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  • The Dodgers’ new TV deal is now reportedly up to $7 to $8 billion over 25 to 30 years, with Time Warner entering the bidding. Previously, we’d heard that Fox Sports was going to get those 25 to 30 years for a mere $6 to $7 billion. Let’s say they get the $8 billion over 25 years (the best possible version) – that’s $320 million PER YEAR JUST FROM THE TV DEAL. (The numerator was so large that I couldn’t even fit it on my calculator.) I doubt the final figure ends up being quite that high, but the point is: whatever the final number, it’s going to be absolutely insane. Once again, for your frame of reference, the Cubs are currently believed to be receiving approximately one-sixth(!) of that amount from their WGN and CSN deals. The WGN deal is up after the 2014 season, and the CSN deal is up after 2019.
  • More from outfielder Nate Schierholtz on his hopes and expectations for playing time in 2013, from CSN: “[Cubs manager Dale Sveum] said he was looking for me to come in and play the outfield every day. That’s something I’ve looked forward to my whole career. I got chances here and there in San Francisco, but I didn’t really get a full-time job ever. It’s my job to come in to Spring Training and show them what I can do. The opportunity here was a no-brainer to me. I wasn’t looking to be a fourth outfielder. I wanted a chance to play every day. I felt like this team is going in the right direction and I thought I could help them out …. What it came down to is I just felt comfortable here. I talked to Dale a couple times before I signed and I talked to a lot of other teams as well. It just came down to Chicago really believing in me and believing I can come in and play up to my potential. It wasn’t as important to me to sign somewhere for, say, two years and potentially not play as much as opposed to coming here and playing. Everything just felt right. I love the city and the fans. I couldn’t be happier to be here.” It sure sounds like Schierholtz was sold on the idea that he was going to play every day in right field. I still think he ends up being the left-handed half of a platoon.
  • Tom Verducci takes his annual look at young pitchers who saw a jump in their innings pitched last year, and isolates those who threw more than 30 innings more than their previous career high in 2012. These pitchers, he cautions, could be guys to watch for possible arm trouble in 2013. Among the Chris Sale’s and Stephen Strasburg’s, a Cubs name pops up: Chris Rusin. His combined 173 professional innings last year were 34.1 innings more than his previous career high. It was a relatively modest leap, when you consider Rusin’s progression from college, so I’m not too worried. Further, it’s not like the Cubs are relying on Rusin to be a 200 inning starter at this point – indeed, he may well start the year in the bullpen or at AAA.
  • Patrick Mooney talks about the Cubs picking at number two in this year’s Draft, with some full quotes from Theo Epstein at the Convention this weekend. There are also some thoughts from Jason McLeod suggesting he thinks this year’s crop is at the top is really down, compared to recent previous years. He says the Cubs are hoping some guys really step up this season to give them some more obvious choices at number two.
  • In his January interview with Vine Line, Theo Epstein once again emphasized that if the Cubs are fortunate enough to have a realistic shot at a playoff berth come the Trade Deadline, they will indeed look to add pieces to make a charge. But if that realistic shot takes the form of say, five games out of the second Wild Card, with four teams in front of them, I doubt they do too much to sacrifice the future. Indeed, that might be about the level at which they’ll have a difficult choice: trade prospects to add pieces, or sell pieces to add prospects. Because standing pat wouldn’t seem a great idea.
  • Tom Ricketts’ role in a Cubs fan getting Ron Santo’s autograph tattooed on his head.
  • Brace yourselves, people of the North: Mark DeRosa has signed with the Blue Jays for $750,000. The fan favorite, and former Cub, is being brought in for his intangibles and clubhouse presence, because it can’t be his performance: his line over the last three years is .220/.309/.269.
  • Bigg J

    I know it is a while away, but is there any word on who the Cubs are looking at to draft #2 yet?

  • http://www.wavesoftalent.webs.com tim815

    If everyone plays to their level, and nobody gets hurt (not likely), Sean Manaea, Mark Appel, or Austin Meadows.

    And hope Houston leaves us our top choice.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Everything I read about Clint Frazier is awesome. You don’t think the Cubs would consider him at #2? Sorta the same for Stanek?

  • Ben

    DeRosa – great guy, but man, under .600 OPS for the last 3 years. Can’t believe that is the best use of a roster spot by a team that many will pick to go to the WS.

    Brett – what is your take on pitch counts and innings increases? It’s hard to tell for sure if it does matter. I guess if Sale blows up this year, everyone will point to his innings, and blame the White Sox.

    • Voice of Reason

      He plays darn near every position on the field. That’s the type of guy teams want on their roster along with the fact that he’s a veteran and he’s a solid teammate. Plus, $750,000 is cheap these days!

      • CubFan Paul

        joe mather.

