How does a scraper disappear? The Wife and I had a nice, big scraper in our car – the kind of thing you don’t think about until December rolls around and you start to need it. But now that we’ve looked around, the thing is gone. It’s not like you ever take it anywhere but in and out of your car, so how could it be gone? I’m going to go buy a replacement later this morning, and you just know that I’m going to find the damn thing as soon as I get back from the store.

  • Carrie Muskat fields folks’ questions, and notes, among other things, that she believes Nate Schierholtz is being viewed more as a fourth outfielder than a true starter. We’re still waiting on the official signing to hear from Theo or Jed on Schierholtz’s expected role, but it will be interesting. As a fourth outfielder, he might be one of the best in baseball (and would mean the Cubs are still looking for another starting outfielder, regardless of whether they trade Alfonso Soriano or David DeJesus). I still suspect he was signed to start more than your typical fourth outfielder would, given that he reportedly turned down more lucrative deals elsewhere (where it was known he would be on the bench) to sign on with the Cubs. You probably don’t do that unless you expect to get a lot of starts.
  • A theory? The Cubs have always planned on dealing one of DeJesus or Soriano, and plan on using Schierholtz in a platoon as a “starter” (he’d face righties, so he’d get the vast majority of the starts). But, since they haven’t yet made a trade, they can’t pursue a free agent outfielder and tell him they want him to start unless they spread the word that Schierholtz won’t be starting (otherwise there would be no spot for that outfielder the Cubs are pursuing). That could all have a relationship to why Schierholtz’s signing hasn’t been made official yet, either. The Cubs may not want to lock themselves into more formally explaining Schierholtz’s role until they get the other outfielder on board, or get a trade involving one of their other outfielders done. You know, now that I’ve typed this all out, I think I’ve convinced myself.
  • Alberto Cabrera, whom the Cubs have said they plan to convert back into a starting pitcher next year, made his first start of the Winter in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, and it was mixed, to say the least. In four scoreless innings, Cabrera gave up no hits and struck out 10. Holy smokes, he’s the greatest pitcher ever! Oh, he walked six. Yowsah. For those wondering, yes, walking six in four innings is much more “bad” than striking out 10 in four innings is “good.” Against consistent big league hitting, you would get destroyed with that kind of erratic control. Obviously it’s great to see him employing the good stuff, though. This is just the first of many, many steps.
  • Speaking of the Winter Leagues, Tony Campana’s time in Venezuela is up. The bad news? He hit just .231 and slugged just .288. The good news? His OBP was .322. That number, alone, isn’t good, but it’s a really nice IsoD.
  • Patrick Mooney wonders what impact the Anibal Sanchez pursuit will have on the Cubs’ decisions to/efforts to sign Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija to extensions.
  • Economic impact studies aren’t always reliable, and you have to regard suspiciously a study commissioned by the very entity who is hoping to demonstrate economic impact, but … the Cactus League performed an economic impact study that says the Cactus League and the year-round use of team facilities adds about $632 million to the Arizona economy. Further, 56% of fans attending Spring Training games are out-of-state visitors.
  • Chicago Cubs Christmas songs? Sure, why not.
  • MXB

    The scraper is probably within the pile of baby stuff unloaded from the car that is sitting in your garage. Best bet is to search for your drill or some other miscellaneous tool and then you’ll find the scraper.

    • Brett

      I guarantee you’re right. I tried to dig through a pile of stuff we recently took out of the car (indeed, mostly kid stuff). No dice.

      • Kubphan82

        You should trick your car into handing it back over to you… Go to the store, while talking about buying a new scraper, but buy something else… And then look under the seats, especially between the seats, and it will surely appear…

        I used to trick my first car into starting (it would “never” start when it was cold, unless I threatened to take her to the junkyard and upgrade… BTW, I ended up taking her to the junkyard when she tried to call my bluff)

  • Hebner The Gravedigger

    Time to make & market BN scapers?

    • ETS

      Ha, I like this.

  • Spoda17

    The scraper is right next to the the clear packing tape you’ve been looking for since last spring. Or Bigfoot has it, could go either way.

  • hansman1982

    The Cubs took it to offer it to Anibal Sanchez – he took it, therefore leading to the Cubs have landed Anibal Sanchez report but now won’t give it back. Theo is too embarassed to tell you about it.

    • MXB

      He will now be known as Scraper Sanchez until it is returned

  • CubFan Paul

    Soriano seems like a lock for Philly if he’ll approve it. The money is too right for Philly to say no or go another route, which explains the leaks

    • T Wags

      I agree, send him to Philly right now for Jonathan Pettibone and I’m a happy camper!

