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[I’m not saying I coined “Ryan Dempster Trade Saga,” but I see it a lot of places after I started calling it that.]

Ryan Dempster is still expected to be dealt before tomorrow’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. But, unfortunately, the return on that deal is expected to be less than the-deal-that-wasn’t, last Monday’s Cubs/Braves deal that would have landed the Cubs 22-year-old pitching prospect Randall Delgado.

Dempster has received a considerable bit of grief for blocking that deal, and we still don’t know why the Cubs proceeded so aggressively on it without a firm belief that Dempster would accept the trade. It remains a possibility – and some sources have suggested it is the case – that Dempster told both the Cubs and the Braves that he would accept such a trade, before changing his mind at the last minute.

But it also remains a possibility that Dempster, although willing to consider a deal to the Braves, was not ready to accept such a trade before the Cubs had conclusively exhausted talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dempster’s preferred destination.

Gordon Wittenmyer offers yet another source who suggests that’s precisely the case, and that Dempster was just as upset as Theo Epstein about how the process played out last week. The Braves understandably put a timetable on the deal – 1pm on Tuesday, apparently – and pulled their offer when Dempster wasn’t ready to accept. It’s fair at this point to wonder whether the Cubs and Braves had the deal in place long before Monday, and the Braves leaked word of the deal to put pressure on Dempster to make a decision.

Wittenmyer also scored a few salient quotes from Dempster about the process.

‘‘Who’s to say I was going to say no or yes to whatever team,’’ Dempster told the Sun-Times Sunday. ‘‘All I said was that I just, at that time, needed to think about everything. Whether you’re single, married, divorced, kids, no kids, you’ve got to think about a lot of things if you’re going to [consider a decision] to leave.

‘‘I built a home here. I’ve been here almost nine years. The thought of leaving, no matter where it is, is a tough thing.’’

[In a roundabout way, Dempster was rejecting whispers that his decision not to go to Atlanta had to do with his ongoing divorce, a subject I’ve avoided discussing here, mostly because I’m not convinced it’s all that relevant. And, it’s one of those subjects that can veer the conversation off course.]

Dempster added that he does have a preference for a team that trains in Arizona – like the Dodgers – over one who trains in Florida – like the Braves.

‘‘I built a home in Arizona primarily because we have spring training there,’’ Dempster said. ‘‘I enjoy training more during the winter and things like that, so that changes a lot of elements. So there’s a lot of things I had to think about. And I’m still trying to sort through those things.’’

Ultimately, some sources say Dempster still winds up in Atlanta. Talks with the Dodgers are at a stalemate right now, according to some, with the Cubs having asked for 22-year-old pitching prospect Allen Webster, and the Dodgers having said, “pfft, we don’t want Dempster that bad, and you guys don’t have much of a choice here.”

Of course, Tim Brown just now reports that the Cubs and Dodgers are still working on a Dempster deal, and Ken Rosenthal has a source who tells him the two sides are also still discussing Alfonso Soriano as part of the deal, so what do we really know, eh?

I still think Dempster is going to go, and I still think it’s going to be to one of the Dodgers or Braves. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see another team or two jump into the mix by tomorrow.

  • Jim

    This is the first I am hearing about a divorce. That is sad. But I don’t think many of us are going to feel sorry about where he built his house since he should be plenty rich enough to have a house in every state!

    • http://punshouse.com Nate Corbitt

      A divorce? What are you talking about?

  • Brad

    Perhaps a blockbuster is in the works!

  • ETS

    The phillies apparently want to trade lee but acquire headly and choo. Can they decide if they are buying or selling?

    • dudeski

      RAJ is gonna run that team into the ground

      • Lou

        Yeah, what is the Phillies FO doing exactly? This is what leads me to conclude, that despite the credit baseball fans give to some FO offices making intelligent moves, baseball’s an end game of pandering to avg fans with stupid marketing decisions. What did the Phillies gain exactly by signing Hamels to that ridiculous contract–other than put payroll in a bind and now lead them to scramble to trade one of their $20 million players before the deadline. IF they can get Olt from the Rangers it’s a solid centerpiece in a trade but the moves they’re making are head scratchers.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Well, Cliff Lee has the highest average annual salary, so I don’t see why getting rid of that contract, dealt from their strength, and attempting to fill two holes with cheaper and productive players is a bad thing.
          If all three of those moves happened (Lee traded, Choo and Headley acquired), Philly is a better team now and in the future.

