It’s Yu Darvish bid day (the deadline for bids is 4pm CT today), but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll hear anything today. Darvish’s team has four business days to decide whether to accept the highest bid, so the winner may not be revealed until late Tuesday of next week. Much more on Darvish, Prince Fielder, and a couple Venezuelan pitchers later today. Until then, Bullets…

  • Speaking of Prince Fielder, agent Scott Boras’ efforts to get the best deal for Fielder includes the production and distribution of a 73-page book about the free agent first baseman. “The homage to Fielder is encased in a silver aluminum antimicrobial binder and features black cardstock dividers, metal rivets and the Boras company logo emblazoned in the lower left-hand corner of the cover.” At least Boras isn’t spending all of his commission on gold shoes.
  • FanGraphs’ fantasy section is telling fantasy baseball players not to expect Brett Jackson to be called up until May/June, which, given the current construct of the outfield, may even be a bit on the early side. Much could change between now and Spring Training, of course. Spending some extra time in AAA probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Jackson, as much as we might want to see him.
  • Jeff Passan reiterates that, if MLB had any doubt at all about Ryan Braun’s positive test for a performance-enhancing drug, it wouldn’t have proceeded against one of its most popular, visible, and see-how-good-you-can-be-even-while-clean players. “’People say a lot of things,’ said the source familiar with the case. “If this was unlike any other case ever and was so screwed up, do you think it would go to arbitration?’ Indeed, MLB had its chance to dump the Braun case. Part of its joint drug agreement with the players’ union calls for a meeting after the confirmation of a positive from the second sample. If both parties agree there is no reason to proceed – whether because of a chain-of-custody problem or another circumstance – they can overturn the suspension. MLB didn’t.”
  • The only professional baseball player who has ever successfully appealed a positive PED test is a former teammate of Braun’s. Minor leaguer Brendan Katin, and former Miami Hurricane teammate of Braun’s, was deemed to have tested positive in 2007 after a urine sample showed elevated levels of testosterone, like Braun. The difference? In Katin’s case, his second sample, which was at that time tested only in the event of a positive on the first sample, showed no traces of any synthetic testosterone. Braun’s test did show a synthetic testosterone – i.e., one that is not produced by the human body. (Random aside: that article was written by Carrie Muskat.)
  • Speaking of drug tests and the testosterone trigger, BALCO frontman Victor Conte, who knows a thing or two about this area, says there are steroids players can take at the end of the day, which, by the next day when a random drug test might occur, will not keep testosterone elevated in the body above the MLB test threshold.
  • Yesterday, the Cubs were noted as having potential interest in recently non-tendered first baseman/outfielder Luke Scott as a possible back-up plan at first base next year. In response, a reader passed along this article about Scott’s personality, views, etc. After reading, I now remember seeing that ‘Outside the Lines’ on Scott, and thinking, “whoa, this guy’s a little off.” Sure would make for a lot to discuss, though…
  • Aramis Ramirez’s deal with the Brewers is almost unbelievably back-loaded. On the three-year, $36 million deal, Ramirez will receive just $6 million in 2012, $10 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014. And then there is a $4 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. On a team like the Brewers, that $20 million obligation in 2014 could be absolutely crippling. But, that’s not all: $6 million of the $36 million contract will be deferred until 2014. That means $26 million of the $36 million contract could come due in one calendar year. By then, that figure could be 1/3 of the Brewers’ payroll. I’d say it’s pretty clear that the Brewers’ window of competitiveness is this and next year. And then, wilderness.
  • Bruce Levine says the Ramirez signing tips the scales in favor of the Brewers in the NL Central this year, which I suppose is technically correct. The Cardinals lose Albert Pujols, but get Adam Wainwright back next year. The Cubs have, so far, gotten slightly worse this offseason. What about the Reds? They slumped late last year, but they still look decent on paper.
  • MichiganGoat

    I think the Brewers window was last year and with Braun gone for 50 games, and he will, and ARam’s April-May production the Brew Crew will be out of the race quickly.

    • Fishin Phil

      I think you are right MG.  I think Brewenfreude goes full speed ahead this year.

      • Smitty

        I know “In Dusty we Trusty” is running the show in Cincy, but how did they fall so mightily last year with the talent they have? If Wainwright comes back at 80% what he was, and Crain produces like he did in the playoffs, I think that the Cards are still going to put up a fight in the Central.

