Quantcast

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.
  • 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

  • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Indeed.

    • 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.

  • Don

    Trade Soriano or Marmol for Haren.

  • 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.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    $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.

    regards,
    5412

  • 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?

    • 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.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And I’ve never understood how folks don’t see that having $50 million worth of two aging, declining players (let’s say a 36-year-old Hamilton and a 33-year-old Greinke) makes the job of putting together a winner on a $130 million budget more difficult. That’s two players taking up like 40% of the entire budget. And they might not even be good players by then. Sure, the Cubs might have some nice, cheap, quality young players offsetting some of that by then, but wouldn’t it be nice to be spending that $50 million on 30-year-old free agents at that time? Having five quality starting pitchers instead of four? Having a stud at eight positions rather than seven?

        You can’t have a $20 million player at every position – so, when you do have a few, you better make sure that (1) you’ve got great players at the other positions, ready to contribute to a winner, and (2) those few $20 million players are still producing at a well above-average level.

        No one is saying don’t spend. They’re saying spend when it makes sense.

        • Bill

          Wouldn’t it be nice to win NOW? You are just throwing seasons away, which seems to fly in the face of Theo’s “every season is sacred” comment.

          To be honest, I probably wouldn’t pay the money for either one, but not for the reasons the ‘don’t spend’ crowd are saying. I would be gunshy on Greinke because of the anxiety issues in a place like Chi with its tough media. Hamilton concerns me because of the injury history. If they could get Hamilton to sign for a shorter deal (at a higher price per year), I’d support that deal.

          My biggest problem from people saying ‘no big FA’s’ is that they dismiss the idea out of hand. For example, if Hamels would have become a FA I believe the Cubs should have broke the bank to get him. The ‘no spend crowd’ wouldn’t have given him even a look because it would have cost to much.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I consider myself to be in the “no spend crowd,” as you call it, and I don’t dismiss anyone out of hand. Indeed, Hamels is the perfect example: before he was extended, I frequently stated that I’d like to see the Cubs break the bank for him. It isn’t black and white.

          • http://www.hookersorcake.com Jade

            And a good question is would you rather the Cubs sign a Fielder or Puljos last off season to ridiculous contract or pull a Rizzo? None of us never saw the Rizzo/Cashner trade coming. It was sheer genuis. All people talked about last off season was Fielder or Puljos and whether to drop 110 million on Yu Darvish. Now if either Grienke or Hamilton would even consider going from playoff teams to the second worst team in baseball for anything less than a ridiculous contract I think Theo and Co would look at it. But look at the Yankees and the mess the Red Sox were in before the Dodgers bailed em out. Zambrano/ Soriano 2 out of the last 3 years…
            Besides you think locking up 50-60 million for the next 5 years on 2 players who have had problems with the pressure getting to them, is smart? When the Cubs are behind in a playoff game at Wrigley you want those two guys? You’d better be sure because they’ll want 5-6 years and you’ll be stuck with em.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            The quote from Theo is that every OPPORTUNITY to win is sacred.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          To be specific: Felix Hernandez may well be a free agent at 29. (Assuming the Mariners don’t find a creative way to keep him, which they might.) Wouldn’t it be nice to have the money to add him and other key free agents THAT YEAR to our growing core instead of having a declining Josh Hamilton eating up $20 million?

          • Lou

            Maybe, if he’s healthy by then (and we’ll see) given all those miles on his arm.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            It makes perfect sense to me.

            But the response you’ll get is some variation of, “but they can sign Felix, too!” Which not only ignores the broader point you’re trying to make, but also ignores the twin realities of (1) a real budget and (2) you can’t keep replacing declining (expensive) talent with new free agents ($50 million in declining contracts becomes $70 million, becomes $90 million, becomes $110 million … there’s a wall you hit, and your organization is really f’d then).

            • DocPeterWimsey

              You need an asterisk by “you” up there, so it read’s “you* can’t keep replacing declining (expensive) talent…”

              *: statement not valid for certain teams in New York City or with any franchise owned by the Steinbrenners. Statement doubly true for teams owned by the Reinsdorfs. Call your doctor if envy lasts more than 4 hours. Animals were hurt in the testing of this product. Etc., etc. “

              • Lou

                EXACTLY.

              • Dr. Percival Cox

                Actually, it would seem even the Yankees are discovering the limits of that plan. And with Hal’s decree that they are going to cut payroll, the plan may eventually cost them Robinson Cano. A pretty high price, indeed.

                • Hee Seop Chode

                  mark it down right now. The Yankees will sign Cano for as long as they want, whenever they want.

                  The Yanks are in a very similar position to the Cubs in 2009, where past their prime overpaid vets are falling apart. It’ll be interesting to see how they rebuild. I’m predicting it will look different that the plan we’re seeing.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    For posterity, I’ll predict the same: it will look different. But I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’ll be less successful. That’s a serious limb, coming from a Cubs fan.

                  • Dr. Percival Cox

                    The problem with re-signing Cano — and I agree that they’ll do everything in their power to do so, they really can’t lose him — is Scott Boras is his agent and isn’t giving the Yankees a hometown discount. The pissing match with Derek Jeter a few years ago is probably going to hurt them here. The Sabathia, Rodriguez, and Teixeira contracts really do tie their hands. If Hal Steinbrenner really is serious about cutting payroll — it’s difficult to see where the money comes from — unless they backload the hell out of the thing.

        • Kyle

          Two reasons it wouldn’t be as big of a problem as people think::

          1) If you’re doing your job in the farm system, you should be able to fill in plenty of cheap players to make up the difference.

          2) When you win, your revenue goes up. A few straight years of division titles and suddenly we can afford $170 million instead of $130 million.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            “If you’re doing your job in the farm system, you should be able to fill in plenty of cheap players to make up the difference.”