  • JR

    Ethier is available. He’s making a lot of coin, but I like that dude a lot better than some of the other options out there.

    • Chris

      He gets on base and he has a bit of pop but he is going to be 31. If the Dodgers ate half of his contract, I wouldn’t be mad if the Cubs went after him. 6/40 wouldn’t be so bad.

      Also it was the scraper gnomes.

      1) Collect scrapers.
      2) ?
      3) Profit!

  • hansman1982

    Speaking of economic impact studies does anyone have a link to one done by an independent third party? The only things I have found online are articles written bashing the concept that usually quote some “expert” as saying “cut it in half, then cut it in half again and divide by eleventy” or “flip it to a negative” or something to that effect.

    It seems like for every study biased towards the builder, 10 articles are published biased the other way.

    This is why I love baseball, everything is right there for you to decipher and evaluate.

    • Cubbie Blues

      You really do have a lot of extra time on your hands.

      • hansman1982

        right now, yes…

    • itzscott

      There’s bias in just about everything that’s written by someone.

      But, if you were a congressman, councilman or some elected official that had a vote in something that was perceived to have an economic impact on your constituency….

      Would you use a positive economic impact study (of dubious accuracy) to cast a “yea” vote if donations were made to your campaign fund by those that had a direction economic benefit from what you were voting on?

      Welcome to America!

    • Spriggs

      I think I have one from 2 years ago — from the group opposing the Cubs complex. I’ll try to dig it up. All it really is though is just another biased report with even more dubious claims than the original.

      The thing is, these economic impact studies are supposed to be done by independent parties to begin with. The impact study from 2009/2010 was done by an independent 3rd party, but was hired by the city of Mesa – which of course was big proponent of keeping the Cubs. So they lose the appearance of independence whether they are or not.

  • Myles – WCSW

    If Tony Campana had an OBP of .322 in the majors, he could start at CF (almost)

    • CubFan Paul

      if only Campana had the strength to consistently loft/dink/drop/hit balls into shallow LF (behind the SS, in front of the LF) he could start in the majors.

      learning to bunt would help also. with his speed his offense wouldn’t have to be much, but i don’t know if can learn to hit like that this late in his career

      • Leo L

        IF he could then he would be a good bench player. if he learns to play center field also ie get better jumps on the ball then he could be a starter. i am rooting for him though. would make for exciting baseball if he could get on and steal bases as a lead off hitter.

    • Spoda17

      … if Tony had any other talent than speed, he could start in the majors… if he had a degree in cosmetic dentistry, he could give the team teeth-caps ala Kevin Millar …

  • CubFan Paul

    from Mooney

    “What will that cost the Cubs if Samardzija continues on this trajectory? He’s eligible for arbitration the next three years, so there’s no rush. But look beyond his 9-13 record and 3.81 ERA last season and you’ll see that he averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and posted a 2.58 ERA in 11 starts after the All-Star break”

    No rush? Garza asked for $12.5M for his 3rd arb year because there was no rush to extend him. He settled for $9.5M, but had Garza had a healthy 2012, Brotha would be getting paid in 2013 (his last arb year). Garza’s arbitration salaries: $3.4M, $5.95M, $9.5M, & probably only around $10M-12M in 2013 because of injury.

    He could of been locked up for less a long time ago. Hopefully the same mistake isn’t made with Shark or he’ll just become trade bait too after next year. He’s a homegrown top of the rotation type that Theo&Co should invest in now, not later.

    • Rcleven

      Still comes down to the no trade that stalled talks last year.
      My guess is if he keep insisting on the no trade he a goner.

      • CubFan Paul

        and risk injury again? maybe. but i doubt it. Garza seemed a little more than bummed on twitter after the injury. He seemed like he flushed $65MILLION DOLLARS down the toilet. We’re lucky he didn’t kill himself.

        If Garza is approached for an extension before the season he has no leverage, so his demand(s), in theory would have to come down.

  • Mike

    Brett you mention that we might sign another outfielder so I ask do you think we should overspend on Cody Ross? Even if we overspend by 5mil a year it would equal out the money we would be saving when we trade Soriano! And by getting Ross we force the Phillies hand in a trade for Soriano!

    • Mike

      Also I read a lot of comments on here about young cubs fans being affected by the loosing and I disagree because I am only 15 and I LOVE the cubs even though I live in a place in Ohio that’s 40 min to PNC and 45 min to Progressive(the Jake) TRUE cubs fans don’t let loosing make them any less of cubs fans that’s what makes being a cubs fan so great!

