A little bit ago in the latest Lukewarm Stove, I noted that, unless the Los Angeles Dodgers were suddenly willing to include top pitching prospects Zach Lee, Allen Webster or Chris Reed in a deal for Ryan Dempster, it would be hard to argue that the talks between the Cubs and Dodgers were “gaining momentum” unless the Cubs were capitulating. And then Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cubs were “bending over backwards” to make a Dempster/L.A. deal happen.

Add those together, and you get the sense that none of those bigger three arms are being discussed in these talks.

And, unfortunately, Kevin Goldstein says that’s precisely the case. In a Twitter conversation that started with George Ofman tweeting that Garrett Gould – a lesser Dodgers pitching prospect – would likely be involved in a Cubs/Dodgers/Dempster trade, I noted that his inclusion would mean Lee and Webster were not included (on the belief that there’s no way the Cubs could get Gould AND one of Lee or Webster). Goldstein responded to me that Lee and Webster are “absolutely not in play for Dempster.” From there, Goldstein added that all three of Lee, Webster, and Reed are off the table in the Dempster talks.

Obviously you have to regard all rumors this time of year suspiciously – the Dodgers have an incentive to put the word out that they won’t part with a top piece for Dempster, a guy they’ve said they don’t really like (more spin?), and a guy on whom the Cubs have very little leverage. But, if the Cubs move Dempster to the Dodgers, it sounds like it’s going to be a “multiple middling pieces” type deal rather than a “one top piece” deal.

UPDATE: We’re not going to do the update dance again, are we? (Answer to my own rhetorical question: no, probably not. Too many posts today given the BNBlogathon for me to keep updating just one. If big, new Dempster info comes forward, it’ll probably get its own post.) Jim Bowden says the Cubs ideally do want to get Dempster to LA (why? because that’s the only place he’ll go? or because they really are trying to do him a favor? I doubt that latter one), but they won’t take a crap return just to do it. You probably already knew this.

UPDATE 2 (at 3:32pm CT): Apparently Tim Kurkjian was on the radio today saying that, ultimately, he thinks the Braves will suck up their pride and put Randall Delgado back on the table for Dempster. That’s great and all, but it presumes Dempster will, in turn, finally relent and go to Atlanta. We’ve learned in recent days that he still might be willing to go there, but we certainly don’t know for sure.

UPDATE 3 (at 3:53pm CT): Jayson Stark tweets: “One exec who spoke with #Nationals says: ‘If I looked up and saw that Washington traded for Ryan Demoster it wouldn’t be a surprise.'” It would be a surprise to me, if only because we don’t yet know that Dempster would accept a trade to DC. It wouldn’t surprise me in the sense that Dempster is a perfect fit for the Nats.

UPDATE 4 (at 2:12am CT): Ken Rosenthal says he’s got sources telling him Dempster “remains adamant that he will only approve a trade to the Dodgers.” Maybe everything in the last few days has been mere spin control after all.

  • Hebner The Gravedigger

    The Cubs FO needs to plant a rumor about a big deal slanted heavily in the Giants favor….this might motivate the Dodgers.

    • Fishin Phil

      Btw, love the name!

  • Dcf

    Oh well, keeping Dempster would be useless to the cubs right now, even if they can get a draft pick for him. Even a c grade prospect would probably be more useful, so i fully expect the cubs to accept some very unexciting prospect as the only return from LA

  • magilljl

    This Dempster deal just needs to get freakin done already. Beyond getting old.

  • RY34

    we will end up getting some prospect who will never see the light of day in wrigley unless he buys a ticket. its the cubs way.

  • rhino70

    I cannot think of a scenario where the Cubs accept less than they want for Dempster, whether its from the Dodgers, Braves, or any other team. The Cubs have no incentive to do so.

    The Cubs have got the high ground right now. If no deal is made, then they simply call a press conference and tell everyone they made a valiant effort to comply with Dempster’s wishes, but in the end no team made an offer that was in line with Dempster’s value. The Dodgers, Braves, and any other team looking at Dempster right now will have to come up with an answer as to why Dempster and his league-leading ERA weren’t worth a minor league prospect while the team is in the middle of a pennant race. That question will come from the fans, but it will also come from the locker room.

    Then, in the off-season, the Cubs make a qualifying offer to Dempster. If he accepts the qualifying offer, then we do this dance again next July.

    If Dempster rejects the qualifying offer, the Cubs receive a compensatory pick and the extra bonus pool money that accompanies it in next year’s draft.

    I believe Dempster rejects the offer. This is Dempster’s last shot at a multi-year contract, and he won’t be willing to give it up for a one-year deal.

