Matt Garza is a cold-blooded spoiler. “People damaged our playoff hopes for the first four months,” Garza said after the Cubs beat the Giants last night. “So I’m fine with paying it back. If we’re not in it, might as well play the spoilers. Playing the spoilers is not as fun, but why not do it and make some people mad at you?” Whatever you do, don’t tell Garza about what happens at the end of this week’s ‘True Blood.’

  • 2011 top pick Javier Baez is headed to Low A Boise for the rest of the season. Joining him are overslot pitchers Tony Zych (4th round) and Michael Jensen (26th round). Don’t get too excited – the Hawks have just four games left. After that season ends, the kids well head off to various instructional leagues.
  • Bruce Levine chatted yesterday. Not much in the way of factual information, but Levine thinks the Cubs should go hard after both CJ Wilson and Prince Fielder. It sounds like he doesn’t think they actually will, though.
  • Speaking of Wilson, Tim Dierkes makes a compelling argument that Wilson could land upwards of $100 million this offseason. The super short of it: Wilson is a 31-year-old ace, pitching in a tough ballpark, with little mileage on his arm, in an extremely weak free agent class. If the Wilson talks do approach nine figures, I think you can count the Cubs out, no matter who the next GM is.
  • AAA Iowa catcher Welington Castillo has been placed on the disabled list with an ongoing hamstring problem. The severity of the injury and the impact on a presumed September call-up are, at present, unknown.
  • Paul Sullivan runs through a number of decisions Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts will have to make in short order, other than the GM decision.
  • Tom Ricketts has reportedly hired economics professor Stephen J.K. Walters to review the finances of every level of the Cubs’ organization, and to make budgetary recommendations. Some quick Googling on Walters suggests he’s an economics whiz, but the organizational connection (indeed, any connection to the Ricketts family or TD Ameritrade) is unclear. I don’t even really see Walters’ connection to private industry, let alone MLB. I think it would be easy to overreact and fear that Ricketts is going miserly on us, looking to squeeze every turnip; but I suspect this is just a matter of Ricketts doing the business thing – why shouldn’t he want to review the budget of every department and try and save money where possible? He’s said every dollar that comes in will go back into the organization at some level, so, by all means, spend it wisely.
  • Also in the realm of organizational hires, Phil Rogers says the Cubs should grab Orioles’ VP of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith to spearhead the team’s revamp of Wrigley Field. She has worked on the development of Camden Yards, as well as the improvements at Fenway Park.
  • The Daily Herald is headed to an online subscription model (i.e., you want to read it, you gotta pay for it), which is a considerable bummer for fans of Bruce Miles like me. Miles’ blog on the Herald (it’s a combo Cubs/Sox blog, on which Miles does the Cubs stuff) is one of the better beat writer efforts, and, if it’s subject to the paywall, I’ll be disappointed. That’s not to say I won’t consider paying for access, but Miles’ exposure is going to drop precipitously. Let me say officially: Bruce, if things do play out for the worst, and you’re ever looking for a large audience, you’re always welcome to write for Bleacher Nation.
  • Ron Santo and Pat Hughes are up for the Ford C. Frick award, which honors baseball broadcasters. Details here. Voting here.
  • In retrospect, the Cubs’ 2005 draft was the worst in baseball. The same link, from Baseball America, has some thoughts on DJ LeMahieu.
  • From Fangraphs, cool guys don’t look at ejections:

  • Fishin Phil

    Bruce could be a good addition to BN. His articles are frequently short and informative.

  • CubFan Paul

    If the Wilson talks do approach nine figures, I think you can count the Cubs out, no matter who the next GM is.

    why do you think this brett?
    1. we need pitching
    2. we have the money
    3. we’ll have even more money in 2013 & beyond
    4. we need pitching
    5. there may be a standoff with Zambrano if he doesnt waive his no-trade
    6. Dempster may walk
    7. we have the money
    8. anchoring the rotation w/ Garza & Wilson are great building blocks
    9. umm ..we need pitching
    10. im drawing blanks, i was up til 2am watching the game and shouldnt be awake now so im gonna go nap & thank the lord its not three 10pm est games in a row, but seriously we need pitching & no other team has the free money the Cubs will have this offseason so bringing in Wilson won’t hurt Ricketts’ precious budget

    nor do i see a GM taking the job if Ricketts tells him in the interview process that he’s going to pinch pennies &not be competitive ..Its bad enough we think Ricketts wants to be the baseball president (in my opinion)

    • Brett

      I just get the sense that Ricketts is not interested in authorizing an ultra-mega contract right now, unless it’s for a true superstar. Just a sense.

      • CubFan Paul

        well hopefully your ‘senses’ suck, because i wouldn’t understand an even more ‘patient’ approach than the 1st two years or a lowered payroll for 2012

        • Fishin Phil

          To me the key is the number of years he is looking for. I hate these dang long term deals, especially for pitchers. Unless you have a crystal ball or mad Ouija board skills, I just can’t see making long term commitments that could come back to bite you in the butt.

          • CubFan Paul

            Cliff Lee signed a back loaded 5yr deal with a team option on a 6th year..

            • EQ

              a lower payroll next year won’t bother me ONLY if it’s temporary.. what i’m saying is, they shouldn’t spend money this off-season for the sake of filling up payroll, but rather spend it wisely.. then the next off-season, with a much stronger free agent class, add to payroll.

              • TC

                ^this. CJ Wilson is not good enough to carry a team, especially one as bad as the Cubs, to the world series by himself. The reason he’ll be offered huge bucks is that there are few other options. It’s like buying a Lexus at Lamborghini prices because you can and there will be no Lamborghinis available til next year. It’s just not smart, and that Lexus sure as hell isn’t getting you a world series in the near future.