            Wait, so on one hand you bash Theo for not having anyone decent to fill in from the minors throughout the season and on the other hand you bash him for not pursuing big time free agents because the cheap players should be there?

            “When you win, your revenue goes up. A few straight years of division titles and suddenly we can afford $170 million instead of $130 million.”

            Hows that going for the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox who are all looking to cut payroll?

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              Cut payroll and/or can’t have a big time payroll. I mean with that logic the Braves should have a $200M payroll!!!!!

              • Lou

                The Braves are really a poor example. Their fans really don’t show up unless its football.

            • Kyle

              “Wait, so on one hand you bash Theo for not having anyone decent to fill in from the minors throughout the season and on the other hand you bash him for not pursuing big time free agents because the cheap players should be there?”

              I’ve bashed our front office for failing to pick the right cheap players from the ones available in many of our roster spots, and I’m bashing them for failing to pursue quality players with our resources. I’m dismissing the complaint that the latter would leave us with no flexibility because by the time those contracts reach their endpoint, the team should be able to fill in with the farm system to make up the difference.

              You can afford to be paying a veteran, useful player more than you’d like when your farm system provides you with, for example, 3/4ths of a good infield making a combined $1.5 million going into the season.

              “Hows that going for the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox who are all looking to cut payroll?”

              The Yankees and Red Sox are looking to avoid going over the luxury tax threshold, which I believe is now about $180 million. Baseball has set in place what is essentially a salary cap that imposes rather draconian financial penalties for passing it. I didn’t pick $170 million out of thin air, I mentioned it because the Cubs could theoretically expand payroll to that point while avoiding the luxury tax.

              The Phillies are a perfect example of what I’m talking about. After being stuck below $100 million until 2009, a streak of success allowed them to nearly double their payroll. Winning breeds better finances.

              The Braves are limited somewhat by their 17th-sized market (everybody seems to forget that they are on the lower end of the mid-tier in market size. They are so successful they seem like a big-market team, but they aren’t).

              • Hebner The Gravedigger

                Atlanta is the 9th largest metro and 8th largest TV market, not the 17th.

                • Kyle

                  I was going by this list:
                  http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/baseball_markets.shtml

                  which appears to consider a slightly wider view of the market.

                  Regardless, if you go by city size, Atlanta is 9th, but there are 13 teams in front of them in those remaining 8 cities.

                  • Kyle

                    Oh, and also the rankings you are referencing appear to be U.S.-based and ignoring Toronto, pushing Atlanta down another spot.

                    • Hebner The Gravedigger

                      So you are wrong.

          • Lou

            Just a question for you, Kyle? How long of a timetable do you think it would Theo to build up the farm system using his method? Dr Percival Cox states that be more like the Cards, the Cubs fans need to understand that the Cards have a deep farm system. Yet, he further explains that those farmhands took the better part of a decade to develop.

            • Kyle

              “Just a question for you, Kyle? How long of a timetable do you think it would Theo to build up the farm system using his method? Dr Percival Cox states that be more like the Cards, the Cubs fans need to understand that the Cards have a deep farm system. Yet, he further explains that those farmhands took the better part of a decade to develop.”

              Well, for one thing, farm systems should build up naturally over time. There’s an ebb and flow to the rankings and such. Good farm systems graduate players and drop in the rankings, bad farm systems pile up players and tend to move up.

              The farm system was on the rebound when Epstein took over, and he accelerated the process (at the expense of the major league team). It’s incredibly, insanely deep right now with above-average top-end talent. By the end of 2013, it should be a top system again for the first time since the early 2000s.

              How fast does that translate into MLB wins? Depends on a lot of factors, that’s way too hard to say.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The short version is that their best seasons, because of age, will be in the next three years, after which they will become old and increasingly expensive (because of the contract it will take to sign them), starting the cycle of bloating, prohibiting contracts anew. Of course it’s still possible to be competitive later after signing guys like them today (when the Cubs aren’t really well positioned to succeed, I should add), but signing them isn’t the best way to do it. Selling off pieces, signing flippable pieces, devoting resources to young talent acquisition, and – sorry to say it – sucking and drafting high/spending more internationally are the best ways to do it, preferably all in tandem for a couple years.

      • Bill

        No offense, but I hate the “best way to do it” mantra we hear about Theo’s model. Based on what? How many teams have sucked for several years and then won a WS? I understand the argument, but it’s not a convincing one. The revenue streams will grow in the next few years, so the Cubs will have MORE money to spend. They shouldn’t be hampered by signing a high dollar FA or two.

        Kyle has made a strong case in why the Theo model is NOT ‘the best way to do it’. Just because Greinke and Hamilton might be overpaid in 3-4 years, doesn’t mean they still won’t be decent players. Hopefully guys like Baez will be ‘underpaid’, meaning they are putting up numbers that make their salary a bargain. As Kyle has correctly stated, the problem during the Hendry years wasn’t the FA signings, it was that he didn’t draft well and didn’t develop minor league players. There was nothing to compliment the FA signings.

        • Lou

          I can’t say your points are wrong Bill. My contention with Theo is that his dream is to build totally a homegrown-talented team. And people say “Well, that doesn’t seem so bad.” Except when you realize Theo never did this 100 percent in Boston and even if homegrown talent comes up to the majors (say in the case of the Cubs) there is no guarantee that it will produce and “hit the ground running”. In other words, 2015 may very well be a “growing pains” season where not every prospect adjusts to the major leagues. Then, is Theo putting undue pressure on himself in 2016 (the last yr of his contract) to have a winning season. There’s more mixed sentiment that came out about Theo and Red Sox this past summer with all the articles written about the team’s collapse over the past two seasons. Some of which wasn’t flattering at all. I was surprised to learn of all things that Theo didn’t actually make the trade for Beckett or Lowell, two key pieces to the WS 2007 victory. In fact that trade was made during the time Theo was debating whether or not to come back to the Red Sox. Left to his own devices, I wonder if Theo would have made that trade?

