View From The Bleachers

July 25, 2012

Game 97: Dempster Denied, Management Miffed, Cubs Lose

Filed under: Featured,General — Jedi Johnson @ 5:00 pm

Cubs 2 @ Pirates 3

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Apologies to Dustin, he had the unenviable posting time of 4pm EST on a day where the Cubs played at 12:35pm EST. Definitely give his article The Plight of the Unwanted a look.

Dempster On The Mound:
A ‘quality start’ today, but just barely. 6 IPs, 5 hits, 3 ERs, but 2 costly HRs. Each of Pittsburgh’s solo shots tied the game, and eventually the Pirates took the lead on Garrett Jones’ 6th inning double. Kevin Correia was better today, and I hear he’d be open to pitching for the Braves.

Dempster Off The Mound:
I realize this will be a point of contention, but nonetheless I’m going to go there. Dempster’s public behavior the last few days belies all those stories you hear about him being the consummate professional. A quick reminder of the facts and reported suspicions:

1. FACT: The Cubs worked for days, perhaps even weeks, to get Dempster traded to the Dodgers. This was Dempster’s first wish – if traded, he preferred LAD.

2. FACT: The Cubs and Dodgers could not agree on players.

3. FACT: The Cubs shifted their attention to the second team on Dempster’s wish list, the Braves.

4. FACT: Sometime on Monday the Cubs and Braves reached an agreement on the players involved in a trade centered around Dempster.

5. FACT: Someone leaked specifics of this potential CHC/ATL deal to the media; Dempster balked – his approval is inexplicably still pending.

6. FACT: Dempster spent the vast majority of two straight days reiterating, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that his preference is for the Dodgers.

7. FACT: Two days later, the Braves have said they’ve moved on. That deal is dead. REPORTEDLY: The Dodgers have zero incentive to boost their offer since Dempster has removed most of the Cubs’ leverage. There is no LAD deal in sight.

8. REPORTEDLY: The Cubs are now 1) waiting for Dempster to change his mind about ATL, 2) waiting for the Dodgers to up their offer, and/or 3) resigned to the fact that if neither of those things occurs they’ll make Dempster a qualifying offer after the season ends and gain a compensatory pick when he signs elsewhere in free agency.

9. REPORTEDLY: At no point in this process has there been any requirement for Dempster to sign an extension with either the Dodgers or the Braves – every report to that effect has been pure speculation. Even ATL GM Frank Wren has suggested that wasn’t a condition. This disagreement is quite literally about where Dempster will pitch in August and September.

10. REPORTEDLY: Multiple reports have the Cubs front office understandably frustrated that everything unraveled so quickly and needlessly. If it was the Braves who leaked the info that led to Dempster’s decisive indecision, the Cubs are just about the only party here that hasn’t actively launched a grenade on this process.

I’ll sum up my problem with Dempster in a word – duplicitous. You don’t give your employer a short list of teams to which you’d be willing to be traded, and then renege when an agreement is reached with the second team on that list. Presumably if there was a good reason for Dempster to balk at the ATL deal, he would’ve blurted it out in 140 characters already. While Dempster has rushed to Twitter and the media to be sure his message is understood, the Cubs front office has been very professional.

Back To The Game:
The Cubs lost today in large part because only Anthony Rizzo and David DeJesus were able to hit the ball hard. In a familiar storyline, the Cubs didn’t see an overwhelming amount of pitches, and only managed two walks to go with their five hits. That’s not a lot of scoring opportunities. Barney was the only other Cub to get a hit.

DeJesus’ Double:
In the 3rd, DeJesus hit a ball that found the seats in RF. It didn’t bounce, but second base umpire Country Joe West ‘saw’ that some fans in RF had interfered and he determined it to be a ground-rule double. Watch the replay, even if that the case (and I don’t think it is), there’s no way any infield umpire could’ve possibly seen that. The closest position player to the ball (Pirates’ CF, Andrew McCutchen) didn’t voice even the slightest of complaints upon viewing the play live from about 20 feet away. West is famous for being stubbornly wrong – a good rule of thumb with Country Joe, the more stubborn he is, the more wrong he is. The video evidence was deemed to be inconclusive. In the end, it didn’t really matter, DeJesus came around to score on Rizzo’s single two batters later.

Tomorrow:
The Cubs have an off day tomorrow, they’ll resurface on Friday at Wrigley against the Cardinals. That is Ron Santo Day at the park, and one can only hope that the Dempster saga doesn’t drag on until then.

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  • Josephine

    They really pissed me off by losing.

  • Bolt

    Dempster really pissed me off with his behavior.

  • Bigcubsfanintx

    Yes, Demp earned his 10-5 rights but putting ate am #2 on your list and then not going when sent there is more than shameful. Now he has put “his” team in a disadvantage with the “only” team he will go to. The years Demp spent here is now washed away in my mind. He went back on his word and now the Cubs will not get back near the player the Braves where willing to give up. The quicker he gets a Cubs jersey off the happier I will be. He’s not a Cub, He’s a Dodgers playing as a Cub. Get out if town!

