A night of excitement, hype, build-up, and no pay-off. Someone wanna make a prom joke?

  • As you’d expect after another Trade Saga like last night’s non-trade between the Angels and Cubs involving Dan Haren and Carlos Marmol, pretty much everything in the Cubs’ world right now is about that deal. The full story of what happened hasn’t yet been published, and, as I said last night, probably never will be. The best we can do is make some educated inferences to piece things together. We know that Carlos Marmol had a limited no-trade clause, and we know that he was the first person to spill the beans. We know that up until an hour before Haren’s option deadline, LA sources were insisting other teams were involved in trying to get Haren (which now sounds like a hapless pump strategy from the Angels). We know that the deal fell apart late, reportedly because the Cubs pulled out. We know that the Angels did not deal Haren to anyone else, and paid $3.5 million to buy out his option. We also know that the Angels were able to trade Ervin Santana and his $12/$13 million 2013 option, but somehow were unable to trade Haren, even if they ate a million or two of the expected $15.5 million option (which they happily would have done, since they ended up having to pay him $3.5 million anyway).
  • Taking all of that together, what’s our narrative? Assuming we don’t get any additional information, it looks pretty clear to me. The two sides negotiated and finalized a trade, pending Marmol’s approval, and pending a review of medical information, as is always the case (but almost never an issue). The Cubs reached out to Marmol for approval, perhaps even telling him that a deal was done (because it was). He agreed to be traded, and starting talking to the media. The Cubs received Haren’s medical information, and something spooked them. From there, either the Cubs asked for more money or more in trade, or they simply pulled straight out. It may not be as black and white as “Haren is broken,” but if it hadn’t started with a medical issue, Haren would have been traded to another team. How else do you explain the Angels feeding the media a story about a bunch of other interest (but then no taker), and the Angels finding multiple suitors and a taker for Ervin Santana, but not Dan Haren? Sure, the Cubs could have been playing chicken with the Angels about the amount of money in the deal (and each team called the others’ bluff, driving off the cliff at 11pm CT, when Haren’s option decision was due), but where were the other teams? Are the Angels really such a crappily run organization that they didn’t have a back-up team in place, if Haren was, in fact, totally healthy? They aren’t that crappily run (no org is), and, thus, no other explanation I can presently think of makes sense. It was the medicals that started things unravelling.
  • Here’s what’s annoying to me about folks in the media who are now pointing out the similarities between the Haren/Marmol trade and the Dempster/Delgado trade: the only thing that was actually similar is how many members of the media said the trade was a done deal and “confirmed.” In the latter deal, the Braves leaked word of the trade to try and force Dempster’s hand in deciding on the trade, and the no-trade rights were the hold-up. In the Haren/Marmol deal, Marmol leaked word of the trade because he was willing to waive his NTC, and the Cubs pulled the deal late (presumably because of medicals). Where is the similarity? Seriously, the only similarity is how many members of the media were willing to say they had confirmed a deal. I spent the latter part of last night, and a chunk of this morning questioning myself – wondering if I did things in the best way, the most transparent way, and the fairest way. I think I did – I never said it was a done deal, and throughout, the post title indicated a trade “may” have happened – and even I feel bad about how things went down. We should all use these times as opportunities for reflection, and try to get better.
  • I had a bunch of tabs open where I had collected all of the “confirmed” articles and tweets I saw throughout the night, but I just closed them. No need to post a bunch of frustrating screenshots. Almost all of it is in my time line, and, even if those articles are changed or tweets are deleted, that’ll serve as the mirror for posterity.
  • So, what now? Well, it’s hard to imagine the Cubs not trading Marmol before the season opens, given that they’ve already had him waive his NTC for a deal. He knows they don’t want him. As for Haren, yes, he’s a free agent, but (1) the Cubs have a reason to be afraid of signing him, and (2) he might not want to come to Chicago anyway. In other words, the fact that this all happened doesn’t make the Cubs any more likely to sign him than any other team. Heck, they might not even want to give him guaranteed money at this point. Like I said above, medical issues aren’t black and white – an issue on which the Cubs didn’t want to take a chance, another team might not see as an issue at all. I’m suddenly watching Haren’s free agency with great fascination, regardless of whether the Cubs are involved or not.
  • Instead, the lasting thought I’ll leave you from this fiasco is about the awesomeness of Matt Garza. While the trade was going down, Garza was frantically tweeting about his fond farewells to Marmol, his excitement for next season, his excitement to have a horse like Haren in the rotation, etc. And then the trade busted, leaving us with this gem:


