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Harris: What Really Happened With Ryan Dempster

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Ryan Dempster.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Ryan Dempster. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Adam Harris Adam Harris
Adam Harris is the Update Anchor and Executive Producer of the Les...
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By Adam Harris-

WRIGLEY FIELD (CBS) Ryan Dempster is gone, but there are still questions on how and why it took so long.

“We had talked about (being traded to Atlanta) and there were places that (Dempster) was open to, but there was one spot that was a clear number one (Los Angeles Dodgers,)” Cubs president Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “The way that went down was I had told Ryan that Atlanta was a very interested team, and he told us that had a lot on initial appeal to him … The day before the deal, I told Ryan, ‘tomorrow morning we are going to have to basically make a final decision’ with the Braves.

“It was time to make a final decision, so we quietly consummated a deal with Atlanta. I told Ryan to keep thinking about going there. Then the (Atlanta trade story) leaked an hour later, so Ryan barely had an hour to contemplate the deal quietly … I feel for him, because then all of the sudden he had everyone telling him what to do and had all sorts of questions about it, but he certainly wasn’t blindsided because we had been telling him for days that Atlanta was a very likely destination for him.”

According to Epstein, Dempster was very set on going to the Dodgers and wouldn’t accept a trade to Atlanta until he knew the Dodger deal was dead. Epstein let Dempster in on some of the trade talks with the Dodgers to help him realize how bleak a deal was with them, but by then it was too late with Atlanta.

“We had a deal in place (with Atlanta) and (Dempster) didn’t say ‘no,’ he said, ‘not now.’ So he didn’t technically say ‘no’ he said ‘no, I’m not going to go to Atlanta until I see about LA.’ Atlanta, very reasonably, didn’t want to wait around and risk not getting a pitcher. (Dempster) said, ‘not now,’ and I think he just had a place he wanted to go, and had a clear number one which is his right, and he wanted to see that through, and I don’t hold that against him.”

Dempster was in the offices to hear first hand that the trade with the Dodgers was not going to happen, and that action was necessary, according to Epstein.
“We put him in someone else’s office, but there were some things he needed to hear,” Epstein said. “If someone really wants to go to a place, you can tell them over and over it’s probably not going to happen, but unless they’re convinced of that, they probably wont want to move on to their second choice.”

Dempster then took a step back, and evaluated where he might want to go instead of Los Angeles and Atlanta. It was a very tough and unique situation for Epstein and the Cubs front office to deal with, considering all of the communication and appeasing needed.

“We told Ryan that we would like to get him where he wanted to go, but we have to get the best deal for the Cubs,” Epstein said. “You also have to work with someone because they can say, ‘well, I’m not going anywhere then.’”

“We are really glad to have Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva right now,” Epstein continued. “It is a give and take, and relationships matter. Our relationship (with Dempster) was terrific through the whole thing, and it still is…I know (our relationship) started to be characterized in the media as contentious. It wasn’t at all. (However,) was I disappointed that we couldn’t consummate the trade to Atlanta, absolutely.”

Epstein did say he liked the Altanta deal for Randall Delgado, and Dempster ended up not agreeing to that.

“I don’t think Ryan deserves any criticism,” Epstein said. “Do we wish he would have had 12 places that were an ideal destination for him instead of one, sure. I thought that Atlanta deal we had lined up was an outstanding deal for the organization and would we have liked to execute it, absolutely.”

Still Looking To Shop Alfonso Soriano

The rumors yesterday that there was interest around the league for Alfonso Soriano was confirmed today.

“There were a few nibbles,” Epstein said. “There was one match of a team that expressed interest, and a place where he would go, but they never made an exact offer. That team filled their need somewhere else.”

I assume that team was the Dodgers, and they ended up acquiring Shane Victorino.

Expect the Cubs to keep trying to find ways to move Soriano before the season ends.

“(Soriano) is helping us, and I’m sure he can help other teams,” Epstein said. “I’m sure he will clear waivers, and we will see if something materializes.”

For live updates from Wrigley, follow Adam on Twitter.

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