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.

  • Kevin

    Brett, you have a way with your words, for us to accept what happened, a lot easier. Until I found BN, I was pretty much in the dark compared to what other sites reported. I personally thank you for your excellent coverage and will continue to support BN. Great job! Kudos go out to Mrs. Taylor for sharing you so our lives are just that much more enriched. I have a good feeling your site will continue to grow and prosper.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Kevin. (She thanks you, too.)

  • Itzscott

    Reading this phenominally well written story and the equally thoughtful and well written responses, the first thing that came to my mind was that you could never expect this degree of retrospect and intelligence from Sox fans and that there truly is a marked class distinction between the two.

    The next thing that came to my mind was that this story was written by yet another Cub apologist…. Which I’ve always felt was one of the main reasons why previous ownerships felt allowed and entitled to continue feeding Cub fans garbage teams throughout the decades.

    The subsequent thing that came to mind was that Dempster was used to being coddled as a Cub and felt nothing more than for himself and the tremendous sense of entitlement we’ve all allowed him to take for granted and advantage of.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m definitely not a Cubs apologist (you likely never read anything I wrote during Jim Hendry’s tenure), but I’m certainly an unapologetic Cubs fan. Everything I say will always be tainted by some Cub-fan bias.

      • aCubsFan

        No it reads like a Dempster apologist wrote it.

        Good things. Really? How can there be any good things when Dempster’s win/loss record as a Cub is 2 games above .500. He was an average pitcher being paid the salary of an above average pitcher, which makes me sick of the Henry era and sick of most athletes in general.

        Barry Rozner said it best — good riddance to a player who was happy to stay and lose, protected by management, fans and media pals, rather than accepting opportunities to move along and win elsewhere.

        • MaxM1908

          W-L is the most useless statistic in baseball. I’m perfectly fine with all the Dempster bashing, but at least find a better justification than W-L.

          • Leroy K.

            Nolan Ryan had a horrible W/L record…

          • thejackal

            Ryan Dempster gets bombed, Rangers win anyway sota goes 2-5 with a2 run double nice article maxM stickin up for cubbie fan bleed cubbieblue lol

        • Edwin

          “Barry Rozner said it best” = instant fail.

      • Whit Sox Nation

        Brett as both a White Sox Fan and a Cub Fan you do a great job of telling it like it is, without being bias keep up the great work.

    • Whit Sox Nation

      ItzScott Got news for you there are lot of White Sox fans who have intelligence like my self. I have probably forgotten more Baseball then you remember judging by your little dig at Sox fans when you have nothing else to offer except 104 years with out a World Series Winning team. And yes I am a White Sox fan first but the Cubs have always been my second favorite team and would love nothing more for them to win a World Series Unlike you who show your true colors like many so called Cub fans who are nothing more then morons who really haven’t a clue to what is going on. Now I don’t me to offend those people on this site who are knowledgeable fans and there are people here like Brett (who by the way does a great job) that understand what is going on.

      • MaxM1908

        Seriously? You’re going to come onto a Cubs fan site and rip on a guy for ripping on the Sox? I appreciate that you’re a fan of both teams, but don’t come into our world and start playing the sensitivity card. You should fully expect to see Sox-bashing, Card-bashing, Brewer-bashing, BoSox-bashing, Yankee-bashing, and bashing of every team who’s ever rubbed the Cubs the wrong way on this site. If you don’t take kindly to that kind of talk, you should probably seek out different communities.

        Also, the hypocrisy in your comment is laughable.

        • White Sox Nation

          Seriously you just proved my point on the people who I refer to as morons and not real fans with your hypocrisy and laughable remarks. You are the sensitive one it seems? I tell it like is and appreciate the knowledge of other fans such as Brett who like myself don’t live in denial and tell it like is with the team. So I won’t be seeking different communities because like I said I forgot more baseball then some here remember. And you can bash away on any team you choose does not change a thing about what is going on with the team. So feel free to bash away because your just as much a hypocrisy as those you refer of have a nice day:)

          • MaxM1908

            I do not think you understand the meaning of that word.

            • White Sox Nation

              What ever bud get over your self just because some one can like both teams it’s a joke to think one is superior or a better fan because they root for one side of town and not the other. I was born on the side south of Chicago presently living on the North West side my one Grand father was a Sox fan and would take me when I was a child to Sox games. My other grandfather was a Cub fan So I learned to appreciate both clubs. And if people don’t like it to bad there are smart fans and idiots on both sides of town no matter how badly one side wants to be superior.

