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Are you ready to be twisted/turned/made cynical once again?

Bruce Levine reports that Ryan Dempster is perfectly willing to consider a deal to a team *other* than the Los Angeles Dodgers, if the Cubs simple present him with it before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. From Levine:

The Los Angeles Dodgers are not the only team Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster would accept a trade to, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Dempster will consider a number of teams, including the Atlanta Braves and Dodgers, if the Cubs come to him with a deal in place, the source said.

“He has not said that he wouldn’t go to Atlanta or anywhere else for that matter,” the source said. “He wants to take his time and has earned the right to wait on approving a deal having his 10-5 rights.”

So, there are a number of reactions to this that I’d expect from folks.

The first is probably something like, “RRRAAAAA THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU ACCEPT THE BRAVES DEAL ON MONDAY!?!?”

The second is probably something like, “Baa, this is just another cheap attempt to help the Cubs get some leverage with the Dodgers.”

The third is probably something like, “Baa, this is just Dempster trying to save face in Chicago.”

I’m not saying all of those reactions are wrong, but I think something in the middle of all three of them is probably where the truth lies. Yes, this “revelation” certainly makes Dempster look slightly better, and definitely could help the Cubs in their discussions with the Dodgers. And, yes, it does make you a little annoyed that Dempster didn’t just green light the Atlanta deal on Monday.

But at least it’s something. We came into the day without any hope. This is something.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: it really could be the case that Dempster has been willing to go other places all along, but simply wanted to give the Cubs as much time as possible to extract the best possible offer from the Dodgers before deciding what to do. That stance would be simultaneously beneficial to him in his efforts to get to LA, and harmful to him – on the one hand, it gives the Cubs leverage in discussions with LA, but on the other hand it makes it possible for the Cubs to once again bring him a better offer from another team. Further, if the Dodgers don’t really want Dempster all that much – as has been reported – this “revelation” doesn’t really help bring Dempster to LA at all.

In other words, I’m not so sure this is just a self-serving leak by the Dempster camp.

This doesn’t explain why Dempster apparently initially told the Cubs – and Braves players – that he was willing to to go Atlanta in the Randall Delgado deal, and then changed his mind. Maybe he made a mistake, and realized how badly he wanted to go to LA. Maybe he decided he would only go somewhere else if it was at the last possible minute, and no decent deal was forthcoming from LA. Maybe that’s how this will play out.

For now, it sure would be nice to believe that Dempster simply made a mistake in being overly amenable to an Atlanta trade, changed his mind – temporarily – and then the Braves, understandably, pulled the offer. From there, Dempster has been pushing the Cubs to get a deal done with LA, but, if they can’t, he’ll be willing to go elsewhere. And that’s not just Atlanta, mind you – it could be a number of teams looking for a pitcher.

Maybe I’m just being hopeful.

UPDATE (at 5:18pm CT): Jayson Stark says that a deal between the Cubs and Dodgers isn’t dead, but, from the Dodgers’ perspective, they may be waiting to see if the price on Josh Johnson drops (the price is said to be extreme, by the way). Buster Olney reiterates, though, that things are at a stalemate between the Cubs and Dodgers, with each side knowing full well where the other stands, and neither moving right now.

UPDATE 2 (at 5:27pm CT): Dave Kaplan files a new report, which squares with everything Levine reported above – I suspect the Cubs/Dempster were working hard to get this story out there. Here’s the most important point, which is essentially a restatement of my “hope” from the original post: “Sources also confirmed to me today that Dempster has not told Cubs management that he will only play for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His position appears to be that he will consider any option that sends him to a team with a chance to win a World Series. The sticking point with the original deal with Atlanta was the fact that by making the trade early in the week it eliminated any chance for LA to increase its offer and Dempster wanted time to give the Dodgers a chance to increase their proposal so that he could play out west and with Ted Lilly.” Again, it doesn’t absolve the apparent flip-flop, but it’s a best-case scenario right now. Once again, I want to point out: say what you will about Kap, but I’ve now been told by two sources that Kap’s sources on this the last two days (despite apparent conflicts) must be good ones. Is that meta enough for you? In other words, I trust my sources, and they’re saying Kap knows what he’s talking about right now. So there you go.

UPDATE 3 (at 6:31pm CT): Zack Greinke was just traded to the Angels, which is almost certainly good news for the Cubs. Among other reasons, the Braves (and possibly the Dodgers) were interested in Greinke, so that’s one more option off the table for them. Full reaction and implications to the Greinke deal here.

