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The Rule 5 Draft is coming up at 9am CT, and I’ll be covering it live. I’ll also have an update on some of the overnight rumors, particularly in light of the Cubs signing outfielder Nate Schierholtz (the most controversial $2.25 million signing you’ll ever see, apparently). Until then, Bullets …

  • New Cubs’ color man Jim Deshaies was introduced yesterday, complete with Cubs jersey. JD also already received advice from fans who recognized him – “be critical” was the one that stuck out to him. Of course, that means “be critical when the team deserves it” – we’re not looking for a Steven A. Smith-style rant just to fill air space.
  • Love this quote from JD: “There are great baseball fans everywhere. Houston has great baseball fans. [But] there is a bigger core of die-hard, passionate Cubs fans here. You have to be aware of that but you have to do your own thing and assume that’s going to work.” That is so, so very correct.
  • John Sickels briefly previews the Rule 5, and lists Cubs’ relief pitching prospect Marcus Hatley as one of five players he could see potentially picked today. Hatley, 24, was sent to the AFL last year, an indication that the organization was evaluating him for these very decisions. The numbers haven’t matched the stuff so far, so it would be a mixed bag to lose him.
  • Scott Boras is so very Scott Boras. Here’s a Winter Meetings quote, courtesy of Carrie Muskat: “We’ve seen franchise values go from $700 to $800 million for premium markets to where they’re now worth $2.5 to maybe $4 billion. Owners have made in franchise valuation, $2 to $2.5 billion. We’ve also seen a record revenue stream come to baseball from two media sources, in the fact that we’ve got a new TV contract where each club is going to get $25 million more per team per year. And almost any club in baseball, before they sell a ticket, off the general fund, revenue sharing and others, even the bottom teams, they’re going to have well over $110 to $120 million to spend, add on their ticket, concessions and other values. It’s really kind of a baseline where everybody’s at $180 million and above to begin. You also have the value of regional media rights, which we’ve seen in L.A. and we’re going to see in other markets like Chicago. If you look at certain owners, you have to say the Ricketts family for example, they’re the Ameritrade family. Well, I see why. They bought something for $800 million that’s now worth probably $2.5 billion and they have a new TV contract to negotiate in 2014 off the basis of what’s going on in Los Angeles with a $6 billion TV rights deal. And Philadelphia which may be equivalent to that, and then following, Chicago. Many of these teams can be great economic goliaths, and their owners have made very wise decisions buying those teams in the early 2000s.” It’s unclear from the quote, but I believe he had a sticky note stuck to his forehead that read “Ricketts Family: Spend more money on free agents, like mine, kthxbye.”
  • A scout that watched the Cubs throughout the season last year came away impressed with Dale Sveum. “[Starlin] Castro and [Darwin] Barney got better as the season went on,” the scout told Bruce Levine. “Sveum did a tremendous job of holding the team together after they traded the veterans at the deadline. He had no starting pitching after [Jeff] Samardzjia and they lost almost every game but they continued to play hard and the young guys got better.”
  • Dale Sveum on top Cubs prospect Javier Baez: “Incredible bat speed. Didn’t get to see any results, but the bat speed was pretty good. I didn’t go to his best games. But he had a heck of a minor league season – the combination of the home runs and everything. He was a bigger kid than I thought when I saw him in person. I saw him without a shirt on one day, and I was like, wow, he’s a pretty big kid. But a lot of tremendous, tremendous tools at that age. That kind of bat speed just doesn’t come around at 19 years old.”
  • If you can stomach it, Jesse Rogers speaks to Alex Gonzalez about his error in Game Six of the 2003 NLCS.
  • Former Cub Andrew Cashner cut his finger in a hunting accident (there are seriously a ridiculous number of baseball-connected hunting injuries each year), and will now miss three months of action.
  • Long-time Cubs minor league pitching coach Tom Pratt has lost his battle with cancer. Thoughts and well-wishes go out to his friends, family, and those lives he’s impacted.
  • abe

    Glad we sent cashner to SD..

    • Bazfan1234

      Agree times 100 (even before the hunting incident), I would argueably say the trade for Rizzo has been one of the new front offices best.

      • abe

        Agreed!!!!!!!

  • Featherstone

    Did he cut his finger off or something? 3 months is a long time to miss for a cut on the finger

    • Kyle

      Lacerated tendon requires significant rehab, generally.

      • Featherstone

        Yeah I assumed it had to be serious for that to be the case, but I certainly wouldn’t have expected 3 months.

        • TonyP

          I had a lacerated tendon once and the effects last for a long time. You can’t use the hand for weeks for fear the repair won’t hold and then the rehab last quite a while. I never got back full movement of the finger.

          • JulioZuleta

            Same, I severed the tendons below my pinky almost 2 years ago exactly, and still don’t have full movement. This injury could REALLY effect a pitcher. I saw someone’s tweet that Cashner rejected SD’s request that he pitch in Winter Ball to get stretched out. They probably aren’t overly happy with how his offseason has gone.

    • Freshness21

      His hunting partner cut him while they were dressing an animal

      • TWC

        That’s why you should leave wild animals alone and not try to put clothes on them.

        • MichiganGoat

          Yup we bite if you try to put pants on us.

  • Kyle

    With slightly liberal arbitration estimates (and including Soler and Concepcion as salary but not as players), we’ve got about $78.3 million committed to 12 players for 2013.

