Veteran’s Day may have officially been yesterday, but we can remember and honor those who serve any and every day of the year.

  • Junior Lake is getting some love for his (so far) huge year in the Dominican Winter League. The Cubs have a tough mini-decision to make on him in the next couple weeks, as the 40-man roster is at 36, including Lake, which doesn’t leave them a whole lot of room for maneuvering in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. I think the Cubs are going to make something happen in that regard, be it with Lake, or a Matt Szczur, or a Josh Vitters, or someone else, before the end of November.
  • More on the fallout from the failure of the Cubs and ASU to come to an agreement on sharing facilities in Mesa. It’s more of the same, but with a humorous inclusion. For those inclined to embrace the “Clown Kenney” persona, prepare yourself for a new arrow in the quiver: “The personal chemistry was not good. [ASU Athletic Director Steve] Patterson and [Cubs Business President Crane] Kenney spent much of one session arguing over the location of a hot-dog stand, the person close to the talks said.” I’ve not been one to get into the sniping in the media about Kenney’s tenure, but man, this story sure falls into the stereotype that folks have built around him. Who’s going to put together the first Kenney/hot dog stand joke? Fertile ground, friends.
  • (In Crane’s defense … maybe it was a really important hot dog stand. And maybe that meeting was “The Meeting to Discuss Encased Meats and Points of Sale.” And maybe Patterson brought hot dogs to the meeting drenched in ketchup, which started things off on the wrong foot.)
  • One last(?) thought on that failed deal, from BN’er Spriggs in the comments over the weekend: “It isn’t a big deal to most Cubs fan, but it is unfortunate for the Cubs and for Mesa. One of the reasons for moving from Hohokam is the lack of activity around the park. It’s surrounded by an old residential area and a huge city cemetery  After the games, a majority of vistors leave Mesa for Scottsdale, Phoenix, or Tempe hotels, bars, restaurants, etc. Part of the idea behind the new spring training complex is to have Mesa be that destination for spring visitors (where they pay city hotel taxes, sales taxes, support local business – which hire local labor, etc.). Ricketts wanted more of a Wrigley atmosphere… Mesa wanted the economic activity. The new complex is being built in an area that allows for a “Wrigleyville West” as they were calling it. Having an ASU and it’s student body included in that activity could have been very important — making it more than just a place to go in March. With ASU in the mix, it would have become much more economically viable to open new stores, bars, restaurants, etc. I think losing ASU will make the build out much slower.” That’s a good point. An unfortunate one, but a good one.
  • David and Kim DeJesus’s fundraiser dinner thing is tonight.
  • In case you missed it over the weekend, there was a Lukewarm Stove on Saturday.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the Dodgers’ spending proclivities, and their possible targeting of Torii Hunter as the most expensive fourth outfielder in the game. My thoughts there: “Why is the Dodgers’ pursuit of Hunter notable? Well, for at least two reasons. For one thing, Hunter is expecting to get a starting job somewhere (and he could find one if he shopped around), so the Dodgers would have to pay handsomely to get him to join their crowded outfield. For another thing, if the outfield is to be un-crowded (they’ve already got Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier as the presumed starters), the Dodgers will have to deal Andre Ethier … just months after signing him to a five-year extension. Perhaps that’s their plan, rather than simply putting together a $300 million payroll, but I can’t say I endorse that approach either – sign a guy to a five-year extension, and then deal him in the immediately following offseason? That can’t be a great way to endear yourself to players.”
  • Brian Peters

    Dang, Kenney’s sporting enough Grecian to grease a pole!

  • hansman1982

    Am I the only one Jo thinks we are going to see a bankruptcy filing in a few years with the dodgers?

    Dodgers and cubs are certainly taking two different approaches to building a franchise. Will be interesting to see where they both are in 10 years.

    • Brian Peters

      Yes, it will be. I keep belly-achin’ about the Cubs targeting players who aren’t coming off injury-filled seasons, but in the end, I’m pretty happy with the steps they’ve taken to strengthen the farm system and save some money by picking up (or attempting to pick up) the players they’ve targeted.

    • dabynsky

      While I agree with the premise, they started out this period with Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp and a whole lot of talent that the Cubs didn’t have for a variety of reasons.

