July 24, 2012 at 10:52 am by Franklin Rabon under Atlanta Braves
*UPDATE 6:05 PM* Cubs are still believed to be in discussions with Braves, and prefer any offer they would likely make to what the Dodgers would likely offer, but due to Dempster’s stance, are now mostly talking with Dodgers. Braves aren’t waiting, but also aren’t totally shutting the Cubs out either. If the Cubs come back to them with Dempster’s absolute acceptance of a trade to them, they would be open to a trade. But there couldn’t be another mishap in any way, shape or form. The Cubs front office would have to be 100% sure this time. The Braves are absolutely talking with other teams now though, and thus the Cubs would have to call the Braves and ask if they would still do a deal, since the Braves may engage in negotiations at any time.
Any potential deal with the Cubs would still likely involve Delgado, but the Braves may also want a bit more now in return.
A Dempster deal is still unlikely, but people seem to have calmed down a bit on the Braves end, after an initial outrage after hearing that Dempster planned to make next start and ‘could take a week to decide.’
*UPDATE 5:36 PM* The Braves have heard from Chicago radio that Dempster said he could take “up to a week to decide”, and since they cannot talk with Dempster directly, and because the Cubs front office has been unable or unwilling to give them any better information on this front, the Braves are believed to be taking Dempster’s ‘threats’ seriously, and have all but moved on.
Astounding how quickly this all unravelled. Personally I was fairly ambivalent about the trade, but Wren and the Cubs front office have to be really frustrated. In a situation where hours of time can be worth millions of dollars, at least three whole days have been wasted.
If I had to put a number on the chances of Dempster to Atlanta, I’d go with 15% right now. It’s still possible, but would take a lot of things to go just right. The Braves cannot sit there waiting at this point, with no end to Dempster’s decision in sight. Dempster also said he’d make his next start for the Cubs. Obviously that wouldn’t be Dempster’s decision on whether or not he makes his next start, but it does indicate his state of mind with regards to potential trades.
*UPDATE 4:28 PM* According to a source, the offer of Delgado is no longer a current offer, and if the Cubs want back in, they would have to renegotiate. The Braves are again calling other teams about starting pitching, and Dempster is no longer seen as their top priority.
The source said the deal “isn’t 100% dead, but it would have to be re-incarnated.” Delgado wouldn’t necessarily be off the table, but the terms for the deal “almost certainly wouldn’t be the same after all this. If for no other reason than it has become clear that the Braves offer was lapping everybody else’s offer, and the Cubs’ bargaining position is much weaker than it was two days ago.”
The Braves seem to have grown frustrated with the Cubs’ inability to give any idea of how long it will take Dempster to decide. It was said that “the Cubs front office and Dempster seem to not even be reading the same book, let alone on the same page.” The Braves simply could not afford to remain in limbo while other teams continued to target their fall back plans.
*UPDATE 2:53 PM* Indications I’m getting are that Braves offer will be pulled at the end of the day today (or sooner), but that doesn’t mean trade talks would be over. It would simply mean that the terms would have to be reworked in such a scenario, and it would be the Cubs asking the Braves this time, not the reverse. While Delgado might be still included in such a package if the deal must be reworked, it wouldn’t be a guarantee, and it would no longer be on open offer for the Cubs/Depmster to accept at any time (as it is right this now).
Additionally, the Cubs are losing leverage by the minute, as both the Dodgers and Braves seem less and less inclined to give up major talent as the deadline approaches. Part of the premium price the Braves were willing to pay for Dempster was the certainty of having a guy with many days left before the end of the deadline. That has obviously vanished. It seems as if the Braves are going to give the Cubs and Dempster today to get this worked out before they start making phone calls again. But even if they aren’t going to make calls on other players today, they also probably wouldn’t turn down calls made to them. And if the right guy was offered by another GM, the deal might even be gone today.
At this point I’d rate the likelihood of Dempster to the Braves at 45%. Dempster may realize that the Dodgers don’t particularly want him, and that it may likely be the Braves or the Cubs, if he doesn’t make up his mind soon. The Dodgers are likely hoping that a desperate Theo allows a sweetheart deal to fall in their laps netting them Dempster for pennies on the dollar.