    Fill in the rest of the roster (including injuries) with minimum-salary guys and that takes you to almost exactly $90 million. We’ve also got another several million in presumably reachable performance bonuses, and possibly a buyout on David DeJesus.

    What does that mean? Well, who knows. If they are going with the same payroll as last year, that leaves us with about $20 million still to spend. If they want to raise payroll because the Dominican Academy is paid for and they severely cut in 2011, it could be a lot more than that. If they want to cut payroll again, we could be getting close to tapped out.

  • ssckelley

    The Cubs do have money, which is why I am starting to get on the Kyle band wagon here. Seeing the Cubs pass on a veteran 3rd baseman Chavez, getting another meh player in Schierholtz gives me the impression they are trying to lose 100 games again in 2013. There is no reason why they cannot sign players, that do not cost them draft picks, to at least be competitive in 2013. I am not asking they spend 100 million on players like Hamilton but get some players that give the Cubs a fighting chance to win.

    • CubFan Paul

      Agreed.

    • abe

      Don’t be mad about chavez. He is always injured half the year anyway..

      • ssckelley

        I know he is not a full time player anymore, but why not bring in a veteran player who was an excellent defensive third baseman to help mentor Vitters? He would make a perfect platoon situation. The 3 million Arizona spent is well worth it, even if he did re-injure his back.

        Over and done with, I will get over it eventually.

      • Chris

        He wanted to go to Arizona. He took less money than the Yankees would have given him to do that. He was never coming to Chicago. But I hear what you’re saying. He would have been a good fit.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Or, is it possible that Chavez passed on the Cubs?

      • ssckelley

        That is possible, but from what I have read it was about money. Evidently the Cubs did not feel he was worth $3 million or whatever it would have taken to get him here.

    • BLUED KID

      Man AMEN…. This is the #3 MLB Market…. CMON MAN!!!!!

      I know they talk about 2015 and 2016 BUT at least PUT a team on the field that competes and as a fans we think could get a playoff spot this year!!!!!

  • MichiganGoat

    The drama around the Nate Schierholtz is really hard for me to understand and only increases my desire to reply with snark, sarcasm, and tomfoolery. I guess fans are desperate for a signing and this signing really brings out the Ricketts is cheap, Theo is afraid, Hoyer is a horrible GM and on and on. The most controversial signing ever for affordable 4th OF type player.

    • CubFan Paul

      I’m holding out for Michael Bourn

      • MichiganGoat

        I think that might actually happen and hopefully the years and $$ are what Boras wants. He’s really got out of his way trying to drive Bourn’s price but I don’t think he is going to get what he wants. Theo’s poker face might pay off here.

    • Kyle

      And I even like the deal, sort of. If I hated it, I could have added another hundred comments on my own.

      But I don’t like trying to downplay it as a “4th outfielder.” He’s been signed to be the primary (left-handed) half of a platoon. He’ll get over 100 starts if healthy.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, I think it would be inaccurate to say he’s been signed to be a mere 4th outfielder – he may end up that way eventually, but, for now, he’s being brought in as the primary right fielder.

        Do with that what you will. But I also agree with MG – so much controversy for a relatively minor signing.

        • Kyle

          Occam’s Razor has to apply here. He’s appeared in 229 games in the last two seasons. He’s done well in that role. He took a one-year deal to come to the Cubs when there seemed to be somewhat significant interest in him.

          He didn’t come here to take on a lesser role than what he has had in the recent past. He came here because we promised him significant playing time and he can goose up his value entering his last arbitration and first free agent years.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            And he had other offers from better teams, too.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          370+ posts for a $2+ million deal.

          Got to be the most replies per million I’ve seen here yet.

          • Kyle

            To be fair, $2 million is a lot for us. He’s currently our fourth-highest-paid position player.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That would probably be true on a lot of teams.

              • Pat

                Put a number on a lot and I’ll take that bet.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Currently under contract? Position players only? I’d be surprised if it was less than 10. Hell, even good teams like the Reds have only three guys currently under contract who make more than that – (Phillips/Votto/Bruce – could be forgetting someone) – because of the value of arb and pre-arb guys. Even some of the bigger money teams have fewer players making multi-millions than you might assume. Heck, even the Yankees have only five positional players under contract making more than Schierholtz right now (though I suppose Gardener will top that in arb).

                  • Kyle

                    Including arbitration estimates.

                  • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

                    Yeah Brett, they all are 15M and over though, all we have to get excited about is a 2.25M signing…lol

                    Scheirholtz is a fine player to add, he’s not more than a 4th outfielder and we over paid to get him. He’s not worth more than 1.5.

                    My argument remains, given the stats for last year, a hurt Stewart put up similar numbers as a healthy Sheirholtz, yet they see fit to give a 4th outfielder the money they wouldn’t give a “hurt” third baseman, just makes no sense.

                    Not that I think he’s the wrong player too add, just makes me shake my head.

          • ssckelley

            I think it proves that us Cub fans expect a little more out of 2013. Most of us understand the rebuilding process and are ok with it, but to take this approach is unacceptable. There are plenty of free agents that do not cost the Cubs draft picks that they could sign to at least make the Cubs competitive. I do not want to go into 2013 knowing the plan is to lose 100 games. Last season sucked and I really do not want to see a replay of it.

            They need to approach this season as another chance, put a product out there that we as Cub fans will at least dream of contending. If it all falls apart and we are clearly out of it then flip what you have at the deadline, like last year. This FO may know what they are doing and currently have the support of the fan base, but they will lose a lot of that if they lose another 100 games this year.

