Questions on the Ryan Dempster Trade

Gonna switch to baseball mode for just a second here, and I’m sure I’ll be on that mode after the Games are finished. But here’s one thing I don’t really understand.

Ryan Dempster says he didn’t hold up a trade to the Atlanta Braves a week or so ago, which would have been his honestly earned right to do anyway. He’s a 10-5 guy, which means he’s been with the Chicago Cubs for five years, and he has 10 total years of MLB experience. He has the right to veto ANY trade to ANY team, but he had indicated Atlanta was one of his top destinations, behind the L.A. Dodgers.

Well, the Dodgers couldn’t put a deal together, but Atlanta did, and the Cubs accepted, but Dempster never gave the trade his approval. He said in hindsight that he never actually vetoed the deal, but in essence, yeah he did by not explicitly giving it his approval. Eventually the deal was off the table.

Everyone knows about Dempster’s solid friendship with Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly, but the consensus main issue for Dempster on his next destination seems to be proximity to his family in Canada. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and can go wherever he wants, essentially, if he agrees to that team’s financial situation. But for the time being, he was languishing on a losing team. So why not jump at the chance to go to one of your top choices and pitch for a winner? Proximity to Canada?

Sorry, but in today’s world, that’s not really a legitimate concern, given the fact that we’ve developed jet airliner technology that can whisk you back up to the Great White North in a quick and efficient manner. Not to mention that Atlanta plays home to one of the most major airline hubs in THE WORLD. Being in L.A. – or Dallas, where he’s at now – doesn’t really post that much of a difference. You’re still going to be on a plane for multiple hours before getting home, and your family will be on the plane when they come to visit you. Plain and simple, proximity is not an issue unless you’re within driving distance, which neither of the above cities is.

If Dempster wants proximity, he can go pitch for Minnesota or Seattle. L.A. doesn’t make sense in that regard. In hindsight, I’m really happy the Braves pulled out of the Dempster deal, because they’d have to have sacrificed a heralded starting pitching prospect for a few months’ rental. The trade they eventually made gave up another heralded prospect, but he’s a reliever AND coming off Tommy John surgery, so there’s no givens there. Plus, they got a solid outfield bat from the right side AND an effective starter back who has team options, and Brandon Beachy should be back in the rotation sometime next season anyway.

But one thing is really clear – players who say they want to be close to home are giving you a bunch of BS. They’re hopping on planes anyway.