Bruce Levine on Johnson, Marmol, Polanco, Barney, LaHair, Greinke, Hamilton, Expected Payroll

Bruce Levine did the chatting thing yesterday, and offered quite a few relevant/interesting offseason thoughts. His thoughts, and my comments …

  • The Marlins actually reached out to the Cubs on a possible Josh Johnson trade. Recall, Bruce had previously suggested that the Marlins probably would do so, and we discussed the implications at length. Bruce hasn’t yet heard what the Cubs’ response to the Marlins was, or where things stand now. Still seems like other teams are going to want Johnson more than the Cubs.
  • The Cubs have had conversations already with the Angels, though Bruce can’t confirm that those talks have had anything to do with Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. With Santana off to the Royals now, that piece doesn’t much matter anymore.
  • Relatedly, Bruce notes that the Angels have some level of interest in Carlos Marmol. Given the short window of time with which the sides have to work on a deal involving Haren (option decision due Friday night), it’s hard to imagine a big deal involving multiple parts coming together this week … but, then again, all sides had the playoffs off, so who knows how much had already been discussed by the time the Giants won the World Series and ushered in the offseason.
  • Marco Scutaro doesn’t fit in the Cubs’ plans, but Placido Polanco might, if he comes cheaply enough. Bruce sees Polanco as potential trade bait if he’s healthy and productive in the first half – he also brings the nice side benefits of being a good leader, good defender, and a versatile player.
  • Darwin Barney’s trade value will probably never be higher, coming off a Gold Glove season, and while he’s still in his pre-arbitration years. The Cubs might consider dangling him for prospects, though his “intangible” qualities could be difficult to replace (even if his bat is very easily replaced). Bruce mentions the Tigers, specifically, and you can bet the Cubs have spoken to them many times in the last year about Barney. I imagine Barney’s value in trade varies wildly from team to team. Offensively-focused large market teams probably wouldn’t even part with a top 30 prospect for him. Pitching and defense-focused smaller market teams might be willing to swap even a young, about-to-enter-arbitration starting pitcher for him. Truly, it’s probably that wide of a range. It also depends, I’m sure, on how you think his bat will come along next year.
  • Bruce hopes the Cubs deal Bryan LaHair to a team where he’ll have more opportunities to play. I agree, but I supposed I’d phrase more like, “I hope the Cubs are able to find a landing spot for LaHair where he’ll have more opportunities to play.” And then I’d add a parenthetical that said, (Because that also means the Cubs would have gotten a little value for him, given that Team X sees him as a guy worth giving more opportunities to).
  • Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton would be wastes of money to the Cubs in the first 2/3 years of their deals, says Bruce. They aren’t a fit. (Not for nothing, because I don’t support the approach, but if the Cubs added *both* Greinke and Hamilton, and went all out on other acquisitions, they wouldn’t be “wasting” money, because that could be a competitive team. It would also not put them in a position to be repeatedly competitive down the road (I mean long-term), though, which is antithetical to what we know Epstein and Co. want to do.)
  • Bruce guesses the Cubs’ Opening Day payroll will be in the $90 million to $100 million range. I bet he’s right on that one. No, it isn’t an adequate level for a team with the revenue base of the Cubs (which is only going to get bigger) in a market like Chicago, but the level will grow as the young core of the team is developed and shows a readiness to contribute to a competitive team. That’s when the big money free agents are added (and also when those young players start to get a little more expensive). There’s no point in spending $120/$130 million just for the hell of it. That all said, don’t lose sight of the fact that the Cubs – even when considering arbitration raises – have only about $60 million on the books for 2013. They can spend a lot of money this offseason if they want.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

216 responses to “Bruce Levine on Johnson, Marmol, Polanco, Barney, LaHair, Greinke, Hamilton, Expected Payroll”

  1. morgan

    josh johnson would be nice, but he can never stay healthy, almost be better off with haren, youd also give up less to get haren to

  2. cubsin

    They have around $60 on the books now, but if they trade Soriano and/or Marmol and don’t eat the entire contract, they’ll have even less.

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      Aren’t the Angels the beneficiaries of one of the new TV deals that provide more or less infinate payroll flexibility? Any interest they have with Marmol would be a great fit for all involved.

  3. Don

    Trade Soriano or Marmol for Haren.

