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Unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, baseball players are human beings.

That’s why, when you try to trade them, some tricky things can happen. So it was with now-former Chicago Cub starter Ryan Dempster. Yesterday, at the non-waiver trade deadline (with five minutes to spare), the Chicago Cubs sent Dempster to the Rangers for third base prospect Christian Villanueva, and pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks.

But that might not be the Dempster trade that you remember 10 years from now. You might, instead, remember the Dempster trade that didn’t happen.

That trade, of course, would have netted the Cubs 22-year-old pitching prospect Randall Delgado, a pitcher who might not have single-handedly taken the Cubs to the promised land, as hyperbolists like to joke. But he would have been a heck of an incredible return for two months of Ryan Dempster.

Circumstances dictated that the deal was not to be, and, unfortunately, also dictated that a comparable deal wasn’t to be found. Considering that no other team needed the Cubs to include cash in the deal quite like the Braves did, it’s understandable that the Cubs were never going to match, overall, the return they would have gotten from the Braves. Ultimately, they probably didn’t come all that close.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t make a good deal, particularly when you consider that the failed Atlanta deal forced all sides to show their hands. When the dust settled, teams knew Dempster didn’t really want to go anywhere but L.A., knew that the Cubs very much wanted to move Dempster, and knew that Delgado-for-Dempster wasn’t just acceptable, it was dream-worthy.

From there, picking up a kid who was a fringe top 100 prospect going into the season (Villanueva) and an arm who was a top 30 prospect in a very good system (Hendricks) was a pretty good deal. If you’re like me, you would have been very happy with that return if you’d never heard the name Delgado mentioned days before.

Still, the trade wasn’t without its downsides.

The Cubs had hoped to deal Dempster far in advance of the deadline, if for no other reason than they wanted to create space between the time they were shopping Dempster and Garza. Why? It’s not an issue of effort or manpower. The Cubs can handle both things at once. Instead, it’s a simple issue of economics – perhaps the only one I still understand from a college class I only barely passed: if you have two commodities you’d like to sell, and the buying base for those commodities is the same, all things equal, you’d rather sell the two commodities at different times so that you can preserve scarcity. Sell ‘em both at once, and the price will necessarily go down, because the market has more options. The two products will, in essence, be in competition with each other.

And that’s exactly what happened. We learned yesterday that the Cubs were deep in discussions with the Rangers, among other teams, about Matt Garza. But the Rangers explicitly chose Dempster because they preferred (1) his health situation, and (2) that he came with a lower price tag.

Had Dempster been traded a week or two ago to a team other than the Rangers, what happens yesterday with Garza? We’ll never know, but it’s always going to be fair to wonder.

Unfortunately, I can’t hang that on the Cubs’ front office. They got the deal they wanted for Dempster, and they got it more than a week ago. Why that deal fell through and who is to blame has been discussed ad nauseum since that time. I have learned enough since then, including some things I cannot share, to know that I’ll probably never pin the blame on anyone for how this played out. Just as I believe the Cubs’ front office did the best they could on the information they had, I believe the Braves did the best they could to wait on Dempster and then to force the issue, and I believe Dempster did the best he could to balance the Cubs’ interests and his own. Not only did Dempster have a right to ask the Cubs to keep trying to work something out with the Dodgers, he had good reasons to ask.

Theo Epstein discussed the failed trade with the media a few hours ago, and he confirmed – at least, in terms of what he was willing to say publicly – that events played out as we’ve suspected. The Braves were a team Dempster said he would consider, and the Cubs consummated that deal after alerting Dempster that it could be coming soon, and after the Braves game them a window to get Delgado. Dempster felt he needed a few additional days to think things over (and, let’s be honest, to hope the Dodgers came around), but the Braves imposed a deadline. Dempster wanted to wait until the last minute, on the hopes that the Cubs could work something out with the Dodgers. When it became clear – at the last minute – that it wasn’t going to be possible with L.A., Dempster relented, and took the deal with the Rangers.