          A part of me wonders how much Theo is willing to settle for what the market gives him. In other words, is he willing to construct a team knowing that it may not win the division, but may very well win wild card spots, given the two-tier playoff game? My perception of Theo is that he doesn’t seem content with winning in the middle ground, if you will, but dominating the competition. Again, people might say “Yes, totally for it.” Except when you realize how long that may take and the further proof that there are no universal predictors to winning in the playoffs. Just because you’re the dominant team during the regular season doesn’t mean anything once the playoffs start. Maybe that’s why Fangraphs gave up on their “Secret Sauce” formula in trying to statistically predict playoff outcomes, because, well they couldn’t and no one can. This not taking what the market gives you (albeit a signing a big time FA or going with lesser FAs to build a competitive team) might very well have me shaking my head as the summers past by.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            My contention with Theo is that his dream is to build totally a homegrown-talented team.

            Yes, that is his “dream,” but Epstein has been blunt that this “dream” is almost always unobtainable. However, it’s a goal for which to shoot because having a strong farm system gives you a ton of flexibility for both trading and acquiring free agents. Tactically speaking, it’s sensible: you build up the most capital in dollars and tradable players by building a strong farm system.

            (This worked very well for Theo in Boston, btw.)

            • Lou

              I still have issues with this because I don’t where all of this building will come from? Last year and this year’s drafts are considered below avg talent wise. And as I’ve said in response to one of Brett’s, would Theo trade Castro or Shark to get additional pieces for the farm system if forced to or he felt the need? What would Cubs fans think of that?

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                Minor league talent is 1/2 actual talent and 1/2 perception. If you can pitch that you have a top 5 farm system and you are willing to part with your #3 prospect for a player that is saying more than if you have a bottom half system and you are trading your #1 prospect. (Usual caveats apply)

                The key to 99% of all majorly successful teams is that they have a strong farm system. That farm system isn’t always to directly produce players on the field but to also acquire key players. The derth of talent from this and last draft just means that in 2-3 years our prospects will be rated against those others. Regardless of how we believe that GM’s are rational people, they are not. If you dangle the #5 prospect in all of baseball it doesn’t matter if that guy is a future Cano or a future Darwin Barney.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Oh, and the Beckett-Lowell trade happened in February. Epstein’s brief “hiatus” ended in early January. No doubt Cherington was involved with the deal – almost no deal is done solely by GMs – but Theo pulled the final trigger. (Given that Theo had been back for nearly as long as he was away, he was probably heavily involved.)

            • Lou

              That could be very true. Just surprised it occurred while Theo was on hiatus.

              • Lou

                Or I guess I should the discussions of the trade happened while Theo was on hiatus.

        • CubFan Paul

          I’m with Bill and Kyle.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          The problem with both your arguement and Kyle’s is that good teams are about 30 guys deep. The Yankees are really the only exception to this — and they’re truly unique in many ways. But look at the A’s, the Cardinals, and the Giants. One of the reasons they were so good was because their minor league systems keep feeding good players. So the A’s lose Brandon McCarthy to an injury? No worries, Dan Straily is hanging out ready to replace him. The Cardinals lose in their bid to keep Albert Pujols? They don’t have to spend a fortune on Prince Fielder — they can just use Allen Craig, and spend the money they would have spent on Fielder to add Carlos Beltran. It’s great to have the big names, but everyone has to play a role if you’re going to win. People have to step up when a big name is invariable injured. You can’t control who comes to the plate in a key situation — you’ve spend a fortune to sign Josh Hamilton, but by the lineup it’s Luis Valbuena who comes up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

          The Cubs stunk at this. It wasn’t just bad drafts — though that didn’t help — it was the entire process. The best example of this is Soriano’s claim that this year was the first time he ever got coaching. Clearly, that has to be a bit of an exaggeration, but the results this year suggest something was terribly wrong before. Castro’s transformation over the course of the season.is another indicator of just how bad things were.

          You say that we can compete now and still remedy this, but you don’t give any kind of specifics on how. There is nothing at the upper end of the minors. Logan Watkins is pretty close. Then, after that, we’re talking a few relievers and then you really get down to Baez before you find a lot of help. So if we want a team 30 guys deep that can really compete, we need to sign almost all of them. That’s going to be expensive. And I know neither of you are really suggesting that. But what you are suggesting is take a run at some FAs this off season, give them big contracts, and then pray. Pray that the players work out. (i.e., no Milton Bradleys.) Pray that they stay healthy. Pray that you don’t need a big add at the deadline, because there really aren’t a lot of guys that can be traded. Compare that to the Rangers who could give the Cubs a pretty good prospect in Christian VIllaneuva without hurting their team overall because the system is obscenely deep.

          It’s an extreme longshot, and it locks us into those players for years — because long term contracts are going to be required. Has anyone ever tried what Theo is doing? Nope. Has anyone ever taken on a project as immense as fumigating about 50 years of wild mismanagement and turning a laughing stock team into a consistent winner in the most pressure packed environment in sports? Also, no. So perhaps some outside the box thinking is necessary here.

          The Cardinals can both compete and add to the minor league system because they don’t need to add a whole lot. The current team contains a lot of players the Cardinals drafted, but they were drafted over about a 10 year period. Theo doesn’t want to take 10 years. So, he has taken a path of being awful for a few years to super pack the system — this also takes advantage of the new CBA which has only been in place for a year. Then, in a few years, when the prospects low in the system hit the upper levels so we can actually fill in bench, bullpen, and some starting spots from within, and still have talent in Iowa as a backup, the best FAs on the market to complement what they have then can be added. It’s a fully developed plan.

