Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster wasn't happy that word of a possible trade to the Atlanta Braves was leaked before the team notified him. He has the right to decline any trade, which means the deal hinges on his acceptance.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports while Dempster was likely to accept a deal to the Braves before yesterday's events, he felt blindsided by the reports and has now caused discussions to stall as both teams await his decision.
Update: Tuesday, July 24 at 2:10 p.m. ET
More details have emerged to explain why Dempster felt blindsided by the Cubs' agreement with the Braves. It turns out Atlanta isn't his preferred destination. He would rather join the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
He reports the veteran right-hander is still holding out hope the Cubs and Dodgers can reach an agreement even though previous talks have failed. The Braves are apparently his second choice, but he doesn't want to commit yet.
The entire ordeal has taken on a life of its own ever since word of a trade first started trickling out Monday afternoon. Dempster took to Twitter to address the situation.
Nothing official to report. You will be the 1st to know.Thnx to all my fans for the support #RD46— Dempster Foundation (@RyanDempsterFDN) July 24, 2012
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Although Dempster has every right to be upset since the Cubs were clearly deep in negotiations with the Braves without letting him know a deal could be imminent, he also has to understand the world we're living in right now.
There are dozens of reporters on both the national and local levels looking to break the news before anybody else. So at the first hint a trade is nearing completion, a flurry of reports will go out on Twitter, causing a firestorm, which Dempster clearly didn't expect.
Ultimately, he can't let something like that influence his decision. He currently leads the league in ERA at 2.11, but it has gone mostly unnoticed since he's playing for the lowly Cubs, who sport one of the worst records in baseball.
What should Dempster do?
Moving to the Braves would allow the 35-year-old starter to slide right in to the thick of a playoff race. Atlanta's rotation has been damaged by the loss of rising star Brandon Beachy and plagued by inconsistent performances from young guns Mike Minor and Randall Delgado.
The Braves did sign Ben Sheets to bolster the staff and he's proceeded to throw 12 scoreless innings. His history of injuries still leaves plenty of question marks for Atlanta, though. Adding Dempster would, at least, give the team some stability.
He's not going to pitch at an elite level all season. All of his peripheral numbers point toward some regression over the season's final couple of months, but he'd still be a much better option than watching Jair Jurrjens get crushed every fifth day.
While it wouldn't be a move with the same impact as the acquisition of ace Zack Greinke, it's a trade that would benefit everybody involved. The Braves would get another veteran for their rotation. The Cubs continue building for the future. And Dempster gets to pitch for a contender.
But first, Dempster has to get past the blindsided feeling. He's holding two teams hostage with only one week until the trade deadline. It's time to move on from the disappointment and make a decision.