Atlanta Braves’ GM Frank Wren has been talking to the media today about the now (almost certainly) failed trade involving Ryan Dempster and Randall Delgado. I referenced it in today’s earlier Ryan Dempster post, but thanks to the Sun-Times, we now have a more complete transcript of his comments. And it includes a bit of what we’ve been looking to hear for some time: what exactly happened over the last week?

From Wren, via the Sun-Times:

In his case, from my understanding – and I’m only getting it second hand from the Cubs – they had a meeting with him a couple weeks ago and laid it out, and the primary two suitors were us and the Dodgers. And he had positive things to say about both, and he had a slight preference to the Dodgers because of Ted Lilly. He and Ted Lilly are best of friends and he’d like to go play with his friend. And I think there were also some personal issues that suited better for him. And as it went down, from my understanding, the Cubs informed him in the last week that the Dodgers weren’t really as aggressive as we were and they thought the deal was going to go with us. I think he was given a heads up along the way. I think it may be the way it was presented as far as coming out in the media [Monday]. I think that was blindsiding, not that he necessarily didn’t know this was coming down.

Wren is politely trying to say that it was his understand that, prior to the Cubs engaging him in serious discussions about a Dempster trade, they had received an indication from Dempster that he would accept a trade to the Braves, assuming the Cubs couldn’t get a great offer from the Dodgers. But Dempster knew all along that the Cubs were seriously talking with the Braves, and that this moment could be coming down the pipeline.

Again, this doesn’t look great for Dempster. But, two strong cautions: (1) this is second-hand info, and we still don’t *really* know what was said between the Cubs’ front office and Dempster, and (2) there are still several days left before the Trade Deadline. While it’s fair to react and offer your thoughts, just keep in mind that a great deal can happen in the next few days.

Also, here’s a big thing to keep in mind: we still don’t know that things haven’t played out exactly as Dempster and the Cubs anticipated: get a deal lined up with the Braves, and then see if the Dodgers will top it. Maybe the plan was, if the Dodgers don’t top it, then Dempster accepts the deal to Atlanta. We’ll probably never know now, because of the timing of the media leak, and the story breaking on Monday. It forced Dempster to explain himself (and reveal an obvious strong preference for LA), and it forced the Braves to say publicly that they’re “moving on.”

For his part, after today’s game, Dempster told the media that he understand Wren can’t wait on him, even though Dempster is still weighing his options.

Let’s keep the comments civil. I’m not asking you to not speak your mind, I’m suggesting only that you be thoughtful before posting.

UPDATE (at 2:57pm CT): Interesting additional comments from Dempster after the game. From Patrick Mooney, quoting Dempster: “If that’s still an option down the road, then that’s something I might look at to make the best decision for me/my family.”

UPDATE 2 (at 3:01pm CT): Paul Sullivan has a nice write-up of Dempster’s comments after the game, which suggest that he plans to think things over today and tomorrow (his off-day, when he’ll probably see his family). So maybe we’ll find something more concrete out by the end of the day tomorrow. Or not. Because, you know, why would any of this go according to plan?

UPDATE 3 (at 3:11pm CT): Fair to speculate that Dempster doesn’t want to go to Atlanta, but doesn’t want to formally reject the trade, because he knows at that time, the Cubs really do lose all leverage with the Dodgers (which hurts him, because that’s where he wants to go – and the Cubs are just as likely to keep him at that point). So he says he’s still thinking about it to try and buy the Cubs (and himself) more time to try and work out a deal with the Dodgers. But if the Dodgers don’t step up by Friday, then what? Or if the Braves really do come forward and say, “the deal is totally and completely off the table no matter what,” then what?

UPDATE 4 (at 8:58pm CT): Dave Kaplan actually got a quote from Theo Epstein on all of this, but it’s a non-quote – he essentially said, we haven’t commented on Dempster, and we’re not going to comment now. As expected. And it’s the right thing to do, by the way. Virtually no good can come from saying anything right now.