          • Lou

            If they can pull that off and acquire cheaper and younger players, I suppose. But why put yourself there in the first place? Couldn’t they have just done that with Hammels?

            • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

              Hamels is 28. Lee is 33. I’d rather have Hamels from here going forward. Especially with what Lee is owed. And I am a ‘UGE Cliff Lee fan.

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              Hamels would have been a free agent, so the team acquiring him only gets him for about 12 starts.
              The team that gets Lee gets him for a couple seasons.
              And of course the age thing…

              • Lou

                You’re assuming that though. What if the Rangers, Yankees, or Red Sox were to acquire him? Don’t think they would have signed Hammels to an extension? It’s certainly plausible. Teams do have money to get Hammels in a trade and extend. I’m sure if those team and others are involved a bidding war would have ensued for better prospects. Still can’t say Philly is better for this going forward. Maybe it’ll all work out in the end. Just seems like a scramble to the finish line to me.

                • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                  No, I’m not assuming anything. The team that gets Cliff Lee gets him for the remainder of the contract.
                  The team that hypothetically traded for Hamels gets him for 12 starts.
                  They can TRY and re-sign him, but there are no assumptions as to what is left on each of their contracts.

                  • Lou

                    And there’s no assumptions that once Lee gets traded that he won’t get injured or be less effective because of age considerations. I guess we can’t assume that as well just because he has a guaranteed contract.

    • Brad

      Doesn’t know if coming or going. Hence, tread the water!

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      3B is a shallow pool of talent and Placido Polanco is old. Acquiring Headley makes a lot of sense for that team. Trading Lee is about dumping salary. They’ve got $104M committed to 5 players in 2013. Lee is one of them with the highest AAV in contracts going forward. Since no one is taking that Ryan Howard contract off their hands, they’ve got to move something. If they move Lee, it’ll be for Olt from Texas. Satisfies their 3B need and dumps Lee’s salary on the Rangers. At least part of it.

      • rhino70

        Plus Baltimore was rumored to be interested in Palonco, so they could then spin him off there and dump a little bit more $$$.

  • Dylan

    Dempster is actually going through a divorce with his wife?

    Maybe I read it wrong? Mind clearing it up for me? Thanks

    • Sandberg

      There are “rumors” that a few months ago Dempster cheated on his wife with the Nanny and now his wife is out sleeping around. Tabloid material, that if true, really would make it difficult to leave.

      Take that for what it’s worth: not much.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        It’s an uncomfortable place to go, but it sounds like the potential divorce is directly effecting the Cubs rebuilding (and long term win/loss %). Let me put it another way; if we knew for certain Dempster wanted to stay in Chicago to win back his wife (say from a Depster quote), would it still be off topic or in bad taste to express disappointment?

        • Adam

          Well his wife isn’t exactly hanging around in Chicago based on her twitter account

      • Bric

        Yeah, a couple of posters in BN personally know or live in the same area as Demp or something and it was only one or two comments but the original rumor was that nannie was involved and the way it posted it sounded legit (not just normal postering nonsense like I often do). It was even speculated that the short DL stint he had may’ve been more of mental health.

        In any case, Brett, I apologize to both you and Demp (if he reads this site) for further rumor mongering in something that’s really nobody’s business but his family’s but, Brett, I kind of disagree when you state it has no bearing on the trade saga. I think it may very well’ve had everything to do with it. When you’re having personal issues the very last thing you want is more change. Demp, seriously, brother, hope everything works out okay.

  • BD

    If an extension isn’t involved, what difference does it matter where spring training is for a team he might be on for 2 months.

    • Brad

      This.

    • Max Miller

      This *2

  • Barry

    The FO’s of both teams must have very parched throats by now. These talks are taking longer than Dempster’s divorce will…

    • Scotti

      Uh, since his divorce started before the season started… No.

