contractIt’s podcast day, which means a shiny, new podcast is on its way, and this one comes complete with our first ever guest! So, you can look forward to that later this morning. In the meantime, Bullets …

  • After yesterday’s revelation that Alex Rodriguez has been connected to a clinic in Miami accused of providing professional athletes with banned substances – a Rodriguez, himself, is one of the athletes identified – you knew that the calls to void his contract would come. The Yankees are reportedly exploring their avenues, but the reports on this feel a lot more like the media feeding an angry fan base what it wants to hear, rather than a plausible chain of events. Guys have been testing positive for years. There’s a program in place to punish those players. So, what’s the difference here, then? At bottom, you’ve got a team that’s spending more money than it would like to be, and is spending a huge chunk of that money on an aging star with a bad hip whom they signed for $275 million when he was 32 years old. I have no sympathy for the Yankees, whether or not ARod gets popped for PEDs. You can bet that both MLB and the MLBPA will be aligned in their strong opposition to any efforts by the Yankees to get out of their remaining contractual obligations to Rodriguez – another $114 million over the next five years.
  • After a couple months of the 2011 season, Robert Whitenack had emerged – almost out of nowhere – to become arguably the best pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system. Before his dominating start to that season, he was “a guy to watch.” But, that year, his fastball ticked up a bit, and he was aggressively promoted to AA early in the year. Unfortunately, that’s when he tore his UCL, and required Tommy John surgery. It’s been a process coming back for him since then, but he now feels fully healthy, and 2013 is going to be a big year for him. The Cubs added him to the 40-man roster this Fall, so clearly they believe in his ability to turn it back around this year. It’s easy to forget him when talking about the Cubs’ lack of upper level pitching prospects, but he could easily be a big-time one if he returns to his early 2011 form.
  • A crowd-sourcing request: if you currently live in Wrigleyville and own your house/condo/apartment/whatever, I would like to ask you a couple short questions, if you don’t mind. Please shoot me an email (brett AT bleachernation DOT com) with a general idea of where you live. All information will be kept private, and if there’s a deluge of responses, I’ll apologize in advance if I can’t get back to everyone. Thanks.
  • Speaking of Wrigleyville, the Tribune lampooned the renovation situation in pictorial form the other day, and BN’er Dave was good enough to pass along a picture for those of you who didn’t see it:

  • Also passed on by BN’er Dave, the Cubs are making Pearl Jam tickets available first to season ticket holders on February 6 at 10am CT. So, if you’ve got a buddy who’s a season ticket holder but who hates awesome music, you now know what to do. Pearl Jam plays at Wrigley on July 19. Also, in case you missed it, Theo hearts PJ.
  • Dave Wischnowsky offers his take on the Cubs’ renewed battle with the rooftops, and it’s a fair encapsulation of how a number of folks feel – yeah, the rooftops are essentially making their living off of the Cubs’ product … but they’re a cool part of the ambiance. I’m not sure that, alone, is reason enough for the Cubs to make financial sacrifices on the rooftops’ behalf, but it’s just another consideration.
  • Baseball Prospectus’s Ben Lindbergh was on Hot Stove on CSN, and, after discussing the White Sox, chatted a bit about the Cubs. He wouldn’t characterize the Cubs as an offseason winner or loser, but the Cubs will definitely be better than 61 wins in his mind. The Cubs are now in the realm of respectability, and he likes the moves they made to improve the big league roster without compromising the long-term build. He could see them in the mid-70s in terms of wins. You can see his appearance below:

[Pfft, well forget that. CSN apparently changed their embedded videos to autoplay with a loud commercial at the beginning. Sorry about that, folks. You can use the link if you want to see the video – and, to CSN, if you want people to embed your videos (which do include your commercials, so you make money from it), make them click to play. Autoplay is a no-go.]

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    If it is found as cold hard fact that Arod used roids (or deer antler spray) in the past, I.e. several years ago, could he be punished this season?

    • Brett

      Yeah – he could be suspended for 50 games as a “first-time offender.”

      • MichiganGoat

        Does he have to test positive with the MLB testing policy to get suspended, I don’t think it can be done retroactively.

      • hansman1982

        it would have to be proven he used after the mitchell report came out. Even then, I’m sure the player’s union would fight it pretty hard unless he had a failing test.

    • MichiganGoat

      I doubt it since those that have tested positive have not had there contracts voided, plus this is a third party with information, I’m sure lawyers would discredit it quite quickly.

      • Andrewmoore4isu

        Ok so then let’s go further… There’s (theoretically) cold hard fact that he has used three+ times in the past. Could you then suspended him 3+ times thus practically ending his career, maybe similar to manny Ramirez?

        • hansman1982

          That is interesting, three offenses is a lifetime ban, thus actually ending his career and his .0000000000000000000000001% chance he has of getting into the HoF.