    The teams that will be interested in Dempster this winter are the exact same kind of teams that are looking at him now; playoff contenders. Their draft position and associated bonus pool allotments are not nearly as significant as teams at the top of the draft. They aren’t going to be nearly as concerned about giving those things up to sign a middle-of-the-rotation innings-eater, especially with the limited playoff window most teams have these days.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      Well said rhino.

    • Cyranojoe

      Excellent, encouraging assessment, and well written to boot. Thanks, rhino!

    • Kyle

      If Dempster accepts the offer, the cubs could be in big trouble, because he could pitch very poorly or get injured and no one would want to pick him up, plus you would be stuck paying him 12.5 mill, which he probably is not worth. And if he does pitch well enough so he can be traded, the cubs will probably have to cover a majority of the contract anyways, and you have to assume he is pitching well enough to get a return that is better than what you can get right now, even at this stage. That is a very large risk for a guy that you never really wanted on your staff in the off-season. And for what a compensatory draft pick.

      • cubmig

        There are so many “ifs” and twists-and-turns in the Dempeter thing that the big worry for me is the uncertainty underlying everything. The only expectation I have is with the FO; that they don’t give Dempster anyway for “crap” (as it’s been put). I will believe that Theo&Jed want whatever comes back will be a piece that improves the club. That’s what I am believing. If they cave for “crap”, I will be a critic. Their practice has to match their theology. The FO may have to respect Dempster’s 10-5 right, but that doesn’t mean they have to surrender the club’s self-interest o it.

      • CrAzyhorse- NO trouble

        The Cubs have no pitching ,paying 12.5 for a starter is almost the norm. High end pitcher are getting close to 20 plus million a season. Dempster is a proven starter and a leader. As your remark for never really wanted – Hard to imagine the Cubs dont need an inning eaters – a clubhouse leader . All pitcher can get hurt so that Argument goes out the window.. And the comp draft pick :Is that not, Little Theos strong point to select quality draft choices..? Trading Dempster to get low end prospects is not worth a trade unless your dumping salary and in Dempsters case ,salary should not be the issue..

      • Les

        An important issue the reputation of the FO. Their decision to hold firm is more about future trade discussions than it is about moving Dempster.

    • Sinnycal

      One problem with the comp pick strategy is that making him a qualifying offer turns him into a less attractive free agent because the signing team will lose their first round draft pick.

      • CrAzyhorse- NO team

        I guess it depends on the team . the qualifying off i think could be for 1 year. A team might take a chance on Dempster for 2 to 3 years . Dempster also might lower his asking price to get a 2 year deal. signing Dempster for 2 years at 10.5 per year may give the cubs that comp pick. heck signing dempster for 18.5 for 2 years would be a good bet for many teams .

  • MaxM1908

    Ok, I’ve made it to 9:36 PM GMT–been up for the better part of the last 32 hours. I’m off to bed, which of course means all hell’s going to break loose in the Cubs trading world while I’m sleeping. Sorry to all for staying up and delaying the trade activity. Brett, I expect a full synopsis of how Theo pulled a rabbit out of a hat when I wake up at midnight CDT.

    • Fishin Phil

      Thanks Max, we appreciate you taking a nap for the team.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    I think the Dodgers are low on Gould and want to send him packing. I would take RF Alex Castellanos and Garrett Gould for Ryan Dempster. That way, when we trade Soriano and/or LaHair, we have a young, viable stop-gap under team control until Jorge Soler is ready. DeJesus is starting to fade and even though our FO likes his high OBP numbers, we need to send him to Pittsburgh or Cincy. His wife can stay, though. 😉

  • When the Music’s Over

    How has Allen Webster become such a hot commodity? Goldstein gave him a #3 starter as a perfect world projection this off-season, and his numbers this year look pretty much in-line with projection. He would appear to be a very reasonable request for Dempster, so it appears that the Dodgers are indeed trying to low-ball the Cubs here (which is what they should do given the extenuating circumstances of this mess). If I’m Theo, I’d pass for now.

    It’s also been funny to see the evolution of players people would accept for him in this trade. Started out for Lee, moved to Webster or Reed, and now people are saying the Cubs would be dumb to pass up a potential bullpen arm.

  • lukers63

    Anyone know when Garza’s side session is supposed to be?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I thought it was supposed to be this morning, but haven’t heard anything. The Cubs beat writers don’t usually check in until a couple hours before game time, so I reckon we might hear in an hour or so.

  • donnie kessinger

    The thing with Dempster is that a trade possibility has been discussed since spring training. There should be no surprise on his part. And being that his contract is expiring, he would spend a little over 2 months with the Braves. If he can’t suck that up, he is not the professional I thought he was.

