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jacoby ellsburyThe conversation has already started, spurred no doubt by superagent Scott Boras: is Jacoby Ellsbury worth $100 million?

The speedy outfielder, who turns 30 on Wednesday, is having his second excellent season in three years, and figures to cash in as one of the few top tier free agents this offseason. Some execs, according to that Jon Heyman piece, think Ellsbury cracks $100 million, and Boras is certainly doing his part to suggest that Ellsbury provides far more value than Carl Crawford did at the time he signed for seven years and $142 million.

Although Ellsbury undoubtedly provides value in areas other than with the bat, you can’t ignore that this season – his walk year – is the only season he’s posted an OPS+ over 100 besides his MVP-caliber season in 2011. The upside appears to be as tantalizing as the downside is disappointing.

Indeed, so much of Ellsbury’s value comes from his speed that I feel like we might be in for a Michael Bourn redux discussion this Winter, in terms of Ellsbury’s expected price tag. Ultimately, Bourn – a fellow speedy center fielder who derives much of his value from defense and baserunning – got just four years and $48 million from the Indians after entering the offseason as a Scott Boras $100 million rumor special.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Ellsbury is a superior overall player to Bourn. But something to consider: Ellsbury’s season WAR figures heading into free agency: 4.1, 2.1, -0.2, 9.1, 1.4, 5.7. Bourn was at 4.6, 4.3, 3.7, and 6.1.

Potentially complicating the discussion even further? Ellsbury is hurt. He injured his foot last week, and it turned out to be a compression fracture. Apparently that’s not serious enough to keep him out the rest of the way – the Red Sox expect him back before the end of the season – but it’s a mild injury concern to add into his turn in free agency. Ellsbury also missed significant chunks of the 2010 (ribs) and 2012 (shoulder) seasons with injuries. Both injuries would fall into the “freak accident” category, but it’s a part of his story. (Also part of his story? Ellsbury will be tied to draft pick compensation.)

That’s all well and good, but … is any of this even relevant to the Cubs?

Eh. There are comments here and there from national guys who say they expect the Cubs to be active in free agency this year, but I expect those comments have more to do with a general perception that the Cubs are a “large market” team that has shed a bunch of money in the last two years. As we’ve all been tracking closely, the Cubs may not yet spend big in 2014, given the state of the renovation and the impending TV deal. I anticipate that any Ellsbury pursuit by the Cubs will be much like other top free agent “pursuits” in the last two years: follow the market, see what happens. If he gets his megadeal, fine. It probably won’t be the Cubs. If he slips into late in the offseason, maybe the Cubs keep monitoring (unless they’ve already picked up an outfielder). With only Nate Schierholtz a virtual lock to return as a starter in the outfielder next year, the Cubs do have some positions to play with, if nothing else.

The Cubs do have some interesting near-term decisions to make in the outfield, though. Yes, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, and possibly Kris Bryant could be coming on fast, each claiming an outfield spot by 2015 or 2016 (maybe even 2014 in Bryant’s case, if he moves off of third base). But as brightly as their prospect stars shine, we all know the story with prospects: sometimes they flame out. Sometimes they break. Rarely do you see your best laid plans come to fruition, and it would be foolish to plan on all three players’ trajectories working out perfectly in the next two years. Further, although the Cubs might have a complementary outfielder breaking through in the next year or two, there aren’t any clear, first division starters among the AAA and AA crew.

At the same time, is getting in bed with six years of an Ellsbury the right move? That could be a pricey investment that is most useful in its first two years (when the Cubs might be bad anyway), and considerably less useful in the latter four (when the Cubs might be good, but Ellsbury would be older and slower – and could even be approaching fourth outfielder status, depending on the prospects’ progression).

When the offseason rolls around and we start digging into these things more closely, I reckon I’ll be throwing my hat into a three or four-year deal for Shin-Soo Choo, rather than a six or seven-year deal for Jacoby Ellsbury. But, right now, it’s still too early to even say what each player is actually going to get – or what other players might enter onto the market via trade (or, hell, what teams are going to be looking to do what).

Right now, this is just an abstract discussion.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    jacoby ellsbury hey theo jed fugitaboutit.

  • Jon

    The Cubs have to be careful, paying too much to Elsbury could really hurt their salary cap situation.

  • MightyBear

    Six years for Ellsbury. Get him, pay the money and put him in CF and leadoff for the next 4 or 5 years.

    • Scotti

      Except for when he isn’t healthy. He’s out again (for at least ten days) and has averaged 95 games over the last four years. Count me as a No vote for Ellsbury.

      • terenceman

        I don’t see why the Cubs would see Ellsbury as the answer for what ails them for exactly that reason.

        • Stevie B

          I see what you did there, terenceman. Nice/

      • Jay

        Completely agree about the health concerns. This guy spends half his time in the trainer’s room. This is not the kind of deal Theo said they’d be making anytime soon.

  • jh03

    I’d prefer Choo over Ellsbury, when taking risk and money into consideration. I find it hard to believe the Cubs don’t get one of them though.

  • ssckelley

    I think a better investment would be Corey Hart. A right handed power hitter who could compliment Sweeney and Schierholtz in the outfield, making Lake a 4th outfielder/utility infielder. I find it hard to believe that the Cubs will spend big money on another lefthanded outfielder in either Choo or Ellsbury.

    • cub2014

      I think a month ago FO was thinking 2 outfielders
      (Choo & Hart?) but I think they will give Lake a
      chance to start next year.

      • cub2014

        Why Choo over a righty. *Because they will
        have 4 or 5 righthanded hitters next year.
        Olt or Baez,Castro,Barney or whomever,Castillo
        and Lake.*Because Choo gives them a leadoff
        hitter with OF flexability. If Almora makes it up
        he can move to left if Bryant makes it he can
        stay in CF.

