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Remember back in February when the Chicago Cubs had “signed” Jorge Soler? There were reports of a signing that, if true, would have violated MLB rules and international law, since Soler was not yet a resident of the Dominican Republic (strangely, he never did become a resident of the DR, instead apparently achieving residency in Haiti).

Remember back in July when the Cubs had “traded” Ryan Dempster to the Braves? There were reports of a trade for Randall Delgado that, if true, would have made us all squeal with delight.

Neither reported event actually took place as reported (Soler was signed some four months later for more money than originally reported; Dempster rejected a trade to the Braves and the Cubs had to settle for whatever they could get from the Rangers), and both sets of reports arguably harmed the Cubs.

Now, remember back last week when the Cubs had agreed to switch their A-ball affiliation from Peoria to Kane County, as originally reported by the Sun-Times?

Oops:

The Chicago Sun-Times’ story also caught the attention of Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. Normally a fan of promoting anything and everything related to the minor leagues, O’Conner would rather not have seen this story in print. If the Sun-Times’ report is accurate, it means Kane County and the Cubs could be guilty of tampering.

According to the Professional Baseball Agreement—the rules that guide the relationship between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball—teams can discuss new affiliations only during a two-week open period that begins on Sept. 16. Any contact before then is prohibited, as is any public comment on other teams’ affiliates.

Asked when Minor League Baseball might open an investigation into possible tampering, O’Conner responded: “As soon as that article hit my desk … As soon as we were aware of it, we started to look into it.” (From Baseball America.)

Neat. The penalties for breaching the Professional Baseball Agreement in this manner include a fine of up to $500,000 for the big league team, and $100,000 for the minor league team.

Obviously pre-deadline “understandings” between big league teams and new minor league affiliates happen from time to time, but they rarely get the kind of media attention that this swap did. That, of course, is not to say that the Sun-Times did anything wrong in reporting a legitimate, interesting story on the information it had available to it. But the Cubs are probably going to pay the price for the leak.

The Cubs can argue that they never reached an agreement, but it’s going to be almost impossible – given the media attention – to argue that there was no “contact” between the Cubs and Kane County, which is also prohibited. Absent some currently unknown facts that complete alter the story as we know it, you can pretty much book it that some punishment is coming the Cubs’ way.

O’Conner sounds kind of pissed about the situation, contacting both Bud Selig and Kane County officials, and noting the purpose of the no-contact rules.

“There is a process that is designed to make it as competitively balanced and as fair as possible,” O’Conner told Baseball America. “If you do have these guys jumping the gun and essentially cheating, then the system’s competitive balance and credibility are out the window.”

I remain of the mind, with apologies to Peoria, that a move to nearby Kane County could yield significant benefits for the Cubs. Hopefully this results simply in a fine, a fist-shaking from the Commissioner’s Office, and a slight black eye.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I have not visited Kane County, but I have been to Peoria. If the Cubs do wind up staying in Peoria, I do not think it will be a problem. The Chiefs are a very well run organization with a fantastic stadium. good facilities, and a lot of local support. If that is Plan B, then the Cubs are in great shape.

    • Tommy

      THANK YOU, LUKE!

    • MWL observer

      The Chiefs are not a very well run organization. Take my word for it. The Cubs wouldn’t be leaving if that were the case.

      • beerhelps

        Take your word for it? oh ok, because I believe everything I read on this here new fangled internet thing-a-mabob.
        Or is there anything in particular you want to say?

        • MWL observer

          LOL at some people. It’s like eating at a restaurant that’s clean out front but a mess in the kitchen and finding out it got closed by the health department. Well it sure looked clean to me – you were never in the kitchen! A well run organization doesn’t make headlines months ago for being in financial peril. Peoria does not have a good reputation around the Midwest League and that’s with people that know a thing or two about minor league baseball. Buying a ticket and going to a couple games doesn’t make you qualified to comment on whether or not a team is well run.

  • MikeW

    Immediately after the news leaked, Peoria sent out emails saying “all Chiefs merchandise in the team store was 30% off”. I assumed that was in advance of them having new colors/logo/affiliation next year (i.e. I doubt baby blue pinstripes will be on the uniforms). Seems like Peoria knew too.

    • ChiefsFan

      The Chiefs fan store always starts to mark down merchandise near the end of the season.

  • Tom

    I’ve been wondering about the recent firings in the front office of scouts etc. – Do you suppose some of that is trying to get rid of the leaks? Not that any of it was done maliciously – but maybe some of those old school scouts were a little more open with reporters about what they knew – and perhaps some were excited for the first time in a while about what was happening and wanted to share it with the press. I dunno – just seems like there have been a lot of press leaks in the last 12 months…

  • Cubbie Blues

    The new “Cubs Way”. Don’t let anything leak unless it will harm our plans.

    • mudge

      good one, CB!

  • Kubphan82

    Except that the Braves media outlets leaked the Dempster news…
    The Soler news didn’t do anything but potentially hurt…
    And there appear to be too many people “in the know” for the Peoria-Kane move, Peoria knew and has a fire sale on merch, Kane County stopped talking to other suitors, too many hands in the cookie jar this time around…

    Not to say the Cubs front office isn’t to blame at all; I don’t think there’s a trend

  • dave

    Is there a signed contract? somebody dreaming out loud? Or someones list of possible moves, sun times has become an almost complete scandle rag, trying to get a scoop on the team once owned by it’ rival. Get serious people.

    • crazyhorse

      Who the Heck is running baseball operation for the Cubs?. Blunder after blunder.