    • Internet Random

      Yeah, Levine is assuming that Aramis will hit when it counts, not just when it suits his mood.

      • JB88

        And we are assuming that Ramirez’s struggles in April and the beginning of May weren’t caused by the horrible weather in Chicago. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Ramirez come out well based on Milwaukee’s stadium roof.

        • Internet Random

          What about June and July? And RISP?

          • JB88

            Your memory is faulty. Here are his three year splits/averages for the entire season. June is a fairly productive month for Ramirez and July is by far his best month of the season.

            Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
            April 240 20 61 13 0 7 38 19 2 40 0 0 .254 .311 .396 .707
            May 180 19 44 10 0 3 17 15 2 33 0 1 .244 .308 .350 .658
            June 142 21 41 7 0 10 24 6 2 21 0 0 .289 .325 .549 .874
            July 268 51 81 16 1 23 62 17 4 40 0 0 .302 .347 .627 .974
            August 278 39 90 14 1 12 57 21 4 35 0 1 .324 .377 .511 .888
            September 216 34 62 10 1 10 38 25 6 30 3 0 .287 .375 .481 .856
            October 12 3 3 0 0 1 5 2 1 3 0 0 .250 .400 .500 .900

            As for your memory of his prowess with RISP, you are again misremembering. In fact, his best batting averages as a Cub in the last 3 years came with RISP or with the bases loaded. His worst average, incidentally, was when no one was on.

            By Situation AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
            None On 690 31 191 35 2 31 31 40 14 104 0 0 .277 .329 .468 .797
            Runners On 646 156 191 35 1 35 210 65 7 98 3 2 .296 .360 .515 .875
            Scoring Position 371 130 116 24 1 21 176 47 5 61 0 0 .313 .385 .553 .938
            Bases Loaded 27 39 10 1 0 1 25 3 1 5 0 0 .370 .412 .519 .931
            Lead Off Inning 297 14 86 10 1 14 14 19 8 43 0 0 .290 .349 .471 .820
            Scoring Posn, 2 out 174 55 45 9 1 9 65 23 1 33 0 0 .259 .348 .477 .825

            So, I think you are just suffering from perception versus reality here.

            • Internet Random

              What numbers do you find for 2011? How old is Ramirez?

              • MoneyBoy
                • Internet Random

                  Thanks, but they are rhetorical questions. I know the answers.

                  Ramirez’s 2011 numbers sucked through July, and he’s most likely past his prime.

                  • JB88

                    Dude, in all due respect, you clearly don’t know the answers and you clearly don’t know the numbers. His numbers far from sucked through July.

                    As for whether he is past his prime is really not an question that reviewing stats is going to answer.

              • JB88

                Not sure what the true relevance of the age thing is since you seem to be arguing that Ramirez’s numbers while with the Cubs in June and July and with RISP were below par. But to answer your question, here are his splits from last season:

                By Day/Month AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
                April 95 7 28 7 0 1 11 9 1 9 0 0 .295 .358 .400 .758
                May 92 9 26 7 0 1 8 5 2 13 0 1 .283 .333 .391 .724
                June 108 17 32 6 0 8 21 3 1 16 0 0 .296 .319 .574 .893
                July 97 18 26 6 0 9 23 4 3 16 0 0 .268 .308 .608 .916
                August 106 16 40 6 0 5 20 10 1 9 0 0 .377 .429 .575 1.004
                September 67 13 21 3 1 2 10 12 2 6 1 0 .313 .427 .478 .905
                Pre All-Star 332 43 99 21 0 15 51 19 7 47 0 1 .298 .346 .497 .843
                Post All-Star 233 37 74 14 1 11 42 24 3 22 1 0 .318 .381 .528 .909

                You can actually see that his OPS in June and July was really good, and his numbers in August were elite-level.

                As for his splits for RISP, etc., your memory is a bit better, but his OPS for bases loaded is phenominal and his stats for RISP are still really good. Frankly, I think you grossly underestimate how good of a hitter Aramis Ramirez has been throughout his career with the Cubs.