It will be easy, in the years to come, to vilify Dempster by pointing to the vetoed Braves deal, and the ultimate Rangers deal, as evidence that Dempster screwed the Cubs. He didn’t go to L.A., after all, so why didn’t he just go to Atlanta? Why did he say back in June that he wanted to do right by the Cubs? Why did he tell the Cubs he would consider going to Atlanta? After they informed him that things were getting hot and heavy with the Braves, why didn’t he tell them he had serious reservations? Maybe, if he had a do-over, he would have done things differently. But I’m not sure I can, with good conscience, say that Dempster is the villain here. At worst, he had an ill-timed change of heart. At best, the Cubs were a bit too aggressive, and Dempster still tried to do right by the organization. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

Unfortunately, when it comes to assigning “blame” for how things played out, I can lay it only at the feet of bad luck. The timing of things – the deadline, the other teams involved, personal issues involved, the Cubs’ desires involved, the reporting involved – conspired to form a perfectly bad sequence of events, and the Cubs paid the price in a reduced return on Ryan Dempster. It was no one’s fault, and the Cubs’ front office did the best they could to salvage a quality return for Dempster on July 31.

And let’s be clear on one thing: even if the Cubs had completed the Dempster-for-Delgado swap, we don’t know how the rest of the deadline plays out. Maybe the Cubs still can’t move Garza for a whopper (he is injured, after all). Maybe no other team wants Maholm nearly as much as the Braves did, and the Cubs can’t move him, either. Or maybe they move him for substantially less than Arodys Vizcaino, who, when healthy, was preferred by many prospect gurus to Delgado.

All we know for certain is that Ryan Dempster allowed himself to be traded, and so ended his days in Chicago.

Maybe you didn’t think he was funny. Maybe you hated his Harry Caray impression (which was actually an impression of Will Farrell doing a Harry Caray impression). Maybe you didn’t like his zingers in the media. But at least the guy was interesting.

Dempster gave his fair share of stock answers, and did a lot of the standard things you expect of a big league player, but he also occasionally surprised. As much as baseball is about the performance of the players on the field, personally, I like to see a little bit of who they are off the field. Dempster showed us a little bit of that, and I thank him.

On the field, it’s impossible not to recognize his accomplishments with the Cubs. Dempster was the most consistently good starting pitcher the Cubs have had since 2008. Before that, he was a decent reliever.

Remember when the Cubs converted him into a closer? Remember how that seemed like a risky idea? Remember how he dominated as a closer? Well, for that first year, anyway.

Remember when the Cubs converted him back into a starter? Remember how that seemed like an absurdly risky idea? Remember how he dominated as a starter?

There are good things to remember about Dempster’s time with the Cubs. Will the failed Braves trade, and resulting Rangers trade, always be a part of the story? Yes. Will there always be a little sting, and a little frustration when calling to memory the days leading up to his trade? Yes. But I’m going to do my best to remember the good, as well.

But it wouldn’t hurt if Randall Delgado fails to make it back to the big leagues.

  • TC

    As always Brett, great writing

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, TC.

  • Flashfire

    Can you at least tell us if the things you can’t share involve personal issues for Dempster or issues of how both front offices handled the botched deal?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Personal stuff. And I’m not trying to be a tease – there are things that, for good reason, I have to keep to myself. But I’m left feeling good about the front office’s efforts, OK about how Dempster handled things, and understanding about how things played out (albeit bummed that the Braves deal didn’t happen).

      • Flashfire

        That’s what I figured. Even given that, my own observations of everything over the last week, Theo and Jed’s extreme damning with faint praise interviews the last two days, and his teammates silence (as i talked about below) make me blame Dempster completely. Whether it’s fair or not — well, that’s for someone much greater than all of us to decide.

  • scorecardpaul

    I’m still pissed at dempster

    • Brian Peters

      Well, at least there’s SOMEBODY on my side. It’s funny how yesterday this site was filled with folks who detested Dempster for what he had done. I care little about any personal reasons he had for “taking his time” to decide. I care little aboutTheo coming out and saying it’s–let me make sure I capture his message clearly this time–that is unfair for fans who live and die Cubbie blue to think less of Dempster. I got into a fight with a good friend–a Cards’ fan–who pointed out Dempster had a right to do what he did. If I’m willing to get amped up and point out my friends’ mistaken logic, you can bet I’ll do it here. I know the general practice is to forgive and forget when the misguided son goes off into the sunset, but I’m not buying. I know that my refusal to buy matters not one iota to Dempster. I can live with that.

      • Flashfire

        The thing about that Epstein interview: it essentially contradicted every story that was told to defend Dempster. So, while he said, “it’s not fair to criticize Dempster,” he made it a lot easier to do so. That may have reflected more of his true feelings than the words he spoke (which, really, he had to say as the head of the organization).

