7/23 Dempster to Braves? Not yet

Ryan Dempster most likely will be dealt before the July 31 Trade Deadline, just not on Monday to the Braves. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported that the Braves have reached an agreement to acquire Dempster from the Cubs. But the deal has not been officially completed. Because Dempster has played in the Majors for at least 10 years and has been with the same team for at least five years, he has the right to veto any trade. There’s also been speculation that the holdup could be because the Braves want to secure Dempster for 2013.

Dempster, who leads the National League with a 2.11 ERA, declined to comment Monday on the rumors. He did deny reports that a deal had been completed on his Dempster Family Foundation Twitter (@RyanDempsterFDN), saying, “THERE IS NO TRADE dont know where this info came from!”

Cubs assistant GM Randy Bush said Monday, “There’s nothing to report.” Manager Dale Sveum wasn’t too happy with how the rumor spread.

“I found out when I came in off the field from early [batting practice],” Sveum said. “Somebody said they saw it on the [Cubs] 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.”

The “higher ups” would be Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer, and neither would comment on the report. Sveum didn’t deny that a deal could happen. There’s still time.

“The team, the whole thing was news to me — the team obviously is the one that leaked it out, or it came out of their city,” Sveum said of the Dempster to Braves reports. “Obviously, we can’t sit here and say it can’t happen. Anything can happen at this point. We have eight days until the deadline. All the teams that are involved and want starters and need starters are all in play.”

Was it unfair for Dempster to go through this?

“I think it’s very unfair for ‘Demp’ to have to have to deal with this,” Sveum said. “He’ll have to deal with it today, deal with it tomorrow. I’ve had five phone calls — ‘Hey, did you guys trade Dempster?’ You can only imagine what he has to go through. It’s very unfair for anybody to go through something that’s a complete fabrication.”

While the Cubs denied a deal, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said they were in a “holding pattern.” That would mean something could be done. It was no secret the Cubs were trying to deal Dempster, 35, before the July 31 Trade Deadline but it was his call as to where he’d go. He had given Epstein a list of which team he would prefer.

The right-hander would be a pure rental for the Braves. Players must be with a team for an entire season in order to qualify for draft-pick compensation.

– Carrie Muskat

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