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I just renewed the “bleachernation.com” domain name’s registration for the 5th year, and it made me think about how glad I am that it’s the name I landed on back in 2008 (despite the potential confusion with a certain other bleacher-y site that started earlier that year). As best as I can recall, some of the other names under consideration at the time included “Rooftop Report,” “Rooftop Review,” “Rooftop Gazette” (I was really into the rooftop idea), various iterations of “Bricks” and “Ivy,” and, believe it or not, “Bleacher Report.” At the time, it was a really small site, and it meant nothing to me other than the fact that the name was taken, and I couldn’t use it. Little did I know…. So, I landed on “Bleacher Nation.” The online Cubs world didn’t really have a site using the oh-so-ubiquitous-and-kind-of-hacky-but-whatever “nation” thing, and I always really liked the bleachers at Wrigley. Ultimately, selecting the name had as much to do with what wasn’t already taken as what sounded good. That said, when “Bleacher Nation” popped into my head, I hoped beyond hope that it wasn’t already taken. So, there you go. More than you wanted to know.

  • In light of the Dodgers’ spending spree, which will push their 2013 payroll to the $220 million range, you’re going to hear a whole lot in the coming weeks (and years, really) about how having a huge payroll doesn’t guarantee a team anything. And that’s quite right. But it sure does help you get to the table: in the last 18 seasons, the big money Yankees have missed the playoffs exactly once. Don’t let folks tell you the huge payroll thing is meaningless. It isn’t a guarantee, but it sure as heck does matter.
  • Speaking of payroll, the MLB Players Association has released its average salary data for 2012, which showed a 3.8% increase in average player salary across baseball. For the Cubs, however, that figure was a greater than 50% drop – from almost $5 million in 2011 to about $2.1 million in 2012. That took the Cubs from 7th in baseball all the way down to 23rd. I’m not quite sure how these figures are calculated (does the fact that the Cubs used more players than almost any other team drive their “average” salary down, since the vast majority of those players were minimum salary guys?), but it paints a pretty clear picture about the Cubs’ rebuilding efforts, and shouldn’t be much of a surprise. I’ll have more on this payroll/spending stuff later today.
  • Anthony Rizzo’s “Walk Off For Cancer” walk was a big success yesterday, in its first year, drawing a bunch of great names, and raising $63,000 online before the open registration at the walk, itself, yesterday. It takes place in Florida – maybe next year we can get a group together to head down there.
  • The next SABR Analytics Conference will be March 7 through 9 in Phoenix, which obviously lines up with Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic. For those of you who head down for Spring Training at that time, you should know that Jed Hoyer is slated to speak at the conference.
  • On that Rays/Royals trade, Dave Cameron at FanGraphs lays into the Royals, who he says just mortgaged the future in exchange for a shot at being mediocre.
  • I am an unapologetic huge Smashing Pumpkins fan, and I think it’s the bee’s knees that Billy Corgan is such a Cubs fan that he’s asked substantive questions about the rebuilding process. Among his thoughts: it isn’t right to waste a player’s career while you remain uncompetitive. That’s an interesting, and humanitarian-ish view of a rebuild. And a reason to keep it brief.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the Rays/Royals deal, the Greinke signing, and more. One interesting bit from baseball, at large: “MLB’s revenues have been climbing steadily since 1995, and reached $7.5 billion last year after a couple years at $7 billion (flat, likely due to the recession – but even staying flat through that period is positive). In just a couple years, with the infusion of serious television dollars, that figure could blow past $9 billion.”
  • ETS

    Siamese Dream appropriately shuffled onto the ipod as I was reading this post.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      One of the best songs ever: Mayonaise.

      • ETS

        Cherub Rock, Today, Disarm… Easily in the top 5 albums of the entire decade.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You may hate me, but … ‘Adore’ is actually my favorite Pumpkins album.

          • ETS

            You may hate me, but I actually haven’t listened to adore as much as their other stuff, but I’m also notably younger than you (though, apparently, old enough to be a director of baseball operations ;) ).

            • hardtop

              i do hate you…
              not really, to each is own and it certainly could be worse.

              one vote for gish.

              • OlderStyle

                I stopped paying attention to them after Gish.