      • LEO L

        I think everyone is mostly pissed at Dempster for saying he would go anywhere and then not. Soraino said he sould be willing to be traded but only if the right team. I dont see lots of hate for soriano. Dempster didnt have to be traded. I wonder if he never really meant he would go anywhere but instead said he would to help the cubs gain leverage with the teams that he would consider. that would have been nice of him and if the braves didnt leak this we would have been thanking him for going to texas even if it wasnt his first choice.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Again, what he said is that he would consider going anywhere. He also made it clear that LA was choice #1. In a sense, Dempster became a “just get it done” fan: he decided that Jedstein Could trade him to LA if they just did it. (Just like Hendry was supposed to just “get it done” and get Peavy, Roberts, etc. to the Cubs.)

          Dempster learned the hard lesson: it takes 2 to tango, and Colletti is there to serve the Dodgers’ interests, not the Cubs.

          • LEO L

            Right, So he could have handcuffed the cubs completely and said LA or nothing.

      • stillmisskennyhubbs

        And so you are saying it was worth it to get into a fight with a good friend over this matter?

  • Spencer

    He’s a good dude and teammate. No denying that. But its hard for me to reconcile him wanting to do right by the Cubs and also take his deal down to the very last minute. Yes, that’s his prerogative, but he had to know that by continuing to delay his decision he was handcuffing the Cubs elsewhere. And that’s what bothers me.

    • Flashfire

      The thing about the “he’s a good teammate” line that bothers me — not one of his teammates came to his aid during that mess. Remember when people were booing Soriano and the other players couldn’t find a microphone fast enough to defend Soriano? That absolutely didn’t happen here.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Lots of guys did – Samardzija, Soriano, Johnson. They all said things like, “he’s earned it, it’s his right, I hope he isn’t traded.”

        • Flashfire

          But with Soriano they criticized the fans for booing. No one got on the fans for attacking Dempster.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            That is true.

            • LEO L

              i think in the aftermath if the players are asked they would defend Dempster. That was the pretrade talk. Out of respect they limited it too “I hope he isnt traded”. I think Soriano appreciated his teamates speaking out. I think Dempster aprreciated his teamates keeping this within the orginization.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            The players probably were not exposed to the fan reaction. People were not booing Dempster, after all. Sure, the Internet lit up: but the vast majority of Cub fans probably were oblivious to this; it was just the “hard-cores” who really cared. So, none of the players were going to criticiize the fans because insofar as they were aware, there was nothing to criticize.

            This is not a knock on Cubs fans: this would be true anywhere.

  • scorecardpaul

    I think it is funny how our front office had to bring him into the room when they talked to LA. I am quite sure dempsters ego was getting in the way, and our guys had to treat him like a spoiled little brat and say hey listen to this… they really don’t think you are that good. LA doesn’t want you. I would have loved to be in that room. oh, to be a fly on the wall!

  • Scotti

    Things happen for a reason. Those who accept and believe that are able to move on. Those who don’t, get stuck.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, nothing happens for any one reason, and this is another good case. Myriad factors combined in the right way (not the least of which might have been Dempster seeing the deal declared “done” before he signed off on it) contributed to this. Chances are good that that no one event was sufficient to cause this and that many (even if not all) were necessary.

      • stillmisskennyhubbs

        Unless there are lessons to learn in everything. Then things do happen for a reason: for us to learn from.

  • McKaley

    Did you see delgado’s line after the trade deadline? OUCH!

  • Timmy

    dempstergate

  • Pasadena Cub Fan

    Does the FO get kudos for trying to do right for Dempster–sending a message to other players and potential free agents that the Cubs organization is a good place to play?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sure (assuming it didn’t hurt their efforts to maximize value, and it sounds like it didn’t).

    • FromFenwayPahk

      This is a really good point, PCF. After all their computational wizardry, great managers know that real men make those numbers.

  • Hawkeye

    Wow. Hands down one of your best. Thanks for doing all that you do for all of us in the BleacherNation.

    And and even bigger thanks to your wife. Her willingness to share you with the rest of us is appreciated and unfortunately, goes unrecognized. Make sure you let her know how thankful we are.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Hawk.

      • MoneyBoy

        ^^^ THIS !!!! cubed!!

