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Here’s the holdup: Ryan Dempster wants to go to the Dodgers

Jul 24, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

Ryan Dempster AP

What we have here is … a failure to communicate.

Someone with the Cubs assumed that Ryan Dempster was going to be OK going to the Braves. If they didn’t think that, they wouldn’t have gotten a deal in place yesterday. But Ken Rosenthal reports that, nope, that’s not what Dempster wants:

Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster does not want to be traded to the Atlanta Braves, according to major-league sources.

At least not right now.

Dempster, as a player with 10 years of major-league service, the last five with the same team, has the right to block a trade to the Braves. The pitcher instead wants to be sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were unable to reach agreement with the Cubs on a suitable deal, sources said.

Rosenthal says that the Dodgers are interested, but a deal could not be struck before the Cubs started talking to the Braves, who are thought to be Dempster’s second choice.  Which just means that the Cubs’ chances of getting a good deal here are way less today than they were yesterday.  I mean, if you’re the Dodgers, you bid low, right?  And if you’re the Braves, you pull back on stakes as rich as Randall Delgado now that you know how desperate the Cubs will be if and when they get back to you?

Ten-and-five rights: powerful things.

But we can at least dispense with the notion that Dempster was “blindsided” here, right?

  1. Jon Weisman - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Your opening line is a nicely timed tribute to Frank Pierson, who wrote that line for “Cool Hand Luke. Pierson passed away yesterday at age 87.

    • Jeff M. - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Isn’t that famous line actually “what we have here is . . . failure to communicate”?

  2. hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Hey Theo. I’d have double bagged it.

  3. ningenito78 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Your still hung up on the whole ‘blindsided’ and ‘twitterer’ thing huh?

  4. cur68 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    What we have here is a bunch of people who should have asked Dempster, the principal party in the trade, if he was amenable to this trade before putting this on their website or considering the trade “done”. Dempster has the leverage he deserves, by right of time served and performance, to get what he wants and not have to settle for second choices.

    Teams move players around all the time against the player’s wishes. This time the player has a wish and the clout to back it up and its too bad for the Cubs and the Bravos that it goes against what they want (poor billion dollar ballclub at the mercy of an employee: cry me a river). Because this time the player can put his foot down – has the right to put his foot down- people are going to call Dempster a ‘baby’ and other crap. I know if it was me being sent somewhere I didn’t want to go, with the upheaval & stress factored in, I’d like to think I’d put my foot down, too if I had the power to do so. Especially if it appears that this might be my GM forcing this one on me hoping to get a great return. Perhaps to Dempster it might appear that the Cubs weren’t making a sufficient effort to honour his wish to go to The Dodgers, hence the thud of his foot on the neck of this deal.

    • derklempner - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:46 AM

      It’s odd to read a comment on this blog that was well-thought and worded eloquently. Kudos, sir, and I agree with your statement.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:14 AM

        “As a side note, is there any doubt that many fans of other teams loathe you vocally-hateful Cardinals fans so much for your incessant need to act superior towards said fans of other teams?”
        Lemme’ guess…you are a Reds fan, Cubs fan or Brewers fan.
        Gotta’ be cause’ the only time I hear this noise is when it comes from a fan of one of those three teams. I do need to qualify that I hear it from Brewers on a far less frequent basis.
        I wonder what the connection is between those three teams and the Cardinals?

    • boilerup1869 - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:32 AM

      Sounds like Dempster’s agent is posting on HBT now.

      • cur68 - Jul 25, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        Or someone from his country. Could be that, too.

  5. larryboodry - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I like Ryan Dempster, but he’s really screwing the Cubs here…Yesterday we thought we had Randall Delgado for Dempster, and (potentially) a Matt Garza deal with the Dodgers that would have included Zach Lee…Now we will probably get neither Delgado or Lee.

    • buccaneerz78 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      Who cares where he goes…. the cubs are perrenial losers. Wherever he goes he will have a better chance of winning than your cursed city.

      • El Bravo - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        City isn’t cursed, just the Cubbies. Bears, Hawks, Bulls and Sox are just fine thanks.

  6. pwt3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Dempster’s a piece of shit. Royally fucks over the Cubs. Not only does he cost them a great trade with the Braves, he destroys their leverage in negotiating with the Dodgers.

    He better hope he gets traded to the Dodgers, because we at Wrigley will boo the shit out of him.

    • cerowb - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      Are you serious? There isn’t a classier guy in baseball than Ryan Dempster, I’m sorry. I’m a Cubs fan too, there’s not a chance I boo this guy. He’s been a great player, teammate, and citizen in Chicago for such a long time.

      I hope he gets what he’s looking for. He deserves it, truly one of baseball’s good guys.

      • pwt3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        No, he’s not. He’s a fraud and a jackass and a prima donna who’s currently royally screwing over the Chicago Cubs franchise.

      • cur68 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        cerowb; This has been my impression of Dempster, too. I don’t see him in games at all, but his reputation that you claim is exactly what I’ve heard. I’m going to guess that he had this deal nixed long before it got to being leaked, the Cubs went ahead with it, hoping to pressure him into it (seriously, I understand why; this was a GREAT deal for the Cubs. Braves: not so much) and Dempster wasn’t having it.