  4. fromthemitten

    I’d be down with Polanco at 3B he may be in the twilight of his career, but a team this young is going to need people like him to mentor the younger players and show them how to do things right. I’ve heard nothing but positives about his locker room conduct in Detroit. You couldn’t do better than him, Soriano, and DeJesus mentoring these kids.

  5. 5412


    $100 million going into this season is much different that under the last few years with the Tribune. That is not cast in stone, meaning money will not prohibit Theo from a trade at the deadline or even during spring training which would mean taking on more payroll. he has wiggle room and an owner that will let him spend it if it builds for the long term.


  6. BD

    Not necessarily supporting either side, but just curious-

    Why would having Hamilton and Greinke not allow the Cubs to be competitive sooner AND later?

    1. Bill

      I’ve never understood that point from the ‘don’t spend’ crowd. I guess they would say that Hamilton and Greinke will be getting older and not performing at the value of the dollar value of their contract. They would also say that these contracts would prevent us from acquiring other players when the Cubs are ready to compete. I don’t agree with either of those points. In 2-3 years you’ll have guys like Baez coming up who will be under team control, so very cheap. You’ll also have Soriano’s contract off the books and a new TV contract bringing in enormous revenue streams.

      I don’t see why signing big contracts now automatically hurts the future. The addition of FA’s like Greinke and Hamilton give you a legit chance to win NOW and in the future. To maintain winning the Cubs need to build a solid farm system to compliment these FA’s. If Theo isn’t able to draft enough players to compliment a Greinke, Hamilton, Castro, Rizzo, then the Cubs aren’t going to win.

      Right now the model looks like Theo sits on his hands until more young players are added to the core, and then he adds big dollar FA’s. If Theo doesn’t draft well we are talking about 2016/2017, at the earliest, for the Cubs competing. Some fans may find that acceptable but most won’t.

  7. Tommy

    This article made me realize the off-season is here! All excited and stuff now!

    Great stuff, Brettmeister! I can’t wait to see what the Cubbies do!

  8. The Show

    I think if the Cubs trade for Johnson/Haren, and sign one of Marcum,McCarthy, Lariano, or Villanueva, sign a Bourn/BJ Upton for the OF, stick with Stewart for this season, and sign a Palanco because the bench is thin, the Cubs could be decent team next season with out spending too much money.

    1. The Show


    2. calicubsfan007

      @The Show: What do you think the Cubs will have to give up to get Haren or Johnson?

  9. Frank

    If the Cubs sign Placido Polanco I’ll throw several small mammals in front of moving cars.

    1. Bill

      PETA would like to have a talk with you.

    2. calicubsfan007

      @Frank: That is one way to respond… And helluva picture as well. Makes me think of Steve Martin from “The Jerk” tumblr_m0sm7ajHTI1qzozj1.gif

      1. Pat

        I’ve heard of this! Cat juggling! It’s disgusting, turn it off!

    3. Frank

      I’m not the biggest Polanco fan, but I would never throw small mammals in front of cars, moving or otherwise.

  10. Frank

    All the same, I’d welcome Placido Polanco to the Cubs as well as I would the return of Aaron Miles.

  11. When the Music's Over

    If the Cubs are able to trade Garza (~$10M) and half of Marmol’s contract ($5M), I will be blown away if the payroll makes it to $90-100M. That’ would give the Cubs ($60M-$15M=$45M) $45-55M to spend this offseason. I’m joking, but that actually would be enough to sign Greinke and Hamilton (I’m really not all that interested in either of them, especially Hamilton), and not even have to backload the contracts.

    Even if the Cubs don’t make the aforementioned trades, they’d still have $30-40M to spend this offseason. Again, a lot of money to dish out. If Bruce is indeed correct, I wonder who it will go to?

  12. calicubsfan007

    I am not one of those people who say that we should spend the bank on older players, but I really think the Cubs should get Haren. I think that he could really help stabilize our rotation. But if the Angels are asking for someone like Baez in return, then I wouldn’t want to pull the trigger. It really comes down to what they are asking for.

  13. Jeff1969

    Barney might not ever be more valuable than he is now. I’m thinking someone offers the Cubs something nice, like that type of pitcher Brett mentioned, in a bigger deal, and he winds up maybe playing shortstop for an American League team. Detroit or Boston.

  14. Deez

    There’s no point in spending $120/$130 million just for the hell of it.

    It ain’t trickin’ if you got it.