      • MichiganGoat

        I didn’t even get through the first page of comments, it is a good minor signing yet the frustration it brought out was baffling. Yes he is not a true 4th OF and if another OF is not signed he will be the starter but he was paid like a 4th OF and yet everyone went overboard. I just can’t get worked up or even that passionate over a minor signing.

        • TonyP

          I think most people’s beef was that it wasn’t a “minor signing”. I believe people took it as our starting RF for 2013. Which since everyone agrees that he is a nice 4th outfielder, planning on him starting kind of blows.

        • ssckelley

          This is more than a minor signing, he will be more than just a 4th outfielder. The plan is to move DeJesus to center and to start this guy in right field. I love the idea of moving DeJesus to center, in my mind I can justify his production better from that position. But the corner outfield positions you can get run producers, instead of going out and getting that they brought in a guy who produces less than DeJesus and has a career .727 OPS!

          If this guy was signed to just be a 4th outfielder then I would completely agree with you.

    • Eric

      What I don’t get is why people think the Hendry way was the right way. It never netted a ring. Buying big names, shuffling things around, buying more big names, it never worked, ever. Even the Yankees don’t subscribe to that sort of madness.

      You have to spend money, no doubt about it. But spending money when you don’t have a strong core of players is just ridiculous. We needed a 4th outfielder, and that is what we got. I don’t get why everyone is clutching their pearls.

      • Kyle

        That’s the wrong way to look at it. Nobody’s arguing for “The Hendry Way,” whatever that means.

        We are arguing that you can develop a strong farm system while simultaneously keeping the big-league team competitive. The parallel fronts way. I like to think of it as “The Original Epstein” way. What we’ve got now is New Epstein.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          lol, the “Original Epstein” took over a team that won how many games the year before?

          • Kyle

            We’re all familiar with the history. That doesn’t mean I believe for a second that young Epstein would have settled for 100-loss seasons with his beloved Red Sox.

            • bbmoney

              Not with their roster…obviously.

              This is a completely different situation. That it appear incomprehensible to you that he can’t approach or isn’t approaching this situation in exactly the same way I find….surprising.

          • Pat

            How many years doesn’t take to blow it up before starting to add pieces for a rebuild? I don’t think anyone disagrees a rebuild was necessary. But there is no excuse for this years team being worse than last years.

            • Adventurecizin’ Justin

              How do you know this team will be worse than last year’s?

              • Pat

                Barring any major moves it is almost certain to project to a lower true talent level. That does not mean the result will necessarily be worse, but it does mean the expected result is not as good. Let’s say it’s the same. Are you okay with that?

                • Kyle

                  Looks pretty similar to me.

                • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                  Yep, I’m fine with it. My hope for 2013 is to see progressions from Castro, Rizzo, Barney, Spellcheck, BJax, Vitters, Lake, Watkins, A. Cabrera, Dolis, Beliveau, etc. (whereever they may be playing). I’m excited to see if anyone from the upper minors can take steps in the right direction.

                  The odds of winning anything are remote, so I’d like to see development this year. I’m excited about our draft positions. I’m excited about the international free agents we may be after.

                  They told us their plan…and they haven’t swayed from it. You can call ‘em cheap, but you can’t call ‘em liars. I appreciate what they’re trying to do.

        • cheryl

          Agreed.

      • Pat

        Because there is no excuse for the GM of a major market team to ever utter the words “it wasn’t the right time” when referring to a three year, 12 million dollar deal. Contracts like that don’t mortgage the future or any other such nonsense, and for them to pretend otherwise is insulting.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You’re right … but that doesn’t mean signing Keppinger for 3/$12M would have been a good move.

          • Pat

            But Jed didn’t say he thought it was a bad fit. What he was quoted as saying is that it wasn’t the right time for that type of deal. Sorry, but that’s bullshit.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I think that quote was conflated with a larger discussion. It wasn’t quite that black and white.

              • CubFan Paul

                Brett, his own words were that black & white. After being asked repeatedly for an explanation for not signing Keppinger he basically admitted it was money/years as if 3yrs/$12M would of hurt us.

                http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/14298/video-hoyer-talks-winter-meetings

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  He was talking about signings generally if that’s the video I saw earlier (can’t look now).

                  • CubFan Paul

                    the local beat guys were badgering him on why they didnt sign a 3B yesterday despite their interest and the contracts that went out. the only player of note was keppinger..

          • cheryl

            It might not have made sense to pay that much for Keppinger but somewhere along the line the cubs will have to buy some players that will cost them other than what they are paying now. Next year, with the new taxes and the continued downturn in hiring, the cubs will see less in attendance. There has to be something other than these rental or flippable players for fans to spend the money to attend,

            • ssckelley

              Agreed! Back in the old days the Cubs would go out and sign some washed up power hitter, us fans would have visions of a monster season, go out and buy tickets, then tank once the season started. Now we do not even get that it is all about signing under valued player, hope they turn it around (like Maholm), and then flip them for prospects at the trade deadline. I am not buying tickets to see that, I can spend my summer resources doing other things.

              • sclem21

                You’re seriously advocating for overpaying some washed up power hitter? That’s why we got here in the first place. And if that’s the reason you needed to buy season tickets, well…that’s a friggin joke.

                • Kyle

                  Poor drafting is the reason we got here in the first place.

