Pitcher Ryan Dempster said Monday he was not allowed to listen to the Chicago Cubs' trade talks last week with the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite comments by Cubs president Theo Epstein that reportedly upset the Dodgers.
Just after the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, which followed the Cubs dealing Dempster to the Texas Rangers, Epstein talked to reporters and seemed to imply that Dempster was listening to negotiations between the Cubs and Dodgers.
"We were on great terms (with Dempster) throughout the process," Epstein said at the time. "We laughed about it and joked about it. In the end he came to our office and heard the conversation with (the Dodgers). He realized, 'OK, maybe that is not going to happen, so let me consider a couple of other places.' The deal (trading Dempster to the Rangers) got done with three minutes left."
Multiple outlets reported last weekend that the Dodgers were angry that Dempster was allowed to listen to negotiations, and that Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer reached out to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.
Hoyer reportedly said Epstein's remarks were misinterpreted, and Dempster -- who was able to veto any trade -- confirmed as much during an interview Monday with ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine. After the deadline passed, Hoyer told reporters Dempster was in his office but they ultimately found him a different one.
"I never was listening to the Dodgers and Cubs negotiate this deal," Dempster said. "I was in the other room, and they wanted me there to be informed and also be able to talk about other teams that may come up. They came to me with a couple of other teams, but there was never any deal they had set up. When they came to me eventually with the Yankees and Texas, and it appeared we weren't going to get anything done with the Dodgers, I told them to go ahead.
"At about a half-hour before the deadline, they put me on the phone with Ned Colletti. We had a conversation and it was apparent at that time that regardless of how hard all sides worked, that they weren't going to get a deal done. I told him I definitely wanted to come to the Dodgers, and that I'd be interested in signing an extension, and I told him I wasn't just saying that to try to get the deal done. At that point, we just said goodbye and wished each other well."