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[Seriously, people of the baseball world: stop doing things on Friday nights. I am writing this from a Christmas party.]

Well, you can scratch Brandon McCarthy off the wish list, as he just signed tonight with the Arizona Diamondbacks for two years and (just) $15.5 million. The Cubs obviously could have comfortably beat the D-Backs on that offer, which suggests one of three things (or all of them) is at work:

(1.) Teams are more scared off by his myriad injuries than we think;

(2.) McCarthy really wanted to pitch for a contender; and/or

(3.) The Cubs were trying to get McCarthy on the cheap.

I’ll have more thoughts on this later (immediate reaction is “ah, crap, that sucks”). But, you know, Christmas party.

  • cubchymyst

    Does the McCarthy signing indicated that the diamond back might be more willing to part with one of their pitching prospects? Not sure how well the diamondback and cubs match with needs but maybe include a 3rd team.

    • Rcleven

      Still looking for a ss.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yeah, it’s possible that Upton + Bauer will be in a package deal including Andrus or Profar or something like that.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Oh, and there is the big rumored 4-way trade, which theoretically could send Cabrera from the Indians to the DBacks. Given that this leaves the DBacks with two good young starters even if they trade Bauer, they had a little more “cushion” should McCarthy not pan out, and more incentive to just offer him guaranteed $$$ to get him signed now.

        • daveyrosello

          I think Upton + Bauer for Olt + Andrus + some other piece is closer to the likely trade. By all accounts, Texas has made Profar untouchable. They want to trade Andrus and Michael Young.

        • cubchymyst

          Any chance the cubs can replace teams 3 and 4 in that trade and send a piece or two to the Indians to get in on a pitching prospect.

  • marcel91

    Clubs, including the cubs, realized McCarthy’s value was mostly on his name alone. When you look at age, numbers, and history McCarthy and Feldman are essentially the same guy(McCarthy even admitted this) but we got Feldman much cheaper and with much less risk. Good luck to him.

    • MightyBear

      How do you figure we got him much cheaper? He’s going to get 6.5 mil from DBacks this year and Cubs are going to pay Feldman 6 plus incentives of 1 mil of which he’ll probably make half. B/T Baler, Feldman and McCarthy, one will almost certainly come back to form, two probably will and if all three do, the team has a chance to make a serious run. I don’t think guaranteeing an additional 9 mil for a second year is that big a risk because even if he has problems, you could deal him and save some salary or get a lower level prospect. If he pitches well, you can deal him for a top prospect and there are about 20 teams that would eat that 9 mil. Or you can keep him and make a run in 2014. I really think the Cubs missed the boat on McCarthy. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

      • Stevie B

        Mighty bear…we have missed the boat for over a hundred years.

        I’m with you though….unless you are seriously TRYING to lose 100 again, no reason we couldn’t have gotten this cat.
        I guess a 70-80 win season, which is a decent product, isn’t the plan.
        Alas, I’m in it for the long haul, so if Theo and Jed are after a top 3 pick….again in 2014….I’m in it to win it.

        • Shawn

          I’d rather they lose 100 than put a decent product out there that wins 70-80 games. Neither gets you in the playoffs and a 100 loss team has you drafting at the top and not in the middle.

          • Turn Two

            Never will understand this mentality, we are baseball fans and yet people would willingly watch a team play bad ball for a year to draft a couple slots higher.outside of just a difficult to watch season it puts you farther away from a championship, it means your players didn’t develop, it means your team had poor chemistry and it places extra pressure on your kids all for a slightly better coin flip of a draft player.

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              I will say this:

              I would rather the Cubs lose 100 games than 85-90 if it means the difference between trading away expiring contracts at the deadline and winning garbage games in September just to make me feel better in the short-term. The bonus is the higher draft pick (more likely to get an impact player) and more money to spend on amateur talent.

              Now, to construct a roster that way is foolish.

              • Sam

                We have the money to pay decent players but we choose not to. Then we say it’s to rebuild. Where do you guys think that money goes? Into the pockets of the owners, who don’t care if the team wins or not. They’re probably going to sell the team in a couple years for a profit. Theo Epstein only seems to want to get the worst players for one year at a time and he can’t make any good trades.

                This is officially the worst time in the history of the Cubs to be a fan.

                • preacherman86

                  Come on man, no good trades? Paul Mahlon got us vizcaino, how does that not rate as a good trade. He also had a deal in place of demp for Delgado, that demp twiddled his thumbs on too long. And he got us some decent upside prospects for Jeff baker!!!! That’s Houdini right there! And he unloaded perennial clubhouse cancer big z, and though it didn’t work out for volstad, at least it led to less clubhouse fist fights!!! Theo did a great job last year with trades man, it’s hard to make a blockbuster trade when your team has 100 loss talent and an empty farm too. Sorry sir but you missed the boat on this one, the trades theo has managed are very good on the whole. Oh, one last trade to ponder, rizzo for cashner, one will be hitting 3/4 everyday with gold glove potential at 1b and the other is back in the medical room workin on 6 month rehab for a cut, don’t think we lost that trade either, not based just on the injury but what both guys offer for the future.

                • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                  Do you remember what happened the last time the team had an owner that bought the team with plans to sell it on a quick turnaround?

                  Pretty sure it looked NOTHING like what the Cubs are presently trying to do.