      • ssckelley

        They might be thinking 2 outfielders, it all depends on if they bring Sweeney back. From what I understand this FO is fairly high on Sweeney, but he is a free agent after this season.

    • Scotti

      “…making Lake a 4th outfielder/utility infielder.”

      Playing the infield on a regular basis Lake was abysmal. Playing the infield on a sporadic basis Lake would redefine the term abysmal.

      • cub2014

        abysmal, you throw that around rather
        loosely.

        • Scotti

          A career .887 fielding percentage at 3B is abysmal. A career .924 fielding percentage at SS is abysmal. A career .952 fielding percentage at 2B is Soriano-esque and got him moved to the OF where he had inferior value. I do not use the word abysmal lightly.

      • ssckelley

        I was not suggesting Lake playing in the infield on a consistent basis, more of a backup role if anything. Even if he never plays another inning in the infield there will be plenty of at bats for a righthanded 4th outfielder.

        • Scotti

          “I was not suggesting Lake playing in the infield on a consistent basis…”

          And that is the problem. He was abysmal there when he had regular reps. Like anyone else, he would be even worse without regular repetition. Playing him semi-regularly at multiple spots is a way to guarantee yourself an awful fielder at whatever position he happens to be playing.

          Getting him regular work in the OF has a hope of him becoming decent at a position.

          • ssckelley

            But I am not sure the Cubs are sold on relying on Lake as an everyday outfielder. Personally I am impressed with a guy that goes from hitting a grand slam to bunting for a hit but can he do it enough to look past his defensive shortcomings and earn a starting spot? If you are going to look at his minor league numbers for his defensive numbers then we need to address his hitting as well, he never hit consistently well in the minors. I can’t help but wonder on a good team where Lake would hit. He does not get on base enough to hit at the top and he is not a slugger to bat him in the middle. If he does not project well defensively then there are better options for bottom of the order type hitters.

            IMO, if Lake cannot show enough flexibility to play the outfield and middle infield then he will not last in the majors very long.

            • Chad

              I’m not sure what you mean by better options for bottom of the order hitters? I’d love to have a good enough lineup where a guy like Junior Lake can hit 7th or 8th. I think that is a good spot for him. Who else would you rather have at the bottom of the lineup who can drive the ball but still has speed that is a factor for the defense?

              • ssckelley

                Because usually those bottom of the order players are good defenders. IMO, that is the biggest question mark on Lake, can he hit well enough to make up for his defensive shortcomings in the outfield?

                • MoneyBoy

                  How about we give the kid a break!! He might get half a season by the time ’13 is over. And the first game he played was his first – EVER – in the OF! Geez….

                  • Chad

                    He played LF at Iowa for a few games, but yes in CF, that was his first start in CF.

                  • ssckelley

                    Give him a break, seriously? This is what the minors is for, not the MLB club. I would rather players learn on the job at Iowa, not in Wrigley.

                    I get the emotional attachment to young players, been there and done that. We all would love to see our young prospects succeed. But Lake either needs to become an + defender in the outfield or hit to make up for it in order to earn his spot. Hopefully he can work on this in the off season. But I still would not go into next year with the idea of just handing Lake an outfield position.

                • Chad

                  1. He’s played outfield for about 50 games. He’ll improve.
                  2. Who cares if the bottom of the order is usually for “better defenders”. That’s like the 2nd place in the order is for slap hitters. I tend to base my batting order on who can hit and produce runs. There defense does not qualify them to hit 1st or 8th. It may dictate how much they play, but it shouldn’t dictate order in which they hit.

                  It’s like saying well, generally Iowa has been a pro-style offense, and since Brad Banks is more of a runner then we should probably keep him at backup behind Kyle McCann (see what I did there)

                  • ssckelley

                    Great, if he is hitting and producing runs then that answers my question doesn’t it?

                    • Chad

                      Sort of. Depends if it makes up for his defense or not, which I’m not sure how to quantify. How do you quantify that? 5 RBIs required for every error? Would you rather have a guy like Lake batting 8th, or a guy like Barney?

                    • ssckelley

                      Using the WAR number is about the only way to do it. Baseball Reference has Lake at a 1.6 WAR offensively and a -0.5 defensively. This season Barney is -1.2 offensively and 1.4 defensively, but he has been awful at the plate this year. Over his career his offensive numbers are much better. So bottom line is if Lake can keep hitting .818 OPS then his bat is worth his defensive shortcomings.

                      So let’s put Lake at 2nd base in place of Barney. :D

            • Scotti

              “If you are going to look at his minor league numbers for his defensive numbers…”

              The only place he has ever played 3B, SS or 2B IS the minors.

              “…then we need to address his hitting as well, he never hit consistently well in the minors.”

              Simply not true. He batted .295/.341/.462/.803 this year, .279/.341/.432/.773 last year and .279/.316/.434/.750 in 2011 (which included a mid-season promotion to AA @21-y/o–.315/.336/.498/.834 before the promotion). Those are good numbers and improving numbers. However…

              We have his hitting in MLB and his OF fielding in MLB that we can consider, as well. No reason to go into the Wayback Machine for that. His fielding needs work but shows promise. He should become a competent to good outfielder. It’s a testimony to his ability that he is fielding as well as he is–he isn’t good right now but this team has seen worse–much worse.

              “IMO, if Lake cannot show enough flexibility to play the outfield and middle infield then he will not last in the majors very long.”

              The type of guys who play the infield and all three OF positions hit WAY south of what you should expect from Lake.

              “If he does not project well defensively…”

              He DOES project well defensively in the OF. He’s horrendous in the infield after years and years of playing there. He’s merely bad after never having played in the OF before and he has the tools to be exceptional.

              “…and he is not a slugger to bat him in the middle.”

              As I’ve said, he looks to me to be a 20-25 HR guy on a full season. 6’3″, 215 #, agressive swings, fast bat speed. He’s on pace now for 21 HR over 162 games. His walk rate has improved drastically since they fixed his hitch in Daytona. That’s plenty of bat.