    1. Hee Seop Chode


  15. Fastball

    I for one don’t think we should spend crazy money on Hamilton type players just yet. I don’t all into the spend later category but I don’t think he is an investment I would make. I personally don’t give a damn if Ricketts makes 1 penny. On the other hand I think Theo could spend $50M this off season and put together a very competitive team. I don’t like the idea of waiting on players because there are no gaurantees that a kid will make it to the Majors. Anything can happen and it does more often than not. So I can’t support let’s wait until whenever and then spend. What if that time never comes. It’s not like the Cubs have delivered a plethera of superstars over the recent years. I don’t think losing is acceptable at anytime. To me it’s like if I own a business and I have investors and tell them ya we are going to get our asses kicked for the next two years before you see anything coming your way. Those investors are gone over night when that news gets out. The Fans are the investors and they started to show their displeasure. Throw up another loser next year at the same rate as this year you got problems you didn’t need to create. I believe Ricketts survived this year but he will lose a lot if he doesn’t right the ship. $50M will make the Cubs respectable and maybe even have a shot. He could be a buyer and spend a little more if they are close. If he’s at $110M to $120M he still has $30M of that coming off the books with Soriano and Marmol in year or so. That puts him in a great spot for the invest later crowd. IMO he can afford $150M payroll all day and not blink an eye. This isn’t Cinci or Pittsburgh it’s Chicago. If he wants to run a club on that smaller revenue stream he got in over his head.

    1. Bret Epic

      Spending crazy money on Hamilton very well could leave us in the same situation we’re in with Soriano, especially if it’s a long term contract.

      1. Kyle

        Soriano is coming off an excellent season in which he thoroughly earned his salary. We should be so lucky to have some of our offseason moves turn into a Soriano situation.

        Fangraphs estimates Soriano has been worth $84.3 million since joining the Cubs, while making $100 million. It’s been pretty much the exact deal we thought we were getting at the time: A moderate overpay for an great slugging outfielder.

        1. Bret Epic

          I don’t dislike Soriano, I’m speaking of his down seasons and his defensive lapses, as well as his speed deteriorating and his complications with his knees. I’m personally really happy with the job he did in the 2012 season. The age that Hamilton is at right now tells me that he’ll likely have a couple more really good years, but most likely decline afterwards at a pay rate that will most likely end up quite a bit higher than what we paid Soriano.

        2. Scott

          He has been worth $16 million less than his salary to this point and is entering his oldest and most expensive years of the deal. He had one “great” season in 2007. $29 million of his $84 million value (34%) came from that one season. The Cubs have been paying him over 10% of the total team salary since then and haven’t gotten that production.

          I think this is the point people try to make to you Kyle. If you sign a high priced player, he will likely be worth his salary for a couple of years, but the chances of that production continuing falls each year he ages (see: Soriano 2009, 2010, 2011). He had a bounce back year in 2012 and earned his contract, no doubt, but that doesn’t change the years he under-produced and got paid like a superstar. Also, there are 2 more years on the contract for almost $40 million total.

          Look at the ARod situation or the BoSox salary dump, these are the types of situations people want to avoid.

          1. Kyle

            And the point I’m returning with is that overpaying by $16 million over a number of years is much, much better than leaving money on the table or fielding bad players intentionally.

            The A-Rod situation is a bit unique because he was given a 10-year contract extension in his 30s. Nobody’s advocating that around here.

            The Boston situation was self-inflicted. They overreacted to an injury-induced bad season and the allure of a “clean slate.”

            There’s this fantasy that you get rings for having the most salary efficient team. You don’t. A well-run big market team will always have some expensive free agents on the downside of their contract. It’s the only way to get expensive free agents on the good side of their contract, such as Soriano in 2006. They simply balance it out with adequate (at worst) drafting and development.

            Hendry failed at the latter, so people only saw the former and assumed that was the problem with the Cubs. It wasn’t.

            1. Scott

              Soriano was born in 1976, his first year on the Cubs was 2007 (when he was 31) on an 8 year deal. This is almost your exact ARod point. He did not sign a extension, he opted out of his contract and signed a new one with NYY. The BoSox realized they were paying a lot of money to older players who were not producing for them.

              Obviously, a great farm system would have covered up some of Hendry’s moves, but that would not have made them “good” moves. Nobody advocates the Cubs not spend money (this is a strawman you have created in your mind). People just do not want large contracts for declining players, or paying for past performance. I understand a need to do that when you are close to a WS, but the Cubs are not close.