                  This rebuild thing isn’t about 2012 or 2013. It’s about building a team that wins 85+ games for 14 years. A team where you are consistently getting 40+ WAR from your players.

                  Would signing Greinke and Hamilton make the 2013 team much better? How about Upton/Bourn and Sanchez? Yes but then all of a sudden you have $30-40M tied up to two players (one of which I am convinced isn’t as good as his hype) and still 0 elite talent on the roster.

                  • DarthHater

                    True, but right now we’re not talking about signing Greinke, Hamilton, Upton, Bourn or Sanchez for those kinds of excessive $$$. We’re talking about a failure to sign McCarthy for extremely reasonable $$$. Apples and oranges, man.

                  • DarthHater

                    Okay, Doc now says I’m wrong that the $$$ for McCarthy were very reasonable. The money seems reasonable to me, but I can’t claim to be an expert. If someone can demonstrate to me that AZ overpaid for McCarthy (or at least did not get a bargain), I am willing to be persuaded.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Well, I’m not 100% certain that you (and the DBacks) are wrong: but I am far enough away from 0% certain that you are wrong that I would not offer that much guaranteed! If McCarthy pitches as well as he has the last couple of years, then he’s worth as much as $18+M: and I would have been happy to see the Cubs (or any team I like) offer McCarthy $18+M in an incentive laden contract with a much smaller guaranteed amount.

                      That said, if I’m McCarthy, then I’m taking $15M on the table than gamble on getting that plus an extra few million. Let’s face it, “good” and “luck” are not two words he’s put together often of late.

  • MightyBear

    I’m just disappointed because McCarthy fits the mold perfectly. He doesn’t walk people. He throws strikes. To tell the truth, I didn’t think the Cubs had a shot at getting him. Everybody was saying he was going to get a 3 year deal at 10 mil per year. Maybe 4. That’s what bugs me. I don’t think we would have had to pay much more than the D’Backs did. If it blows up, it would still be less than we’re paying Soriano or we paid Zambrano the last few years.

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      To compare McCarthy to Zambrano is ridiculous. McCarthy has thrown 2 seasons worth of baseball over the past 5 years. Over the same span of time, Zambrano has thrown twice as many innings as McCarthy.

      • MightyBear

        I’m not comparing Zambrano the pitcher to McCarthy the pitcher. I’m saying we paid Z 18 mill the last few years to pitch and it blew up. We could’ve paid McCarthy 16 – 17 mil. It might have blown up. There’s risk in every move. I feel the Cubs left a lot of value out there on this one.

  • MightyBear

    Where’s Brett and Luke? I’m curious to see what they think. I wish that damn party was over. Just very disappointing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Disappointing, but not devastating. I would greatly preferred that the Cubs signed him, but I can’t blame a guy for wanting to play for a contender, especially when he’s had some bad luck with injuries.

      • MightyBear

        I agree it’s not devastating. I guess I just thought it would take a lot more to get him and when it didn’t, that threw me because he fits the new “Cubs way” in that he throws strikes, doesn’t walk people and don’t beat yourself mentality. I still don’t buy the contender excuse because Az is going to have a hell of time getting past LA and SF even with all that pitching they have. Personally I like the Cubs chances of winning their division more than Az. Not because of the teams but because of the divisions. Kind of like are the Blue Jays going to be contenders more than the Royals? Which has a better team and which has a better chance of winning the division? I do think McCarthy wanted to be close to CA but couldn’t get a good enough deal with the west coast teams. However, he had been in Chicago before so he knew what it was like to play and live in Chi.

        • Dave

          I have to disagree. The only team in baseball that has a worst chance of winning their division then the Cubs are the Astros.

  • Stevie B

    I’m just trying to look past all this disappointment, anguish, and sadness… to the day I can watch my Cubs win it. I grew up with Harryband Stoney….and have endured over 25 years of ridicule and mockery.
    I’ve been in bar fights, been on meds, and had a dozen different vanity plates ( my new one says (CUBS4ME) over my loyalty to this franchise.
    I can honestly say, I’ll be a Cub fan till they bury me.

    • Dustin S

      I know what you mean, describes my feelings 100% too. We’ll get there. And f* the bandwagon hoppers that will be jumping on in a couple years.

      I always think, where’d all the St. Louis Rams football fans go? In the Kurt Warner years everyone and their brother had Rams jackets, flags, banners…now good luck hardly every seeing one. Just goes to show you how it goes. Proud to be a Cubs fan through thick and thin for over 30 years. And I have a few grey hairs now to show for it.

      • spearman

        I’ve been a cubs fan for over 30 years. And good luck winning in a couple years. It’s almost as if they(Theo & co.) are trying to lose. They don’t want to even be mediocre at this point. I guess they just want the high draft picks.

        • DarthHater

          I am trying hard not to believe that to be true, but it’s getting increasingly difficult. It’s one thing to blow off the second half of a lost season to get a better draft pick. But it’s entirely unacceptable to deliberately build a shitty roster for an entire season.

  • mudge

    I enjoy the competition every season. Even if they never win the World Series. That’s why they call it a pastime.

  • DarthHater

    Somebody needs to tell these guys that if you never pay for the first piece, then you’ll never be in a position to decide whether it’s time to pay for the last piece.