              • ssckelley

                Ok, so you comment on the improvements he was making the past 2 seasons at the plate but yet fail to recognize the improvements he was making at 3rd and SS. You mention his .887 fielding percentage at 3rd (in only 93 games) yet ignore the fact he was improving at Iowa (.919 in 36 games). His fielding percentages were improving at shortstop up until last year. Everything you say about how his “promise” and “tools” they have been saying for years about Lake playing in the infield. So now we wait for it to happen at the MLB level, at a new position?

                If he keeps hitting at a .818 OPS then I agree with you, he should play everyday. But I still would not enter 2014 season with Lake as your every day center or left fielder.

                • Scotti

                  “…but yet fail to recognize the improvements he was making at 3rd and SS.”

                  Because, where he has wound up, after years of repetition on the left side of the diamond, is awful. You are beating the drum of a .919 fielding percentage at 3B. .919 is horrid (the lowest fielding percentage of qualified MLB 3B this year is .933). And his last game at SS was 2012 because he was horrid there (.921). After years in the minors playing the left side he still sucks. Half the folks here have pitchforks ready for Castro and, at a mere four days difference, Castro is leagues better than Lake at fielding balls on the left side of the diamond (Castro has steadily improved to .969 and is getting better each year).

                  “Everything you say about how his “promise” and “tools” they have been saying for years about Lake playing in the infield. So now we wait for it to happen at the MLB level, at a new position?”

                  He is a much better defensive OF, after about 50 games there, than he ever was as a SS/3B/2B after nearly 600 games (and many, many more games in numerous off-seasons, intructs, spring trainings, etc.) there.

                  So, yeah. He’s progressing at a very good rate. Give him a year in CF. He won’t get worse and he isn’t blocking anyone. He’s been getting better (as one would assume). Playing him where we know he’s awful would be just silly.

            • CubsFaninMS

              I know there are multiple angles to look at Junior Lake, but give the man some credit: He has more hits in the second half of any rookie in the Majors (at least according to Jim Deshaies). He’s got potential and has earned a chance to be a starter next season. If he flops, we’ll have Sweeney or Bogusevic there to take his spot.

              • Scotti

                Exactly!

                • CubsFaninMS

                  Is the Lake half empty or half full? lol The argument is becoming nauseous. He has some good peripherals and bad. Was George Bush a good president? Is my neighborhood I live in considered “large”? If a bear poops in the woods, does it have an odor?

  • tbone

    Let’s not forget about Junior Lake. Hey, I know he is flawed but he’s played well defensively and his bat plays well in center. I just don’t get why so many people completely dismiss this guy from the prospect/current player conversation (not saying that happens here though) when to my eyes he is holding up very well. I’d go for Choo as well as an outfield of Choo, Schierholtz and Lake may be pretty respectable.

    • Bilbo161

      Agree on Lake tbone. He needs a shot at playing every day for a season.

    • Scotti

      Lake has played poor defense in the OF to this point but he gets credit for having nearly zero experience in the OF. I’d have no problem penciling him in center but he has not played good defense there. He simply has promise to get better based on repetition.

      • Jim

        If anyone can make him a great outfielder, it is Dave McKay!

        • Scotti

          Only Junior Lake can make Junior Lake a good OF. And he could do so regardless of who the OF coach is. It’s skill, basic fundamentals, hard work and a ton of repetition.

          • cubbiehawkeye

            So coaches are worthless? Junior Lake has to want to get better but saying “only” Junior Lake can make himself a good outfielder is false. You need coaching as well. Even at the big league level.

            • Bails17

              How many OF coached do you think Willie Mays had?

              • Bails17

                Coaches…oops

              • Sean

                Yep. Some guys have naturally have gift instincts for fielding. (cough cough: Amora). Junior Lake will always be athletically more gifted then Almora but Lake will never be as good of fielder as Almora no matter how many coaches he has.

                Instincts are something you develop as young kid and I think partly that you are naturally born with to curtain degree.

                But I think players can learn good fundamentals, such as Soriano did. I think players at any age can learn to be fundamentally sound and with Lakes physical ability he can eventually become a sufficient fielder in the OF. I will say it is much easier to grasp a corner position such as LF then it is CF because you must pick up the jumps on the ball much quicker and react faster.

            • Scotti

              “So coaches are worthless?”

              No one said that. Pay attention.

              “…but saying “only” Junior Lake can make himself a good outfielder is false.”

              Uh, false. Only Junior Lake can make himself a good OF.

              “You need coaching as well. Even at the big league level.”

              Every MLB team has sufficient coaching to assist players to become good OF. Who the Cubs have, or don’t have, is immaterial. There are very few intricacies in the OF. It is the player’s own drive. It is the player’s own belief in himself. It is the player’s own commitment to the game.

      • tbone

        Work in progress yes. But I would dispute that he’s played poorly. His arm has held a lot of runners and he’s shown decent (and improving) range. I think for a kid who is learning the position on the fly he has fared very well.

        • Scotti

          “I think for a kid who is learning the position on the fly he has fared very well.”

          As I said, he gets credit for not having played much OF.

          “But I would dispute that he’s played poorly.”

          His play is what his play is–not his potential. In the games I’ve seen he’s airmailed two throws. He’s missed the cutoff guy allowing the runner to advance. He’s also missed a catchable flyball that wound up being a double or triple. None of those have resulted in errors. He has three errors in CF for a .956 fielding percentage. His prorated errors on a full season would be 11 and that includes his play in LF. Not good. Not acceptable. As I said, he gets a mulligan because this is really the only opportunity he’s had to develop in the OF. He shows PROMISE. That doesn’t mean he’s been good. He’s played poorly compared to other OF’s.