UPDATE 4 (at 7:16pm CT): A couple Braves’ beat writers have checked in with thoughts on the Greinke deal. Dave O’Brien says the price on starters may have just gone up for the Braves. Mark Bowman says the Braves will have to continue to evaluate their options, including Dempster. He adds, though, that the team is trying to be creative, and might go after Wade Davis from the Rays.

UPDATE 5 (at 7:51pm CT): Jerry Crasnick reports that the Cubs and Dodgers are talking about a Dempster/Josh Lindblom swap, which should trouble you. Lindblom is 25-year-old reliever with decent numbers for the Dodgers this year. But, like, he’s a middle reliever. A good one, maybe, but a middle reliever. Crasnick adds that he doesn’t know what other pieces would be involved in such a deal. Let’s hope the answer is “many much better ones.”

UPDATE 6 (at 8:09pm CT): Phil Rogers talks about how badly the Braves want Ryan Dempster now that Zack Greinke is off the market, which is all well and good, but it doesn’t much matter if Dempster is going to keep waiting on LA, and the Cubs are seriously entertaining the possibility of taking less from LA just to get the deal done. Let’s hope they aren’t, and that Dempster will indeed reconsider.

UPDATE 7 (at 8:12pm CT): You can’t make this stuff up. A “second source” tells Crasnick that Lindblom as part of a package to the Cubs is “completely unfounded.” Dude, ask around before you tweet, maybe?

  • Kubphan82

    Dempster really really wanted LAD, the Braves really wanted Dempster (evidence Delgado offer)… Now that LAD isn’t reciprocating his public show of affection, instead flirting with his current teammate, he’s their “last resort”… Dempster flubbed up the love, Love triangles rarely ever work anyway..

  • calicubsfan007

    I really don’t think that Demp’s about face (whether it be true or not) will make him look better, it just shows that he may realize that him being the “hammer” was screwing him over.

  • Curt

    Like the Nike slogan ” just do it.”. Already!!

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Brett, how good would a rotation with lee and delgado in it be?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, that’s a bit ahead of ourselves (even if the Cubs got them). It could be great, it could be crappy. Or they could flame out and never even be in the rotation together.

  • Deer

    the only story here is Levine spinning an article to help out his buddy Demp

  • calicubsfan007

    I do not think that it is humane to talk about the daughter. Sure, he might be using her as an excuse, but that is no reason to attack him/ her for that. I am as pissed at him as anyone else, but that doesn’t mean I am going to attack his family members or question whether or not his daughter is a valid reason.

    • calicubsfan007

      Clarification: “Him” being Demp, “Her” being the daughter obviously

    • Cheryl

      Absolutely, don’t attack his family.

      • Sosa23

        when did anyone attack his family? I’m pretty sure everyone is just attacking him.. and rightfuly so.

  • Kyle

    So if the braves are reportedly now looking for bench help, maybe Theo and Jed can offer Reed Johnson with Ryan Dempster. I see two good things coming out of this. 1) This could bring back an even better return (Delgado and others). 2) This might help Dempster convince himself that Atlanta would not be to bad, having a friend there with him (Ted Lilly replacement). That is my little bit of optimism out of this mess.

    • Kyle

      I got the info that the Braves are now focusing on Bullpen and Bench help from a Jayson Stark report.

  • BeyondFukudome

    As I said earlier, it’s way too late for Dump to save face. The douche is already out of the bag.

  • Sosa23

    trade the entire team to yankees for yankees triple-a organization?

  • Edwin

    I just can’t believe that Dempster would be so selfish as to consider his own wants and needs above those of the fans of the team he currently plays for.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Right now there is more hatred to Dempster than Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Jerry Sandusky, Saddom Houssein combined just because he used his 10/5 rights geez

    • MaxM1908

      Hey, what did those guys ever do to hurt the Cubs? :)

      Enough with the hyperbole.

    • TWC

      I still hate Hendry the most.

      • Sosa23

        I hate milton bradley the most.

        • http://bleachernation loyal100more

          BARTMAN!!!

          • MaxM1908

            Nah, Bartman was just an innocent by-stander fan. He wasn’t paid any money to help out a team. I still don’t understand why Bartman is vilified over Alex Gonzales who botched a routine ground ball that started the Marlins’ rally. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1yFTofRJr4

            • http://bleachernation loyal100more

              this is true…but doesnt remove him from HIGH hate in chicago ya know

            • Sandberg

              It’s not Bartman’s fault, but if he (or any other fan) doesn’t touch that ball, I think the Cubs win. After that happened, a (self fulfilling) sense of doom was hanging over the field.

      • Dumpgobbler

        Why? He certainly had his up and downs, but he had limitations that this FO clearly doesn’t.