          You and Kyle hate it. That’s fine. But the key part here is how to fill in the talent from the guys NOT signed to the big contracts. Your side of the argument, in my opinion, has been week at filling in specifics about how the Cubs can sign free agents to compete now, and still fill in the large number of prospects a quality team needs to compete every year in a four to five year period. It isn’t fair to say the Cardinals do it because the Cardinals, every year as long as I can remember, are starting from a better position than the Cubs are.

          • calicubsfan007

            @Dr.PercivalCox: Great point from a dude with a great name. I love Scrubs.

          • CubFan Paul

            “Your side of the argument, in my opinion, has been week at filling in specifics about how the Cubs can sign free agents to compete now, and still fill in the large number of prospects a quality team needs to compete every year in a four to five year period”

            The argument isn’t weak. Just don’t give out jobs to Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart in November.

            • Dr. Percival Cox

              Genuinely confused as to how that addresses my point at all.

              • Bill

                I’m not sure how winning now hurts the prospects in the future. Are you saying Theo can only draft prospects if he gets one of the top 5 picks in the draft? If that’s the case why should Theo sign anyone during the offseason. The Cubs should put the worst product on the field that is possible to assure the top draft pick. Continue to do this until 2015/2016 when guys like Baez and Almora start arriving and then start signing FA’s.

                You wrote a lot about the importance of building up the farm system. I don’t believe myself or Kyle has disagreed with this point. Agree with you about the importance of development of minor league players and coaching. Don’t see how these things add much cost to the team and how these things impact how much money the team can spend on FA’s.

                Hey, you are going to be very happy the next few years, because Theo is doing it the way you want. I’m not happy about it and I certainly don’t buy the “it’s the best way” bs, but the Theo we got has amnesia about how he won in Boston.

                • terencemann

                  My belief is that the Cubs could push payroll up over $120 MM and build something that resembles the 2012 White Sox but that team would also be at risk of being the 2011 White Sox. If you’re going to win between 70-80 games anyway, doesn’t it make since to use that season to build the farm system and create something that will work in the long run?

                  Does anyone here think a 78 win season built around old players is that much better than a 72 win season built around young players?

                • Dr. Percival Cox

                  Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. There is no extra money available for IFAs or draftees at the earlier stages of the draft, there is no correlation between draft position and likelihood of making the majors (the draft is a numbers game, after all). It’s simply that Theo is incompetent and can’t draft to save his life if he doesn’t have one of the first five.

                  I will ask you: how do you build a deep and talented farm system, and finish roughly 10th-15th in the league, under the new CBA which greatly rewards losing records? Specifics, not “it can be done.”

          • Kyle

            I think you’ve got quite a bit of survivor’s bias in there. The Cardinals don’t run 30 deep, it just feels that way when David Descalso, who is terrible, gets a few clutch hits.

            The sad thing is that we *did* have that depth this year. You could make a pretty good case that we started the season with our best 1b, 3b, C, 4th OF, 5th OF and 4th-best starting pitcher all in Iowa.

            And of course, a big reason the upper minors seemed to lack depth is because Theo traded one nearly-ready AAA bench-type player for Ian Stewart, and let two more disappear in the Rule V draft.

            “You say that we can compete now and still remedy this, but you don’t give any kind of specifics on how.”

            I couldn’t possibly be more specific. We need 2 starting pitchers, a CF, and a couple of reliable veteran bullpen guys. A 3b would be nice, but it’s slim pickings and I’m willing to punt on that to fill the other holes.

            Do you want me to lay out exact names and show how they would fit into the budget for the 15th time in the last two months?

            ” There is nothing at the upper end of the minors. Logan Watkins is pretty close. Then, after that, we’re talking a few relievers and then you really get down to Baez before you find a lot of help. ”

            We’ve already graduated Rizzo, Castro, Barney, and Castillo. That’s literally half a lneup from the farm system in just a couple of years. When is it ever enough? We’ll have Sappelt and Campana as the backup outfielders from Iowa. We’ve also got Vizcaino at Iowa next year, who should be good for some spot starts if needed.

            The farm system is short on starting-caliber OFers (with the collapse of Brett Jackson) and starting pitchers, which is why we should be focusing on those two areas in free agency.

            • Dr. Percival Cox

              Debating with Kyle:

              DPC: “I think soda is bad for your teeth.”
              Kyle: “But strawberries are good. You can’t deny that strawberries are good!”

              • Kyle

                Sorry, but you’re overreaching and it’s not worth taking on every point individually.

                You’re wrong about teams being 30-deep, you’re wrong about the Cubs having “50 years of mismanagement” for Epstein to fix, you’re right about the drafts, you’re wrong about how specific I’ve been.

                • Dr. Percival Cox

                  You haven’t addressed a single point I made. You threw out Descalso — the single worst player on that team — as an anecdote which completely avoided the larger point, and then took a couple other points, restated them into something I never meant or even implied, and went after the strawmen you made.

                  • Kyle

                    I addressed the points. It’s just that the manner of the addressing was to dismiss them summarily without going into much detail because they were so, in my opinion, absurd.

                    I’m not sure what “30 players deep” is supposed to mean beyond some generic platitude. They were good teams and they had a lot of good players. They still had holes. The Cardinals were able to replace production at 1b, sure, but they still fielded horrific middle infielders and couldn’t find replacements. The Giants dragged the corpse of Tim Lincecum in their rotation all year.

