PITTSBURGH -- A bizarre three-day stretch ended with Ryan Dempster remaining right in a Cubs uniform, but the reality is that much has changed.
After using his veto rights to nix a deal to the Atlanta Braves, indications are now that Dempster might not be dealt at all even though there are still five days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline.
With nothing left to do but pitch, Dempster took the mound for the Cubs and fared well, but not good enough to win. He gave up a pair of solo home runs and a two-out RBI single to the Pirates’ Garrett Jones in the sixth inning that decided the 3-2 defeat.
After learning he wasn’t headed back out for the seventh inning, Dempster channeled his inner Carlos Zambrano by throwing a drink cooler to the ground and throwing his own drink against the wall before heading to the clubhouse.
While still frustrated over the defeat, Dempster had cooled off considerably in the postgame clubhouse.
“I’m allowed to be upset,” Dempster said. “I respect him a lot. That’s (manager Dale Sveum’s) decision. It doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. At the end of the day he’s just trying to do what’s best for the ballclub and I have nothing but respect for that. It’s just the competitor in me that wants to get out there and keep trying to pitch.”
Sure the outburst was the culmination of a frustrating outing, especially over the two-out Jones RBI, but the long three days had taken its toll too.
“It’s been a little bit of a grind, but it’s been a lot of fun too,” Dempster said. “We won a couple of games here and that was exciting. We won a series after a tough series in St. Louis and came right back and played well.”
The Cubs had been poised to add a much-needed pitcher for the future in the deal with the Braves, but now that pitcher might come in the compensation round of next summer’s draft. Indications are that the Cubs might keep Dempster for the remainder of the season, make him a free-agent offer this winter and if he doesn’t sign they will be compensated in the form of an extra draft pick.
A draft pick, though, isn’t a major league ready pitcher like Randall Delgado, the pitcher the Cubs were supposed to receive in the Dempster deal that was agreed to Monday and was left waiting for Dempster’s approval.
Also left to be determined is how Cubs fans react to Dempster if and when he makes his next home start. His next outing will likely take place Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, just hours after the deadline has passed.
For now, though, Dempster will remain in limbo until the deadline actually passes.
“I had a job to do today and that’s really important to me,” Dempster said. “I had to try and separate the two things, make sure I’m getting my rest and we had a day game today. I wanted to make sure my focus was on going out there pitching and doing my job. Now I will have tonight, obviously, and the off day tomorrow to try and look at a couple of different things and see what the possibilities are and go from there to make the best possible decision for me.”