We’re getting mighty close to an Obsessive Ryan Dempster Trade Watch, aren’t we?

Ryan Dempster, a free agent after this season, remains one of the Cubs’ most valuable trade pieces as we approach mid-season, but a number of facts continue to complicate what would otherwise be a relatively simple decision to deal him. First, Dempster has 10/5 no-trade rights, so he can veto any trade. Second, Dempster loves Chicago and the Cubs love Dempster. And third, any team trading for Dempster can no longer get draft pick compensation for him (thanks to changes in the CBA, only a team who’s had a player for the entire season can make a “qualifying offer” in an effort to get draft pick compensation if that player leaves). In other words, Dempster might have more value to the Cubs than to a team trading for him, which makes a trade pretty difficult.

With those issues in mind, each of Dempster and President Theo Epstein shared thoughts on what will happen with Dempster as trade season heats up.

‘‘I love being here, man,’’ said Dempster, according to the Sun-Times. “I love being a part of this organization …. I want to be here and be part of what’s going to be a bright future. Sometimes you have to endure some of the tough times in the present to get to that. We’ll just see how it goes.’’

Does that mean Dempster would veto a trade to a contender if the Cubs tried to move him?

Epstein may not yet be sure, but he plans to discuss the matter with Dempster soon.

“I have a pretty good feel for where he’s coming from,” Epstein said, according to CSN. “We have an open dialogue. We just chatted about chatting at some point. There’s nothing to talk about right now. I think I know him pretty well.

“Long-term, sure, I think the organization’s better for having him. We’ll have to take a realistic look of where we are. And if there are ways to get better, every option has to be on the table.”

In other words, bringing Dempster back in 2013 may not make sense unless the Cubs are “going for it” next year. And if they aren’t planning on bringing Dempster back next year, maybe that “chat” will include a frank discussion about whether Dempster is better off accepting the trade to a contender, where he can be spotlighted in a pennant race and/or the playoffs.

Dempster, himself, wouldn’t commit one way or another when it comes to vetoing a trade.

“I haven’t heard anything either way,” Dempster told Paul Sullivan. “If [the Cubs] did approach me, I’d have to think about it.

“Whatever happens, happens. Obviously, there will be questions, and I’ll get more and more as the season goes along. But honestly, I don’t even think about it. I mean, I do have days when I think about it. But, for the most part, I just do my job the best I can.”

If Dempster keeps doing his job as well as he’s been doing it so far this year, he’s definitely going to have some thinking to do when trade season rolls around.

  • CubFan Paul

    Theoretically the Cubs could “go for it” in 2013. With $50M plus coming off the books, leaving a payroll of around $40M (if Soriano is bought out, the payroll will still be under $60M) there’s no reason why Theo&Co can’t put a “85 win” team on the field in 2013

    No way Theo&Co come into 2013 with a 80 sum million payroll talking about “building”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Completely agree on the theory and on next year’s payroll. When did we start agreeing on everything, Paul?

      • CubFan Paul

        Dude I thought about that the other day. It’s the ‘randy wells effect’ or something.

        I’m not worried about losing in 2013 because of the payroll situation. & maybe, That’s why Theo&Co are so damn calm now.

    • cubs1967

      I agree; Cot’s contracts have the Cubs at 35M actually; a little lower which includes Soriano. Of the 8 arb players the cubs have; only garza and castro are keepes for sure and will cost money. Assuming the payroll goes back to the 120M range where it should be; that’s almost 70M to spend; nothing stupid, but when you consider they could of signed darvish-edwin jackson-cespedes for 29M; 70M can go a long way.

      • Ash

        Be careful labeling Garza a keeper too early…

      • Blitzenjohn

        I agree with Ash. I’m not sure Garza is a keeper at this stage. He’ll bring in a good (if not, great) package of prospects, and with potential trades of Dempster, Soriano, and LaHair (I’d love to see LaHair stay as a UT/PH v Righties), we could contend next year, with an eye on winning in 2014.

    • Joshua Edwards

      Agreed. But some fans are so wholeheartedly embracing the rebuild scenario, however, that they keep saying things like, “Just wait until 2015!”

      And I’m like, are you kidding me? With a Top Five payroll in a weak division (they can outspend every other team by a factor of the Pittsburgh Pirates) they have to be competitive in 2013.

      We can talk “rebuild” all we want but we’re going to talk “results,” too. You can’t make that kind of bank and charge people to watch a team win 100 games across TWO seasons.

      I think 2013 will involve a competitive team (barring unforeseen major injuries). But I think it also BETTER be a competitive team or the fan base’s short fuse will become unbearable for Team Epstein.

  • RoughRiider

    There are no rules against the Cubs trading Dempster and then signing him in the off season.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      None at all. It is exceedingly rare, and almost never plays out that way. Given Dempster’s unique situation, however, it isn’t as implausible as usual.