    • sdcoddi

      I recall ARod admitting a few years ago that he used steroids soon after he had signed his first 10yr/$250M contract with Texas…that he felt pressured to perform up to the contract. I’m not sure how this is new news.

  • Joe

    great post! As always

  • TWC

    Whoa. An auto-play video, complete with loud introductory commercial? That’s an odd choice, Ace.

    • JulioZuleta

      Haha agreed. I wonder how many people Brett just got in trouble in class or at work.

      • DarthHater

        [raises hand] ;-P

    • Brett

      What? I didn’t intend for that – what video? The CSN one?

      • Brett

        Edited to change that. Come on, CSN …

        • MichiganGoat

          This why using the iPhone is better, no click over ad videos or auto play videos

  • Spencer

    I don’t know if I’m in the minority or not…but I don’t think I would be devastated if the rooftops were no more. It’s cool seeing people on the rooftops the first few times you go to Wrigley, and it might be fun to catch a game there maybe once. But talking to people that have sat in them, they aren’t really an ideal spot to watch a baseball game. So, to me, that makes them a little bit of a gimmick. I guess ivy on an outfield wall could be considered a gimmick, too, but ivy on a wall isn’t preventing the Cubs from rolling forward with renovating their ballpark.

    • hansman1982

      It kind of is, landmark status and all…

      but it’s just so quaint!

    • JulioZuleta

      When you watch a game on the rooftops, you’re not really at the game. You’re at a cool bar that is close to Wrigley. You really can’t see what’s going on very well. I was on one of the Sheffield roofs last year and the older gentleman next to me was QUESTIONING BALLS AND STRIKES. And no, he wasn’t looking at the TVs. He was arguing from 700 feet away.

    • Mat B.

      It was best back in the 70s & 80s when the people on the rooftops were the people who lived in the buildings and dragged their grills to the roof.

      • frank

        I agree–it seemed more–spontaneous (?) and certainly not a large commercial enterprise. Scattered people watching a game from a rooftop is cool–large scale bleachers and bars on the rooftops–not so much.

    • justinjabs

      I’m kind of with you… I just want to go check out a rooftops game before they’re gone. Never been.

  • DarthHater

    Didn’t I read here that you were almost ejected last year for physically assaulting the ivy? 😉

    • DarthHater

      Stupid reply button.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yup Spencer met the Wrigley cops that game

      • Brett

        Nah – it was Hans.

        • MichiganGoat

          That’s right you were with him at that game, sorry Spenc

        • hansman1982

          that it was…

          although it was only because I was unable to withstand the onslaught of peer pressure coming my way.

          Ha, no, Brett is completely innocent in the whole ordeal. Those ushers have mad ninja skills when it comes to the ivy.

        • JulioZuleta

          Looks like you’ll have to shift towards center a bit if you want to continue your quest for David DeJesus’ hat this year.

  • Patrick G

    I hope whitenack, can emerge as a cubs top pitching prospect. He was dirty when we faced him in college as our biggest rivals(although we never lost to him 😝) would be really cool if he was a contributor to my favorite team.

  • JR

    I could care less about the Yankees and that stupid contract they gave ARod. BUT what I do care about is something like this happening to the Cubs. On a much smaller scale, what if Edwin Jackson was found of doping and apparently he had took PED’s his whole career to get that contract from the Cubs. And when Edwin gets off PED’s after he gets caught he sucks and is injured. Players usually have a big drop off when they are off (other than Braun). Just doesn’t seem right..

    • ETS

      See Melky Cabrera

      • JR

        Yeah I know all about Melky. He got probably 25% of what he would gotten had he not failed that test until next year.

        • ETS

          It’s likely he’s gotten 98% more in his career than he’d have had he never used PEDs.

          • ETS

            That % doesn’t make sense how I worded it there. Let’s just say it’s possible he wouldn’t have made it in the bigs without PEDs.

            • hansman1982

              60% of the time, your percentages work none of the time

              • md8232

                Kind of like Sex Panther cologne.

                • ETS

                  More like bartolo colon

            • JR

              Yeah the difference is the Jays knew what they were getting with Melky. So I think it’s a lot different than a guy who signs a huge contract, and then gets caught when he was signed under the assumption that he was clean. Had he not got caught he would have gotten a lot more money.

              • Brandon

                In todays game i dont think anybody is clean. There is still the offseason for players to get “dirty”, the only way to be sure is by testing during the offseason…and the players union will never allow this.