UPDATE 5 (at 9:01pm CT): Tim Brown reports that the Cubs have told “Dempster suitors” that they’re willing to grant a window to negotiating an extension. I kind of expected this was already happening, but it’s nice to get confirmation. Here’s the thing: I’m not really sure Dempster is going to want to actually receive an extension from anyone but the Dodgers – but they might be willing to up their prospect offer ever-so-slightly if they know they’ve got him for a couple more years. But, let’s be clear: it’s already July 25. There aren’t a lot of days left to give a team a “window” to negotiate an extension. Also: I strongly doubt the Braves have an interest in extending Dempster, now that I think about it. They’ve got so much young pitching, and they’ve got a cheap ownership group. Yes, they have money coming off the books, but do they really want to commit tens of millions to a 36+ year-old Ryan Dempster?

  • Kathy Baker

    Looks like the only ones getting the shaft here is the Cubs. All leverage is lost and now will have to “settle” for whatever they can get. Thanks for nothing.

    • Ryno G

      They don’t have to settle for anything. They can just keep him and offer him the QO at the end of the season.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Do you think they would honestly offer him after this? Why would he turn down $12+ million at 35/36 to play for the team he “loves?” He would be lucky to get a 2yr/$18 million as a FA when he will be 36 next year.

        • Jack Weiland

          As Buster Olney stated on Twitter, there are ways to ensure he doesn’t accept such an offer (tell him you’ll put him in the pen, etc).

          If the Cubs don’t want him, and make that clear, there’s little chance he’ll stick it to them by accepting that arb.

        • Internet Random

          Why would he turn down $12+ million at 35/36 to play for the team he “loves?”

          He might not love it so much if, every time he’s at Wrigley, there are 38,000 fans who feel like he dicked them over.

          • Jack Weiland

            Yeah, I find the “but he might accept arb. against the Cubs wishes and totally screw things up!” thing to be really just make believe. He’s not going to accept a deal he doesn’t have to accept to play for a team that doesn’t want him in front of fans who no longer want him.

            He’s not going to be desperate for a deal this offseason. Someone will definitely pony up 12MM on a one-year deal, minimum. This is not at all a Derek Jeter situation where he’s all “Pay me 20 million dollars!” and the team is all “Find someone else who is willing to pay you close to that first!” and then he’s all “Fine … Um … Please sign me?”

            • scorecardpaul

              If they make him a qualifying offer, and no one is willing to give up a first round pick, and sign him to a contract, then he will be a Cub.

              What makes you think he will go to any team that doesn’t have spring training in Arizona, or doesn’t have his boyfriend on it???

              If the Cubs make him an offer he will end up accepting it.
              No thanks

      • MaxM1908

        In comparison to them getting Delgado, that’s definitely settling.

  • MikeL

    LOL Brett, you know this is not going to go over well in the comments section, lol! I do appreciate the disclaimer though. I honestly think most people have done all the venting they have needed to.

  • Spencer

    Is it dead?

    • Brett

      Neither Wren nor Dempster is willing to say that unequivocally just yet (for whatever reason). And, obviously, the Cubs aren’t going to say a thing.

      • hansman1982

        The trade not dying completely has softened my stance on this issue. The beat reporter said this morning on Sirius that the trade is basically on the table until Tuesday. Now, could a team swoop in and gobble Delgado up? Sure, but I think there is more than meets the eye and something doesn’t smell right.

        I think Dempster isn’t the giant jackass we all are portraying him as right now.

        • Internet Random

          I think Dempster isn’t the giant jackass we all are portraying him as right now.

          I hope that you’re right. I’m withholding judgment until all the facts are in… but, if the way things look now turn out to be the way things are, then Dempster is off my Christmas-card list.

  • Mike

    Dempster will do his charming Harry Caray impression and win our hearts again. Right? Right? (awkward smile)

    • Internet Random

      To be fair, it’s an impression of Will Ferrell impersonating Harry.

  • kid_gloves

    I’m just peeved at the media leak on the Braves side of this which pretty much screwed the whole thing up.