      • Brett

        Yeah, definitely two very different starting places. I think the Dodgers are hoping for some near-term success, and then being lucky/able to stomach obscene luxury tax bills for the next decade thereafter (because they’ll be paying the old/crappy guys, and paying for guys to actually play).

    • Patrick W.

      I think something that people might be underestimating: Magic Johnson. I have heard a few accounts of his involvement with the team, and I think it’s worth paying some attention. How many ex-players make great GMs? I know he’s not the GM but he has been personally involved in at least one move that I know of. We might see from a former superstar a lack of appreciation for the downward trend of baseball superstars.

      • Drew7

        “How many ex-players make great GMs?”

        Right, but how many ex-players are one of the most successful businessmen in the world?

        • Patrick W.

          Right, but how many ex-players are one of the most successful businessmen in the world?

          Excellent point, and you are absolutely right. What Magic has done outside of his basketball life shows that he’s a smart guy. I’m just suggesting he might have a blind spot here. I guess we’ll know more if they sign hunter and jettison Ethier.

      • Leroy

        Michael Jordan

    • Kyle

      Prediction: Dodgers are much more likely to win the WS in the next 15 years than the Cubs.

      • Cubbie Blues

        That’s not really a prediction.

      • hansman1982

        Odds are yes. Over the next 5 years they do have a much higher likelihood of winning the WS thanks to roster pieces they developed internally or traded for (1 of those trades being the most shocking trade of the last decade).

        But that wasn’t my point. I am merely curious as to what the state of the two franchises will be in 10 years – WS ring or not.

      • DarthHater

        Prediction: Anyone who makes predictions about who is likely to win the WS in 15 years is likely to go down in history as an idiot.

      • BeyondFukudome

        Thanks for the prediction, Nostradumass.

  • BD

    “but I can’t say I endorse that approach either – sign a guy to a five-year extension, and then deal him in the immediately following offseason? That can’t be a great way to endear yourself to players.”

    I know this is more years/money than FAs the Cubs would target, but shouldn’t this be a concern with the Cubs looking for flippable assets? Is it endearing to sign a guy and let him play his way into a trade? (For what it’s worth, I agree with the strategy. Just not sure it’s the best reputation to have.)

    • Brett

      Oh, I totally wonder about that, too. Theo has made some interesting comments lately, though, about Paul Maholm, specifically. He says things like, “if you asked Paul if he’d do it again, he’d do it exactly the same.” The implication, I think, is that some players don’t mind – and might even like – the idea of being a flippable piece.

      • Norm

        Think about it from the players side.
        They can sign with a contender today, but just because that team is thought to be a contender in 2013, it doesn’t mean it will play out that way (Boston, Philly?). So they may get stuck on a team that isn’t going anywhere, anyway.
        Now, sign with the Cubs, probably for more money since bad teams will have to pay a bit more to get a player to go to a losing team, and you are a near lock to be on a contender for the last 2 months of the season thanks to a trade.

        Doesn’t sound so bad.

        • Brett

          I definitely see that angle (and clearly it is enticing for some players), but it wouldn’t work for all players. Some guys – family guys, typically – like to know where they’re going to be for the next X years. Nothing is certain (short of a NTC) wherever you go, but with the Cubs in 2013, the chances you’ll be uprooted are much, much stronger.

          • Norm

            Sure, this strategy would only really work with the Maholm types – those who are signing for no more than 2 years. (Melky? Victorino? Pagan? All those pitchers?)

    • Cordura

      a0 Cubs fans need to chill the hell out and give this thing time Absolutely right Katie.a0 It will take a few years to straighten this mess out, but once they do with the roceurses and a clear vision from the top, there is no reason they can not dominate the NL Central for many years.Thank you Mr. Ricketts!

  • abe

    if we are keeping lahair on the 40 does that mean the Cubs are planning on keeping him next year (if not why waste a spot on him)?

    • CubFan Paul

      lahair will be gone by Nov 20th-30th, before the rule 5 draft

    • Brett

      Great point/question. Hard to see a reason to keep him through the Rule 5 if they aren’t going to keep him (unless they believe he has legit trade value, and also believe the market for him won’t develop until January/February, which is possible).

    • fortyonenorth

      Is LaHair playing winter ball? There was a lot of talk in the late summer/early fall period in which the Cubs wanted him to get some off-season at bats, but I haven’t heard anything for a while.

