Matt Garza Set to Throw Off the Mound and Other Bullets

matt garza cubsIt wasn’t until I’d put The Little Girl to bed and settled in front of my MLB.tv a few pitches into the Cubs/Pirates game last night that I remembered: I’m blacked out of Pirates games. This, despite living 185 miles from Pittsburgh with no channels in the Columbus area that even think about carrying Pirates games. I’m reminded of the poor folks in Iowa who are blacked out of about 30% of all MLB games for ridiculous reasons, and I’m similarly reminded that these blackouts – really, the territorial restrictions – are what drives up the local TV deals that we’ve seen exploding in baseball over the last couple of years. Until MLB figures out a way to capture local markets within MLB.tv (and share that revenue with local providers who’ve got a deal with a team), the blackouts will remain in place. Unless, of course, a lawsuit takes the system down, which could kill the big money TV deals before the Cubs have a chance to get one. It’s a complicated mess, and one probably not appropriate for a Bullets intro …

  • Matt Garza is set to join the Cubs in Atlanta, where he’ll continue his rehab from a strained lat. His elbow is still feeling good, so that’s the good news. Garza will be getting back on the mound for the first time since late February when he suffered a setback in his recovery from the lat injury. That injury occurred back on February 17th – which was, itself, the first time he’d faced live batters since his elbow problem developed last July – when he suffered the lat injury. Conservatively, you’d give him at least a month of readying himself for the regular season, so I wouldn’t expect to see Garza pitching with the Cubs until mid-May at this point.
  • The Cubs have started the year 0-13 with runners in scoring position. About that, Dale Sveum put it plainly to the media: “We don’t have a hit with men in scoring position. We need to get better at that.” Yes. Yes, you do.
  • There was a scary moment last night when it appeared that Wandy Rodriguez had drilled Anthony Rizzo in the head. Rizzo immediately hit the dirt, and his helmet went flying … but fortunately the pitch actually hit his shoulder, and he was fine.
  • More Dale Sveum and Chris Bosio defending Carlos Marmol. They’re hoping he gets a chance to get back out there soon.
  • Perhaps you can get out some of your frustration about last night’s loss by captioning this Charles LeClaire/USA Today photo of the moment Brent Lillibridge struck out looking on the 10th pitch of an at bat with the bases loaded:

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

150 responses to “Matt Garza Set to Throw Off the Mound and Other Bullets”

  1. Edwin

    If anyone is interested, I believe Gordon Wittenmyer was on 670 the score this morning. I only caught the first minute of the interview.

    1. MDel

      I heard him a couple nights ago on the Score, and it wasn’t very good. He just continued the accusations on how the team is being run, basically saying there is not excuse for a large market team not to go for it every year without talking about what options the Cubs had. He also used some examples that were very short sighted, such as due to draft spending limits, the Cubs spent $4 million less on the draft than the year before, then questions where that money went. He never talked about any of the off the field additions, new training facilities, etc.

      I’m not defending the Cubs, but I appreciate a more balanced discussion rather than leaving information out to support one’s argument.

      1. Other Edwin

        Agreed. From what little I did hear, it just doesn’t seem like he completely understands everything that he’s talking about. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just that arm-chair analysis of complex financial situations is tough, even when you have reliable information and experiance in the field. Gordon raises some interesting questions, he just doesn’t do a good job of backing up his answers.

        1. MichiganGoat

          He’s selling papers and getting press, it’s what he has to do to get the attention to sell papers.

          1. hansman1982

            I am sure he saw the page views spike in the past few days and will be riding this donkey for a few weeks.

      2. fearbobafett

        he made some of the same comments, today on where the money went. He specially called out that they are not even putting it into scouting, which i totally disagree with it. The past regime never had so many advanced scouts and the front office people exploded. I do not doubt the money is being re-invested.
        The only point of his that i agreeded with and it wasn’t even his was basically he heard some Cubs folks wanted to go harder after some of the international free-agents the past 2 years but they were handcuffed on max offers. I can assume he was talking about Darvish and Cespedas

    2. fearbobafett

      They mostly talked about the rennovataions. My take was his opinion is the cubs have been doing a horrible job on the PR front with this whole thing, vs. keeping it private. He feels the Cubs are to blame for thier trouble with the roof tops for giving them that contract to steal from them, his words. No one believes Ricketts would ever leave Wrigley so he has not as much leveage, but does believe they should be able to do whatever they want to thier ballpark. He also slammed them for being a large market club going through a real rebuild.

    3. caryatid62

      It’s amazing the Cubs are even able to field a team, what with Tunney, the rooftops, the mayor, and the Sun Times all trying to take them down. It must be so hard to own one of the most valuable franchises in sports.

      Seriously, though–is it that hard to see that the Cubs do deserve a decent amount of critique, or at least skepticism, here? I appreciate their willingness to build an organization, but the fact that they have been unwilling to spend payroll dollars to put major league players on the field over the last two years (when their prospects are, at best, several years from being productive major leaguers) is concerning. There is a decent argument to be made that they are much more leveraged and cash strapped than they are letting on, and to deny when anyone claims otherwise is a bit of pollyanaism, if you ask me.

      1. Dumpgobbler

        They offered Sanchez 80m, came in second on Cespedes. Put a “strong” bid on Darvish and Ryu. Were also heavily in on Puig as well as getting Soler. They are willing to eat a ton of money to get better prospects for Sori. They gave an extension to Castro.

        They’ve spent a ton of money on scouting / DR facilities. They lifted a stone age organization into a more todayish operation.

        No need to drop 200m on Fielder when you have Rizzo / Body questions on Fielder over 8 or whatever years it was. Dropping 150m on Greinke doesn’t seem beneficial at this point, what with his disorder, which is actually more severe then people lead on. Pujols? No thanks. That looks like an Arod contract if I’ve seen one.