  16. AJ

    The only reason to trade for guys like Haren/Johnson, would be to move them for prospects at the deadline. Best case scenario would be for either pitcher to over perform (a la Maholm) and allow the Cubs to get a top prospect or 2 from a deep organization.

    Any thoughts of contending next year need to be tempered. This is not the plan. The Cubs must continue to stock pile their farm at all levels and at all positions via trades, international free agency and the draft.

    Trust in Theo, if anything, he is more knowledgeable because of his experience in Boston. He does not strike me as the type of person that ignores his mistakes. His mistakes are all part of the formula he and his team use to better the Cubs.

  17. cubsin

    I’m constantly amazed at the number of casual fans who firmly believe (or at least are willing to argue their case ad infinitum) that they have a better plan for the Cubs’ future than Theo. When they can show me their two World Series rings and their eight-figure employment contract, I’ll start listening to them.

    1. Kyle

      When Theo starts showing me the plan that he used to win those two World Series rings, I’ll stop criticizing him.

      1. Hebner The Gravedigger

        His current plan is abundantly clear. Given the new caps for major league payroll, international signings, and the US draft, allowing the FO to modify a previously successful plan to fit the new reality is reasonable. His resume allows him more than one year to implement a strategic plan for a previously horrible team. No one says you have to like it.

        1. Kyle

          I didn’t say his plan was unclear. I said his plan wasn’t the one that got him 2 WS rings, so I don’t see why I should defer to those two rings when discussing the plan. Andy MacPhail came here with 2 WS rings, too.

          The new caps in place leave only one place where a large market team can actually use their financial advantages. Since we have possibly the largest market-size advantage relative to division in MLB, it seems silly to abdicate that one advantage the CBA allows us.

          1. Bill

            Yes, but if the Cubs continue to suck they’ll have a better draft position and more pool money and IFA money to play with. I don’t agree with this position (I want to win now), but this is one of the argument used against spending money on FAs.

            Honestly, if Theo’s objective is to really tank the next season or two, then I’d just as well he did it in a blaze of glory and spent absolutely nothing on the team. Besides the money he already has tied up he should spend major league minimum on the rest of the players. Then take the money saved this year and next (ie not spent on FA’s) and use it in a couple years to blow the bank up on the FA market. Of course, Ricketts would have to approve and you’d have to give the fans the heads up that this is the plan. The ‘no big FA’ crowd would be happy because we would get the number 1 pick the next two years (and lots of pool money), and guys like Baez should be arriving in Chi by the time the big spending took place, so Theo wouldn’t be spending before a core was in place.

            Now, a lot of fans might not go to the games, but I’m not sure Theo would be that concerned, because his plan would still be intact.

            1. Internet Random

              I agree with the sentiment here, but if you’re going to profit by flipping assets, you have to expend the money needed to acquire flippable assets.

            2. Mick

              That all sounds spot on, Kyle should read this post if he has any more questions about “the plan”. It’s a little ridiculous though to think that we won’t sign ANY free agents. The FA’s we do sign will be used to help us acquire more prospects. Thinking along those lines, that the Cubs will sign FA’s, it becomes slighly more encouraging for 2013 because Theo is going to sign the best players to attractive short-term deals like he did with Maholm last offseason. Here’s my predictions on how the 2013 Cubs will look w/an estimated payroll of $90M:





              1. Kyle

                This seems to imply that I don’t understand the assumed plan. I understand it perfectly. I’m just questioning whether multiple lost years is worth the prospects we get in return.

                1. DarthHater

                  Kyle’s insight and acumen are exceeded only by his unparalleled modesty. Sheesh! One would think you people would understand all this by now…

                  1. Kyle

                    You would think so, but I’m glad to take up the cross to inform the masses regardless.

                    1. DarthHater

                      I would say, “Bless you,” but that would be redundant. :-D

                2. Cubfan Paul

                  you’re arguing a losing battle. herding cats would be easier.

                3. Mick

                  Well, compare that to no prospects because your plan wouldn’t net us any. Your plan would be to sign top FA’s which would cost us our 1st and 2nd round draft picks every year and to retain players that would help us compete like Maholm, Johnson, Baker, Garza, etc. To sign those top FA’s you’d also need to give them long term deals with no-trade clauses and eventually you’ll need to start back loading their contracts, maybe even deferring some of their salary to future payrolls. Finally, any prospects we do have coming through the ranks you’d trade to get that last RP, SP, or utility guy that may help us make the playoffs. Kyle Hendry, I think we’ve been down this road before. Is it a bit insane that you’d like to repeat the same actions and expect different results?