    • http://worldseriesdreaming.com/ Rice Cube

      I think the problem is that they would have to pay for the first six pieces almost all at once to take advantage of one large window of opportunity rather than several overlapping ones, which is why they decided that it wasn’t worth it to spend $200MM to turn a 60-win team into an 80-win team…I’m just kind of pulling that number out of my ass though.

      • DarthHater

        Yes, I understand and support the idea of preserving financial flexibility for when you need it most. At the same time, I don’t think baseball is like the NBA, where a team can gut its roster down to absolutely nothing and then have a shot at signing enough stars all at once to create a great team.

        The reports yesterday were that the Cubs had made an offer to McCarthy, so obviously they liked his ability and weren’t scared off by his injury. And the deal he signed with AZ was one that the Cubs could have substantially topped without harming long-term financial flexibility at all. So it really looks like they are only interested in making low-ball offers.

        Personally, I think that if you try to do everything on the cheap until your window of opportunity opens, you’re likely to be staring at a closed and shuttered window for a long time.

  • daveyrosello

    Speaking of Zambrano re: an above post–no one has heard a PEEP about Carlos this offseason. Zero rumors. Is he now persona non grata in Miami as well as Chicago? He might need to take a non-guaranteed ST invite with some club if he wants to keep playing. Then again, the big guy has so much $$ earned in his career, I suppose he might even retire.

    Hard to believe Zambrano is only 31 years old. He’s 4 years younger than Dempster for crying out loud.

    Now here’s where I get lambasted. Zambrano back to the Cubs if it’s for less than $3MM, and a 1-year-only deal? He’s got to be better than Travis Wood, right?

    • http://worldseriesdreaming.com/ Rice Cube

      Considering how he was treated in Chicago towards the end (some of it deserved, unfortunately) I doubt he’d want to come back. But who knows, right?

    • spearman

      Yeah, and he’s probably our number 3 starter. Hey, he could be #2 if we trade garza.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Actually, he and Wood were about even last year.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=9884&position=P
      http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=305&position=P

      Zambrano gave up more walks, Wood more homers, but the end result was pretty similar. FIP, xFIP, WAR, all pretty close to each other.

      On this roster Zambrano would be competing for a fifth starter slot.

    • Internet Random

      I don’t think Zambrano demonstrates the attitude this FO likes to see.

      • spearman

        Yeah, he really wanted to win.

  • mudge

    It’s been said that chemistry is a myth. But there are guys who are bastards and win, and guys who are two-year olds who demoralize a team. So no, everybody doesn’t have to like each other, but on some level if the respect isn’t there it’s a corrosive element. No to Zambrano at any price.

  • Eric

    For those who think the new management is trying to lose or doesn’t care at all, what should they have done so far? Anyone want Victorino at that price? Let’s hear some realistic plans….

    I would have taken McCarthy at his new deal in a second….does that mean we didn’t offer him the same deal or something better?

    Who has signed elsewhere that is just heartbreaking to you? Who do you honestly think we have a chance at that actually makes sense at what they are going to command?

    I hear a lot of bitching but most suggestions are unrealistic and absurd. I like Greinke but if we offer him the same or even a better deal than Texas or LA where do you think he goes.

    I hate being awful as much as anyone but patience is required.

    • Eric

      I’m on board, but let’s face it, they ARE trying to lose. What should they have done? Last year? Land atleast one of Darvish or Cespedes, this year? Land one of atleast Grenkie or B.J. Upton. While still building the farm. Just imagine how much better our outlook would be if we had Cespedes in RF and Upton in CF and Soriano in LF. Instead of thinknig of possibly moving DJ to CF to get some scrappy defensive guy for RF and maybe waiting on Brett Jackson who hopefully solves his strikeout problem. I’m totally on board the rebuild, but you have to stop denying the fact that they ARE planning on losing, atleast for the first 2 years. Hopefully not the first 3.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Again, this is the “Cubs vs. Other Team” syndrome. The “Other Team” got both Cespedes and Darvish. So, why aren’t they wearing the same uniform? Because there were numerous teams pursuing both players. Again, the Ranger’s posting fee supposedly more than doubled the next highest one; and several teams, including the Jays, Nats and Sox besides the Cubs, thought that they had posted competitive fees at that time: so, it was one team going overboard (the Rangers could have posted $20M less and still comfortably beat all of the other teams). And, again, multiple teams were interested in in Cespedes: and none of them came close to the A’s offer, (with the others seemingly offering something close to what the Cubs offered.)

        And, no, we do not want BJ Upton. 4 years from now, the debate will be over whether his contract or Bourn’s contract was the bigger Chone Contract. Upton’s batting eye has disappeared over the last 4 years and he has not had a good season fielding since 2009. All he does now is K and homer. (We do not want Bourn, either: his OBP is unspectacular and will fade as he ages, and he has little power.)

        Greinke probably won’t be as bad: but people are going to expect Cy Young numbers from him given his salary, and he probably is not going to do that. There are several teams pursuing him who will be playoff caliber teams in 2013. He’ll go to one of them: and probably leave people wondering why so much money was spent, just as Darvish did for many Rangers fans this year!. (Some vocal Ranger fans count the posting fee as part of Darvish’s salary, and feel that Yu should be “earning” the $25+M that the Rangers overbid on him.)