                • EQ

                  Yep… so I’d say offer Wilson something, something good.. have a cap on years and total money you’re willing to offer.. if you get him, great, you’re now a little better.. if you don’t, no harm, at least you didn’t overpay and get locked into another bad contract.

                  If we want to win next year, I believe that 2 players are the key to the Cubs success.. bare with me.. but I believe that they are Wells and Colvin..

                  Here’s my thinking.. when Wells throws like he has the past 2 starts, we have a bonified starter to go with Garza & Demp.. it puts us a little bit closer to where we need to be.. it means less FA money or trades needing to be made this off season..etc.  Colvin producing gives us the power bat from the left side that we always need.  he makes up for lost power numbers if we trade Soriano, and like Wells is cheap!

                  I’m aware they aren’t the only to keys to the team, but they represent what we need.. production out of young, cheap players under contract for a while.  They also have produced recently so it’s not a long shot to hope for production again..

                  If those 2 can produce like they have before, winning next year becomes more possible … if not, then we will probably be a 4th or 5th place team again next year on the upswing.


                  • TC

                    I completely agree. I’d love to see colvin get a full year in as a starter. He’s not likely to be great, but if he puts up numbers like his rookie year (a WAR/650 of 3.13 or so) he could be a very useful player. He’s going to K, like, a lot, but should show respectable power.

                    And I STILL like Wells, who I think could be a very useful 4th starter. He’s never going to be a 2 or 3, but will put up very respectable back-end-of-the-rotation numbers.

                    If they both have good years, the team will be competitive. Not good, but competitive and it sets us up to make a strong splash in the following offseason, setting us up for a very legitamte shot at contending in 2013.

                    …..and if they dont produce, theyre cheap as hell, and in a rebuilding stretch, thats almost as important

                    • dreese

                      I agree with everyone. Although we are not going to contend next year, that does not mean we should give up already but try and improve the team as much as you can while still making smart decisions with the money.

                      From there we can get our remaining pieces in the better 2013 FA class

  • Andy

    Interesting that BA didn’t put the Cubs in the top 5 for 2011 drafts. Apparently Callis and crew don’t share the same enthusiasm for the group as Cubs fans seem to.

    • Brett

      Eh, I wouldn’t read too much into that. The Pirates, Nats, and Diamondbacks were likely to top other teams simply by virtue of picking higher than the Cubs (and signing their first few round picks), and the Rays had 600 first/supplemental round picks. The Red Sox topping the Cubs is the first I’ve seen, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I think the Cubs fairly belong in the 4, 5, 6 range.

  • Sean C

    I know much has been made of Wilson’s low mileage, but 31 is still 31. If the Cubs can hang in for one more year, they could land themselves in one of the biggest free agent pitcher classes ever with a lot of cap space.

    • CubFan Paul

      and if those pitchers of 2013 sign extensions with their current teams like Weaver did last week your gamble is a lost bet

    • Brett

      I was going to say the same thing as Paul. I think the Cubs need to strongly consider going after Wilson (but up to a certain limit). It’s risky to assume that the Hamels/Cains/etcs. will actually make it to market.

      • MichiganGoat

        Completely agree, to wait for a FA to become available is setting yourself up for failure.  We need to go after Wilson but hopefully this time the organization sets a ceiling they will not cross.  I do not buy into the Wilson is an Ace conversation (he is the Rangers #1 and is pitching extremely well, but remember this is his contract year).

      • Lou

        They should go after CJ, Brett but I’m in total agreement with you as to how much the value of that contract will be. It just screams Yanks. With Burnett a likely possibility not to make the playoff roster and with Garcia and Colon in this year’s rotation, I just don’t see how the Yanks won’t overspend for this FA. And I think Texas will let him go if the Yanks are involved. They could put Feliz in the starting rotation for much, much cheaper costs and team control purposes. Feliz began his career as a starter. This is where I think a Marmol trade to Texas becomes something the Cubs must pursue.

  • Toosh

    Wilson is on the wrong side of 30 for me. Plus, he’s going to want at least a 5 year deal. It could be Zambrano all over again, minus the attitude.

    • MichiganGoat

      I’d be fine with a 5/75M type contract, 15M a year sounds fair maybe a team/mutual option year.

      • hardtop

        goat and toosh, im with you both:

        1. i agree 5/75 or 80 is fair number.  i would say he’s actually worth a little less given his age and relatively short track record as a starter, if it werent for the supply versus demand issue.  but, because the demand issue is so extreme in this case, we wont get close to him for that number.

        2. i’d be willing to bet we’d see a decline in wilson during the last couple years of this 5 year deal.  This would inevitably lead Cubs fans to complaining about how we are overpaying a 34 year old guy, who is maybe, by that time,  an adequate number 4 starter, and we’d be hoping we could trade him to a potential contender for salary relief or a decent pitching prospect.  And history repeats itself.

        i see there are some new fancy features here.  nice brett.  but, im not going use any of them.  im not even going to use capital letters.

  • RY

    what is the latest on zambrano, when is the hearing if there is one, we gonna have to pay him or not?


    • Fishin Phil

      I was wondering the same thing myself.  Haven’t heard anything about the union’s appeal.

      • Brett

        Nothing to report at this time. The hearing is, theoretically, still pending.

        • Toosh

          I’m thinking it won’t get resolved until the season is over. Or almost over. Zambrano won’t pitch again this season and the Cubs will move him in the offseason.

  • Toosh

    Who was in charge during the 2005 draft? Oh yeah. Never mind. Looks like the White Sox could hire him. Apparently they need more nice guys in their organization.