whatnot. Some of the comments are disgusting to me. People act like he should just uproot and head off to Atlanta because of the way THEY interpret what he’s said. I am personal friends with a personal friend of Ryan Dempster and his family, and the guy has had nothing but good things to say about him. Nothing. 3 months away from your two young girls to a team that might be less likely to meet your needs next year is not small stuff. His daughter needs special attention at her school and he can’t just rip her off to anywhere, she’ll have to stay in Chicago until his family can officially move.

      • 34275

        So why is he okay with going to the Dodgers if he’s worried about “uprooting” his family?

        • Whiteflag

          We may never know. I’m sure he has his reasons though, some places are just a better fit.

          • 34275

            Well if he doesn’t want to be the most hated man in Chicago he can explain them in a non half-assed way.

    • Drew7

      “…I’d like to punch him in the beard…”

      – This makes me laugh

  • someday…2015?

    So Dempster is really pitching today? Does this FO/coaching staff have any understanding of what would happen if Dempster gets injured today? We go from having no leverage to not being able to trade the guy period. If he pitches today it might be time to question the authority the FO has over the coaching staff.

    • Mdel78

      I understand this perspective, but there are other factors. If he doesn’t start today, when does he start again? Do you sit him until 8/1, and how is his value impacted if he hasn’t pitched for 10 days? By sitting him, and basically admitting you want to keep him healthy to trade him, are you calling your own bluff in your willingness to just keep him and offer him the qualifying offer at the end of the year?

      This situation is certainly crummy (to steal Brett’s adjective from yesterday), but I don’t think Dempster taking the mound today is anything other than the Cubs are answering these questions differently than you or I am.

  • GovernorQuinn

    Apparently, my earlier proclamation was missed, so I will repeat it: I hereby declare this day, July 25, 2012, to be “All Dempster Apologists Can Go F Themselves Day” in the State of Illinois.

  • Ryan Dempster’s Nanny

    I’mso tired of players invoking their “family” in these situations. Dempster has proven what his family means in the past. Now, I don’t care what a guy does in his free time, but to then drag out the tired family stuff is hyppcritical. Honestly, and only my opinion, I think Ryan has an aspiring “actress” in his “family” now that prefers LA over Atlanta

  • ClarkandAddison

    Howdy, first time poster. Been addicted to site since last fall when I stumbled onto Bleacher Nation searching for news bout Theo hiring. Brett, thanks for all you do. Luke, I enjoy everything you bring to Bleacher Nation as well. Now that that’s out of the way, any chance update 7 is because Theo & co are not in fact trying to get more from Dodgers but get Dempster to accept going to Braves? Which also ties into update 9 and ofman saying deal not dead and situation is fluid?

  • @cubsfantroy

    So I left the site for a little bit, what did I miss?

    Oh, still bashing Dempster. Carry on.

    • MaxM1908

      No, there’s been some bashing of the FO for allowing Dempster to start, bashing of fans who speak ill of Dempster, bashing of the people who bash the fans who speak ill of Dempster…

      • Ogyu

        Cub fans today are like Bruce Banner on a bad day: “Cub fans BASH!!!”

      • FromFenwayPahk

        There hasn’t been enough clever banter today. This is refreshing.

  • ColoCubFan

    Wasn’t he quoted somewhere that his 1st choice was LA. But if they couldn’t work out a deal, Atlanta would be his second choice? Looks like he didn’t really give anybody a choice but himself!

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    No matter how u look at it, Dempster has screwed the cubs. He said he wuld do wats best for the cubs and he has only hurt the cubs in the end. I hope he gets booed the hell out of and changes his mind. No love dumpster anymore. He is no longer one of the most loveable cub.

    • @cubsfantroy

      You have screwed the English language.

    • OlderStyle

      Actually, this is what he said:

      “I’ll have to take a look at it and see what’s the best for me, best for the Cubs…”

      The Cubs coming second in the sentence is probably significant.

  • RoughRiider

    What’s the record for most responses ?

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I wish Dumpster was pitching at wrigley right now so fans could rip him a new one, and boo him all the way to Atlanta. He screwed the cubs

  • Pete
    • Mdel78

      Thanks for bringing a little levity to this situation!

    • MaxM1908

      That just made me laugh out loud at work. Hilarious.

    • rhino70


  • TheJDawg

    okay, whats FO?

    • Ogyu

      Front Office :)

    • someday…2015?

      Front office

      • TheJDawg

        Thanks. Sorry, had one of them there blonde moments…

  • Ogyu

    Okay, Rizzo hit a home run. Everything’s right with the world again.