      • Bric

        Yeah. if Dempster gets traded he’s not coming back. This situation is almost identical to Ted Lilly’s. Let’ just hope that Thedstein have a little better understanding of respect and player value (regardless of the record) than Lilly got. Lilly’s return was a bust of a former first rounder who’s been susbequently cut twice and still never picked up by anybody and the 7th best pitcher in the Dodgers’ system.

        If there was any possibility for Lilly to come back after being traded it probably ended when he heard about the trade. “I was traded for who? You only saved how much? Seriously… that’s what you got for me? Thanks for everything, Jim. I’ll see you around…”

  • Don

    I agree, why not trade Demp at the deadline and re-sign him as free agent in the off season? He actually could take over Marmol’s spot as our closer next year as I’m
    guessing Marmol will be gone come July 31.

    • MIchael Montgomery

      Just like we did with Lily and Marshall?

  • @cubsfantroy

    I love Dempster in a Cubs uniform for what he does on and off the field. That said, if he has a chance to play for a contender and get a ring, I wouldn’t be mad at the Cubs for pulling the trigger to trade him and him accepting the trade. It would be difficult to see him in another uniform though.

  • Alex K

    Pretty hard to consider going for it next year with our offense. Kudos to starting pitchers.

  • hardtop

    well, I’ve been adamant that it would take a lot for Dempster to leave the Cubs. I wouldn’t say I’ve been “betternews” about it, but I was pretty confident it would take a pretty amazing deal for both for him personally and the Cubs. I have no doubt he loves the fans, and the city dearly, but damn, a guy can only take so much. 2.14 ERA and 0 Wins! You’d couldn’t blame him if is allegiance was waning. If he can go play for a bona fide contender for the rest of the season, i think he waives his no trade rights. Unless he wins the MVP of the world series and his value skyrockets, I also think he comes back to the Cubs on a payroll friendly deal.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I hope you’re right on both accounts.

    • JB88

      If the Cubs retain Dempster, I’d be shocked if it didn’t shake out like it did with ARam, with the Cubs “offering” him the $12.5MM contract and with Dempter “declining.”

      And, FWIW, the quotes are intentional because it was pretty clear from ARam’s comments that the Cubs asked him to decline the option so they could receive the draft compensation.

  • Kyle

    I’m really not sure how I feel about next year’s offense.

    The problem positions have been:

    (believe it or not, 2b has not been much of a problem.)

    LF can be fixed (at least offensively) by moving LaHair there when Rizzo comes up.

    You either believe in peripherals’ predictive powers or you don’t, but I do, so 3b should be fixable just by letting Ian Stewart’s awful BABIP luck even itself out.

    That leaves C and CF. It shouldn’t be *that* hard for Theo and Co. to fix those two positions, especially when we may very well have internal options at both.

    It really isn’t that hard for me to see the 2013 offense being adequate with minimal tweaking. And the rotation is already there.

    I just don’t know how we’re going to build an entire bullpen from nothing in one offseason.

    • berselius

      They do have that Brett Jackson guy, maybe he can play CF

      • Kyle

        Maybe he can hit .240 in AAA, too. But maybe he can’t.

        • Drew7

          .270 in over 400 PA’s there, so I’d say he probably can. In the Majors is still a question mark though.

    • CubFan Paul

      Please explain why 2B has not been much of a problem.

      And the bullpen can be fixed in one offseason with money. The team will have lots of it this offseason for a veteran reliever or two

      • Kyle

        Let’s play this game again.

        Without looking, what is the NL average OPS for a 2b.

        • Drew7

          I’m staying out it this time!

        • Cubbie Blues

          Just a wild guess 0.642.

          Off the top of my head I would guess that Barney is just a little below that.

        • CubFan Paul

          So being “average” is okay now?

          • Kyle

            Why yes. Yes it is.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Barney is well below both the average and the median starting 2Bman last year.  Only Theriot and Miles had worse OPS than Barney last year at 2B, which means that there were at least 10 (and probably a dozen) 2Bmen with better OPS.  I remember that Barney was 0.06 below the median last year: and only Weeks & Phillips were more than 0.06 above the median last year.  (Utley would have been had he been able to play the entire year, I’m sure.)

              • Kyle

                1) Why would you compare to last year?

                2) We’ve been over this one, but comparing him to “starters” is an intellectually dishonest way to assess his value. That’s the entire reason the concept of value relative to replacement level was created.

                It *almost* seems as if confirmation bias is causing you to use statistical methods you wouldn’t normally use, in an attempt to justify your opinion of Darwin Barney.

                There are 30 teams who need to get 162 starts out of their second basemen. If only 15 of them have a 2b productive and healthy enough to play enough to qualify as a “starter,” that means that even the worst starter is valuable.

