Getty Ryan Dempster

“Dempster will have to answer some tough questions if he’s still a Cub after the deadline”

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Ill will in Chicago?  Dave Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that (a) the Ryan Dempster to Los Angeles trade is at a stalemate; and (b) Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not likely to take less than what they feel is fair value for the guy.  So, if the Dodgers — who, according to Kaplan, believe that the Cubs have lost their leverage — don’t pony up, it’s all going to be on Dempster:

“Dempster will have to answer some tough questions if he is still a Cub after the deadline,” one executive told me. “That will be one press conference I would want to see. He will have to explain to the fans why he chose to stay on a team that is going nowhere when he could have been in Atlanta and possibly pitching in the playoffs. That will be interesting to hear.”

I have poked fun at Dempster throughout all of this, but I do agree that he does not owe it to the Cubs to see that they get the best absolute haul for him in a trade. That’s their job, not his.

But it’s inescapable that the whole aborted trade to the Braves thing has killed the Cubs’ leverage here. So from where I sit, it will be more interesting to hear why, exactly, that trade to Atlanta breaking down went public than it will be to hear anything else. Because depending on that answer, Dempster may or may not be the one who has to sit uncomfortably in a post-deadline presser answering questions.

If Dempster did flip flop on his desire to go to Atlanta, he’ll deserve some heat. If, however, the Cubs went forward with the Braves to the point where the deal got leaked without a strong indication that Dempster would be cool with it first, it’s the club’s fault that their leverage got torpedoed.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.