Something actually coming of this would be a shock, to put it mildly.

According to Carrie Muskat (whose reports always have to be regarded both closely (because of her close relationship with the Cubs) and cautiously (because of her close relationship with the Cubs)), the Cubs have been in contact with Ryan Dempster’s agent about a possible return to the Cubs.

I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself.

What once felt like a legitimate possibility – Dempster returning to the Cubs as a free agent in 2013 after a trade at some point in 2012 – seemed to wither into the ether this Summer when the Cubs had some difficulty cajoling Demspter into accepting the best possible trade they could get for him. (I won’t rehash that whole saga, but if you’re inclined to remember.) I had certainly moved on from even considering Dempster’s name among long lists of possibilities for the pitching-starved Cubs.

But Muskat’s report raises the possibility that a reunion could happen. There are so many immediate reactions …

(1) How would Dempster be received by the fans, if, by some craziness, a deal actually could be made? I tend to think we web-dwellers are a bit closer to things than the average fan, and we probably over-estimate the potential for backlash. I think, overall, a Dempster return would probably be greeted with open arms, depending on the deal.

(2) Speaking of which, Dempster will turn 36 in early 2013, and is probably going to try and land a contract to end his career. He’s coming off a very effective season, and could easily drum up a two or three year deal for decent dollars in this market. Is that really the kind of deal the Cubs are looking for? Sure, Dempster would offer reliable innings and some measure of veteran leadership, but he’s not likely to accept a one or two-year deal, and he’s not going to sign with the Cubs on the expectation that they’re just going to flip him again. You’d think Dempster would want to go somewhere that he can win soon, and you’d think that a team on the cusp of winning soon would easily be open to out-bidding a team like the Cubs.

(3) Would he – after everything – take a hometown discount? If he wants stability in terms of years, hell, maybe the Cubs really would be willing to offer him three years and the opportunity to finish his career in Chicago … if he signed for well below market value. I can’t say off-hand how realistic that is, but I do know that there was a time in the no-so-distant past when Dempster really did have love for both the Cubs and the city of Chicago.

I guess it can’t hurt to reach out, but I’d be shocked if anything came of this. Maybe there isn’t much here – after all, the Cubs are going to “contact” almost every free agent. There’s no real reason not to check in on these guys, particularly one who might have a reason to sign on an undervalued deal.

Thoughts? Reactions? Would you welcome him back on the “right” deal? On any deal? Do you wonder why so many people were annoyed with him in the first place? Are the Cubs just floating Dempster’s name to see what the reaction would be in the fan base? Do they even care what we think? Do you need more questions?

UPDATE: Doug Padilla confirms that there have been preliminary conversations, but also notes that the discussions, so far, have been “far from serious.” As expected.

  • JR

    I seem to recall a period in which the Cubs *looked* competitive right before the fire sale, and that that was driven by the starting pitching. Why not bring back Dempster on a team-friendly three year deal and maybe some back end promise to continue in the organization. No reason to think he would not be a solid member of the rotation and, if he flounders in year three, say, he could shift into the bullpen.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      at least a 10 year deal

  • Kurt

    Cannot believe that Theo/Hoyer could be that tone deaf.

  • Chet Masterson

    It would be funny if they signed him to a team friendly deal without a no trade clause and then immediately shipped him to Atlanta

    • Matty

      Forget Atlanta. If he signs a contract without a no trade provision, ship him to Houston.

  • Noah

    This would be my theory: if Dempster signs with the Cubs, he won’t do it on a one year deal. He might do it on a more team friendly 3 year deal, or two years and an option, but he doesn’t want something where he could be spun off easily.

    My bet is the Cubs would gladly take Dempster back on a one year deal or maybe one and a mutual option, but there will not be a meeting of the minds.

  • Alou and Vinegar

    I see Dempster signing with the Brewers as a replacement for Marcum. (Who I think ends up with the Cubs due to his relationship with Bosio/Sveum)

    • Ben (BG2383)

      Those are both predicted by MLBTR, it will be interesting to see if it comes to fruition. I wonder what kind of a deal Marcum will be looking at from a suitor.

