This morning’s very hot Sean Marshall/Travis Wood rumor delayed the Bullets…

  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan confirms what we probably already knew (and what we’ve certainly assumed): the Cubs’ front office is pretty frustrated by the changes in the CBA. Those changes, you’ll recall, dramatically restrict the money a team can spend on amateur players, both in the draft and internationally. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s best laid plans were jammed up on a dime.
  • Word out of Boston is that the Red Sox are no longer expecting to get anything more than “a run-of-the-mill prospect or two” from the Cubs as compensation for hiring Theo Epstein. Finally, the Boston media has resigned itself to the reality that we’ve long known: they aren’t getting a windfall for allowing Theo Epstein to be promoted.
  • In addition to adding new National Crosschecker Matt Dorey from the Red Sox, the Cubs picked up pro scout Kyle Evans, who recently left the Red Sox (thus, it was not pilfering in violation of the teams’ agreement that the Cubs wouldn’t take anyone else from the Red Sox for three years). The Cubs may also look to pick up recently-replaced Red Sox VP of International Scouting and Player Personnel Craig Shipley in some role.
  • Christmas Day at 4:30pm CT, an interview with Tom Ricketts (conducted by Dave Kaplan) will air on CSN. That press release has a number of teaser quotes from Ricketts, which includes this interesting note on the transition from Jim Hendry to Theo Epstein: “The period between when Jim left and when Theo came in was a little awkward, because you couldn’t really tell people what you were doing, but there was never a moment where I didn’t really feel like we had it under control. I think the only moment when I was a little nervous was when if we could ask the Red Sox for permission, and it’s entirely likely, it’s possible they could say no, and then we’d have to go on and look for another candidate, and that’s embarrassing because that candidate obviously wouldn’t be the first choice and you can’t keep those kind of requests secret. But we just hung tough, consistent … and played through it, and I think we’d done as best as we could.”
  • A Christmas/Holiday Card from the Cubs. Thoughtful. I also read somewhere recently – though I can no longer find where I read it – that the Cubs sent personalized Christmas/Holiday cards to their minor leaguers. ‘Tis the season.
  • Notice how the Yankees haven’t really done anything this offseason? How they aren’t really attached to any big names? Grantland’s Jonah Keri says it’s because the Yankees are learning spending top dollar isn’t necessarily the best move.
  • hansman1982


    That is all.

    • Jannenga

      you are right but most of the idiots on here don’t understand that………Epstien and these kids prove everyday whats wrong with this Generation…….They have grown up in the protected 90’s and watched way to many Disney Movies where the good always win and don’t ya know that Epstien is going to sign all these young no names and then he is gonna go into the locker room and give alittle speech and tell them that they doing this for the History of the Team and it’s going to come down to gm 7 of the series and they are going to win in the bottom of the 9th with a walk off and the world will be all right……..They actually believe this crap………..One guy actually wrote me and told me to lay off the “Goat Slayer”.yes I am serious they are actually calling him the Goat Slayer I laughed so hard i almost spit out my drink……..I asked them where was they in the 70’s was they at wrigley?,where was they at in 1984 was they at wrigley and every time it was NO…….atleast one other person on here knows that in todays MLB you have to spend money of Big Name FA’s to win………But these kids live in a Dream world……Atleast I know there is other Adult on here…….

      • Ol’CharlieBrown

        First of all, if I didn’t know any better I’d think that hansman1982 was not only being sarcastic to some extent, but also was potentially born in 1982 and is not one of these so called elite “adults” that you claim to be. Did you really almost laugh so hard that you almost spit out your drink? That’s something only a child would do, right? Come on, fella. Get over yourself and your know-it-all attitude. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in over 100 years and you act like your some expert that could have changed all of that with ease, given the opportunity. Give me a break, Jenga. I love hearing everyone opinions and ideas, but don’t come around here and act as if you’re the only one who is “right” and if we don’t agree then we must be some moronic children who think this is all going to turn out like some Disney story.

        By the way, even if you don’t agree with what others think on here, there is no need to call everyone “idiots”. As a matter of fact, isn’t name calling a bit childish as well? Heck, I could be wrong though. You’re the adult here.

  • Mike Foster

    Merry Christmas Brett! Can’t wait to get my Bleacher Nation t-shirt on Sunday!

    • Brett

      Likewise, Mike. And thanks.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Merry Christmas to all of you on BN who have taught me so much about baseball in general and the Cubs in particular. Some of it still baffles me, but I’m learning! Happy Holidays to everyone; may there be Peace on Earth and Cubs baseball in October!

    • Toosh

      Happy holidays to you, as well.