        They will most certainly be in on Price if he hits the FA market.

        1. caryatid62

          “Coming in second” on Cespedes means nothing, except that they didn’t go high enough to get him. According to recent reports, no one other than the Dodgers offered Puig more than 10 million, so no one except LA was “in” on him. They claim they are willing to eat contract to move Soriano, but until it happens, it’s just words. Castro’s extension actually looks like it saved them money. David Price will not be a free agent until 2016.

          According to reports, they came nowhere near what Texas offered for Darvish, and for a team with such terrible pitching prospects, that’s a huge miss. While it was a blind bid, the Matsuzaka bid had to be considered a starting point, and reports were that they didn’t come close to that. They claimed it was a “strong” bid; the whole point of my post was that, as fans, we don’t need to blindly accept that without even a little skepticism.

          This is not to lay total blame on this team–there’s a lot of nuance here and of course it’s not as simple as I’ve laid it out above. However, the stream of invectives in the comments section I see thrown at anyone who dares question either the motivation behind or the execution of “the plan” or the renovation efforts is a little ridiculous.

          I’m a fan of the Cubs and I want to see them develop a consistent championship level team as soon as possible. However, just because I’m a fan of the team, that doesn’t mean I have to defend every position they take on every issue.

          1. hansman1982

            They actually overbid the A’s on Cespedes but he opted for free agency after 4 years for less money.

            “While it was a blind bid, the Matsuzaka bid had to be considered a starting point, and reports were that they didn’t come close to that.”

            Not really, Darvish had been a staunch opponent of the posting system because high posting fees took money away from players. He went so far to suggest that he wouldn’t sign if the posting fee was too high.

            1. caryatid62

              Actually, the Cubs matched the dollar amount the A’s bid, but over more years. Cespedes made it clear he wanted four or eight, and the Cubs came in with 6 for 36. He got 4 for 36 from the A’s.

              And as far as the Darvish stuff, that was just a random internet rumor from 6-8 months prior to his posting. It wasn’t true, and furthermore, his posting fee set a record for highest amount ever.

              1. hansman1982

                Random internet rumor that was being posted and quoted from him in the days leading up to the due date of the bids?

                I will concede the Cespedes issue, I though the A’s gave him $28M but Cots corrects me again.

                1. caryatid62

                  Everything I’ve found about that rumor was that it was only a concern if the high posting fee made the team less likely to offer him a fair contract. Also, according to Jeff Passan, this was dismissed by most teams as simply a negotiating ploy.

                  I also found this, however:

                  “The Cubs’ bid was “very low” and they have no illusions of winning the rights to negotiate with Darvish, a source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.”

                  1. hansman1982

                    Well then 28 other teams had no illusions of signing him (some didn’t even try).

                  2. Dumpgobbler

                    Well since you’ve scrutinized our moves so far, what would you have done? (And I dont mean to sound “dinkish” I’m actually curious)

                    Lets go back before Darvish and Cespedes were signed. What would you have offered both?

                    Would you have offered Greinke mad loot? Fielder / Pujols?

                    The big time gripe I have with this FO so far has been failing to deal Garza, and not dealing Barney. Those two burn me. I would have also seriously considered dealing Castro to say ARI for some young arms. But I also have no idea what kind of offered these guys are getting.

                    1. caryatid62

                      That is a separate conversation, as I’m not getting paid by the club to make those decisions, and therefore it’s kind of irrelevant what I would have done.

                      However, I would have likely gone to a bid over what Matsuzaka got for Darvish (likely $55-60 mil probably), accounting for inflation (Matsuzaka got 51 mil in 2006–5 years at 2-3% per year would likely add another 5 mil to my bid).

                      Cespedes is easier–just match the A’s offer, or make it slightly higher. 4 years 36 million is both minimal in years and minimal in cost. In 2015, you might have to decide whether or not to up the offer, but by that time (hopefully) Soler is ready and makes that decision much easier.

                      Those two signings ALONE, and no other changes from this team, makes it a much better club this year. Then you can seriously consider someone like Hamilton or Greinke, knowing that you’re going to eat the money in years 4 and 5 likely–however, if Almora and Soler are as good as advertised, it doesn’t matter. But if you have Darvish and Samardizja, you can fill the 3-5 starter slots with less accomplished starters and give guys like Vizcaino more time to build strength back, and the loss of Garza is less of a blow.

                      All of these imply a two-front strategy. But for some reason (either financial or tactical), the Cubs have chosen not to do that. If it’s a tactical decision, I just disagree with it. If it’s a financial decision, then that’s the reality and we’re not getting the full story from the team.

                      Either way, I believe fans have a right to have (reasonable) skepticism.

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            “According to reports, they came nowhere near what Texas offered for Darvish, and for a team with such terrible pitching prospects, that’s a huge miss.”

            Neither did the Jays (who really wanted Darvish badly by most accounts) or the Sox or any other team that was interested in Darvish. (The Jays and Sox got most of the publicity, it seemed; we heard about the Cubs because we are Cubs fans, so it seems likely that there were other suitors.) The Rangers used a bomb where a grenade would have sufficed: and their fans reminded them of that frequently this winter, as the “extra” $25M that it is thought the Rangers bid could have netted Greinke or retained Hamilton or both. However, remember how close the Rangers had come to winning the WS the prior two years: they almost certainly felt (15 months ago) that overspending to win in 2012 was worth it.

            1. hansman1982

              The Red Sox, arguably THE team that could have used him the most, didn’t even bid on Darvish.