  • Dustin

    I would def welcome him back! Sign him and Jackson and our starting pitching don’t look so bad after all. Garza, Samardzija, Dempster, Jackson,Wood.

    • dob2812


    • dob2812

      Sorry, I’m confusing myself here. Edwin Jackson. Sorry.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Sorry, I’m confusing myself here. Edwin Jackson. Sorry.

        I wonder if this will be the year that Edwin Jackson gets a multiyear offer. He’s been a solid albeit unspectacular pitcher who’s contributed to several competitive teams. The Yanks, Sox and Dodgers all will be looking for pitching, and that could drive up the years offered as well as the $$$ offered.

  • Fastball

    I think the media and the internet over exaggerated the relationship issue. I don’t believe Jed is free of blame in that fubar. I would sign him. He was relevant and effective in th NL. I don’t care what transpired or how ut transpired its business and mos Cubs fans still like Dempster. Get him on a deal if its a possibility.


    If the money and contract works I do not see a problem. The Cubs Need pitching and Dempster can pitch. Its not like the Cubs Are gonna pay him top dollar and/or contract years.

  • ron

    Dempsters best chance to play in the post season is signing with the Cubs! He knows they will not be competitive and knows the front office’s willingness to make a deal at the deadline. this would be a win win. He would be comfortable in Chicago and can pitch well then at the deadline he could choose which playoff team to go to.

  • HotRuta

    Seems UNlikely. Maybe management is floating a trial ballon, to see what the reaction would be?

    • DarthHater

      Biggest balloon crash since the Hindenburg…

  • someday…2015?

    Plesac reportedly one of the favorites to partner with Len. In my opinion Plesac would be the ideal choice. Bring the winning train back to the north side! CHOO CHOO!!

  • Mick

    Maybe Dempster’s decided that being traded to a contender mid-season isn’t so bad. If he’s willing to sign a 1-year deal sans a NTC, well, he’d be a hero in my book.

  • Ogyu

    Wait a minute. Aren’t teams other than Texas supposed to have to wait until after Friday before they can talk to Dempster?

  • Feelz72

    Dempster is a career .500 pitcher and he got $14 mil last yr. He IMO is not worth bringing back no matter what the deal is. I wish the Cubs would get rid of Carrie Muskrat also!

    • TWC

      Ah, W-L %, the first (and last) statistical refuge of the scoundrel.

    • DarthHater

      ♫ It looks like muskrat hate

      La da da da da … ♫

  • Curt

    only want him back if he brings Randall Delgado with him.

  • Tim

    Sign him, then flip him for some baseballs and bats

  • Cubs1967


  • 5412


    Let us not forget Dempster is a good closer which could add a couple years to his career.

    He would likely be on the Yankee radar.


  • Dustin S

    After everything that happened I would need to hear a comment from Demp that he would actually consider coming back before giving this much weight. Even then I would be skeptical, it would probably be more likely to be posturing. Dempster’s agent is happy to have the press, the more teams interested the better for him.

  • MichCubFan

    Dempster does seem like the kind of pitcher to me who will age well, especially in the NL central…but the contract needs to make sense, and then the player-team realtionship needs to be better than what it looks like to the public. Probably not likely.

  • dan

    sure bring him back with a list of teams that he would accept a trade to. if the cubs can complete great if they fall off he can go one of these teams and spend most of the year in chicago.

  • Pingback: Now *That’s* a Rumor: The Cubs and Ryan Dempster Are Reportedly Talking About a Contract | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • tim vandevooorde

    forget marcum i see this starting rotation in 2013vand beyond garza dempster smsrdzja jackson and wood and trade carlos marmol and make fukiyawa the closer and ricky viilenueva the setupman in the 8th inning i think thatbwil help the cubs out a lot andbhelp them win a lot more games tim vandevooorde diehard cubs gfan elgin illinois