                  • sclem21

                    haha, well that’s certainly true too. I guess I should have said one of the problems…point still stands. People make worthless arguments under this pretense of being disrespected as fans and I just have no patience for it. Couple that with advocating for overspending on washed up power hitters…

                    I mean you can poke holes in what I said if you want to be contrarian but I’m sure you dont agree with what that guy is begging for.

                • ssckelley

                  No, I am advocating that the FO is not giving us anything to get excited about for 2013.

                  • sclem21

                    Doing things different than they’ve been done in the recent past is exciting to me. Sticking to a plan that legitimately strives for sustainability is exciting. I’m not saying they shouldn’t spend money but overspending on ‘washed up power players’ to serve as an opiate for the masses is not exciting at all.

                    • Hawkeyegrad

                      Agreed…last year during an interview Theo said that prospects are the new currency of baseball. Assuming there is some top limit the owners are willing to spend on payroll, to maximize team performance per dollar, the key is to acquire players on exsting deals undervalue. The primary way you do that is through growing your own prospects or moving your propspects for players on undervalued deals.

                      It is OK to spend $15 million per year on a guy if he is giving you $20 million production. It is the guys who you are payng $15 million that give you only $5 million in production that kills you. If you can build a team around a $125 million payroll that produces like a team with a $150 million payroll, now you’ve got something.

                      The best way to get there is to build your farm up and bring a number of those players along to produce at the big league level and us a chunck of those players to acquire guys on undervalued contracts from other teams. If the Cubs start overpaying people on long term deals now, it will hamper their ability to do these deals down the road.

                      For example, if a team can get Soriano for $5-$7 million per year for the next couple of years (with the Cubs eating the remainder of his contract), that is a hell of a deal for the production he provides. This would be an example of acquiring an asset for less then it is worth and not getting stuck with a long term contract where you are likely to go underwater at some point.

                      The only way to get that deal is to provide the Cubs with some decent prospects (I said decent…not top). If you have an excess of decent prospects, you can improve you big league club by using them as currency without hurting you long term outlook.

          • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

            Yes, but cutting Stewart loose and not signing anybody to play third base with only Valbuena (Yuck) and Vitters who is not ready, is a bad move.

            A move that if they do not remedy, if I was an “Owner who Cared” would probably get them fired.

            Based on the Boras quotes, who I hate but have to agree with here, is it Ricketts unwillingness to spend money or ineptness on the part of Theo and Jed?

            I will sit back and watch, but I have doubts about the wonder twins. Given Hendry’s track record with draft picks, anybody can better that record, but after 3 years of Thed and all we show is a better farm system, that is not enough to continue to have these clowns in charge.

            Go back to Boston you wankers!!

            • Hee Seop Chode

              I”m pretty sure the Boras quote was directly aimed at Bleachernation .com. He intends on creating fan pressure on management/ownership to spend.

              He’s going to be disappointed.

              • MightyBear

                He’s got Kyle on his side. Maybe Cheryl now too.

      • Kyle

        For a side note, I hate the term “core.” It’s meaningless. At any given time, an MLB organization has roughly 80-100 players of note under its control. Those are the assets available to it. Partitioning off a few and calling it a “core” doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t add anything to our understanding of what they have.

        The Cubs will be fielding at least four homegrown (or quasihomegrown, in Rizzo’s case) pre-arbitration players in their everyday lineup, and all project to be at least average starters at their position. What more do you need to count as a “core”?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “What more do you need to count as a “core”?”

          More/better than just Castro/Rizzo/Samardzija.

        • jt

          The core are the players who play the most innings and are not easily replaced. The core tend to harvest many of the teams resources.
          Joey Votto would be a nice core player to have. David DeJesus is a nice player to have. But if he is considered part of the core then the FO should do some work.

  • fortyonenorth

    Signing Schierholtz isn’t controversial. It’s the implication that the Cubs seem to be hung-up on some self-serving principals surrounding the rebuilding process. No one’s asking for Grienke or a WS ring this year, but it would be good to see a commitment to fielding a team that reflects the size of the Chicago market and the resources of the ball club.

    • TonyP

      agreed

      • Hee Seop Chode

        +2

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      So, who do they need to sign that reflects the size of the Chicago market? Bourn? He’s a guy who is going to get too many years and too much money. I prefer that the Cubs don’t give it to him.He’ll get 5 years…he’ll be loved the first 2 or 3…then everyone will want him dumped the final 2 or 3. I want smart investments…and I just don’t see any of the free agents in this class being smart investments. Just my opinion.

    • Brian

      Reflection from the fans stand point or from the guys actually paying the bills?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      At the expense of future teams…great idea.

      • ssckelley

        What do you mean by this? No one is asking the FO to sacrifice “future teams”.

        • Kyle

          That’s where this all gets weird.

          “Sacrificing the future” used to mean trading prospects for really good short-term veterans, usually in the last year or two of their contracts.

          Now “sacrificing the future” means signing any player to any contract length beyond 2 years, for more than a few million, and with any intent other than to flip him for prospects at the deadline.

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            If you were Theo/Jed, what would have been your plan for this winter? What contracts would you give to the free agents you’re wanting? I never see your plan…just always putting down someone elses. Please lay it out.

            • Kyle

              I wanted a CFer, two starting pitchers and two relief pitchers.

              Pass on Baker or Feldman to go heavy on a Jackson or Marcum type. Maybe Sanchez if you really trust his arm, but probably not.