          • tbone

            I don’t disagree that he has made mistakes and at times his play in CF has been error prone. But overall he has mostly passed the eyeball test and the .956 fielding percentage is just a part of the picture. For instance, while he has airmailed a couple of throws, his holds have been high. Teams are proving very reluctant to run on him, despite his two airmails. While you certainly don’t want your full time centerfielder making that many errors, you can live with a few if he is saving runs with his arm and range (which is improving). I think we both agree that if the mistakes he has made were made by an 10 year veteran of the position it would be a problem, and that his newness to the position forgives some of those. I am just saying that there are aspects to his game defensivel, such as his arm, that elevate his value to the position and bring his play closer to average than poor.

            • Scotti

              Again, potential is potential and play is play. He has played poorly on the whole defensively. As you said, if a ten-year veteran missed the cutoff man, airmailed and made errors at this rate, his play would be considered bad. Lake isn’t a ten-year veteran (or anything of the sort) so, while his play can ONLY (legitimately) be considered bad by MLB standards, there is PROMISE for him. But promise doesn’t win games. Production winds games. He’s played bad on defense. He shows good promise on defense.

              • cub2014

                Schierholtz missed the cutoff man yesterday and he has been playing the outfield since he was a little kid. Lake is just learning how to play it, that includes throwing to the cutoff man. Does he need work out their absolutely. He has made 3 errors(one in his ist game where he airmailed the catcher) in CF. Not one error
                in left or right. Definitely a couple mistakes, but he can get to the ball
                and he can catch the ball. In CF does take bad routes on the ball.
                He is by no stretch HORRIBLE out there. That’s just being dramatic.
                I question his future in CF but we will know by spring training next year what he is capable of.

                • cub2014

                  Sorry Scotti,
                  My reference to saying “Lakes defense is
                  horrible” was not attributed to you.

    • Jim

      I was going to say the same thing. I think Junior Lake has done nothing to remove himself from the 2014 conversation. I think it only leaves one outfield starter position available. Maybe for Sweeney or Bogusevich? Maybe Shoo or Ellsbury? I would be reluctant to throw a lot of money at Ellsbury just because of the age factor. Plus I have found it weird that he hit, what? 32 homeruns in 2011 and never got to double digits in any other year. What happened there? Juiced? I would actually tell Starlin that you are the leadoff man in 2014, now take this offseason to get in shape to steal some bases!

  • Bilbo161

    I like Choo as an option. Cruz too if he doesn’t get a QO. Cruz could make a nice flip if we are out of contention. My thoughts on both are for shorter term though Choo seems to be a keeper for as long as his numbers take him.

    The real prize is going to be Tanaka. Hope I spelled that right.

    • Sean

      Choo > Ellsbury. Reason being you can get Choo on a 3yr deal probably for $13M per and Ellsbury will require a 5yr contract for a much higher annual rate.

      Over course Ellsbury is the better player but you don’t have to commit as much to acquire Choo

      • Voice of Reason

        Great, let someone else have Choo for 13M a year over three years. We don’t need him! We have a couple of young center fielders who need as much playing time as possible to see if they are part of the future of this club when we start to compete in about 3 years. Signing Choo this offseason would be a waste of money.
        The front office knows it and the owners are watching the cash closer than EVER before. Forget about Choo, forget about Ellsbury. It ain’t happening cause they aren’t spending big bucks this offseason!

        • Sean

          Voice of Reason: Choo could very realistically get a 3yr deal for $39M. I think you don’t grasp the FA market. I agree that I wouldn’t want to sign in for that much but he could easily end up getting that much this offseason and possibly more.

          • Sean

            If Choo were to receive a qualifying offer from Cincy, then he sure will make less bc he will become less attractive bc the team who signs him will forfeit a 1st or 2nd round pick which is a steep price. If you followed the Kyle Lohse signing at all, then you know it will most likely have a similar affect. Even the Bourn signing to a curtain degree was affect by the qualifying offer attached to him

          • Voice of Reason

            Believe me, I understand the free agent system!
            And, YES, Choo will get that much and probably more.
            All I’m saying is… the Cubs will not sign Choo this offseason. Forget about it!
            The management has a plan and the owners are watching the money. Let the management plan develop. We will all be happy with the rewards of developing the minor league system in about 3 years.

            • Sean

              Yep. I rather not sign Choo or Ellsbury if we have to overpay. I’m good with Dejesus in center again next year just keeping the seat warm for the young guys in the minors to take over.

              After next season I think we will better be able to evaluate what type of player Almora will be and the likelyhood of him becoming an impact player in the bigs one day, once he plays (hopefully) a whole minor league season. I like to see Junior Lake play a whole season as well. I’m not a believer in him, because I think he’s gotten pretty lucky at least analytically speaking. But we also have guys that are more likely to be 4-5th OFers in the minors like Sczur and Ha, that I’d like to get a look at late in the season next year.

      • Nate

        Not sure that ends up being true. The price for both seems to be on the rise. I’d make that deal for Choo though. All things equal, I’d rather have Ellsbury, but they won’t be

  • Bilbo161

    Oh yea, and Jacoby is not worth $100,000,000. I’m thinking of scaring Boris away with a cross and some garlic.

    • frank

      Wouldn’t that be Bela?

      • frank

        Ahh–I got it–just a bit slow today . . .

  • Justin

    Do other teams give a flying crap that Scott Boras says every dude he represents is worth a ton? To me what Boras says is absolute white noise if I am a GM. Plus, i am not sure if it’s a good idea for Boras to bring up Crawford. The Crawford the signing is universally looked at as one of the worst in baseball history, and I am sure most GM’s won’t go near that deal. I think Ellsbury will get closer to Bourn money. Ellsbury is already a gimp, and I don’t see him aging well at all.

  • Brains

    Just for the record I like his hustle and think he’s talented. But he’s inconsistent, aging, and often injured. Speed always declines after age 30 unless you’re a kinesthetic genius like Ricky Henderson. And the guy isn’t known for carrying a team as much as complementing it. This is exactly the kind of high contract that should be feared.