    • BeyondFukudome

      What a crock of crap. This is a Cubs baseball blog, so of course people are expressing opinions here about a Cubs baseball player and are not expressing irrelevant opinions about about any of those other people. Only a troll would bring them up on a baseball blog.

  • jim

    I really do like RYAN DUMPSTER (sorry, DEMPSTER!)
    BUT, BRYAN, make your stinking mind up! ALSO, the
    CUBS are telling us that they are “RE-BUILDING”.
    I will say this, I love the CUBS infield & even though
    he’s had a good year, I AM very tired of SORIANO!
    The CUBS, amongst better pitching NEED to LEARN
    how to play “small” ball when the opportunity presents
    itself. ALSO, RISP is a huge problem with the CUBS.
    OK, where are all these trades the CUBS were going
    to make? hmmmmmmmmmmm……… PRAY VERY HARD!

  • gutshot5820

    Brett, just when I started to think I was out of this whole Dempster saga….you pull me back in.

  • Kurt

    “In other words, I’m not so sure this is just a self-serving leak by the Dempster camp.”

    Really Brett, do you so want to believe this obvious face saving gesture that you’re ready to buy this pablum?

    Please tell me you didn’t also fall for all that “hope and change” bovine scatology because if so, I think I may be seeing a pattern here!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think I was pretty open and honest about where I stand. I’m simply not sure, and I’m always tainted by hope.

    • Abe Froman

      Kurt, good words, but don’t be myopic yourself (myopic is a good one too!). There is a defeatist mentality that some advocate, ‘The Cubs stink and always will and won’t fool me into believing they’ll ever not.’

      The situation is fluid and we have bits and pieces of leaks at this point. The deadline is Tuesday, not yesterday. I am glad Theo and Jed are holding strong instead of caving for another Blake DeWitt type player.

      Garza’s injury and Dempster’s flip flop have thrown their plan off and they are adjusting, but not going to make a low-ball trade for the sake of making a trade. I think it’s still a sellers market and in the end we will get something out of it, even if the Garza ransom looks off the table until the off season. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d rather not see Theo set a precedent that he will cave in these negotiations.

      • Kurt

        Abe, you misjudge me.

        “Kurt, good words, but don’t be myopic yourself (myopic is a good one too!). There is a defeatist mentality that some advocate, ‘The Cubs stink and always will and won’t fool me into believing they’ll ever not.’”

        I don’t believe that for a second, especially with Thoyer running things.

        “The deadline is Tuesday, not yesterday.”

        Totally agree, but as both Demp and Garza’s injuries show, you don’t want to wait until the last second (see what the Brewers/Angels just did) to pull off a good trade. Demp’s apparent about face AFTER Thoyer appeared to have achieved a monster score from the Braves may still happen, BUT, Dempster’s games have only roiled the matter. He apparently thinks he’s more beloved than he is.

        “Garza’s injury and Dempster’s flip flop have thrown their plan off and they are adjusting, but not going to make a low-ball trade for the sake of making a trade.”

        Don’t want them too. Would rather keep Ryan at this point if we can’t get at least Delgado. Was never high on getting rid of Garza without a monster return in the first place.

        I’m believe none of the things you seem to think that I do.

        I just see Dempster as man whose word may be of no value.

        If in fact he said the Braves was one of the teams he would go to, gave Thoyer the OK, then backed after they had probably moved heaven and earth to accomplish this trade, when he actually had to put pen to paper, then I think what he did lacks honor.

        I know, a quaint thought in today’s time, but the one thing a man has is his word…sadly to many that means a lot less than it does for men of my era

  • anotherjp

    Sounds like there’s other deals in the works besides Dempster. Giants apparently are talking about picking up Marmol… if the Cubs pay all but $1M or so of his salary for this year and next could we possibly get a couple of their low level prospects? e.g., Clayton Blackburn, Gregorio, and Seth Rosin seem like intriguing possibilities with high upside.

    Hot Stove Cubbies also referenced an alleged 3-way proposal with the Cubs, Red Sox, and another team exchanging Carl Crawford, Soriano, and ?? I wonder what’s up with that and who might want whom? Red Sox would have to eat a bunch of salary for this to even be close to a reality- even with Sori in the mix.

    • North Side Irish

      I’d love to see the Cubs move Marmol and create an opening at closer. So Ryan, we need a closer, you’ve got experience, and since you’re apparently going to be here for the second half…

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    I was wrong in putting those evil guys on here go ahead I don’t care anymore make fun of Dempster all you guys want to. I can’t control what you guys say like you can’t control what I say. However I do appologize if you took what I said offensive.

    Like I said keep your Dempster name calling up I don’t care anymore.

