The Chicago media seems pretty intent on deciding whather Ryan Dempster was listening in to trade conversations about him or not. Was Dempster really listening in like Jay Leno in a broom closet as Ned Colletti outlined the reasons why he wasn't interested in parting with more than a bag of balls for Dempster's services? Or was there really a misuderstanding of Theo's words that indicated just that?
Does it matter?
That is the question nobody seems to be asking, and for all I care, it's the only question worth asking.
Paul Sullivan will tell you that it matters:
The serious breach of ethics figures to affect the relationship between the two organizations, which had been on good terms until now.
Oh no! We might not be able to get low-balled by the Dodgers anymore! What horrible things the Dodgers must be calling Theo and Jed. What are they saying, Paul?
Well, it doesn't have any quotes from anyone on the Dodgers except Ted Lilly expressing a minimal amount of regret that he won't get to see Ryan's Harry Caray impression this year and showing some confusion over exactly how many years it has been since the Cubs won a Championship. So Paul says that the Dodgers are upset, or that they "figure to be" upset.
Then the Cubs started backtracking and began telling anyone with a press pass that Dempster was in the Cubs offices but not right in the same office when the phone call was made.
The Cubs' position is that Epstein's remarks were "misinterpreted," leading to the Dodgers' angry reaction. The Cubs said Sunday they put Dempster on the phone to Colletti before the trade deadline, maintaining that was what Epstein was referring to Wednesday.
OK, so maybe Dempster listened in and maybe he didn't. I'd like to know more about this angry reaction. Any good morsels from the Dodgers?
Colletti could not be reached for comment.
Damning evidence, for sure. The Dodgers are so pissed they're giving the media the silent treatment as well.
Later, Gordo pipes in to rally to Sullivan's cause:
But, according to sources, Dodgers officials remained chapped Sunday at the suggestion Dempster — whose consent was required to trade him — was allowed to listen to at least parts of those conversations. And Cubs’ efforts to reach out to general manager Ned Colletti over the weekend did little to thaw what could become a frosty relationship with a team that might be a fit for a Matt Garza trade in a few months.
So now there are sources. It doesn't say what type of sources they are. Sources within the Dodger organization itself? Sources who clean the Dodgers' offices and sometime hear private conversations? Sources who are drinking buddies with Ned Coletti who caught an earful from Ned after his third scotch and soda? Maybe they are sources that are completely fabricated. It's hard to say, though I have "sources" that tell me that it is complete bullshit. Prove me wrong.
Obviously we aren't going learn anything from the Chicago side on this.
I haven't seen a single national baseball writer mention a word about the Dodgers being pissed at the Cubs. This isn't like if it was the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Kansas City Royals being pissed, we're talking about the Los Angeles freakin' Dodgers. A baseball team in the #2 media market in the country is pissed at a team from the #3 media market in the country and nobody is reporting anything about it outside of Chicago, and the Chicago reports are nebulous at best.
I asked a couple of Dodger bloggers I know on Twitter if they have heard anything about the Dodgers being pissed at the Cubs.
about the Dempster thing? Lots of conflicting reports. I doubt it leads to anything.
I haven't really heard anything re: Dempster
They seem pretty worked up about it. Clearly this is a huge story in Los Angeles. It's all anybody can talk about.
Meanwhile Ryan Dempster is telling reporters he never heard nothin' about no trade negotiations with the Dodgers:
"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."
This doesn't mean much of anything since Dempster could just be spinning the same story as Theo and Jed to cover up the tracks, but you have to ask yourself why he would bother. He may be trying to get back on the good side of Theo and Jed by getting their backs after he pretty much submarined his own trade value by refusing to believe the Dodgers were never really an option and backing the Cubs into a corner. It's possible, but it's flimsy.
So maybe the Dodgers are pissed, maybe they aren't. Maybe Dempster was listening and maybe he wasn't. Nothing I've seen indicates that it matters in the slightest. If the Cubs ever actually have a piece that the Dodgers want, I'm sure Ned Colletti will muster up the willpower to work a deal with Theo and Jed. At this point, the Cubs don't have anything the Dodgers want. They barely even wanted Dempster. They don't care about Soriano, and Garza is a moot point since he'd never clear waivers and his health is now a serious question. If the Cubs suddenly had an inclination to trade them Anthony Rizzo to fill their gaping hole at first base, I think Ned would listen to whatever Jed & Theo have to say. Until then, who cares?
Bruce Levine went on the Afternoon Saloon show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago and discussed what Dempster heard and when he heard it. He re-iterated Dempster's account that said he was in the offices, but not right in the same office as the phone call and then spoke directly with Collettti to convince him no Dodgers deal was happening.
I think it was Harry Teinowitz then asked if the Dodgers believe that story now and Bruce indicated that the Dodgers "were relieved" to hear Dempster's version and do believe it.
So Levine implied that they may have indeed been upset, but now they aren't. Crisis averted.