  • tom

    would like to see a cub minor team also go to schaumburg where the flyers used to play

    • MWL observer

      You won’t see one. There’d have to be an existing MWL franchise available for sale and moved there for that to happen BUT that’s Kane County’s territory and they’d have to approve any such move. They wouldn’t.

  • cubs1967

    so it his on theo or kenny crane?

    moving closer to chicago is a no-brainer. the cougars have fixed themselves into the community and this would only enhance it.

    as ricky ricardo would say; “someone has some ‘xplainin’ to do”!

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    I have alot of thoughts on this 1) If there is a leak in the Cubs Organization they better find a plumber with the buttcrack showing to fix it and give the Ole’ Donald Trump and Vince McMahon Treatment
    Y-O-U–‘RE F-I-R-E-D.

    You can’t control what other people do ( like the agent of Jorge Soler, Atlanta Braves Organization, the Kane County Cougar Minor League Franchise) You just hope they keep things private until there is something official and proper time to disclose to the Media out of respect since there could be problems that will arise if it goes out early.

    We should know the Media by know they are like Vultures when there is a leak to a story they will make sure they are the 1st to report it so they can get credit.for it. (Like so and so from the Sun-Times first reported blah blah over anyone else)

    This is just the way things work, and we will continue to hear stories come about before the Cubs intended to. They aren’t the only team dealing with this all big market teams especially in all sports have to deal with this.

  • Patrick W.

    Seems to me that this is a Ricketts/Kenney thing.

    Based on previous reports of Mr. Kenney’s enthusiasm for inserting himself into the athletic side of the business, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Kenney is a leaker, in an effort to ingratiate himself with a skeptical local media.

  • crazyhorse

    Nobody blaming the PRESIDENT OF BASEBALL OPERATIONS for the Cubs. I forgot Little Theo can do no wrong with the zealots. Whatever the reason (inexperience at running a major league franchise?) No matter who is at fault – the Cubs will pay the fine and life will carry on and whoever made the error should be fired unless…..

    • Flashfire

      Troll, troll, troll your boat

      • crazyhorse

        zealot ,zealot, zealot gently down the stream

        • TWC

          So someone disagrees with you — whether for your message or your means of delivery — and you label them a zealot?

          Well, Mr Pot, I see you’ve met Mr Kettle.

          • Flashfire

            I actually wasn’t disagreeing with him so much as trying to point out that he was posting something with no purpose except to upset people and cause trouble.

            • TWC

              Well, like, um, yeah.

    • TWC

      Little Theo

      What IS it with his detractors that causes them to use this diminutive moniker? It’s such a schoolyard taunt. I’d think they’d be embarrassed.

      I suppose spouting cutesy nicknames and obvious misinformation just comes easy for some folks.

    • Frank

      As Kubphan82 said, the Atlanta media leaked the Dempster story, we don’t know about the Soler thing, and there are just too many people involved with the Kane County story. One fact is, you can’t say that it was Theo anymore than the others can say it wasn’t. Another fact is, we just don’t know. What we do know is that this FO has, from the start and on the whole, been very tight-lipped about things; unless they’ve changed the way they operate, that fact points away from them.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And just to be clear from my end, I was criticizing the Cubs on these pre-emptive story type things. Just pointing out the unfortunate times it’s happened before.

  • Crazyhorse – Am I BetterNews: Take 6?

    MOAR!

  • Idaho Razorback

    Cubs to acquire A’s catcher Anthony Recher, on mlbtraderumors.com

  • college_of_coaches

    TWC, was it you that noted a few weeks back that die hard, better news, and Ben Klerfluffle’s aunt all returned to BN around the same time? And now, it’s the return of the “Little Theo” trolls. Maybe it’s a sign of the end times, and the opening of the seventh seal.

    • TWC

      Did I? I’m impressed that someone’s keeping track…

      So, regarding the 7th seal: Will Rand Al’Thor actually break the last seal before the Last Battle? I’ve been waiting 22 years to find out!

      er… wrong website. Sorry.

      • hardtop

        oh my, you’re a hippie and a fantasy geek…

        maybe ill see you in line january 8th

        • TWC

          That date’s been move so many times, won’t believe it until I actually have the book in my hands. But, yeah, I’ll be in line…

          • Scotti

            Big WOT fan.

          • Diesel

            At least it will be finished. I can’t wait to read it but I have to wait until the ebook version so don’t ruin the end for me.

    • crazyhorse

      So who is at fault ? do we punish the person that leaked the story or do we punish the person that is responsible for breaking the rules? I find it hard to believe that Cubs Organization did all this and did not know that they were breaking some big times rules?

      But lets say for argument sake the Cubs innocently did not realize they were breaking rules And maybe a 6 figure fine ,a slap on the wrist, with a black eye is all the cubs get for this infraction – no biggie correct? let just throw integrity out the window.

      INTEGRITY- something that can be faked – Boston has learned the Hard way.

      King Theo or Little theo all it means is positive or negative.

      Fools Trolls and zealots usually are only one sided

      • Frank

        You’re right–someone in the organization has to be aware of the rules. So even if the Cubs innocently broke this rule due to ignorance of it, then that’s a problem too. I’m expected to know the rules under which I work, and no less should be expected of them–they have to more competent than that. As for punishment, I’d say you have to punish the person who broke the rules, and if the leak is from within your organization, well, you have to address that too.

  • http://www.albuquerquerealestateplace.com rich cederberg

    I find these “leaks” to be distressing, either Theo and company didn’t understand the policy or someone in leadership just likes blabbing? These leaks and the dismantling of the Red Sox post Theo are starting to shake my faith in the new regime.

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