      • Joker

        Finally, so love for Mayonaise. Glad to know I am not the only one.

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

    Just so everyone knows now, *that’s* what mortgaging/sacrificing your future looks like. Trading your top-shelf No. 1 prospect (who could probably have made a big impact at the MLB level in the upcoming year) and three other highly rated guys for two years of a good pitcher and another half-way decent one.

    Remember this trade next time someone wants to clutch their pearls in horror at the idea of giving up a comp pick for a good MLB player or sign a mid-tier free agent to a three-year deal.

    • ETS

      I thought we overpaid for garza, but archer and Lee haven’t been quite what I expected either…

      • Noah

        I’d just say it’s too early on either Archer or Lee. Archer posted solid peripherals in his brief time with the MLB club last season (just under 30 innings), but had an extremely low left on base percentage, indicating some bad luck to push his ERA into the mid-4′s. If he isn’t handed a job in the rotation after the Shields and Davis trades, he’ll be competing for it in spring training. At the least he’ll probably be a late innings bullpen pitcher. The question for Archer will always be if he can control the walks.

        While Lee’s failure to add gap power to this point has been a disappointment, he will just be entering his age 22 season in 2013. This year will probably be a big year to determine if he can add some gap power.

        • ETS

          Well, even if both turn to flops, you could still make the argument we overpaid – IE could have gotten more for the same prospects at the time.

          • terencemann

            I’ll certainly remember this when Myers is starting in the ASG in 4 years and Davis and Shields are no longer on the Royals.

    • ssckelley

      I am confused to your stance on this deal, you saying this is a good or bad deal for Kansas City? You have been an advocate of the Cubs making similar moves to improve the 2013 team. To me this would be like the Cubs giving up Baez, Vizcaino, Jackson, and Candelario to get these 2 pitchers. A move that most on here would probably not agree with but one I would consider if the Cubs had players like Alex Gordon in the outfield, Mike Moustakas playing 3rd, along with the Royals bullpen.

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

        First, I’m not a big fan of this deal for the Royals. I’m a fan of the idea for them. They are in a good position to trade prospects for starting pitching and try to make a run in 2013. But that’s a flat-out overpay, unless the hints that those inside baseball don’t like Myers near as much as the pundits do are true.

        Second, the trade really has to be looked at in concert with the whole offseason for the Royals. If they stop right now, they are second-place fringe contenders, and they could have gotten just as much improvement by replacing Franceour with Myers as they do putting Shields in the rotation. But if they push harder and improve their offense as well, then suddenly they start to get into that upper-80s win area where marginal wins are pure gold.

        Third, the whole point for the Cubs is that they don’t need to make deals like this to improve the 2013 team. The Royals are operating within an incredibly restrictive budget and must deal with only one currency: prospects. While I’m not scared of trading Baez for the right deal, the Cubs have the luxury of dealing with the other, scarcer commodity: cash.

        • ssckelley

          But the thing is at some point the Royals have to stop waiting for that next George Brett to come along and start making a move. Even if they just end up being a fringe contender they have not been one since 2003, have not been a serious contender since 1989, and everything in between has been awful.

          • MichCubFan

            Massive overpay. You can dress it up any way you want, but they overpaid. It doesn’t matter what situation they are in.

            They could have gotten more for what they gave up, or they should have been able to give away less for what they got.

  • http://sportspyder victor

    Totally agree that huge payroll does matter as you cannot win the world series if you do not get into the playoffs. Read article where the cubs are 1 of only 4 teams that bring in more revenue than dodgers. Pretty obvious to me that the only times in my life the cubs have made the playoffs was when they spent the money to put a competitor on the field. I’m 53

    • Tim

      Because nobody has ever had the balls to do a full rebuild in chicago

      • Spriggs

        Not true. During 1973 and 1974, the Cubs traded such veterans as Santo, Williams, Jenkins, Beckert, Hundley, Hands, Hickman and a few others. Mostly all of them for younger players such as Madlock, Vic Harris, Jerry Morales, Steve Stone, Frailing, Manny Trillo, Scipio Spinks, Steve Swisher, Mitterwald and many other young bums. Didn’t work out that great, but they did try. The trades cased a public outrage too, getting rid of so many fan favorites right after Banks had retired.