      • JulioZuleta

        Ugh, DeRosa. Yes, he played every position, but that’s because he wasn’t good enough at any one of them to be a sufficient regular. You could theoretically put Wellington Castillo at every position too, and he would suck at them much like DeRosa did. It had to be hard for him to focus while in the field though, ya know, while wondering what line he was going to use to open his post game interviews and all.

        Trading him was Jim Hendry’s best move as Cubs’ GM (or close to it).

        • Spriggs

          Wow… no love at all for DRow, Zuleta? Not even a little soft spot somewhere?

          • JulioZuleta

            He’s the human manifestation of Notre Dame Football to me. Both are terribly, terribly overrated, both have inflated stats (Notre Dame’s schedule for the past 20 years has been comical, leading to skewed win totals, while Mark DeRosa probably got 90% of his hits in relatively meaningless situations, but always failed when it mattered), both are beloved by all of my friends for some unbeknownst reason, both love listening to themselves (himself) talk, and both get way too much press (not saying Brett shouldn’t post about them, just saying both get more press than they deserve).
            In only 4 years out of a 15 year playing career did Mark DeRosa have an OPS+ of over 100 (which is league average amongst all PAs over the course of a year). He was below league average in 70% of his seasons

            • ETS

              But, but, but DeRosa is much better looking than notre dame.

            • Spriggs

              I’m just so used to seeing all the love for him, I thought I was the only one who had little. I had my own nickname for him, which I can’t repeat here. Man, how I hated it when the Cubs started playing him in the OF. I do like the way he talks though.

            • JulioZuleta

              Career 95 OPS+ player that played pretty below average defense, yet he is revered by Cubs fans. I’ll take a Reed Johnson any day.

              To give you a comp, Mike Fontenot has a a 92 OPS+, and actually played good enough D to hold down a regular spot. Reed Johnson, 96 OPS+ and played great D in the OF. Also, didn’t annoy the hell out of me. One of my favorite players. This is the end of my DeRo-rant, I promise.

              • TWC

                But but but!

                I’m no DeRosa fan, but it’s awfully fortunate that his peak years occurred as a member of the Cubs. There was absolutely *nothing* wrong with his 2007/2008 seasons: .289/.373/.481 w/ an OPS+ of 109. The Cubs would not have been nearly as successful without him those years.

                What’s unfortunate is that many Cubs fans seem to think that those two seasons were the rule, rather than the outliers to his career (though his 2006 w/ TEX was quite good). Even last year people were still suggesting that the Cubs sign him back. ‘Course, those people were fools.

            • hansman1982

              I’ll agree that the fan love-affair is a bit over the top but his 2008 was pretty dang good (117 OPS+, 112 wOBA+ (park adjusted)). Defensively you could probably find a metric to say whatever you wanted (BR has him either average, a win below average or 1.7 wins below replacement (HOORAY DEFENSIVE METRICS!!!!))

              Add a good offensive year during a playoff season where the Cubs were one of the best teams in the NL, good looks and the +5 charm card and you get a TRIOT+ of 999.

              • JulioZuleta

                Can you do a quick calculaton of his sCRAP+ factor using your proprietary formula. I have a feeling fans might be disapponted by his lack of scrap.

                • hansman1982

                  mmm, lets see here

                  Apparent Hustle: 999
                  +
                  Fan Friendly: 999
                  +
                  Win Knowledge: 112
                  *
                  Actual Ability: -117
                  =
                  sCRAP+ -999

                  • JulioZuleta

                    Hmmm, interesting, just as I suspected…

              • Stinky Pete

                I thought he was fine at 2nd, but when he had to play third, A LOT skipped past him.

            • hansman1982

              Some of the DeRosa love comes from his time in Cleveland too. While he was performing decent his replacement (Aaron Miles (BRING ON THE RUSSIAN SPAMMERS)) was not doing so hot.

              That was the first offseason and regular season I visited Cubs blogs with regularity, good God did people hate them some Aaron Miles.

            • King Jeff

              ND football scheduling is comical? Sorry, haven’t seen a single non-FBS team on their schedule. So what’s the joke, that their cupcakes are better cupcakes than everyone else plays?

        • Mac

          If only we could have kept Archer

          • ETS

            Garza >>>> Archer and chirinos/ju Lee aren’t exactly crushing it.

        • hansman1982

          Trading him was Hendry’s single best sell move (at least with the power of hindsight)

          • JulioZuleta

            Yeah, the only other one in discussion was Ramirez and Lofton for Jose Hernandez and Bobby Hill, oh and Matt Bruback.

            • ETS

              can you call that a “sell” move?

              If you want best trades he ever did – didn’t he trade hee shop choi for derrek lee? And that gallagar/murton for the best half season of harden’s career wasn’t bad either (why was harden never turned into a closer?)

              • hansman1982

                The discussion then was that it took Harden a REALLY long time to get loose, ergo, he’d need to get up in the 7th to be ready by the 9th.

