The Chicago Cubs: A demonstration on how NOT to do business

Hey Cubs, I’m laughing at your ignorance of the fact I’m a 10/5 guy! (photo courtesy of Fox Sports)

Around 24 hours ago, it seemed imminent that the Atlanta Braves were going to land Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher Ryan Dempster for the Braves’ heralded pitching prospect Randall Delgado. The deal was all but done, and many were already speculating that Dempster would be pitching for the Braves on Wednesday in Miami. The Cubs forgot one major piece of the puzzle: they forgot to ask Dempster first.

Ryan Dempster, who’s pitching lights out for the Cubs this season, is a 10/5 guy, meaning he’s spent 10 years in the Majors and 5 years with the same club. If that’s the case, a player has total veto power over a trade. Rather than going up to Dempster and saying, “hey man, what do you think of Atlanta?” they simply opened negotiations with the Braves and seemingly closing the deal without Dempster’s knowledge. Seemingly ticked off at the Cubs decision, Dempster defied the media reports, put on his Cubs uniform and sat in the dugout with his current teammates.

Within an hour Dempster went from appearing to be an Atlanta Brave to firmly holding onto his Cubs uniform.

It’s not Dempster wants to stay in Chicago. To the contrary, he wants out but prefers the Dodgers over the Braves and wants an extension with L.A. He’s from British Columbia and prefers to be closer to home and you can’t fault him for that. In fact, you can’t fault Dempster for just about anything that’s transpired over the last 24 hours. The fault lies solely at the feet of the Chicago Cubs front office.

When the Cubs lured Theo Epstein away from the Red Sox with a giant contract, many though the hapless Cubs would finally figure a few things out and Epstein would start putting the pieces together to rebuilding everybody’s favorite losers. Epstein’s first season in Chicago has been an unmitigated disaster. At the time of this writing, the Cubs are 17 games under .500 and are a whopping 16.5 games out of first place. The season is effectively over for the current Cubs roster and Epstein is wise to sell off what pieces he can and attempt to rebuild now.

Trading a 35 year old Dempster for a 22 year old Randall Delgado makes perfect sense. Delgado is an up and coming starter with solid MLB experience and plenty of upside. Dempster is getting old and sports a career 4.18 ERA, all with National League teams. Dempster is lights out this season and you can sell high in order to maximize your return and there is no guarantee Dempster will recapture his 2008 or 2012 magic with his next team.

However, the Cubs bungled the trade. I’m sure they’ll find someone to take Dempster off their hands and it could still very well be the Braves who land him. For now, the Cubs look like amateurs who can’t manage to ask a 10/5 guy whether he would pitch for Atlanta or not. Looks terrible.

If I’m Frank Wren, GM for the Braves, I’m calling the Cubs to say thanks, but no thanks and move onto other trade targets (namely Zach Greinke or James Shields). Other teams now know what the Braves are willing to give up in return for a top notch pitcher and maybe the Braves’ next trade partner will remember to ask the player in question before trying to make a trade.


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