  • gutshot5820

    I know there is time left but so far the FO is failing in my opinion. Whether or not Dempster misled them or not, they should have done a better job of finding his true intentions. This all happened under their watch. Also, the Cubs are in complete sell mode and they have traded ZERO players. What the heck. Trade somebody, anybody!!!

    • Toby

      So you want them to trade someone just for the sake of trading someone, think that the lack of trading by the FO makes them a failure, and trades can happen just like that? So, by your rationale, Hendry must have been the greatest GM ever.

      • gutshot5820

        Well, you can reason any way you want, But it was a total communication failure on their part.

        • gutshot5820

          Hendry would have probably traded Dempster for a bag of balls but he always had a good relationship with the players. He would have at least known the truth of Dempster’s intentions.

        • bt

          Actually gutshot, i think the problem is that you really shouldn’t reason any way you want.

          • gutshot5820

            Wow, nice intelligent response. Thanks for your input.

            • AB

              You must have loved Dusty Baker. He had a great relationship with his players too.

            • gutshot5820

              You are missing my point. The fact that they had no clue what Dempster was thinking is a failure in my opinion. But whatever, if you think that’s not their fault, who cares, I’m just voicing my opinion.

              • MaxM1908

                It was a failure for them to take Dempster at his word? FO’s are now expected to read the minds of their players and anticipate that they may lie to them about their intentions?

                • AB

                  Hendry’s psychic and ESP specialists sure sucked at drafts and predicting how good his teams would be at baseball, but hey they were great in predicting what the players wanted.

                • gutshot5820

                  Okay whatever, I guess they should have absolutely no blame. I know in my job and most jobs, if I’m the manager and an employee screws up under my watch, I’m going to take some heat, whether or not it was my fault.

                  • MaxM1908

                    The only fault of the FO was trusting Dempster. I’m sure they’ve learned from that mistake. The fans should learn from it too.

    • Frank

      I don’t know that we have enough information to say that–remember, the leak to the Atlanta media short-circuited the whole process. The FO may have intended to take the deal to Dempster before it was finalized to get his approval, but they never had the chance. Had the story not been leaked, the FO might’ve taken the deal to Dempster, who would’ve asked to try to get a better deal from the Dodgers. If it had happened that way, the deal would likely have been quashed and no one would’ve been the wiser, and we wouldn’t be going through all this.

      I don’t agree, however, with the “trade anybody” thought–I’d say make a deal only if it makes sense. The FO could probably make a deal with LA for Dempster right now, but if LA’s offering nothing, I say don’t make the deal.

      • MaxM1908

        As I’ve said on here before, the only thing that the leak accomplished was shedding light on Dempster’s true character. Yes, the deal would have been quashed and we would have been none the wiser to Dempster’s two-faced actions. We’d still be lauding him and asking “Why is there no love for Dempster? The FO must be screwing up the negotiations.” I, for one, am glad the leak happened so I now have a good idea of the kind of man Dempster is, and I won’t be blindly loving a guy who clandestinely screwed over the Cubs.

  • paul

    F DEMPSTER

  • Fastball

    I think the Braves will still take Dumpster for Delgado. But maybe Theo can do a deal with Cherington and get a better return but thats guessing. I hope Theo can still do a deal for Garza. With the right medical documentation and a provision for his health. Some type clause in the trade agreement insuring Garza’s health. He can make a deal happen. Still plenty of time to work these deals. Later it gets there be less posruring and more dealing done.

  • quintz

    So if the trade deadline comes and goes and Dempster is still here, wouldn’t it behoove the Cubs for him to pitch well? That way his value would be high enough so the $12.5M QO wouldn’t be tempting for him to take and they would get their supplemental pick after he leaves?

    I hear people talking about benching him or relegating him to the pen is why I ask.

  • Dave

    I’m so confused!

  • Mike

    My theory is the Braves intentionally leaked this trade because they had an idea that Theo/Jed would go to the Dodgers and see this is what we got from the Braves, if you can match it, Dempster is yours.

    • MaxM1908

      I’ve thought the same thing. They probably figured that once it was public, the fans would be rejoicing and Dempster would have no choice but to accept it to salvage his legacy. They, like the FO, probably never anticipated that Dempster would be thinking and saying two completely different things.

  • Anc13nt Evil

    Dempster and Garza should have been traded WEEKS ago. After Demp had his little DL stint, they should have considered themselves lucky and dumped em both then. Granted i’m not in the FO, but don’t tell me it takes weeks and weeks of trading names back and fourth like your working out some sort of peace treaty. They waited and waited, now Demp might not get traded, Garza is injured and the team is left holding their d*cks in their hand. I understand at least some of this might be Demp’s doing, but what about Garza???