  • Jeff1969

    I’m sorry, I just never had the kind of emotional attachment to Dempster that others seem to have. I had about as much affection for him as I did for Steve Trachsel. Let’s get over this now huh?

  • Chad C

    Great article Brett. I choose to think that not sending him to the Dodgers was enough to break even on all fronts. If he had gone to the Dodgers for say a prospect with no upside, I and I suspect most, would have been less than happy with EVERYONE involved in the trade, thus leading to your Message Board being flagged by the FBI (That is, of course if it isn’t already.)

  • Cory

    A positive side of this could be that if the Cubs got Delgado then they wouldn’t have gotten Arodys Vizcaino. Vizcaino could end up better than Delgado

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Yeah Atlanta seemed like one of the few teams that was willing to part with real pitching prospects that was in on Cubs pitchers. I am not certain we could have gotten a Villanueva level of prospect from another for Maholm and Reed Johnson elsewhere.

      • spearman

        The Cubs and Braves we’re a good fit because of the money issue. They had to use what they had( talent instead of money).

  • morgan

    i think we all just overvalues dempster a lil bit, hes a 35 year old pitcher thats a free agent at the end of the year, never been a big game pitcher, i bet he pitches average with the rangers in the AL, just last year we would of traded him for nothing cause he was so bad, the dude isnt an ace and prob not even a number 2 pitchers

  • Cubs23Ryno

    Brett great piece of writing. I was pretty mad the deal with the Braves didn’t go through at first, but Theo and Co made the best out of the situation. Dempster had his reasons for wanting to go where he wanted to go, and had the rights to do so. Sure Demp would have won a few ball games the last couple months but he most likely wasn’t going to be back next year. I’d rather have a couple new prospects in the system than nothing at all. All that’s left to say is thanks for your efforts, and the memories. Good Luck Ryan. I think it’s time to look towards the future and to what the Cubs are trying to build, and stop looking back at what could have been. There’s still a lot of work ahead…..

  • Ben

    I have more for Trachsel because I will never forget him beating the giants to get Cubs into 1998 playoffs AND I was in New York in 2007 when Dempster blew a giant lead and I had to ride the 7 train back to Manhattan getting heckled by Mets fans for 40minutes….I have tried to forget that horrible game but it was something like a 5 or 6 run lead Eyre and Dempster blew….I do remember it was in July

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Ah, Trachsel: I, too have fond memories. I met my first wife right before a Trachsel game. We got engaged in the third inning, and married in the fourth. However, by the 6th we were drifting apart and by the 7th, I really didn’t know the woman sitting next to me. But, really: how long can love last?

  • Scotti

    Maybe you hated his Harry Caray impression (which was actually an impression of Will Farrell doing a Harry Caray impression).

    And Ferrell was actually doing John Campanera doing Caray.

    The dude in Iraq seemed a tad cruel but, hey, I’m not getting shot at…

  • Frank

    He’s first going to be remembered for how he pitched, how many wins he had, what his foundation did, but the last thing people will remember is when he said “I want to do good for the Cubs” and then said I don’t want to go to Atlanta. Like it or not, he’ll be known for screwing the Cubs at the end.

    • Scotti

      Hindsight is always 20/20 and the folks who can’t seem to get over it now, will only remember how Dempster was “wonderful” if these kids pan out. In the end it all depends on whether the Ranger prospects turn out better than the Brave prospect.

  • Abe Froman

    Cory, I agree, we don’t end up with Vizcaino if not for Dempster vetoing the Atlanta trade and he has a good chance of having a full recovery. Many analysts putting his ceiling as much higher than Delgado, and although he’s farther away from the majors, we have several years before we are going to compete. It would have been nice if Dempster put more teams on his list, but he also could have sat on his hands and we’d end up with nothing.

  • atfinch

    I have to say I just checked mlb.com for the Rangers score and saw they are down 6-0 in the 3rd inning…part of me did hope it was Dempster pitching…it’s not (Darvish)

  • TWC

    But I’m not sure I can, with good conscience, say that Dempster is the villain here. At worst, he had an ill-timed change of heart. At best, the Cubs were a bit too aggressive, and Dempster still tried to do right by the organization. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

    False equivalencies are crap, and I hope you’re not trying to make one here. The whole “you say the sky is red, he says the sky is blue; therefore the answer must lie somewhere in the middle — purple it is!” attitude is repulsively intellectually lazy and irresponsible. As I know that you are neither intellectually lazy nor irresponsible in your posting, I find myself pausing to wonder. While it would certainly help everyone’s understanding of the situation if you were willing to spill the beans, you of course are under no obligation to do so — in fact, it would likely be to your detriment. But without that additional knowledge, the suggestion that whatever blame there is to cast on this whole situation should fall equally on both parties seems like total garbage.