                Barney’s on pace for a 2.7 WAR season. He’s a solidly average starter at 2b in sum (slightly below average offensively, above average defensively). He’s got a .695 OPS at a position where the average player has a .700 OPS.

      • Noah

        Spending a bunch of money to fix a bullpen is a terrible idea. Just think about the sort of guys you can get when trying to fix a bullpen throw free agency, and the sort of contracts you need to sign them to. I’ve had enough Bob Howrys, Scott Eyres, LaTroy Hawkins and Mike Remlingers.

        • CubFan Paul

          Noah, OF COURSE “Spending a bunch of money to fix a bullpen is a terrible idea”

          I didn’t say dump’em all & sign 7 veterans so that we can have a lock down pen. But spending $3M-$5M on a reliable arm to add to the mix of youth will go a long way

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Does “reliable arm” exist?

    • cubs1967

      the rays have built the bullpen 2 yrs in a row from nothing; it can be done.
      russell is OK used the right way. i think dolis will be as the 7th inning guy; not the closer. if the dumbass marshall trade had not been made that would make 3; and you can always get lucky-look at shawn camp so far.
      plus next year there are a tons of closer; jonathon broxton if he keeps pitching like he has will outprice himself from the royals so there could be hope; it won’t be great, but this pen is soooooooo bad there is alot of room to go up.

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      “(believe it or not, 2b has not been much of a problem.)”

      I’ve been trying to tell anyone would would listen, this same thing for awhile now. Barney should be a fixture there for a number of years.

      • Kyle

        I’ll keep him until he starts to get expensive.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I certainly haven’t had near the issue with Barney this year as I did last. Bulking up helped him, from my vantage point, and his defense has been even better this year.

        • MaxM1908

          I will be interested to see how Barney stacks up against other 2Bs at the end of the year. I don’t think he’ll ever be above avg. offensively, but I won’t be surprised if he develops into a middle of the pack 2B.

  • Kevin
  • Cubs Dude

    What about Dempster to the White Sox? They need starting pitching and seem to want to make a run. He could keep his digs in the area. I would love one of their power bullpen arms

    • Carew

      Really to the Blech Sox?

    • Daniel

      Do the sox have ANYTHING we would want? Worst farm in the bigs

  • Westmalle

    I’m not familiar enough with the MLB rules, so I’ll just ask: is a sign-and-trade a viable possibility? What if part of the trade was that Dempster agreed to a longer-term deal with the trading partner?

  • James

    You really think the Cubs are going to contend or win 85 games next year? How? These are not realistic expectations. The farm system is FAR from great and Theo/Jed aren’t going to start spending a bunch of money after it just came off the books. You spend money on free agents when you have a couple holes to fill. This whole roster needs to be filled. You have no outfield, third baseman, second baseman, catcher. No bullpen. Aside from a SS and a couple nice pitchers, we have nothing. Not going to happen. 2015 (MAYBE), if we’re lucky. Time for us to realize this is going to be a long and painful process. Rebuilding sounds nice but I don’t think a lot of people here know what that truly entails.

    • Matty

      I agree. One thing Theo and Jed have opened up everyone’s eyes to is how dreadful this organization is from top to bottom circa 2012. It is going to take a lot longer than one year to fix this.

    • CubFan Paul


    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      To say it is not possible for the Cubs to be competitive in 2013 seems extremely premature. It just depends on so many things we can’t possibly know right now. What we do know right now is that this team is terrible, young impact talent may not emerge by next year, but the team could spend as much as $80 million in free agency/trades if it wanted to. That’s a whole lot of money to play with.

  • James

    “common sense”

    • DocPeterWimsey

      And we all know what Voltaire said about that!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not as common as you might think.

  • James

    It’s not possible. That’s being realistic. I’d love for it to happen but that’s not reality. At all. To think that Theo/Jed are going to go on a shopping spree is completely stupid. Like Theo has said from the beginning, there will be no more band-aids. We’re in this situation because of money handed out so freely. The Jim Hendry way of doing things. It’s not going to happen and it wouldn’t be smart.

    • CubFan Paul

      Sooo, the 2013 Cubs will have a major league payroll of $73Million (or ANYTHING close to it)? Thats not realistic or reality and nieve/stupid to think so

      ..to reply, click the “reply” button

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Again, I think you’re making a number of premature conclusions. The plainest response I’d give is that we have no idea how the new CBA will impact the Cubs’ near and long-term plans. We’ve already seen an obvious side effect: shifting dollars from the amateur side to the big league side. And, if you’re a big market team like the Cubs with a payroll that right now projects to be about $50 million in 2013, it’s not “stupid” to suggest that the Cubs could spend a whole lot of money in free agency.

      Not all free agent spending is unwise, or unfit for a rebuild. Indeed, “smart” teams do it every year.

      • Cubs Dude

        Exactly, if the Cubs can spend their money in the draft why wouldn’t they spend it in free agency for the right players at the right price? Makes sense to me.