  • Jeff L

    Chicago Cubs fans should be frustrated. We are not a team that should be rebuilding with the ticket prices the way they are! All I can say is Tom Ricketts is the greedy grinch this offseason. Not willing to spend a dime and most definitely would love to see this payroll go down under the 100 million mark. I would be completely ok with this if we didn’t have the 3rd highest ticket prices in baseball! I’ll tell you what Mr. Ricketts lower the ticket prices in the range of what a rebuilding team should have. Then maybe I would be ok with the 3-4 year rebuilding process. Fans should really consider boycotting going to Cub games until Mr. Ricketts fields a decent product.

    • MichiganGoat


      • Jeff

        No, I would have to agree with him. sadly

        • jandersonjr81

          Well then, well ignore you too. Spending crazy money has your team looking like that sorry ass 2011 version Cubs. Oh wait, that who were talking bout. Spend Money, but spend wisely.

          • Jeff

            Grammar and spelling police alert!!!

            • jandersonjr81

              Wow, checking spelling on a blog site. You must be a smart guy.

      • King Jeff

        So glad I changed my name.

        • Jeff

          Yeah, me too!

    • Steve

      You do know TR has turned over all baseball operations to Epstein & Co., don’t you? You’re also of to want to provide a source for TR hintig that he’d like to lower payroll below $100MM. Oh, and by all means, feel free to boycott. That way, the rest of us don’t have to listen to the nonsense.

      • Jeff

        The only way to let a business know their product is crap and they need to change is to stop buying.

        I love the Cubs but I won’t be spending my money on them. Everybody got excited after 2003 and the owners jacked the prices up!

        Time for market correction. If your going to put a crappy product on the field, discount for the misery we have to endure.

        The irony would be for revenues to drop and Ricketts drowned in his $850 investment.

        • Toosh

          That’ll teach ’em.

        • jandersonjr81

          If all he invested was 850 dollars, then I would say he made an Hell of an investment. Lot upside there profit wise. Id say he probably made his money back within 5 minutes after the gates opened during his first game.

          • Jeff

            I say he’s probably losing money and he’s cutting operational cost in team salaries to stop the hemorrhaging.

            There is much more investment in capitol than you realize and no, the gates are not where you maximize your return dollars.

            TV rights, sponsorships and ad deals are where large revenues come from, something Ricketts is behind in compared to other clubs.

            The renovation of the stadium and the area around Wrigley, I’m sure are costs he hadn’t truly calculated.

            No, he spent daddy’s money to get the toy he always wanted, now lets see if he can really run a business.

            Remember the line in that Who song, Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss!

            • jandersonjr81

              I was being sarcastic man. Lighten up. Its a sport. If the Cubs never win a Series, I still have three beautiful kids who love me and a beautiful wife who I love dearly. Life is bigger then the Cubs. If you Boycott, easier for me to find a ticket when I come to Chicago.

      • Jeff L

        First of all, with all the moves being made or not made I think it’s fairly obvious that’s where the payroll is going. We didn’t resign Aramis Ramirez and replaced him and his former contract with anything. Mr. Ricketts may have turned over baseball operations to Epstein, but I’m sure he gave him strict guidelines when it comes to spending. You ever heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words” The front office actions this offseason, has so far proven the intentions of Mr. Ricketts. Steve, if you want to pay top dollar for a sub 500 team than that’s your choice. All I’m trying to say we should have a ticket prices around those of a rebuilding team. Yes, I feel maybe a boycott will show Mr. Ricketts you can’t make us pay the 3rd highest ticket prices for a horrible product.

        • Toosh

          Please, boycott.

        • jandersonjr81

          Dude. The payroll is set at 125 mil – 135mil. Spending money is not always smart. Look at Soriano. Let Theo take his time. Name one big free agent signing(other the Yanks) that won a team a World Series. You can’t really. Not since the 97 Marlins. When did Theo start struggling in Boston. When he start signing.expensive free agaents. Let take.our time and sign the right people. Also, let’s keep supporting the team, so when that player is there, well have the cash to sign him.

        • Ol’CharlieBrown

          In some way, I agree with this. Not so much to the extent of actually boycotting the Chicago Cubs, but to a lesser degree. I always go and see 2-3 Cubs games when they come out here to Colorado to play the Rockies. At this point in the off-season, it’s like I don’t even want to pay to go see this team play, especially against the Rockies, who seem to always beat us up. Though I’m sure when that time rolls around, I will almost certainly be going to a few games.

          I guess I’ve just gotten to a point where I don’t want to spend money on the Cubs, not so much to try and stick it to Mr. Ricketts and Theo, but simply because I am not proud of the team we field. I don’t want to continue to just blindly support it because of my love for the Cubs. However, I will be cheering for them and watching every game that comes on national TV no doubt.

