It’s Thursday: Do You Know Where Your Ryan Dempster is? (UPDATE: Cubs and Dodgers at a Stalemate for Now)

Thankfully (or not, depending on your perspective), today’s been a relatively quiet Ryan Dempster day. Don’t get me wrong: I know we’re getting close to the Trade Deadline, and, yes, I definitely fall on the please-trade-him-and-get-quality-prospects side of things. But, man, I’m glad to have gotten a day largely off from the frustration, obsession, an acrimony that has followed this story.

It wasn’t a completely silent day, however, and I don’t expect it to be a completely silent night. Right now, things are pretty much underground (here’s last night’s set of updates, with the latest until now). We know that Dempster has not officially, formally rejected the Atlanta trade (which would have sent Randall Delgado to the Cubs), and we know that the Braves have not completely and irrevocably said that talks with the Cubs are dead. But we also know that Dempster isn’t crazy about going to the Braves, and we know that the Cubs are scrambling to try and work out a deal with the Dodgers that doesn’t require a subsequent hospital visit. For his part, Dempster says he’s thinking things over today, but we don’t know that there’s anything to think about right now.

Here are the latest tidbits on the Ryan Dempster Saga (with updates, if applicable, to follow below) …

  • Jayson Stark reports that the Dodgers remain optimistic that they can get Dempster from the Cubs. I could be perfectly satisfied (more than) with a Zach Lee deal, or an Allen Webster/Garrett Gould/Chris Withrow type return. But, right now, I don’t see any reason the Dodgers would give up that much, given how things have played out. Maybe if they can get an extension out of Dempster?
  • At least one executive tells Ken Rosenthal that there’s “no way” the Cubs will keep Dempster through the deadline, and then make him a qualifying offer after the season, for the reasons I’ve said before. For one thing, the return in that scenario is merely one pick, after the first round (a pick you have to then sign), and it requires Dempster actually turning down some $12.5 million for 2013 from the Cubs. That’s a risk that I doubt the Cubs want to take. Hence my doubt that the Cubs can extract quite as much value out of the Dodgers as they were about to get from Atlanta.
  • For what it’s worth, I’ve heard that the Cubs haven’t totally given up on the Atlanta deal, and instead hope to be able to convince Dempster to head there, if they can’t work things out with LA. There could be very little there, though.
  • Joel Sherman cites an exec who wonders whether the Cubs might “kick in $1M extra to convince Dempster to go to ATL.” Does he mean, give Dempster $1 million as, like, go-away money? If the Dodgers’ offer is Garrett Gould and Chris Withrow, and the Braves’ offer is Randall Delgado, of *course* that difference is worth $1 million. But, I mean, can you do that? Can you just give a dude $1 million, not as salary, just as a one-time bonus, to forgo blocking a trade?

UPDATE (at 3:43pm CT): Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs and Dodgers “might” be getting close on a deal. (Which necessarily means they might “not” be getting close, which is kind of like saying nothing at all.) If true, here’s hoping the Cubs have been able to persuade the Dodgers that the Braves’ deal is still on the table, and, if the Dodgers don’t match it, Demp will go there. Probably a really, really tough sell at this point (unless it’s true, that is).

UPDATE 2 (at 4:57pm CT): The Brewers’ GM just confirmed what we all already knew – the Brewers are going to be trading Zack Greinke by the deadline. The Braves are very interested, so your rooting interest on Greinke is that the White Sox somehow magically pull the pieces out of nowhere to land him.

UPDATE 3 (at 5:10pm CT): Dave Kaplan says the deal with the Dodgers is getting close. Various options are still being discussed between those teams, and they’ve even talked about the possibility of bringing in a third team (which always sounds like a great idea, but complicates things exponentially). I’m still suspect that the Cubs can get even close to a Delgado-like deal here, but we’ll see.

UPDATE 4 (at 5:26pm CT): Here’s a more complete take from Kaplan, which goes into a bit of the backstory on the Braves’ deal. The gist is, the Cubs thought they had an understanding with Dempster that they could negotiating with either the Braves or Dodgers, and then they got a better offer from the Braves. When Dempster through up a roadblock (albeit possibly temporary), asking the Cubs to try once more with the Dodgers, the Braves pulled their offer so they could explore other options. Theo was apparently furious. And that’s where we stand, as the Cubs try to get an acceptable deal from the Dodgers. The Cubs, Kap says, are trying to net a “handful” of pitching prospects, which suggests they will generally be of a lesser tier than Delgado.

