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Ryan Dempster says he never turned down that deal to the Braves. Um, OK.

Aug 1, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

Getty Ryan Dempster Getty Images

Ryan Dempster was all-but-traded to the Braves last week, but rejected it with his 10/5 rights.  At least that’s what The Man wants you to believe. Dempster says it didn’t go down like that:

“The truth of the matter is, at the end of the day, I didn’t turn down any trades. All I asked for was more time on one particular trade. I didn’t really get that time. It got leaked out that I said yes and then I said no. And even after I said no — I never officially said no — I said I needed time to think about it, and I have the right to that time. I know people want an answer overnight, but I’ve been traded twice in my career with no say and so to have a little bit of say and time to make a decision, that’s all I wanted. Unfortunately it went down the way it did. I felt bad for the Atlanta Braves. They are a first-class, top-notch organization.”

Couple things:

  • When someone who prefaces an assertion of fact with “frankly,” or “the truth of the matter” or “in all honesty,” it usually means that the following statement will neither be frank, truthful nor honest. If you add an “at the end of the day” to it, sorry, I’m more suspicious, because that’s just vamping, verbal goo.
  • If all Dempster wanted was more time, and he did not, in fact, get traded to the Braves, doesn’t that strongly suggest that he did, in fact, turn it down? Because I’m having a hard time seeing the Cubs just voluntarily walking away from what almost everyone thought was a great deal in landing Randall Delgado unless they were forced to.
  • If that didn’t happen and, instead, it was the Braves who bailed, it was because Dempster’s delay caused them to rethink. Which, effectively speaking, means that Dempster did scuttle the deal through his actions if not his words.

Is there another possibility here? I’m having a hard time seeing one. What seems pretty obvious, however, is that Dempster is really interested in not being seen as the impediment to that scuttled deal, when he almost certainly was, one way or another.

And just to be clear: he had every right in the world to sink that deal if he wanted to. His union brothers negotiated for that considerable power and he earned the right to exercise that considerable power through his consistency and longevity.

But you know what they say about what comes with great power, right?

  1. number42is1 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    What he meant is that his Agent turned it down on his behalf

  2. Mike Luna - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    So, what you’re saying is….Ryan Dempster is Spider-Man?

  3. danrizzle - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    I get that the great power/great responsibility was sort of a joke and probably just an excuse to post the Spiderman thing, but I guess just for the sake of saying so, I’d like to mention that Dempster had no responsibility to anyone other than himself in deciding whether to exercise his 10/5 rights.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      I don’t think he had any responsibility to anyone for the decision. I meant that he should take responsibility for the decisions that were his.

      • American of African Descent - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:35 PM

        Craig: You should know better. The only time you accept a job on the spot is when a federal judge asks you to be his law clerk. I have no idea how you equate delay by Dempster with Dempster scuttling the deal.

        The Cubs knew Dempster had 5/10 rights. The Cubs knew that they were probably going to trade Dempster. Doesn’t it make sense for the Cubs to bring Dempster into the loop early so that he could have as much time as necessary to make a decision? (Or did they expect Dempster would be a so-called “team player” and ignore his own wants for the good of an organization of which he would no longer be a part?)

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        Dempster (and his agent) knew that the Cubs were going to shop him almost as soon as the season began and speculation in the media about it began no later than mid-May. Potential candidates for trade partners were pretty clear not long after that.

        I agree that the Cubs should have brought him into the loop ASAP, but Dempster didn’t need to have the Cubs formally bring him into the loop to consider where he would accept trades to and where he wouldn’t.

        But given the experience and acumen of the Cubs front office, I actually am far more inclined to believe that the Cubs did, in fact, bring him into the loop at the time all players with trade approval are brought into the loop and that Dempster wanted to string it out a little longer.