    However, if we can get a Michael Bourn-esque deal out of him, for perhaps 3 years/36m, he’s worth it. The bigger get would be Cano for 6 years 170m or something of that order. We’d have him for 4 peak years and 2 strong years, and he could help the team transition into a contender. The guy just knows how to hit and how to win. I know it’s a tall order to get him for less than 8…

    • Eternal Pessimist

      About 28 Million/year for a second basemen when we have a number of options coming up through the minors….please God no!!!

      • marc

        Cano is a second basemen, but none of the guys we have in our system project to what he is, and that probably includes baez and bryant. Haviing Cano batting third between castro and rizzo would probably wonders for them and our lineup as a whole. While I agree he isnt a realistic target for us, lets not kid ourselves, he would be the best player on our team for the majority of the next decade. While i understand he is 31, its not like players just become terrible at age 33. Beltran is pushing 39 and would have been one of the better, if not best, hitter on our team the last few years. If we dont care to spend almost 30 mil aav for 7 years i understand, but i just dont get the ‘dont sign him because have alcantara’ notions.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          I don’t question whether he would be the best guy on the team…he would. I question the level of investment in an area we will have high performing, very cheap options for the next 5-6 years. It is simply the wrong position to target and a ridiculous contract amount suggested for a frail (historically), but other wise very high quality guy.

          • Brains

            I accept this, but I still strongly disagree with the sentiment that ownership profits are more important than maturity and balance in the lineup. If our salary was where it should be I’d understand why we’d be averse to another big contract, but we have the money – and how – and are just watching this team decompose while we hope and wait for 19 year olds to possibly be good an epoch from now.

            • Eternal pessemist

              If ownership wanted to provide a subsidy for my baseball addiction and lose millions (or billions) in the process i would be all for the “sign everyone” thing…unfortunately, they already indicated that won’t happen, and within those parameters i hope we stay clear of those guys until we are close and know what last piece or two are needed…and also wait for a FA year that better fits our needs.

          • marc

            I would argue that Sweeney lake bogey Nate dejesus etc would be a better bet to be above average than two prospects who haven’t been above as yet… my preference is to add all the impact players possible at the mlb level and whatever prospects make it then you find them playing time. I also understand evenly allocating resources but Baez is not the reason to not sign cano… not saying I would spend close to 200 mil on him but I don’t want prospects included in long term mlb plans till they make the

    • hansman1982

      “We’d have him for 4 peak years and 2 strong years, and he could help the team transition into a contender. The guy just knows how to hit and how to win. I know it’s a tall order to get him for less than 8…”

      I feel that this was said about Albert Pujols as well.

      • Brains

        But is Cano actually 4 years older than he says? That’s clearly the decisive factor for Pujols’ decline. He’s like 36-37 years old and exhibiting conventional signs of wear and tear. When he’s healthy he’s still good, he’s just no longer otherworldly.

    • Sean

      Please don’t even suggest Cano as a realistic FA target for the Cubs. You kind of lose respect for making ridiculous (or non-logical suggestions). Maybe losing respect is the wrong words but people here will tune you out for making ridiculous statements from what I’ve noticed.

      • Brains

        Only on this posting board would the notion of the second biggest market team in the NL pursuing the top free agent when we need hitting be deemed absurd. And I understand the logistical difficulties of signing an older player to a long contract.

        • Jon

          The losing “throw our hands” up mentality has transferred over to the fanbase.

          • Brains

            I see it more as fantasy baseball logic. If you pretend that you’re the owner then you want to save money. If you actually like sports than you want to see the team as strong as possible, regardless of the cost. Especially if you have the money.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              Then you might just want to preface your post “Here is my fantasy team” and list all the best players at every position and say the Cubs should just buy them.

              • Jon

                It’s worked for the Dodgers

                • Eternal pessemist

                  Yes it did. Maybe magic should have bought the Cubs!

                  • Jon

                    Ricketts Net Worth > Magic Johnson’s Net Worth

              • Brains

                Better than a “here is my fantasy team” list comprised only of minor leaguers, the name of a GM, and no Old Style.

                The problem is we haven’t bought ANY top players in years, our team sucks, and that’s just how people seem to like it.

                • Voice of Reason

                  Just a couple of years ago we had the highest payroll in the National League. Where did that get us?

                  Buying the top players doesn’t win championships! Building a team does!

                  • 1060Ivy

                    You mean the players that signed heavily back-ended contracts and were instrumental in back-to-back playoff teams in 2007 & 2008?

                    Oh, I guess it was the back-to-back playoffs.

                    Buying top players may not win championships but it correlates with getting teams into the playoffs.

                  • Brains

                    Building a team includes a few stars, and you can’t be cheap about it. Especially when you have a billion dollar franchise. Build and scaffold, and then build some more. We aren’t really doing either. We’re just drafting.

                • Eternal pessemist

                  Definitely agree with the old style…and Wrigley is the only place to drink it. Will miss that part of the tradition.

        • mjhurdle

          It isn’t just on this posting board. It is anywhere where people can analyze the game of baseball more than one season at a time.
          Simply spending tons of money on aging players for the sole reason of ‘we are big market. we must spend!!’ is a silly idea.
          The “logistical difficulties’ are exactly why signing Cano for the length and amount that he wants is absurd.

          • Brains

            Yes but we don’t spend big money, and haven’t for many years. One big contract that would have tangibly positive results on the team isn’t wasteful. It has to be considered, even if it doesn’t happen.

            • mjhurdle

              I agree that it should be considered. If the Cubs could get him at a reasonable (not cheap, but not crazy) cost, most people would be for it.
              The absurd part is thinking that you would be able to get him reasonably.
              Cano is a good player looking for his last big payday. Someone will throw big money/years at him, and for him to come to the Cubs, they are going to have to beat most offers by more than a tiny bit.
              So while Cano can help for the next couple of years, would signing him for 8 years be smart? Would the last half of his contract hurt more than the front half helped?