    2. Lou

      Problem is that first WS ring should be shared with Dan Duquette who was run out of Boston as public enemy #1.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Sure, in part, but hardly 50:50. Remember, it is much (much!) easier to go “down” than “up” in baseball, especially when you start with a team that looks to be about a 0.550 one. After all, you get that way by generally being above average with much of your team: the ’02 Sox didn’t have the egregious holes that, say, the current Cubs have. So, where to improve was actually much less obvious. Nevertheless, Theo added several wins to the team by the players that he added in ’03 and ’04, which is what got them to post-season 3 straight years.

        Now, would Duquette have done the same? Maybe. But by no means did the ’02 Sox have some sort of “momentum” carrying them towards post-season berths in ’03 and beyond.

        1. Lou

          And yet Theo really shouldn’t have gotten as far as he in 2004. Should he? Anyone can benefit from pure luck. Meaning first playoff team in baseball to come back down 3-0 and win it all.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            Coming back from 0-3 was far from “pure luck.” Moreover, the real issue is getting to post-season repeatedly: to an extent, most post-season series (and it seems all series after the LDS) are crapshoots. The GM is successful if he puts together a team that gets there often.

            Look, you can try to distort things to make it look like Theo had nothing to do with the Sox winning until your posts read like a Texan history book. The reality is that Epstein presided over a very successful franchise that excelled at getting good players from drafts, free agent signings (both amateur and professional) and trades. The rules are a little different now due to the new CBA, but what he keeps stating is that the goals are the same. Building up a strong farm system might not net him the most WAR from draft picks like it did at Boston: but it should help provide tradable assets for filling the Cubs copious holes.

            1. Lou

              Thanks for distorting my perception of Theo. Not saying he’s not a solid GM. He excelled on FA signings? Really–ask Ben Cherington about that. I THINK YOU’RE OVERREACHING WITH THEO. He’s solid but you want him to be your GOD. He’s everything to you really isn’t he? So luck wasn’t involved then at all? You just said there’s no formula for winning the whole thing. How many playoff teams in baseball history have come back down 0-3 to win it all? And answer my question–don’t beat around the bush as some would here on this site. No luck’s not involved at all. And I’m writing the Texan history books? Sounds like you are. Theo’s a mortal stop with this god-like premise. No wonder why Kyle and BIll get upset with the “Theo can do no wrong stance on this website.” Yep, there it is in all its glory. I suppose you blame Lucchino for everything that went wrong after 2010 with the Red Sox.

              1. DarthHater

                Ooh are we playing the hyperbole game again? Cool! Here goes: Your interpretation of Doc’s comment is the most imbecilic, driveling, drek ever pounded into a keyboard by a ham-fisted troglodyte. Thanks for playing!

                1. Lou

                  Thanks, is that all you got DarthHater. So what’s you position on Theo. They say that those who attack others without offering anything substance of their own merit lack substance themselves. Pretty much can be said for yourself?

                  1. DarthHater

                    You did not just offer an opinion about Theo, you also accused Doc of treating Theo like God – an accusation that had no basis in anything Doc said. Just because you state an opinion about a baseball topic does not mean you get a free pass to accompany it with obnoxious exaggeration. Nor is anyone else required to include an opinion about Theo in order to call an asshole an asshole.

                    1. Lou

                      Darth, I don’t know what that means, but it’s clearly a verbal assault on top of wishing some form of tragedy on someone.

                  2. Internet Random

                    I have accepted Theo as my personal savior.

                    1. DarthHater

                      I’m praying to Theo to visit boils and locusts upon some of the posters here. If it doesn’t happen, then we’ll know he isn’t God.

                    2. Lou

                      So, you’re saying you wish people dead of locust plagues to test if Theo’s God. Especially me. Stay classy, DarthHater.

                    3. Lou

                      No, the real test is if we can accept you and our personal savior.

                    4. DarthHater

                      Yes, wishing people dead is exactly what I said. Can’t tell if you’re a mere moron, truly delusional, or willfully obtuse. I’m betting it’s a combination of all three.

            2. TWC

              Look, you can try to distort things … until your posts read like a Texan history book.


              1. Lou

                TWC, what you are agreeing with actually couldn’t be further from the truth. I have no problem with Theo’s plan. I just don’t overreach in making him seem to be something he’s not. What I’ve got a problem with are the same people who overreach with Theo also overreach with the timetable for which the Cubs will be a competitive ballclub. When you ask someone when they think the Cubs will be playoff competitive, there likely to say in 2-3 years. Really!