              1. caryatid62

                Which is fine for the Red Sox and Rangers, but has no relevance to the Cubs.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  As there is only one Darvish, every other team bidding on him was relevant. After all, it is not “us” vs. “them”: it is us vs. Them 1 vs. Them 2 vs. Them 3 … vs. Them 29. All it takes is one of the other 29 to top your bid and you don’t win. Now, several other teams helped out by bidding nothing: but that still means that there were multiple relevant teams. This is particularly true for the bids: the Japanese team does not come back and say “another team offered X; want to top that?” You estimate, you make the bid and you wait.

                  1. caryatid62

                    The fact that the Rangers signed him and the Red Sox did not is irrelevant to the bid the Cubs made. This is one area where the actions of other teams have almost no bearing on the Cubs’ decision to value Darvish at the number that they valued him. Every team essentially operated in a vacuum. And the Cubs clearly either misjudged the possible bidding prices (which, given the Matsuzaka price, was a tactical mistake) or were unable to afford the cost (which raises questions about their financial viability.

                    1. DocPeterWimsey

                      Nobody expected a Dice-K level bid. After all, Dice-K did not exactly turn out as hoped: he was good, but not spectacular, and when people lumped his posting fee with his salary, it looked like he wasn’t a great investment. Japanese pitchers have not had a great track record here, so a lot of people guessed that Dice-K would represent the pinnacle in bids.

                      So, let’s stand your argument on its head. After all, the Cubs, Jays, Sox, Yanks, etc., were not relevant to the Rangers, right? The Rangers FO should have “known” that nobody else was going to bid over $25M given that Dice-K was not “worth” the money, and then saved that money to retain Hamilton or to sign a big name free agent the next winter. Instead, they got lazy and short-sighted, and just made a ridiculous overbid, getting them a pitcher who was not Nolan Ryan and costing them a chance to keep/acquire important players later.

                    2. hansman1982

                      Or they (along with 29 other teams (this is where the other teams becomes relevant)) completely misjudged only 1 team.

                      This is relevant because that means more than just the Cubs either: Mijudged the market on him or had the financial inability to pay for him.

                      If the Cubs had bid $20M and the majority of bids were around $50M, then yes, I would think the Cubs weren’t serious in acquiring him. Since the Cubs bid was in a cluster of other bids, that means there was a consensus thought that Darvish was worth a $20Mish posting fee.

                      We are talking about 1 season and 1 start. In Matsuzaka’s first two seasons he put up a total of 9 WAR. Since then, it’s been fractions (even 1 negative, I think) of a WAR. There was a lot of concern about pitchers coming over from the Japan leagues with adjusting to American style of play.

                      Then there was the concern he would be insulted by too high of a bid and wouldn’t negotiate at all (which his father would have leaned heavily on him to negotiate (and this may have happened)).

                      While he had Ace potential, there were a lot of warning flags (similar to Cespedes (it is fairly rare that a player comes immediately to the States and immediately ready to play MLB baseball)) and to think that the bidding would be in the $20-30M range wasn’t out of the scope of possibility then.

                    3. Carytid62

                      Whether or no the rangers made an overpay is irrelevant to the cubs, as the rangers and cubs financial and personnel situations differ dramatically. The cubs were much less likely to need the money to retain one of their players (as they had few, if any, pending big money FAs). Furthermore, the stable of talent in the cubs system was nowhere near that of the rangers, so they needed to value darvish higher. Finally, if the signing of darvish to what amounted to a $20 mil/yr deal hamstrung the cubs, it would be further proof of their financial problems, as the offsetting end of Ramirez and zambrano’s contract would have more than offset the darvish contract.

                    4. DocPeterWimsey

                      Again, I’ll stand this on its head. Darvish was more valuable to the Rangers because adding him did much more to increase the probability that they would get (back) to the WS and (this time) win it than he would the Cubs. After all, a piece of a puzzle is worth much more when it is the final piece than when it is one of the first pieces. And finally winning the WS would (probably) mean still more revenue for retaining/signing free agents AND make the Rangers that much more desirable team to join or on which to stay. So, this would make it an investment rather than a financial cost, at least for the short term: and because the farm system is so good, it sets up the Ranger for sustained success.

                      So, clearly the Rangers should have valued Darvish much more than should have the Cubs.

                    5. Rebuilding

                      @Doc – I really don’t understand your argument that Darvish was worth far more to the Rangers than the Cubs. It might make sense if he was 36, but he is 26 and would cost the Cubs nothing but money. No draft picks, no prospects. He is exactly the kind of guy the Cubs should put their resources into (along with Cespedes) because they don’t hurt the farm. Can you imagine Samardzija and Darvish at the top of this rotation?

                    6. DocPeterWimsey

                      “I really don’t understand your argument that Darvish was worth far more to the Rangers than the Cubs.”

                      Darvish was worth more to the Rangers than to almost any other team because they had just lost two WS in a row, one of which was in absolutely excruciating fashion. Moreover, they were almost certainly going to lose CJ Wilson. A very good starting pitcher could be the final piece that greatly increases their chances of getting *back* to the WS. Getting another shot at winning the WS now, now NOW! was a thing of value to the 2011/12 Rangers FO like it was to no other team.

                      Issues concerning draft picks, the farm, etc., were almost certainly very minor issues for the Rangers: but, obviously, it was probably worth $$$ to them to keep their good young players for winning in 2014, 2015, etc. But that had to add pennies to the dollars when they were that hungry to win NOW.

                      Again, it goes back to simple collection value. 10 pieces of a puzzle might start with similar value: but that final piece becomes more valuable to people because it’s just that: the final piece. Adding Darvish should have made Texas stronger in the post-season: and the Rangers goal 15 months ago was to be one game better in post-season than they were in October 2011.