UPDATE 5 (at 7:12pm CT): A really, really crappy update. Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs resorted to offering Dempster to the Dodgers for Allen Webster straight up. And the Dodgers said, “no.” Two weeks ago, that would have been an understandable offer and rejection. Webster, a fringe top 100 guy, is in the range of what the Cubs could have hoped for, we thought, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have that offer rejected. But after the way things have played out? Knowing that Dempster’s value in this market is considerably higher? I can almost taste the balls that were just kicked up into my stomach. To date, Heyman says, the Dodgers have stuck to offering lesser prospects who might project as relievers (Gould and Withrow, perhaps?). Part of the reason the Dodgers are lowballing the Cubs – in addition to their extreme leverage, of course – is the fact that they still prefer Matt Garza. But don’t think the Cubs can just deal Garza to the Dodgers and then force Dempster to go to the Braves – Heyman reports Dempster TOLD some Braves players that he was going to come there, and then changed his mind. Now, the Braves are upset, and view Dempster as a guy who doesn’t want to be there – and the Braves culture doesn’t really look kindly on guys who don’t want to be there. What a crapshow.

UPDATE 6 (at 7:20pm CT): Big surprise, Buster Olney says Dempster is holding firm on his desire to go to LA. Increasingly, I’m growing irked not only that Dempster rejected the trade to Atlanta after apparently telling everyone that he would go, but also that he apparently – literally – will go nowhere but LA. It’s a complete 180 from everything he’s said this year about what would happen when the Cubs looked to deal him. I’m not saying there might not be a good reason – a personal, family reason, for example – but, as a fan, it’s deeply frustrating. And saddening.

UPDATE 7 (at 7:26pm CT): Something else from that Heyman article that bears particular mention – maybe it isn’t just that LA is making crappy offers because they have all the leverage. Maybe, as Heyman suggests, they don’t actually want Dempster all that much.

UPDATE 8 (at 7:32pm CT): Still stewing about this latest report. At this point, a few things are apparent, and I’m ready to adopt them into my official narrative. The Cubs negotiated with the Braves AND the Dodgers for a while. Dempster was aware. The Dodgers offered crap, consistently, because they don’t love Dempster. The Braves got desperate, and offered Delgado. The Cubs leapt to take the offer, and informed Dempster, who spoke to some Braves players and suggested that he’d be taking the deal. Then he changed his mind. We don’t know the reasons (blaming the media leak is so totally bogus at this point). Now, the only reason he hasn’t formally rejected the deal is because he knows that, if he does, the Cubs can’t even *pretend* they have an offer on the table from the Braves when they negotiate with the Dodgers, which makes his chances of going there even less.

UPDATE 9 (at 8:39pm CT): And now Kaplan goes back on his earlier report, and essentially adopts the Heyman line: “Just spoke with a great source who told me that the Dodgers are balking at including what the Cubs need to make a Dempster deal.” Kap adds that Theo and Jed aren’t looking to appease Dempster here – they’ll only make the deal if it makes sense for the Cubs.

UPDATE 10 (at 8:52pm CT): Kap tweets out a few more things that are identical to the Heyman story (I’m not saying Kap lifted them, I’m saying Kap is obviously hearing the same thing as Heyman, which makes it more likely to be true). In sum, the Dodgers don’t want to include Webster in the deal, and the Cubs won’t do it without Webster (well, or, presumably, Zach Lee). Kap calls the Dodgers’ offer “very suspect,” and says the Cubs aren’t going to cave. He adds, though, that it would be very uncomfortable for Dempster to still be on the roster come August 1 (you think?), and neither side is going to want that. But, like I asked Kap, at this point, what choice do the Cubs have?

