The rumor mill is starting to wear down, though it still feels like the Cubs have plenty to accomplish yet this offseason…

  • The Cubs and Kerry Wood continue to be “close” to a final deal for 2012 – or so sources say (better bet? The deal is done, and just waiting an appropriately-timed announcement). Theo Epstein cautioned, though, that the Cubs aren’t going to be constrained by an artificial deadline, i.e., the Convention, for getting the deal done (sorry, don’t buy it). Epstein also talked to kids at a Cubs Caravan stop and said this about players and the teams that play for them in relation to a question about Wood: “Players have the right to make choices in their careers. If they sign somewhere else, it doesn’t mean they’re disloyal or anything else. There are a lot of factors that go into it with someone’s career and livelihood. But teams have to make choices too, about what’s best for the organization as a whole over the long haul. When you have a player the team wants and a situation the player wants [to return], you need to sit down and really try to work it out. A lot of times it does work out, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, you move on. There are always other opportunities, always other teams for the player. In this case, I know it’s important to the fans, and for baseball reasons we’d like to work this out. He can be a real contributor to our bullpen this year.”
  • Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has decided to play in the Dominican Winter League for a week’s worth of games or so, which could be about getting back into some game action, or could be an attempt to get his suspected-to-be-falling price tag moving back in the right direction. He didn’t do himself any favors last night, in his first game. Playing DH, Cespedes struck out three times in three at bats. I don’t reckon the performance will move the needle in either direction on teams’ interest.
  • Speaking of which, the Marlins are ridiculously interested in Cespedes, as expected. And they’re being very, very open about it – perhaps in an attempt to scare other suitors off. From Marlins’ president David Samson: “[The club’s pursuit will be] aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there. We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We’ve been] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great …. I think that we’re right in there. There are a lot of teams who want him and we’re definitely competitive and we’re not fooling around. We expect he will be a significant sign and receive a significant signing bonus and contract, and we’re prepared for that. Again, if you’re dealing with another team who needs to make a bigger splash or wants to get irrational, we’re not going to match that.” At what level an offer becomes “stupid,” of course, is a matter of debate.
  • There hasn’t been much to say lately about Cespedes’ fellow outfield defector, true prospect Jorge Soler. The 19-year-old is expected to establish residency in the DR soon, but the immediacy of his signing will not likely follow Cespedes’, who will want to participate in Spring Training. Soler could theoretically wait until the Summer to sign, but he’ll wait no longer – the international signing caps in the new CBA kick in after June, so Soler would stand to lose a whole lot of leverage (and money) if he waits that long. The Cubs will be involved, I have no doubt.
  • The Nationals are now making an aggressive push to sign Prince Fielder, says the Washington Post. He isn’t coming to the Cubs, so your rooting interest is probably a long-shot like Toronto, which could spur the Blue Jays to stepping back up to the table with the Cubs about a Matt Garza trade.
  • Speaking of Garza, another theoretical suitor is the Texas Rangers. Their pursuit, however, will remain theoretical until Wednesday, when they either sign or fail to sign Yu Darvish, at which point their interest in Garza will be decided (lifting the box on Schrodinger’s Cat, as it were). If the Rangers can’t finalize a deal with Darvish, they’ll almost certainly resume their pursuit of Garza. If they do sign Darvish – and the most recent indications are that they are optimistic despite a gulf in the two sides’ offers – they’re out.
  • Fishin Phil

    Name another Cubs blog that makes a reference to Schrodinger’s Cat.  Go on, I dare ya!

    Nice work Brett.

    • Edwin

      I don’t get it. I even went on Wikipedia, and I still don’t get it. Please enlighten.

      • Fishin Phil

        Maybe a picture will help:

        • Edwin

          I think I got it now. So, we don’t know if the cat is dead or alive, but if we open the box to find out, the cat will be dead, but we don’t know if it’s because we opened the box, or if it’s because of the poison?

          Learn something new every day I guess.

          • Fishin Phil

            Right!  I couldn’t find a picture with a dead and live Yu Darvish in a box.

          • Edwin

            Nope, I think I’m wrong. The point is that since there is an exactly 50-50 chance that the cat is dead or alive, until we open the box and actually see it, the cat is both dead and alive.

            • Fishin Phil

              Actually, I think the theory is that the cat is theoretically both alive and dead until the box is opened.  Maybe a physics major will straighten us out.