                By Situation AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
                None On 309 12 98 22 1 12 12 14 7 37 0 0 .317 .361 .511 .872
                Runners On 256 68 75 13 0 14 81 29 3 32 1 1 .293 .361 .508 .869
                Scoring Position 151 55 42 9 0 9 67 21 1 20 0 0 .278 .354 .517 .871
                Bases Loaded 8 15 4 0 0 0 7 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .444 .500 .944
                Lead Off Inning 132 6 44 7 0 6 6 5 3 15 0 0 .333 .371 .523 .894
                Scoring Posn, 2 out 71 27 15 3 0 4 23 10 1 9 0 0 .211 .317 .423 .740

                Looking to FanGraphs shows even more how faulty your memory is. For example, the MLB ave ISO number is .145. In June, ARam’s ISO number was .278. In July it was an other-worldly .340. His wRC+ in June and July also show how faulty your memory was as he was 38 and 39% BETTER than league average at creating runs. (Even more incredibly, in August he was 71% better than league average.)

                I know people want to justify letting ARam go (and his defense certainly justifies that in a lot of respects), but don’t bag on Ramirez for his offense. And certainly don’t do so in 2011.

                • Jeff

                  I respect your opinion and those numbers. The thing is, he didn’t hit well until mid-June. His BA was decent, but he wasn’t driving in runs, and it wasn’t because there weren’t guys on base. If he produced those “elite-level” numbers before the team was out of contention then I would say there is something there. The problem is that by the time he got rolling his poor offense and even worse defense had already contributed greatly to the Cubs poor start. Then there his robust .211 batting average with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, which to me is the time when clutch, elite, cleanup hitters are supposed to come through. He didn’t. I like him and wish him well, but I don’t think his absence is going to hurt the team that much.

                  • JB88

                    Your last sentence “I like him and wish him well, but I don’t think his absence is going to hurt the team that much.” I agree with, but mainly because I think ARam’s defensive deficiencies were harming the team so much.

                    As for a couple other points, ARam drove in 21 runs in June last year. He actually drove in more runs in June than he did in August, when he was out of his gourd hot.

                    I think judging Ramirez on his numbers with 2 outs is sort of cherry picking stats. Overall, he hit .278 with RISP and .293 with runners on base. Not great, but certainly not terrible either. And considering that Ramirez’s career average with RISP is .301 and his career average with men on base is .293, it isn’t like Ramirez hasn’t been clutch throughout his career.

                    My original point still stands: Ramirez hit well in June and July and will be missed from a hitting standpoint.

          • hansman1982

            As of June 24 Ramirez had 5 HR before he went on a tear and hit 6 HR in 10 games.  In April and May he was even helped out by a pretty friendly .314 and .321 BABIP respectively.

            He has been a slow starter throughout his career and they definately appear to be getting longer and longer.  One these years he isnt going to pull out of his early slump.

  • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

    I found the Luke Scott article fascinating for what it said about Felix Pie.

    • cubsklm

      Maybe Luke Scott is exactly what the Cubs need in that tiny Wrigley Clubhouse with Carlos Zambrano. Should make for an interesting year.

      • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

        I thought about Z and Scott and how their relationship could go a number of different ways.

        I also thought about how changes in Cub culture will need to reach deep into player development, changes that the new admin may already be making, and about which we are unlikely to hear much.

  • cubsklm

    Again we are looking at an outfield of Soriano, Byrd, DeJesus.
    No first base man, and a project at third.
    Bringing back a crazy man in the rotation.

    This team needed a complete roster overhaul.
    Much work to be done before March.

  • AP

    I don’t normally comment, but love Bleacher Nation. With that said, I can’t let this news about Aramis’ contract pass without pillorizing his agent. I’m too lazy to do the math, but even a sports agent should know that $16 million now is worth more than $16 million later. Given how backloaded this contract is I feel like Aramis (more specifically, his agent) cut off his nose to spite his face. The investment work that $16MM this year would have done over the next 4 years v. what this current contract will do can’t be understated. I understand that this offers more security, but I can’t help but think if Ramirez had played out this year with the Cubs and received any kind of contract afterwards, he’d be better financially than under this deal. I’m sorry, I get so frustrated with rich people who don’t understand how math works.

    • fearbobafett

      Having the contract backloaded like that solves issues on both sides.
      For the Brewers it allows them a window to spend in other ares.
      For A-Ram it basically becomes a no trade clause, as no team is going to take him on making 26 million in that last year.
      Win-Win for both sides.

      And that money now only means more than later if the player is smart and invests it AND the market doesn’t take a crapper.

      Overall I think his agent did wonderful. Sure he could have gotten a larger deal in year 1 from the cubs, but what IF, he sucked this year, no way he gets that type of gaurenteed deal after the season is over and 1 extra year on his age. This was the year for A-Ram to get this type of deal from a team NOT called the Cubs.