UPDATE 11 (at 9:52pm CT): Kap expands on that tweet with another article, basically explaining that the Cubs and Dodgers are, presently, at a stalemate (look, you can rip on Kap all you want for quick changes in his stories, but at least he’s covering this – and, here’s the thing, sometimes the story DOES change rapidly, as we saw on Monday).

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

621 responses to “It’s Thursday: Do You Know Where Your Ryan Dempster is? (UPDATE: Cubs and Dodgers at a Stalemate for Now)”

  1. TheJDawg

    Okay nevermind, I just failed as I hit the refresh button instead of the close button.. must be habit… hey at least I tried…

  2. Shane McConnell

    I’m tired of all this Dempster talk… How about Matt Garza straight up for Jake Odorizzi from Kansas City, I seen the dude pitch for the Omaha Royals he is straight awesome!!!!!

    1. Ben in Nebraska

      Come on, they’re the Storm Chasers now!! haha And while Odorizzi is awesome, we may as well shoot for the moon and tell them to include Wil Myers as well!!

      1. Shane McConnell

        Well anyways looks like Matt Garza ‘s trade value went down more…. Zack Greinke’s officially being traded …..

        1. Jonski

          If healthy I respectfully disagree Garza has a extra year of control career numbers are close with Grienke having a cy young award and Garza a proven playoff pitcher .Grienke gets the star for better stuff,but is a flake .Talk about pissing away God given talent…Wow!

          1. Shane McConnell

            I agree on the extra year part.. But Zack Greinke is a beast!!!! You put him with the Rangers and he will be unstoppable with there offense. He’s also a proven A.L pitcher which makes him attractive. Also any contender would be dumb not to trade for him even if he doesn’t resign in the off-season…

            1. Jonski

              I guess but as a die hard Cubs fan that watched are on version of Grienke (Zambrano) as far as head cases not stuff wise if im a gm of any team I pass.As I said not even close Grienke is by far and away the better pitcher,but his anxiety disorders or however you want to classify it is what stops him from being a top 5 or even top 10 pitcher IMHO

              1. Shane McConnell

                I totally agree…. Zack Greinke is not a good clubhouse guy… I really hope Kansas City or the Blue Jays go for Garza there farm system is stacked full of talent. I’m also tired of all this Zach Lee talk, he is pitching in 5 starts in double A 9.45 ERA. Sorry i don’t see him any higher then a #3 starter, i could see a trade involving him for a Dempster but not Matt Garza. That’s just my opinion i guess.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  There is zilch evidence that Greinke is a “bad” clubhouse guy. Indeed, the only consistent trait I have seen of guys who turn out to be bad clubhouse guys is that the media identifies them as good clubhouse guys…..

                  1. Whiteflag

                    Greinke has social anxiety disorder. I would say that’s a little different than whatever causes Big Z to go crazy.

                  2. Jonski

                    Very good point Doc I was just commenting on his anxiety disorders and that might not even be fair , and Garza isn’t a angel I just don’t see a huge advantage in getting 1 over the other for this year anyway and this is all hinged or based on Garza being healthy.For me as far as value Garza gets the nod because of the extra year of control now if the Brewers were able to pull a sign and trade and I don’t even know if they do it in mlb then Grienke is ahead by miles.

                    1. dob2812

                      Greinke is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Matt Garza isn’t. He’s good but he doesn’t touch Greinke. How much do you think Matt Garza’s performance in the 2008 playoffs really matter at this stage? I’ve never heard anyone say that he’s a bad clubhouse guy and as for calling him a flake… That’s some insightful reading of the the guy’s career right there.

                      Aside from that, you would think that Garza’s extra year of control would put him in a slightly different market to Greinke. I’m sure the Cubs want to trade him (I want the Cubs too trade him) but who knows how they’ll find the time unless Dempster goes before the weekend. ‘Course these people do amazing things. I hope we see them traded almost just so we can see what Thoyer come up with.

          2. Brad

            I think the Cubs should be happy with even marginally highly rated prospects for either Dempster or Garza. Both are losing pitchers over their careers, although I would say both have shown streaks (short-lived at best) of great stuff. With that kind of inconsistency, especially Dempster who’s having a career year (although I think he will very shortly come back down to earth), the FO would be doing us well by getting decent prospects even if it isn’t Delgado or Lee. Basically, I hope both are moved for whoever the FO thinks will become a good to great player, while I would be OK with perhaps keeping Garza. But Dempster has to go regardless of who we get back (or else I fear we’ll get stuck with him if we give him a qualifying offer).