                • TWC

                  There already is random, off season testing specifically (and exclusively) for performance-enhancing drugs. See §3.A.2 of MLB’s program:


  • cubzforlife

    So my 7 year old and I spend a few hours at the family day for season ticket holders and on the ride home she takes her cap off and with a sideways glance shows me a piece of ivy. She had been warned not to touch the ivy but whats a loving dad gonna do. We have since rooted the cutting and now have a single piece of Wrigley at home. When my now 19 y.o. Took a pack of gum from Jewel I marched her back to return it. Don’t think that would of worked with the Ivy.

  • mudge
  • North Side Irish

    Latest CAIRO projects were released this week and have the Cubs winning 73 games and finishing last in the NL Central by 17 games. Obviously far too early to put any real stock in these kind of projections, but it is also nice to see multiple national sources agreeing on the Cubs improvement this season. In the CAIRO projections, 73 wins would also net the Cubs the #7 pick in the 2014 draft, which would allow it to be protected again after next season.

  • Kevin

    I hope the Yankees get the best legat help money can buy.

  • Rich H

    I think right around 75 wins is doable for the Cubs as they sit right now. They could have 3 or 4 guys take huge steps forward and get closer to .500 or above but that is mostly lightning in a bottle type seasons from a number of guys to push for the playoffs. If that doesn’t happen you will see a sell off in July again and the second half will put us closer to 70 wins than 80. Even with a sell off I do not see 100 losses.

    What the biggest if is the big steps that we need to see happen for this year to be successful. Castro driving the ball more is a big need. Rizzo showing that he can consistently make the adjustments to be an All Star level type player (Like it or not the jury is still out on that one folks). Shark proving that this hype is well founding as him being a top of the rotation guy.

    Barney will never be an offensive force but we need him to at least be league average with the bat at 2nd or start looking at plan B. We need one of our kids to step up and actually be able to contribute at the major league level for 3rd base (Lake or Vitters I have no preference but one of you please put it together).

    And lastly we need to decide if we are trading Soriano or not (Marmol I assume is gone at some point). A full year of Phonsie at a level a little less than last year is important if we want to have any resemblance of a major league outfield. If we trade him it had better be for either a solid 3rd base prospect or a player that can already produce in the big leagues because without them our line up is in trouble.

    After watching the CSN video I wanted to show what I considered a successful season. What is yours?

    • Timmy

      66-70 wins maximum, unless more moves are made this offseason. potentially more if we trade for a bat or sign bourn.

  • clark addison

    Rooftop viewing goes back a long way. Pictures of the 1908-10 West Side Grounds show people watching from the rooftops.

    That said, the current owners are parasites (17% is chump change) and shouldn’t have any voice in blocking the Wrigley Field reconstruction.

    Also, haven’t the Ricketts already bought a couple of the houses across the street?

  • ChicagoCubsTalk

    A-Rod is a discrace to the Majors….the Yankees should be embarrassed

    • JoeyCollins

      A-Rod is a perfect example of what Baseball became in the steroid era. All of baseball should be ashamed, the players, the coaches, the media, the league, and anyone who knew what was going on and turned a blind eye. Steroids brought this game back and everyone was all too willing to cash in. The networks with amazing ratings, the owners with record profits, and the players with insane contracts. This is not a Yankees issue, this is not an A-Rod issue, it is a MLB issue.

  • Timmy

    I predict the Cubs will trade Soriano and Baez for ARod next year, and the Cubs will eat the remainder of ARod’s contract.

  • Spoda17

    Do not like A-Rod or the Yankees… But I do agree that if I sign a player, and I find out later he is/was on PEDs… you’re damn straight I want my money back… It’s like buying a Ferrari and it turns out to be a Fiero …

    • JoeyCollins

      I have a feeling it’s more like buying a Fiero, telling everyone it’s a Ferrari, and hoping it performs like a Ferrari. Then when your neighbor finally calls you out on it blaming the dealer for lying to you. Just a feeling though.

  • Brady

    I really hope the Yankees dont get out of this contract. I want to see these giant contracts bury them. They were the ones to sign him to such a big contract and I think it is their responsiblity to ensure he wasn’t doping. It is like buying a used car. It isnt the dealerships fault if you dont check it out thouroughly before you sign the dotted line. Once you do its your problem.

  • Ryan

    Ben Lindbergh looks hiiiiiigh as hell in this video.

  • Goldcoast cub

    Advance tickets also go on sale for neighborhood residents on the 6th, one more avenue to score tickets if you have a friend who lives in east lakeview.

  • North Side Irish

    I got the email about the STH pre-sale as well and noticed something new that I don’t remember being in their previous pre-sale messages:

    “Tickets purchased via the pre-sale are prohibited from resale. Reselling of tickets may result in the cancellation of your order.”

    That was not on the presale for the Jason Aldean show and I don’t remember it on the Sprinsteen one either. We sold our extra pair for Bruce on StubHub, but it sounds like they are trying to ban that for Pearl Jam.