                      And that is why the Rangers valued Darvish so much more than any other team in baseball.

                    7. Rebuilding

                      I totally disagree with this given Darvish’s age, the Cubs pitching situation, our focus on the farm and our apparent financial resources. Darvish should have been worth far more to the Cubs than any team in baseball. He is exactly what we are trying to draft in June and given his numbers in Japan was like Mark Appel fully developed. The Rangers had made the World Series without Darvish. Why would he mean more to them than a team trotting out Scott Feldman in Atlanta tomorrow? He is only 26 years old

                    8. Rebuilding

                      One thing I always fail to understand is the arguments of no one could have known Darvish would take $51.2 million or no one could have known Cespedes only wanted 3 years or know one knew that Ian Stewart was bad is this: for a group of people that have a dogged faith that the direction this FO has taken is the correct one, and they are going to propel the Cubs into multiple playoff appearances, doesn’t it make you question what else they don’t know if they didn’t know these things? If your argument is that Theo/Jed are just flat out smarter than other GMs and so we’ll be ok – why did they get outsmarted in these situations?

                    9. DocPeterWimsey

                      “The Rangers had made the World Series without Darvish.”

                      The Rangers had just lost the WS for the second year in a row. They lost it despite being within one batter of winning not once, but twice. All 30 teams wanted to win the WS: but the Rangers had to be burning more than any other team in a long while.

                      So, here is where the discussion began and ended for the Rangers: what can we do to win one more game in October? All of these things that you are mentioning are pennies under the sofa cushions next to that. Draft picks? Not an issue. Finanicial issues beyond 2012? We’ll worry about that then. We think we need one more piece to win it all next year, and we’ll pay for it. What you list are considerations for 2014 and beyond: and therefore not considerations for the Rangers 15 months ago.

                      In reference to the Cubs, the 2011 Cubs are not a good model. Instead, think of how we fans felt after 2003. The team had come so close to getting to the WS: but actually not as close as the Rangers came to winning it, and without the frustration of having just missed the year before. How much more value would we Cubs fans have put on “one more piece” then than now? Lots. Why? Because something you want becomes vastly more valuable when you *almost* get it than at any other time.

                    10. MichiganGoat

                      Rebuilding are you mad because the Cubs don’t have a covert spy organization that knows exactly what other teams are doing in complete secret with blind bids? Come on man.

                    11. hansman1982

                      @Rebuilding

                      Darvish – So, how much should they have bid for Darvish? $75M? $100M? I just feel that those who are jumping up and down about that we didn’t sign him are using hindsight to rail against it and then not using the fact that the Cubs had his posting fee valued the same as most of the other teams.

                      Cespedes – The Cubs undoubtedly knew that Cespedes wanted 4 years and FA afterwards (hell, I think the whole world knew that) but they didn’t back down from their stance of the full 6 years. Had he taken 6 months or a year to get to the bigs, those extra two years would have been huge.

                      Matsuzaka – Had he continued to put up 5 and 4 win seasons (as it appears that Darvish is going to do) he would have been worth every penny. Hell, I think there were similar discussions about the Cubs and Matsuzaka for the first two years.

                    12. BluBlud

                      Anybody who is criticizing the FO for their Bid for Darvish is just in the business of criticizing the FO. They made a very adequate bid, IMO, and they fell short. I think they took the right approach. When you are dealing with these thing, you have to access the situation, place a value on it, and stick to it. If you get outbid, oh well. Darvish appears to be the real deal, but only time will tell if he can hold up. Sometimes you hit it big, sometimes you miss big. I would love to have Darvish, but If the FO felt that the bid they place was adequate enough, then i’m good with it.

                    13. Rebuilding

                      @Goat – No, I question the premise that we have the smartest FO in baseball since John Daniels and Billy Beane have outsmarted us in the last 18 months. Therefore I don’t put blind faith in the rebuilding plan.

                      @Hansman – Well, $75 million is looking a little low right now. Personally I would have bid $10 million more than what they bid on Dice K given Darvish’s age and track record. But I really don’t have to answer the question, Theo does because he gets paid millions of dollars to figure such things out

                2. caryatid62

                  Once again: None. Of. That. Matters. The Rangers’ decision and the Cubs’s decision have literally nothing to do with one another. They each operated based upon their own needs, strategy and financial restraints.

                  The Cubs chose not to bid high enough, which was either a tactical mistake or a sign of some kind of financial inflexibility. Therefore, they either deserve criticism for the decision or scrutiny in their finances.

                  1. BT

                    This is absurd. Of course it matters. If you are portraying the Cubs offers as being hampered by either cheapness or financial constraints then the obvious thing to do is to compare their offers with other teams. If the Cubs offer was competitive or better than 28 teams, and beaten only by one complete outlier, how in the world can you use that outlier as an example of anything as it pertains to the Cubs situation? Especially in a blind bid? Assuming the Cubs came in 2nd (we can’t verify that) and assuming the Rangers were 25 percent higher than the field, you are asking the Cubs management to manage like lunatics. In the business world you don’t come up with a proper bid, then add in 30 percent, “just in case”, or you go broke.

                    1. Rebuilding

                      How is 6 years 111 million for an Ace an outlier? You can say all you want that no one knew that, but look at Darvish’s numbers in Japan. You can translate those numbers to MLB just like minor league numbers and he was only 25. Darvish was truly one of the best pitchers in the history of the Japanese league by 23 years old. Isn’t that what these guys get paid to figure out? I’ll say again – we had absolutely the wrong guy to make that bid because he was scarred by the Dice-K situation

                    2. caryatid62

                      It’s far from absurd, and calling it absurd does not help the conversation one iota.