            1. Ogyu

              Shhhh! You’re not supposed to tell anybody that they aren’t really very good!

              1. Brad

                That is another reason why the leak was terrible. It has gotten all of our expectations up when in reality, I think it was a fluke moment of desperation on the part of Atl (especially with the Texiera deal fresh in the mind of the Braves and Braves fans. It would have been amazing if it had come to fruition, but at this point I think our expectations are just unrealistic and if we don’t bring them down, a lot of Cubs fans are going to be pretty damn disappointed. This is also why I think it is taking so long for there to be any deals involving Garza and Demp, scouts aren’t dumb (usually).

                1. BeyondFukudome

                  I think we’re entitled to be disappointed and to bring all of the crushing weight of our disappointment down on Dempster’s head.

            2. dudeski

              by losing pitchers do you mean W-L? if so, excuse me while i laugh my ass off

              1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                You’re excused, they are both 4 under .500. That shouldn’t be the only thing in the discussion, but it is what it is.

                1. Ogyu

                  The only thing more meaningless than W-L is W-L for minor league pitchers.

                  1. Brad

                    Well as a sidenote, Dempster clearly doesn’t give two shits about winning. He has chance to go to a contender in Atl, and needs this much time to think it over while on a horrible team. That should tell you all you need to know about his priorities. You think that fact was not realized by the Atl FO?

                  2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                    That may be true, but W-L get you to Cooperstown not anything you are thinking of. So, again it is far from important in a trade, but it wasn’t like the original poster was lying. It also is somewhat important if you want recognition from your peers. I didn’t see Dempster on the All Star team with his league leading ERA.

                2. dudeski

                  but it is what it is.

                  what? completely meaningless? i agree

                  1. Brad

                    Of course, it is completely meaningless if someone consistently loses in pressure situations…. Especially when they haven’t pitched well enough to even consistently get those opportunities… That all is baked into the w-l, like it or not. Hell, Dempster pitched amazing in 07 and 08 in the playoffs…right? Right? (crickets)

                    1. dudeski

                      this isn’t basketball. people’s careers don’t live and die because of postseason performances. and if your arguments based on the playoffs, i don’t know why you’re lumping garza with demp

                  2. Brad

                    Hence, why I wouldn’t mind Garza being kept. We can talk all the meaningless of W-L we want, but be honest and objective. Dempster is just not what his era is making him out to be. Average at best. (And, if I was trying to get a rent-a-player, like Atl is, I think playoff performance-not just W-L but also ERA which for Demp are abysmal- does play prominently in that decision actually.) So, I was merely reiterating that we should not be disappointed if we don’t get a stellar return. Or alternatively, we should be extremely upset with Dempster for having fucked the Cubs over by giving Atl a second chance at reevaluating his value and what they would give up. ;)

            3. ramon

              I agree with you, Brad! Both of them are average pitchers. I would keep Garza and hopefully get something decent for Dempster.

  3. steve

    I dont see the dodges offer coming anywhere close to the braves offer. zach lee has struggled this year and we probably wont get him anyway. i would almost rather have their 3 other starting pitchers than just lee. Im still holding out hope that when its all said and done dempster goes to the braves for delgado and maybe we dont get that second player that was reportedly in the deal.

  4. J R

    Who would the cubs be better off getting Lee or Delgado?

    1. TheJDawg

      I’d take Delgado in a hearbeat…

  5. J R

    Can’t we sweeten the pot to the Dodgers to get Lee for Demp? What about throwing LaHair or Russell in there? Get this done..

  6. gutshot5820

    Other MLB executives opinion about if Dempster will stay or go or whatever after the season is about as worthless as anyone’s opinion on BN.

    1. Internet Random

      I understand your point, but those guys have a far more informed point of view than almost anybody who hasn’t been in similar shoes.

  7. Ogyu

    You “might” have already won $1,000,000 from Publishers Clearing House.