              • Brains

                Quite possibly, but I like that you’re considering how to actually better the team than simply devising ways to save money for owners. Some of the people here have truly deranged concepts about the purpose of sports.

                • Voice of Reason

                  Isn’t the purpose of sports to win a World Series or be the best in the sport you compete in?

                  That’s what the Cubs are working towards. Do you see that?

  • terenceman

    $100/7 comes out to just over 14 MM per season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team that signs him goes lower on the years and higher on the AAV.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Hmmm…seems like you purposely didn’t mention Lake in your outfield scenario for next year. I do think he is a legit option for CF in the future based on performance (BABIP and all) and whoever, of Soler, Almora and Bryant, manages to succeed.

    I’m not ready to spend money on any long term outfielder this year without a corresponding trade for a number one pitcher…or unless we are just getting a steal on a player.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I didn’t mention a host of possibilities. I said, “With only Nate Schierholtz a virtual lock to return as a starter in the outfielder next year …”

      Care to dispute that?

      • Scotti

        Unless Lake is traded, he’s a lock for the Cubs starting OF (same as Schierholtz). Both guys can fall from their respective highs of 2013 but both are locks to start unless they are traded.

        • SenorGato

          Here’s to Lake getting traded so we don’t have to deal with that moving forward. He’s not someone that should just be handed a starting job.

          • Voice of Reason

            SenorGator, I should have never been debating such deep subjects with you. I’m sorry about that!
            Your response about Lake getting traded and not just handed a starting job shows that you are more than green when it comes to baseball.
            In time you will figure it out.

        • brickhouse

          Lake is not a lock to be a starter – he may end up a platoon player but not an every day OF

          • Scotti

            First, he’s been given an everyday job and played like an everyday player over 47 games this season (.309/.350/.468/.818 OPS+ 122). Second, he’s also had very good splits so there is no reason to platoon him (vs RHP .281/.333/.439/.772).

            Given the team’s financial constraints, starting the season with Lake on the bench two thirds of the time would be monumentally silly. A) they would lose development time by sitting him and B) the team would be spending money where it doesn’t need to spend money and still have holes to fill.

            • brickhouse

              He is a platoon player now and has not been given the everyday job this season.

              As far as financial restraints you have an extra 25 million per team with the new national tv deal and the ud sign going up next season along with losing some big contracts. Plenty of financial flexability for next season.

              • Scotti

                Lake is NOT in a platoon. Lake got 115 AB in August. Call him what you will but that’s a starter. Is he being swapped out when he faces a righty reliever? No. He has 139 AB against RHP and 49 AB vs LHP. That’s an odd platoon for a RHH. Was Lake platooned when he started THIS month vs. Henderson, Lohse or Gallardo? No.

                The Cubs are giving a look-see to two veteran players right now to see if they should carry them going into next year. Neither of those two guys has anywhere near the promise of Lake. It makes sense to take a look at them because of roster issues. But benching Lake in a platoon next year would be stupid.

                • Voice of Reason

                  My gut tells me that Lake is a fourth or fifth outfielder on a good team, but we need to figure that out by letting him play everyday. Just what the Cubs are doing right now.He’s only 23! Lake might end up being an everyday center fielder when the Cubs are ready to compete? He will be given a chance to prove himself. That’s all you can say!

                  • Sean

                    I’d rather see Lake used as a super utility guy who could get regular at-bats, subbing for starters at multiple positions rather then have him be a regular starter at anyone position. If he could just learn to be sufficient defensively at multiple positions such as all 3 OF spots, 3rd, 2nd and maybe even SS (in emergency cases) he could be use like Ben Zobrist. Yet he is a terrible defensively at every infield position so he’d clearly need to improve.

                    Essentially his role would be to give the regular a day off or if the starter was a bad matchup with the SP that day we could throw in Lake and he’d get around 400 at-bats a year that way.

                    • Scotti

                      The boat on Lake being decent enough to play multiple positions has sailed. The Cubs haven’t played him once at SS all year. He hasn’t played 2B since 2009. He’s an OF now and he has a shot to be decent there. 100% of his practice time should be spent trying to become a good OF.

                    • Sean

                      I definitely think Junior Lake should be the Starting CFer next season to see what we have in him, but I think a lot of people will be disappointed in what they get from him in a whole 162game season. His BABIP is outrageous. His B% vs. K% is completely out of whack. I think there will be a big regression for him, but that being said we don’t have any better options and I think he is ultimately a big league caliber player but most likely 4-5th OFer, that can supply some impact off the bench with his speed and solid pop and we can forget he’s cheap. He deserves a look to be the starter next season in my opinion at least to start the season

                    • Scotti

                      “His BABIP is outrageous.”

                      He is a great bunter for base hits. Those guys have high BABIP.

                      “His B% vs. K% is completely out of whack.”

                      He’s learning the league. He’s taking pitches and isn’t just a hacker. I’ve liked quite a few of his AB. His BB:K will probably settle around 1:4. A bit worse than he was doing in the higher levels in the minors (1:3.4). He still could surprise by actually improving that if his power continues to come (and pitchers chose to walk him).

        • ssckelley

          So you think Lake can hit enough to make up for his defensive shortcomings in the outfield?

          • Scotti

            I think that Lake can become a better defender.

            • ssckelley

              I think so to but I still would not give him a starting outfield position next year while he learns on the job. If outfield was to be his destination all along then the Cubs should have been starting him there in the minors.

              • Scotti

                The temptation proved too much for both the Hendry and the Theo regimes.