              • Kyle

                It’s a metaphor.

                If we literally did that to a cat, it’d be either dead or alive, we just wouldn’t know which.

                But with a subatomic particle, it’s not either a wave or a particle until we look at it. It’s *both* until we look at it.

                • TWC

                  “If we literally did that to a cat, it’d be either dead or alive, we just wouldn’t know which.”

                  Let’s try it and find out.  Who’s got an extra cat or six?

                  • Fishin Phil

                    • ferrets_bueller

                      holy crap, thats epic. “Maybe”

              • HoustonTransplant

                It is indeed a physics related thing. The cat, since we cannot see it, is presumably both alive and dead at the same time. It is not until we open it that it is either dead or alive.

                A physics class I took also mentioned that, for all intents and purposes, the atoms’ bonds that make up the wall could theoretically dissolve when a tennis ball hits it, thus making the ball pass through; however, the percentage of that actually happening are so infinitely small that it would *almost* never happen.

                Theoretical physics is a weird, messed up world.

                • hansman1982

                  Theoretical physics also states that somewhere in the universe (or universes) there is an identical copy of you living the same exact life you are living

                  Which, if you believe that the universe is infinite in size then that has to be reality many times over.

          • ferrets_bueller

            The cat is both dead and alive, until an outside action occurs to make it be dead- the opening of the box.

            want to have your mind completely fried?  Watch this. Seriously, beyond absurd- observing what happens, changes what happens.  Simply observing.

      • deej34

        Go watch the Big Bang Theory.. it explains it perfectly….

        • ferrets_bueller

          Hmm…that’s just a tad bit oversimplified, IMO.

      • scottie

        a cat is in a box. u cant see the cat. at a random time, unknown to anyone, the cat is killed via a poisonous gas. no one can be for certain if the cat is alive or dead. so until the box is opened, the cat can be simultaneously be thought of as alive and dead. or your could at least argue one or the other.

    • Cubs in 2xxx

      I think he watches too much Big Bang Theory !

      • Brett

        Nah. I just love Wikipedia…

        • Cerambam

          I was so excited to see the Schrodinger’s Cat reference and then even more excited that everyone had already commented on it… Home sweet home at our nerdy cubs blog family

  • Ivy Walls

    Can’t locate the source but I saw on Twitter that Ryan or a Ranger source said they will go down to the wire. Having done or mediated negotiations at some significant levels whenever both sides think they can use a deadline as a leverage point as a game of chicken, has a way of periodically becoming a battle of egos or wills.

    144 hours minus a dozen and counting…I wonder what are the costs on both sides?

  • Seth

    Maybe this comic will help you understand?

  • GDB

    With the new CBA kicking in June/July, are teams going to go on a spending spree and sign-up all the half-way promising 16/17 years old from the Dominican/Venezuela/Everywhere else?

    Seems like you might as well grab what you can when its an open market before being restricted in the coming years…

    • BD

      I agree. Why not freely spend a little extra on 25 youngsters, and just hope that 1 or 2 workout?

  • die hard

    Is Texas the surrogate for the Cubs as to Darvish? Rangers sign him and trade him to Cubs for Garza and Dempster…..Cubs would be on hook for post fee and huge salary but get pitcher of promise and Rangers get two solid starters for run this yr and Garza thereafter for 5 yrs….money gained by Rangers used to sign Fielder then….

    • rcleven

      Have we not learned anything about high dollar long term contracts? I think we need to learn to crawl before we go into a full sprint.

      • Kyle

        High-dollar contracts did not hurt the Cubs. A complete failure to draft and develop well hurt the Cubs.

        Every good team takes gambles on big contracts.

        • JR1908

          Yes, the Cubs drafting and development was bad for awhile and needed fixed. But the contracts they gave were historically bad. Every big market team does give bad contracts out, but they don’t miss 90% of the time like the Cubs during Hendry era… Which is a problem as well…

          • Kyle

            The Soriano contract was bad, but contracts that bad are given out every offseason.

            The rest of the contracts weren’t that bad at all. Zambrano’s wasn’t great at the end, but he perfectly well lived up to it for most of it. Same with Ramirez. Same with Dempster. I could do without the Marmol deal, but it wasn’t horrible.

            Overall, their grade giving out big contracts has to be a C-, at worst.