*UPDATE 2:05 PM* Indications are that the Cubs believed that Dempster would unconditionally accept a trade to either of his top two teams (Braves or Dodgers), whereas Dempster believed he had indicated he would only unconditionally accept a trade to the Dodgers, and that a trade to the Braves wouldn’t be accepted unless a trade to the Dodgers was completely impossible. It is possible that this was simply a miscommunication between Dempster and the Cubs, but how such a massive communication failure could have happened on such a drastically important issue is mind boggling. Either way, Theo looks really bad here (he either overstated Dempster’s agreement to the trade to the Braves or he didn’t properly communicate with his player) or Dempster lied/changed his mind.
I still believe this deal is more likely than not to be completed, but I’d say it’s gone from 95% likely last night, to maybe 60% likely, and quickly deteriorating by the hour. If this goes on for more than a day, the Braves will likely move on, and if the Cubs want to approach them again, a deal would have to start nearly from scratch, as leverage positions are quickly changing.
*UPDATE 1:34 PM* According to Ken Rosenthal Dempster is holding the trade up because he would prefer the Cubs to continue to try to work out a deal to the Dodgers. If this is the case, there is a high probability that both the Dodgers and Braves will move on from Dempster and he will end up staying with the Cubs. The Dodgers don’t seem willing to give up the pieces that the Cubs want in return, and the Braves seem unwilling to wait more than a couple of additional days on Dempster.
Theo Epstein could come out of this looking really, really bad. All indications are he gave the Braves the impression that this was a done deal, and now there seems to be a very real chance that he ends up keeping Dempster, not getting a major piece to rebuild his team in Delgado, and making Frank Wren severely question him in future dealings. Every hour that goes by with Dempster not approving the deal is an hour closer to the Braves being forced to pursue other options and thus take the deal off the table.
*UPDATE 12:43 PM* Dempster has tweeted via his official Ryan Dempster Foundation handle: “Nothing official to report. You will be the 1st to know. Thnx to all my fans for the support #RD46″ So, he apparently still hasn’t made a decision or is waiting until the 24 hour moratorium period is over to officially announce it. Though the latter possibility seems unlikely.
1) The Braves were definitely given the impression that Dempster had given pre-approval on the deal, it’s unclear whether the Cubs overplayed their hand on the issue or if Dempster backtracked. It is not believed that a contact extension is part of the hold up. Dempster is just taking his time to figure it out.
2) While the Braves are extremely frustrated by this development, they wouldn’t take the deal off the table out of spite. They believe this is the best deal they are likely to get for a starting pitcher.
3) However, they would pull the deal if it’s not agreed to within the next day or so, as it would likely cost them a Dempster start, and they need to move on, because they feel that they have to acquire a SP upgrade and can’t afford to be shut out.
4) The Brewers are sticking hard to demanding a package that would be along the lines of Teheran, Delgado and one of our best offensive prospects (ie Salcedo or the like). They are said to absolutely view any deal that wouldn’t involve Teheran plus another major prospect and minor prospect as a complete no go. There is some thought that they could back off these demands as the deadline nears, but the Braves don’t think they have the luxury of waiting that long and then possibly having the Brewers keep Greinke.
5) Part of the issue is that the Braves believe they absolutely must make a trade for a SP, part is that the Braves want to make a couple more moves. Wren would like to get a bench bat and a reliever, and he can’t even begin to work on those deals until a SP is delivered, as obviously he doesn’t know what pieces he will even have until such a time.
6) While extremely frustrated, the Braves do believe that Dempster will accept today, and the trade would then process 24 hours from the moment his acceptance is given to MLB (24 hour moratorium on trades involving 10/5 players). If he agrees early enough in the day, he could even pitch tomorrow.
7) Like has been said, it almost certainly is Delgado, and it’s unlikely the hold up has changed that. It is unclear whether the Cubs are sending a lot of cash or taking Jair Jurrjens plus sending less cash. The deal is believed to be completely cash neutral, ie both teams payroll will be nearly exactly the same after the deal as before.
In the interests of full disclosure, this/these source(s) has/have been pretty reliable, but has/have obviously never given me info anywhere close to this level before, so take it FWIW. At this point I would call it informed speculation, though I also wouldn’t be surprised if everything he/she/they said turned out true.
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