      • Hawkeyegrad

        My son is 12 and alot of his friends who were “Cubs fans” have switched their alligence to the White Sox recently.

        We were just talking about the rebuilding process and how the goal is sustainable success and he felt if that happens his buddies will come back and say they were always Cubs fans and he was irritated by that thought.

        I told him he will know he stuck with them and it will make the winning all the sweeter. Here’s to a turnaround or I’ve lost alot of credibility with my oldest by telling him the Cubs are on the right path.

        BTW…I took him to the Cubs convention last year and he absolutely loved it. He has been asking me to go again this year. What a great expereince and I would recommend it to anyone with kids in middle school.

      • itzscott

        Hey Mike!

        The first thing you’ll need to learn before you enter college and hopefully a very successful and happy life is that it’s spelled “losing”.

        No such word as “loosing”.

        • Frank

          As a former college English professor, thank you.

        • Chris

          Cubs: The Lovable Loosers

      • MichCubFan

        There will be a lot of young Cubs fans when we get into the post-season…The Cubs bandwagon is a big one.

    • Kevin B

      That makes no sense at all. You want to overspend by $5 million per year! And on a player who is not going to be a core player? $5 million is real money, overpaying is not what this FO is about and I applaud it. Overpaying is what got us stuck the past 3 years and its only this year that we have the flexibility?

      And the reason to do it is because you are trading Soriano? And saving the money? First of all that is not a good business plan. Next how are we saving the money? He is owed $36 million and allegedly we are willing to eat $26 Million so is that “saving” $10 Million? If so put it somewhere else why throw it out the window and over pay Cody Ross by up to $5 million over what he is worth?

      And you are not forcing the Phillies to do anything by that. Sure they may have no use for Soriano if they sign Ross but you want to out bid them for Ross by paying Ross up to over $5 million over what he is worth to then force the Phillies to take Soriano while we eat $26 million? Then we are stuck with Cody Ross who would be on a bad contract?/ Then we trade Ross a year or so later and have to eat the contract since its terrible and we pay more then the $5million per.

      • Kyle

        We’re going to not spend $20-30 million a year in the name of not “overpaying” $5 million for anyone. How brilliant of us.

        • CubFan Paul

          I’m wondering how Theo&Co will “sell” the low payroll in 2013. They’ve done nothing to buck the downward trend in attendance.

          Maybe they’ll give extensions to Garza & Samardzija just before the Convention and say all year that they spent money.

          • Norm

            I don’t think Theo&Co are worried about “selling” the low payroll.
            They are probably thinking “Who gives a #*&@?”

            • CubFan Paul

              I think they are worried about it. & if they aren’t Kenney is. The excess losing last year caused the downward trend of losing 75,000 paid fans a game spike higher. a lot higher.

              only 2.5M-2.7M paid fans would be an embarrassment next year for the Cubs.

              • Norm

                Again, who cares?
                What’s going to happen if the attendance is down to 2.5M? Someone will call it embarrassing?
                Big whoop. Fans will be back when they do spend.

                • CubFan Paul

                  I care or I wouldn’t have brought it up.

                  And since fans spend money i’m quite sure the Cubs care more.

                  • Norm

                    Well if the Cubs care so much about they payroll number, they’ll do something about it.
                    My bet is that they won’t…..cuz they don’t care if fans are embarrassed by a 2.5M showing at the gate.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      not the fans. I said the Cubs should be embarrassed if they provide a product (Major League team) that no one wants to pay for (another 90plus loss team to reap CBA benefits)

  • Idaho Razorback

    Wow Brett! Not needing your scraper until now? I’ve been using mine since August.

    • DarthHater

      Don’t you remember, Brett? You’ve been using that scraper to clear the muck off your computer screen! 😉

    • Brett

      Your name says it all on that one.

  • Matt

    I do like Ethier but not for 5 years. The dodgers would have to eat some of the $85mm owed to him over the next 5 years but 5 years is a long time for a guy that is going to be 31 at the start of the season and has the injury bug. If it was only for a couple years I say it would be a good idea but it kind of puts us in a bad situation in the long run. I like him as a player but 5 years is a long time for a 31-36 yr old who has had injuries and from what has been said….. BAD knees. Wouldn’t hate it though.

    • hansman1982

      At first glance, I’d do it. He give you DeJesus’ defense and OBP but with more power (and A LOT more money).