  • anotherjp

    This Dempster thing is going to the final minutes. If the rumors of the Giants interest in Soriano are true, I’d ask for Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn to see what happens from there. Even if the Cubs pay all but $2-4M of Soriano’s salary, two young top 15 guys seems like an adequate return. Then the Dodgers can decide if they want to even talk to Theo anymore, far as I’m concerned Magic Johnson and the rest of those yahoos can take a flyer.

  • Leroy K.

    Probably already announced, but C Zambrano being moved to Bullpen.

    • Cyranojoe

      Brett tweeted it (“nail down the Gatorade cooler”). I sed holy what???

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    This is info from Colletti and the FO cleary shouldn’t capitulate and take less than Reed. In fact, I’d sedt him to Altanta again for less than Reed or Delgado and let Ned sit on his thumb. Since the Cubs won’t talk all of this is coming from Ned who is divorced from reality. I believe the most likely scenario remains Atlanta unless they make a major mistake and kiss Dempster’s ass to do a trade and taking Gould would be kissing his ass.

    • Cyranojoe

      Ass must be kissed, or Dempster simply says “no trade”. That’s life.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What is not put into the equation, is the Delgado situation. The” we tried to trade you, but now we love you and everything will be great” scenario never works out for the good.” They will move him somewhere.
    But if the Cubs dump Dempster for a bunch of wannabe prospects that have a snowball’s chance of the bigs, it would be beyond insane. If you stick to your guns and expect value for your players, it would be worth it for future dealings to know that you can’t screw over the Cubs, they will tell you to stick it. Suck it up Theo.

  • RICH

    why not send Garza to the Braves for Delgado and more? are they willing?

  • North Side Irish

    Phil Rogers ‏@ChiTribRogers
    Just listened to Ryan Dempster. Sounds like he will accept trades to several teams. #readingtealeaves

    This Dempster thing is now getting personal. He’s got me reduced to hoping a Phil Rogers rumor is true…

    • Kevin

      It it down on paper, talk is cheap

  • czechxican

    It’s amazing— the Dodgers, who won’t give squat for Demp and the Braves, who actually would give us a good young pitcher. Amazing how need works at the trade deadline

  • rbreeze

    I think the Braves are willing to give more because they want to make a run for Chipper Jones! Colletti is being a hard ass and I’m sure weighing other options before he caves in to Theo. Hold tight Theo!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cubsin

    For me, the only unacceptable outcome to the Dempster mess would be sending him to the Dodgers for far less than fair value. I’d send him to the White Sox for a bucket of warm spit first. That way, he can stay in Chicago, and all true Cubs fans can go boo him every time he pitches a home game for the Sox,

  • Fastball

    Brett had a Squeal on Twitter…. Then Jr. Lake…???? Then I read that one of his sources says he would not be surprised of the Natties are the team that will get Dempster.

  • Kubphan82

    I don’t get it… I wouldn’t want Gould. If Reed/Lee are off the table (I’m not a fan of Webster or Lee, but for Dempster sure), why don’t we hear about Ethan Martin? Is he too less of a prospect to consider? I’ve thought the entire time the Cubs should go with Reed if possible, otherwise drop to Martin +2, one of the two being Sulbaran, if possible. Martin, former first rounder, fell from their graces and is rebounding… A real Theo guy IMO.

  • Stu

    If the Cubs are going to get trash for Dempster, just keep him and tell the Dodgers to go f### off. Tender him at the end of the year and you will still have a good #2-3 starter for one year.

    More $ are coming off the books next year and the Cubs have some obligation to put a competitive team out there next year, don’t they? Who do they have who will replace his production next year?

    I know you guys have all these fantasy dreams about 3-4 years from now, but let’s have a little reality check.

  • paul

    reality check trade DEMPSTER its 2014 on

  • JayAndersonJr

    Even if it doesn’t bring us anything back, the FO should not trade Dempster for just anything. This is a good opportunity to set precedence for the future. If we have to pass, then lose him for nothing in November, oh well. It will show other teams that we will not be low balled. It states that if you want to do a deal, come correct, or we’ll move on. And if all we are getting is a couple long shot prospects, then what’s the point anyway.

  • Njriv

    Did assman tarnish is reputation as a source of inside info?

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Have to say it has taken a knock since basically a Reed Johnson deal would have made him right, and we got a whole lot of notta.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        He has been too accurate in the past. If nothing is announced, then I would lean towards assuming that whatever assman thought was going to happen fell apart late. (That’s basically what happened to whomever leaked the Dempster deal last week!)