  8. Damn cubs

    Just saw brewers GM said Greinke on his way out by trade deadline. Keeps getting better for Cubs. Grrrr

  9. MaxM1908

    Brett — Just listened to your spot on Midway Madness. That was some really top-notch analysis. Well done.

  10. MaxM1908

    I just saw a tweet that the Cubs are shooting for Ethan Martin in the Dempster deal, and that they may get him. Who is he? I see he’s a AA pitcher with some average to above average stats. Is he someone we should be excited about?

    1. dudeski

      he has terrible control, so probably not

      1. MaxM1908

        Could Martin be a throw-in with Reed or Webster? If so, would that be acceptable as a deal?

        1. Jonski

          Reed or Webster that better be with Lee …My thing is this you can be assured Dempster will sign extension as he has made it clear that is his#1 place to go that alone has to jack up price tag.

        2. someday...2015?

          I’d rather see Webster and Reed but Webster and Martin might be acceptable.

  11. Jonski

    Listed as #7 prospect in Dodgers system…That can’t be the center piece of the deal and if it is we need to check in on the mental stability of Dodger’s gm .

  12. aCubsFan

    There’s a new report out that says Dodgers are only willing to do a straight trade for Dempster. If the Cubs want multiple pieces they have to take lower level players.

    So anyway you look at this situation, Dempster has screwed over the Cubs.

    1. quintz

      What do you mean by “straight trade”? Like a 1 for 1 deal? Are you saying that lower level players don’t count as “pieces”? Not being a smart ass, just don’t understand that report. What is considered “lower level”?

      1. aCubsFan

        My bad. I mean’t ‘straight up’ or 1 for 1. Lower level means Double A or lower, and not good quality.

  13. Wester

    Hey Brett or Luke, any idea where our minor league system ranks now that soler and Almoravid are in the mix? Ive seen both of them ranked as top 50 guys, that should boost the system up a little right?

    1. Wester

      Should read “Almora are in the mix” apparently my iPad interprets “Almora” as “Almoravid”

    2. Luke

      Borderline Top 10 is where I’d have them for now, but any attempt at ranking systems is pointless this close to the trade deadline.

  14. Ogyu

    There’s a tweet saying that a Dempster trade to the Dodgers could be “imminent.” The link in the tweet took me to a site that read like it was written by our friend Shelby Menge’s less articulate brother.

  15. Ogyu
  16. Ogyu
  17. Ogyu

    David Kaplan says: “Epstein reportedly was livid when the deal with the Braves fell through.”

    Do you think?

    1. dudeski

      my sources tell me that there is a suspicious hole in theo epstein’s office wall. carlos boozer has denied responsibility

    2. MaxM1908

      I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he first realized what was going down. Particularly, if Dempster misled them about what he’d do, I’d love to hear what he had to say about Dempster.

      1. Jared

        I would have rather been a person whom everyone trusted…cause I don’t think fly’s understand humans, or the 3 in my house would be gone by now!!! JK!!! Sorry, trying to not think about this fiasco!!!

  18. Whiteflag

    Nice podcast. Interesting stuff.

  19. quintz

    Kaplan’s “source” was “painfully obvious assumptions”.

  20. MJW

    I think Ethan Martin would be a great guy to land as part of deal. His AA numbers are very solid and he keeps getting better. Could see John Ely coming as well. He’s not someone you’d expect to be a future ace, but his AAA numbers are solid and he could hold down a big league spot for a couple of years while this team gets things turned around. Martin, Gould, and Ely – and that’s better than Delgado. Furthermore, Atlanta is one of those organizations that rarely trades big time pitching prospects. They acquire arms… they don’t give them away. If they were willing to move Delgado straight up for Dempster, that alone concerns me.

    1. dudeski

      martin has average 6bb/9 in the minors. that’s not solid at all

    2. BeyondFukudome

      Yea, more guys to hold down a big league spot for a couple of years while this team gets things turned around. That’s really what we need.

  21. Whiteflag


    What was the joke about Paul Sullivan? He said you don’t know what you are talking about?