        By now, if anyone buys public statements by ball club reps and players as some sort of guarantee then they have not being paying attention. Very often the first sign of an impending trade or firing is a GM coming out to declare “full & total support for so & so”: this is a guarantee that guy is gone. This time the player did it to some degree. So what?

      • ugglasforearms - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        Re: cur68’s comment

        “(Ichiro’s) going to be a Mariner. We intend to keep him.”

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      We have ZERO doubt that you (and many, many others) will boo him Pwt3.
      Is there any doubt why players loathe playing for you guys?

      • derklempner - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM

        That’s a bold statement, considering how many players have publicly stated that they wanted to come to the Cubs and play for a team that has the chance to finally end the longest championship drought in professional sports.

        I’m sure there are some players that do loathe playing for the Cubs, but the unfortunate truth is that it hasn’t happened yet for the ones who DO want to play there. And there have been many that do see a chance of it happening, especially recently with the change in front office personnel.

        As a side note, is there any doubt that many fans of other teams loathe you vocally-hateful Cardinals fans so much for your incessant need to act superior towards said fans of other teams?

  7. pwt3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Seriously, this stupid asshole has single-handedly set back the Cubs rebuilding with this. It’s just amazing to me. This jackass said he would be ok with a trade to the Braves. He played the “whatever’s best for the team” card over and over again, made himself out to be a great team guy, took in all the applause and praise from the fans and the sentimental goodbyes – and then this? He just screws the team over and ruins potentially two huge trades? F you, Ryan Dempster. Cubs fans will remember you forever as what they knew you as to begin with – Dumpster.

    • hep3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Don’t sugar coat it.

      Really? It is just baseball……

    • cerowb - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Please stop talking. You’re embarrassing not only yourself, but all Cubs fans.

      • pwt3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Blow me.

      • derklempner - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:58 AM

        “Blow me.”

        Ah, so your maturity finally shines through. I couldn’t figure out if you were really being a douchebag or not with your initial post.

    • JustMeMike - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      Maybe a three-way
      Cubs send Dempster to Dodgers
      Dodgers send player or players to Braves
      Braves send Delgado to Cubs.

      I guess the sticking point in the 3-way or even a straight Dodgers/Cubs deal is what the Dodgers are willing to part with.

      As far as the Cub fans remembering what Dempster did to them – he pitched well and offered to accept a trade. Now you say he is screwing them – If they couldn’t win WITH Dempster how is it even a possibility they WILL win with Randall Delgado. I know – there’s no guarantee. And being able to field a younger and less expensive team is a step in the right direction. If you need to be angry about Dempster is a likely target. But the amount of venom being directed at him is a bit much… (IMHO)

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        The Braves need pitching. The Dodgers need pitching. Neither team has what the other covets, so this idea doesn’t really make any sense.

    • jrbdmb - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      You’re giving Dempster far too much credit.

      Cubs management is perfectly capable of screwing over the team and setting back the franchise without any outside help – after all they’ve spent decades perfecting it.

      • 84cubs - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Really?? “decades”? As far as I can recall the current owner has owned the team for about 3 years. And Epsteins team (the current “Cubs management”) hasnt even had their hands on things for a year.

    • natslady - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      I’m sorry, did I miss where Ryan Dempster is employed as the Cubs’ GM and it’s his job to rebuild the Cubs????

      He owes nada to the Cubs. Nada. If he looked at the Braves vs. the Dodgers (or Nats for that matter) and said, I have a better chance of getting a ring with the Dodgers than the Braves, then, fine, go for it. If nothing can be worked out with the Dodgers and he stays, well, that’s not the worst thing, the Cubs will get the extra draft pick and see how well Theo does with it.

  8. psr179 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    As a Brave’s fan, I would hope the front office does an about-face on the Dempster trade talks. If he’s that adamant about going to the Dodgers then so be it. Figure out other means to get a SP option. Personally, I hope they go after Greinke and get him to agree to an extension before trading for him. If he agrees to a 5 year deal, I would be ok with packaging Teheran and another higher prospect.

    Dempster has taken away any leverage the Cubs had in bidding the Dodgers against the Braves. Have fun with that. Dempster’s market just fell flat on its face.

    • stealing3rd - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      Please let the Dodgers have him! No way is he worth Delgado, and any thoughts of signing Dempster to an extension just makes me think Lowe 2.0.

    • windycity0301 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      It is this loss of leverage that has Cub fans so upset. We all get the reality of what happened as a result. We have put up with the losing with the hope of building for the future. The anger comes from Dempster flip flopping on his long held stance this year that he would waive his rights(to a list of teams to help the Cubs) and the fact that his flip flopping ruined all of the leverage the Cubs had not only in this trade but for additional trades they could also possibly make, potentially setting the rebuild back further. Does he have the right? Of course he does. But, don’t expect us to enjoy being lied to and accept it all blindly. The mask is off…

    • derklempner - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:07 AM

      I’m just going to comment on your Greinke idea. I don’t think the Brewers move him this year, and I don’t think they sign him long-term. From what I can see of his current situation and not agreeing to the $100-million-plus deal the Brewers have recently offered him, I see Greinke signing with the Marlins for the next few years.