              • Bret Epic

                I think personally that it has to do with the perseverance of the fan for their team. You can look at the Sox who are a really good team this year and the Cubs who are obviously sub par and look at the attendance. It’s pretty obvious who the more dedicated fans are, especially considering ticket prices.

                • Bret Epic

                  That being said…I am a Cubs fan admittedly, but I am not a Sox hater. I do wish however that people who were “Sox fans” actually cared about their team. Knowing that they’re in first place is NOT caring about your team. It takes dedication to truly care. This is a Cubs site dedicated to the sport itself, full of people who truly care about the team. As a Cubs fan…I know they have no chance this year. As a fan of baseball, I hope the Sox or the Pirates win the world series because I know how much effort both clubs have been putting in. That’s just my 2 cents, take it or leave it.

                  • The White Sox Nation

                    I hear you Bret there has been a lot of empty seats at White Sox games until recent. And yes no matter what kind of team good or bad Wrigley will always be full. But not trying to start an argument here but Wrigley also has a ton of people in the seats who come from all over just to get the Wrigley experience . And why people who say they are White Sox don’t attend games is beyond me they aren’t fans they are morons and will be the first to bitch when the team doesn’t sign a free agent or keep a player who is in a contract year. Would love to see the Sox win the World Series this year and maybe God willing the Cubs in 2014.

              • MaxM1908

                You really don’t get it, do you? I’m not attacking the fact that you like both teams. I’m attacking the fact that you come to a Cubs website and act offended because somebody made a crack about the Sox. To quote you, “[I]t’s a joke to think one is superior or a better fan because they root for one side of town and not the other.” You also say, “[Y]ou who show your true colors like many so called Cub fans who are nothing more then morons who really haven’t a clue to what is going on.” That, my friend, is hypocrisy. And, because you won’t let this die and I’m feeling cheeky this morning, let me point out another way in which you are a hypocrit. You assert that you are intelligent and even imply that you are more intelligent than Cubs fans. Yet, you appear incapable of using proper grammar. You also don’t appear to have a grasp of the word “hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy refers to an act or a state of being. It is the pretense of possessing a quality that one does not actually possess. A person who expresses hypocrisy is a hypocrit. So, when you say, “So feel free to bash away because your just as much a hypocrisy as those you refer of;” you actually mean, “So, feel free to bash away because you’re just as much of a hypocrit as those to whom you refer.” While this sentence would have contained correct grammar and vocabulary, it still would not have been factually correct. I never said it was wrong to bash other teams or their fans. In fact, I said that behavior should be expected on a fan site. Therefore, your use of “[hypocrit]” in that instance was misplaced.

                I want to make it clear that I have no ill-will toward Sox fans in general. I know many wonderful Sox fans, and find them to be equal to Cubs fans in every respect. I am simply having fun with you because you attacked a fellow Cubs fan and assaulted the English language. I happen to care for both and will always come to their defense.

                It is wonderful that you enjoy this site. Brett is a very talented writer and passionate fan. I hope in the future you will proceed on here with more decorum. Thank you.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    kudos to theo and jed for putting on a happy face . if we were having a beer with theo and jed i bet they would sing a different tune paul sullivan tonight on ctl layed the blame where it belonged at another prima donna athlete’s feet. hopefully i won’t here the name dumpster for a long time and it looks like the rangers are going down the drain. i will cheer for atlanta to win the world series.

    • Scotti

      Has it ever struck you that reporters need to sell magazines, newspapers, clicks, etc and that the more angry you get your readership–even at you (i.e. Jay Mariotti) the more they come back for the juicy details. Very few writers would tell you what Brett has–hey, some regrettable, yet reasonably human things transpired and it is all really understandable.

  • BluBlud

    I wouldnt be so quick to say we didn’t come out better by Dempster not going to Atlanta. I can see where the pieces we picked up from Texas could end up being a bigger haul then Delgado. Add on Vizcaino and it was a pretty good deadline. I’m still upset with Dempster, but I think the FO still did a heck of a job getting a quality, or better then quality, return for him.

