Apologies for the delayed Bullets, which is actually not related to the Christmas party I attended last night (I am a responsible chap). The family had a date scheduled for the Polar Express (an actual train that takes you to the “North Pole”!) this morning, and there was considerable driving involved, so I haven’t really been to my computer until now.
- The offer free agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy selected, reported last night, offered him more guaranteed money than others. That includes the Cubs’ offer, which Phil Rogers says was for two years, but built heavily upon incentives. That confirms for me one of my suspicions about McCarthy – some teams, including the Cubs – are more concerned about his history of shoulder injuries and his recent head injury than would allow them to bid freely on his talent, alone. That’s fine, and I can’t blame McCarthy for taking the guaranteed money (with a well-built team). But it was just $15.5 million guaranteed over two years – unless those medical concerns were *serious,* it’s not like the Cubs can cry poverty about taking on a mild risk like that (relatively speaking). Time will tell whether they were right, but I suppose we’ll still never know if McCarthy was never interested in coming to the Cubs regardless of the cash.
- It is hard to argue that the Cubs didn’t do well by getting out in front of the market on Scott Baker and Scott Feldman, but I don’t get all of the talk about the “market going crazy” since those signings (which includes comments from GM Jed Hoyer (“crazy” is my word, not theirs … but that’s the implication)) - everyone expected prices to sky-rocket this offseason thanks to (1) increased TV revenue to all teams, (2) increased dollars on the professional side, shifted from the amateur side by the new CBA, and (3) the reduced availability of free agents thanks to increased efforts to extend players before free agency. I don’t think the Cubs got lucky, so they deserve praise for getting out ahead of things. On the other hand, because we’re praising their forward thinking approach, they can’t well hide behind a “crazy market” that they knew was coming. These free agent prices are simply the new reality of baseball economics. For now.
- (And, I suspect that, if the market was really going crazy, McCarthy would have had quite a few more offers with as much guaranteed money as the Diamondbacks, if not more.)
- Ryan Dempster has reportedly turned down a two-year, $25 million offer from the Red Sox and a two-year, $26 million offer from the Royals. He seems to be holding out hope either for a three-year deal, or a deal closer to Chicago (probably preferably in the National League). I think Dempster is probably worth 2/$26 million, but I don’t see a lot of surplus value there. So, even if that’s all it would take for the Cubs to lock him down (if they were even legitimately pursuing him), I’m not sure it would be a useful move.
- Carlos Marmol says all the right things about the arrival of “set-up man” Kyuji Fujikawa. Per ESPNChicago: “I am happy we are adding good players to the team. I hear [Fujikawa] is a good pitcher and we need all the help we can get to be better …. Baseball is a business and I understand [the possibility of being traded]. Hey, they almost traded me already so I can’t be surprised if it happens. I am a Cub and I hope to stay with them, but most of that is up to them. I will come to Spring Training ready to do my job and try to help the Cubs win.” He’s got some more quotes in that article, and they’re all spot on. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s being shopped as we speak. I won’t say he’s a lock to be dealt before the season opens, but it’s probably a touch better than 50/50. And if you bump it to the Trade Deadline, that becomes about 95/5 (assuming health).
- Anthony Rizzo’s Foundation’s First Annual Walk Off for Cancer will be tomorrow morning in Parkland, Florida.