                When you delve deeper, that’s absurd. If Theo’s going to do this with mostly homegrown players, doesn’t one have to submit to the possibility that 2015 and 2016 may very well come with as much growing pains as 2012-2014 are. Why is this important? Because instead of excelling, the perception amongst higher-ups (you know those with the ability to keep Theo and his operation around) might very well decide to pull the plug. No, I’m curious mixed with a sensible amount of trepidation for where this organization is headed, but I fear that this team won’t be solid for several, not a couple or a few years down the road. Where that gets Theo, who knows? I just don’t embue him with qualities that make him seem untouchable. But, I guess we all have voids psychologically in our lives, and for Cubs fans embellishing the qualities of Epstein fulfills that void.

                1. TWC

                  Wow. Verbal diarrhea much?

                  I thought Doc’s revisionist history comment was a great line, and I pulled it out of context to applaud it. You’re obviously so bent out of shape that my three character reply causes you to spin off into a tizzy. Have a Xanax, Louie.

                  1. Lou

                    So, let’s see we’ve got an embellisher of history (Doc Whimsey), someone who’s wants to be my personal pyschiatrist (TWC), and someone who wishes death upon me (DarthHater). Wow, you’re right Darth, we REALLY DO NEED an edit button for this site.

                    1. Lou

                      TWC–why add fuel to fire?

                    2. DarthHater

                      someone who wishes death upon me (DarthHater)

                      You know, saying something over and over doesn’t make it true, Brainiac. First, I never wished death upon anyone. I said I was praying for boils and locusts–I said nothing about how many I was praying for and it would take a lot of boils and locusts to kill someone. Second, I said for “some of the posters here” –no mention of you. Truth be told, if Theo visited a locust or two upon TWC, it would be fine by me. ;-) Third, I was obviously being facetious–a fact obvious to all but the least intelligent (and yes, this time I am referring to you).

                2. DarthHater

                  I guess we all have voids psychologically in our lives

                  Great, now you went a busted my irony-meter!

                  1. DarthHater

                    If this site doesn’t get an edit button pretty soon, I’m going to drive to Ohio and poke Brett repeatedly with a soft cushion!

                    1. TWC

                      It’s like Ace gets off on being withholding.

    3. Bill

      Theo isn’t doing this the same way he did in Bos. Just read an article today where Richard Dent rips Ditka for the Bears not having more Super Bowl appearances/wins. Maybe Ditka should reply using your line, “Richard, when you win a Super Bowl as a head coach, then you can rip me”. Theo isn’t God. His moves should be questioned and critiqued and he gets well paid, so I’m not sure he’s worried about some criticism from a baseball fan site.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Theo isn’t God.

        It is in Greek.

        1. JoeyCollins

          best thing ive read all day

        2. hardtop

          yes! you’re good, you’re very good.

    4. terencemann

      I’m constantly amazed at the number of casual fans who firmly believe (or at least are willing to argue their case ad infinitum) that they have a better plan for the Cubs’ future than Theo. When they can show me their two World Series rings and their eight-figure employment contract, I’ll start listening to them.

      What has actually been re-assuring to me was traveling to Chicago and hearing how many fans hate the current state of the team but believe that this is part of a plan and, after 104 years of waiting, are willing to give it a couple more seasons to see what this front office can turn up.

    5. DarthHater

      I’m constantly amazed at the number of casual fans who firmly believe (or at least are willing to argue their case ad infinitum) that they have a better plan for the Cubs’ future than Theo.

      The more appropriate term is ad nauseum, rather than ad infinitum.

      1. Frank

        Seems to me that both may be appropriate . . .

  18. the jackal

    i think its very very important to have players to help mold the young kids so even if there not great free agents whats important is there experience so im down for any veteran player even if hes not the top sought out player on market dejesus is a prime example

  19. Leroy

    Look, I just want to make the playoffs year in and year out. Do I want a World Series win? Absolutely! But I am tired of being the laughingstock of baseball. I am tired of people seeing my David Dejesus bobblehead doll on my desk, and having them say “oooh, Cubs fan….oh boy…” It is sickening! We’re not even the worst team in baseball. The Royals? The Pirates? The Mets? LOL!

