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After nixing deal, Ryan Dempster feels heat from fans

ST. LOUIS MO - JULY 20: Starter Ryan Dempster #46 Chicago Cubs pitches against St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium July

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 20: Starter Ryan Dempster #46 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 20, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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Updated: August 26, 2012 6:24AM



PITTSBURGH — If Ryan Dempster knows nothing else, he knows they’ll keep coming. The rumors, the questions, even the grumbling and shots from Cubs fans after he acknowledged that he held up a would-be trade to the Atlanta Braves for a well-regarded prospect.

‘‘So I’ve got to feel pressured to do something?’’ he said Tuesday. ‘‘I’m not feeling pressure to do anything. I’m going to do what’s right for me and for my family. That’s what’s most important.’’

Dempster, who has full no-trade rights, used them to at least delay a potential trade for right-hander Randall Delgado and said he might take the remaining week before the non-waiver trade deadline to weigh whatever options are available to him.

‘‘I want to look everything over before I make any decisions,’’ he said. ‘‘And I’ve got time to do that. There’s a week before the trading deadline. That’s where I stand on it.’’

Atlanta was known to be among the top two or three destinations Dempster was willing to approve, suggesting the likelihood he’s holding out for a chance to join old pal Ted Lilly with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were his hottest pursuers until the sides failed to reach an agreement over the weekend.

Dempster, whose 2.11 ERA is the best in the majors, wouldn’t identify the teams he’ll consider or reveal how many but said, ‘‘Yeah, I have an idea where I want to go, where I might want to be.’’

Dempster and front-office sources denied a report Tuesday that Dempster was blindsided by the news that the Braves and Cubs struck a deal, provoking him into holding it up.

He said the team kept him informed — ‘‘they’ve been really good about that’’ — but he was bothered by the leak to the media.

‘‘That’s when things start to get harder, when you get everybody’s opinions of what’s going on, and it really wasn’t what went on or what took place,’’ he said. ‘‘So you don’t really get to focus your full attention on what you’re trying to do, and you have to focus on everybody else’s perception of what’s going on.’’

The bottom line is that as a player with 10 years of service time and the last five with the same team, Dempster is one of the few players to earn no-trade rights through his longevity and stature.

‘‘We all have tremendous respect for Ryan,’’ assistant general manager Randy Bush said, ‘‘not only that he’s earned those rights but what he’s meant to this organization, the type of person that he is.’’

A lot of Cubs fans via Twitter and email don’t seem to carry the same respect for those 10-5 rights, attacking him online for nixing a deal widely perceived as favorable to the Cubs.

The Braves already started getting more calls Tuesday from other teams now aware that they’re willing to part with a prospect such as Delgado, according to reports out of Atlanta.

‘‘That’s fine; people can say what they want to say,’’ Dempster said. ‘‘All I know is every time I put my uniform on, I give 100 percent to the Cubs, and I think that’s all you can really ask, whether you’re a player, a coach, the front office or a fan.’’

Dempster, who pitches Wednesday afternoon, said he’ll take the full seven days if necessary to decide whether he’ll accept a trade.

‘‘The more options, the better,’’ said Dempster, who has said a chance to win is a priority for him but who also has personal ties to the West Coast. ‘‘There’s all kinds of things that come into play. So I’ve just got to look at every option and figure out what’s the best decision for me. ….

‘‘There’s a lot of emotions running through the day and stuff like that. But I have a little bit of control, so it makes it easier for me.’’



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