          • cub2014

            Lake will be one of the 4 main
            outfielders next year (when he
            slumped I wasn’t sure) he’s recovered
            nicely, so I think he will get 400 plus
            AB’s next year. With Schierholz, Sweeney
            & hopefully Choo. By August or Sept
            we could see Bryant in the OF to
            complicate matters.

            • cub2014

              Dejesus may be back as well I think
              he will work for cheap to come back.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Not really disputing, though I think he would need to crumble badly (possible) or be traded (unlikely as Theo needs/wants cheap assets) to lose his place now. I have all but ruled out the trade for a more expensive/quality outfielder for 2014 rout, but who knows.

        I was just surprised you didn’t mention lake. He is young, cost-controlled and I would bet he would be high on the prospect list again after a pretty sound season (inflated BABIP and all) if he was still in the minors…and I guess he seems like he can almost lock it up with a solid finish to the season.

        Seems like he has more change to start 2014 than any of the minor league prospects mentioned.

        • Scotti

          “…inflated BABIP and all…”

          Lake’s BABIP is “elevated” because he is an excellent bunter for hits. Likely top five in the game (his 7 bunt hits are 5th in all of MLB in 1/3 of a season). He will consistently hit for a high BABIP as a result.

          • Eternal pessemist

            Ii see your point, though his current BABIP is also above his minor league numbers and will still probably regress some…hope not.

          • Eternal pessemist

            I see your point, though his current BABIP is also above his minor league numbers and will still probably regress some…hope not!

            • Eternal pessemist

              So nice, i said it twice. Stupid i-phone!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          The minor leaguers were mentioned for an entirely different point.

          As for Lake as a clear starter, he isn’t even starting every day right now.

          • hansman1982

            He’s only had 5 games he didn’t start since his callup.

          • Eternal pessemist

            Come on Brett, if you can’t find a way to talk about Lake in every post….well then I’m just gonna have to take my ball and leave.

  • SenorCub

    100M should only be spent on pitching!

    • Voice of Reason

      Next year this team shouldn’t spend any money on free agents. We don’t know what we’re going to need the next time we’ll be competitive. Odds are it will be starting pitching, but why sign starters next year when we won’t be ready to compete for at least another three years? Reference the Edwin Jackson signing when you think about stupid contracts.

      Keep developing the kids and bring them up so we can see what we have. Then, when we are ready to compete, sign free agents based on what positions we need.

      DO NOT commit to any long term, free agent contracts next year.

  • Sean

    Jacoby Ellsbery would definitely be a $100million dollar man if he was 3-4yrs younger. I wouldn’t want to commit that much to a guy whose main asset is his speed and who is going to on the wrong side of 30 soon. Nope sorry no thanks

  • Rizzo1684

    If the front office signed Choo or Ellsbury I would be very happy and supportive but I don’t see it happening. I think the front office is going to wait until next year to make a splash with a big free agent pitcher: Set the Market with a 8 yr 240 million offer to Kershaw which would probably be beat by the Dodgers but it would show the free agents that the Cubs were serious. If they miss out on Kershaw they could throw serious money at Scherzer or Bailey. This offseason I hope the Cubs work out an extension with Samardzija, sign a cheaper power bat for LF maybe Cruz, Hart, Morse, or Granderson. Some of those I like a lot more then others, sign another flippable pitcher, a back up catcher and call it an off season.

    • Scotti

      I don’t spend $100 million on a guy who can’t stay healthy for three out of four years regardless of his age.

      • THEOlogical

        Who was the last guy you DID spend $100 million on?

        • Scotti

          Well, it was a long time ago and he wasn’t worth it. He didn’t give me his real name and he was gone in the morning. I thought $100 was at least good for breakfast.

  • Sean

    Was Bourn worth $100M? NO. Was carl Crawford worth the money he got? NO. Speed fades quickly and is not worth the money you have to invest in a guy who is nearing or over 30. Sorry Jacoby, don’t want you on the cubs if we have to commit more then $60mil and more then 3 yrs

  • Scotti

    I don’t spend $100 million on a guy who can’t stay healthy for three out of four years regardless of his age.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Dont see the Cubs FO contracting any megadeals past an age 37 season (absolute top). 36 is more likely. And I think 36 is much more reasonable on guys that are CF types (unless they hit for enough power to move to a corner). So we’d have to think about Ellsbury for 6. Id be iinterestd in JE for 6/90. What about 6/85 with a 20 mil option that vests based on games played?

  • Jon

    Every free agent is a risk, and I don’t want to see the bottom line of the Rickets profit margin affected. Don’t spend EVER!

    • Sean

      Every FA has risk but some more then other and with Ellsbury comes with a lot of risk of becoming a diminishing asset and an expensive one at that.

      Tanaka makes much more sense to go after then Ellsbury

      • Scotti

        “Tanaka makes much more sense to go after then Ellsbury”

        Ditto.

        • Eternal pessemist

          Yes!!

  • Sean

    Whats interesting to me is if the cubs will spend big in FA right before their TV deal with WGN or CSNchicago is up to up their viewership and ratings, to make themselves look more appealing and essentially lead to big chunk of cash heading their way

    • Sean

      Whats kind of scary is CSN-Houston which has the big TV rights with the Astros and the team is so bad its bankrupting the station…

    • Scotti

      Sean, the WGN deal will only be renegotiated for a few years. The Cubs are aiming to have both deals expire after 2019 so they can go mega then. The expiring WGN deal will be better but not by leaps and bounds because the media company that gets the WGN deal will only have it for a handful of years. The big deals are all long so the media company can make money on the back end.

      • SenorGato

        I’ve heard as high as 80 million a year for a new deal, which would quadruple what they’ve brought in (20 a year) with WGN.

        That should give them some confidence to spend this winter. That and the trades they’ve made to free up payroll.

        I think people are really sleeping on where this team is financially…They’re pretty well set up to make some noise.