                    Yes, the Cubs were a much thinner team in 2012. They didn’t have as many good baseball players as those teams. That was by our front office’s choice and design, no more or less. When you spend an entire offseason choosing to add virtually nothing to your MLB team except whatever bargains you think you can flip for prospects later, your MLB team becomes quite thin. Almost by magic.

                    It’s interesting that you are complaining about the lack of organizational depth in the upper levels, because while true now, quite the opposite was true heading into the 2011 offseason. At the time, the consensus was that the Cubs’ farm system lacked elite talent, but it had a number of interesting, potentially useful players in the upper minors.

                    What happened to that depth?

                    Marwin Gonzalez and Ryan Flaherty were lost in the Rule V draft, leaving more 40-man spots to pick up random terrible relief pitchers off the waiver wire.

                    Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu were shipped to Colorado for He Who Must Not Be Named.

                    Bryan LaHair was promoted and showed he could probably hold on to a bench sport in the big leagues for awhile. Same goes for Tony Campana.

                    Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters spent the year at Iowa looking solidly interesting (albeit with a huge caveat on the former’s part) and then flailing at the major-league level.

                    Castillo and Clevenger each graduated to the big league club, albeit with varying levels of success.

                    Everyone’s still waiting for Trey McNutt to actually pitch well again.

                    Chris Carpenter was sent away as Epstein compensation.

                    Andrew Cashner was flipped for Rizzo, creating a hole in our pitching but filling a gaping organizational need at 1b.

                    Jeff Beliveau, Rafael Dolis and Alberto Cabrera showed flashes in the minors but need refinement at the MLB level.

                    When Epstein took over the team, high-level organizational depth was not only not a problem, it was a strength. What we needed, what we had the resources to acquire, and what our front office failed to provide were top-level MLB players to fill out the top of the roster.

                    • http://www.hookersorcake.com Jade

                      So all we need is 2 starting pitchers, a couple of reliable bullpen guys and a CF… and we can compete. The main problem is who is going to want to come here without massively overpaying? The good free agents are going to want long rich contracts from competitive teams. You think Grienke is going leave a LA team who might give him 6/25=150 for 6/156 for the Cubs? How much do you think the 2cnd worst team in baseball has to overpay an already overpaid guy?
                      I think Theo&Co are just going to add as much talent as they can. But at this point financial flexibility and the future is tantamount. Overpaying proven FA’s with long contracts is a bad play and unimaginative.
                      I think the best value is actually in trading prospects. Thats one reason to stockpile them. People overvalue prospects. Everyone loves Baez, Soler, Vogelbach, and Alamora but statistically only one of them becomes a Rizzo/Castro. Half of the top 100 don’t make it and another quarter don’t amount to more than Reed Johnson or Darwin Barney. So if you can trade Baez and a Vitters for Chase Headly its a great gamble.

                    • Myles

                      If Greinke signs for 6/156 he should fire his agent. He’ll get way more years than that.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      I agree 100% with Kyle. WOW. Your correct. Theo needs to get to work. He needs to add FAs. We need a CF, RF, 3B, 2-3 SP, and RP. Trade Marmol, DeJesus, LaHair, Garza, & Wood at the MLB level. We have the money to sign BJ Upton, Liriano, Sanchez, Bourn, Villanueva, McCarthy, Madson, Keppinger, Burnett, Haren. Trade for Headley give up Baez and Jackson. The Cubs could then Flip these guys if the season doesn’t go well by the trade deadline. So I think Theo needs to bring it this offseason. Just my opinion. Bourn in CF,BJ Upton in RF, Rizzo 1B, Soriano in LF, Headley 3B, Castro SS, Castilio C, and Barney 2B.

                    • Drew7

                      I’m seeing a couple of problems with that.

                      1) No way Headley is had for Baez and Jackson, if at all. Maybe you mean those 2 plus a couple more?

                      2) Bourn will want 3-5 years, and with his skill-set, I think there’s way too much risk of a steep decline coming very soon. No thanks.

                      3) I don’t see Theo/Hoyer spending that kind of money in FA. Haren costs you $15.5mil, Bourn and Upton probably another $12-15mil apiece, Headley prob gets $6mil in Arb, and A. Sanchez will get at least $12mil.

                      That’s $50-65mil right there, with 5 other signings not even adressed. So we’d spend in the neighborhood of $75-80mil, plus we lose our top prospect (none of the guys you list to trade away would bring back a Baez-caliber prospect).

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              “And of course, a big reason the upper minors seemed to lack depth is because Theo traded one nearly-ready AAA bench-type player for Ian Stewart, and let two more disappear in the Rule V draft.”

              Just to keep things simple, since you like to rail on the Cubs’ use of sub-replacement-level players this year …

              DJ LeMahieu: 1.1 WAR (but mere 86 OPS+)

              Marwin Gonzalez: 0.0 WAR

              Ryan Flaherty: -0.4 WAR

              Let’s not act like Theo allowed what would have been the league’s best bench to disintegrate before the season started.

              • Bill

                Based on what the Cubs rolled out at 3B this year, LeMahieu would have been our starting 3B.

                • Myles

                  Yeah, this can’t be overlooked. It’s not even a Coors problem because his line is better away from home. If we just traded LeMahieu for Stewart, we ended up “losing” that trade.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Just to be clear: that is an entirely separate conversation. The Stewart trade was a loss and a bust – not too many will argue that one.

                    I was responding only to a very specific point that Kyle made about the front office screwing the Cubs’ bench by losing those three – in total – players. If you want to talk about LeMahieu, solo, that’s totally fine. I, however, was not.

                    • ssckelley

                      To me at the time the deal was made Colvin for Stewart was a wash. Both were former top level prospects coming off bad seasons and injuries. Anybody drooling at Colvins numbers last season need to look at the home/away split.

