Monday afternoon, according to several media outlets, the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves reached an agreement which would send Ryan Dempster to Atlanta for Randall Delgado. However, despite being reported all across the sports networks (including the Braves own website) Dempster denied that there was a trade on his official twitter account by stating in all caps that there was “NO TRADE”. Call me a media apologist if you will, but I do not think that there would be that many media outlets running with a story if they did not have verified proof that one was made.
Follow up reports from ESPN and all others who reported the trade yesterday afternoon made the situation sound as though Dempster had initially agreed to a trade, but got rather upset when he was not notified the deal was official before the news was made public and reacted by backing out of the deal he initially agreed to. Take all this with a grain of salt, as all these media moguls could be covering their own backside for jumping the gun before things were officially official, but I personally think they might be on to something.
Allow me to explain.
When all the talk about the Cubs possibly trading Dempster started, there were two teams on his list that he wanted to be traded to, the Los Angeles Dodgers was number one, with the Braves sitting right there at number two. The Cubs tried to accommodate Dempster’s top wishes by trading him to the Dodgers, but apparently the two teams could not reach an agreement on the true value of Dempster, so they turned their attention to his second choice, the Braves. They were more willing to meet the Cubs asking price and offered up one of their top pitching prospects, which the Cubs were happy to accept.
Knowing that Dempster had put the Braves on the list of teams he would okay a trade to, I can fully understand how the Braves and the Cubs would be of the understanding that there would be no holdups to the deal being completed, and they only needed Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s signature to approve the deal because of all the money that was being transferred. Knowing that all they needed was the official approval of Dempster (which both teams were under the impression they had due to his initial list) the Braves wasted no time in announcing that a deal had been reached.
That is when all hell broke out. When Dempster learned of the deal, from someone other than the Cubs, he was upset that he was not informed of a deal before things were made public and nixed the deal. After all, even if he had given the go ahead to work out a deal with a team, he felt “blindsided” by being told a deal was finished by someone other than his current employer before he gave his final okay.
While there are some Cub fans who are very happy with the Cubs still having Dempster on the team (at least for the time being) the deal dying on the vine has upset a majority of Cubs nation. The most enraged fans feel that he is being selfish and is hurting the Cubs by not agreeing to go to Atlanta for a prospect who can help the Cubs a lot longer than he can.
Before I go on, I need to make something clear. While I am disappointed that Dempster rejected a deal that could have benefited the Cubs system for more than the remainder of the year (which is all that Dempster is signed to) I have no issue with him personally for exercising the right he earned. Being a major league baseball player for 10 years, and employed by the same team for at least five years, he has the right to agree to or reject any trade that is placed before him. There is nothing the team can do to counter this negotiated right of the Players Association, they can only hope that the player involved in the transaction will be willing to accommodate his current ball club.. He is well within his rights to be as selfish as he wants to be in this situation, and is under no obligation to do anything that will benefit the ball club that wants to trade him.
However, if what the reports are saying is true (and the only people who know for sure are the Braves, Cubs and Dempster himself) then I feel he acted completely unprofessionally. After all, he told Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer and President Theo Epstein he would be willing to be traded to the Braves, so in good faith they worked out a deal that would greatly benefit the Cubs. If he changed his mind, he should have been professional enough to inform Epstein and Hoyer before they moved into the final stages of a deal. The report also state that he changed his mind because he was not informed of a official deal before things were leaked out. Again, if these reports are true, Dempster again acted completely unprofessionally in backing out of an already agreed upon deal.
Hate to tell you buddy, in the new high tech age of Twitter and the internet, the chances of a player being the first to know anything is very slim. News will likely leak out to the media before all the players involved in a deal are informed of a move. If you are truly upset that you were not informed before the media then that is just a little childish.
New reports, again from the same places who have been reporting everything else, say that he would really rather be traded to the Dodgers ahead of his number two team the Braves, thus nullifying any and all leverage the Cubs had in their trade talks with the Dodgers. The Dodgers now know that the Cubs either trade him to them for whatever they want to give up, or keep him for the rest of the season and get nothing more than a compensatory draft pick for him. So much for his claim of wanting to help the Cubs as much as he could and go to whichever team gave them the best offer.
All that to say this, my belief is that the reaction of the fans has completely gone over the edge. With the way a majority of fans are responding to this news, you would think that Dempster just ran over their dog or killed one of their children. The complete hatred that many of these fans are throwing Dempster’s way has gotten out of hand. Yes, I know that his rejecting the trade is very disappointing and that he is hurting the Cubs by not accepting the deal, but grow up. He has every right in the world to decide where he goes and when he wants to go. He is doing what he feels is best for him, his family and his career. He earned that right by being in the major leagues for over 10 years and pitching for the Cubs for at least five of those.
If he changed his mind about going to Atlanta (and who could blame him since Atlanta is a dive) and would rather play baseball in a place like Los Angeles so what? Except for getting the Cubs a player who is likely better than anything the other team is willing to offer how does his rejecting a trade to the Braves affect your life at all? How does his making a decision that affects HIS life and NOT yours ignite the fires of hate and anger to such irrational levels?
What’s more, no one except the three parties involved in the trade that never took place even know what happened. Perhaps the Braves are the guilty party and backed out at the last minute. Perhaps they leaked the story early to gauge the reaction of the fan base. Judging by the reaction of Cub fans and Brave fans, the Cubs were getting a steal; several Brave fans were not happy they gave up Delgado for a rental like Dempster.
Another thing to keep in mind before giving Dempster the tongue lashing of his life, perhaps the members of the Media are to blame here. Maybe they jumped the gun after just hearing that a deal was close just needing an okay. They know Dempster would not mind going to the Braves and the two clubs appear to be in agreement. That must mean that a deal is official right? Wrong. A deal is not official until the player involved gives his final approval, all the paper work is signed, sealed and delivered, not to mention approved by the Commissioner. None of that happened before all the baseball beat writers felt the need to break the story and announce the deal to the public. All so someone could claim to be the first to break the story.
In the end, again, Dempster is going to make a decision that affects his life and not yours. Sure, be disappointed, or even upset. But all this lashing out at him is absurd. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for how you reacted.