  • Kevin

    If the Cubs keep Dempster and make him a qualifying offer next year that could put him in an ackward position. If he accepts the qualifying offer he’ll have to pitch another year at Wrigley in front of some very angry Cub fans. If he doesn’t accept the qualifying offer, hoping for a multi-year contract, any interested team would not only have to pay more than the Cubs qualifying offer but the team will also lose a draft pick. That tells me Dempster could be stuck at Wrigley next year unless he allows a trade with a team that will negotiate fairly.

  • Tommy

    Jonathan Mayo says that Gould doesn’t have a plus fastball. That’s enough reason to worry right there. Success at A ball is one thing, but moving up beyond that it’s nice to be able to have some heat. I know some pitchers can do without it, but I’d rather not take that chance.

    If the Dodgers want a piece to help them into and during the playoffs, then they better be willing to give up something for it. This crap that they aren’t willing to discuss not one, but THREE of their best prospects is ludicrous. I’m sure we can get someone to offer us better than Gould, and frankly, if that’s the best we can get for him, I say hang on to him.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Gould’s not a bad prospect. By some accounts his raw stuff may be better than Lee’s. However, he is no where near as good at using that stuff as Lee, and therefor is nowhere near as good of a prospect.

    I don’t think Gould would stand out in the Cubs’ system at all. He’d get lost in the sea of Dallas Beelers and Eric Jokischs and Brooks Raleys and Michael Jensens, and Austin Kirks and most fans would probably lose track of him. I don’t think he has a prayer of cracking the Cubs Top 10 over all. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t make my Top 5 pitching prospects. He could probably sneak into the Top 20, but unless he convinces me that he can in fact start in the majors, it will be towards the tale end of that bracket.

    The only way I can see the Cubs taking Gould is a Dempster trade is if they also get back two or three guys very similar to Gould. Then at least they could increase their odss that one of them would become more than a somewhat above average middle reliever.

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Really I mean he is a top 5 in a Dodger system that isn’t stellar, but he is more highly thought of than the Brooks Raleys of the world.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Sure, but not by a huge margin. Raley looks like a possible No 4/5 starter… somewhere between Randy Wells when he was decent and Paul Maholm back when he was Paul Maholm. Gould looks like a quality middle reliever. Camp, for instance. Gould has a higher ceiling than that… some accounts say he has the ceiling of a No 2/3 starter… and that partly accounts for his higher ranking, but I’m just not convinced he’ll last as a major league starter.

        The best comp for Gould might be Jeff Samardzija two years ago. If you thought then that Samardzija would ever be a quality starting pitcher, you wanted the Cubs to keep him. If you thought he’d never get out of the middle of the bullpen, you probably thought the Cubs should let him go. Gould is in a similar spot. If you think he can start effectively, you’ll love the guy and probably make him one of the Cubs three or four best pitching prospects. If you think he’s a middle reliever and that’s it, he falls well down the charts.

        Personally, I’ll take the mediocre starter over the career bullpen guy almost every time.

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          I guess I can see that. Raley is perhaps a safer bet to be a starter but his ceiling is a lot lower. I don’t think Gould is a lock to being a starter, but if he does his upside is a lot higher from what I’ve read.

      • Tommy

        Thanks for the input, Luke. I definitely respect your opinion on the minor leaguers and am always interested in what you have to say on them.

        Dab – I only check Mayo’s rankings which aren’t updated often: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/

        According to that, Gould isn’t even a top 5 pitching prospect for L.A., but like I said, that list isn’t updated often. Still, I would hope we could do better for a pitcher with a sub 3.00 ERA.

        These teams are trying to trade for pieces to help them to the World Series, which means they need something now, not later. You have to be willing to pay a price for immediate and exceptional help, and I think Dempster certainly qualifies. The point is, I think the Cubs have just as much leverage as anyone here. We have some talented pieces for sale, and if these teams want to get them, pay for them or lose them to the competition and hope that isn’t the piece that gets you knocked out of the pennant race at the end of the year.

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          Mayo had him as 9th overall, Goldstein had him 5th and Sickels had him 4th. Look I am not saying Gould is this amazing pitching prospects, but apart from the guys that are either just throwing (Maples) or drafted (Johnson, Blackburn, Underwood) are pitching prospects are that bad. I just think saying that he wouldn’t scratch the top 5 pitchers in the system (not counting those guys just get going) seems like a stretch to me, but I am far from an expert.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Personally I wish we’d trade with Atlanta, simple fact is better pitching prospects! Also if we can ante up the offering maybe just maybe we can get either Martin Prado or Juan Francisco, however it all boils down to Dempster excepting! Just like all of you I am tired of Dempster and his antics.. This should have been done so last week!

  • thejackal

    i think sori and demp should land us reed webster or lee and other prospects or hell id be ecstatic with delgado and a signed bat from chipper jones