How Did the Braves’ Trade for Ryan Dempster Go Down and Fall Through? (UPDATES: Dempster Hasn’t Closed Door)

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?

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

513 responses to “How Did the Braves’ Trade for Ryan Dempster Go Down and Fall Through? (UPDATES: Dempster Hasn’t Closed Door)”

  1. thejackal

    i think our best trade piece was and still is garza because of the extra year of control i think he could pry lee and other pieces from dodgers . i believe the dodgers are “all in” mde this year . any one agree?

    1. Gcheezpuff

      I don’t see LA as the best fit for Garza and it also would block the possibility of them ever upping the offer for Demp. I like the Rangers in a Garza deal. LA doesn’t have the best prospects so other pitching options might not be realistic, I am guessing they will come around by the trade deadline, but the return won’t be near what we could have got from ATL.

    2. anotherjp

      I’ll agree with you if the Dodger trade Zach Lee, Chris Reed, and Angel Sanchez for Garza. If they insist on sending us some low-ball deal like they’ve been angling for with Dempster then they’re not serious about going “all in”. In fact, I’d give the Giants a sweet-heart deal for Soriano just to screw them over at this point… the Cubs are a laughing stock on the MB or the Dodger forums right now.

  2. Abe Froman

    I’m reserving judgement until it all plays out.

    Living and breathing hourly updates from reporters that seem to solely be delivering information hand-fed to them by front offices entrenched in negotiations obviously can be an emotional game. (Sarcasm alert) It seems to me that it’s remotely possible each side in the negotiation may be posturing for a better deal and each update is not 100% accurate. But once again, my re-animated corpse is trampled by an empassioned mob.

    I salute those that have kept a level head throughout this whole process and it speaks to the quality of commentors on these message boards (lead by Brett’s thoughtful example). Everyone has a right to speak their opinion, or to be angry in the moment, and conversely I have the right to say I think you should count to ten, calm down, and wait until July 31 to see where we stand.

    Last time I checked we added Rizzo, Soler, and Almora – three legit ass prospects since late winter.

  3. morgan

    yeah right just shows how much he wants to win, dont want anyone like that on this team,,,Dumpster your a free agent AFTER THE SEASON you can go ANYWHERE you and your family wants to in about 4 months.

  4. MikeL

    I have and they have been amazingly quiet, IMO.

  5. TheJDawg

    Dumpster, oh Dumpster… why would you do this to us Cubs fans? Just accept the trade to Atlanta please? Can’t you see us all rejoicing for the return??

    1. hansman1982

      I was wondering how long it would be until I saw this…

  6. Chris Sanchez

    I think we should keek soriano , he is one of 2 power bats we have,and our outfield prospects are not really ready right now

  7. thejackal

    of course wat they gnna say after making a deal then the guy u make the deal about says ahhhhh nope srry id rather be with this other team lol nt really to much to say … which wasnt there fault it got leaked in first place

    1. TWC

      So I put this into Google Translate and came up with this:

      Une fois dans un. Pendant que vous vous montré la lumière dans la plus étrange des lieux si vous le regardez droit.

      Odd.

      1. hansman1982

        I got this text:

        After gnna make sure that the mysterious man to do with open U srry ahhhhh ID for the other team to be with us that the New Testament actually says … First, there is a leak

        Please do not bring Religion into this website.

        1. mudge

          ‘ligion be everywhere bro.

        2. Joker

          What? That makes no sense to you two fine gentlemen? Maybe it’s the accent that’s throwing you off. : )

          1. hansman1982

            Can I buy a vowel please, Pat?

            Ya, that is a dialect I have not yet heard. Could be from one of the tribes out East that “GTL” all day.

  8. IACub

    How about Theo just gets the deal done for Garza to the Dodgers for Lee to really piss Demp off…then maybe he’ll be okay with ATL and we are almost all happy.

  9. thejackal

    lso i kno we nna get rid of the vets on team but they are good teammates and are helping younger guys

  10. Chef Brian

    The Cubs went through this several years ago with Fred Mcgriff dragging his feet on coming here. The deal eventually got done in that instance. I know its in a Cub’s fans DNA to expect the worst, Hell I feel the same way, but we are not going to scream, curse, or vent our way to a deal. We may as well save ourselves the heartache/heart attack and wait and see what happens. Go Cubs!

  11. K Rock

    Brett,

    Being as optimistic as possible, is it at all a chance we package Dempster with a Soriano or LaHair to LA for Lee and prospects? They get a pitcher they want, and a bat they need in outfield…..We get rid of contracts, and add pitching strength…..While keeping Garza which I have a feeling is happening regardless.

    What do you think?