          Like Jeff L said, “The only way to let a business know their product is crap and they need to change is to stop buying.” Sales tell the tales…

          • King Jeff

            I understand that baseball and all major sports are big businesses. The problem is that I consider myself a fan, not a customer. I am a fan of the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks. No matter how bad the teams are, I am always going to be a fan of those teams. I will never root for any of them to fail for any reason. If this means that I drank too much kool aid, well bust me through a wall and I’ll yell out “oh yeah”, because that’s just who I am. If you really think that every decision that has been made, and that the moves that are made/aren’t made are done so only because of money, then I think you are being shortsighted. It’s a long offseason, and this is far from a finished product. If the team still has this many holes when pitchers and catchers report, then I’ll get my pitchfork ready. Until then, I like the small moves that they have made, and I like the fact that they are at least considering the top of the line free agents. Something that they have completely avoided in the past few years.

  • marc

    Not to be the party pooper but the image used in this is the success kid. Though I can see where you would think he is putting on the “blast you!” phase, but in the world of internet meme, the article title and picture do not correlate.
    I just became “that guy”, and I am sorry for it.

    • Brett

      I’m ashamed of myself. I pride myself on knowing memes, and I was unaware of this one. Now I can see how the baby looks like he’s saying “YES!” I saw him as shaking his fist in frustration.

      *insert picture of ashamed baby*

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    The face that kid is making along with the frustrated title made me laugh so hard I almost spit my Ramen noodles out.Haha

    Good one Brett.

  • Bryan

    Merry Christmas, Brett!

    Love the site as usual, but using the Success Baby as a picture for frustration is an outrage!

    • hardtop

      if you didnt know it was the “success baby” you wouldn’t be outraged. i didn’t and i’m not, and, in fact, it had me laughing heartily this morning.

      • Ol’CharlieBrown

        Agreed, hardtop. I’ve never seen the picture before and I thought it was perfectly fitting.

        • Brett

          I think they were just giving me a hard time.

    • Brett

      I’m … embarrassed.

    • hansman1982

      I have seen this picture used for a W I D E variety of things from success to frustration – mostly frustration though.

  • Toosh

    If I were the Cubs’ new front office regime, I’d look at the new CBA as an opportunity rather than being frustrated. An opportunity to build the best scouting and projection and development system in baseball while working within the same constraints as every other team, rather than just outspending other teams at the amateur level. Now, the Cubs can take money that might have been earmarked for the draft and use it elsewhere.

    • Jeff


      I totally agree with you. The opposite approach would seem tantamount to a child screaming because he can no longer spend excessive money on his toys that might break and not be worth anything of value.

      Theo, quit pouting over what you don’t have..grow up and start making deals like a grown man, i.e. a Walt Jocketty, just don’t make a deal with him for Wood, please.

      • Wilbur

        I’ll throw my two cents in here and agree also.

        While the CBA reduced (did not eliminate) the impact of the strategy off over slots, it made good scouting and statistical analysis even more critical as teams will need to have a higher success rate than their peers in the drafts, FA signings and international signings.

        Smart guys will find a way to maximize value in the new CBA. Challenge to Theo and Jed is to prove they are not one trick ponies. I don’t believe they are, but it will take years to before anyone can conclusively say they are or aren’t.

        On a lighter note, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night …

  • cubsklm

    Let’s Super-Size our roster, just raise the price of a Happy Meal $1 across the street and sign Prince? We probably could’ve bid higher on Yu, if we’d just sell the McRib year round.
    Every time Z goes nuts, we could sell the Un-Happy Meal, it would come with a smashed miniature Gatorade cooler. Every time Soriano walks, it’s free fries across the street.

    I mean let’s use our most expensive off season acquisition to our advantage.

    • Jeff

      Thank you, I need that laugh.

      cubsklm for cubs director of marketing, probably do better than Kenney!

  • MAX

    GO CUBS…………………………. WIN GAMES IN 2012

  • Ajbearsfan

    THEY ARE FRUSTRATED?! What about the fan base? I can’t speak for everyone but I’m tired of the there’s always next year motto!

  • Kyle

    I’d be a lot more impressed with the “We may not be trying to win in 2012, but we’re building for the future” if we actually *were* building for the future this offseason.

    So far, the only thing we’ve added this season that helps the long term is the chance that we could get Ian Stewart turned around and under team control for his arb-years.

    Meanwhile, we lost net talent in the Rule V draft and haven’t picked up any prospects.

    If we’re going to fire sale, I hope we really do fire sale. There’s still time, of course, to do that.

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      Theo was waiting for Rany to publish this
      to help encourage other GMs to give up more.

      Seriously, the most important work this first off-season will be in changing our organization’s culture and we won’t read much about that now, if ever. What we need is a farm system that develops players according to a disciplined, winning model. You don’t get that via trade.

      And meanwhile you can’t rush the trades.