      • Kyle L

        I like how you compared his deal to a no trade cause. Hit the nail on the head there. 16 million in year 3 at 36ish years old…no thanks.

    • Smitty

      Agree 100%, but their ignorance is most likely a blessing for the Cubs. Not having Aram back does hurt the on field product, most likely, but it only improves the off-field product. His attitude had become a problem in the locker room and that attitude would have been even more of a problem as the new regime tries to instill their expectations for “The Cubs Way.”

    • Brett

      Thanks for jumping into the fray with your thoughts. You could be right. Then again, maybe it turned out that this kind of deal was the best he could do.

    • hansman1982

      The $16M in question equates out to $1.5M over three years in lost money due to an assumed 3% inflation rate and then we aren’t even talking about the full $16M but rather $10M (difference between the $6M first year salary and the $16M final year salary) which works out to $927,000 or roughly 2.5% of the total contract.

      Obviously this is pure speculation but, I am assuming that Ramirez’ agent undoubtedly asked for some additional funds to offset the backloading.

      This was Ramirez locking in that $20M over his 2012 Cubs option and avoiding the risk of having a 2010 style season (where he put up a 95 OPS+) where he might have to sign another 1 year deal to reprove himself.  On top of the $20M he also is going to a team that should be able to contend for the playoffs next year.

      • ferrets_bueller

        or, the other way of thinking about this, its that 16 million in 3 years is equal to a hair over 12 million now (using the average 52 week T-bill discount rate for the last week, which comes out to about 10%).  If he got 12 million now, investing it the safest, least returning way would net him 16 million in 3 years.

        • hansman1982

          I havent looked at the numbers, and I am not an expert in T-Bills or discount rates but I do doubt that a T-Bill will get 10% returns each year if you just park the cash.  My thinking is as such, a T-Bill (basically the federal government is borrowing the money) is virutally a risk-free investment (if the government defaults on T-Bills we have bigger things to worry about and that $12M you plunked into it 10 years ago is worth about $0.12) and as such, a 10% rate is entirely too high.

          Again, I really have no idea how to read yield curves and discount rates but I know a solid mutual fund tries to get you 5-8% a year in return, and if I remember correctly from my investments class 5 years ago a T-Bill will typically yield about a 1% return per year.

          With that said, once you start reaching 9-10+ figures in investment accounts it is easier to reach the 10% mark.  Assuming that Ramirez is able to get 10%, we are talking about $3,960,000 worth of lost opportunity which equals the buyout for the team option. Coincidence? Possibly.  I havent clicked on the link but does anyone know if that $6M deferred earns interest?

    • Jeff

      He turned down the Cubs option for 16 million this year, he refused to be traded to a team that would pay him long term, and he turned his nose up at the Cubs for not offering him a multi-year extension. He took a gamble that he would get loads of money on the open market and lost. Now he won’t be getting paid like he wanted, and the Brewers are stuck with his backloaded contract in his waning years. Looks to me like the Brewers and Ramirez both lose on the deal.

  • MoneyBoy

    The ESPN article by Amy Nelson on Scott was one of the most interesting pieces – on anything – I’ve read in quite some time.  One might not like his opinions but you have to respect his honesty, character, and the time and effort he puts into relationships and charitable work.

  • Goat

    Count me as an Adam Scott fan. That said, he could be great for the Cubs clubhouse, or terrible. If the leaders (Dempster, Soto???, Byrd???) embrace him, he’d be great. But if he rubs those guys the wrong way, he’ll probably be more of a detriment to the team. Can you imagine if he called Soriano or Zambrano a savage, and they took him seriously? All hell would break loose.

    • Brett

      I’m a huge Adam Scott fan. Parks and Rec for life!

      • hansman1982

        I prefer Nathan Scott – hot, athelete, rich, makes cute babies

        Lucas Scott is just ugly

        Scotty from Star Trek is pretty cool too…prob #2 on the Scott list.

  • Swaz46

    When did Jim Hendry become the GM in Milwaukee?

  • JulioZuleta

    If Theo managed to trade Muskat to the Brewers, I think we can officially call this offseason a success.

    • CubFan Paul

      the Brewer beat writer is Adam McCalvy but i found numerous articles (at least six) by Muskat in the Brewers news section!

      no wonder she keeps her posts, news, and answers short, but informative