  • Cubs Future

    Something that isn’t exactly clear is whether Atlanta was requiring Dempster to sign an extension for that trade to go through.  If not, then it is understandable.  But if he was being asked to sign an extension, then it can be food for thought.  He doesn’t have to sign an extension as free agency gives you more freedom.  We may never know what exactly all transpired, but I think it is somewhat in between.  I’m disappointed, but not upset since I don’t know all the details.  Rumors are well rumors.  Cubs can get a decent comp pick out of all of it.  Not as advanced as some of these prospects, but not terrible.  Just hope it all works out.  We still have plenty of time left and lots of other trades to make.  Go Cubs Management.  Work those phones!

  • Jedi

    Wren has suggested the Braves had no type of extension requirement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jackson-Donley/100000724630594 Jackson Donley

    Well, I was pretty much supporting Demp in standing by his 5/10 rights until this article. You explained it very well. If he listed two teams, and the Cubs, being unable to swing a deal with team #1, did so with team #2, it does seem like Demp has gone back on his word. Apparently, he just really wants to re-join Lilly and everything else was BS. The good news: they can still possibly deal him for someone else, or like you say, make him an offer and get a comp pick. Finally, next year, his $14 plus mill comes off the books and can be spent on younger players. Unfortunately, he has seemingly ruined all the good will he built up.
    Thank you for opening my eyes from a different POV.

  • Doc Raker

    If Dempster changed his demands after Thed made a deal within Dempsters agreed upon parameters than Dempster is out of bounds and I am disappointed in Dempster. If Dempster undercut the Cubs negotiating power by demanding a trade to the LAD at the last minute then he most probably burned a bridge with the Thed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopherjamesallen Christopher Allen

    I’m inclined to believe that the Braves want a controlled player, that they requested an extension, and that Wren is being duplicitous about the extension
    .  Wren is shrewd, does well for the Braves, and has a knack for deception.  But leaking of the trade confuses me as I’m uncertain who would have thought it would be beneficial.  I suspect we’ll find out details eventually and I may be disappointed to find Demp torpedoed it all like others have concluded.

  • Chuck

    I find it hard to begrudge Dempster in this situation.  The other side of this story that usually gets zero ink in these situations is that athletes, and baseball players in particular, have very little say in where they live an work.  From the day they are drafted until the day they get their first shot at free agency they have zero control over where they live and work.  This is a situation that 99% of the population take for granted.  Within market constraints, I can live and work anywhere I wish to.  Most athletes have about no say about this.  They are drafted by teams with little say in the matter.  Then they play in the minors where they can be traded at any moment and be relocated anywhere with no input.  They spend around 1/3 of the year away from home.  Baseball players hit free agency in their mid to upper 20s unless they have already signed extensions.  They have about 2 or 3 times in their professional lives where they are in complete control of their employment.  I understand that they are wildly overcompensated for playing a game, but if I was in their shoes, I would not want to get yanked around forever.

    I worked away from home for about a year.  Let me tell you that it sucked.  The pay was good but being away all the time just sucks.  I would up taking a significant pay cut to be able to be home most every night because the money is just not worth it.  I find it hard to criticize a person for saying “Screw it.  I don’t want to move.  Again.  I don’t want to be away from home for the next three months.  I want to see my kids.”  Until you have worked away from home for a significant amount of time, you have no idea what it is like.

  • Eddie Von White

    Yeah, but they get every winter off to be home all day and night and then they get to retire when they’re 35 years old and never go to work again unless they want to. Doesn’t sound like too bad a trade off to me.

  • BLPCB

    You only live once

  • Jedi

    It’s possible – that is an aspect of this whole thing that’s less certain.  But I tend to think that Dempster would’ve taken to Twitter trumpeting that in his defense already.  He’s not been shy about this whole thing, why would he protect something so vital to his stance as that is…

  • Buddy

     Unless you’re James Bond.

  • flyslinger2

    It’s time for management to step up to the plate and make it happen.

  • Bolt

    The difference in this equation is that Dempster previously agreed to going to Atlanta and that Atlanta was a suitable location if LA did not work out. Dempster basically went back on his word and lied in this scenario. If he had originally said no, then it would be fine. But he had stated differently in a previous situation so it’s completely different.

  • Greasetrap1

    What I don’t understand is that since the Cubs should have no intention of resigning Dempster as it is, isn’t he just prolonging the inevitable? Sure he loves Chicago, who doesn’t, so come back and live here in the off season.  He is going to be pitching for someone other than the Cubs next year, if you can’t accept a trade to a contending team with two months left in the season, that you allegedly agreed to with management already…than you are a PUD.

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