  • (In case Twitter styling is lost on you, that’s Garza first tweeting “Hearing trade is off… Oh well, still excited about February though!,” and then friend of the program Matt Clapp tweeting in response, “This is awkward,” and Garza responding, “Agreed!” Which is hilarious.)
  • Hey, one non-Marmol/Haren Bullet: Cubs Convention passes go on sale Wednesday, November 7 at 10am CT. I’ll be there. We can get a beer and talk about the inevitable five more trades that will fall apart between now and January 18, when the Convention begins.
  • Hebner The Gravedigger

    I am primarily concerned about the perception of this FO. If this FO is not perceved as one that can get a deal done, has leaks, backs out, etc, then they have an issue. It does not have to be true to affect them if the perception exists…

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It does not have to be true to affect them if the perception exists…

      Obviously, it does not have to be true for fans to have this perception: a huge proportion of fan perceptions are false, after all. However, it probably does have to be true for other FOs to have this perception.

      (Remember, this can be stood on it’s head: the Angels might have come close to peddling damaged goods!)

      • CubsTown

        Make no mistake, large or small, at the very minimum the FO has failed to communicate properly with their players in how to properly handle news in the new era. Which, I believe was supposed to be their strongpoint. What happened to their perceived image of being a tight-liiped outfit? It seems they have more loose lips and news floating around than Hendry. At least Hendry never even bothered to hide any news, so there was never this sort of confusion.

        • mudge

          thanks, I almost made a mistake there.

          • baldtaxguy

            I almost made a medium mistake

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Which, I believe was supposed to be their strongpoint.

          No, it’s not. Theo & Jed’s strongpoints have been loading their teams with high OPS batters and low OPS pitchers. Marmol had to be consulted: he had a NTC. They can ask him not to talk about it, but that’s about it. Moreover, Marmol might well have been told that the trade was done pending medical stuff. The “pending physical” etc. stuff always is there, but it’s like the “offer not valid in blah di blah” part: nobody pays any mind because it almost never rears it’s ugly head.

          Oh, and Hendry did hide the news. By all accounts, GMs discuss dozens and dozens of possible trades for every one that gets done. We hear about only a fraction of them.

        • hansman1982

          So out of the 7 trades that have been confirmed by the national media we have 1 that is leaked by a cubs player and suddenl the FO is losing their reputation?

          • Bill

            Wouldn’t this be the 2nd time in a few months? If there are comparable examples of this going on with other teams, I’d love to hear them, because right now it’s looking like the Cubs have a monopoly on the market. No way to spin it but say it’s getting embarrassing.

            • Cubs1967

              it is the 2nd time. but god forbid we question the great theo; you know the guy who spent 340M on crawford-lackey-dice K-julio lugo. (which makes the soriano money look pretty damn good!).

      • DoubleDown

        I believe the Angels not only came close to selling a damaged good, they almost succeeded. Is that not illegal and then would merit a intervention by the commish?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Medical reports aren’t always that black and white. One team might see an issue in the soft tissue and think it’s a red flag, another team might think it’s not a big deal. (That’s just an example.)

        • baldtaxguy

          Maybe close will not count. There is that whole HIPAA stuff that may include something in his medical history that was a surprise. He may also have further or suspect damage related to his back. Just timing prior to the deal as to when it was disclosed.

          • baldtaxguy

            Even if it was medical related. Could be something else, like cash.

            • DoubleDown


              • baldtaxguy

                It can’t be something else?

                • DoubleDown

                  You said cash. I said no.

    • DoubleDown

      The perception of The Cubs front office is well regarded, make no mistake. It is the bad year(Theo can’t go out there and play baseball) the players had, maybe or maybe not by their own fault.(ie, Stewart hand surgery) The “leaks” seem to be coming from the players side. Of course if a player is identified as “trade bait”, they are gonna get pissed off and leak info.

  • Fastball

    The buck stops at Theo’s desk. He is the President of baseball operations. That makes him the man and all good and bad land on his shoulders. Fault and praise land at his desk. He is 100% responsible for winning and losing. You can blame the players and the coaches but they are only as good as what have in talent and capability. I personally think every buddy he has is on the payroll by now. Its time to spend money on players unless he still has FO spots to fill. He needs to get that squared away first. I know in the Navy my problems increased when I had too many Chiefs and not enough Indians . We need players. I don’t care if Haren was going to be and if those Indians or not. Theo and his boys need to get some good ones.