    Piecing together the more elaborate articles written (the interview w/ Theo this morning was particularly instructive) gives rise to a narrative in which Dempster, having weeks ago given the FO at least two locations (LA, ATL) as places he’d be willing to go, and having been kept in the loop recently that a deal with ATL was imminent, backed down. Theo: “he certainly wasn’t blindsided because we had been telling him for days that Atlanta was a very likely destination and we were going to have to make a final decision.” This is the part that kills me. Again, Theo: “Ryan never got the opportunity, for, I’d say, more than an hour, to fully contemplate Atlanta with a deal actually in place.” So for 2 or 3 days he’s known that ATL is likely. For some several weeks before this moment the FO has been operating under the assumption that ATL was OK, because Dempster told him it was. And once the Cubs finally reach a deal w/ ATL, he needs more time to think about it? What the hell had he been doing during the weeks since he told the FO that ATL was OK in the first place?

    Did Dempster have the right to ask for the time? Yeah, of course he did — he could have told Theo to take a hike. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be perceived as a shithead for doing so. He knew what he said publicly about doing right by the team. But when faced with public scrutiny about his equivocating, he copped out. “Blindsided”? Yeah, right. He lied. Period.

    … but then there’s this:

    Not only did Dempster have a right to ask the Cubs to keep trying to work something out with the Dodgers, he had good reasons to ask.

    This is the hard part. Those six words — and the story behind them — are the most frustrating part of this situation. This is where the Dempster-the-asshole thread *could* begin to unravel, even if just a little bit. But since we don’t know the story, we are left to make our judgements on the stories we know. And the stories we know don’t make Ryan Dempster look very good at all. How much worse could it be?

    • rhino70

      @TWC —

      Your reply is every bit as good as Brett’s post. It really nails the whole situation from this fan’s point of view.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And, yes, by the way – TWC’s comment is a really solid encapsulation of that point of view (minus the bogus “intellectual laziness” crap…).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      False equivalencies are crap, and I hope you’re not trying to make one here. The whole “you say the sky is red, he says the sky is blue; therefore the answer must lie somewhere in the middle — purple it is!” attitude is repulsively intellectually lazy and irresponsible.

      I don’t see the false equivalence (but, as you note, I have the curse of knowledge – and I mean that genuinely). Maybe it’s the former lawyer in me, but, when you’re dealing with two stories, involving real humans – and the absurdly complex myriad of motivations that animate such things – there is no such thing as an objective truth (“the sky is, in fact, blue”). We love simple narratives – either Dempster is an asshole who changed his mind, or the front office bungled by putting together a deal they didn’t know for certain they could complete – but is it ever really that simple? It’s been my experience that it isn’t. And here, it isn’t. Dempster did change his mind, and, as a result, the Cubs’ trade return on him sank. The Cubs didn’t screw up, they just got screwed. That generates anger from fans, and I understand it. But to say – even without any additional knowledge – that it isn’t as simple as (a) or (b), but is some combination of the two, is neither lazy nor irresponsible. I find that, more often than not, it’s as accurate as you can get.

      But without that additional knowledge, the suggestion that whatever blame there is to cast on this whole situation should fall equally on both parties seems like total garbage.

      How do you feel about blaming neither of them, which is where I actually landed? And, even if I were casting blame, I certainly never said anything about “equally.”

      And once the Cubs finally reach a deal w/ ATL, he needs more time to think about it? What the hell had he been doing during the weeks since he told the FO that ATL was OK in the first place?

      As noted in the post, it’s been open knowledge (since confirmed by Jed (with apologies, I haven’t yet done the “here’s what everyone says” post)) that Dempster wanted to wait until the last minute, because he hoped the Cubs could do something with the Dodgers. He wanted time to think, sure. But he also wanted time for the Dodgers to come through with a good offer. Folks can hate him for that, and I think it’s pretty fair to say he didn’t express well enough just how strongly he desired to go to L.A. with the front office (but, also as Jed noted, it’s difficult to convince a guy that a team isn’t going to step up at the last minute with a better offer). I can understand some criticism on that specific point (though I haven’t heard it yet), but we’re kidding ourselves if we pretend to know the contents of those conversations.