              Overpay for Upton if you have to. You absolutely have to have a CFer, and he makes sense age-wise. I have no interest in seeing DeJesus in CF.

              Fujikawa is fine. I would have liked to have been in on Affeldt. A Grilli or someone like him will be fine as the second.

              Just give 3b to Valbuena. You aren’t going to do any better on the open market and you can use the savings on pitching.

              • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                So, you’d do what, 6 years, $90M for BJ Upton????
                Wow.

                • Kyle

                  Absolutely. He’d be a massive upgrade over what we have in the outfield now.

                  Let’s say after the 2016 season he suddenly forgets how to play baseball and you are stuck with the last two years.

                  Exactly what are we going to not be able to buy because of those wasted two years?

                  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                    You want me to give you a name that the Cubs will miss out on in 2016?
                    If I could do that I would have won Powerball.

                    • Kyle

                      So we should underspend and undercompete now out of the fear that if we get burned on an FA, we might not have enough money to compete later? That’s locking in the downside for no additional upside.

                  • bbmoney

                    I wouldn’t have minded that. You can slide him over to a corner in a couple years when he looses a step.

                    My biggest thing for the offseason though is still signing another SP. Someone from the Jackson, McCarthy, Marcum class, or Anibal Sanchez. I still think that’s the biggest area they need help and have the least potential help coming from the system. There are a few intriguing names hitting the market next year…but who knows if they make it to FA the way extensions are becoming the trend.

                  • Noah

                    Well, presuming the Cubs stick by the plan they have been saying, that they will raise MLB payroll back up to around whatever their max is when they feel they are ready to compete, and presuming the latest the Cubs will make that move is 2015 (and I think these are both fairly safe presumptions unless the front office and ownership are both lying through their teeth):

                    It would mean that $15 million per year that the Cubs would not be able to spend on other players would be tied up in a declining BJ Upton.

                    When the Cubs payroll is going to be in the $70-$80 million range this year, yeah you can look at them and say why wouldn’t they be able to afford another $15 million? But when the payroll is between $115-$120 million?

                    The bigger problem with Upton is that it’s not even really clear he’s that good of a ballplayer right now. His plate discipline completely abandoned him, and he was essentially a league average bat this year. Do you really overpay to tie that guy up into his mid-30s?

                  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                    You would have really paid that kind of money for a guy who has been trending downwards in many alarming areas? Most guys in their free agent year will step it up. He didn’t. That’s a red flag…not worth the money he received, IMO.

                    • Kyle

                      As a general rule, I believe in regression to the mean and the plexiglass principal. Absent a clear physical reason for multiple years of decline, I think that multiple years of “trending downward” actually means the player is more likely than most to improve in the immediate future.

                  • Cub Fan Dan

                    Let’s say after the 2016 season he suddenly forgets how to play baseball and you are stuck with the last two years. Exactly what are we going to not be able to buy because of those wasted two years?

                    That was the philosophy of the Soriano signing & that didn’t even net a playoff win.

                    So if they sign Upton & they dont win a WS in 2013-2015 then 2016 is 2009 all over again. Id rather have the crappy years now & have the sustained success plan, than make a run, fall short, & be back to square one

                    • Kyle

                      Here’s the dirty little secret, Cubs fans:

                      The Soriano signing was a good thing.

                    • Kyle

                      If your front office can’t simultaneously sign a player like Upton and lay the groundwork for sustained success, then you don’t have a great front office.

                  • sclem21

                    Just out of curiosity…where would you have set the line on Upton? At one point would you say ‘We can overpay, but not by $X much’

                    • Kyle

                      This kind of speculation is always fruitless in a vacuum, because offseasons are not a series of individual events but rather a complicated, complex interweaving of strategies.

                      That said, 6/$105 probably makes me flinch.

        • King Jeff

          It means don’t sign guys who are going to be making 15+ million dollars a year who are going to stink the last 2 or 3 years of their contract. I didn’t think it was that hard to understand this. Disagree with it, fine, but that’s the reasoning behind it.

      • fortyonenorth

        Considering the current payroll and, again, the revenue of the ball club, I don’t see how signing a guy like Bourne is in any way compromising “future teams” – not that I’m lobbying for Bourne, in particular. It’s Rickett’s dime, his dance floor, as they say. If he wants to horde cash, recoup his investment, buy hookers–whatever–he has every right to do that. Fans can take it or leave it. But, to frame this as a “we can’t field a .500 ball club and rebuild at the same time” seems a trifle disingenuous.

        • ssckelley

          Some free agents you sign means losing a draft pick, which for the Cubs would be a 2nd round one. So ok, you can argue that is “sacrificing the future”. But even giving up a 2nd round pick, which last year was #62 overall, is not “sacrificing” the future.

  • Frank

    Bet

  • Chef Brian

    Scott Boras is talking “out of the side of his neck”, so to speak. It was the most self serving comment and looking at the “controversy” of the Schierholtz signing on this site hilariously timed. It’s almost like Boras was reading the comments and decided to throw napalm on the fire.

  • Smitty

    Brett, or anyone for that matter,

    Who are the big names in next year’s FA group? I have to believe that they will be spending some money next year, especially if they unload Soriano this year.
    Just wondering who I should be keeping my eye on during the upcoming season.
    Thanks.

