I’ve been meaning to write this huge rant about Ryan Dempster for days, but the smoke coming out my ears keeps obscuring the screen to my laptop. Have you ever tried to write something and had to constantly wipe down the screen? It’s maddening.
Also maddening is Ryan Dempster’s “I’ve earned the right to block the trade” attitude. In a matter of days, Dempster has managed to go from the most popular Cub player to universal pariah on the North Side, and he has no one to blame but himself.ou
Let’s get a few things straight. Has Dempster “earned” the right to block a trade under the 10/5 provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement? Undoubtedly. Does that mean Cubs fans can’t be upset by the MANNER in which he is choosing to exercise those rights? Absolutely not.
When this season started, Cubs fans knew this team wasn’t going anywhere. We knew from the beginning that losing 100 games was a distinct possibility. We held on to two glimmers of hope to make this season worthwhile: 1) the rise of Anthony Rizzo and 2) being able to get some decent prospects for guys who were playing well. That was the season for us. That was our playoffs. Hoping to come out of this season a little better than when we went in and with less payroll.
It’s been widely reported by many media outlets (and not refuted by anyone in Dempster’s camp) that, as the deadline approached, Dempster provided Theo with a list of teams that he would not block a trade to. First on that list was the Dodgers. Second on that list was, reportedly, the Braves. Why Dempster felt shock, anger, and, most of all, CONFUSION when news of a deal leaked out of Atlanta is beyond me. In my mind, when a player says “I’ll accept a trade here, here, and here. . .” it’s a green light for a GM to go ahead and start dealing. I have no idea how Dempster thought all of this was supposed to happen.
The Braves have since announced that they’ve “moved on” from the Dempster deal. The Dodgers have been reported to be much more interested in Matt Garza than Ryan Dempster. In fact, the Dodgers refused to agree to a deal that would have send Dempster to LA for AA pitching prospect Allen Webster, probably the only thing the Cubs could have gotten in a deal with the Dodgers that would have been better than getting Randall Delgado. So hey, thanks a bunch, Ryan.
Yes, Dempster has his family to think about. Yes, he has a special needs child to consider. However, these are the issues players are supposed to carefully consider BEFORE telling their GMs where they will and won’t go. If Dempster really did put Atlanta on his list of pre-approved teams, then he deserves every bit of derision and disgust he’s getting from Cubs fans.
Meanwhile, Dempster seems to be the only person in Chicago who thinks the Atlanta deal still has legs. He’s stated that he has until the trade deadline to decide. Unluckily for the Cubs, his waiting for the trade deadline has effectively destroyed what was supposed to be a big week of moves. Now that it’s known that Dempster will only go to LA, no other teams are interested and LA holds all the cards. Remember when Theo and Jed kept saying the Cubs were going to be “very active” at the trade deadline? Now. . . not so much.
Dempster has always held himself out as a leader, a team-player, a guy who genuinely cared about the organization and the fans. Yet he’s denied the team the chance to pick up a good young prospect because he doesn’t want to go play for his second choice for two months. If Dempster likes being a big fish in a non-contending pond, if he would rather be known for his (terrible) Harry Caray impersonation than for winning a pennant, fine. But I don’t even want to hear him talk again about his competitive fire, his drive to win, etc. Because any player who really DOES want to win would welcome the chance to pitch for a contender, even if only as a two-month rental.
Ryan Dempster is, by all accounts, a great guy. We’ve all heard that ad nauseum for as long as he’s been here. But good people have petulant moments, too. This is Dempster’s.
Cubs and Cards today at 1:20 pm CT on CSN. It’ll be Lance Lynn against Travis Wood (ugh).
Lineups to come.