                Probably the best move ever of Hendry’s was Ramirez/Lofton followed by Lee.

                • http://Isa Voice of reason

                  Ramirez lofton trade was a dump trade. Aram was coming up for a raise and pirates couldn’t afford him so the cubs swooped in and took him for basically nothing…. Bobby hill.

                  I like henrys trade of Todd Huntley. Can’t believe he found a taker for that druggie. And, he got karros and grudzielanek in return!!!!!!

        • jdblades

          They got Chris Archer for DeRos, the centerpiece of the Garza deal

  • Tim

    Does anyone know when single game tickets go on sale for this season?

  • ETS

    when do pitchers/catchers report?

    • Spriggs

      Feb. 10th or 11th. I forget.

    • Spriggs

      It’s the 10th. First official workout day will probably be the 11th though. The first day is usually reserved for physicals, admin stuff, and meetings.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    The mysterious Carlos Villanueva saga reaches day 35. That’s got to be worth an obsessive watch.

    • ETS

      Still shorter than the mysterious Napoli saga?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If there were data coming out on it regularly, it absolutely would be an Obsessive Watch (I’m obsessed with it, anyway). But there’s nothing but silence.

      • Rcleven

        Haven’t heard much on the two Cubans. Last I heard their work out was moved to a Monday about 2 weeks ago. Then all news fell off.

  • CubFan Paul

    there’s a sugging Cuban ShortStop that defected but we all know the Dodgers will give him $50M

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/01/21/reports-shortstop-alexander-guerrero-defects-from-cuba/

    • Mick

      Is it the Cuban or American government that won’t allow Cubans to play baseball in the US? Is it the US or anywhere in the world? Crazy to think if Cuba didn’t want to get a slice of that pie their former citizens are signing for professionally.

      • CubFan Paul

        defected means he left under the cover of night and will never be allowed back in the country (..except for prison/death) and the only family he sees are the ones who were fortunate enough to get smuggled out of the country with him (which isn’t always the case because Cuban coyotes charge as much as 10%-30% from the 1st MLB contract (or lifetime mlb salary))

        • TWC

          “[D]efected means he left under the cover of night…”

          … wearing a gorilla suit.

        • Mick

          Right, I get the meaning of defected but why is it that all Cuban ballplayers NEED to defect? Is it because Cuba citizens to work in other countries or is it the US that won’t allow a Cuban to work here?

          • Mick

            edit *Is it because Cuba won’t allow citizens to….*

            • Stinky Pete

              Pretty sure it’s Cuba that’s the problem. I’m no expert on the subject, but I believe Castro wanted to cutoff his population completely from the outside world. I know Monopoly is/was banned from Cuba because it gave people “capitalist” ideas.

          • CubFan Paul

            the Cuban Embargo is what forces Cuban players to find residency in other countries before coming to America, but why the ‘defect’ may be something else on the Cuban side. Research time

  • Spencer

    I don’t really want Schierholtz to play every day, but if it turns out that he only ends up playing half the games after the sales pitch the Cubs gave him, then that’s a pretty crappy situation.

    • Spriggs

      Seems like they are at least a trade away from Nate having any shot at full time. Especially if Jackson proves he’s ready.

    • CubFan Paul

      Schierholtz & DeJesus’s splits vs RHP are almost identical (S-.287/.360/.466 D-.289/.365/.461)

      If Schierholtz is plattooned versus righties properly, him getting 100-125 starts, batting 6th or 7th shouldn’t be a big deal, considering his defense.

      Its DeJesus and his $5.75M salary and lack of CF range that has me worried. My fingers are crossed for BJax’s new swing/approach.

  • DarthHater

    If the market is such that the Cubs – were they not already contractually obligated – could get a TV deal worth six times their current deals, then why can’t they buy out their current deals at, say, twice their value and then proceed with the new deal, which still, on balance, would be worth three times their current deal?

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      Hey, dude. That thing I sold you? It turns out it’s worth six times what I thought. Can I buy it back for double?

      • DarthHater

        All right, all right. I didn’t get any sleep last night … :-P

  • baseballet

    “The WGN deal is up after the 2014 season, and the CSN deal is up after 2019.”

    So will the Cubs be able to set up a new megabucks TV deal (like the Dodgers) in 2014, or do they have to wait until 2020 once the slate is clean? If the latter, I wonder if they’ll be willing to spend big on payroll soon knowing that in 2020 they’ll have a massive windfall coming.

    • CubFan Paul

      CSN has to be gearing up to offer the Cubs more dollars after 2014. The Cubs may want to buy out those 5 years but CSN may not want to miss their chance at becoming the ‘Cubs Network’

    • Mick

      Can any of us imagine what 2019 will be like? Wrigley renovations complete, All-Star Game in Chicago, brand new TV deal on the way, waves of prospects arriving in Chicago. I’m starting to feel the ground swell.