        • Eric

          I used to sound just like you. “Well they tried”. I’ve been converted to the “well they are trying to lose” camp. It’s the quickest way to build up the farm. High draft picks, trade deadlines. I’m sorry you don’t see their obvious plan. Since when were the Cubs the dumpster diving team? Signing rehab and risk/reward type players to $5 mil, $2 mil type contrats. We’ve become the Chicago Padres thanks to Jed Hoyer. Again, I will say I am down with the plan, as long as this cheap dumpster diving stops in 2014 and we go after some legit free agents. Can you name one high ticket free agent the Cubs have been attached to since Jed came in?

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Sorry, but I’m a statistician: I see probabilities, not “effort.” That’s why I warn against the “coin flip” model for baseball and everything else: it’s not “good outcome/bad outcome” but a huge multisided (and weighted) die. The upshot is that most of the teams trying to meet a need are going to fail. The Rangers did not beat the Cubs for Darvish: they beat several teams including the Cubs. The A’s did not beat the Cubs for Cespedes: they beat several teams including the Cubs. (Similarly, the Cubs did not beat any one team for Soler: they beat several other teams for Soler.)

            So, if you go over to ESPN’s summary of the winter meetings and look over summaries of which teams failed to fill their holes so far, guess what: it’s a long list and the Cubs are not even on it. The teams on it are those that are one or two pieces away from being very strong next year and that still haven’t filled those holes. Do you really think that all of those teams are not trying?

            Finally, the Cubs have been dumpster divers since the 1970′s (i.e., as long as I can remember). They only very rarely signed big name free agents: even though there were many times when one of those big name free agents could really have helped the Cubs.

            • Internet Random

              Sorry, but I’m a statistician . . . .

              There’s no need to be ashamed of this. It’s honest work.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                I can find you a whole network of political pundits who beg to differ! :-)

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  Just one network? Might want to call the repair guy; you seem to be missing several channels.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    True, but it had a better hyperbolic flourish the way I phrased it.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Bah – stats, logic, education – we don’t need those the Cubs have money and can buy all that except Ricky is too cheap to buy the right stats. ;)

      • LWeb23

        Land at least Darvish or Cespedes… You don’t think they tried? There’s always that one team that blows everyone out of the water. Sorry the Cubs didn’t bid $20 million more than anyone else, big deal. If someone bid $30 million for Darvish, would you be happy if the Cubs got him for $50 million?

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      “What should they have done?”
      Get Keppinger, Ludwick and McCarthy.
      Then we are respectable and let the magic happen and Stewart and the Scotts and all the other broken bums and the kids develop. Cheap solution, not losing on the cheap, and we don’t lose the national fan base that WGN developed over many years. Thus the great TV deals that everyone is so worried about. Just one of many solutions I might add.

      • TonyP

        Maybe Keppinger, Ludwick, and McCarthy didn’t want to sign with the Cubs for whatever reason. I had a drinks with Miguel Tejada at a hotel bar the summer before he was going to be a free agent for the first time in 2003 and was joking around with him about signing with the Cubs and he said that there wasn’t anyway he would sign with the Cubs because he didn’t want to play all the day games. Players have different reasons for wanting to play where they play when they become FAs.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Keppinger? He’s a utility infielder: I will admit to a small amount of Schadenfreude when he signed with the ChiSox. (The ChiSox might not even be planning to use him full time at 3rd: they might want to swap Keppinger with their former 2ndbaseman of the future, Beckham.)

        Ludwick? OK, he had a pretty good year last year, but that was a hiccup in what has been a steady decline since 2008. I expect him to be mediocre to flat out bad next year (when he’ll be 34).

        McCarthy would have been nice. However, the DBacks were the only team willing to offer him guaranteed money after his injury, and I would not have been thrilled to see the Cubs do that.

        The problem is that Cubs fans are starving people standing in front of a fridge with food that is either slightly bad or not very good for you in some other way: the hunger is making us overlook the smells and the fuzz on the produce.

        • TonyP

          Good analogy Doc.

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          I echo TonyP, Doc!

        • MichiganGoat

          Money can get rid if the smell… quit being cheap Ricky – spend, spend, spend f the plan I want a stocked fridge NOW! ;)

          • Billy

            So trolls the BN hall monitor.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

            It’s amazing what people will accept so long as you can convince them it’s planned to be that way.

            • Internet Random

              It’s amazing how you can convince people that you’re following a plan when you lay out what you’re going to do in clear terms and then do exactly what you told everyone to expect you to do.

              • BT

                Don’t you get it Random? They are cheap. They won’t spend 8 million dollars. Or they are stupid. They haven’t scouted McCarthy as thoroughly as the guys on the board have, so they don’t realize how good he is. That’s why they didn’t sign him. Either Ricketts is scheming to make the Cubs a 50 million dollar payroll team, or Theo isn’t as smart as internet message board posters are. Those are the only two possible reasons the Cubs didn’t sign Brandon McCarthy. Or Jeff Keppinger.

                • Internet Random

                  Yum! Smells like Troll Spirit.

                • JR

                  Who cares about McCarthy? That guy makes Mark Prior seem durable.

              • Pat

                Thats a joke right? What they told people was that every chance to win was sacred and they could improve the farm and the big league team at the same time (parallel fronts). Saying they are doing exactly what they said they would is bullshit.

                • CubFan Paul

                  “What they told people was that every chance to win was sacred and they could improve the farm and the big league team at the same time (parallel fronts). Saying they are doing exactly what they said they would is bullshit”

                  exactly. & agreed.