      Did Dempster have the right to ask for the time? Yeah, of course he did — he could have told Theo to take a hike. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be perceived as a shithead for doing so. He knew what he said publicly about doing right by the team. But when faced with public scrutiny about his equivocating, he copped out. “Blindsided”? Yeah, right. He lied. Period.

      Dempster said he was blindsided not by the fact of a trade being on the table with ATL (he knew that), but by the media firestorm that awaited him when he woke up from his nap. He was blindsided to be told he HAD been traded. I would have been, too, if I hadn’t approved anything.

      But that’s kind of a side-story (a sexy and funny one, given the wealth of “blindsided” jokes it generated). The real story is a question: it is possible, yes, that the circumstances of a person’s life can change dramatically in the span of, say, two months? Say, from early June to late July? Where you might say one thing in early June, with all the conviction of your heart, but then, in late July, change your mind?

      (And, by the way, I *know* how shitty the “I know something, and I can’t tell you what it is, but it should change your mind, and you should just trust me” thing is. And I’m not at all asking it. I like this discussion, and I think everything you said is fair. The only thing I’d ask, is don’t think ill of ME for the post. You can think whatever you want about Dempster. But my ego is much more fragile.)

      • OlderStyle

        Hear, hear. Well done, Brett. I love your desire to be accurate and do it with integrity. We all need to engage our mental engines’ “negative capability” from time to time.

      • TWC

        If I didn’t make this clear enough, let me try again: We don’t know what you know. We have to review the situation through the prism of what has been publicly reported. And through that prism, especially after reading the interviews with the FO yesterday, the reason the trade fell apart is due to Dempster. That’s not really in dispute, is it?

        But I’m not sure I can, with good conscience, say that Dempster is the villain here. At worst, he had an ill-timed change of heart. At best, the Cubs were a bit too aggressive, and Dempster still tried to do right by the organization. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

        But the truth doesn’t lie “somewhere in the middle”, unless the middle ground is the gulf between Dempster-the-selfish-asshole and the Dempster-the-extenuating-circumstances-equivocator. Even if I were to concede that “blaming neither of them” is appropriate, the cause of the trade falling apart is Dempster. Your concern with fans vilifying him is, I think, well placed (Chicago sports fans are not particularly forgiving), but Dempster bears responsibility.

        Folks can hate him for that, and I think it’s pretty fair to say he didn’t express well enough just how strongly he desired to go to L.A. with the front office…

        I think this is most likely a rather accurate assessment on the whole situation. But I just have a hard time chalking that up to bad luck as you do. Maybe we’re coming at this with different understandings of “blame” or “fault”. But if the trade fell through because of Dempster’s ill-timed change of heart, or if it was due to him not clearly expressing his desire to go to LA, or if it was some not-quite-defined personal issue, the responsibility for that lands on his lap

        The real story is a question: it is possible, yes, that the circumstances of a person’s life can change dramatically in the span of, say, two months

        Well of course. And if the “truth” of the situation is ever known, we might find that it really isn’t fair to feel the anger/animosity towards Dempster, but it certainly doesn’t absolve him of his responsibility. In that light, I think it’s fair for fans to “blame” Dempster.

        That brings me back to the main impetus to my original reply: false equivalencies.

        I don’t see a whole lot of difference between blaming both parties equally and blaming neither party. That attitude is dangerously close to creating a false equivalency that suggests no one bears responsibility.

        I don’t see the false equivalence (but, as you note, I have the curse of knowledge – and I mean that genuinely).

        This was precisely my point, and I returned to that in the last paragraph of my post. I think I was quite clear that I wasn’t accusing you of intellectual laziness (in fact I rewrote that section of my reply several times to make that point). Had you included my very next statement (“As I know you are neither…”) on the first portion of my reply that you quoted, that would have been obvious.