    • DoubleDown

      Right! The Indians never had the nerve to approach the chief.(The chief of course was Hendry, and the players the Indians for your comment)

  • TonyP

    Anyone get to see the game tonight? Did Zych get in the game?

  • Fastball

    We don’t even no for a fact that this deal fell apart because of a medical issue. that is all speculation. I have not read it that the deal was canceled for that reason. Maybe Haren told Theo he wouldn’t show up. Its all speculation and only Theo knows the facts of the matter.

  • Fastball

    Part of the problem is the reporting at every level. I have a degree in Journalism. Its 30 years old and I have never worked anywhere near journalism. I did learn that stories had to be fact and validated by at least two sources who would go on the record. Otherwise it wasn’t a story you could publish. I think the morals and code of ethics that were once sacred to the profession no longer exist. I suppose that’s why I have more than one degree

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I think the morals and code of ethics that were once sacred to the profession no longer exist.

      This is correct. Media has had to adapt to keep up with the instant reporting of blogs, tweets, etc. Moreover, the internet has made it so that people want reports now as things are happening. This creates an intense selective gradient for speed over accuracy. (That selective gradient always existed: it’s just intensified.) Moreover, there is no reward for being meticulous and accurate: most of the time, the speedy reports are more or less correct, and the occasions they are not do not count in favor of the meticulous. Those people simply missed the entire story.

    • Cheryl

      I agree. I have a degree in communications and worked a number of years for a newspaper. I’m alarmed at what passes for journalism today. Verify and verify again was what I was taught. This rush to be the first reporter is understandable at times but it is also what is giving journalism a bad name, not to mention the bias or non-reporting of a story that also is becoming quite apparent in some media.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Maybe Haren told Theo he wouldn’t show up.

    There is no reason why Theo or Jed would have consulted Haren. They were purchasing his contract which had an option for the team owning that contract. Haren had as much say as your or me in this deal: and his feelings were about as (ir)relevant.

    At any rate, you are not thinking parsimoniously. Haren not wanting to play for the Cubs does not explain why the Angels cut him loose. Medical concerns explain both the Angels declining his option and the Cubs losing interest.

    • DoubleDown

      I am glad the deal fell through.

      • nkniacc13

        Why exactly

        • DoubleDown

          He has a back problem. He hasn’t pitched well leading up to a deal. He surely has not pitched better than Maholm who we just sent packing. He surely is at best equal to Dempster, who we traded. The contract and money says no way Jose!

          • nkniacc13

            I understand what your saying but if he would he or Marmol have more trade value at the deadline?

            • Kyle

              If he has a bad back and can’t pitch, Marmol.

              • DoubleDown

                Now, what about the Garza comment? I have always stood by Garza. But his latest tweets are bewildering at best.

                • fortyonenorth

                  What tweets? From last night? Garza was as “in the loop” on the whole deal as you and I. He was simply responding to what he heard, nothing more.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Indeed, I would say that Garza’s tweets qualify as that “intangible” “clubhouse leadership” stuff. It’s not different from being the first one out of the dugout after the big hit: teammates appreciate it even if it really is all for show.

                    • DoubleDown

                      Garza tweeted that Haren woul be a “horse” in the rotation. Well, wasn’t Dempster. He ate up innings and would have been cheaper than Haren had the deal for Haren gone through. Trying to aquire a pitcher with back problems is tricky in itself. The interest in Haren made no sense to me to begin with.

                      I wish somebody could show an upside to the deal had it taken place.

            • DoubleDown

              It does not matter. Haren is done as far as being a Cub. Marmol is just a block away from gone.

            • DoubleDown

              Have to agree with Kyle

  • cubsin

    If the problem with Haren was indeed related to his medical reports, which seems to be the most likely explanation, then the Cubs are very well placed to pursue him as a free agent for substantially less than than the amount they would have paid if the trade had gone through. All of the 28 other GM’s know that the Cubs backed out of the deal and that the Angels paid him $3.5 million to go away. So they too will look closely at his medical reports and bid accordingly. Plus the Cubs still have Marmol available for a future trade, either this winter or at the trade deadline.