      • Mew

        Oh yes, Dark Overlord Bud definitely had a hand in this. Enough is enuogh! Can’t wait to see Theo with a blue cap on. Jed is just the icing on the cake. I remember having a conversation with one of my coworkers a little over a year ago about my wish list for the Cubs. You know, the kind of shit we wish for but we know will never happen: great pitching (CC), great manager (like that prick La Russa), and great GM (like Theo). I honestly never thought I’d see the day. Now, my wish for Theo is not to get his panties on too tight and read too much in the press, especially given the number of hacks in Chicago. Cubs fans need to chill the hell out and give this thing time. What’s another year or two after all the bs we’ve suffered through? For once I would like it if Chicago wasn’t the place where great baseball careers went to die.I might actually hit the convention this year!

  • Fastball

    Hotdog Stand comments:

    Crane JH doesn’t work here anymore so the placement of the hotdog stand is no longer mission critical.

    The hotdog stand has to be called Dick’s Hotdog’s… The slogan would be. Dick’s Hotdogs.. If you like hotdogs you’ll love Dick’s.

  • TonyP

    I can’t wait for the day Kenney is gone. Whether it is valid or not his reputation is no better than total incompetent boob.

  • Curt

    I know this is off topic but I just couldn’t believe the lakers hiring of mike d’antoni Phil who just wins titles instead you hire a guy who’s really done nothing , lakers front office keeps doing strange things, what was wrong with Bynum , maybe jack Nicholson complained about not enough stars on team.

  • MightyBear

    Part of the idea behind the new spring training complex is to have Mesa be that destination for spring visitors (where they pay city hotel taxes, sales taxes, support local business – which hire local labor, etc.). Ricketts wanted more of a Wrigley atmosphere… Mesa wanted the economic activity.

    The folks against the Wrigley renovation being supported by the state and the city need to read that part and get a clue. This is how things work.

  • GDB

    Brett, when you say you think the Cubs will make something happen before the rule 5 draft, how do you see that working? Trading Lake/Vitters/Sczur for a low-A prospect not eligible for rule 5? Or trading a pair of them for a single (better) prospect to free up a roster spot?

    Also, with Ethier, would the Cubs have been interested in him had he been hitting free agency this year? I’m sure I read something not long after Theo/Jed took over that players like Ethier were what we wanted… I may well be mis-remembering.

    • Brett

      Not sure if Ethier is a fit, but he’s interesting. If the Dodgers do end up signing Hunter, that’ll be a topic for conversation.

      As for Lake/Szczur/Vitters/whoever, you’ve laid out the ways it could shake out (with the other being a trade for a big leaguer). It’s also possible nothing happens, and the Cubs just lave more players at risk in the Rule 5 than they might like.

  • Fastball

    Developing an area with hopes that college students are going to keep businesses afloat when the Cubs and Cubs Fans are not present is a stretch in my opinion. Not that many people go to college baseball games even in Arizona. The ASU draw to the businesses would be minimal. That facility would have to be promoted for use in a lot of ways if they want to keep businesses open year round.
    Maybe have a lot of baseball tournaments like AAU, Mickey Mantle, Legion and Connie Mack championships. But there are already destinations for those amateur leagues. Been to most all of them. Parents who have kids in those type leagues have money to travel and those type tournaments are not cheap. I just think that venue being built to support year round business is a stretch. If there was a large planned housing community developed around it and the Wrigleyville town center was the center of the community. That might work. But the planned community thing has almost died across the country with the recession. Developer’s aren’t rushing to take that risk.

    • terencemann

      I think the idea is to create an area in which the stadium could be a social gathering place even if it’s not about baseball. The Greenville Drive (AA Boston) built a stadium in Greenville, SC, that has a large bar attached and is near (recently overhauled) downtown that draws a lot of people throughout the year.

  • DarthHater

    Who’s going to put together the first Kenney/hot dog stand joke? Fertile ground, friends.

    This is an opportunity to relish.

  • Katie

    Crane was probably making sure bison dogs were in a prominent spot.

  • David

    I know that years ago, there was a rule that if a player was traded in the middle of a multi-year contract he could demand a trade. Is that rule no longer in effect?