      • Bric

        Did it?

  • Dan

    Poor Demp. He loves the city of Chicago. He has given his heart/soul to us for years and how do we thank him? Many Cubs fans maliciously taunt and call him “Dumpster”. Come on Cubs fans, we are better than that…

    • Max Miller

      Oh yes, he did it all out of the goodness of his heart. What a charity case we Cubs are. It’s not like we gave him a large contract (particularly the first time around when he was injured). It’s not like we took him when no one else did and gave him a place to showcase his talent. Nope, he just volunteered to be apart of the team and selflessly pitched for us receiving absolutely nothing in return. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

      • ETS

        By this logic you can’t be mad at dempster for exercise rights that he earned.

        • Max Miller

          Not sure if you were getting that the above was facetious… But, since you brought up rights, allow me to address it. Here’s the thing about exercising rights that nobody seems to get: simply doing something that is your right does not insulate you from criticism. Let’s take freedom of speech. Everyone has it. But, exercising it doesn’t mean that people have to LIKE what you say. In fact, there are many times that you may exercise your freedom of speech and people will actually dislike you for you doing it. Reputation is not insulated because you do something within your right. Demp exercised his right, but he had to expect his reputation would take a hit for it. That’s just the reality of the situation. If you block a trade that would have made the team better, then you have to expect that people will be angry at you because of it. You can’t hide behind, “But it’s my right!”

          • Smitty

            Well said Max.

            • Sosa23

              very true

      • Lou

        C’mon really? Like athletes that have any sort of staying power in sports aren’t there to get paid? No difference for Dempster any more than it is for any other professional athlete. The divorce issues and have a child with a disability changes my stance on Dempster’s position with respect to the deadline. After working in social services with kids who are disabled and having disability myself, I’ve become more empathetic towards Dempster’s situation. After all, it’s not like athletes shouldn’t establish family roots in a particular community, be a good father to their kids ,or anything. Sheez.

        • Max Miller

          Feel sorry for him if you want because of his situation. I’m just not buying, “Demp treated the Cubs well so you can’t be mad at him.” He objectively made the team worse by blocking that trade. That’s bound to be a source of anger for Cubs fans. It only takes one bad act to destroy a reputation.

          • Sosa23

            trueeee

          • Lou

            Ok, I’m not feeling sorry for him much like I don’t feel sorry for myself because life has giving me this disabling condition. So with that I’d have to say your prospective here is off. Randall Delgado, in and of himself, makes the team better but that trade alone does not make the Cubs a playoff contender.

            • Max Miller

              Who said anything about making us a playoff contender? I said Delgado for Demp makes the team better– that is the general objective of trades. And we can thank Demp for blocking what is quickly shaping up to be the best that this season had to offer (oh, how I hope I’m wrong).

              • Lou

                Ok, so I’m confused. So, you don’t think acquisitions like Delgado position the Cubs to be a contender? You’re acting as though Dempster’s actions (the actions, I might add, of ONE, single, solitary player) handcuffs everything going forward with the Cubs. Again, I don’t feel sorry for him. Baseball players get paid and get paid handsomely for our enjoyment as Cubs fans. But this is one trade in series of events that needs to happen to improve the ball club. The Cubs could just as easily not gotten what they wanted for Garza, if he was healthy, and opted to wait until the offseason to trade him, rendering the trade deadline for the team uneventful. Look, I understand the need for the Cubs to get better, but I can empathize with the rough spots in anyone’s life. But I guess that’s just me and not you. Also, it begs the question: If you’re upset over one player excercising his 10-5 rights, what does that indicate about Cubs fans patience with a long rebuild ahead of us? Food for thought. I think so.

          • rhino70

            Damn Max, that’s two intelligent, insightful replies in a row. I think you’ve violated some sort of sports message board law or something.