  4. rj6976 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I would think that when he previously listed the Braves and Dodgers as his top preferences, that he ” thought about it then”
    As a Cubs fan I’ve always liked Dempster and still do but it sounds to me like he’s trying to protect and preserve his image on the north side

  5. Kanonen80 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I don’t blame Dempster at all. He claims that the team didn’t discuss the possibility of trading him to Atlanta – so I don’t begrudge him for wanting some time to decide if he wasn’t made aware there were talks ongoing.

    What could have happened:
    Cubs: Demp, you mind if we trade you this summer?
    Demp: Yeah, I would be willing to do that.

    Cubs: You’re a Brave! Congrats!
    Demp: Hang on, I thought I was supposed to have some input in this??
    Cubs: But… but… you were open to a trade!

    • eshine76 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Here’s what also could have happened…

      “Hey, Ryan. You mentioned that you wanted to be traded to a contender, and the Dodgers and Atlanta are really showing interest. You ok with these guys? I don’t want to waste a lot of time if you aren’t.”

      Or

      At the very least, his agent should have said “Hey Theo. My favorite blog, HardballTalk, is saying that there are as many as 10 teams interested in my client. That’s a lot of teams. Is there any truth to that? If so, let’s take a closer look at the teams so my client goes to a good one.”

      Either way, I call BS on Dempster. I think he was looking at what could happen, locked in on the heavily-rumored Dodgers, and overplayed his hand.

  6. geoknows - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Everything that I heard was that the Braves got tired of waiting and said they were moving on, so your third assessment is most likely the most correct.

  7. deadeyedesign23 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    That’s nonsense. The Cubs would not have gotten that far in talks with the Braves had Dempster not said he was amenable to a deal before that. If he needed the time to envision his life in Atlanta and what that meant he should have done so in the days/week between telling the Cubs he’d consider Atlanta and a deal being finalized.

  8. ditto65 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Your scenario three does not place responsibility on him for stalling; it places responsibility on the Cubs for not keeping him in the loop.

    Look, Craig, I understand you wanted Dempster in the Braves rotation. I know you feel like a bride stood up at the altar. I know yo are full of rage seing your ex married to another suitor. But blaming him is just a petty, gut reaction that, with time, you will – if not regret – at least understand a little better than you do on this day.

    • danrizzle - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Heavy stuff there.

      • ditto65 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I was thinking more like thick, but heavy works too.

    • jamaicanjasta - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      I’m sure you like your snark but this comment makes no sense. The Braves had moved on before Dempster was traded and made for their team a better pickup with two players in positions that were needed.

      • ditto65 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        But you are trying to apply reason to a sports fan acenario. In the fan’s eyes, Dempster left the Braves holding their, umm, offer sheet, jilting them. Never mind that the Braves retrackted. That can be covered by the “saving face” maneuver.

    • realgone2 - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      I’m a Braves fan and I couldn’t care less if Dempster was on the team. Giving up Randall for probably a “2 monther” is stupid. Maholm and Johnson are fine for what we gave up. To keep harping on this situation is strange.

  9. mannyicey - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    As a Braves fan, if I can speak for all of us in saying that’s it’s all good down here. Dempster, we’re cool with you not joining the Braves. We’re going to be fine, somehow… Lawd willing the creek don’t rise.

    • cameron poe - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      As another Braves fan I concur. I don’t think any Braves fans were actually excited about acquiring Dempste, another aging pitcher, who is a coin toss to whether or not he can finish the season strong in the summer heat. In my personal opinion most Braves fans were just excited Wren was making some moves. We as fans got all this talk of how the Braves were going to be very active before the trade deadline. And, we bought it, hook, line, and sinker. Although, most of us should’ve known better after the Livan Hernandez fiasco! So, the rumblings and grumblings coming from Braves fans are more than likely not about Dempster per say. But, more about the fact that in the end we ended up with essentially nothing when there was so much out there.

  10. bravojawja - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    To quote a great philosophizer: “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

    You can also choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill, but I don’t think that’s really relevant here.

    • ditto65 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      Rush. Good call.

  11. Gobias Industries - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Frankly, the truth of the matter is that in all honesty, at the end of the day, I can’t wait to hear even more about what happened.