                      LeMahieu was the only minimal value the Cubs gave up in this deal to call it a “bust”. LeMahieu will be lucky to have a Polanco type of career. Basically it came down to giving up a low ceiling infielder for, what looked like, a potential high ceiling pitcher in Casey Weathers (drafted #8 overall in 2007) that just had some control issues. Obviously based on his performance at Tennessee Weathers appears to be a bust.

                      If you are really pining for a LeMahieu type playing 3rd base for the Cubs then they can go out and sign Polanco and get about the same offensive productivity with a better glove.

                    • terencemann

                      LeMahieu posted a .353 BABIP last season inflating his slightly below average wOBA up to .317. Basically, it really was a lot of luck that helped him last year. He doesn’t have the speed to maintain that.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Yeah! That! I meant to say that, too!

              • Kyle

                Didn’t say anything about it being the best or worst or anything in between.

                I just think it’s interesting to note that heading into the 2011 offseason, upper-minors depth players were a major strength of the organization, and right now it’s a relative weakness.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  But the guys you pointed to as depth ended up sucking (Flaherty and Gonzalez, at a minimum). So what depth was there, really?

                  • Kyle

                    Replacement level isn’t sucky for AAA organizational depth. It’s almost by definition average.

                    On a WAR/PA basis, any of them (even Gonzalez) would have been an improvement over Mather, DeWitt, Baker, or Cardenas.

          • Hee Seop Chode

            LIked that comment a lot Doc. Keep up the good posts.

          • Chase S.

            A-freaking-men.

  • 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!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Today is when it hit me, too – lots to say.

  • 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.

    • The Show

      Thoughts?

    • calicubsfan007

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

  • Frank

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

    • Bill

      PETA would like to have a talk with you.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Frank: That is one way to respond… And helluva picture as well. Makes me think of Steve Martin from “The Jerk” [img]http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0sm7ajHTI1qzozj1.gif[/img]

      • Pat

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

    • Frank

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

  • Frank

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

  • 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?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Just randomly throwing out names to get to $30 million (not saying these are or should be the moves):

      $10 million to Brandon McCarthy
      $10 million to Edwin Jackson
      $6 million to Coco Crisp (A’s eating some of the $7M + $1M buyout he’s owed)
      $2 million to Placido Polanco
      $2 million to back-up catcher

      Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to get to $30 million without actually improving the team all that much. Even if it gets to that $45 million level, I could still do it.

      • Lou

        Forget about FAs for a moment, Brett. What if Garza goes down with injury again and Theo wakes up one morning and decides to trade Shark and Castro during the trade deadline or next offseason for “younger talent”. What would think of that? It definitely would upset Cubs fans but acquiring young prospects aren’t going to cost 30 million.

        • Drew7

          Castro is 22. You can’t get talent a whole lot younger than that.

          • Lou

            Really you can’t? Not saying Castro’s not talented but….

            • Drew7

              No, Lou, you really can’t. Short of the once-in-a-generation-type players (Harper, Trout), well-above-average, big-league talent is at 22 is something you don’t see very often.

              • terencemann

                Most of the elite shortstop prospects are either untouchable or in organizations who don’t need a shortstop. That’s my main issue with trading Castro.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          You can simply stop any “trade Castro” scenarios. After signing the deal this season, if he turns around and trades him next year it will seriously hinder his ability to offer similar contracts in the future. And, given the current economics and practices in the game, that would be absolutely devastating. Unless Starlin Castro announces his support for Fidel Castro at a news conference tomorrow, he isn’t going anywhere.

          • Lou

            Explain the current economics and practices of the game. I don’t know what you mean. Need more specifics. So basically if the Diamondbacks trade Upton, you’re saying that team will never be able to sign another player like Upton to that kind of contract? Seems a bit much.

            • Dr. Percival Cox

              The current system is that when you have good young players, you sign them to team friendly deals to buy out their arb years and keep them on your team to their late-20s early-30s. Castro, McCutchen, and, yes, Upton have signed them. (Though the last 3 years of Upton’s contract are not particularly team friendly.)

              Players potentially give up some money from arbitration and free agency to lock in enough money to keep them set for life, and then sign “the big contract” in their early 30s. (Those are the deals, for what its worth, that Theo is wary of.) Part of the security they get is the ability to build a life in the city.

              There is a big difference in the situations though. Upton has already played 3 of the 6 years on the contract. So, while Upton may not be super happy about it, the DBacks did give him a nice run with the team and now have decided to move in another direction. You’re proposing that the Cubs trade Castro less than a year after the contract starts. That isn’t moving in another direction, that’s bargaining in bad faith by Theo.

              • Lou

                Actually I wasn’t proposing that at all. If the Cubs were to trade him in the offseason next year, it’d be more than 1 yr ( granted not much). Don’t know if Upton would agree with you that D’Backs gave him a “nice run” with the team. He was only on one playoff team during that contract.

                • Dr. Percival Cox

                  Upton has played out half his contract. You’re proposing trading Castro one year into a seven year deal. You can play semantics all you want, but what matters here is impressions on players and agents. There is clearly a difference here, and other players and agents would recognize it.

                  Moreover, this is not going to happen. Theo is not putting together prospects to put together prospects, he’s putting together a core to win soon and prospects to win in the future. He isn’t going to trade a part of the core for prospects. Guys like Garza, Dempster, Maholm, and Soriano — who aren’t in the long terms plans at all — go for prospects. If he were to trade Castro, it would be as part of a deal for a true #1 starter — a young one like Bundy or Bauer — who is ready to pitch now. (The other team wouldn’t accept that deal.)