      • Westmalle

        Even if we did add a free agent or two, I think we still might well be sellers in July 2013. Right now Theo/Jed have about a 2 or 3 year window to strip this puppy down. After 2013 is when they will likely feel the crunch of not being competitive. So I would not be a bit surprised if 2013 free agent signings turn into more minor league prospects near the trading deadline.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I think that would be a fine plan.

  • James

    I didn’t say the Cubs wouldn’t spend some money…that’s obvious but they’re not going to go out and sign IMPACT guys. We have no core to build around. We have Starlin Castro and a couple starting pitchers. Rebuilding takes years and years…not 1 or 2. If you think this organization is going to go out on a spending spree without any kind of core intact, you’re going to be very disappointed. Unless you enjoyed the Jim Hendry way of doing things.

    • cubs1967

      to be fair JH made the playoffs 3 times in 10 years; more than any other GM in the past 60 years.
      and the draft last last year that everyone is exicted about with baez, maples,voglebach, dunston jr and devoss was done under JH; becuz the owner spent money at JH’s urging; not his fault in prior years the monies were not spent.
      and the following players came from the cubs under JH:
      marshall-dumbass trade for nothing done by theo
      garza-indirectly by trading minor league chips; none helping the rays yet
      dempster-off the scrap heap-good trade chip now
      cashner-traded for rizzo
      colvin-hitting .300 traded for .200 stewart by team theo
      dolis-he was doing good till mismangaed by sveum
      w castillo

      so the cubs have developed farm players………

      • hansman1982

        Theo Epstein’s worst year as GM is only eclipsed by three of Hendry’s years – in the AL East. I don’t think Hendry was a terrible GM, just Theo has a better track record.

        Colvin was hitting .215 .274 .422 as a Cub in the majors. (even in a good year he still has a whopping .315 OBP this year)
        LaHair was a MiLB free agent that Hendry didn’t give a chance
        Barney is league average – at best
        Dolis was doing well until the league figured him out – still a lot of time to adjust and rebound
        Why did Hendry never beg ownership to kick in extra $$$ for the draft or allocate a veteran reliever to the draft?

        Hendry did a lot of good, just not enough.

        For all of the talk that Theo walked into a successful franchise, the state of the Cubs when Hendry became GM wasn’t too shabby, just he made poor moves that led to the 05-06 debacle and the 10-11 debacle.
        The rest are very good, just not as good as what Theo has been able to assemble in Boston.

        • Babe Ruth

          Does everyone forget that we also drafted lincecum, but he went unsigned!!! How about that one guy that plays for the rangers? I forget his name. Maybe even take a look at Rickey nolasko? I think he did a damn good job with the cubs, And so does steinbrenner!!!!!

          • DocPeterWimsey

            It is misleading to say that Lincecum went unsigned.  He opted to go to college instead, as a college scholarship was a better offer than 45th round signing money.  (This will become even more common with the new CBA.)  You might recall that Mark Prior did the same thing to the NY Yankees a few years earlier.  And while you excoriate the Cubs for failing to see what everyone else saw, remember that the other 29 teams were waiting until the 45th or 46th round to draft him, if not considerably later.

            Nolasco never pitched for the Cubs, being traded before he reached the majors.  He’s been pretty thoroughly mediocre: he did have one superficially good year in ’08 or ’09, but it was FIP defying, as he somehow managed to get an ERA under 4.0 despite giving up 28 HR.  He has not been so lucky since then.

          • Edwin

            They drafted Lincecum out of high school in the 48th Round in 2003. The Indians also drafted him in 2005 in the 42nd round. And then the Giants drafted him in 2006 with the 10th overall pick.

            I’m sure you remember Josh Hamilton’s name. This conversation involving the Cubs drafting Hamilton in the rule 5 draft has been had hundreds of times, I’ll let you research how that one went down.

            Nolasco was the 7th ranked Cubs prospect in 2005 by Baseball America. At the time he was traded he was a good but not great prospect. So far in the big leagues he’s been a below average starter.

          • King Jeff

            “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

      • CubFan Paul

        good post for the uninformed

  • James

    Brett, that’s about as vanilla as it gets. Seriously. I would love to hear what you think is going to make this team a contender or a winner of 85 games (in 2013) by spending a bunch of money.


    There’s a list of free agents in 2013. Have at it. It’s just dripping with talent.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      To be clear, I’m not saying the Cubs ARE going to be contenders in 2013, or that they will even try.

      But, if they did try, it’s not too difficult to imagine …

      Add Hamels and Hamilton, bring back Dempster, add a quality reliever, and make just one impact trade. I’m not even going nuts by saying things like “sign Napoli, too!”



