Make sure you give a listen to – and/or subscribe to on iTunes – the BN Podcast from yesterday. A lot of quality, substantive discussion of the issues the Cubs are going to be dealing with in the early part of the season. The podcast medium is, for some subjects, simply better, because you can cover such a wide, deep range of topics in a relatively short time.
- Not only will the Chicago Cubs receive the second pick in the June Draft, but they’ll also receive the second-largest bonus pool, according to Baseball America. The Cubs’ draft bonus pool will be $10,556,500, a substantial increase over last year, and behind only the Astros at $11,698,800. Last year, because of supplementary picks and other added picks for other teams, the Cubs’ draft pool - $7,933,900 – was just the 8th largest, even though they picked 6th. In other words, the Cubs will have a whole lot more money to work with this year. That said, don’t get too carried away: a disproportionately large percentage of the Cubs’ increase over last year is due to holding the second pick instead of the sixth, and whomever the Cubs select at number two is going to want his entire slotted amount, if not more. A team’s bonus pool is supposed to cover its picks in the top 10 rounds (plus any amount they spend on a player after the 10th round over $100,000 (per player)), and if a team doesn’t sign one of their players in the top 10 rounds, they lose the bonus pool money slotted by MLB for that pick. We’ll get into the nitty gritty as the draft approaches, but for now, just know that the Cubs can go over their bonus pool by as much as 5% without incurring drastic penalties. That means their likely spendable amount is actually about $11,084,000, which should allow them to take some hard-to-sign types later in the Draft, regardless of what happens with their first rounder.
- The Cubs won Opening Day in Chicago, by which I mean their 3-1 victory over the Pirates brought in a 4.3 local rating on WGN, while the White Sox’s win over the Royals had a 3.4 rating on CSN Chicago. I wonder to what extent the carriage makes a difference – locals can correct me, but I’m guessing that WGN-9 is carried on a lower tier than CSN Chicago, and would thus be available in more Chicago homes. (Yup, as GBTS notes in the comments, WGN-9 is over-the-air in Chicago, meaning it’s in far more homes than CSN Chicago. Still, the Cubs are better.)
- There are a handful of new food options coming to Wrigley Field this year (including Dippin’ Dots, the ice cream of the future! From 20 years ago! It’s like ‘Star Wars’ … ).
- Gordon Wittenmyer, whose work I actually usually enjoy, is really stretching to color his Ricketts-Family-Cubs-ownership-cheapness-financial-troubles bombshell from earlier this week. Today, he wrote this: “With projected big-ticket contracts a few years away, [Edwin] Jackson was given an $8 million signing bonus up front, keeping his annual salaries at a presumably below-market $11 million each year. It’s the kind of move usually made by lower-market clubs with less revenue than the Cubs, whose payroll ranks 13th in the majors, according to USA Today’s annual Opening Day list.” Let me make sure I understand Wittenmyer’s contention here: smaller market teams like to pay guys earlier in their contracts? They prefer to front-load deals, rather than take advantage of the time value of money and pay guys later? Gordon’s saying small market teams effectively like to pay more for players? Do you want to re-think that? (Setting the financial absurdity of the claim, Wittenmyer’s point ignores two key reasons Jackson’s deal was structured the way it was: (1) the Cubs’ baseball operations department had extra money to spend in 2012, and (2) with tax rates expected to increase in 2013, Jackson undoubtedly wanted as much of his deal paid in 2012 as possible.)
- Jesse Rogers aggressively argues for the removal of Carlos Marmol as the Cubs’ closer. Paul Sullivan says that it’s just one game. Somehow, I feel like they’re both right.
- BN’er Hans is taking on a very onerous project analyzing the value teams have gotten out of free agency over the past six years.
- BN’er Patti is VERY generously offering four tickets to Thursday’s home opener at Kane County “free to a good home,” so you’re going to want to jump on that if you’re in the area and can pick them up in person. Shoot Patti an email if you’re interested (patti AT gocoastaltravel DOT com), and make sure you thank her profusely.