  • mudge

    I don’t understand the need to blame and scapegoat when things don’t go to your liking. It adds nothing of understanding or compassion to the situation. Is that how you act when your children make poor decisions? What do think you are accomplishing by blaming, disliking and running down people on a website? It was pretty obvious all along that there was a misunderstanding here. If you really “knew” whose fault it was, would that matter? Would that give you a license to abuse? Set yourselves up as judge and jury anonymously and slander a guy’s ass on a public website. It really seems a coward’s business to me. -Self-Righteous Windbag

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Thank you. The constant assessing of “blame” in sports, in personal life, etc., is such a waste of energy. Judgmentalism deflects the need to find a solution in any situation….
      E.g., A tree falls on your house in a storm, do you “blame” the roofers or Mother Nature, or do you plug up the hole so your house is safe?
      Finding someone/something to blame or to create a scapegoat is a waste of time. Much better to say, “Well, this happened, so I have a choice: I can wallow in negativity (criticism, innuendo, the shortcomings of others), or I can do what I can to fix the situation.”
      The Cubs FO seems mature enough to have said, “OK, we got a rotten deal here, what to do?” And instead of letting the bad news paralyze them, they moved on and made a good deal. Several good deals.
      Blaming and scapegoating just add to the problem; furthermore, they prevent the solution.
      Bravo to Theo and Jed.
      And Bravo to the reporters and bloggers (here and on Cubs Den) who kept cool and just told it without wallowing in self-righteousness.

    • scorecardpaul

      This is a website that is set up for people to talk about the Cubs. This is not raising children, or the moraity of life. So, absolutely all the crap you were trying to say is wrong. We as Cub fans only have one right, and that is to feel how we want about our team.
      I’m still pissed at dempster!!!!!!!

      • stillmisskennyhubbs

        My friend, I can live with you thinking that everything I said is wrong.
        It just proves that you prefer to be pissed off. I hope your attitude doesn’t manifest itself beyond this site.
        If you read more closely, I was talking about the Cubs’ FO response to the Dempster situation. If the Cubs sit in blame over the past, they won’t grow in the future.
        Your attitude is your choice, if pissed off is how you wish to be. To me, it is just is a waste of time and energy.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        thanks i got taken to a self-righteous woodshed. many soldiers including my dad and brother fought in wars for the right of freedom of speech;not to condemn people when they have a different opinion then yours. all the dempster asskissers can kiss my ass.

  • Ben

    Brett, how long did you sleep after the deadline? I know it is irrelevant to anything I am just curious because you looked pretty damn tired towards the end and thanks for the excellent job during the BNblogathon…I hope you will do again next year

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I got about 10.5 of the best hours ever. And thanks.

  • J R

    Great piece Brett. I was absolutely one the haters on Dempster throughout this process. But looking back it does like something must have happened rather suddenly for him to block the trade to the Braves the way he did. I will probably never know exactly what happened, but I have all kinds of ideas… And after reading your piece I don’t dislike him as much as I did before. So thanks for that..

  • Itzscott

    Look, I know what happened and it was something that happens to thousands of people throughout the world on a daily basis, yet somehow they don’t feign injury and go on the DL. They go back to work then next day, focus on their jobs and compartmentalize their personal and professional lives.

    Unfortunate what Dempster discovered, but no sympathy for how he handled it all.

    • J R

      I have an idea. But did it happen in between when Demp said Braves were 2nd on his list and the Cubs pulled the trigger for Delgado? That’s the main thing I wonder about.

    • TonyP

      So the “personal issue” goes all the way back to the June “Lat injury” DL stint?

      • TonyP

        If this is about his divorce, wasn’t that filed before the season even started?

        • MaxM1908

          Here’s what I think happened: 1) They got divorced before the season 2) Dempster says he’ll go to ATL or LA 3) Wife decides to move to Atlanta 4) Demp starts having second thoughts about ATL 5) Chipper Jones starts dating Demp’s ex-wife 6) Demp blocks trade.

          • TonyP

            Something along those lines would totally make sense.

          • Flashfire

            I had never heard Chipper Jones having a part in this. Is that known or is that pure speculation?

            • MaxM1908

              It was just a joke. Probably not very funny. Sorry for not being clear about that.

              • TonyP

                Other than the Chipper Jones part, I think you are dead on. I believe his ex-wife is from Atlanta.

  • josh2

    step 1: assign blame
    step 2: piss and moan on the message board
    step 3: question the intelligence of those who disagree with you
    Time to move on. Best wishes Demp

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Perfect recipe for a life of continued frustration. Well said.