    • tom

      DUMPSTER was paid ($60mm) for His efforts and his line is 2 games over 500

      • andrew

        And Win-loss record is *such* a great indicator of a players value to a team

    • notcubbiewubbie

      poor demp i called him dumpster i think i am going to cry. boo hoo hoo

      • notcubbiewubbie

        these are the same [eople that said godspeed aramis instead of don’t let the door hit you in the arssss!!!! blah blah im puking.

  • BeyondFukudome

    I have always thought it was all about timing, but here’s a little tale that encapsulates my thoughts on the timing issue.

    Once upon a time, I was playing in a high school chess tournament. The rules of the tournament required that, in each match, a certain number of moves had to be completed in two hours or the match would be called a draw.

    I got matched up against a better player and started to get whupped. As I fell behind, I naturally started taking longer and longer to study my moves, looking for a way to dig myself out of trouble. Pretty soon, the deadline was approaching and, because of my own use of the available time, I was about to get a draw in a match that I really deserved to lose. My opponent politely asked if I would be willing to speed up a couple moves and accept my loss, and I agreed.

    Bottom line: There was nothing in the rules that required me to make my moves faster and I had every right to take as long as I wanted. But I determined that I would be a selfish asshole if I failed to consider how my use of the available time would affect others and I chose not be an asshole (on that occasion). ;)

    Throughout this saga, Dempster has been all about his own personal timing issues, without any regard to how his decision-making affects other parties. Does he owe the Cubs anything? No, none of us owe consideration to our employers and others, but it’s still assholish to be inconsiderate.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      wow, you’re a super good sport. I would have taken the stale mate!

    • Cheryl

      Very good analogy.

  • fortyonenorth

    First, if the Braves are still interested in RD and RD is willing to go to Atlanta, why wouldn’t the same deal be possible? Is it sour grapes thing? The fundamentals are the same – save for one lost start opportunity.

    Also, I’ve only recently heard about the divorce thing and I think it’s super-relevant. I certainly have a lot more empathy for his situation if this is indeed the case. I don’t care how rich you are – if you’re human, you’re going to want to be near your kids. I can relate to that and I’m sure the FO can as well. They may not like it, but that’s just the way it is.

    I have faith the Theo and Jed have some surprises in store that will make the next 24 hours very exciting.

    • ETS

      It affects the deal because now the braves say well you don’t have the trade market we thought you did for demp. Yeah, we’ll acquire, but it’s not going to be delgado.

      • rhino70

        The fact that the Braves have missed on several of the pitchers that have been moved works in the Cubs favor. That’s why I don’t see Delgado being completely off the table.

        • quintz

          If the Dodgers and the Cubs can’t get something done and they go back to the Braves (w/Demps blessing), if I’m the Braves I might still be willing to give up Delgado, but I sure as hell tell the Cubs I’m not and start the negotiations from scratch. Maybe the Cubs can get back to that point, maybe they can’t, but if the Braves have any common sense they have pulled that deal off the table.

  • BD

    Anybody have any ideas or hear any reports on what SD is looking to get for Headley?

  • calicubsfan007

    I wouldn’t be too suprised if a three team deal is in the works right now. God, I want this to be done (not the trade deadline itself, but this stupid “d” drama).

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    So is Dempster in process of a divorce right now???

    • calicubsfan007

      From what I heard, yes.

  • Ogyu

    Brett:

    Why in the world did you post a story about the Dempster Saga so early in the blog-a-thon, when it was bound to resuscitate all the “Dempster sucks” – “No, he doesn’t” comments?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Because that info was from late yesterday/overnight, so I couldn’t sit on it too much longer…

      • Ogyu

        In other words, your journalistic integrity outweighed your self-interest? Thanks, I think. :)

  • Sosa23

    keep garza, trade demp and sori to dodgers for pitching prospects and trade lahair for more pitching, pitchng pitching pitching!!!!

  • cubsin

    1. I don’t expect anything to happen before tonight.

    2. I don’t expect to hear anything about a Dempster trade until he’s signed off on it. No GM wants to repeat the Brave’s experience.

    3. If any teams besides the Dodgers and Braves are interested in Dempster, the deal is already done except for Demp’s approval. Given his decision timeline, if he hasn’t already been told about it, it’s far too late to start talking about it now.