  12. Lee

    At this point just keep him and offer him arbitration so you can get the sandwich 1st rounder. That’s got to be as good as the fringe prospects the Dodgers are offering.

  13. Leo

    I have a way of fixing this ur thoughts? 3 way deal Dodgers get Garza, Cubs get Delgado/ Lee , and Atlanta gets Maholm/Webster(dodgers). Cubs get good prospects and offer Dempster arbitration next year and screw him back cause LA won’t need him. Thoughts?

    1. anotherjp

      I like the 3-way idea, but in this scenario we’re basically giving up Garza for Lee in my mind. And the Braves are only giving up Delgado and are getting back Webster & Maholm? No can do… but I’m sure this can be reworked so this isn’t hosing the Cubs so much. Say, Dodgers get Garza, Cubs get Delgado/Lee/Webster, Atlanta gets Maholm. That’s better.

      1. Patrick G

        If Maholm gets us Delgado, I would do that straight up and trade Garza somewhere else. But that will most likely not happen

      2. HawkClone

        That’s not a 3-way trade anymore. That would be Maholm for Delgado, and Garza for Lee & Webster…

        1. anotherjp

          True, and maybe Atlanta needs more than Maholm to do the deal so LA can send them Sanchez, so we have a three-way and everyone’s happy. Except Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly, hehe.

  14. alaric

    demps is an asshole. what happened to whatevers best for the team?

  15. Jared

    I wouldn’t mind keeping Dempster, I am really trying to not bash him. I have to respect him using his 10/5 rights, especially not knowing FOR SURE that a deal to Atlanta was ok with him… However, I would much rather they keep Maholm, every rotation in MLB needs a reliable southpaw, and he has been ALL of that!!! So if keeping Demp, means that Maholm is dealt…then I am going to start using Dempster like he’s a dream catcher for curse words!!!

    1. dudeski

      if he wasn’t sure that a deal with atlanta was ok with him why he make it his second choice? that makes absolutely no sense

  16. Whiteflag

    I think I have saved the riddle….dempster is moonlighting as a model. LA is the place to be for that sort of thing.

    http://press.discovery.com/us/apl/programs/hook-extreme-catches/#

    1. Whiteflag

      Scroll through the pictures…my favorite is number 10/10.

      1. Whiteflag

        #

  17. gutshot5820

    I know it’s still early but could it be possible that the FO is overplaying their hand? We are the only club that is in full sell mode and NOBODY has been traded yet, As the deadline gets closer, more clubs will be in sell mode and more options for other teams will be available. If NOBODY gets traded because they set the bar too high then it will be total failure on their part.

    1. Aaron

      It is not a failure to try to extract value from your trade pieces. Baseball is a game with a lot of buyers and sellers. Yes, the Cubs are not ashamed to say that they’re willing to deal anyone, but this doesn’t put them at a disadvantage.

      If you look at it, why WOULDN’T they want to deal everyone? They have a terrible record (not in contention), they have no expectations to keep up, and they have a few pieces that can be utilized to take a flyer on a future prospect.

      So, just because the Cubs are sellers, doesn’t mean we’ll get what we think we should in deals, and doesn’t mean that other sellers’ products aren’t any better. Greinke? Johnson? Yeah, they’re going to get more than Garza and Dempster. Hanley? Better than any option the Cubs are offering.

      The market just has to settle these issues out first, before we will be able to extract the most value for the level of players we have.

      And on that note: If there’s one thing Theo is highly regarded for, it’s knowing how to get the most value from his players. This we can trust.

    2. BeyondFukudome

      Come on. They successfully negotiated a trade of Delgado for Dumpster and you’re criticizing them? smh

  18. pfk

    Regardless of all the leaks, rumors, denials, etc. the fact remains that this was, at its essence, poor communication between Theo and Dempster. Theo thought Dempster would be on board with either Atlanta or the Dodgers and then pursued both heavily thinking he would accept either. And that is where the communication breakdown occurred. Theo may have misinterpreted Dempster’s “OK” to proceed or Dempster backtracked.

    1. gutshot5820

      I know that Dempster partly deserves the criticism… but what about the FO? This happened on their watch. They did a helluva poor job of communicating with Dempster, they should have known his true intentions the whole time…. unless Dempster misled them to believe he would accept a trade to Atlanta.

      1. anotherjp

        That’s precisely what happened. Does anyone truly believe that a FO went thru all the DD to fashion a deal with the Braves w/o consulting with Demp? If anyone was blindsided here it was Theo & Jed… that also explains the terse message they sent out this morning via Olney that they were prepared to retain Dempster the rest of the season and give a QO. Basically told LA & Dempster to wise up or say goodbye to trade. I’d be pissed too if I spent weeks of time pursuing a transaction just to be punked at the last minute.

