Dempster says he never listened in on calls with the Dodgers

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Dempster says he never listened in on calls with the Dodgers

While the airwaves around Chicago were burning up the past few days about the Cubs' front office supposedly letting Ryan Dempster listen in on their talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the accusations started to fly that what the Cubs reportedly did was unethical and lacked integrity.

However, did anybody bother to ask Ryan Dempster exactly what happened and then put his version up against what Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says happened?

I called Dempster Monday and spoke with him at length about the events surrounding last Tuesdays trade deadline deal that sent him to the Texas Rangers for two minor leaguers. He was emphatic that at no time did he ever listen in on any conversation between the Cubs and Dodgers.

"I hung out in the Cubs offices playing Golden Tee in the break room and saying some goodbyes to people in the offices that I have known for as long as Ive been a Cub," Dempster said. "I also wanted to be accessible to Theo and Jed so that if a deal came up that they needed my approval on I would be easy to find. At no time did I ever listen in on any phone calls between the Cubs and any other team."

I also spoke with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and he denies that Dempster listened in on any phone calls with the Dodgers or anyone else.

"We had Ryan in here so we could keep him apprised on the talks as they developed throughout the afternoon," Hoyer said. "With a firm deadline of 3:00 p.m., things were happening quickly and we wanted him to know all of the possibilities that were in play. At no time did Ryan ever listen in on any phone calls without someones knowledge. If that were true I would understand the Dodgers being upset but that wasnt the case as he never listened in on any calls."

Dempster did speak with Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and it was after that call that the decision to accept a trade to the Texas Rangers was made. The Dodgers' offer, according to multiple sources around baseball was not a strong one and after talking with Colletti it became obvious that a trade to Los Angeles was not going to happen.

"I got on the phone with Ned Colletti and we had a short conversation but it was obvious that a deal wasnt going to get done so I agreed to go to Texas, Dempster told me.

It is understandable how people may have thought that Dempster was listening in after hearing the comments of Theo Epstein after the trade deadline. Epstein relayed the story of Dempster being in the Cubs offices prior to the 3 p.m. deadline.

"We joked about it every day," Epstein told a group of beat reporters. "And in the end, once he came to our office and actually heard the conversations we were having with L.A., he realized: OK, maybe thats actually not going to happen.Let me consider a couple other places.

But I think it was helpful to have him there. He could hear firsthand that it probably wasnt going to happen. If someone really wants to go to a place, you can tell them over and over again its probably not going to happen. But unless theyre convinced of that, they may not want to move on to their second choice."

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

There wasn't much offense to be had in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader on the South Side.

But the White Sox scored the only runs they needed in a 3-0 win over the visiting Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Tyler Danish picked up the win in his first big league start, turning in five shutout innings in his 2017 debut with the White Sox.

Danish allowed no runs and just three hits while striking out six in the victory. He did walk six hitters but managed to escape various jams with no damage on the scoreboard.

Three of those walks came in the first inning, but a double play and an inning-ending ground out helped Danish get out of that early challenge. Two more runners reached in the second, and after a 1-2-3 third, two reached in the fourth. But no runs scored in either of those frames. Danish's sixth walk of the day prompted a Rick Renteria mound visit in the fifth, but a lineout followed to end the inning.

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The White Sox offense, shut down much of the afternoon by Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, finally got a run across in the bottom of the fifth, giving Danish a 1-0 lead when Tim Anderson scored on Yolmer Sanchez's bases-loaded double play.

The White Sox added two more off Fulmer in the eighth when pinch-running Adam Engel scored from first on Leury Garcia's triple and Garcia scored two batters later on Jose Abreu's bloop single into center field.

But it was a strange result considering how dominant Fulmer was much of the day. The reigning American League Rookie of the Year yielded just one run and six hits in his first seven innings of work before the White Sox rallied for a pair in the eighth. Still, Fulmer recorded every out for the Tigers and threw fewer than 100 pitches in a losing effort.

Meanwhile, White Sox pitchers combined to walk nine Tigers hitters but gave up no runs. The bullpen did its job in relief of Danish, with Chris Beck, Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson throwing four scoreless innings in relief.

How White Sox tradition of Cuban players helped them land Luis Robert

How White Sox tradition of Cuban players helped them land Luis Robert

Before Luis Robert donned a White Sox jersey, before he signed his name on his new contract, before he even entered the room where he was to be introduced as one of the brightest stars in the White Sox rebuild, there were those who came before him.

Quite literally, Robert, the 19-year-old Cuban outfielder, was surrounded by his fellow countrymen who have worn the White Sox uniform prior. There was, of course, the legendary Minnie Minoso, former White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, current All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu and current top prospect Yoan Moncada, banners of all four players to the sides of the table where Robert sat with general manager Rick Hahn.

Saturday was the latest step in the White Sox rebuild, the team adding Robert to their list of big-time prospects that has fans drooling over lineups and pitching staffs a few years down the road.

But Saturday was also the latest step in a franchise tradition of bringing in Cuban players, a tradition that seemed to have helped the White Sox land Robert.

"The White Sox tradition for Cuban players was something that motivated me to sign with this team," Robert said through a translator during Saturday's introductory press conference. "It's something that made me feel comfortable.

"I feel proud because those players were examples for us in Cuba. For me now to be here wearing the same uniform as them is a huge honor for me."

Comfort seemed to be the biggest factor in Robert's decision to sign with the White Sox over other bidders. Hahn explained Saturday that the team had been scouting Robert since he was just 14 years old, and when asked what the most decisive factor was in this process, Robert said the White Sox showed the most interest.

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But there was something to continuing the team's Cuban tradition. Hahn said that Robert's talent certainly meant more than simply his nation of origin, but he said that the franchise's tradition helped with its pitch to Robert, a pitch that included a video with personalized messages from Abreu and Moncada.

"It was certainly part of our identity that we presented to him to help inform him about where we were and the level of success that we’ve had with similar type players," Hahn said. "We certainly felt that having a comfortable and welcoming environment for similar type players was going to help him reach as close as he can to his ceiling. Not saying he couldn’t reach it elsewhere with different environments, but we certainly felt we had a good nurturing developmental environment for a player with his background."

Part of that environment is Abreu, who was guiding Robert around Guaranteed Rate Field before Saturday's introduction, talking with him in the dugout and on the field.

Hahn said that Abreu relishes a mentoring role and that players like Abreu and Moncada have taken the initiative to welcome Robert into the organization.

"A lot of it comes from the players themselves. We don't need to hand them a phone and make them Facetime with each other. They've already been a little proactive on their own, and I suspect that will continue over the coming years," Hahn said. "Jose, as I'm sure he'll tell you directly, takes a great deal of pride in playing that mentor type role in the organization. He's certainly done it with Yoan ever since we acquired him and has already begun doing it moving forward with Luis. And I suspect Moncada will follow suit as well.

"So it perpetuates itself, it's something we can facilitate with our coaches, any of our culturalization people as the process unfolds. Obviously we have a strong history in this regard and have had some success doing it."

Whether Robert will have a career more similar to Minoso, Ramirez, Abreu, Moncada or even the heretofore unmentioned Dayan Viciedo remains to be seen. But one advantage he does have in his development is an organization with a tradition and environment to help him succeed.

No wonder he felt comfortable.