Braves deal for Dempster pending his approval
Atlanta would add Major League leader in ERA in hopes of stabilizing starting rotation
MIAMI -- The Braves are prepared to add Ryan Dempster to their rotation, but will first have to wait for the veteran pitcher's approval.
The Braves reached an agreement on Monday to acquire Dempster from the Cubs. But Dempster must accept the trade before it can be official. This is a right he has earned because he has played in the Majors for at least 10 years and been with the same team for at least five years.
"Nothing official to report. You will be the 1st to know. Thnx to all my fans for the support," Dempster tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
"I know what you guys know, basically the same thing, maybe a little bit more. I'm not going to lie to you about that," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday. "But that's all I know right now. We're in a holding pattern."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum painted a different picture while suggesting that a deal had never been agreed upon between the two teams.
"I found out when I came in off the field from early BP," Sveum said. "Somebody said they saw it on the website, so I got on the website and saw it, and called the higher-ups to make sure, and they're like, 'No, nothing's happening, I don't know where that came from.' That's where we are with that."
When the Cubs were at Turner Field before the All-Star break, Dempster told some of the Braves players that he would like to play in Atlanta. The 35-year-old pitcher can be a free agent at the end of the season.
If this deal is completed, the Braves will likely be sending highly regarded pitching prospect Randall Delgado and at least one other player to the Cubs as compensation.
Dempster has the potential to serve as the stabilizing asset the Braves have been seeking to add to their inconsistent starting rotation. The 35-year-old right-hander has posted a 2.11 ERA in 15 starts this year and sports a 3.63 ERA in the 147 starts he has made since the start of the 2008 season.
Once Jair Jurrjens struggled again during Sunday's loss to the Nationals, it became more apparent the Braves would aggressively pursue an acquisition of a starting pitcher. Their rotation has posted the third-worst ERA (4.34) in the National League this year.
Dempster is owed approximately $5 million for the remainder of the season.
When the Braves began evaluating ways to improve their starting rotation, Dempster and Zack Greinke sat at the top of their wish list. But as the past few days passed, with the Brewers providing clear indication that they are willing to move Greinke, the focus fell on Dempster.
To get Greinke, the Braves would have had to likely part with top pitching prospect Julio Teheran and at least one other Top 15 prospect. Now they will likely simply pursue him on the free-agent market this winter.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.