    • ssckelley

      At this point I hope and pray they do not unload Soriano, because all they will do is go out and get another DeJesus or Schierholtz type player to replace him with. The Cubs cannot go into 2013 with just Rizzo as the big bat in the lineup.

    • Kyle

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/02/2014-mlb-free-agents.html

      Not completely up to date, but it should give you an idea. Makes this year’s class look good.

  • Frank

    Between A Ram, Dempster, Fukudome, the Bradley/Silva debacle, Pena, Grabow, and Wood, between the end of 2011 and now, that’s a good 60-70MM off the payroll. While I agree that they shouldn’t splurge it, Boras is right, there is definitely money there. My guess is that they’ll wait and see what happens with the SP market when the big dominos (Greinke, Jackson, Sanchez) start to fall. When the smoke clears, if McCarthy or Marcum are willing to accept 2-3 years type deals, The Cubs will be among the suitors, but they’re not going to get in a bidding war for a player that doesn’t quite fir into their ultimate plan just because they have money and it’s all that’s left. Again, any move they make now will be for the purpose of building toward 2015 and beyond, whether it’s trading for a 20-22 year old A/AA Baller or signing someone like Schierholtz, Baker, or Feldman with the hopes of building their value enough to get more 20-22 year A/AA Ballers in July unless they’re somehow in contention.

    Everytime you hear these rumors of discussing there’s a degree of truth to the rumor. It just may have been a casual conversation with the agent, and basic numbers were exchanged. I’m sure that a ton of this goes on at the meetings.
    However, when a big market team such as the Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers, or Red Sox are the team involved, reporters overblow it because they know it will generate more interest then would the Royals or Pirates.

    Rememeber last year when we were in and out on Fielder/Pujols every other day? I’m sure that Epstein inquired, and had interest at the right price. Probably a higher dollar amount/lesser years, and if they hadn’t been offered the amount they were, it could have gone further. But they didn’t, and rather than overpay for Option C, they went with LaHair and traded for Rizzo.

  • JoeyCollins

    More and more i hate the term “small market strategy” or the idea of the cubs having to spend more because of their market size. Just because a team has money does not mean it must spend. If the players available do not fit, or are over priced, dont sign them. This isn’t a “small market strategy” it is smart business. The most successful wealthy people i know all seem to be cheap asses. i never understood it growing up how people making 6 figures plus could spend their time cutting coupons, but then i realized that is a large part of their success (not the coupons directly but more the attitude). Spending money wisely is always a good idea even if you have the cash to blow.

  • Fastball

    I believe the problem is that we signed Schierholtz to be the starting RF’er. That statement in of itself set off the fan base. It pisses me off that he is going to be a starter when he was DFA’d by the Phillies and they are struggling to put together an outfield. The Phillies even have a below mid level farm system. Yet they jettisoned Schierholtz. I am tired of ranting to be quite honest. I no longer believe that every season is sacred in the eyes of the owner or this FO. At this point I have no idea what to expect and frankly I almost don’t care. At some point I have to put things aside and accept that this season will be worse than last. Start re-arranging in my mind what I hope to see from some of the players I actually like and will follow. I can root for Castro, Barney, Rizzo and Castillo. Can’t say I will be rooting for Soriano because he may not be a Cub. If he is I will be rooting for him. I bought his Fathead 4 years ago. It’s hard to love a team that has it’s focus almost single sighted. Build a farm system and not care about the Major League club. If I lived in Daytona, Knoxville or Kane County and that’s all I followed it might be an interesting season. Notice I didn’t include Des Moines. The ownership and FO have miscalculated how much rope they have to play with before they hang themselves. Right now we are pretty much the laughing stock of baseball. My friends who are all Reds fans love this shit. I get text messages all day and night from them turning the knife in the wound. Half the fun is defending my team against other teams and arguing my point about how we are better than the Reds and all that. I can’t argue back I have to sit back and take the beating for being a Cubs fan. In the end I guess I just love a loveable loser. Thing is this Cubs team isn’t very loveable yet they are still going to be big losers. What are we supposed to do this summer if the Cubs are going to be absolutely terrible. We will be the worst team in the National League there is no denying that. We don’t have the Astros to save us from that distinction.

  • Stu

    Boras is right about the Cubs. No one seems to question the math concerning the Cubs, not even Brett.

    What these guys who run Cubs don’t get is that there will be a time when the fans will stop drinking the Kool-Aid and look at the actual product on the field. The money that is spent is entertainment dollars and if the fans don’t perceive value for those entertainment dollars, they will go elsewhere.

    That is when they will start spending big money. Why would a family that built a company like Ameritrade which steals money from small time investors be expected to behave any differently now?

  • ncsujuri

    Boras might be right in that the organization has gained value since they have taken over ownership but I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks that they are worth $2.5B…

    • Hee Seop Chode

      Why not? The TV contracts alone will be worth more than that in 2015.

  • cheryl

    It looks like there’s not much to follow this next year with what the FO has put together, I think its time to go on hiatus for a while unless things change. Baseball has been a mixture of business and sports for years but what this FO fails to recognize is the fans want some players they can identify with for a while, not someone that’s here six months and gone.The business side of saving money seems to be the number one goal for the big league club. From a fan erspecive its disappointing.

    • MichiganGoat

      et tu Cheryl?

      • cheryl

        I may check in from time to time but I have other projects that can keep me busy. I’m waiting to hear on a manuscript and have started another book. That will certainly take me through the summer. But I’ll always look for your comments MG and some of the others.