  • Njriv

    Man I’m sure everyone has been looking forward to this trading deadline as a golden opportunity for the Cubs in the rebuilding process, damn, shit hit the fan fast.

    • TheJDawg

      Our Optimism has been shattered again… In typical Cubs fashion…

  • atfinch


  • TheJDawg

    And have to say, I am pretty fed up with Dumpster on this, and I am guessing Theo and Jed are too. He totally screwed the Cubs on this thing. Especially with having such a sweet deal on the table that would have helped the Cubs out big time. Now he painted T&J into a corner where they will have to accept less than market value if they are to trade him.

    I hope Dump comes back to Wrigley next week and the fans boo him every minute he is on the field.

  • Mike S

    Is it me, or does Dempster just seem like he’s out there all alone and he knows it…

  • Chris


    Perhaps Theo & Jed are rolling the dice in the hopes that Demp actually re-increases his trade value with this start, and concomitantly increases the Cubs’ leverage

    • 34275

      what else can they do?

      Trying to negotiate with the Dodgers when PrimaDempster says it’s the only team he’ll go to is like having an auction with only one bidder. The bidder has no reason to give you anything but the bare minimum.

    • Mike S

      I think even if he threw a perfect game, his value is as high as its going to get…minus the leverage that he took away…

    • Njriv

      IMO, his value at this point can only be raised to a certain extent, because every start he makes as a Cub is one less that he’ll make for another team. A team is not going to give up more if he is going to be making a small number of starts for them.

    • dudeski

      one start won’t change anything

  • Doug

    He’s going to get lit up!

  • Whiteflag

    Damn it…I missed the start of the game. Worst day ever. Just got worse…Demspter helps us out man, you broke our hearts the last two days.

  • Chris

    Well…. shit. Homer to Neil f*ing Walker

    • someday…2015?

      Cub killer.

  • TheJDawg

    in a way, I hope Dump gives up 10 ER runs today and is pulled by the 2nd inning…

    then his value can fall further and we can get a top 1000 talent for him. I’m sure he’d think that would be benificial for the Cubs.

    or worse, is it bad I’m rooting for him to tear something?

    • Ted

      See this is just no good. If he sucks, he’ll most certainly accept our QO and we won’t even get a comp pick for him.



      • TheJDawg

        I honestly think that if we keep him, he is accepting his QO. Good, Bad, or Ugly… Demp stays past the trading deadline, guaranteed he is in Cubs rotation next season, whether J&T like it or not…

        • Aaron

          They could just let him walk without making him he QO…

          • TheJDawg

            True, but they want that pick. I doubt they wont QO him. but then again, if he pisses them off bad enough, maybe they just let him walk.

            I was just saying if they QO him, he is signing with Cubs.

            • Aaron

              Yes, the pick would be nice. However, if Dempster isn’t willing to let them make the offer and decline, or if he’s not trusted to decline when we make the offer, I don’t see how they can keep him on another year at over $10m.

              Granted, payroll will be lower next year, and we’re not likely to really contend, but still..

  • IACub

    Dear Ryan Dempster…I don’t really like you anymore.

    Cubs Fan

    • Sosa23


  • Don

    Serious question. Based on age, money, the fact that he is a LHP and his career numbers, why aren’t more teams interested in Maholm? To me, he and Demp’s values shouldn’t be that different. It’s not as if either have post season experience.

    • Mdel78

      I’m no talent evaluator, but I think Dempster’s stuff is a notch above, and while Maholm has been good recently, Dempster has a higher likelihood of shutting a team down in a given start. Remember too, Dempster has pitched in the post season with the Cubs, though the results weren’t ideal.

      I do like Maholm, just think he is a ‘3/4’ while Dempster is more of a ‘2/3’.

  • Sosa23

    Everyone loves Dempster so much… does anyone remember what he was before the glove twitch? A CRAPPY RELIEVER. He had a few good years in chi own big deal. Everyone acts likehes Fergie Jenkins or something i’m sorry but he is not. He’s always making excuses for his bad play. He’s a spoiled brat who thinks hes funny. Really it just sometimes comes off extremely awkward.

    • Brian

      It’s because he now has value that these latest antics have people po’d!

      • Sosa23

        I for one was always po’d at the guy, try going to milwaukee all the way from northern iowa to watch him get shelled and give up 8 runs, and going to a playoff game in 08 and watch him choke there as well. He’s a joke.

        • AB

          poor you!!