                  • TonyP

                    I agree but wasn’t there a piece about deferring to improving the long term vs the short term when needed?

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      That’s a highly overlooked part of his opening press conference.

                • Internet Random

                  I can only be truthful with you in outlining what our approach is. No. 1 is to build this thing the right way. That’s for the long haul, mainly through scouting and player development through the acquisition of young players.

                  Theo Epstein (2011)

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

                They only talk in doublespeak and vagueries. Almost anything that happens could be covered under “they said it.”

                • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                  I respect alot of things you say, Kyle. However, you’ve been quite vague when I’ve asked you to be specific as to who you would sign this offseason. You did mention that you would have given Upton 6yrs and 90MM…and that confirmed why I’ll take their approach versus yours. He trended downward in his last year before free agency…why would you spend on a guy who couldn’t step it up without the big contract? Do you expect him to perform better now that he has the money if he couldn’t do it without it?

                  • DarthHater

                    Lord help us, please don’t ask Kyle to be specific again! He has already posted specifics at Tolstoyan length. Go back and read them, if you must, but I don’t think my poor computer could handle a re-posting. ;-)

                  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

                    I couldn’t possibly be more specific. If you have a differing evaluation of Upton, fine. But please don’t accuse me of not being specific.

                    I don’t believe in “trending downward” in the way you are talking about it. If anything, guys who are “trending downward” are the best bets for immediate improvement. It’s known as the plexiglass principle.

                    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

                      But anyway, beyond Upton specifically, I’m not that upset about this offseason so far. They screwed themselves pretty badly with their complacency last offseason and put themselves into a much tougher position this year. But they are doing a somewhat better job this year, with the caveat that we have no idea what the second half of their offseason will look like.

                      If we caveat for the moment that we’re going to act like a mid-market team and bow out on the Grienkes of the world, then I think they’ve got about half a decent offseason in place. They could still finish the job and get a (barely) passing grade from me. You can try to build a somewhat competitive team without massive FA expenditures.

                      I don’t want to get all Wall of Texty, so I’ll just say that I’d like to see a league-average or better SP who is a reasonable bet for 25+ starts, a solid lefty reliever, a reliable RH utility IF and a RH 4th outfielder.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      From what I have read about the plexiglass principle it applies more to sudden and otherwise unexplainable changes in performance. I.E. you just have a bad day – that doesn’t mean that tomorrow will be bad as well.

                      With Upton, Doc has laid out a lot of different stats that show the peripherals of the peripherals have been decreasing so there is a higher likelihood that this downward trend will continue.

                      The funny part is that Upton’s offensive production (according to wOBA) has only eclipsed DeJesus’ 1 time over the past FIVE years.

                    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

                      IF our front office spends the money elsewhere (preferably on pitching at this point), I will gladly concede that their plan for the outfield is much better than mine would have been. Schierholtz is a nice bargain, but that only matters if you use the savings.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      We still haven’t seen anything from the trade scene so January should be an interesting month to see what happens with Soriano, Marmol, DeJesus, Barney, Castillo, Garza and Shark.

              • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                Very well stated, IR! They are getting reamed for being transparent with their plans AND sticking to it. At the same time, the minor league system that Ricketts took over has gone from the bottom third to possibly the top 5…IN 2 YEARS!! Yet, guys like us are kool-aiders!!

                • Pat

                  Ricketts took over three years ago, not two. And not having any positions locked up long term is just as difficult to overcome as locking in too many long term contracts. One year, or one year with an option deals do nothing to help this team “when they’re ready to compete”.

                • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

                  There is no way we are a top 5 farm system.

                • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

                  We spent massive, massive resources on the minor league system. I’m glad those resources haven’t been purely wasted, but it’s not as if they got it from bottom third to top third with sheer guile and skill.

                  It’s normal for bottom third teams to move into the top third fairly quickly. Farm systems turn over the lists constantly.

                  • Ted

                    That’s just false. Only a lack of spending at the major league level can build a good farm system. If you sign a good player that makes this team worth watching, you’re sacrificing the money you could put towards building the farm system through the draft where you don’t have a fixed amount to spend no matter what, and you’re blocking your single A players who have a 25% chance of making the majors in three years. Just look at the Rays. They don’t spend, and they have a good farm system. Pretty obvious stuff.

                    • TonyP

                      “Only a lack of spending at the major league level can build a good farm system.”

                      You are being sarcastic Ted?

                    • DarthHater

                      the draft where you don’t have a fixed amount to spend no matter what

                      Not true any more, is it?

                    • Matty Ice

                      This is the most ridiculous statement in the history of BN ….maybe the internet as a whole

                • Dave

                  I think if you look at other teams minor league systems you will the Cubs in the 10-15 range. A improvement but not a top five.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    The more relevant issue for our discussions is that the Cubs don’t have that highly drooled over Myers or Profar type prospect that can be converted into a Stanton or Price. Cubs #1 picks have been pretty hoo-hum miLB guys, and the Cubs have been as badly hurt by the lack of trade value as their lack of WAR for the Cubs.

  • Njriv

    Still would like to see a Marmol and Smyly swap.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yeah, but absolutely nobody in Tigerland would want to see that swap!