            Now go back and actually compare the Cubs’ drafting and development in the mid to late 2000s to any other team. The Cubs’ drafting has been *abysmal* since 2003. In this case, the phrase “historically bad” really is applicable.

            The problem is that it’s easier to see the presence of a problem than it is the absence of something positive. Everyone can see players on the team that are making too much money, so they assume that’s why the Cubs have problems. They can’t see that most teams are getting tons of value out of their draft picks that the Cubs just aren’t getting.

            Quick and dirty example, Cardinals vs. Cubs position players, homegrown 2011:

            The Cardinals had Pujols, Molina, Jay, Craig, Descalso, Salas, Motte, Sanchez and Rasmus all homegrown and contributing at least 1.0 bWAR. They combined to be worth 21.8 bWAR.

            The Cubs’ homegrown 1-WAR players last year? Castro, Marshall, Campana, Soto, Zambrano, Barney and Samardzija, for a grand total of 11.2 bWAR.

            You can’t put yourself at a 10-win deficit to a division rival through drafting and expect to keep up. And that doesn’t include some of the excellent trades the Cardinals have been able to make because of their farm system.

            • TWC

              I think the worst contract the Cubs gave out in the Hendry years was the Grabow deal. I’d take a hundred Soriano deals over that one.

    • Boogens

      Strange comment and it’s hard to tell if you’re being serious. If the Cubs really wanted Darvish that much why wouldn’t they just have increased their original bid significantly? Why would they now pay the higher posting fee, his salary and give up both Garza & Dempster to get him a month later?

  • scorecardpaul

    does this have anything to do with Sept 9, 1969?

  • die hard

    Cubs brass do not strike me as liking the spotlight of a convention of this magnitude…speaking as someone who was there several years ago, the atmosphere is overwhelming and the fan interest is unforgiving and will carry over to the season…..any goodwill earned so far could be lost the minute any bit of arrogance shows through and the new front office has plenty to go around…if Ricketts wanted to sellout this season, he may be better off just forming a reception line with brass meeting and greeting limiting them to a handshake, photo op, and autograph….but if any of the brass gets up and speaks to an audience and then takes questions, look out below is how I see it….

    • Wilbur

      What does “Your comment is awaiting moderation” mean?

      • TWC

        Wilbs, sometimes if you attempt to add too many hyperlinks or whatnots to a comment, the spam filters on this site flag you.

      • Brett

        It either means what TWC said, or it means the spam filter is temporarily down (which may have been the case today), which delays the comment by a bit.

        • Wilbur

          Ooooh, must have been the filter being down as it was literally a one line comment …

  • Mick

    Even though bringing Kerry Wood flies in the face of a total rebuild, his community involvement and leadership sets a great example for our organization and players. I like how Theo’s addressed the subject but I didn’t so much like how Jed said that they offered Kerry a significant raise in their contract proposal. Last year’s salary was an anomaly in pro sports with Kerry basically playing for the league minimum. I can see why Kerry started looking elsewhere.

    Cespedes is looking more and more like fool’s gold to me. Going 0-3 w/3 K’s yesterday in his Dominican debut is an early sign that we should just save our money. What a terrible decision for him and his agent to play Winter ball. He was already looking at a $50 million pay-day, his greed could cost him a whole lot more if he shows poorly than if he shows great.

    We can hope Texas and Toronto step back into the Matt Garza sweepstakes but realistically our market is going to be with the Tigers. I understand the strategy to wait out the Darvish-Ranger negotiations in case of a breakdown but I actually think there’s more risk in doing that than not waiting. The Rangers have been scouting Darvish for years and a recent story described the multiple trips the Rangers made to Japan last year to watch his starts first hand. Multiple trips, an astronomically high posting fee, and the Rangers already making an offer all but guarantees a deal gets done. Once that deal gets done, the Rangers are officially out of the Garza running giving the Tigers even more leverage to not include Turner or Castellanos in any of their proposals.

    • rcleven

      Garza will start the spring with the Cubs. No need to trade till a offer comes in that is above market. Don’t see Garza being extended till after the trade deadline,giving Cubs the opportunity to trade. If not traded at the deadline look for extension

  • al

    Fifty innings from Kerry Wood (+/- AA/AAA rehabs) will not win a Championship. The only reason to sign him would be to trade him before he hits the DL; a pretty risky move as that could happen in spring training. I would rather he try to latch on to a contender with a chance to get a ring.