      • JulioZuleta

        It 2019 I’ll be 31, gross. But yeah, at least there will be a lot of exciting things going on with the Cubs to enjoy in my old age.

        • JulioZuleta

          In*, miss the edit button.

  • Finner

    Lifting the “night game” restrictions probably has a lot to do with TV negotiations.

    • Boogens

      Spot on. It will have a major impact on the contract.

      • Finner

        The night games could have so much finical impact on the value of the TV deal that it’s possible the other requested lifts on restrictions could be “red herring”, or at least viewed as cake icing if they are approved. There is potential that the night games alone could bring in more than the $300m in two seasons.

  • cubsklm

    Does anybody ever ask Theo and/or Jed what the 2013 plan is to increase run production?
    All the talk has been about draft picks, promising minir leaguers,and flippable pitching assets.
    I realize they are rebuilding the organization. BUT …. the Cubs are a major market team, and should put a major market team on the field daily during this process.

    Can we ask these questions?

    1.) Who have they added to the bench that can actually hit?
    2.) What kind of stat line would they expect from the bench? Last year’s bench was pathetic! 3.) Other than hope players improve, what assets have been added to improve the run production from the starting lineup and the bench for 2013?

    • CubFan Paul

      the bench will be so exposed/stretched in Interleague games because there’s definitely not a starter on the bench

  • hansman1982

    I wonder if the Dodgers contract is inflated by celebrity presence? Dodgers games are a hot spot for many celebrities to attend, could it be that edges it up slightly? Or does that wash out if the local market is already sick of those folks?

  • Troy

    People love DeRosa the same way they love campana for some reason. Both are below average especially campana. How do people not see that he is terrible???

    • hansman1982

      That is what is awesome about sports. My favorite player of all time doesn’t have to be the best player of all time or even someone who was any good.

      Add in career year + good looks + charm and you will have the ladies swooning.

    • OlderStyle

      The Joe Shlabotnik effect…
      I loved Ivan DeJesus and Bobby Mercer and Bobby Dernier, so sue me.

    • Blublud

      Because people like athletes who maximize their abilities. Campana does look like an athlete. Lebron looks like a guy who should be the best athlete in the world if not at least one of them and if I was to fight him, he would crush my 5’9″ 165 lb ass. Tony Campana on the other hand looks like I could beat him with one hand behind my back. Despite his “short” comings, he made it as an athlete. People like guys like that. Campana, however, is a pretty good baseball, IMHO, who just needs a chance. I guess like the Shierholtz guy is unwarrantedly (is this even a word) being given. But I avoid this discussion, no need to have it again.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Sigh “pretty good at baseball” sure for AAA but not for MLB, don’t you think the the FO, scouts, and coaches would have seen enough to decide if he can play everyday? Scrappy is not a stat.

  • Sponge-Bob

    [img]www.dragoart.com[/img]

  • ruby2626

    Good point about getting more TV money if you have more night games, hadn’t thought of that. Brett is there any talk of opting out early of the CSN contract, every contract of that nature should include an out clause. Maybe Cubs are secretly waiting to secure more night games before opting out. I would love to know what the ratings were last year for the Dodgers vs. the Cubs. Want to bet despite having a 100 loss team we still had more nation wide viewers. If they’re worth $320M we should be worth $500M. Frankly I don’t think either team should be getting anywhere near those amounts.

    Wonder how much of that $320M per year the Dodgers get to keep. I thought revenue sharing was all about giving money from the Evil Empire West to smaller market teams.

  • Curt

    does anyone have any idea how much it would cost the cubs to buy out wgn and Comcast bc it’d be worth it the money the cubs could make on a new deal would be enormous .

  • North Side Irish

    Jesse Rogers took a break from Tweeting about hockey to post these about Alderman Tunney’s statement:

    Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs
    Alderman Tunney of Wrigley area put out statement. Nothing really has changed. Any loosening of restrictions comes w a list of “demands”

    Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs
    Fix the L stop, security postgame, deal w rooftop owners etc.

    • King Jeff

      I don’t think any of those “demands” are all that unreasonable, despite my opinion of the rooftop owners.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Depends on how much is covered by “etc.”.

        And who should fix the L stop? The city?

  • Die hard

    Dodgers have access to broadcasting to large fan base in Mexico which is unique to their team only. Cubs used to control nationwide fan interest. Maybe they can crack segment of other foreign mkts like South America or Australia

    • MightyBear

      Cubs are very big in Belize. WGN was one of the few US stations there and it is one of the few english speaking nations in Central America. The Cubs are international baby. Time to expand and take over the world!

      • Die hard

        Partner with BBC would help too

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Hell lets just put the Cubs on public access cable, that would help

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