    • dudeski

      it’s amazing how people can blame the FO for this

      • gutshot5820

        Well, how can you say they are doing everything right? It is possible they misjudged the market and overplayed their hand. They maybe waited too long on Garza with injury risk. The goal is to extract maximum value for each player they are trading and so fat ZERO players have been traded and worse case scenario happened with the top two trade pieces. Blah, blah, blah we have a great FO. Show me the money. Where are the results?

        • MaxM1908

          They had a trade with Atlanta. It was a blockbuster trade. It would have set the value of the market. If the Cubs can get Delgado and a minor prospect for Dempster, imagine how much they get for Garza! Then, Dempster goes and screws it up. He retracts his earlier statements and forces the FO to concentrate on HIM for the next five days rather than on moving Garza and others. So, now they’ve lost time due to Dempster, they don’t have the precedent of Delgado for Dempster for the market value of Garza. So, teams can set back and let the market remain unknown and keep throwing out low-ball offers. I really don’t see how it’s their fault that they’ve had to bend over backwards for a prima donna. The lack of trades is directly related to the Dempster fiasco.

          • dudeski

            this. delgado alone was far more than what the cubs deserved to get for dempster

          • gutshot5820

            Okay, but obviously Theo got played by Dempster, I’m saying he is partly to blame for being duped, whether he knew it or not. It is his job to know and at the end of the day everything that could go wrong did under his watch. Just to take a different point of view, if this happened under Hendry, the amount of venom towards Hendry would be laughable.

            Just to be clear, I truly like our FO, I just think they deserve partial blame for not being fully prepared and so far the results have been disappointing. Of course, that can change in a day or so.

            • dudeski

              what exactly should he have done to prevent it? read demps’ mind? tap his phones?

            • MaxM1908

              See, this just doesn’t make sense to me, and since we’re starting from different premises, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to ever agree on this issue. I take your argument to be “FO should have known Dempster was lying to them, and therefore deserves some of the blame.” This equates, in my mind, to an argument that all fraud victims should be blamed because somebody defrauded them. When somebody lies, it’s a reflection on their character. The victim should be blameless.

              • gutshot5820

                Well let’s see how this all plays out at the deadline. So far there have been ZERO deals and please don’t blame that on Dempster. Smart people can overplay their hand once in awhile and make mistakes. Timing is everything. All I’m saying is that so far, they have not been impressive with their execution SO FAR, regardless of Dempster.

                • MaxM1908

                  I do blame Dempster, and I think it’s completely supportable by the facts. For every minute the FO has spent on Dempster these past 5 days, that’s one minute they could have spent pursuing other deals. Deals happen through negotiation and negotiation takes time. Dempster monopolized their time this week, and he wouldn’t have if the trade had been finalized on Monday.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I’m at the point that I just don’t care anymore. Trade or not, he just isn’t on my caring radar.

  • AJ

    If the Dodgers are smart they will string the Cubs along until the deadline. They don’t want Dempster, but don’t want Atlanta to get him either.

  • Cheryl

    I’m at the point where , like Brett, I hope for the best. But at the same time I don’t trust Dempster and will be glad when he goes.

  • Other other JP

    BS, not buying anything he says until he’s on a plane. Fool me once sort of thing. I think it’s bogus he wanted to give LA a chance because all he did with them was lower the pricetag.

  • Brad

    LAA got Greinke, I’m assuming this is very good for the Cubs.

  • Mdel78

    Seeing rumors that Greinke is going to the Angels (I’m sure Brett is typing this update as we speak). Thoughts? I think it’s a positive because it (A) not the Braves, (B) maybe makes the Rangers more aggressive and (C) they weren’t really tied with the Cubs pitchers and now one less candidate is on the market.

    • MaxM1908

      It’s VERY good for the cubs for the reasons you stated. Any word on the prospects? That could also help establish the market for Dempster and Garza.

      • fortyonenorth

        “Milwaukee will receive top infield prospect Jean Segura and two Double-A pitchers.”

  • Dustin S

    So he hasn’t said he will decline a trade to any team…but he won’t approve a trade anywhere but LA. Not approving a trade to anywhere but LA === declining a trade anywhere but LA. Nothing new, just semantics and more BS.

    I do have some confidence (based on the Boston Theo compensation deal) that Theo will stick to his guns in dealing with LA and not accept a lowball offer for Dempster or Garza. The unfortunate part of the Garza and Dempster issues is that this trade deadline was going to be a highlight of a mostly frustrating season. Hopefully the FO can pull off some surprises. My guess is LA is lowballing now thinking they can always up the ante closer to the deadline and the Cubs will take it.

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