                      If it is a blind bid, then the only means by which the team can judge the correct amount is to consider the historical offers to players considered to be the same value. Matsuzaka was a similar player who posted five years earlier at $51.1. Using that as a measuring stick would not have been inappropriate whatsoever and, in fact, would have been the perfect way to judge the possible market.

                    3. hansman1982

                      So if 99 people pay a $1 for a cookie, then person #100 pays $2 for a cookie, is person #100 or the other 99 the norm?

                      Yes, now Darvish’s contract appears to be AMAZING. A year ago there were still a lot of question marks about him. 16 months ago people were placing his actual contract (not with posting fee) well north of the $60M he got.

                    4. BT

                      Darvish is only an Ace from the perspective of 2013. 111 million dollars for Matsusaka would have been disastrous. People thought Darvish was going to be better, but people thought Matsusake would be better than Irabu. So it looks good for Texas right now, but for 29 other teams at the time, it was a compete outlier. How do I know? Because everyone familiar with the bidding said it was a total outlier. Which pretty much makes it a total outlier.

                      And I’m sorry, but the idea that what other teams do in ANY bidding process is irrelevant when judging a specific teams bid IS absurd. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but to judge the Cub’s bid without taking other team’s bid into context simply makes no sense. I’m not sure what word you would like me to use.

                    5. Rebuilding

                      Disagree that no one could have figured out that Darvish was a potential ace. Look at his numbers in Japan which are translatable (no pun intended). Again, I could care less what any other team did – we are all putting our trust in Theo/Jed to be smarter than other GMs. Just because Ned Colletti also got outsmarted by Daniels should have no bearing on how Cubs fans look at the situation

                    6. BT

                      If everyone could see he was an ace, then why were the Rangers the only team to bid more than 15 million on him? Seriously, if this was so obvious, why was only one GM out of 30 able to see it? (and I’m going to go by Olney’s post 6 months after the fact that said the Cubs finished 2nd, 35 million behind the Rangers).

                    7. Rebuilding

                      Well, first of all no one knows that. Everyone that knows what the bids were has an incentive to low ball what the bids were. If Theo bid $48 million do you think he wants to answer questions about why he didn’t bid $4 million more for one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball? Or does any GM for that matter? Does MLB want it publicized that 10 teams were willing to bid $50 million?

                      I ask this as a serious question: One of the things that permeates every thread on BN is that we have the smartest FO in baseball. If you do think that don’t things like this at least make you question the premise?

                    8. BT

                      “I ask this as a serious question: One of the things that permeates every thread on BN is that we have the smartest FO in baseball. If you do think that don’t things like this at least make you question the premise?”

                      I have made no such claim. I have a much easier premise to support. My premise is that the Cubs FO is smarter than the posters on this (or virtually any internet) board. In general, I don’t claim that Theo/Jed are awesome, just that they aren’t idiots. And I tend to defend against the premises of many of the attacks on them, as they don’t seem to make sense. This one doesn’t either.

                      As to your other question, Olney was quoting someone familiar with the bidding, he wasn’t going down the line asking each GM what he bid. I dont’ know why MLB would be happy with one lunatic organization bidding 3 times as much as everyone else any more than they would be happy with multiple teams bidding 50 million. And again, his account was 6 months later, after all the smoke had cleared. I will take his account over any immediate confusion, as in all likelihood, this is what happened.

                    9. hansman1982

                      “Well, first of all no one knows that. Everyone that knows what the bids were has an incentive to low ball what the bids were. If Theo bid $48 million do you think he wants to answer questions about why he didn’t bid $4 million more for one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball? Or does any GM for that matter? Does MLB want it publicized that 10 teams were willing to bid $50 million?”

                      I still haven’t gotten a good answer on this so I will ask it again:

                      Why did this not happen with the Matsuzaka bid process then? The bids that came out had most of them bunched together around the $48-51M mark.

                  2. DocPeterWimsey

                    Wrong. The Cubs could not make the Rangers bid go away. From Team A’s point of view, Darvish’s price is the highest posting fee Teams B…Z is willing to make: in a crude sense, that is the market value. However, here is the catch: the Cubs (like every other team) do not know what Teams B…Z are bidding. So, the Cubs (and everyone else) cannot know what the value is.

                    Ultimately, you are asking the entirely wrong question. The question is not did the Cubs undervalue Darvish (or, to be more exact, the rights to negotiate with him). The quesiton is, why did the Rangers value Darvish (or his rights) so much more than all of the other teams? Now it’s the Cubs who are of only 1/29th relevance.

                    1. caryatid62

                      Cannot disagree enough. We are evaluating the Cubs. The ONLY number we know for sure is the winning bid, therefore we cannot even assume that the Rangers were an outlier. We can go by reports, some of which claimed that Toronto made a bid between 40-50 million, and others that claimed no one was close. We just don’t know, so we need to evaluate the fact that the Cubs did not win the bidding.

                      What we DO know is this: the Cubs first claimed that they made a bid they knew wouldn’t be enough, then claimed they made a “strong offer.” Either way, it deserves skepticism.

                    2. DarthHater

                      “In retrospect it becomes clear that hindsight is definitely overrated!”
                      —Alfred E. Neuman, Mad Magazine

                  3. hansman1982

                    “The Cubs chose not to bid high enough, which was either a tactical mistake or a sign of some kind of financial inflexibility. Therefore, they either deserve criticism for the decision or scrutiny in their finances.”

                    So the only two possible outcomes of their bid, because we can only see that they were outbid by $25M are either:

                    1. The Cubs suck and are dumb
                    or
                    2. The Cubs suck and are broke

                    There is a third option; however, it requires doing something that you are unwilling to do because it might paint the Cubs in a non-negative light.