    I’d bet that the thoyer are pretty pissed about that too.

    • MikeL

      I am pretty sure the media thing was an excuse he was giving people as to why he was balking at going to atl.

      • kid_gloves

        He may have said that, but the fact of the matter is it completely displayed the cubs hand and reduced any leverage they had in trade discussions with other teams. Seriously this has nothing to do with Dempster, the Braves leaked information that pretty much stabbed the Cubs in the back…. maybe they knew that when they did it?

  • nick cafardo

    Demp has given the ok in the millar trade to the sox. Just waiting on commisioner approval.

  • anotherjp
  • Patrick

    I was not able to catch today’s game, but I did catch a highlight of him going all “Zambrano” in the dugout. What stirred this reaction? and how can his display effect the outcome in the next few days?

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      He didn’t like being taken out after giving up the lead. It will have 0 effect. After the last couple of days, I think most would understand his reaction.

  • Jesse

    Now we just go full force on Garza. Any return for Demps is lost

  • cdncubfan

    Love Demp and love what he’s done for the team, fans and community…but this trade is best for the team. As a fan, I find it difficult to understand Demp’s point of view. As a man, I get it. Family, comfort, etc.

    I just want the Cubs to get value and for Demp to get a chance to win. He’s got a good chance to win something in LA or Atlanta…but the value is coming from Atlanta. Not LA.

  • 100 Years of Tears

    Thanks Brett. As disappointed as I am that a great deal has not (or possibly will not) happened, I’m really surprised by the viciousness of some of these comments. This has always been a first-class discussion board. Hopefully, that returns soon.

  • BD

    This sounds like good ol’ luck of the Cubs, not a foundation for sustained success!

    But seriously, I must be missing something. There’s no way the Cubs and Dempster all of a sudden were like, “Oh, a trade to the Braves. What to do with this suprise? Let’s go back and see what the Dodgers will do.” They knew it was coming. How could it have taken so long for them to say “Coletti, here’s what we got, you want to beat that?” Apparently long enough for all of this to happen.

    • hansman1982

      ya, the more I hear about this the more it is not that he was blindsided by the trade, just that it was released. It could be that the Cubs were playing the Dodgers against the Braves and wanted to do everything quietly. When someone in the Braves org leaked it, everything blew up in their faces.

    • Ryno G

      I think if anyone was “blindsided” it was the fans. I think pretty much everyone was pumped about the Braves trade and getting Randall Delgado and didn’t even think for a second that Dempster wouldn’t approve it, I mean it was his #2 team and had always seemed like he would do what’s best for Cubs.

      • MaxM1908

        The time to have been blindsided was when the Dodgers offered us diddily and then cooled their pursuit last week. Demp HAD to know that it wasn’t working out the way he wanted. At that point, he should have started thinking about what’s best for him and his family. I don’t like this “I’m going to think on it for a few days.” What’s prevented him from weighing the pros and cons these last few weeks?

        • art

          agree Max.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        100% agreed.

        • scorecardpaul


  • bt

    Again Brett, I’m not sure how, in your scenario, word getting out changes anything. Once news of the trade broke, the Cubs could still go to the Dodgers, could still ask them to top the deal, they could still refuse, and at that point go back to Dempster and say, “Hey, we tried, but the Braves are still offering the better deal”. Public knowledge of the trade wouldn’t impact that scenario in any way that i can think of.

    • anotherjp

      If Demp said he’d go to the Braves tonite the trade would be done in a heartbeat. Wren still talking like they’d take him.

  • Whiteflag

    Great reporting as always Brett. I’m going to keep holding on tightly to the my sliver of false hope a deal still gets done.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Flag.

  • EQ76

    it would be funny if he still goes to the braves for delgado.. a lot of ranting and bashing on here would have been for nothing. let’s hope for that.

    • Whiteflag


      • David

        was that “ditto” or “dildo”?

        • Internet Random

          Heh. I thought the exact same thing.

          Coincidentally, Dido has a song called White Flag.