  • MightyBear

    I’m sorry but it’s two months. If he built a house in AZ, sign with a team who has spring training in AZ in the offseason. Dempster was paid 52 million over the last 4 years. He could find a nice place in Siberia and still play baseball for two months and then go wherever he wants. That argument is stupid.

    • Max Miller

      Agreed. Doesn’t it seem like Demp is playing “throw every excuse against the wall and see what sticks?”

  • CrazyHorse – to trade or not to trade

    Trading Dempster Should not be a Cubs Priority. I agree trading Dempster to the Braves Delgado would have been nice . The Cubs would recieive a young major league ready pitcher . The Cubs should not trade Dempster just to dump his salary.or the sake of just making a trade. I say tender him a contract the worse possible scenerio he pitches for the Cubs in 2013 and the trade talks can continue . If the Cubs lose him to free agency then i think they will receive a supplement draft choice. either way it will be a win win for the Cubs.I do not understand why some Cub fan are so mad at Dempster. This guy played his heart out for the Cubs and he EARNED his 5/10 . I find it disturbing when people can call out a player for using his veto power but can sit back and let Cubs management off the hook for a terrible year. But On a lighter Rizzo is doing great ! I am grateful that he can finally hit a 95 Mph fastball. I really though he could be a bust . The other players that little Theo has signed has done what was expected a near 100 hundred loss season.

  • Frank

    Brett,
    Your getting sleepy, real sleepy.
    Sorry, I had to do it.

  • Fastball

    I don’t believe Dempster will approve a trade even to the Dodgers at this point in time. I think in all likelihood he will be the opening day starter again next year. God hope I’m wrong but that may very well happen. And I would not be the least bit shocked if it did.

    I think we have 3 trades, Baker, Johnson and Soto these deals may include some of our minor league player to get a better return on the deals that do get done.

    As much as I think LaHair has played out his cards I don’t think Theo trades him. I also believe that some team could come in and make a deal that would include Campana for his base stealing ability. I personally don’t think Campana is ever going to hit enough to be more than a 5th OF’er. His speed is all that keeps him around. A playoff team will want that.

    Soriano will stay in Chicago through the end of next year IMO.

  • paul

    you would think Dempster had won 20 games every year he is a 3 pitcher at best he has to go he should know it, this is about 2014 Dempster help the cubs take the trade.

  • MichaelD

    I’m sympathetic to a lot on Dempster’s point of view. He may not want to move and so forth. I can see how he’d like to take his time. However, that is the one thing that is not possible in this situation. The Braves obviously were going to want to move on and so would the Cubs. It seems like there would have to be a high degree of naivete or narcissism on Dempster’s part if he thought that he could take a week to think about whether to accept a trade.

  • Spencer

    I didn’t read all the comments so I’m sorry if this has already been discussed. But why is Spring Training even being brought up? This is a maximum of three months of his life. Yes, it might make his family situation pretty messed up during those three months and I understand that, but it’s not as if he has to sell all his houses and uproot everything. Unless the teams are requesting an extension after being traded, Dempster can keep his houses, and pick a new team for next year – one that has ST in AZ. I just don’t get why that’s a factor. Yes, moving sucks and blahblahblah, but it’s not as if he’s going to permanently go away if he doesn’t want to.

    • MichiganGoat

      I think all this is Spin Control

  • dreese

    I think its just another excuse that demp is throwing out there to save some face

  • yoga master

    Player Dempster says nannie to Braves trade

  • gutshot5820

    At this point is there any more to talk about? I’m sure they are all talked out, Theo doesn’t strike me as a guy to call over and over again about the same topic. Sounds like writers are just trying to write something… I believe the only way a conversation is happening is if the Dodgers are willing to compromise.

  • TSB

    Dempster’s primadonna antics hurt not only the Cubs’ chances of getting something worthwhile for him, but also chances to trade other players. For example, the Rangers want a starter. Right handed bat off the bench, and maybe a catcher. Dempster, Baker, and Soto for some top Texas prospects? Dempster kill the deal offhand, all for his man crush in Ted Lilly.

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