                    1. northsiders6

                      At some point, the FO is going to have to take some actual serious risks and pull the trigger. There is always at least one reason why a certain player is not a good fit. We need to bring in players when they are available. We needed pitching and a CFer but missed on Cespedes and Darvish.

                    2. hansman1982

                      And we could have gotten more proven talent in Greinke and Hamilton this year.

                      It’s not that they were risk adverse, apparently a majority of front offices didn’t feel that a bid over $25M would have been sufficient enough to land Darvish or they felt that a $50M bid would have put his overall cost too high and stayed out of the bidding.

                      The high end of the estimates for his contract were in the neighborhood of $100M.

          3. Rebuilding

            Wow, a voice of reason. Well said

          4. hansman1982

            “According to reports, they came nowhere near what Texas offered for Darvish, and for a team with such terrible pitching prospects, that’s a huge miss. While it was a blind bid, the Matsuzaka bid had to be considered a starting point, and reports were that they didn’t come close to that. They claimed it was a “strong” bid; the whole point of my post was that, as fans, we don’t need to blindly accept that without even a little skepticism.”

            You are wanting us to compare the Cubs bid on Darvish with the bid made to Matsuzaka and since we didn’t come close to that, it wasn’t a strong bid.

            Yet, we cannot compare the Cubs bid on Darvish to the other 29 teams’ bids on Darvish to consider if it were strong? Had the Rangers not doubled everyone else’s bid and just stayed out of the bidding, the Cubs would have been in the same ballpark as everyone else.

            Yesterday I got into a discussion about the plausibility of the Cubs lying about their bid to the media (not that I want to rehash that argument). It is FAR more plausible that the Cubs simply felt that even at a $20-25M posting fee it’d still take $100M to sign Darvish (thereby giving him the same overall cost) and 28 other teams felt similarily than it is to believe they:

            1. Threw out a bid so terribly low they felt they had a 0% chance in getting him (despite him being the exact player Theo wants)
            2. Bid $50M on Darvish but for some reason that didn’t exist 7 years ago, wanted the whole world to think they bid ridiculously low on him.
            3. Are so terribly cash strapped they can’t hope to afford a potential Ace at $100M over 6 years
            4. Thought $20M posting fee was correct on him if you valued him to Matsuzaka because, somehow, their scouting beat the entirety of the rest of the scouting worlds opinion on him.

            I think this line sums it up:

            “Castro’s extension actually looks like it saved them money.”

            I can’t give them credit for spending $70M because it has saved them money, despite signing Darvish at $112M would have saved them money, but I don’t want to give them credit for anything.

            1. Rebuilding

              I’ll take #3 for $200, Alex

            2. Cubz99

              I actually hope that the reason they didn’t get Darvish was due to finances and not scouting. I still want to believe that the current front office and talent evaluators are better than the previous regime and wouldn’t have misjudged the situation that badly.

    4. BT

      I listened to it. He basically spent the whole segment bashing the Cubs. He made a ton of awful points.
      -He said the Cubs were modeling themselves after the Red Sox but the Red Sox spent a lot of money, yet later, almost as a throwaway he conceded that there aren’t free agents like there used to be and there are now spending limits on amateur talent.
      -He said ownership came in saying they were ready to win now with the talent on hand, but now they were rebuilding, as if the 2013 Cubs should be following the exact same plan a team 1 year removed from having the best record in baseball (2009) should be following.
      -He kept stressing how the Cubs were marginalizing the rooftop owners but that THEY were the ones who signed the contract, while failing to mention that it wasn’t Ricketts who signed that contract.

      Mully did a decent job of trying to defend the Cubs, but it’s pretty clear Wittenmeyer has his White Whale now.

  2. Idaho Razorback

    Shout out to DarthHater. The picture of the potato pig is perfect! Thank You.

    1. DarthHater

      :-D

  3. Brian

    Hopefully Lillebridge is calling himself a dumb ass for looking at that one. It was a really good pitch though.

  4. MichiganGoat

    “URGH I forgot SWING at strikes…”

  5. MichiganGoat

    That Rizzo HBP had me seeing Byrd all over, so relieved.

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      I was at that game at Fenway, and we could hear the ball hit his helmet all the way in the right field bleachers….

      1. ReiCow

        Yeah, I was there too (also right side). Was a terrifying hit.

        Moo.

    2. whiteflag

      Me too, Goat, me too.

  6. Clark Addison

    If Lillibridge is still on the roster by May 1 the Cubs are doomed.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      This statement is just as true with Lillibridge off of the roster! On a good team, a guy like Darwin Barney gets *into*, not removed from, the lineup because of an injury.

      1. WGNstatic

        Depending on how defense is accounted for, that is a debatable assertion.

        That said, Darwin Barney should be the #8 hitter. Further, his replacement in case of an injury should be either unbelievable with the leather or have more upside with the bat but lacking Barney’s GG fielding.

        Lillibridge has neither. ugh.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Well, look at the teams that currently are good or that have been good recently. How many Barney-esque second basemen are in that pool of teams?

          1. WGNstatic

            First, limiting the discussion to 2B is arbitrary. What we are talking about is an elite caliber defensive 2B with a sub average bat. That could be done for any position save pitcher.

            Would I swap Darwin Barney for Skip Schumaker or Adam Kennedy, no, I don’t think I would. Heck, going back a bit and using a Cub, Larry Bowa (circa 1984) was a far inferior player comp’ed to Barney.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              heh, the “arbitrariness” more or less is the next point. If you look at recent winners, then you can find one or two for whom Barney would not be a downgrade. You can do that for most of them for most positions other than SS and (now) 1B. However, it’s almost always a different team that has a Cubs-quality player in their weakest link.