          • Whiteflag

            there will be no white flag above my door…

        • Whiteflag

          ditto…my bad

    • BD

      That is true. I hope it was all for nothing.

    • Jim L.

      A little ranting and raving is always fun…good stress relief.

  • St Anger

    None of this means Dempster went back on his word or deliberately mislead anyone. Brett’s described the chain of events a couple of ways they might have transpired which amount to nothing more than misunderstandings among people with good intentions. Ever happen to you?

  • Josh

    Dempster hasn’t closed the doors but the Braves have

    • hansman1982

      I don’t think the Braves have either.

  • nick cafardo

    Millar has 10 and 5 rights. That’s the hangup.

    • 100 Years of Tears

      And he’d have to turn in his AARP card.

  • cooper

    Ryan, tantrum doesn’t make you look any better…

  • Sinnycal

    I thoroughly enjoyed Wren’s deliciously snarky line about Demp and Lilly being bffs.

  • Ben in Nebraska

    What options is he speaking about exactly? If I’m the front office, I tell him to shut up and he’s not going anywhere. You can go play with your best friend next year while we get a compensation pick. The idea that the franchise can be held hostage by a single player only works in the NBA.
    I realize that this is all second hand, but at the same time, there is no surprise to the fact that he’s been on the trade block since May. He should have known long before Monday if he would or wouldn’t accept a trade and where he would or would not accept that trade to. To think that Theo closed this deal without talking to Dempster first is a little bit of a stretch in my opinion.
    Once again, thanks Dempster for screwing the Cubs so you can go hang out with your injured buddy.

  • IACub

    From my perspective on this, I’m just tired of the players we’ve had who say they are thankful for their time as Cubs and want to find a deal that also helps out the team…then when the time comes they teeter the line and make the organization look bad. Lee did it a few years ago and now Dempster. I do appreciate he has to take into consideration other issues, but now I feel like he’s thrown the Cubs into a corner and in turn possibly diminish our returns.
    I am really hoping this works out in the end.

    • Jim L.

      I agree, I’ll be glad when Theo moves out everyone from the Hendry regime (at least the vets that signed deals with Hendry). A change of culture is definitely needed top to bottom.

  • BluBlud

    Dumbster show his true Colors. I have lost all respect for him. He knew this was possible He tried to play good guy, but this shows he was an Ahole the whole time. This is worse then anything ARam did last year. At least he openly said no, I don’t wanna be traded. Get Dempster the Hell out of town and I hope the door hit him in back and throws it out on his way out of town.

  • AndyRussell299

    I almost feel like the leak was done intentionally to try and force someone’s hand.

  • Earl Cunningham

    Who knew spending two months in Atlanta could have such a devastating impact on his family’s happiness.

    • Edwin

      Anyone who’s ever lived in Atlanta.

      • Jimbo


    • tdog23

      jim hendry let this crap go on for years,in theo i trust

  • Jim

    I am just curious now, if Dempster does not get traded, about the fan reaction to Dempster the next time he pitches at Wrigley …

    • Brett

      Eh. I think those of us who pay close attention to things here on the ‘net probably overestimate how much the average fan at Wrigley does the same. I think he’s received less warmly than usual, but isn’t booed by everyone. Maybe just a small smattering.

  • Mike S

    Surprising that we haven’t heard from the FO about this yet…thoughts Brett?

    • Brett

      Not surprised at all. Nothing to gain by speaking out from the Cubs’ side. Keep quiet, try to preserve leverage in all talks simultaneously.

  • Chris Sanchez

    If theres a trade to the braves he better make up his mind quick because the braves are intrested in zack greinke

  • Njriv

    Jayson Stark via MLBTR:
    Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He’s more likely to be dealt in the offseason.

    So basically the Cubs go from having two great trade chips to none. Perfect.

  • IndyCubFan

    I like Dempster, he has been a class act his entire time in Chicago, but rejecting this trade that will make our beloved Cubbies better, will forever “unfortunately” tarnish his image in most Cub Fans’ minds.