  • Frankum

    Brett, definitely love the site and appreciate your dedication to us viewers and the truth. But. Why mention you learned things about this hot topic if you can’t share them?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For the reasons I said: they shape my take on how things played out. If I didn’t say I had additional reasons, my conclusions wouldn’t make any sense.

      (And, I’d like to point out: I *never* do that whole “I know things, but can’t tell you” dance unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’m not at all interested in being that guy.)

  • Greenroom

    Great piece, Brett. Only commented on one other article on BN. Long time reader, but not too much to say. I think the best part of your article was the interplay between the questions that were in the set-up to the trade, what was happening at the moment, and possibly could of been, if the wait time had been extended by the Braves. These questions were put into a context that made many avenues seem plausible, even while many were divergent. It is all too easy to fall on one end of the continuum or the other. A balanced and thorough assessment in some ways may be more difficult to accept. You are either with me or against me, right or wrong. I think you did a great job of laying out the various scenarios, psychological components, and even the larger social context in a way that made some sense. Even while this whole Dempster situation has been vey much emotionally charged and seemed not to make any sense. I am bummed about what happened, no doubt. But because I care about the Cubs, like everyone on this site. We all care a lot about the Cubs or we wouldn’t be here on BN to begin with. When you care about something deeply, logic can be quickly lost and only be an emotional response. I will miss Dempster and the good times, and still be upset we didn’t get the deal done. But I think as your article suggests, we can feel and think both and that is ok. Keep up the great work.

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Nice post , Greenroom. One thing though:
      “When you care about something deeply, logic can be quickly lost and only be an emotional response.”
      To paraphrase, “I care so much that I lost my reasoning.”
      Forgive me if it sounds to me like the Zambrano Defense.

      • cjdubbya

        I don’t know that he’s saying the stance is defensible so much as simply defining human behavior. How many couples say things to each other in anger that they’d never come close to considering saying during a nice meal? I know I’ve been guilty of that, I’m sure many others as well. That doesn’t defend the action, but it’s a poignant explanation of human behavior.

        • stillmisskennyhubbs

          I see your point, but anger is different from “passion”.
          “OK, I was angry but it’s because I’m so passionate” was Z’s copout.

  • Tony S

    Great article Brett. I’m accepting that personal issues were a significant factor in how it all played out and have no issue with the 10-5 rights that Dempster had.
    My issue is that Dempster, for the last several months, instilled in me the expectation that he would consider trades to other contending teams and do right by the club that gave him a chance 9-10 years ago.
    Everything he did since last week (except for ultimately agreeing to go to Texas) was the exact opposite of ‘doing right by the Cubs’.
    He blocked (or never formally responded) to the Cubs dream trade scenario but perhaps more importantly than this, the FO then had to spend a large portion of the deadline period trying to move him rather than focussing on trading other, more valuable, players.
    The Garza rumors were flying thick and fast in the last 5 hours of the deadline period and I cant help but wonder what could have been if the FO had more time to work on a trade. Imagine a Cubs farm with Delgado and possibly a Bradley, Skaggs or Bauer in it.

    After buying into the organisational view that the club is building through the farm system, I’m left feeling that Dempster, through his actions, has significantly set that process back.

    • cubsin

      I totally agree with this post. Yes, Dempster has 10/5 rights. He made a big deal about not invoking them to “block” the trade, but he knew the clock was ticking and the opportunity would go awayt if didn’t accept it. That’s the same thing, in my book.

      I have never attacked Dempster’s personal life, and was quite offended by an earlier post that implied everyone who attacked Dempster had done so. The worst thing I said (probably on another board) was that I had no more respect for Dempster than I had for Milton Bradley. That’s still true. If he can’t spend two months with the Braves (and half of that on the road) to fulfill his promise to the fans despite his personal problems that appear to be his own fault, too bad.

      • Flashfire

        Yes, it’s extremely clear that in Dempster’s case loyalty was a one-way street. All the nice words or personal problems in the world don’t make that go away.

    • TonyP

      I couldn’t have written it better Tony S.

    • Flashfire

      Imagine what the Cubs could have gotten from Texas if Garza was the only pitcher on the market on Tuesday.

      • TonyP

        I try not to think about that. That is the main that irritates me.