              For example, the Cards sported a 0.759 OPS (0.04 better than league average) despite getting a 0.672 OPS from their 2bmen (0.04 less than league average for the position). The Cubs sported a 0.680 OPS (0.03 below league average) while getting a 0.684 OPS from their 2ndbasemen (also 0.03 below league average for the position). In other words, good offenses (which is half of good baseball) might have *a* Barney, but they are not going to have more than that.

  7. ETS

    As an Iowan, I sympathize with all blackout sufferers.

    1. miggy80

      At least we got a good radio team to listen to.

      1. hansman1982

        Yes, if it weren’t for Pat Hughes, I’m not sure that I’d be a Cubs fan. Probably a Yankee fan like my Dad (yikes).

        1. MichiganGoat

          Yeah he makes baseball sound beautiful and when paired with Ronny it was the greatest experience your ears could hear.

          1. hansman1982

            Amazing, simply amazing. Ronnie may have been a bumbling idiot at times but paired with Pat, that worked well.

            1. MichiganGoat

              The dichotomy is why it was so great- Ronnie is the reactionary heart on sleeve fan we all are during a game while Pat is the velvet voice with a hint of scotch we all need to not fall off the ledge. I will be playing there sound bits and voices for my children for as long as I can.

              1. WGNstatic

                hear hear.

                My wife has little interest in baseball and would never watch a game by her own accord. However, she would happily listen to Pat and Ron call a game. It wasn’t just that they were fun to listen to, but they made it feel like following the Cubs was simply a big family experience, with the dry-witty uncle and the crazy fun emotional uncle coloring our family get togethers.

                I miss Ronnie.

              2. Kyle

                It was great for a couple of years when it was authentic. Then they packaged it and it became “The Pat and Ron Show” with a baseball game in the background. Annoying.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  And now everything makes sense, your colors are showing and blue isn’t one of them.

                2. DocPeterWimsey

                  I’m not sure that they packaged it. For one thing, Ron was such a horrible actor that I don’t think that he *could* package it.

                  It did get a little too “buddy flick” for my tastes, but one thing that Pat was good at was (sometimes) making Ron actually explain what he was thinking. Like so many athletes, Ron assumed a lot of knowledge/ability: and Pat sometimes was good about getting Ron to actually explain it to those of us who cannot hit 90 MPH (heck, 70 MPH) fastballs.

                  1. hansman1982

                    They did a really good job keeping you entertained when the game/season was out of hand.

  8. Danny Ballgame

    “Ahhhhhhhh, I suck at baseball!!!”

  9. ETS

    Possible captions-
    “Why am I on this team”
    “I hate MLB blackout rules.”
    “Mom forgot the pizza rolls.”
    “Loud noises!”

  10. Idaho Razorback

    Ahhh…. I can’t believe the Cubs were my only option.

  11. Sully

    That pitch looked high to me. That inning was very frustrating.

  12. Marshall

    “Hes got the ump calling strikes in the middle of the zone? This guy must be a wizard.”

  13. BABIP (MichCubFan)

    “I’m a man, damn it!”
    “I deal with my shortcomings through yelling!”
    “I’m Brent. This is my mad face. What is your name?”

    But really, I don’t like it when there are two strikes and the hitter doesn’t swing at a borderline pitch. You have to cover the plate, just fowl it off or something. It is one thing if they are surprised by the pitch, but when they are taking a pitch on the black with 2 strikes hoping that it gets called a ball…that is they’re fault.

    Then when the hitter argues a called third strike, it just seems like they are trying to push the blame away from themselves and make it look like it was the ump’s fault. But even if the pitch is an inch or two off the plate, the hitter should be swinging at it.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Especially when bases are loaded with 1 outs, you’ve got to put the ball in play.

    2. WGNstatic

      “1-2 main points from our discussion of minerals and chemistry?
      Why were they important?”

      Gotta disagree here. Perhaps if it is an 0-2 count, but the count was full. If that pitch is called a ball (which it could, not should, but could have been), Lillibridge would have been praised for working a great at bat and forcing in a run with a walk.

      1. WGNstatic

        Well that was a copy and paste fail… No discussions of chemistry or minerals here…

        meant to paste:
        “But even if the pitch is an inch or two off the plate, the hitter should be swinging at it.”

        1. Hee Seop Chode

          I liked the chemistry caption..

  14. Andrew

    Hey I’m 480 miles southeast of cincinnati in charlotte nc and the Reds are blacked out for me on MLBTV (Balitmore and DC are blackout too). So anytime the cubs play the reds, nats, and braves I get blacked out on MLBTV. Don’t get it.

  15. MichiganGoat

    I’m very lucky that the only games I’m blacked out of are a tigers games (and they are 2.5 hours away) while Chicago by water is just over an hour and by car 3 hrs, the blackout rules are very confusing and our brethren in Iowa are just hated by MLB.

    1. hansman1982

      Nah…what would ever make you think that?

      You know it’s bad when you can’t even properly determine which teams you are blacked out for because there are so many lines in your state.

      Then there is the middle of Idaho which is blacked out from Rockies games. NE Nevada which is blacked out from SF and Oakland games. Northern Minnesota blacked out from Brewer games.

      The funny part is that the only part of the country that appears to not be blacked out from any games is the bottom SW tip of Florida. Or about the distance from Wrigley to the far western suburbs of Chicago.

      1. Stinky Pete

        Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….

        Embargo the Corn!!

        Seriously, I thought there was talk of relaxing the blackout bs sometime last year.

    2. cubchymyst

      Now that I am out of Iowa maybe I should look into MLB.tv, however since the radio is comes in choppy in my office, because the wireless where I am at sucks, I doubt that a video feed would come in better. Does anyone know where I can look up what teams I’d be blacked out for?

