Thankfully (or not, depending on your perspective), today’s been a relatively quiet Ryan Dempster day. Don’t get me wrong: I know we’re getting close to the Trade Deadline, and, yes, I definitely fall on the please-trade-him-and-get-quality-prospects side of things. But, man, I’m glad to have gotten a day largely off from the frustration, obsession, an acrimony that has followed this story.
It wasn’t a completely silent day, however, and I don’t expect it to be a completely silent night. Right now, things are pretty much underground (here’s last night’s set of updates, with the latest until now). We know that Dempster has not officially, formally rejected the Atlanta trade (which would have sent Randall Delgado to the Cubs), and we know that the Braves have not completely and irrevocably said that talks with the Cubs are dead. But we also know that Dempster isn’t crazy about going to the Braves, and we know that the Cubs are scrambling to try and work out a deal with the Dodgers that doesn’t require a subsequent hospital visit. For his part, Dempster says he’s thinking things over today, but we don’t know that there’s anything to think about right now.
Here are the latest tidbits on the Ryan Dempster Saga (with updates, if applicable, to follow below) …
- Jayson Stark reports that the Dodgers remain optimistic that they can get Dempster from the Cubs. I could be perfectly satisfied (more than) with a Zach Lee deal, or an Allen Webster/Garrett Gould/Chris Withrow type return. But, right now, I don’t see any reason the Dodgers would give up that much, given how things have played out. Maybe if they can get an extension out of Dempster?
- At least one executive tells Ken Rosenthal that there’s “no way” the Cubs will keep Dempster through the deadline, and then make him a qualifying offer after the season, for the reasons I’ve said before. For one thing, the return in that scenario is merely one pick, after the first round (a pick you have to then sign), and it requires Dempster actually turning down some $12.5 million for 2013 from the Cubs. That’s a risk that I doubt the Cubs want to take. Hence my doubt that the Cubs can extract quite as much value out of the Dodgers as they were about to get from Atlanta.
- For what it’s worth, I’ve heard that the Cubs haven’t totally given up on the Atlanta deal, and instead hope to be able to convince Dempster to head there, if they can’t work things out with LA. There could be very little there, though.
- Joel Sherman cites an exec who wonders whether the Cubs might “kick in $1M extra to convince Dempster to go to ATL.” Does he mean, give Dempster $1 million as, like, go-away money? If the Dodgers’ offer is Garrett Gould and Chris Withrow, and the Braves’ offer is Randall Delgado, of *course* that difference is worth $1 million. But, I mean, can you do that? Can you just give a dude $1 million, not as salary, just as a one-time bonus, to forgo blocking a trade?
UPDATE (at 3:43pm CT): Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs and Dodgers “might” be getting close on a deal. (Which necessarily means they might “not” be getting close, which is kind of like saying nothing at all.) If true, here’s hoping the Cubs have been able to persuade the Dodgers that the Braves’ deal is still on the table, and, if the Dodgers don’t match it, Demp will go there. Probably a really, really tough sell at this point (unless it’s true, that is).
UPDATE 2 (at 4:57pm CT): The Brewers’ GM just confirmed what we all already knew – the Brewers are going to be trading Zack Greinke by the deadline. The Braves are very interested, so your rooting interest on Greinke is that the White Sox somehow magically pull the pieces out of nowhere to land him.
UPDATE 3 (at 5:10pm CT): Dave Kaplan says the deal with the Dodgers is getting close. Various options are still being discussed between those teams, and they’ve even talked about the possibility of bringing in a third team (which always sounds like a great idea, but complicates things exponentially). I’m still suspect that the Cubs can get even close to a Delgado-like deal here, but we’ll see.
UPDATE 4 (at 5:26pm CT): Here’s a more complete take from Kaplan, which goes into a bit of the backstory on the Braves’ deal. The gist is, the Cubs thought they had an understanding with Dempster that they could negotiating with either the Braves or Dodgers, and then they got a better offer from the Braves. When Dempster through up a roadblock (albeit possibly temporary), asking the Cubs to try once more with the Dodgers, the Braves pulled their offer so they could explore other options. Theo was apparently furious. And that’s where we stand, as the Cubs try to get an acceptable deal from the Dodgers. The Cubs, Kap says, are trying to net a “handful” of pitching prospects, which suggests they will generally be of a lesser tier than Delgado.