      • Tony S

        As well as Texas, I made the mistake of researching the Diamondbacks prospects in writing my post. What could have been…

    • MaxM1908


      Brett, great post. You are a wordsmith, and whenever I read an article like this, I always wonder why you generously donate your gift to us Cubs fans, rather than seeking employment with the New York Times. Despite my appreciation of your writing and your point of view, though, I can’t be nearly as magnanimous toward Dempster.

      First, I refuse to put much stock in non-public information that is supposed to mitigate our disgust of Dempster. Might it be compelling? Of course, but it also might not. If it’s not going to be released to the public, then the public is under no obligation to forgive or absolve Dempster for his transgressions. The public information is quite damning, so it would take a whopper of new information to really shift the balance. I’ll also venture a guess that this non-public information is personal in nature–hence why it’s not being released to the public. I have very little sympathy for people’s personal lives interfering with their duties, and saying he will accept a trade to LA or Atlanta created a duty for Dempster regardless of his 10-5 rights. We who work in the real world are forced to compartmentalize our professional and personal lives all the time. If we say we’re going to do something, we do it no matter the circumstances, and we face the consequences when we don’t live up to it.

      Also, let’s try not to humanize these players too much. They are NOT like us. They are paid buckets of money to play a child’s game. They get ridiculous rights that us hard working people could never even dream of (can you imagine if you couldn’t be fired or transferred in your job if you’d been employed for 10 years, 5 years with the same company?). Their superior circumstances mean they don’t get the benefit of being humanized when things go wrong. They have to face the court of public opinion, and while that sucks for them, it’s the flipside of living the fantasy life.

      Whatever his undisclosed reasons may be, it still probably doesn’t excuse what he did. It may provide a reason why he did something, but it doesn’t necessarily provide an excuse. If in my job, I say I will go to Atlanta for two months to work with a client, but then change my mind at the last minute because of personal reasons, (jeopordizing the firm’s relationship with that client in the process) I will probably not have a job for too much longer. I will lose standing with my colleagues. I may even have trouble getting another job (lawyers like to gossip). There are plenty of reasons that may cause me to make that move, but VERY few would absolve me of blame in the eyes of my colleagues. Dempster is in that situation. He doesn’t have to release his reasons to the public, but in turn, the public doesn’t have to forgive him.

      • TonyP

        Where is the like button?

      • MaxM1908

        In fairness to Ryan, I’ve tried to think about what non-public information would make me change my opinion about this situation. I really can’t come up with too much. What I’ve decided would most likely make me absolve him of responsibility for how things turned out, is if the FO leaked that Ryan would go to LA or Atlanta (when it was never true to begin with) in an effort to force Ryan to accept the trade partner they wanted. If they were manipulating public opinion or strong arming him when he was always being honest that he only wanted to go to LA, that would make me forgive and forget and even apologize for my past harsh statements. But, I think if that were true, we would have heard allegations about that by now. I think this is clearly a case of someone saying one thing and then changing their mind to the detriment of others.

  • Jimmy james

    Good piece but he’s still an @$$bag in my book 😉

  • Mrcub1958

    Great article Brett causing me to think again. But I agree with what Tony S just said. For me this will be my sour memory of Dempster (tied with him wetting himself in the 2008 NLDS). Sorry.

  • WNebCub

    i am still frustrated that we didn’t get delgado. hopefully one of the guys we got at the deadline turns into a consistent performer in whatever role that may be for the Cubs once he arrives. i just look at who we got rid of…Johnson, Soto, Maholm, Dempster and i only see one that would have been back year anyway and that’s Maholm, so through that lens i can live with what we did at the trade deadline.

    more importantly i can’t see how in any world the dempster trade will come to define this regime of Epstein and Hoyer. My confidence in those two along with everyone else they’ve got involved (McLeod) runs much deeper than what went down in this trade situation. As a fan it’s frustrating. but by no means do i feel this has set the teams plans back. they are moving on and it’s all good. keep building from within, stockpiling talent, and then at some point they will spend Rickett’s big money as they see fit.

    seriously Castro is 22, Rizzo is 22…those are two big time long term building blocks. possibly MVP candidates at some point.

    granted i’m a cubs fan but the future is bright and no miss on the dempster trade is gonna stop that.