      I’m not saying I’d do all that if it were me, and I’m not saying that’s a playoff lock team. But, I mean, come on. If that’s not a contender on paper in the NL Central, I don’t know what is. That’s without even having the “impact trade” player in there, whomever it might be.

      All I’m saying: it’s conceivable. Easily.

      • Myles

        In this scenario, Brett Jackson never makes it. :(

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Or is traded for an impact player!

  • James

    Wow. This is not MLB The Show. Josh Hamilton isn’t coming here. I knew someone would eventually bring this up but I didn’t think it would be you. You can’t really think that’s plausible? He’s 31 years old. He will be 32 when it’s time for a new contract. Has a history of breaking down all the time. Falling off the wagon. And he’s going to command a HUGE contract/years.

    This is what I’m talking about when I say reality.

    That said, you can add Cole Hamels AND Zack Greinke to this team (which isn’t going to happen) and this team would still be putrid offensively. (seeing as Hamilton and Napoli will not be here)

    • CubFan Paul

      What a dumbass. Offense intended.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Come on now. We don’t need that.

        • CubFan Paul

          You know you laughed :)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re arguing two distinct things simultaneously, and acting as if they’re the same thing.

      You say the Cubs cannot become competitive in 2013. Theoretically, they can. Easily. With so much money to spend, it’s not really a close discussion.

      But what you REALLY mean is that the Cubs WON’T become competitive in 2013 because they won’t do a variety of things (like signing Hamilton, for example). That’s a totally different argument, and not one I’m making. Don’t rip me for things I’m not debating. If you ask me whether I think the Cubs WILL sign Josh Hamilton, I say almost certainly not.

      But that’s not what we were originally discussing.

  • Joe

    If the Cubs bring Dempster back next year I will blow a gasket. He is pitching out of his ass year. His peformance so far is NOT indicative of his career numbers. Now is the time to MOVE him not give him another contract. Good grief.

  • James

    Are we name calling now? Is this because you have nothing left to add to the discussion? Intelligent.

    A prime example of the kind of mongoloid Cubs fans Kaplan and Goldstein call out for stupidity on a daily basis.

    • CubFan Paul

      I have plenty for the discussion (re: all of my comments on this post & others today) but you’re obviously dense, misinformed, & have no room for other people’s opinions

      • Ogyu

        Thanks for the self-portrait.

        P.S. There’s no such word as “nieve.”

        • CubFan Paul

          nieve – [neev, neef] Archaic Northern British and Scot. Dialect . a clenched or closed hand; fist. a frequent misspelling of naive

          • Greyfury


          • Ogyu

            A frequent misspelling. Well, at least you have company.

            And it’s good to know that you subscribe to the Ocksfurd Inglish Dickshunary of Misspellings.

    • Noah

      I don’t think you’re getting what people are saying. People aren’t saying the Cubs SHOULD go out and try to build a team capable of winning next year, merely that it would be possible. However, it would be possible in the same way that it was possible in 2007: it would greatly mortgage the future without any guarantees. But if you add Cole Hamels and Josh Hamilton to this team alone they would probably contribute at least 10 WAR if they stayed healthy.

      No one is saying the Cubs SHOULD sign Josh Hamilton. I think everyone would agree with you that he’s a guy who is likely to break down over his next contract. But if the Cubs were going to try to go all in for 2013, they certainly could put together a roster capable of at least being competitive in the Central by throwing a bunch of money around. But, rightfully, that isn’t the plan.

  • Nathan

    I see where Brett is coming from. He is just simply stating that if the Cubs want to contend next year its not impossible or even unlikely that they could make it happen. He never said that they will or want to. Also, in regards to Hamilton, I am pretty sure that was just an example of a player they could bring along that would make the team better if they wanted to

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      This summarizes all I’m saying nicely.

  • James

    Yeah, I’m misinformed for saying Josh Hamilton and Cole Hamels aren’t coming here. Again, that’s not being dense, it’s being realistic. You perpetuate every Cubs fan stereotype.

    Were you one of the people last year playing video game free agency with the Cubs signing Prince Fielder? Maybe Pujols? CJ Wilson too?

    I have no problem with other opinions. I get that I’m not going to agree with everyone and vice versa but there’s a difference when it comes to this. Anyone who thinks he Cubs are going to sign Josh Hamilton is living in LALA land. Aside from him, with the Dodgers most likely locking up Andre Ethier, what free agent is going to fix this team? BJ Upton? Please. Aside from Hamilton, there isn’t a impact bat out there so you can just use Josh Hamilton as an “example”.

    • Noah

      Again, no one is saying the Cubs are going to sign Cole Hamels or Josh Hamilton, or that they should sign Cole Hamels and Josh Hamilton. What they are saying is that the Cubs have the financial capability to sign both of them. Which they do. The Cubs have the money to offer both of them more years and dollars than they will get from other teams.