  12. mgdsquiggy17 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    How many more times can we beat this dead horse

  13. forthand26 - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Players are primadonnas these days. I wish we went back to the days before free agency…when players made crappy salaries and did roofing jobs on their off days.

  14. unlost1 - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    “And even after I said no — I never officially said no”. Is his agent Bill Clinton?

    • Joe - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      “It’s not like I said “no.” I just didn’t say “yes.” See the difference?”

  15. scrot7 - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Let’s get one thing straight… Dempster is not the stand up guy everyone thinks he is. He cheated on his wife with his nanny. That’s a fact. No one should be suprised that he acted liked a big prima donna during the trade talks. Good riddance to a world class a-hole.

    • ejl1982 - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Pretty outrageous Scrot7 posted this the summer of 2012

  16. Chris Ross - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    You’d think the supposed stand up guy would be more up front and stand up about this.

    http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/it-keeps-getting-better/

    • Uncle Charlie - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      I know right?

      http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&source=mog&hl=en&gl=us&client=safari&tab=wi&q=plumbers%20ass&sa=N&biw=480&bih=208#i=0

  17. onbucky96 - Aug 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Uh huh, sure. And Nick Saban won’t be the next head coach @Alabama. Take your 10-5 rights and shove ‘em.

  18. vanmorrissey - Aug 1, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    So…….he would have waited until 1 minute before the deadline to see if LA Dodgers would cough up a better deal, then decline the Braves, nice job since Wren has a job to do like running a team trying for a playoff berth who last year lost out the last day of the year. Well, the baseball world does not revolve around you Ryan so we guess you’re ‘stuck’ pitching in hot as hell Texas where your ERA will balloon beyond belief, your new contract value will decrease since you sure as heck will not do as well as the team you wanted to go to in LA, and who knows if you’ll really get to the playoffs with the way the Rangers are going right now with the Angels and A’s hot on your tail. Not well played Ryan, not well played.

  19. latrops - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    “[If] it was the Braves who bailed, it was because Dempster’s delay caused them to rethink. Which, effectively speaking, means that Dempster did scuttle the deal through his actions if not his words.”

    So even if Dempster didn’t ever actually reject the trade and, as he suggests, simply wanted time to think about it, he still deserves blame and criticism? Either he did or he did not nix the deal. I don’t know what he did, but he says he never actually said “no”, and I have no reason to assume he is lying…though he may be.

  20. wlschneider09 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Ok, let’s see if I’ve got this. We shouldn’t take Dempster’s word for the fact that he didn’t turn down the Braves deal, because it just doesn’t make sense on any level. There’s no real evidence but his word, but any logical examination of the most likely scenarios would almost certainly preclude that he is telling the truth when he tries to escape blame for the situation. I can get behind that.

    Funny though, apparently we can’t apply the same logic to testosterone doping and NL MVPs.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      That attempted equivalency would make sense if there was some sort of formal mechanism in place that was first required to be followed before we were permitted to make conclusions about Dempster’s veracity. You know, like there was for Braun, with said formal mechanism being established because everyone involved knew that you had to have such safeguards before concluding certain things about people in his situation.

      • wlschneider09 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        Dempster’s case: Occam’s razor applies. We’re allowed to make conclusions about veracity.
        Braun’s case: Occam’s razor cannot apply. We’re not allowed to make conclusions about veracity.

        Am I correct?

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        You can make any conclusions about either case you want. The point in the Braun case is that Occam’s Razor conclusions have no bearing whatsoever on what baseball should have done to him.

      • wlschneider09 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:51 PM

        OK then, so you’re not coming down on anyone for believing Braun was doping. And you never did.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:54 PM

        Of course I did. You’re entitled to your view on that. I merely noted that anyone who concludes something about a legal process when the procedures were ruled to not have been followed reveals themselves to be ignorant about what the process entails and why those procedures matter.

  21. myedayok - Aug 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    I beleive he might have said “wait” hoping he’d find a team where he’d get a better deal with another team down the road.

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