  • stillmisskennyhubbs

    Brett, this is first-rate modern journalism. Thank you for the behind-the-scenes looks, and for the human factor in these matters–it is so often overlooked by the blamers and fault-finders.
    And you wrote this on the heels of a long all-nighter. Maybe more sleep deprivation will pave the way to a Pulitzer.

  • MightyBear

    After reading the article, I feel I have to throw my two cents in. I also think that we may be better off getting what we got for Maholm and subsequently Dempster. However, I still think Dempster showed his true colors and I agree with Jimmy James. It is true Dempster was a good pitcher and sounds like he was a good teammate but he said all the right things and then when it came down to it, acted like a selfish brat. Remember he had good moments as a Cub. He also was well compensated for his time in Chicago. His charity was embraced by Cub fans and the citizens of Chicago who generously donated to it. Not to beat a dead horse but he said he would go to Atlanta and it was for all of two months. Then he stamped his feet like a rich kid in a candy store. Good riddens. I hope he never comes back to the Cubs in any way shape or form.

  • Oswego chris

    Nice piece Brett, the truth usually does lay somewhere in the middle..I am way over the Demp thing, but I still say he screwed himself out of some potential future income in Chicago…for many, perception is reality, and all people will care about is he said no…I will repeat what I said last week…he is in Sosaland

    He needs Vizcaino to be a stud, and Delgado to falter…

    Before the season baseball prospectus said Vizcaino had better stuff than Delgado..

  • fortyonenorth

    I haven’t seen this mentioned – if it has been, my apologies.

    I think Atlanta over-offered for Dempster. When this became clear, they did whatever they could to torpedo the deal. If they had given the Cubs FO a deadline the FO, in turn, would have given RD a deadline. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like that happened. When news leaked (intentional leak?) all of a sudden there was this drop-dead date. Then, a day later, Atlanta says, sure we’re still willing to consider a trade, but the original “pieces” are no longer in play. It doesn’t add up – to me at least.

    • Tony S

      Atlanta’s offer was perhaps reflective of the Cubs being willing to eat all of Dempsters salary. I think most of the other teams in on Dempster had no such requirement and were offering lesser prospects as a result.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      This is not an absurd idea. Dempster was irked at seeing analyses of a trade that he had not OK’ed, but how did Wren feel about everyone saying that he had badly overpaid for Dempster?

    • scorecardpaul

      How long do you think they would have left the offer open if it had never been leaked??

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Brett – your work the last week has been nothing short of outstanding. I only wish I would have been able to do something similar back in 1969 when the Cubs were the talk of all of the baseball world.
    If you have followed my postings the last few weeks you all would have surmised that the Dodgers were not that interested in Dempster from the beginning of this saga. I had posted that Ned Colletti had made his best & ONLY offer for Dempster the week of the All Star game when he made a visit to Chicago for some family business.
    The Dodgers made 4 trades before the deadline & did NOT pick up 1 pitcher. As a matter of fact they actually traded one of their part time starters Eovaldi to the Marlins. Pitching was NOT a need. Theo & Jed should have & may have even told Dempster of this dilemna.
    Simply put the Dodgers did not want him – he wanted to be wanted but the feeling was not reciprocal. Dempster played the part of the spoiled baseball brat. Sorry Ryan go to your room & no Ted Lilly for you to pal around with.

  • Blake Dewitt was a highly ranked prospect!!!!!!

    Alright, been a lifelong cubs fan and need to ask an honest question to hopefully smart cub fans. Everyone is just gasping about PROSPECTS! Do you honestly think that a world series team can be fully home grown? Secondly, the whole dealings this last 9 months have made me completely want to go to wrigleyville and take Ricketts, Epstein, Hoyer, McCloud and the rest of the FO saviors and take them to some teams that truly do compete every year and show them how they did it(and it wasn’t with fricken single A prospects!)

    • ron

      All great players were once single A prospects. Also, an A prospect like Chris Archer (SeRies) trade can become a center piece for Matt Garza. The fact is all of the teams that are perennial contenders have a nucleus of homegrown talent. Look at the Yankees, Sox, Phillies and Giants. These traded tell you that 1 the front office doesn’t believe in the core that we currently have. 2 top players are not reaching free agency. 3 there is not enough depth in the system to trade for elite talent and 4 the right free agents need to be available when you are ready to make a run. Hope that helps.