  • Byron Browne

    So you are a pitcher with multiple offers. One of them is from a 100-loss team, who might be contending in 2-3 years.Of course by then if you are good you’ll be traded to another team, and if you are bad, you will be out of a job. Either way, you’ll have to move your family to another town, maybe as soon as July of 2013. Wow, sounds like a great deal!

  • Jeff1969

    Does anyone else think the Cubs would have to give up at least Barney along with Marmol to even get close to acquiring Smyly? And that, that might not even get that done?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Tigers already have Omar Infante, who is a better hitter than Barney and only a slightly worse fielder. (Infante is very good at 2nd: his overall numbers get weighed down because he’s not really good at 3rd.) While the Tigers have been clear that they want an upgrade at 2nd, what they want is a 2ndbaseman with some pop.

      I suspect that the Tigers are waiting for Soriano’s price to come down – Boras is, of course, asking for Phobos or Deimos for him – and also waiting out Stephen Drew. They probably won’t get both, of course, but that will let them trade for the other piece (solid reliever or middle infielder with pop).

      • Jeff1969

        Saying that Infante is only a slightly worse fielder than Barney is just incorrect. Look at all the defensive numbers of both players. Barney is a tremendous fielder and always has been whenever & wherever he has played. Saying Infante’s overall numbers get weighed down becuse of his numbers at 3B might be technically be true, but having played just over 100 games at 3B in a career that is almost 1110 games long demonstrates that you’re just talking some silly junk. That’s just you trying to win the argument you’ve decided you need to win. Infante is a 2B who has played a some SS, but he’s played pretty much the same number of games in the OF as 3B. His fielding also took a huge dive in his short stint with the Tigers last year. He made 9 errors in 61 games at 2B! He also put up some weak numbers at the plate after the trade. At best he is an above average fielding 2B, who can play muiltiple positions. That is what his career record shows. I don’t know where you get your info. from but it is incorrect. I’m sure you can find some article somewhere that states the Tigers want a 2B with pop, but your analysis is incorrect & probably made up.

  • Spencer

    Ryan Dempster turned down a two-year, $25M offer from the Red Sox and a two-year, $26M offer from the Royals.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    How about a 3-way deal with Cubs , Phillies, & White Sox as follows :
    Cubs get Viciedo LF/3B , Mayberry OF, & D’Aza CF
    White Sox get : D. Brown OF, DeJesus OF, Valbuena 3B & Clevenger C,
    Phils get : Soriano / + $ LF, B. Jackson OF, & Vitters 3B

    Sox want to get more left handers in lineup & bench for 3B & C & OF
    Phillies get power RH bat & repl for Brown in RF at decent salary with veteran team
    Cubs get leadoff hitter/CF in D’Aza, OF platoon bat in Mayberry, & power bat at 3B in Viciedo

    • Jeff1969

      The White Sox would never do that trade. I don’t think the Phillies would either.

  • Rizzofanclub

    I have been a huge Brandon McCarthy fan for a long time and will continue to be one. The only reason I am not more upset about this non-signing is I can not see the medical reports. Maybe this is one of those that the cubs could have signed him at 2/20 but they see some things in his records that they don’t like. I don’t expect the cubs to spend big money this offseason but they still have time to surprise us all. Last time I checked there is a lot of very good free agents without homes (with most big payroll teams set at positions) and if we wait this stuff out we might be able to grab a few really great players. Maybe I am the ugly girl that is still hopeful that I’m going to get asked to prom but I really think the cubs have a few more impressive moves. I can see the cubs signing one more bullpen arm, another starter, and If the of market stays slow swoop in and grab one of the better players.

  • ETS

    ETS is a saaaaaad panda

  • KYCub

    Prospects= POSSIBLE future Major Leaue players. Their are no certainties, and this is what we are left hanging our hats on year to year.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Prospects also can be packaged for major leaguers. It’s a good thing to have prospects.

  • AnkenyHawk

    With Dempster turning down another 2 year deal from the Red Sox, thoughts on Cubs offering say 3 years/30 mil?

    • TonyP

      I wouldn’t be for it.

    • MaxM1908

      Hey hey, didn’t the Hawks when the state championship this year? I’m a 2001 grad.

      I also wouldn’t do 3/30.

      • AnkenyHawk

        Yep, state champs!

    • JR

      I would do 3/30 for Demp if we can do it without a No Trade. Which I don’t see happening..

      • AnkenyHawk

        You think Demp would do it?

  • cubzforlife

    The front office will be applauded for not signing Mccarthy by August. Good dude, damaged goods.

    • DarthHater

      If they thought he was damaged goods, then why did they reportedly make an offer for him?

      • mattymatt

        If you can get a high-risk / high-reward guy like this on the cheap it is probably worth the gamble.

      • MichiganGoat

        To mess with your head Darth to mess with your head

      • cubzforlife

        I can only guess the Cubs offered an amount, years, relative to his projected health. This man was seriously injured.

    • JR

      Yeah McCarthy is good pitcher when he’s healthy. But durability is a skill too, and one that McCarthy doesn’t have at all. Even as a flip candidate I would say 50/50 that he would have been healthy at the deadline. Dbacks can have that dude.

  • TonyP

    I wonder what % of fans were okay with a rebuild when Theo got the job compared to what % of fans are still okay with it now and further how many will be okay when they see the team that heads North after Spring Training?

    I get the feeling that this rebuild is drastically losing support with the masses.