                  • Lou

                    So are you saying that this would never happen or in your opinion, should happen over the course of Castro’s career? What if the some of the essential core struggles when they get to the majors in 2015, i.e.? What should Theo’s philosophy be then, especially when most are offensive players and the team still lacks depth in SP? Just wondering.

                    • Dr. Percival Cox

                      It’s at least 3 years away from now. We can burn that bridge when we come to it. For now — this season, next season — Castro is quite safe.

                  • Bill

                    I agree Theo won’t trade Castro, but if Theo doesn’t really care about the major league team for the next 2-3 years, he should consider trading him. What if a team offered a couple pitchers who rate as number 2 or 3 starters and a OF prospect? You aren’t concerned about the ML team and want to improve the minor league system. This is a way to improve the farm system overnight. You’ve given up 1 very good player for 3 quality prospects.

                    I’m not saying I would support this move, but my belief is to win now. If we are just going to tank the next 2-3 seasons, maybe Theo should try and trade Castro. I also don’t buy the whole, “we’ll never be able to sign another young player again” argument. Castro signed this contract because it provided him with security. Financial security. This is the same reason all these guys agree to these deals. He didn’t sign the extension because Chicago is the greatest city in the country and he won’t play anywhere else.

                    • Lou

                      WELL, Bill that’s my argument. And I agree with you and not the good doctor. Yep, it was for financial security, so if another young player has the opportunity, they wouldn’t sign a deal like Castro because (you know, the Cubs traded him too early in the contract). Umm…yeah. That’s like saying should Theo decide to go for and the Cubs should find themselves by chance in the WS via the wild card, all supporters of a slow rebuild would say “What are we doing here? I don’t support this because the Cubs got here too early by MY timetable.” I agree–if Theo’s not into this team for 2-3 years maybe Castro but more so Shark should be traded. Yep, I said it!

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              What he said and you really try to limit the number of guys aged 30+ on the team. It should NOT be that you look to sign a big time free agent every off season.

              GOOD GOD JENNIFER ANISTON IS NIPPIN OUT IN THIS EPISODE OF FRIENDS.

              • Lou

                But trading Castro doesn’t put more aged 30+ players on the team. It actually would make the team younger with talent. Confused.

                • cubchymyst

                  Castro is about as young as the get in the MLB, trading Castro will not make the team younger. Castro is younger than most major league Rookies still.

                  • Lou

                    But does this mean that he should be part of this teams plans throughout the time Theo’s here? Say the Cubs decide that he doesn’t fit the plans in year 4 of the rebuild, the Cubs would certainly get younger talent for him. Though, I agree it might not make the MLB roster younger than Castro’s age currently, it wouldn’t necessarily mean more 30+ players filling up the roster.

                    • cubchymyst

                      Castro is 22 in 4 years he will be 26 and still in his prime production years. The general thought is MLB players peak around 27-29. So yes Castro fits into a 4-6 years rebuild plan.

                    • Lou

                      But how much would it effect the rebuilding plan 4-6 years from it involves a multitude of players acquired from a Castro vs one player, no matter how solid, in Castro? The Cubs could be filling holes in multiple areas rather than counting on one player to fulfill the duties of playing one position. Especially, someone who doesn’t draw enough walks and who’s OBP is still too low for my liking.

              • Hee Seop Chode

                Jelous. I’m at work tvless.

              • terencemann

                @hansman1982

                Seriously, that was like every other episode.

                • leroy

                  sheesh…every episode….

                  • leroy

                    Jennifer!!![img]http://www.google.com/imgres?q=jennifer+aniston+friends&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1177&bih=754&tbm=isch&tbnid=ehJHQL18wVRAeM:&imgrefurl=http://www.hotflick.net/pictures/003FRN_Jennifer_Aniston_025.html&docid=DskpZoekwS1gJM&imgurl=http://www.hotflick.net/flicks/2003_Friends/003FRN_Jennifer_Aniston_025.jpg&w=720&h=540&ei=T5iSUOnYK8X3sga-94DQBw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=304&vpy=324&dur=2013&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=179&ty=218&sig=103900891753013850809&page=1&tbnh=177&tbnw=241&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0,i:154[/img]

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        I REEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAALY want McCarthy…just because of his Twitter.

      • Kyle

        We fielded nearly 20 wins worth of sub-replacement players last season. It would be hard to *not* improve the team significantly without intentionally going all Major League on the roster.

        • hansman1982

          And I’ve already boiled your argument down to that theo and co fielded truly subpar guys at 3b and backup catcher to start the season.

          If they can head into this season with only 2 big question marks (with one of those being a backup slot) is be happy

          • Kyle

            “And I’ve already boiled your argument down to that theo and co fielded truly subpar guys at 3b and backup catcher to start the season.”

            And the bullpen. And the rotation.

            • hansman1982

              No I distinctly remember you agreeing those were the glaring holes a the start of the season. Was volstad, shark, a couple of the BP and 1B replacement level? Sure, Shark, lahair went to play above replacement, wood went below. I’m not saying it was ideal but neither was the roster at the end of the 2011 season on a team that, if dismantled properly at that trade deadline, would have lost in the neighborhood of 100 games.

              Now if Theo passes up on the types of acquisitions this offseason that he was successful at in Boston then yes he will be tanking the 2013 season.

              Right now he is acquiring the talent that will lead to those 150m payrolls down the road which typically contain guys acquired through the farm system.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Deez

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

    It ain’t trickin’ if you got it.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      +1

  • 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.

    • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong 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.

      • 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.

        • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Kyle

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

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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.

            • 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:

              Soriano/DeJesus/Gomes
              Polanco/Castro/Barney/Rizzo
              Castillo

              Garza
              Marcum
              Shark
              Liriano
              Wood

              Marmol
              Russell
              Frasor
              Camp
              Dolis
              Chapman
              Bowden

              Bench
              Valbuena
              LaHair
              Stewart
              Campana
              Clevenger

              • 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.