UPDATE 5 (at 7:12pm CT): A really, really crappy update. Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs resorted to offering Dempster to the Dodgers for Allen Webster straight up. And the Dodgers said, “no.” Two weeks ago, that would have been an understandable offer and rejection. Webster, a fringe top 100 guy, is in the range of what the Cubs could have hoped for, we thought, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have that offer rejected. But after the way things have played out? Knowing that Dempster’s value in this market is considerably higher? I can almost taste the balls that were just kicked up into my stomach. To date, Heyman says, the Dodgers have stuck to offering lesser prospects who might project as relievers (Gould and Withrow, perhaps?). Part of the reason the Dodgers are lowballing the Cubs – in addition to their extreme leverage, of course – is the fact that they still prefer Matt Garza. But don’t think the Cubs can just deal Garza to the Dodgers and then force Dempster to go to the Braves – Heyman reports Dempster TOLD some Braves players that he was going to come there, and then changed his mind. Now, the Braves are upset, and view Dempster as a guy who doesn’t want to be there – and the Braves culture doesn’t really look kindly on guys who don’t want to be there. What a crapshow.
UPDATE 6 (at 7:20pm CT): Big surprise, Buster Olney says Dempster is holding firm on his desire to go to LA. Increasingly, I’m growing irked not only that Dempster rejected the trade to Atlanta after apparently telling everyone that he would go, but also that he apparently – literally – will go nowhere but LA. It’s a complete 180 from everything he’s said this year about what would happen when the Cubs looked to deal him. I’m not saying there might not be a good reason – a personal, family reason, for example – but, as a fan, it’s deeply frustrating. And saddening.
UPDATE 7 (at 7:26pm CT): Something else from that Heyman article that bears particular mention – maybe it isn’t just that LA is making crappy offers because they have all the leverage. Maybe, as Heyman suggests, they don’t actually want Dempster all that much.
UPDATE 8 (at 7:32pm CT): Still stewing about this latest report. At this point, a few things are apparent, and I’m ready to adopt them into my official narrative. The Cubs negotiated with the Braves AND the Dodgers for a while. Dempster was aware. The Dodgers offered crap, consistently, because they don’t love Dempster. The Braves got desperate, and offered Delgado. The Cubs leapt to take the offer, and informed Dempster, who spoke to some Braves players and suggested that he’d be taking the deal. Then he changed his mind. We don’t know the reasons (blaming the media leak is so totally bogus at this point). Now, the only reason he hasn’t formally rejected the deal is because he knows that, if he does, the Cubs can’t even *pretend* they have an offer on the table from the Braves when they negotiate with the Dodgers, which makes his chances of going there even less.
UPDATE 9 (at 8:39pm CT): And now Kaplan goes back on his earlier report, and essentially adopts the Heyman line: “Just spoke with a great source who told me that the Dodgers are balking at including what the Cubs need to make a Dempster deal.” Kap adds that Theo and Jed aren’t looking to appease Dempster here – they’ll only make the deal if it makes sense for the Cubs.
UPDATE 10 (at 8:52pm CT): Kap tweets out a few more things that are identical to the Heyman story (I’m not saying Kap lifted them, I’m saying Kap is obviously hearing the same thing as Heyman, which makes it more likely to be true). In sum, the Dodgers don’t want to include Webster in the deal, and the Cubs won’t do it without Webster (well, or, presumably, Zach Lee). Kap calls the Dodgers’ offer “very suspect,” and says the Cubs aren’t going to cave. He adds, though, that it would be very uncomfortable for Dempster to still be on the roster come August 1 (you think?), and neither side is going to want that. But, like I asked Kap, at this point, what choice do the Cubs have?
UPDATE 11 (at 9:52pm CT): Kap expands on that tweet with another article, basically explaining that the Cubs and Dodgers are, presently, at a stalemate (look, you can rip on Kap all you want for quick changes in his stories, but at least he’s covering this – and, here’s the thing, sometimes the story DOES change rapidly, as we saw on Monday).