  • ichabod

    the smashing pumpkins have a good name. that is all.

  • CubFan Paul

    aaahhh! the Tribune has a pay wall!

    • bobo justis

      To get around the paywall, put the title of the article in Google, and then click on the resulting link…

      • Cubbie Blues

        haha guess they haven’t worked out all the bugs yet.

      • A.J.

        ..Or just stop the page from loading, right before the pay wall pops-up.

  • baseballet

    I’m curious where people think the Cubs will rank in team payroll going forward, once the early stages of the rebuilding are completed. Do you think the Rickettses will consistently keep the Cubs in the top five? Five through ten? Lower?
    I really have no idea where we’re headed in this regard, and don’t see how anyone other than the FO can know for sure. But the early signs are discouraging to me. I’d love to believe that the Rickettses plan to consistently have a top five payroll, but I haven’t read anything to make me believe that.

    • ETS

      I’m hoping top 3 and thinking top 5. I think right now the focus has been more on scouting and minor league development acquisition, but I don’t think Ricketts will be “cheap” once our farm is deeper. (Actually I think our farm is closer to ready than most; we just lack pitching in upper levels)

      • baseballet

        There is a difference between ‘not being cheap’ and having a top five payroll. There are some huge payrolls out there, like the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers…

        Will the Cubs be in that mix or will they be on the second or third tier?

        • baseballet

          My guess is that w/r/t payroll, the Cubs will be a middle market team with occasional splurge years, but I’m curious what others are thinking…

    • ssckelley

      I don’t think Ricketts has the resources to spend like the Yankees and Dodgers do at this time, now that could change if the Cubs land a monster TV deal like the Dodgers did. But I do not think money will keep the Cubs from going after what they need once they have the farm system in place to support a consistent winner.

      The Cubs are trying to play a big market version of Moneyball. They want to make sound investments in the right players and prospects without the worry of letting players walk just because they cannot afford to keep paying them. They will let them walk when the price of their contracts exceed their value.

      • terencemann

        Even if the Cubs spent like the Dodgers, they wouldn’t be the Dodgers. The Dodgers were already a borderline playoff contender before the spending spree.

        • ssckelley

          Agreed, the Dodgers have good pitching. Any time a team has that it does not take much else to be competitive.

          • terencemann

            I was more expanding than debating that first post.

  • RoughRiider

    It will be interesting to see what happens in LA. On paper they look to be the best team in the National League and figure to win most of their games. LA fans have been portrayed as fans that show up in the second inning and or gone by the seventh inning. If the Dodgers don’t have any struggles and have a big lead by July will the fans stop showing up? Does it really matter if they show up? Are the Dodgers making so much money on television that they don’t need seats?

    I have no ill will toward anyone but a part of me would be thrilled to see it blow up in their face and have them finish with a losing record and tied down to long term contracts with no upside.

    • Internet Random

      [P]art of me would be thrilled to see it blow up in their face and have them finish with a losing record and tied down to long term contracts with no upside.

      Whatever it takes to make Tommy Lasorda cry on national TV.

  • Sandberg

    Corgan is an unstable diva (witnessed a meltdown in the middle of a concert), and pretty clueless about baseball. Haven’t WAR projections on here indicated that the Cubs as currently constructed could be an 82ish win team? Cubs are not “wasting people’s careers,” gmafb, and even if they are, players could asked to be traded.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He didn’t say the Cubs were wasting players’ careers – he’s saying teams shouldn’t do that in service of a rebuild. He was speaking generically, and saying he hopes the Cubs don’t do that in the future.

  • farmerjon

    Rizzo’s charity benefits the Livestrong Foundation…hard to get behind anything that benefits that complete and total ass bag that is Lance< Armstrong.

    • fortyonenorth

      Nice. Guess you–or someone your love-have never had cancer.

    • hardtop

      complete and total assbag because he used performance enhancing drugs?

      • Internet Random

        Just like every other elite participant in that sport… and many, many, many others.

        • hardtop

          i was just asking the question of the original post-er… what his issue with armstrong was.

