What we have here is … a failure to communicate.
Someone with the Cubs assumed that Ryan Dempster was going to be OK going to the Braves. If they didn’t think that, they wouldn’t have gotten a deal in place yesterday. But Ken Rosenthal reports that, nope, that’s not what Dempster wants:
Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster does not want to be traded to the Atlanta Braves, according to major-league sources.
At least not right now.
Dempster, as a player with 10 years of major-league service, the last five with the same team, has the right to block a trade to the Braves. The pitcher instead wants to be sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were unable to reach agreement with the Cubs on a suitable deal, sources said.
Rosenthal says that the Dodgers are interested, but a deal could not be struck before the Cubs started talking to the Braves, who are thought to be Dempster’s second choice. Which just means that the Cubs’ chances of getting a good deal here are way less today than they were yesterday. I mean, if you’re the Dodgers, you bid low, right? And if you’re the Braves, you pull back on stakes as rich as Randall Delgado now that you know how desperate the Cubs will be if and when they get back to you?
Ten-and-five rights: powerful things.
But we can at least dispense with the notion that Dempster was “blindsided” here, right?
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.