                • 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…

                  • Kyle

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

                    • DarthHater

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

                • Cubfan Paul

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

                • 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?

    • Lou

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

        • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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.

              • 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!

                • 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?

                  • 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.

                    • 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.

                  • Internet Random

                    I have accepted Theo as my personal savior.

                    • 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.

                    • Lou

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

                    • Lou

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

                    • 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.

            • TWC

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

              Ha!

              • 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.

                • 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.

                  • 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.

                    • Lou

                      TWC–why add fuel to fire?

                    • 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).

                • DarthHater

                  I guess we all have voids psychologically in our lives

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

                  • 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!

                    • TWC

                      It’s like Ace gets off on being withholding.

    • 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.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Theo isn’t God.

        It is in Greek.

        • JoeyCollins

          best thing ive read all day

        • hardtop

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • Frank

        Seems to me that both may be appropriate . . .

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Why do you ask people to respond to you if you clearly aren’t going to read their responses? I laid out a perfectly plain explanation last night after your repeated entreaties, and you seem to have completely ignored them.

        On second thought – don’t worry about responding to that question.

        • DarthHater

          Sorry, did you say something?

        • hansman1982

          But but theo has never built a team this way

          Well if you look at his 2006 WS winning team it was built with undervalued assets and guys acquired through the farm

          But you can’t give him credit for 2004 he wants to have an all farm team.

          No you acquire talent with the farm

          But this has never been done!

          SMH

          • Kyle

            His 2006 team missed the playoffs.

            His 2007 team relied heavily on Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the rotation. When we start getting pitchers like that, the complaining will stop.

            2007 Boston World Series champions.

            Top 8 position players by bWAR: Five free agents, all making $9 million or more. One trade, two draft picks.

            Top 7 pitchers by bWAR: Three free agents, one purchased via the posting system, one trade, two draft picks.

            I can’t wait until that Theo Epstein shows up.

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              My goof on the year.

              2007 Red Sox

              Positional (by bWAR):
              Ortiz – Signed off the scrap heap after Twins non-tendered him. Resigned for big money.
              Lowell – Acquired via Trade from Miami
              Youkilis – 8th round draft pick
              Pedroia – 2nd round draft pick
              Crisp – Trade
              Varitek – Acquired via trade perhaps – entire MLB career to that point with Red Sox
              Drew – Big time free agent signed Feb 2007
              Ramirez – Signed as FA prior to Theo’s tenure

              Pitchers (again by bWAR):
              Beckett – Trade from Marlins
              Matsuzaka – Purchased
              Schilling – Trade from Diamondbacks
              Papelbon – Draft
              Okajima – As far as I can tell purchased
              Wakefield – With Boston since Theo was a baby
              Delcarmen – 2nd round draft pick

              Theo Epstein called and said he never left.

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                Also you picked a very odd place to stop on the positional side. If you were willing to consider a player with .8 WAR worthy of mention why didn’t you stoop another .2 WAR and include Ellsbury into your sample?

                On the pitching side, if you include down to .6 you pick up 3 draftees, 1 trade target and 1 FA. You also get names like Bucholz and Lester.

                I think it’s safe to say Theo knows what in the hell he is doing.

                • Kyle

                  I always do 8 and 7. 8 because there are 8 position players on the field at a time, and 7 to account for five starters and two high-leverage relief pitchers.

              • Kyle

                Several of the players you are listing as “trades” became fully fledged free-agents between the time they were traded to the Red Sox and 2007. They weren’t just traded and extended. They were traded, let go to the free agent market, then ultimately chose to re-sign with the team.

                Varitek, for example, because a free agent on Nov. 1, 2004, and signed a new contract with the Red Sox on Dec. 24.

                But if you want to argue that’s a semantic quibble, that’s fine. We haven’t traded for any Schillings or Becketts any more than we’ve signed them as free agents.

                • hansman1982

                  And I would argue that it is far different to sign a guy fresh to your organization than someone whom you traded for and has played for you. Semantics yes but I do this for every player because you could argue then that every player who is past 6 years service time is a free agent since the player had the opportunity to go to free agency and son with another team.

                  Again, Theo called to say he never left he is simply acquiring the guys he needs to he his Schilling and Beckett he also wants to know how Crawford panned out.

                  • Kyle

                    Under the old rules, that player would only be a free agent if they actually filed for free agency. If they were extended before the offseason or before they formally filed (they had like up to 10 days after the WS ended), then they were never free agents.

                    That’s changed a little under the new CBA, where they just automatically become FAs.

                    • hansman1982

                      I’m not arguing that but it’s reasonable to think that varitek was potentially never seriously considering signing with another team. Ie its impossible to know the circumstances of the free agency in a situation like that. Now had he gone/been traded to another team I have no problems with your line of thinking in saying that Varitek was signed as a free agent

                      I just have a hard time claiming him or similar players as a free agent acquisition just because the agent submitted a form in the off chance another team makes a ridiculous offer.

  • 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.

    • 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,

  • 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.

  • 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**

  • 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”

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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.

      • baldtaxguy

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

      • 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.

        • Internet Random

          I must have hit the wrong “reply” link.

      • 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.

        • DarthHater

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

          • 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?

        • Tommy

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

          • Cubs1967

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

            • Lou

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

        • 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…………………?

          • Cubs1967

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

            • 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?

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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.)

    • 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.

      • 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?

        • Internet Random

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

    • baldtaxguy

      http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/21/news/companies/zell_tribune_chicago_cubs.fortune/index.htm

      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.

      • Drew7

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

      • 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.

      • Internet Random

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

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+