      • Brett

        That’s a wonderfully interesting article by the way, folks. It’ll be in the bullets tomorrow.

        • TWC

          I’ll say it is.  Thanks for the link, Omniprez.

  • Jannenga

    Alittle Note:

    Dear Boston Red Sox,
    You should not expect to much compensation for Epstien because we cubs fans got the short end of the stick in this deal..Every Day that Epstien stays here we really see the blantant truth that Henry was the Brains behind your team and we tip our hat to you for tricking the league into thinking that Epstien was better then he was,but to show we our a fair group we are willing to Trade you Ricketts,Epstien,Hoyer and Stewart and Zambrano for 2 1st round picks in 12 and 13 for Henry…Yes we are willing to give up alot but we know that it is truly worth it to assure the Cubs a Championship……….Futhermore if you act now we would be willing to give you a Free Mc Donalds right across the street from wrigley as part of the Deal and if you need us to take a bad contract off you with the deal (I don’t know maybe like Crawford) we would be willing to……
    Well thank you for your time and please feel free to counter offer……

    1 P!ss#d off Cubs Fan…..

    [Edited – This is your final warning: one more mention of certain bad things (you know what I’m talking about) happening to individuals in the Cubs’ organization, and you will be the first person to feel the ban-hammer. I don’t wield it lightly, but you’re giving me little choice.]

    • Rick Vaughn


    • Rick Vaughn

      I think the fact that Theo and his crew are willing to start over through a heavy rebuilding process shows great balls. He could throw money at Prince and build a patchwork over hyped “contender”. Keep the cynical Janneengggaa fans happy. Cash his checks and move on to the next team in a few years.

      But since he’s willing to start at rock bottom and develop shows me a long term kind of apporach that I’m finding more admirable day by day. He has the resources, but in his eyes see’s that spending isn’t going to help right now. This team is a mess. Rebuild, let these ridicoulus contracts expire, build around the talent that blooms over the next couple years. If no talent blooms, then as a last ditch effort, I’m sure they’ll “Miami Marlin” their way through free agency and hope to hit the lottery.

      I guess my point is, I respect our front office for taking the wrath of one of the most loyal fan bases in hopes of rewarding us later on. It’s actually making me very optimistic. But I’m also only 27 years old, with hopefully many more years left. Dinosaurs like Jenneganana probably……………………………………………………………………………….. well, I’ll just let that one go.

  • Jannenga

    Selig is doing a shake down on the City of Chicago they way he did in Boston,Miami and New York City and he is Trying to do it in Oakland now …. They get the owners not to spend any money on big name FA’s untill they agree to either fund a stadium or do a Re-Build Boston did it with the Fenway Re-Build and Ricketts is trying it now and it’s not going to work.The City of Chicago is not going to blink……….Epstien never did it in Boston don’t sit there and say a rebuilt Team takes big balls………Ricketts is running this show or an owner who really wanted to win would have demanded Epstien got a Big name FA…………What i find funny is none of you on here could deny that if the Cubs go get Pujols,Burly and Wilson and they Resign Ramirez that they don’t win it all next year………..that with what they had wind the NL flat out……..Epstien claims they don’t have money but behind the lines proved they do,but why aren’t they spending it and Jim Rome knocked it out of the park…….I can’t take credit for the report above thanks Jim Rome……

    • Toosh

      Another moron heard from. Say Good night, Jenga.

      • BetterNews

        Wow, what was that all about?

    • Rick Vaughn

      Wow……….Just………Wow……… Take a lap and hit the showers bro.

    • Rick Vaughn

      I’ll have what he’s having.

      • MichiganGoat

        A straight jacket and lithium?

    • MichiganGoat

      Ignore, call the doctor

    • Rick Vaughn

      I’m sorry, I didn’t see the part about Jim Rome. Now I understand your problem. What time does the short bus pick you up from school anyway?

  • ferrets_bueller

    Lmao, Jim Rome.

  • Jannenga

    I can’t belive you losers on here……..Really believeing that the cubs ever will sniff a championship with this Epstien no spend plan………He never did it in Boston………they stared by Spending huge on a Future Hall of Famer in Manny ramirez from Clevelend……he never went all young………he took Big name FA’s from Florida after they won a series………You know I can actually see why Epstien sucks so bad,but you call your self a cubs fan of what maybe 10yrs or so and think this works and you have no problem with it…………If they trade every chip they have the cubs will come in last place in the next 3yrs and if you are ok with losing then I am sorry you are a loser…..

    • BetterNews

      Fly away deadbird! Go sit on top of the arch! And dive, don’t think about it ,it won’t hurt!

    • Rick Vaughn

      I’m getting a total p………s………y…….c……h……..o…….. vibe from this dude.

      I like him!

    • MichiganGoat

      Please explain you over use of the ellipsis points and then we can talk