    • Bill

      According to Jordan Campbell (of Cubbies Crib) the deal fell through because of money, that they couldn’t agee to the split of $5.5M. I don’t know if he knows what he’s talking about but everyone here is speculating medical issues. I still find it hard to believe the Angels would be trying to trade someone they know is not healthy. I’m not sure sayng, “well nobody else made a deal for him, so it must be health”. Not necessarily. Other teams will sign him for multi-years, and probably for less avg per year than he’s gong to get with the option. You also don’t have to give up a prospect if you sign him as a FA.

      I guess we’ll find out this offseason if teams do offer him a multi-year deal.

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this deal didn’t fall through because of money. I think Theo’s main objective in acquiring Haren was to trade him before the deadline. He wanted him cheap. Now, he’s just going to trade Marmol during the offseason. Didn’t Theo just drive down Marmol’s value by basically signaling he doesn’t want him on the roster for opening day? I’d rather see them keep Marmol; hope he pitches like he did from Jun until the end of the season, and then trade him at the deadline.

      • fortyonenorth

        Nobody knows at this point. I read the post on CC and they positioned their statement as “one guess” – and I think that’s precisely what it was. Maybe they’re right, but I would think that the money element would have been part of the basic framework of the deal – not something left until the 11th hour.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “I still find it hard to believe the Angels would be trying to trade someone they know is not healthy.”

        I’ll say it again (and again, and again, and again). “Healthy” is not this black and white thing that you either are or aren’t. You have x-rays, MRI’s, doctor’s evaluations, anecdotal reports, etc. One team could look at a set of medicals and say, “well, I see a couple issues here, but not enough to scare me off. Let’s go for it.” Another team could look at the same medicals and say, “whoa, that’s worse than we thought it was. Unless they’re willing to throw in a few more million bucks, we can’t proceed on this deal anymore.”

        This is not only the most plausible explanation for how things played out, it is virtually the only explanation. You don’t ask Carlos Marmol to waive his no trade clause if you’re still dickering about the terms of the trade. And the terms of the trade only become an issue after you’ve agreed to them if something changes – like you finally getting to see the full medical history of the subject player, which is the last step in the trade.

        • WGNstatic

          I had another thought on this. The fact that the teams are trading MLB players with big salaries further complicates this whole thing.

          If the teams were trading Haren for a prospect, it is simple to imagine the Cubs looking at the medical reports, and determining that there is some chance that he will miss time and/or be less effective, thus lowering his value to them. They then return to the Angels and say, “we will no longer give you someone as good as prospect A, instead, how about B?” In such a situation, the teams would likely have found common ground and completed a deal.

          Things are more complicated with a Marmol deal. If the Cubs looked at the medical reports and, coupled with the salaries being exchanged, simply decided that Marmol has more value than Haren the deal could be called off.

          So, it really doesn’t require Haren to have zero value, simply a diminished enough value that a deal for Marmol didn’t make sense.

  • Eric

    Well that was fun to follow (even though, THANKFULLY, I was asleep for most of it). I work midnights during the weekend. But it gets my juices pumped for the offseason cause I know the Cubs are gonna make alot of moves. They have tons of MLB players and minor league guys they probably will be looking to trade. Here’s hoping for a big handful of nice solid trades.

  • King Jeff

    I think this is all a product of the way we share information now. Does no one remember the Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony trade sagas of the last two years? I can’t count the number of times that there were leaked reports that one of them was dealt, only to find out a few minutes later, it was premature reporting, or that there was a hold-up with one of the teams. I know it’s comparing the NBA to MLB, but this kind of thing happens all the time in pro sports, it’s not a “Cubby occurence” by any means. The Cubs still have Marmol, and Haren is now an unrestricted free agent who has already expressed that his wife and family have agreed that it would be fun to pitch for the Cubs short term. What exactly is all the crying about?

  • TonyP

    How many 90-100 seasons are acceptable to you (open question to everyone) during this “rebuild”?

    • TonyP

      I put this as a topic on the message board, please reply over there. thanks

  • KYCub

    I think the Cubs are for the CHEAP right now. I think they COULD put a very competitive product on the field next year by signing Ludwick, Youkilis, and a few veteran pitchers. However, I don’t think they want to. BTW, Theo and company need to look at the UK football attendance yesterday to see what happens when fans get tired of losing. It’s humbling!

    • TonyP

      I fall somewhere between the 2 extremes that I read on here all the time. I understand totally “sign free agents to short term contracts to be competitive while the minors are being re-stocked with quality prospects”. And I also can see the other opinion that being very bad for a couple of years should make the rebuild go faster because there will be higher picks and more money to spend.

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