        • MichiganGoat

          You’ll be missed and thanks, keep the faith.

    • cheryl

      P.S. You get up hope that it will change and sometimes you think you see a change especially in terms of who they’ve drafted or signed internationally, but the present major league club quickly dashes that hope.

      • MichiganGoat

        Patience it’s just been a year this the FO came together and maybe another Rizzo-esque trade is the plan.

        • MightyBear

          I agree MG. Everyone needs to relax and see what happens. While i don’t think the club will be WS contenders, I do think there will be improvement at the ML level and in the words of Yogi Berra “I can sum it up in one word – yaneverknow.”

    • TonyP

      Welcome to the dark side Cheryl. :-D

    • TWC

      The business side of saving money seems to be the number one goal for the big league club.

      What a load of hyperbolic crap. Enjoy your “hiatus”.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    So, what clients does Boras have that can even really help the Cubs? I mean, I know that in his PR mindset, all of his players are the missing piece separating even the Astros from post-season glory. But, really, does he have a high OPS 3rd baseman for the Cubs? Does he have a high OPS OFer on whom we can put good odds will be productive in 2 years time? Does have have a groundball machine, low-walk starter (or two!) for the Cubs?

    I realize that it’s Boras’ job to make it look like he’s got what we want in his brightly covered wagon, and but sometimes the Tinker is just selling a pitch.

    • MightyBear

      He’s got Bourn. He would help the Cubs. Too expensive and too long contract probably but he’s a good player.

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        Bourn, offensively, is grossly overrated. Defense is a different story all together.

        Between him and DeJesus in CF (if defensive metrics are to be believed) we are talking about 1 win difference between the two using wRAA and UZR/150.

        fWAR has them separated (when looking at the last 4 years and averaging out to 150 games a year) by 2 WAR.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Bourn. He wants the Cubs to bid on Bourn.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Bourn qualifies as the Tinker selling his pitch rather than any useful wares in my unhumble opinion! :-)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m not huge on that one, either.

          • MightyBear

            Neither am I but the devils in the details.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              True, but the details for the Cubs at this point is that they need an OFer

              who can slug

              (and who isn’t on a casual wave basis with Keith Richards). Again, I realize that it’s Boras’ job (at this point) to speak in generalities: you need an OFer, I have an OFer: I would probably do the same in his position. But his elixir does not cure the Cubs particular version of this disease.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                hmm, something went wrong there! It should have been who can slug… I obviously hit the wrong button combination.

          • Myles

            I would very much like Bourn, thank you.

            The Cubs need good players when they come available, like you always say. Bourn is a good player even if his speed is probably not long for this world. He’s a great centerfielder (I can think of maybe 4 defensive CF better, two on the same team), and he’s got impressive range. That’s important when you’ve got the increasingly rangeless Soriano at left and a solid but not rangey RF in right in DeJesus. He also gets on base, all the time.

            Here’s the list of top OBP CF in the last 3 years with over 1000PA and 200 games started:

            1 Andrew McCutchen .376
            2 Dexter Fowler .367
            3 Jon Jay .359
            4 Matt Kemp .358
            5 Jacoby Ellsbury .348
            6 Michael Bourn .346

            That’s very elite company.

            I’ll grant you he provides no power. That’s relatively unimportant to me; I want someone who can get on base 35% of the time and can play CF. Unless we’re getting Ellsbury next year or trading for “please, please, please don’t look at my splits” Fowler, that guy doesn’t exist for a while.

            He’s also extremely durable. He’s got the most PA out of any CF in the past 3 years. He also has the most steals, though he’s only a good baserunner. His speed will also let him score from 1st a lot on well hit balls from the 2 hole, and with Castro’s plus contact the hit and run could be very effective.

            We’re running out of ways to spend our money and improve our team. We don’t have to lose 97 this year, and we have about the clearest need at CF as any team has (unless you believe in Schierholtz so much that DeJesus is just a lock at CF). If the price is right (5/80? 5/85?), I say do it.

            • atfinch

              But Bourn for say 4 years/48 mil? Isn’t that the market after Victorino’s deal? That’s 12 per, Victorino actually got 13 but is 3 years older.

              I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable giving a guy with one top-flight skill (speed) that’s only going to lose some of that skill by the 2nd half of the contract.

              • Myles

                He’s got two top-flight skills, though: speed and plate discipline. The speed may start to erode, but the plate disclipine shouldn’t.

                Last year, Bourn saw an absurd 4.15 P/PA. Exactly 1 (Curtis Granderson) CF and 13 players total saw more pitchers per plate appearance last year. He is the penultimate leadoff hitter on a team that doesn’t really have one (I guess DeJesus? another good candidate for the #2 hitter).

                Also, take a look at next year’s class. It’s only going to shrink and is already worse than this one. We need to get players when they are available.

    • cRAaZYHORSE

      No – he signed with the WhiteSox

  • Justin

    Boras is such a snake, but I would take his money any day

  • Timmy

    I’ve been talking about how rich the owners are for a long time on here — and instead they’re pocketing money and not investing money they have on-hand. Plus the only players we’re looking to sign are either homophobes or disloyal mediocrities.

    Cubs are becoming the Pirates by way of a big-market town.

  • Stu

    Why do people worry about how much money the Cubs spend? I want them to spend as much as possible for the best talent as possible.