    Also, call me insane, but if the Dodgers picked up a huge part of what’s left on the contract, I would love to see the Cubs pick up Carl Crawford. I know he was terrible in 2011 and hurt last year, but he had been a very, very good player for a long time before he signed that deal with Boston. He could be a starter for 2 or 3 years as a bridge to the younger guys coming up, and then finish out the deal as a 4th OF.

    That would mean that the Cubs would have to find a taker for Soriano, of course.

    • terencemann

      I don’t think there’s anything specific about that in the new CBA other than a team receiving a player in the final year of his contract mid-season (a trade deadline move, for example) is not eligible for draft pick compensation (so if the Cubs traded for Wright mid-season and then he walked, they couldn’t get a compensatory draft pick).

  • Fastball

    The thing with the Dodgers is they have a lot of owners in their ownership group. They are all very rich and want to be associated with the Dodgers and winning. So as rich individuals in a collective group the financials are not as important as is the winning. These guys are geeked up because they own part of the Dodgers. Owning the Dodgers isn’t there source of business income. They are already rich. They have more revenue than they figured in the business plan. The risk is spread across several individuals which is actually very smart. There is no way Ricketts could assume the risk they are taking. If the Dodgers team building solution fails, how is that going to be measured and by whom. It won’t be measured by fans except for playoff and WS appearances. The ownership wants that too. The Dodgers are there Ferrari that the next door neighbor doesn’t have.
    I would not be stunned if they Dodger payroll goes well beyond $200M. They will not care either for the most part. The risk is spread out amongst the investors and it’s painless for them.
    Baseball is changing because the revenues are so high. The type of ownership we will see is going to change. Ownership groups will buy teams just like the Dodgers and the game will be changed forever.

  • swaz46

    Who’s going to put together the first Kenney/hot dog stand joke? Fertile ground, friends.

    I’m assuming Kenny felt that the location of the hot dog stand didn’t cut the mustard.

    Or maybe the negotiations were behind schedule, and he wanted to ketchup.

  • Pat

    I guessing Crane just wanted to make sure the stand was far enough away from the trash bins, so as to prevent Todd from throwing them all away.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    I wonder if Crane likes his hot dogs Tom Waddle style, “Smothered in Underwear” LOL

    • pete

      To be completely frank, furter negotiations would have been fruitless.

      • DarthHater

        Well played, pete.

  • Frank

    Crane Kenney’s job is to obsess over crap like concessions. A pro sports organization is a business, and beyond the players, prospects, and coaches, generating revenue is a priority. That’s where Crane Kenney comes in. He should have nothing to do with anyone who wears a shirt with a number on the back. The reason that fans don’t know what his job is is due to the fact that it has nothing to do with baseball, nor should it.

    Take into consideration every employee of the Cubs; everyone from maintenance to marketing to concessions. Crane Kenney is their boss. He should have no role in player acquisition, developement, or performance.

    • TonyP

      Thank you for the insight Mr. Kenney. 😛

  • Byron Browne

    Is that a hot dog in your mouth or are you just glad to see me?

  • DarthHater

    Q: How many Cubs executives does it take to open a hot dog stand?

    A: Only one, but it takes him ten years to do it because first he has to completely dismantle the existing hot dog stands and establish long-term relationships with hot dog suppliers that will ensure a very solid future of hot dog vending.

    • swaz46

      I see what you did there, Darth.

  • Deez

    With Magic Johnson in tow, the Dodgers will have the best Basketball outfield in MLB.

  • hardtop

    fitting… kenney is a total wiener.

  • Cubsfanforlife

    So does anyone remember on Saturday or Sunday of this weekend, Assman22 posted saying that Liriano, McCarthy, and Villenueva were all close to signing with the Cubs?? Supposedly according to his sources????

    I hate when people post stuff that is not based in any reality. It’s a tease, it gets people excited, and then there is no payoff. I got a source that says blah blah blah…what a joke

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Assman22 has been uncannily accurate in the past. His “tips” have not always been correct, but as we’ve seen, these things also can fall apart at the last instant, and long after the looser lips have been giving away ship departures.

      On this same general topic, did anybody read the NYTimes “apologia/boast” for not calling the election sooner? The “late but sure” claim bellyflopped magnificently!

    • Kyle

      That’s not what he said.

  • BeyondFukudome

    Do not diss the Assman.