The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves reportedly had a trade all worked out, the only thing needed to make the deal official was the consent of its principle component. The Braves would send a package of prospects supposedly highlighted by Randall Delgado in exchange for Ryan Dempster, the Cubs' 36-year old right-hander who has been tearing through the National League this season without the help of regular run support. As a player with over 10 years of service and more than five seasons with the Cubs, though, Dempster had a no-trade clause. He used it to block the deal after word of the trade first leaked through the media. Now the Cubs likely have to trade Dempster to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and all of their leverage is dead.
It's an unfortunate turn of events for Cubs fans, as Delgado certainly would have been a nice haul for Theo Epstein's regime. What's particularly interesting is Dempster's decision to block the trade after claiming for months that he wouldn't.
In June, Dempster told ESPN Radio the following:
"I think I would be doing everybody in that locker room and anybody who is a Cubs fan and most importantly the Cubs organization a huge disservice if I didn’t put all my focus and attention on trying to make my start and do the best I can to help us win," Dempster said Wednesday on The Waddle & Silvy Show. "By doing that you’re ultimately helping the team. You’re in a situation where if it does happen they are going to do what’s best for the Chicago Cubs, and I’m all for that."
"I don’t know what direction they want to go, I don’t know any of those answers," Dempster continued later. "Whatever it ends up being I’ll have to take a look at it and see what’s the best for me, best for the Cubs and I respect that and I understand that.
"Hopefully I’m here, but if not it’s somewhere that can ultimately give them the best opportunity to improve the Cubs for the future. I believe I’m a part of that and trying to help us for the future and help us for the present as well."
Cut to scene of Dempster blocking the trade to Atlanta. Cubs fans are upset at the moment, and they should be.