  20. pouncey

    The Cubs need a balanced approach which intrigues their huge and loyal fan base every single year. Kyle and Bill are correct that the 2012 season was a disaster in terms of 2012 revenue.

    Its not either or. The Cubs can be competitive now, while still preparing for their championship runs. Its less than honest to say that 3 more years of suffering will deliver a championship. Sucking now would only give the Cubs an opportunity to win in 2015 and beyond.

    Spending 120 this year could deliver 150 payrolls when Theo’s plan (finally) comes together. That would be much more entertaining for us fans.

    They can have studs all over the field, year in and year out, and also have a team/payroll that resembles the 2012 Cardinals in 2013.

    1. hansman1982

      Here is the thing. Your claims that Theo tanked the 2012 season hinge on the 101 loss mark.

      However the team theo built and acquired led to a better record on trade day than the 2011 squad. It was a team that had Byrd and Soto played to within a reasonable level of their 2011 marks would have been much improved. Clearly Stewart, Volstad and K Wood didn’t pan out but that will happen to any team who acquires talent using subprime assets.

  21. Barry

    I don’t see how spending $$ on FA’s puts the long range plan in jeopardy. As long as you don’t give them NTC’s so players are tradeable then what’s the harm? That was one of Hendry’s biggest mistakes and Jedstein won’t fall into that trap. We can have a $100 million payroll and still be $20 million under last year’s budget. So go spend some cash Cubbies!

    1. Bill

      It doesn’t jeopardize the long range plan, this is a myth too many people have bought into now. You make a great point about the NTC’s. Theo shouldn’t sign anyone if it requires giving them a NTC. I also wondered if it’s not smarter to front load the money for players. Again, the Cubs have the money now, so they can afford to take the financial hit in 2013. I would think it would also make a player easier to trade if the financial obligation was declining in the outyears (ie 2014 and 2015). Just trying to think of creative ways they can be competitive now and if not successful, give you the option to flip those players for long term assets.

  22. ssckelley

    Polanco? Seriously? Polanco had ok numbers through his career for a good fielding 2nd baseman or shortstop, but 3rd base his numbers are horrible and now he is 36 years old. If this is all you can get for a 3rd baseman then stick with Valbuena at 3rd.

    Chavez is the one free agent at 3rd base I would like the Cubs inquire about. If he is healthy he can still hit and brings a decent glove.

    1. Njriv

      I think if the Cubs target Palanco, he will be a utility player, other than Valbuena the Cubs really have no bench heading into next year,

  23. Kyle

    Assuming Garza is brought back on arbitration, $90 million would give us just $25 million in new spending. In this market, that will barely even fill out the rotation, let alone CF or the bullpen. I’ll hope for closer to $100 million.

  24. Rizzofanclub

    On mlbtraderumors they have a nice top 50 free agents and where they will go. Last year they were really good at predicting the cubs. They didn’t say Maholm but they said some other pitcher in the same range as him. Also called the Dejesus signing, they have the cubs signing Marcum as the only top 50 free agent. **Hey Brett i’m not advertising other sites b/c we all know bleacher nation is the best**

  25. Rizzofanclub

    I hope the cubs sign 2 of the starting pithers and someone to platoon with Ian. Besides that I hope the cubs stay away from free agency. I like the outfielders that will be free agents next year a lot better. I guess they could do a lotto ticket outfielder someone like Sizemore. I guess you can class me in the “no spend crowd”

  26. josh

    about the payroll:

    yes it might be 90 to 100 mil to start the season, but garza, soriano, dejesus and whoever we sign in free agency will all be trade candidates at some point during the offseason/season. so i wouldnt be surprised at all if our payroll ended up between 70-80 mil to end the year.

  27. cubs1967

    let’s examine the payroll issue; let’s assume 2013 is at 95M. once marmol-garza(let’s assume he makes 12M in arb)-soriano get moved; that’s 41M off the books for 2 months leaving a team with attendance of at least 2.5M with a payroll of 54M! that’s disgusting!

    the ricketts don’t need mayor rahm money to fix wrigley; it’s in their wallet……..and payrolls of under 100 M or around 60M only prove it more. tell the city to remove the landmark status. nothing else. let them play at least 41 night games.

    THEN, fix the damn park. lose till 2016 if we must(we don’t) but at least fix the damn park.

    WHERE is the money tommyboy?………….54M…….hello chicago pirates!