    • Mick

      The reason why I don’t want the Cubs to commit to big deals this offseason is more about the financial flexibility the Cubs will need in the future. If Hamilton, Greinke, Sanchez, Youkilis, Bourn, etc. would all take 1-year deals then I’m sure the Cubs would do it. It’s more about 2014 and beyond when our best prospects finally make it to the big leagues and all of the guys we signed in 2012 will have bloated contracts compared to their actual on-field production. Can you imagine Bourn in 2015? Or what about Hamilton? Heck Greinke looked hittable this year, imagine after he’s lost 3 MPH from his average fastball.

  • gutshot5820

    SCREW YOU RICKETTS, PAY FOR YOUR OWN STADIUM!! Although Scott Boras Cubs evaluation may be slightly pumped up, that’s what I have been saying repeatedly. Going off a baseline five yrs ago, our payroll was 140-150K. Tickets prices have gone up almost every year except this one. We now have additional advertising revenue from signs, etc… In 2014, we should have a monster new tv contract plus 25M a year for every MLB team. Potentially, adding over 100M to the baseline payroll and a case can definitely be made that the Ricketts have already doubled their investment. Our payroll should definitely be in range of the Angels, Dodgers, Phillies, NY, etc… Scott Boras may be an ass in a lot of ways, but he speaks the truth when it comes to numbers.

    I seriously don’t get all this rah, rah save money for the future talk. Save money for what and who? That’s all nonsense. There is no guaranteed Utopian future where all our prospects become All-stars and in the same year we are going to acquire all the free agents we need to fill holes and suddenly become World Series contenders for the next decade. That is just pure MARKETING HYPE. That’s Disney World big corporation marketing hype that a lot of grown adults are buying into. Whatever you may think, billion dollar corporations are run for profit and the pitiful free agent decisions over the last four years (declining payroll) by the Ricketts have been profitable money decisions, NOT “moneyball” decisions. Believe it or not the Ricketts are not your friends, LOL, they are shrewd business investors that are maximizing their profit potential.

    The business driven decisions factor into 99% of the moves Theo makes. He is limited by what the Rickettts budget is and how much profit the Ricketts want to bank each year. Theo is being paid handsomely to follow the company line and work with the budget he is given. Every time Theo, Hoyer and Sveum come out in public to sell their small market moves, it is all calculated Marketing Hype to SELL the public that it is ok to have a low payroll now because we are going to be great for the next ten years. If you look at every interview, they all repeat the same thing over and over again, I almost don’t need to read their interviews anymore because I know their repeated mantra by heart now.

    That’s where I think fans get a little bit confused, this small market build the farm ideal is the only choice and that it’s not a deliberate choice that is “profit” driven. There is absolutely NO REASON the Cubs can’t build the farm and make a few smart free agent decisions every year to gradually make the club competitive until their so called GUARANTEED for ten years Utopian future arrives, in which I guess during that time all other 29 teams are going to decide to stop getting better and stop building their farm and stop spending money on free agents so the Cubs can win and get their Disneyworldesque GUARANTEED ten year window. LOL.

    The only thing that is guaranteed is that we stunk the first three years of the Ricketts and looks like we are going to stink this year and next year too. That’s five years and are you ok with the Ricketts banking money for five years while SELLING us a low payroll with marketing hype, while charging the highest ticket prices in baseball? I used to be ok with the Ricketts getting some financing for the stadium thinking he was going to reinvest it into the Cubs, but now I’m totally against it. This guy is BANKING huge money every year and by 2014 his profits per year is going to exceed what he can potentially spend on payroll, and he is definitely not reinvesting all the money back into the club as he promised. Plus, Theo lied to us when he promised that EVERY season is SACRED. Why should you be for the city/state helping Ricketts with the financing if he is proving to us that he is NOT going to reinvest all the profits back into the club as originally promised when he bought the Cubs. Obviously, both Ricketts and Theo’s statements early on was marketing hype.

    The only thing that can be truly guaranteed for the next decade is that the Ricketts are going to bank huge money while charging the highest ticket prices in baseball. Are you ok with that?

    • TWC

      tl;dr

      • DarthHater

        ts (too snarky) ;-)

        • TWC

          Probably.

    • Mick

      So you’re telling us that all along you thought the Cubs were run as a non-profit? To think, you consider those who are on board with Theo are fools.

    • Matty V

      Six run-on paragraphs of everything the Cubs are doing wrong, and I didn’t see one actual solution in that entire rant.

  • Rich

    I guess I am like GutShot…The Cubs can invest in minor leagues, draft better, scout better and improve the international scouting…but..are we really waiting for Almora and Soler in 3 or 4 years ? What if they could be used as a viable trade option to fill in those holes that seem to always be needed.

    Chicago is the 3rd largest market. They certainly can outspend and out market the rest of the central division. I am not sold that Ricketts is just in it for the money. I don’t think he would have gone through the Theo efforts just to make $. I do think that they will suck this year by design. They will continue to get high draft pics.

    But…I am not convinced that you cannot spend today at all for free agents. You want to continue to fill Wrigley ? Well it has to be more than future star Rizzzo or Castro. Why could they not last off season and this off season sign a CF, 3B, Pitchers etc..then move forward with that team while building the farm. ?

  • dan

    I live as close to Milwaukee Stadium as I do Wrigley field all i know is for the last 20 yrs I spent about 5K a summer going to wrigley this year my 5K can go to Milwaukee this is so bad at least try to look ike your trying this year.

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