  22. Serious Cubs Fan

    I just can’t stop holding a grudge against Dempster. I understand he has 10-5 rights but he is hurt the cubs. I just dont think I will ever be a fan of ryan dempster again. I really like dempster but after he flip flop on the cubs I cant embrace him the same way. He has been x’d in my mind. If I was at his next start I would boo him unfortunately. I’m not proud of that but I would his decision would frustrated and ticked me off and I my opinion of him wont change unless we get a prospect of Delgado’s caliber which wont happen because the Dodgers wont give up Zach Lee

    1. BeyondFukudome

      I would boo him, too. And I’m proud of it. :)

  23. cubs4life

    the dempster saga is defiantly getting old.. i think at this point the best we can hope for from the dodgers is probably a hand full of mediocre prospects, we have absolutely no leverage. im not entirely sure trading him is even the way to go now, are we gonna get enough talent out of the trade that would equal a possible draft pick if we gamble and offer him a contract next year? that is assuming we are strictly in dealings with just the dodgers and the Atlanta deal is off the table..

  24. BeyondFukudome

    Whatever happens, if the Cubs end up any worse off than they would have been under the Delgado deal, I will continue to curse Dempster and his descendants through the sixteenth generation. But hey, that’s just me.

    1. cubs4life

      im still not blaming dempster, but i am blaming the huge leak in the Braves front office……..

      1. BeyondFukudome

        Read the latest Kaplan article. The leak had nothing to do with anything. Bottom line is, Dempster simply wanted to go to LA and refused to agree to Atlanta within a time period that was acceptable to the Braves, at which point they pulled out of the deal. It had nothing to do with the leak.

      2. MaxM1908

        I just really don’t understand that sentiment. What about this situation would change without the leak other than fans would be in the dark about Dempster screwing with the process and retracting his prior word. All that the leak accomplished was shedding light on the game Dempster was playing with the front office. The core of this catastrophe is Dempster saying one thing, and then reneging. Dempster is definitely the catalyst for this whole thing, and without the leak, nothing would have changed about him screwing the Cubs out of a great deal with Atlanta. The fans would just be oblivious to it all and still praising Dempster as a stand-up guy.

        1. BeyondFukudome

          You are correct, sir.

        2. Sandberg

          This is where I’m at too. I’m glad it’s out in the open.

    2. Wester

      Well its ok, Im sure plenty of people do the same to you

      1. BeyondFukudome

        Probably not. I’m actually a nice guy and don’t go around trying to be a hammer and make somebody else the nail.

  25. ShootTheGoat

    If the Orioles were interested in Garza, would we be able to pry Bundy away from them?

    1. Mdel78

      I would love to say yes, but Bundy isn’t going anywhere.

    2. Luke

      Not a chance.

    3. BeyondFukudome

      Al Bundy? Sure.

  26. Mdel78

    While I’m still disappointed in the whole situation, I’m holding out hope this turns out for the best. Maybe this has something to do with the Reed Johnson rumors… maybe the Dodgers are adding a piece with Johnson for the third team to get something more valuable back for the Cubs.

  27. MightyBear

    How about a break on another topic. Brett, do you know if the Cubs were able to finalize the deal on the pitcher from the Dominican Republic for 1.5 mil? You mentioned teams in the past weren’t able to complete the deal due to legal problems. I haven’t heard anything and I think it was last week. Seems like years ago with the Dempster stuff. Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

  28. Tennessee Cub

    Just curious to know if the Dodgers are interested in Garza and Dempster? How much more would they have to throw in with Lee to get both. Would Lee, Martin, Gould, and Ely be a good deal?

  29. dudeski

    so according kap demp dwight howard’ed us?

  30. Ogyu

    I think the one hope for possibly soothing the savage Cubs fans is if the FO can make a much bigger deal than the 1-for-1 Dempster-Delagado deal would have been. If a different deal is made on a small scale, it will be easy to compare the return to Delgado and, if that return seems deficient, the natives will remain restless. But if you make a new deal that is big enough and complicated enough, it will become hard to say whether or not the Cubs might really have done better than Delgado. At that point, i think the grumbling might diminish.

    1. Cyranojoe

      Trouble is, there were rumblings that it was Demp-for-Delgado+1. Starts to get tough to beat that via quantity without greatly sacrificing quality.