        As for what you know, and how you’re able to share that knowledge, you should know that I hold no personal ill will towards you for that. But I will admit to being skeptical that any additional information would make me feel that Dempster is absolved of responsibility in this. Would I be able to find sympathy for him? Most likely, yes. But “Dempster did change his mind, and, as a result, the Cubs’ trade return on him sank. The Cubs didn’t screw up, they just got screwed.” Dempster owns that, whether you feel for him or not.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I accept all of that. And I’ll tell you that it is entirely possible that, even knowing everything I know, you would be completely unmoved. I don’t think anything you’ve said is unfair, or even necessarily inaccurate.

          And I know you weren’t saying I was being intellectually lazy – I just wanted to address the underlying point.

    • Internet Random

      What TWC said.

  • Ben

    yes, but even be optimistic with Vizcaino’s injury and violent delivery I think he becomes dominant late inning reliever and never becomes a starter….so his stock is certainly much lower than a year ago (I know this was a very obvious post)

  • jstraw

    Once Demp put Atlanta on the approved list, the rest is just bad faith. You give Theo the list and get the hell out of the way. Screw Dempster.

    • Scotti

      No one, NO ONE, has said Dempster put ATL on “the approved list.” This is one of the false narratives. 10-5 guys don’t have “approved lists.” 10-5 guys tell you the teams that they would consider. He considered. Just like Soriano. But with Soriano the names weren’t leaked. If the names in the Soriano deal(s) were hot and spicy Cub fans would be just as pissed at Soriano. “Boo hoo, we could have had so-and-so and BA ranked him 47th.” But the teams Theo dealt with re. Soriano didn’t leak anything.

      10-5 guys do not hand over lists and surrender their rights. They consider and Theo himself said Dempster was considering (I’ll grant that Theo was blindsided by Wren leaking but Theo sure doesn’t come across as blindsided by Dempster considering).

      • J R

        10-5 guys are a pain in the ass. Let’s trade them when they are like 9-4 from now on. Something to think about..

      • scorecardpaul

        Scotti, How many people have you heard on here who are bitching about what Soriano did????
        Dempster is acting like something he is not (aperson who cares about the Cubs), and he is actually acting like a spoiled bratt.
        The way he keeps talking out of both sides of his mouth is what is pissing people off.

  • Master Dan

    Will be interesting to see how things end up for Delgado and Vizcaino. Maybe the stars aligned for the Cubs that this happened. Maybe both fail. Maybe both succeed. Maybe one day they face off against each other. Time will tell.

  • die hard

    keep Garza and build staff around him..he needs to know hes wanted and has home….his whole life even as a kid was one move after the next given father in military….if he can settle in then we have a 15-20 game winner each yr for next 5

  • Tommy

    Brett – excellent article.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Tommy.

  • True(ly) Blue

    We haven’t lost a great deal. Demp would possibly have given the Cubs 7 or 8 quality starts and possibly 4 or 5 wins. In the long run his contribution to the Cubs this year would have been minimal and at the end off the year he would have been gone. We received 2 high risk but great potential players in A ball who are more than we would have had if he left over the winter. Granted that the Atlanta trade sounded very good but rules are rules and Dempster had the hammer. Say good bye and move on! Anger only raises your blood pressure and cholesterol, eh?

  • Spencer

    Another interesting thing to consider: its not as if Dempster vetoed the deal it ATL. He just said he wanted more time to think , then Atlanta pulled the deal off the table. Maybe he woulda eventually said yes. But Atlanta didn’t give enough time for that to go down.

    • Jimmy james

      It had an expiration, I think he wanted to try to look like it was the braves fault for not waiting but too many reports about him wanting to try the dodgers at all costs……I don’t think he was considering he just didn’t want to bluntly say no……possible that trying to be everything to everybody is what caused the problem

  • http://www.cwsnaturally.com Evolution

    Nice article, Brett. Lots to be proud of regarding the Blogathon…not the least of which is how much fun you added to the deadline. Awesome…in the entirety of the Internet, did anyone capture the urgency of the deadline like you did?

    And…it just plain rocked. AND…you kept closer to facts than any mainstream reporter out there.

    Enough ass kissing. You’re still annoying, shorter than average, and not Jewish.

    Also…I stand by my assessment. Even…EVEN if this was Dempster’s worst moment, I still believe he’s been a solid enough guy and camper to earn a little slack.

    And…I’m happy with the result.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for all of that, sir.

  • Sam

    Great read Brett,and great job overall. I thoroughly enjoy making BN an integral part of each and every day!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you, Sam. Appreciate it.

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