MLB Rumors: Ryan Dempster Says No to the Atlanta Braves?

By Michael Collins

Leverage, 5/10 player, contract extension, free agency.  All are terms that lead to one problem.  Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster reportedly does not want to be dealt to the Atlanta Braves, at least not at this time.

The 35-year old pitcher had indicated that the Dodgers were his first choice and the Braves were his second, but in the last 24 hours, it’s become obvious that Atlanta is a more distant second than originally believed.

The Braves and Cubs reached an agreement in principle Monday on a trade that would  have sent Dempster to Atlanta, reportedly for right-hander Randall Delgado, but Dempster, who is a player with 10 years of major-league service, the last five with the same team, has the right to block a trade to the Braves.

Dempster is holding fast to his desire to be sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had been negotiating with the Cubs, but were unable to reach a deal.  The Dodgers are still interested in Dempster, but discussions with the Cubs have hit a wall that, for the time being, is seemingly insurmountable.

With the non-waiver trade deadline still a week away, there is still some time for the Cubs and Dodgers to come together on a trade, but no deal can be completed without Dempster’s approval.

The problem is two-fold for Dempster and the Cubs.  The Braves apparently made a better offer for to the Cubs than the Dodgers did, and now the Dodgers are trying to trade for other starting pitchers.  If Dempster rejects a trade to the Braves (or another team), the Cubs lose any leverage they had with Los Angeles, and could be forced into either taking less than they wanted for Dempster, or keeping him through the end of the season.

Dempster will be a  free agent at the end of the season, so if he approves a trade, he might only be with his new team only for a short period of time.

Dempster’s preference to be on the west coast stems from family issues, as he is a native of Gibsons, British Columbia, and he still has family in the Vancouver area.

He has three children – Brady, 5; Riley, 3; and Finlay, 1 – and wants them to be close to family, as Riley suffers from DiGeorge Syndrome, a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to swallow and eat.  She underwent surgeries to insert a tracheal tube and feeding tube when she was an infant.

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