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Monday, July 30, 2012
Deadline drama has weighed on Dempster

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO – Seemingly worn down by the process of the approaching non-waiver trade deadline, Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said Monday that he might have made some missteps along the way.

Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster's future in Chicago has been a topic of debate since spring training.

That doesn’t exactly come as good news to the segment of Cubs fans disappointed that Dempster wasn’t willing to go to the Atlanta Braves last week in exchange for talented young pitcher Randall Delgado. Dempster can veto any trade as a right he earned from being a 10-year veteran who has played the last five seasons with the same team.

“The thing is, there are tons of rumors and tons of speculation all the time,” Dempster said Monday. “This is something that I have tried to keep very close to me just so that it gets handled the best it can. Sometimes there are rumors that are true and sometimes there are rumors that aren’t, but I can’t control that. I can just control what I can do that that’s be as prepared as I can to do my job and try to handle things the best I can.

“I’m not perfect. I’m a human being and will make mistakes. I won’t handle everything the right way every time, but hopefully I can learn from any mistakes I do make and try to be better for it next time.”

Dempster did not specify whether or not his handling of the Braves trade was something he felt he didn’t handle properly. While he seems to have the utmost respect for the Cubs organization, he also wants to do what is in his best interest.

In that sense, he doesn’t have any regrets about taking his likely inevitable trade down to the final 24 hours before the 3 p.m. CST deadline on Tuesday.

“There is no right or wrong decision,” Dempster said. “Either way it will take you down a journey of life that it ends up being. You adapt and go with whatever situation it is.”

Usually vibrant and social, Dempster has kept his frequent one-liners in check in recent weeks. It has been a trying year with his expected trade, two stints on the disabled list and the divorce filing from his wife Jenny that was submitted before the season.

Dempster said he isn’t upset that his divorce has been brought into the storyline of his potential trade.

“Any time you are a sports personality or any kind of person that is in the public eye that’s always a possibility but it doesn’t affect or change the way I do things on the field,” he said. “I don’t think it has and it won’t continue to do it as I move forward from here.”

Indeed, Dempster has managed to put distractions aside. As play began Monday, he had the second best ERA in baseball at 2.25 just behind the 2.22 mark of the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong.

As for reported friction between Dempster and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein for the way the failed trade with the Braves was handled, nobody was saying there were any issues. Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have been hunkered down in the Cubs’ offices across the street from Wrigley Field and Dempster denied any problems.

“No, not at all,” Dempster said when asked if there was conflict. “They have a job to do. They have to do what is best for the Chicago Cubs and I understand that. They have been really honest with me, it seems like, so I’m just trying to do what I can to continue to do my job as a player and that’s continue to pitch. My focus is on that every day and away from here I try to block it out and push forward because there is a lot of season left. I want to continue to go out there, stay healthy and do my job.”

Aware that Cubs some fans have railed against him on social-media outlets, Dempster tried to stay focused on the positives.

“I don’t mean it in an offensive way but I know who I am as a person and I’m trying to do everything I can here in the clubhouse and do right by the guys,” he said. “People will have all kind of different opinions and I understand that especially in today’s world of social media and I’m trying to handle it the best way I can and be as professional as I can and be ready every fifth day to go out there and pitch.

“The nice part is that every day when I go out on the field, whether it’s for batting practice or during the game I hear nothing but great things from a lot of the fans. They always tell me they don’t want me to go anywhere, they want me to stay and if I did leave they appreciated everything I have given on the field. I am truly grateful for that and will continue to try and do that come tomorrow.”

The reality is that in a Cubs uniform, Dempster has just about run out of tomorrows.