      I don’t think the Dodgers will move him though…he just signed an extension last year and isn’t that big of an injury guy (max time missed is 20 games a couple years ago)

      • Norm

        I’d rather just sign Swisher.

      • Matt

        There are reports this morning of the Dodgers shopping him. He hasn’t missed significant time but he has been continuosly hampered by small injuries…..alot he has played through. Plus he has knee issues. Like I said I like him but not for 5 years.

        • hansman1982

          I hadn’t seen those. He is owed a fair amount of money ($85M guaranteed) but he is good, depends on the prospect and the Dodgers need to free up money.

        • Kevin B

          I like him but not for $17 Million per year either. His knee over 5 years is a concern and he does not hit lefties that well. If Dodgers ate half not so bad but then we still have to trade for him, I would not want to trade any prospects for him and unless they want Soriano or Marmol not sure what we have to give them.

  • Dan

    The Cubs suck pa rum pum pum pum. Laughing stock of the league pa rum pum pum pum.signing hasbeens, and injured players pa rum pum pum pum ra pum pum pum. Failed big trades and signings pa rum pum pum pum ra pum pum

    • DarthHater

      Hey, everybody! It’s the little dumber boy!

      • RoughRiider

        Good one.

    • Myles – WCSW

      They don’t even fit with the song!

    • DarthHater

      Oh the weather outside is frightful
      And in here, the tone is spiteful
      But since we’ve no place to go
      Let ’em troll, let ’em troll, let ’em troll!

  • Ivy Walls

    Scrapper is wedged beneath the universal spare tire. Actually Brett, not a good sign though living in WI and now CO getting stranded in winter is not good. You should have a survival kit in your trunk where the spare is, at least two wool blankets or sleeping bags, blankets better, use less room, flashlights, coffee can with small candles, strike anywhere matches, couple bottles of water, candy and trail mix, extra ice scrapper/brush and small shovel, along with jumper cables, small tool kit, and survival knife. We once went off the road in WI at night during a winter storm, had to wait it out for 4 hours, glad we had the stuff.

    As for the Cubs, Soriano is the target, Cubs have to move on. DeJesus has value to teach youngin’s and mid season trade value.

  • cubzforlife

    Good call Darth.

  • Justin

    So would Eithier be a future plan at all in replace of Soriano or is that a dumb plan?

  • Shea

    Neat article about the Shark and his move to the rotation on RotoGraphs:

    • Good Captain

      Thanks for the cite on the Shark!

  • Muck

    Just saw a thing on twitter from @DKnobler that Dodgers are listening on offers for Andre Ethier, would the Cubs be interested?

    • Muck

      Oh nevermind I guess some people were already on that ^^

    • brickhouse

      Ethier would be a bad idea

  • FFP

    When my father retired he picked up a “magic” ice-scraper in his left hand and started driving south. Where ever he stopped, people would say, “Hey, Buddy, where you going with that ice-scraper?” He looked foolish, but he wouldn’t let go of his “divining ice-scraper”
    Finally he heard the magic words that let him know he had found what he was looking for.
    Someone said, “Hey, buddy, what’s that thing in your left hand?”
    Maybe Brett’s ice-scraper is idle, outside my dad’s old condo in Sarasota (along with a few hundred others).

  • Spencer

    The Chicago Cubs: MLB’s leader in best utility and bench players. Now if only we could work on having the best starting nine…

  • OlderStyle

    Is it fair to assume at this point Schierholtz will get majority of starts in right while platooning with, maybe Sappelt?

    • Brett

      Yes. At this point, as presently constructed.

    • Morken

      I really don’t mind that platoon.

      • OlderStyle

        Yeah, it could be pretty decent, better than DD by himself. I’m very curious to see what happens in left field. I have to guess that Soriano is traded by ST at that bargain price (2/$10) but I don’t see any free agent names that jump out at me and I certainly don’t see the Cubs making any trade for a left fielder. Bourn would not be well-spent money, imo.
        May as well buckle down for the ride, it may be bumpy but could be interesting, too.


    Nate Schierholtz Could he play third base? would be kinda funny if started at 3B . The Giants drafted him as a third baseman then converted him to an outfielder.

  • JoyceDaddy

    My friend who’s a die-hard Giants fan told me that Schierholtz can’t hit to save his life but he might have one of the best if not the best arm in baseball. I remember Hoyer saying earlier that he wanted to get a defensive minded outfielder so I think that Schierholtz could be that guy. Definitely not starter worthy though, the Cubs offense is bad enough as it already is.

    • Chris

      Let’s convert him to pitcher.