      1. hansman1982

        just google MLB Blackout map

        1. cubchymyst

          Thank you, I’m only blacked out for the Royals now. Not bad

  16. BABIP (MichCubFan)

    I really really hate when i schedule part of my day around watching a baseball game. The game finally is about to start, and BOOM: Screw you viewer, we are going to ruin your day.

    They need to do something about this.

    1. hansman1982

      Ya, all it is doing is turning fans away from the game. Hopefully they wait until AFTER the Cubs get their $400M per year TV deal.

      Since it is the Cubs, it will be the day before that happens.

      1. whiteflag

        So true.

  17. Rob

    Might be 3,000 miles away in London, but no games blacked out over here. Time difference doesn’t help watching games though!

    1. SamuraiJock

      Same in Glasgow. Hooray for daytime games!

  18. BD

    “And that’s why I’m terrible at baseball!”

  19. Justin

    “Our pets HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!”

  20. Randy

    I happen to think Gordon Wittenmyer knows more than an any of us when it comes to the doings of the club. I do think management has a great game plan but I also believe they can both have the youth movment and put a quality product on the field. This will be a long season with an 84 million payroll while ownership rolls around in their money. The stadium and all the renovation is about them making more money. As this season goes on the crowds will go down and down. Hell they hadnt even sold out opening day.

    1. hansman1982

      Your payroll is off by about $22M or about the entire Houston Astros payroll.

      No biggie.

      1. hansman1982

        I’ll share the link with you though, from Cots via Baseball Prospectus:

        https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tt7HjIernphaSrv4wMWdUYg&output=html

        1. MichiganGoat

          FACTS what are they good for

      2. MichiganGoat

        Facts don’t exist in a Parallel Cubs Universe

    2. Hee Seop Chode

      I’d be interested to see how much of the revenue is from ticket sales and or concessions. As far as I know, no one has that sort of breakout. It is reasonable to make the points Rand is making:

      1. Any talk of paralell fronts was less than honest
      2. The team is currently highly profitable
      3. Gordon Wittenmyer has likely put far more time into understanding the financial decisions of the Ricketts family than anyone commenting here. The way his analysis is being dismissed out of hand based upon the owner’s public promise that all revenue will be put back into baseball expenditures should receive scrutanty.

      1. hansman1982

        “1. Any talk of paralell fronts was less than honest”

        This statement was made before the depth of the amateur spending limits was known.

        “2. The team is currently highly profitable”

        I am sure you are referencing that sexy $32M figure. Assuming the team isn’t paying the interest on the purchase note and no other expenditures (that $32M wasn’t factoring taxes, interest, amortization or depreciation) taxes take it down to $16-20M pretty quick. Assuming the team is paying the interest on the note, costs for the DR, new ST facility and the other one time expenditures of last year it gets boiled down to $5-10M pretty quick.

        “3. Gordon Wittenmyer has likely put far more time into understanding the financial decisions of the Ricketts family than anyone commenting here.”

        If I remember correctly, yesterday, a few of Gordo’s “facts” were discussed and shot down on here yesterday. Heck, going by the Forbes numbers and my estimates of after operating income costs, his assertion (and yours) that the Cubs are one of the most profitable teams can be dispelled pretty quickly. Just because someone who works for a big newspaper is dissenting and appears intelligent doesn’t mean they are right.

  21. kmr1453

    Caption: ” I SUCK”

  22. Curt

    I’ve been bamboozled , wait till the Meister Meister burger hears about this .

  23. JulioZuleta

    Is it possible to be sick of a player after 2 games? That’s me with Lillibridge. That long AB last night was…not good. Just because it lasted 10 pitches doesn’t mean it went well. He weakly fouled off 5 very hittable pitches. The more I watch, the more I think Logan Watkins should have gotten a cup of coffee. No way he’s worse, and at least there would be light at the end of the tunnel if we were watching him.

    1. mudge

      One weak foul was a few feet from clearing the bases, another weak foul had home run distance.

  24. hansman1982

    OMG, I LOOK LIKE A SCRAPPIER VERSION OF TONY CAMPANA!

    1. MichiganGoat

      “damn I just made Campana look good”

  25. Iowan

    Love the intro. It hits home.

  26. JulioZuleta

    Teammate yells from the dugout, “Matt Clement’s goatee was better.” (Lillibridge’s response shown above)

  27. DPU Cubbies

    He’s screaming cuz it might as wel have been 2 outs with Gonzales on deck…can’t believe we lost a pitching prospect over them…Colvin/Lamaheu V2.

  28. Farley Flash

    I have been around baseball my entire life and good or bad a Cub fan as well. My problem with Lillibridge is that in the bases loaded at bat his whole approach from the first pitch was defensive. He looked like he was going to make an out and not drive in a run from the get go, just as he did the first game. The only reason we could not see that he craped his pants was because it was to cold. I will take an aggressive Barney at bat over a do not crap myself at bat. Ok, so lets remember that it is only two games and we know this is not our year. It is going to be a long summer! However, we have to be happy with what the Shark did the other day and I thought EJack gave us everything that we thought we were getting and a bit more. Castro looks great minus the missplayed hop last night. Castro looks solid both ways and Soriano had a good spring and a great at bat last night. After that the future can not get here soon enough.

  29. Alex

    Couldn’t agree more, the perfect reference comes from the very great Mr. Baseball, ” I used to go up to the plate looking to hit. Now I just try not to strikeout.” Lillibridges approach since he 12 homers.

  30. ProfessorCub

    CAPTION: Catcher to Lillibridge: “Late ’90s Nu Metal bands called – they want their facial hair back.”