        1. pfk

          I agree. This is Dempster’s doing and if I were Theo I’d not be very happy with him. And, if its true, Dempster is on my sh** list. One thing I’ll never understand is why others thought the Cubs would sign him next year as a free agent. That would make zero sense.

    2. Boogens

      Excerpts from Frank Wren’s comments:

      “…they had a meeting with him a couple weeks ago and laid it out, and the primary two suitors were us and the Dodgers…. 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.”

      Not sure how you can form that opinion when the GM of the other team just told you that the Cubs were communicating with him. There is conjecture in his statement but you must be ignoring his whole statement if you’re suggesting that it’s “fact” that there was poor communication from the FO to Dempster.

  19. HawkClone

    At first I was extremely happy for Brett about all the volume to his site and all the comments, but I definitely agree the comments have gotten out of hand. What Brett does is an art; he simultaneously reports, entertains, and forms a relationship with his readers. Each of his stories is a piece of art and some of the comments blemish that piece. It’s like taking a painting and writing vulgarity across it. (Obviously, it’s not a paining, but I’m sure Brett is as proud of each of his stories as a painter is with his works). Keep painting, Brett, and hopefully people will stop tarnishing your works.

    1. Joker

      Couldn’t have said it better.

  20. Leo

    Just heard on ESPN Cubs have told LA what they want for Dempster and are willing to keep him the remainder of the year and offer him arbitration if he calls there bluff he will be notified he will pitch out of the bullpen

    1. nkniacc13

      I wonder if thats if he accepts arb he would pitch out of bullpen not the rest of this season

      1. dudeski

        this is correct

  21. thejackal

    damn throwwin demp under bus publicly?? tellen everyone he will pitch out of bullpen?

    1. JP

      What? WE informed Demp that he’ll be pitching out of the pen? I need someone to co-sign on that for conformation. That would make us look like morons for having statistically the best SP in the league and moving him to the pen as punishment.

  22. Rich

    Brett
    Is your art on eBay?

  23. anotherjp

    Peter Gammons has said that Cubs have asked Dempster if he’d consider the AL if it were a trade to a West coast team (LAA, As). Would be a substantial development if he agreed to that, but who could we get worthwhile? AJ Cole, Garrett Richards, Sonny Gray seem to be the best they could offer and none of them are as good as Delgado.

    1. anotherjp

      This also seems to imply that Dempster to the Dodgers is all but dead at this point. That or just getting more competition for a trade.

  24. yoga master

    Dempster wants to take his talents to Hollywood, good fit.[IMGhttp://i49.tinypic.com/2wreyv8.jpg[/IMG][/img]

    1. Whiteflag

      I can’t get the photo to work either.

  25. Mysterious4th

    Dempster has beat around the bush saying “what’s best for the team” if that means him going to another team for a few months with the possibility of a ring and the team gets a darn good prospect in return to help with the future of this team he loves so much and then come back in the off season. Everybody wins. I’m sure he made enough off the cubs to rent a house in atlanta for 3 months and have his family there as a “vacation” he wouldnt be seeing them much less since half of his time he’d be on the road if he was in atlanta. Its only a few months. I understand his 10/5 but he’s acting like a diva on a power trip. He’s an MLB player, trades are a huge part. If he only intended on accepting a trade to LA then he should have been truthful with the FO instead of stringing him along. I used to think he was as much of a class act and kerry wood, now that’s starting to change! I’m having sosa/milton bradley/aramis rameriz flashbacks!

  26. cubsin

    I hope Dempster’s wife has been following all this on the internet. Dempster’s probably been too busy dealing with his trade options and preparations for today’s game to understand how many Cubs fans have turned against him since the Atlanta trade rumors leaked. Perhaps she can explain to him that he’s lost the support of many, if not most, Cubs fans. In my case, at least, he can never win back my respect.

    1. Internet Random

      In my case, at least, he can never win back my respect.

      Never? What if the Braves trade actually went through and it came out that Dempster was in cahoots with the front office the whole time in a joint effort to extract the best possible deal from the Braves?

      I’m not suggesting that this is likely, only that there might be key facts we’re not aware of.

      Having said that, allow me to reiterate that if things are in fact as they seem, I’m going to have a very, very, very low opinion of Dempster.

  27. thejackal

    marmol and 3b prospect to giants for some arms???? anyone ? brett?luke? moses? lol

  28. spearman

    The Dodgers are catching up to the cards fast when it comes to my displeasure for them!

  29. mudge

    Opinions are like diverticulae.

  30. Brian Peters

    Amen, Cubsin!! I hope she can get through to him, too……but I doubt she could even if she wanted to, which I doubt she would. I think they should do away with the 10/5 rule. Of a team wants to trade you, they should always have that option.