    1. terencem

      The Ricketts have a legitimate case as what they’re working on with Chicago is similar to deals that a lot of other large market teams have received from their cities. I don’t think this is unreasonable. In addition, when the Ricketts bought the team, they inherited around $538 million in debt. They’re putting plenty of money into the team to pay down this debt, build a new academy in the D-R and build new spring training complex in Arizona. It’s not like they’re just lining their pockets and sitting on their hands.

      1. baldtaxguy

        sssshhhhh. Don’t provide her any facts. We’ll miss out on all the fan fleecing rants this Winter.

      2. cubs1967

        debt?……….the cubs had no debt when the team was sold. the tribune bought them for 20M back in the 1980′s.

        debt comes from the ricketts choosing to get loans for the team and allowing zell to keep 5% interest in capital gains.

        facts-facts-facts…………..they always get in the way.

        1. Internet Random

          I must have hit the wrong “reply” link.

      3. cubs1967

        here’s more facts:

        the city of mesa passed tax bonds for 99M to build wrigley west/new ho ho kam; the ricketts don’t have dime one into the structures; only the land. the city of mesa plan is to sell off land they own to developers(don’t hold your breath Mesa) to pay these off.

        the ricketts were suppose to build entertainment complex around new ho ho kam including hotels and restuarants which they are not doing now till the economy improves(the gov’t says the recession ended in mid-2009 so who is to say when the economy is improved) thereby letting cubs fans to continue to visit scottsdale, old town and tempe with their monies.

        yep-more facts-time you learn a thing or two about them facts.

        1. DarthHater

          Boils and locusts . . . boils and locusts . . . boils and locusts . . .

          1. Mick

            I was thinking something along the lines of senile old-fart but I can see the witch angle too. Maybe its the… … that seperates the spells?

        2. Tommy

          You’re right cubs1967. You should go root for the Yankees.

          1. Cubs1967

            right after you give me handjob; i’ll look into it. act like a junior high kid; i’ll treat you that way.

            1. Lou

              Hmm…interesting. Glad to see that I’m not the only accused on mocking others for the opinions.

        3. baldtaxguy

          Its “supposed to”

          Maybe they should make poor business decisions? If they otherwise lost some of their wealth , would you be a happier little fan…………………?

          1. Cubs1967

            you have no point; cuz once the facts are explained you act like a 3rd grader.

            1. baldtaxguy

              I do have one. You claim I don’t so it allows you to avoid answering the question. The structure of the transaction uses debt and is quite likely for the sole purpose for Zell’s alleged treatment of the transaction as a nonliquidating p-ship distribution. The debt exists. From a buyer’s perspective it exists because debt is super cheap these last few years, a good business decision. My question to you once again, and leave Zell out of it, would you rather that the Rickett’s made a poor business decision in structuring the purchase so would be required to utlize their own equity rather than debt at historical lowest costs? Would it make you happier if they paid cash?

  28. Cubfan Paul

    Soriano will probably count $30M-$34M against the 2013 salary next year, assuming he’s traded. No reason to bring him back with the lack of DH & OF power on the market this winter

  29. jim

    Yep, is all about the money! Shud cub fans stay away, papa joe will spend a lil more to bring em in. I wonder how the wait list is goin?

  30. Internet Random

    allowing zell to keep 5% interest in capital gains.

    I’m not sure what this means. Would you explain, please? (I’m a relatively savvy guy when it comes to financial and transactional matters, but I don’t know what to make of those terms in that context.)

    1. Cubs1967

      forgot to put in there zell kept 5% ownership to avoid paying capital gains…….and the ricketts deal was structured in a certain way to allow their to be debt; at ricketts choice.
      ricketts did not assume debt as someone mentioned; it’s the families debt related to the sale and how it was structured; some of it to help out zell.

      1. Drew7

        Even if Zell kept 5% ownership, he’d still have to pay LT-Capital Gains Tax on what he sold, based on his cost-basis, right?

        1. Internet Random

          My guess is they argue the exchange is not a realization event.

    2. baldtaxguy

      A leveraged p-ship structure My guess is that Service will step through the form and recognize the substance of the transaction as a sale. But worth a try given the cost basis the Tribune had in the Cubs.

      1. Drew7

        You’d think so, especially given Zell’s prior snake-like behavior.

      2. Internet Random

        I don’t know if they’ll invoke the step transaction doctrine by name or not, but you can be damn sure they’re making some sort of constructive sale argument.

      3. Internet Random

        Thanks for that link, by the way… very informative.