      My reasoning is thus: Greinke prefers small-market teams, and he’s looking for a big payday. The Marlins seem to be the best candidate to throw a bunch of money at him (based on their recent signings of free agents and the amount paid to them) for a “small-market team” that is always looking at pitching as the front line of fielding a competitive team.

  9. vansloot - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    The “blindsided” did seem a bit odd. I was even thinking, “man, what a wuss” when I heard that. But now things make more sense. I gotta quit believing what I read on the Internets and the Twitters.

    • psr179 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      he cant be blindsided when his name has been tossed around for at least 6 weeks and has often times been linked to the braves as well as dodgers. its not a case of being blindsided. its a case of him not getting what he wanted. as a 10/5 guy thats given a lot to the cubs, he has every right to do that. just like the braves have every right to rescind that trade offer and go elsewhere.

  10. crookedstick - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Yeah, he sounds like a REAL despicable human being!

    Cub fans ripping him over what he has earned really need to re-examine their own pitiful lives and priorities.

  11. Old Gator - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    What Dempster really deserves is to be with the Grubs on the morning of August 1.

  12. SmackSaw - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Trade Garza to the Braves for Delgado.

    • anythingbutyanks - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      Delgado, and…..? Garza is younger, has another full year under contract, and would be considered the better pitcher by many, if not most (Dempster’s excellent season notwithstanding). If the Braves were going to part with Delgado for a 35 year old pending free agent, the price for Garza will certainly be higher.

  13. Blackbird0520 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Love hearing you dumb ass cub fans whine about Dempster nixing this deal…It’s his RIGHT to do so through his 10-5 rights….it’s the reason people get paid to come up with a good Collective Bargaining Agreement that suits both the players and the owners…..I’m a braves fan and would love to have him for a pennant run this year, but it definitely helps our chances in the long run.

    • larryboodry - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Blackbird0520 says:

      “Love hearing you dumb ass cub fans whine…”
      Allow me to borrow a phrase from pwt3…You know the one.

  14. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I wonder if he’d consider going to Anaheim..

  15. randygnyc - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Generally I fall on the side of management over labor/unions for reasons I won’t get into here. With that said, Dempster has the right to deny any trade, for ANY REASON, at any time. Just because you heard or read that Dempster would accept a trade to the braves doesn’t mean it’s even true. That could be Cub’s spin too.

    What we do know is that Dempster didn’t like this trade and as of now, it’s not happening. Casting blame before knowing what happened is foolish.

  16. unlost1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Now you ruined everything by leaking this story!

  17. lanflfan - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    I was pretty happy Dempster was not coming to LA given the prospects supposedly offered. Now if the asking price comes way down, maybe, but I’m just not sold on giving up young, cheap arms for a 35 year old who may be a three month rental.

  18. psunick - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Maybe time to let it go, Craig?

  19. fergie22 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    he has every right to say no but he should ask himself what is better the chance to play in the playoffs and maybe a world series with atlanta or playing with the worst team in baseball seems like a no brainer he is a free agent after the season which looks on your resume? jmo

  20. hoopmatch - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I guess Dempster REALLY wants to be reunited with Ted Lilly.

  21. nlfan865 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    This was easy to read…Dempster wanted to go to the Dodgers all along, they have the money now for a long term deal…the deal to the braves was just better for the cubs and not so much for dempster who probably knows he will have to negotiate again with another team soon anyway if he goes to the braves…where the dodgers are willing to give up less right now for a short term helping hand(garza) and negotiate with dempster on the open market later when the big market will be a little more saturated with the greinkes and hamels sp signing pool…the cubs just didnt want to be the ones to let everyone know that their cards were showing…so dempster let the cat out of the bag for them…still a team guy!!!!

  22. charlutes - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Just don’t blame the media for leaking a non existent trade. BTW way Craig, why does it bother you so much when someone e points a finger at the media? Its not like any pay is being docked. No one’s getting rocks thrown at them. The media levies so much criticism outwards I don’t get how you can be so sensitive.

  23. jon623 - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Craig, I would just really like to point out that you’re my favorite HBT writer. Your writing has character, comedy, great insight, and really hooks me in and allows me to enjoy reading about all the quirks, twists and turns of baseball. Thanks for consistently delivering awesome pieces that not only inform me as a reader and baseball fan, but encourage me to keep cultivating my boyish love for this game. Thanks for all the good stuff! :)

    On another note, lets talk about Dempster. I would love to see him in Dodger blue. He would be a great addition to that rotation for a team right at the heels of the division leading Giants. We know he has been performing above his skill, but he could be what they need to lift the Dodgers over the hump as the playoffs draw near. I really hope the Dodger management can reach a deal with the Cubbies, mostly for the reason that I like the Dodgers and think he would be a great addition, but also because I like Dempster and want to see him happy.

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