      • Dave

        So if they are not going to spend the money coming off the books next season do we assume that the teams payroll will drop somewhere in the $60 million range. I find that hard to believe and disturbing.
        For those opposed to signing difference makering players like Hamilton and Hamels do you have some financial investment in the company? Diffrence making fee agents cost big money and eventually Theo and Co are going to have to make a splash and with it come some risk.

    • James


      I GET THAT. Yes, they have money. Yes, they could sign both. My point is, it’s not realistic (In the sense that the Cubs aren’t going to sign those guys), AT ALL. So what’s the point in talking about it?

      All it does is hinder the reality of the situation. It’s a long term rebuild. There isn’t a one year fix. There aren’t some magical free agents who are gonna come over in 2013 and turn this into a 85 W team. Get over it.

      • Greyfury

        I’m thinking at this point everyone just needs to agree to let it drop. No point in continuing this. I rarely comment but read this blog all the time and rarely see it get this… unfriendly. And I’m not just directing that at you.

    • King Jeff

      While I won’t say there’s “no way” the Cubs will get Hamilton and/or Hamels this offseason, I’m going to agree that its’ not very likely to happen. Hamilton is probably going to stay in Texas where he has had the most success and has a great support system in place with Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington. Hamels is going to command big, big bucks. Philly and the Dodgers are going to be very hard to outbid for his services. I do see them going after some guys a step below, who might not be franchise changers, but would add to the foundation.

  • cubsfaninKY

    I think the cubs could be a wild card team next year while still putting a lot of time and money in the farm. No big trades this year except for Dempster for a good relief pitcher and pitching prospect and Take Brett’s recent post but instead of Hamels sign Brandon Mcarthy or Anibal Sanchez and instead of Hamilton sign Carlos Quentin. These would be less costly deals and would make the cubs on paper look just as good as any other team in the NL central. Imagine:Dejesus, Castro, Quentin, Lahair, Rizzo, Stewert, Soto Barney. Pitching being: Garza,Dempster,Mcarthy,Shark,Wood. Also put money into the bull pen.

    • coal

      Pretty sure Carlos Quentin is from San Diego. I think we’ll be fighting a losing battle with that one. But I certainly like that lineup better than the one we’ve got now!

      • Cubs1967

        padres won’t have money to keep quentin. bjax needs to be in CF not the .4 WAR dejesus; he’s a 4th OF at best. soto will be gone as castillo/clevenger can do the same job for 900K combined. need a better option than .200 stewart with 3 homers. maybe vitters. something.

        SP should sign anabel sanchez; better and less injuries than mccarthy. mccarthy would be good for 5th spot; not almost 6 ERA bombs away wood. (or go for greinke; use those monies and let dempster leave and keep maholm for 1 more year).

        bullpen could have broxton who’ll outprice himself from royals plus russell, properly used dollis plus another vet like camp they get lucky with. too bad dumbass trade moved marshall.

        definitely could be wild card. that’s why all the BS about rizzo is double talk for we dont want to speed up his arb timetable; better for him and bjax to adjust to the majors now on a team going nowhere; then later in year with less time in case neither are ready and then you move past 2013 as another “tank” season.

  • die hard

    Before nominating Dempster for Cy Young award….lets see what he does after All-Star game…he can fall off cliff very fast as he burns out due to not pacing himself….

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I must have missed the nominations.

      • die hard

        Hes not going anywhere in a trade if teams study his tendencies to burn out…but extolling his virtues on this board cant hurt and may help in moving him ….not arguing with that strategy…hope it works as Cubs dont need him anymore…but fact is fact…

        • King Jeff

          I’ve actually read reports of multiple GM’s calling him the best starter on the trade market.

    • hardtop

      Funny, last year, he got significantly better after the all star break. It’s perfectly reasonable to predict he will not keep up this pace, but not because of any indicators you have offered. Apparently we arena showing enough scantily clad women…

  • gutshot5820

    I think it’s entirely possible the Cubs offer Hamilton big dollars and shorter amount of years. $32 million over 5 years for example. Hamilton will not be getting Puhols type offers because of injury and other past history. I’d be ok with this and Hamels. Also, if they do sign Hamels and Hamilton, I suspect their payroll will be in the 130’s to 140’s. Trade for Headley, add a couple solid relievers and you still have room for another big bat or arm.

    This club is not as bad as their record indicates. They are losing a lot of one run ballgames. Fix their bullpen and add a few bats and those one run losses becomes wins. If you add Rizzo, Hamilton and Headley, that is three impact bats out of eight. Big difference in offense, Add another TOR pitcher to the rotation and you have one of the better staffs in the leauge. Add one more impact bat or arm, fix bullpen and you have a World Series contender in 2013.