    • Cedlandrum

      Hate on Lance for doping, fine. But seriously LiveStrong on appearances seems to be a pretty solid org. So it isn’t that hard to get behind it.

      • terencemann

        There’s nothing wrong with Livestrong. It sucks that their founder may have hurt their organization with his past conduct, but it was a very well respected charity for effectively raising tons of money for cancer research.

      • farmerjon

        Take a closer look…a very minor fraction of livestrong money actually goes to cancer research. He switched from a non profit a few years ago and the majority of the money is funneled to…lance armstrong. Send it to the American Cancer Society

        • fortyonenorth

          That’s a pretty strong accusation. Can you support it? Charity Navigator rates Livestrong as four stars with a score of 64.24 out of a possible 70. And they are, in fact, a registered 501(c)(3) charity. American Cancer Society is rated two stars with a score of 48.86 out of 70. I don’t know non-profits, so the numbers aren’t all that meaningful to me. On the surface, though, Livestrong is far from a sham.

          • OlderStyle

            I’ve read some credible reports about how Livestrong is more a front for Lance.
            This article is just one of many sources out there about the dubious nature of Livestrong.org. Just to be clear there is a Livestrong.com which is a for-profit site.
            http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/athletes/lance-armstrong/Its-Not-About-the-Lab-Rats.html

            • farmerjon

              I’m not where I can easily check, but if memory serves me it was switched from .org to .net 3yrs ago (maybe longer) and that over 90% of proceeds ended up with Lance.

        • cubchymyst

          Lance Armstrong no longer has anything to do with livestrong (if the news reports are correct).

        • JoeyCollins

          The last things i have read are that they give NO money to cancer research, and dont really pretned to. Instead they focus on patient and family support. As well as guidance involving navigating the maze that is our health care system. It is misleading that the money no longer benefits research but by all accounts it is still a reputibale charity that serves a purpose (just not the one most people donating believe it does).

    • Leroy

      So you know for a fact Lance Armstrong did it huh? There is no proof of that. Armstrong got tired of fighting it. You would too if you were harassed for 14+ years.

  • ssckelley

    The guy at FanGraphs needs to look at how bad the Royals have been over the past 25 years. They have not had a winning record since 2003 and have not made the playoffs since 1985. The Royals have one of the most loyal fan bases around but those that remember the late 70s to early 80s are getting old and they need to generate new excitement with the younger fans. None of those players the Royals gave up are guaranteed to pan out and they are getting 2 solid players to strengthen their rotation. This move should make them competitive next season.

    • terencemann

      You know what else would help them a lot for 2013? Having Hosmer turn things around (which he probably will) and replacing the worst player in baseball (Francouer) with a player with an all-star to MVP ceiling (Myers). They could have gone after guys like Baker and McCarthy with the money they’ll have to cover for Shields and Davis and they’d still have Ordizzi available as a call-up when someone gets injured and they’d still have Myers.

  • oso

    Mayonnaise is the shiznit. Big love for Rizzo and family, they are definitely righteous. Thanks for posting that story.

  • PTBNL

    Half goes to Livestrong and half goes to the cancer center that treated Anthony. If the fact that some of the money goes to an organization that FORMERLY involved Lance then just stay away. It was a good event and a lot of fun.

  • Sven-Erik312

    Hi Brett, well, it’s been really cold here in Sweden, -20C and worse. As soon as we get a slight warming trend towards -10C or so, we get nailed with more snow! Good for Rizzo I say, recalling that story I told you about Ruth and Gehrig. These things are so important.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Whew – and I get annoyed when it hits 32F (or 0C, for you).

  • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com Rice Cube

    Congrats on year five ;)

  • T Wags

    After reading the fangraphs piece I have convinced Theo we need to send Soriano + Lake to Tampa for Ordizzi. MOAR PITCHING!!

  • T Wags

    *Odorizzi. Shame on me

  • SFC CUBBIE

    I have not been able to keep up with everything sure to my pcsdeon virginia toEl Paso,TX
    The cry for more spending will hit if the Dodgers win, but it is the same with the Yankees they are old and not as good, I prefer a young up and coming team to see what great talent that can be found. I am excited to see this year and the next.

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