    I support a rebuild and believe the farm needs a lot of attention but I don’t support intentionally tanking seasons (rather than trying to improve; the whole focus seems to on “flippable pieces”, Fk flippable pieces, get me some pieces to win with). I think that rebuilding the FO and farm can coincide with having a competitive MLB team.

    Note: This is just my opinion please don’t berate me if yours is different. I don’t do it to those that I don’t agree with.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

      I think there were a big chunk of people who were in the “One rebuilding year is fine to let them stockpile some prospects and get their bearings, but that’s it” and have begun to flip with the most recent signings that seem to indicate a much less ambitious plan than they’d like.

      There are even more who are in the “two years is fine, but not three” boat who are starting to get nervous but holding the line.

      It is still kind of funny to see so many people apparently find Schierholtz and the return of Ian Stewart to be the tipping point.

      • JR

        I am one of the people your talking about. It was obvious the farm system’s pitching sucked and needed fixed. But in all honesty the starting pitching still sucks in the minors. Other than Vizcaino (who is probably a bullpen arm) their deadline deals did nothing for me. Signing flip candidates gives me a headache at this point, but I am trying to stay positive I guess.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

          If you want to feel even worse, examine the upcoming free agent classes for starting pitching. It’s pretty awful. This year’s might be the best for awhile.

          • CubFan Paul

            who would you sign now to at least 3yrs to help stabilize the rotation? Marcum, Greinke, Sanchez, Jackson, or (insert)?

            • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

              Matt Garza…without a no trade clause. I think if we signed him to an extension we could get more in a trade for him. Face it, with this FO, he’s gone by July anyway.

            • TonyP

              For me it would depend on the years wanted by each and what the other part of the plan is. If they are intent on trading Garza no matter what then that would lean me to go after Greinke or Sanchez. But if they are planning on keeping Garza I might lean toward Marcum or Jackson but I wouldn’t go over 3 for either. It is going to be 3-5 years before the youngsters are ready to make an impact (assuming they do).

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            If it makes you feel any better, Kyle…none of the last three WS champs spent very much on the free agent market. The Giants and Cards build from within and trade for additional pieces.

            • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

              Sort of. The Giants especially were fairly well known for refusing to stop signing veterans and declare a “rebuilding” year, even after they lost 90+ games.

    • MichiganGoat

      I just don’t understand why so many people believe the plan is to tank the season, so we haven’t signed a big name FA and missed on McCarthy so how does that equal tanking on purpose?

      • CubFan Paul

        by purposely not fielding a competitive major league team is the definition of tanking.

      • JR

        I don’t think they are trying to tank next year. But they clearly aren’t trying to win next year either. The FO is sticking with the plan of building for the future as the only priority. They can say whatever they want in interviews, but for the most part the dude’s they are signing are mainly flip candidates.

      • TonyP

        I for one just get that feeling, maybe it is off base and paranoia. I think the plan is to put bring in guys on the cheap with undervalued contracts that can be flipped at the deadline for more prospects knowing that the team won’t be strong enough to stay competitive by mid season. As constructed now do you think that this team will be competitive next year?

        • JR

          I think they will be just like they were last year. Mediocre until the deadline, and then the worst team in baseball after the deadline. Exciting stuff..

        • Jack Weiland

          Do I think they will be competitive next year? No. Do I wish that were different? Yes.Do I wish they’d have done what it takes this offseason to be competitive next year? Hell no.

          • JR

            Yeah, I am more frustrated with the situation than the Front Office. They walked into a sh*t situation. Thank God they didn’t do what the Red Sox are doing. But this still sucks balls..

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              I think a significant and actual claim could be made that the Red Sox are tanking the 2013 season more than the Cubs are. Good god, dismantle one of the best offenses in all of baseball? Wow.

          • TonyP

            You have a good point, there would have been a lot needed to be competitive next year. It is disappointing to me that they have been unable to add any “long term” assets only short term filler. I don’t know what the answer is, but it sucks. Maybe something big will happen and some “long term” assets will be acquired before the season starts idk.

  • Njriv

    If all I see from now on is a Porcello/Smyly trade, and the rest is a bunch of minor league deals, I’d be satisfied.

    • TonyP

      Will you be happy if they don’t do anything else but minor league deals?

  • Spencer

    Brett got blasted last night I bet :)

    • TonyP

      Yeah, where are our bullets man. Sober up and lets get some information going Brett. :-P

      • Rcleven

        Not much coming over the twitter today. News writers sleeping in.

  • Blublud

    Im one who supports a rebuild, but the process is wearing thin on me, I must admit. I dont think we are pursuing free agents hard. All of this “we dont wanna over pay” stuff is probably crap. The teams that win over pay for their players. You have to sign good players, and most good players are probaly over payed. I wasnt expecting us to spend a huge amount of money this year, but I was expect us to sign at least one Anibal Sanchez, McCarthy, Lohse, Upton, Bourn and a few other names. After seeing that we will probably end up with none, I am a little angry. While I still think Theo is the right guy, he will not have this support from me and probably many others if there is one more offseason like this.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Never seen so much whining. What are the Cubs not doing? They signed two quality starting pitchers for fair value, in the prime of their careers. This in an extremely tight and thin starting pitching market, where the majority of teams are looking for more pitching.
    They signed the #2 rated relief pitcher on the free agent market in Fuji.
    Played hard ball with Stewart, and now he comes back on a no guarantee contract. He looks bad in the spring, they can cut him.
    Got a decent plus defensive outfielder, in the prime of his career, for peanuts.
    And they have positioned themselves to be able to pick off some unsigned free agents late in the process, with at least 20 million left to spend for 2013.
    Have to add, that I got a kick at the 2:00 AM talk on here about Zambrano returning to the Cubs. Must have been a heck of a party!