    This is fantasy but entirely doable if the front office wanted to.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, the Cubs are as bad as they appear. Only one NL team has a worse run differential in the NL and the 3rd worst in baseball (thanks Padres and Twins!) and the Cubs record in 1-run games mirrors their overall performance. Ok, they should be a 0.400 team: but their record is completely consistent with that.

  • Hawkeye

    It scares me to no end that a large portion of the cubs fan base seems content with not contending for a wild card until 2015. Also I’m not saying there’s going to be a money ball 2, the Jim Hendry story but the guy did build teams that made the playoffs 3 times. You could make the case he’s the most successful executive the cubs have had since Mordecai Brown wrapping his three fingers around a ball.

    • MIkeL

      Ok……here is thing: I am not content with contending for a wild card, but for a world title. Are you content with being swept in the first round of the playoffs? Jim Hendry gave us that twice. You’re right….we could spend tons of money and trade any valuable prospect to contend for the wild card now….get swept out….and wide up right back where we are now two years from now…..

    • MaxM1908

      It scares me that fans would be so quick to disrupt the rebuilding process for the facade of competing. Hendry did put some teams together, but was his recipe one for continued, perennial success? One of the reasons the Cubs can’t compete right now is because of a crippling contracts on the books, signed by your favorite GM. He leveraged the future for the short term, and while that was fun to watch while it lasted, it put the Cubs in a very precarious position for the future. I would much rather suffer through three seasons of rebuilding in exchange for perennially competing rather than leverage the future for some half-assed competing in the present.

      • Kyle

        “Crippling” contracts had virtually nothing to do with the Cubs’ inability to compete right now.

        Again, it’s a false choice. You don’t have to choose between building the minor leagues successfully and having a good major league team. It’s parallel fronts.

        You can and should be able to build for the future and draft well while simultaneously spending lots of money on the big league team and competing in the present.

        Wasn’t there some guy from Boston who made his name putting together a player development machine with the late draft picks that came from winning, while putting a winning, expensive team on the field every season? If the current Cubs president can’t do both at the same time, we should see if that Boston guy is available.

        • Eric

          Correct, it was crappy drafting. We are left with the results of 10 years of crappy drafting. Maybe not the WORST, after all we do have guys like shark and castro. But deffinately not good. The reason they are not spending now is there simply isn’t enough money you can throw at this team to make it good, it’s gonna take a couple years of good drafting and good trades. Once we have a few more Rizzo’s I have no doubt we will spend the money. If we had good drafting over the last 10 years we probably would have a few more star players and would have been ready to spend now.

        • Joe

          Kyle–I think you’re way off base with that one. “Crippling” contracts certainly have a lot to do with where the Cubs sit now. I could list the reasons but that would turn out to be a 20 page thesis.

          • Kyle

            Feel free. Let’s hear them.

            Explain to me which contracts are crippling, and I’ll show you examples of teams with similar payroll potential to the Cubs who are thriving with similar contracts.

            If you draft and develop well, you can afford these so-called “crippling” contracts. The Cubs failed to do the former, so the latter looks worse than it actually is.

            • Joe

              Recent contracts right off the top of my head. Soriano of course leads the list. Silva comes in second(don’t know when that’s paid) Bradley comes in third. Fuckudome comes in suprising 4th. Big Zero comes in 5th(maybe should be 3rd). Thats for starters.

              • Hawkeye

                Pretty sure Silvas off the books as is Fukedome. Those are all bad contracts. But not all on the books. Also whoever wins the world series will have some bad contracts as well. Part of the game. I fear a revert to the 80’s-90’s tightwad Cubs.

              • Kyle

                Okay. You listed some contracts you don’t like. Some bad, some not, some with lame nicknames.

                But none of them are crippling. Not a single one, nor are they in aggregate.

                Is Soriano’s contract worse than Barry Zito’s? Zito was on the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants.

                Silva’s contract is no longer with us. When it was, it was just the product of the sunk cost of the Milton Bradley contact. That’s the one you are really having a problem with. If a $21 million contract spread out over several years is the second-most crippling contract on a big-market budget, things are going great.

                You really can’t count both Bradley and Silva’s contracts. They were all part of the same cost. We traded one for the other.

                Fukudome was actually a fairly useful player. A little overpaid for what we got, but certainly not crippling. If overpaying an outfielder by a few million a year was “crippling,” then 25 teams in baseball would be crippled.

                Zambrano was the Cubs’ best pitcher for a number of years. He was a key component in the 2008 team, which was the best team in the NL by a wide margin. He contributed almost 14 WAR in four seasons. We should be lucky to have so many contracts like that.

                In sum, none of those contracts crippled the Cubs. If the Cubs had a strong, or even an average, scouting and development program in place over the last decade, they could have easily thrived despite the occasional bad contract. That’s what big market teams do. They pay baseball players a lot of money, and sometimes those players don’t turn out to be as good as you hoped.