    • scorecardpaul

      I don’t think there is a person alive who thinks that a team cold become a perennial winner with just home grown talent.
      I think what we are saying is that the Cubs, as constructed are a long way off(we suck). I think we see the importance of improving our minor leauges as a whole. I don’t think our minors are good enough at this point to make quality trades. I think in time we will improve to a level that will allow us to make some trades for better players, and have a few more home grown players on the team. I think when we get closer to that point we will all be very upset if we don’t make some very big free agent signings.
      Lets go back to the first part, right now we really suck. A few free agents signed, and we will still be bad.
      We need to have confidence in at least having a plan.
      I am wiling to wait,,,,,,

  • ron

    Bullets, bullets and then maybe sad cat would have been enough…but then no fireworks with TWC so I guess it was ok.

  • Blake Dewitt was a highly ranked prospect!!!!!!

    Also ask redsox fans if their 2 world series rings weren’t won by mostly MLB talent that was there when theo got the job.

    • Daniel

      iReplying seems we have more and more posts like this.

      WE WILL GET FREE AGENTS WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT!! Which isn’t right now.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Theo acquired the key pieces that elevated the ’02 Sox (a good team) into the ’04 Sox (a great team). The ’07 Sox were almost entirely put together by Theo & Co.: there was huge turnover over the 3 years separating W’S champs.

  • cubsin

    Of course big-time free agents are an important element of long-term success. But it would have been foolish to sign Prince or Albert this offseason without a supporting cast around them. We’ll sign them when the time is right, but that wasn’t last Winter, and it won’t be this Winter.

  • ChiTown

    Good to see B Jax and Vitters had a solid game today. And Cabrera really impressed me with his command and slider

  • Mike S

    So Brett,

    With all of our new prospects, including the draft, what should our new Top 10 look like? I’ll take a crack at it:

    1.) Javier Baez
    2.) Jorge Soler
    3.) Albert Almora
    4.) Arodys Vizcaino
    5.) Brett Jackson
    6.) Matt Szczur
    7.) Duane Underwood
    8.) Christian Villanueva
    9.) Pierce Johnson
    10.) Jeimer Candelario

    • JulioZuleta

      The only really glaring misplacement there would be Underwood, who probably isn’t a top 20 right now.

    • chirogerg

      1. Baez
      2. Soler
      3. Almora
      4. Jackson
      5. Vizcaino
      6. Szczur
      7. Villanueva
      8. Maples
      9. McNutt
      10. Lake
      11. Vitters
      12. Vogelbach
      13. Torreyes
      14. Candelario
      15. Amaya
      16. Wells
      17. Golden
      18. Hendricks
      19. Ha
      20. Sappelt
      HM: M. Hernandez, Whitenack, Purke, Chen, Adducci, Cabrera, Concepcion

      • djriz

        Maples and McNutt need to prove themselves. They have done nothing in the last two years. Vitters > Lake.

        • Chris

          Maples is 19 and has pitched 1 professional inning. They purposely held him out of games until they felt his mechanics were ready. Not sure you can be down on him as much as McNutt.

    • Joepoe321

      2. Soler
      3. Vizcaino
      4. Almora
      5. Jackson
      6. Villanueva
      7. Szczur
      8. Vitters
      9. Maples
      10. Pierce Johnson (trusting theo made a good pick)

  • cubsin

    Perhaps Vitters belongs on that list instead of Underwood.

  • KWD22

    After everything played out I am pleased with what the Cubs got in return. Vizcaino very well could be just as good as Delgado. Couple that with all the other prospects they got in return it ended up being a better than expected trade deadline with all things considered. I’m glad they didn’t settle on a low return for Garza, but if he doesn’t sign an extension he needs to be traded this winter.

  • thejackal

    lmao tellem scorecardpaul voting u 4 president broski

  • scorecardpaul

    check out this demster link
    He has done nothing but act like a babby through the whole thing. In fact he is still acting like a babby.

    If there is a deadline in place and a person doesn’t say yes before the deadline is up then sorry Mr. d you are in fact saying NO!!!

    • TonyP

      What a Douche! He is in spin control.

    • MaxM1908

      That is ridiculous. Hoyer’s quote is pretty damning to Demp. It says he knew it was going to be Atlanta days before the Delgado trade was finalized. What I think this all comes down to is Dempster’s unwillingness to accept the fact that the Dodgers didn’t want him. Ego much?

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      I see you’re still pissed off well into the night.
      What’s a “babby”?