    • TonyP

      I’m not whining dude, I stated my opinion on a subject and engaged in respectful discussion when other opinions were made.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

      You’ve managed some admirable spin there, and I won’t fisk it, but there is no universe in which Fujikawa was the No. 2 relief pitcher on the market.

      • cubfanincardinalland

        Who is better. Soriano probably. Grilli? Affeldt? Those guys do not have the ability to close.

        • TonyP

          you are assuming that Fuji has that ability, we have no proof that he can do it at the MLB level. How many pitchers have come here from Japan and didn’t live up to expectations?

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

          “ability to close” does not make you a better relief pitcher. Affeldt, League, Grilli are all better off the top of my head.

    • MichiganGoat

      It’s not so much whining as its general testiness on all sides. There are those that want the check books blindly opened to all FA, those who have more patience and see a consistent plan followed and the the explosion between the two sides as we clash over everything. Mix that with insults sent directly to players, name calling (guilty), and everything else that happens with a large community and this is what you get.

      • TonyP

        you said testy. hahaha jk

        I think this pretty much sums it up as I see it. We all want the same thing just want to a different way or timing. I’m not a spring chicken anymore I need a winner soon. I don’t want to die never experiencing the Cubs winning the World Series.

  • nkniacc13

    If Young approves trade to Phillies wonder if that starts a bunch of player movement

  • mudge

    The end of the winter meetings is not the conclusion of the off-season. & it’s not time to jump to conclusions either.

  • Josh

    I’m not going to be a happy camper if we sign Dempster for a 3 year deal while we let McCarthy get away on a cheap deal. 2/$15.5 seems like a steal in my eyes.

  • Bleachernationer

    Wow the cubs dropped the ball. They owed us to the fans to get someone like McCarthy. And it just hurts bc it was for only $15.5 million over two years! That is a steal! I’m extremely tick and disappointed right now

    • Melrosepad

      If McCarthy could stay healthy I’d agree. The Cubs have access to the medicals. If they were worried about about anything, then they did the best thing possible and stepped away. There are still some decent pitchers still on the market, but right now, we do have a full rotation. Some backup would be nice, but what we have looks good so far.

  • Matt

    Why do people always act like if we offer a contract to any FA that they will “HAVE” to come here. People don’t realize that they are FA and that they can choose to go anywhere they like and sign with who ever they want. Just because people think if you offer more money and a contract to FA they will sign with the cubs is just not true. People need to realize they don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and FA are free to CHOOSE where they want to sign. Its not all about money. Its a CHOICE!!!

    • Melrosepad

      I agree Matt. Look at the Baker signing. People were complaining about the front office only doing a single year instead of the year and an option like we did for Maholm last year. Looked kind of foolish when Baker talked about how he didn’t want to sign a year and an option, only wanted a year contract to prove himself. He made the choice of only wanting a year contract.

    • TonyP

      Who wouldn’t want to come to our beloved Cubs?????

      jk I agree with this 100%

    • DarthHater

      If you have factual evidence that the Cubs or any other team offered McCarthy more $$$ and he nonetheless chose to go to AZ, then I would agree. But if you have no such evidence, then you’re just pulling assumptions out of your backside, and they don’t smell any better than the contrary assumptions made by others.

      • Rcleven

        Cubs offer was for 2 year. Incentive filled. Az offered guaranteed money.
        Other offers were incentive filled. He followed the guarantee.
        Make your decision based will McCarthy recover from the line drive to the head.
        I personally like the route the front office took. Other teams took the same route.

    • Blublud

      I disagree. The Cubs should be one of the franchises that when they want a player, they get him. When the Yankees want a player, they get them at least what seems like75% of the time. We have Market, tradition, great city and a huge Wallet with a team that can go 150-160+ million payroll and still make a lot of money if they want to. We should have added at least 2 long term player this off season. I like the moves we have made this years, it’s the moves we haven’t made that I’m upset with.

      • mudge

        Yankees tend to make the playoffs every year. Case closed as to why players would prefer to go there.

      • Franky

        Yes. Theo is too invested in framing himself as some kind of guru who didn’t ruin the Red Sox instead of actually trying to just make baseball fun.

      • cubfanincardinalland

        I like the city of Chicago. I would love to play for the Cubs. But as an example, if I were a free agent, my wife would never let me sign for a team in Chicago. She can’t stand the city, can’t wait to leave whenever we visit. She just prefers a less hectic and frenetic pace.
        There are a lot of factors other than the money that goes into where a free agent signs.

        • Rcleven

          Mrs. Burley ins not a happy camper right now.

    • Madprizamwoo

      Amen!!! I’ve been thinking that while reading this. My understanding is the Cubs did kick the tired with McCarthy. Obviously we could easily have offered him more but as Ace said 1 of 3 things happened. Which tend to hit the nail on the head. There could of been other reasons as well.

      Players are people and they have families that way heavy on these type decisions.

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