                • Joe

                  I’ll go on. Aramis Ramirez contract was a joke. Dempster contract ridiculous. Kerry Wood contract, I can’t understand. We are talking multi millions and I think I touched 40% of the problems!

                  • Kyle

                    Oooh, I get it. You don’t like having good baseball players on your team. That’s the only explanation for disliking some of these contracts….

                    • CubFan Paul

                      He’s obviously a troll or just wants a $45M payroll for the 3rd largest market because he doesn’t know how baseball revenues works

                    • Joe

                      I love good baseball players! Unfortunately we don’t have them(right now)!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For whatever it’s worth, I would be very displeased if the Cubs look like crap again in 2013 and 2014 (particularly ’14).

      • MaxM1908

        Agreed, but I don’t think anyone would be. The whole point of rebuilding is that there is progress year to year. If we look no better off in 2014 than we are this year, I’ll join the throngs of disgruntled fans.

      • MaxM1908

        That being said, I’m willing to give Theo 5 years to show real improvement. It’s sad to think that his first draft is coming up, and it’s possible Cubs fans will run him out the door before any of his selections are MLB-ready.

      • Jimmy james

        I’m with you, we should all expect the team to improve each year….if rizzo turns out to be what we all hope and the bullpen gets figured out the team will be better even without trades and fa’s……..I think we all can see that good things could be on the horizon but I also understand it’s not certain. I’ve wanted a rebuild for a couple years and am happy we are no longer trying to put bandaids on our deep wounds

      • James

        Brett-There isn’t a single fan (with brains) who enjoys watching this kind of baseball. We’re Cubs fans. We’ve waited long enough. There isn’t a whole lot of patience but people are going to have to deal. A real rebuild isn’t something that’s fixed in 2 years. Theo said there is a plan, that things are going to be done the right away and they aren’t going to use big free agent band aids. That they are going to build within. This is going to be a long, long process with a lot of losing (thats how rebuilds work) if that’s indeed the plan.

        • Joe

          And there’s no GUARANTEE a rebuild will work.

        • Kyle

          Replace “Theo” with a different first name, and that could have been posted word-for-word on the sites of 20 different fandoms.

        • coal

          I can’t imagine the Cubs being able to attract enough people to generate the type of predictable revenue required to finance all they want to do to the place and ultimately field a winning team without either:

          1) Some public money;
          2) Some spending on talent – rebuild is one thing, worst record in MLB is another;
          3) Some sort of ticket price increase and/or personal seat license arrangement;
          4) All of the above;

          • Joe

            A ticket price increase!(cough, choke, choke ,cough,slam head,scream, cry). I’ll be O.K. now I think.

  • coal

    Realistically, I think Theo has a 2-year honeymoon. If 2013 is better than 2012 and there is legitimate progress and faith that in 2014 they’ll be in the thick of things for the division, all will be ok. From that perspective, Theo may actually be (sort of) rooting for a pretty low 2012 – all the more to show “improvement” next year. But if 2012 is really 50 wins (and if 2013 starts to look anything like 2011/2012) I think there will be a massive season ticket holder revolt. That’s actually where the pain would be felt – the guaranteed money to start the year.

    • Joe

      Yes. I think Theo is in over his head. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into. I think the Cubs needed somebody with “clout.” We got somebody with way to much “doubt.”

  • coal

    No question it’s a tough job. I personally think he has enough brains and ego to get it done, but he’s going to need an awful lot of both.

  • AD

    Who do you see as the biggest contenders of Dempster? Also what can they get in return, two top 20 prospects?

    • Joe

      Depends “when” Dempster is traded, if he is traded.(No trade clause)

  • Hawkeye

    The thing is contending for a wild card IS contending for a world championship. Many wild card teams have won world titles. 2003 could have easily won a world title. As for those of you who think we’re going to build a contender simply through the draft, that amazes me. Exactly what is a real rebuild. I’ll give management a pass this year but there needs to be significant improvements in 2013 or I’ll be concerned. Also who are these top prospects that Hendry traded away? As I can tell he did pretty well on his trades.

  • Tristan

    I was looking at the list of free agents, we could get Napoli, we could use him as our catcher next year and Clevenger as a back up also David Wright at first, we can easily Afford these 2 with 80 MILLION comin off the books, even after that we still could get (if were lucky Hamilton but i doubt he’ll leave Texas, espcially after 2 world series chances, and More then likely a 3rd this year but whos to say its impossible, The new guys in our office dont seam to care for the big names, but we could also look into B.J upton as a centerfielder since hell i dont know hes fast as shit and can hit (better then Soriano) and has good knees! the list of S.P. we have a chance at is unbelieavable and for s.u. r.p.and closers well we could go after Broxton, Lowe, and Howell, NOTICE I STAYED YOUNG considering Epstein and company dont like anyone thats gonna have a chance with gray hair anytime soon

  • Tristan

    David Wright at 3rd*