        • Sean

          Houston Astros of getting about $90M a year I think I read from CSNhouston network. The Cubs can definitely get more then $80M a year, I’d think

          • SenorGato

            Good to hear. How sure are they about sticking with WGN? I’m sure neither side wants that to end.

            • Sean

              From what I’ve read and heard the Ricketts are fully prepared to walk away from WGN in order to go to the highest bidder. I’m sure its not personal, but just business.

              I don’t think WGN is flush enough with cash to meet the required amount to attain the Cubs TV-rights. It will cost one pretty penny when the TV-rights are completely up in 2019 when the Cubs deal with CSN is up. I’m just praying the TV-rights bubble doesn’t burst before our rights are up because if it does then we can say good bye to a TV-rights deal like the Dodgers roughly got. It would make it hard to keep up with spending with Teams who got new deals during that era before the bubble burst

              • SenorGato

                By then I’m sure the Cubs will be looking into their own network.

                I’ve heard they’re looking for a FOX affiliate maybe to compete with WGN, which would give the Cubs some much needed leverage.

                • Sean

                  Yep, actually if the cubs were to form their own network then it save the Cubs a TON of money in revenue sharing of the new TV-rights deal.

                  Technically I guess the Dodgers don’t have to revenue share because they “Technically” have their own network with Time Warner Cable, even though Time Warner Cable is completely funding the station with-out the Dodgers being liable or having a stake in the network.

                  I’m sorry I couldn’t explain it better, but essentially all you need to know is they are trying to circumvent, MLB’s revenue sharing rules that give small market team’s (leaches) a piece of the pie from the TV contract. It is extremely complicated

          • Scotti

            The Houston money, the Dodger money, etc. are all based off long-term deals and 100% of the games. The Cubs are looking at a five-year deal and a fraction of the games. Big money won’t happen until they have both contracts up in 2020.

            The Cubs WILL get more than what they are getting from WGN because Zell signed the WGN deal for WGN’s sake (Zell had to drop $50 million off the final Cubs price because of that, too). But the Cubs won’t get “market price” because 5 years of a sports contract isn’t worth 20-25 years of a sports contract.

            The variables for the Cubs are very interesting. They suck and everyone knows it. They won’t win/have good ratings for a *minimum* of two years of the five-year contract. Whoever gets them for five years will NOT be able to brand themselves as the place for Cubs TV (it’s only five years and only a fraction of the games). My guess is $40 million per.

      • Sean

        Scotti, I am really interested to see what they do once the WGN contract is up. I think WGN will want a below market value deal for those couple years if they re-up with the cubs, because they know they are going to be squeeze out of the TV-rights contract a couple years from then anyways.

        They won’t ask to get a sweet-heart deal like the last one, but they will definitely want below market price, I think. Which I think the Cubs might have to agree too. Or they will just sell the rest of the games to CSNchicago completely. I’m not sure, but should be interesting

        • Scotti

          It gets interesting now but it gets GOOD when the whole thing is up…

        • wilbur

          I think WGN may have a fairly good chance to retain the broadcast rights for the interim period until the comcast deal is up too. The reason being the present owners of wgn, the creditors who held the tribune debt obligations, would like to get as much of their money back as possible. They have announced two major steps so far, spinning off the print media holdings into a separate company (so long newspaper business and it’s red ink). Second thing is they are reforming the remaining parts of the company, the broadcast stations and real estate and have issued themselves an announced additional line of credit or loan to this reformed broadcast entity of some 1.5 billiion or so. I think the original debt load that the current owners were owed was over 2.5 billion, but I could be off by a billion or so.

          Anyway, my conjecture is that the additional line of credit will be use to dress up the remaining broadcast part of tribco by acquiring additional stations and entering new markets etc, the sorts of things a performing business would be expected to be engaged in, then the current owners of this part of tribco will try and sell it and get as much of their original loans back as they can. Banks dont run broadcast media companies, but they do investment banking deals very well.

          Who knows how much they are realistically looking at regaining of their original loans. They might be able to relist the companies stock and build up the stock price for awhile too and try and sell shares into that too. Should be interesting. Point is they have a billion and a half dollars to use to dress things up and retaining the cubs would be a big boost to that image. Losing the cubs and what that has meant to the superstation and wgn radio networks etc would not be in line with the overall makeover they will be engaged in.

          So I expect the tribune to make a decent and perhaps even a bit of a splashy offer, and the Ricketts to have the chance to structure the deal on terms more favorable to themselves. Must be nice to be the sellers to the tribune instead of what the new Cubs owners had to endure in the purchase of the cubs. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the tribune co wanted to make a deal for the broadcast rights like the team did when they were signing Soriano and others to pump up the payroll before selling the team. They’ll want the broadcast deal to be a big deal too for their own purposes. Who knows they may even bid against themselves like the cubs did for soriano. At least that is what I think might happen. They should have the money to redo the broadcast rights deal, because the banks that were the tribunes creditors, that became the current owners, have just recently loaned the addtional funds to themselves. Someday there will be books written about all of this.

  • Voice of Reason

    The Cubs will not sign Ellsbury in the offseason. If they were one player a way, then yes.
    They need to let Lake and Szczur play in center next year so we can see if one of them is our center fielder of the future.
    The front office has a plan and the owners are watching the $$$. Let the front office continue with the plan to build the minor league system. It’s all coming together, just be patient. Let the owners get Soriano’s contract off the books.
    Part of the plan is not signing a center fielder for big bucks this offseason.

    • SenorGato

      They most certainly do not need to play Lake and Szczur next year. I really cannot possibly disagree with the whole “everyone should get a try out” mentality that seems to have popped up during this turnover.

      The 2015 FA class sucks a big one.

      • Voice of Reason

        SenorGato, you know not what you speak of.

        First of all, I’m telling you what the front office thinks… Lake and possibly Szczur will get a chance to prove themselves in center field next year. Anyone with any baseball sense understands that and understands why the front office thinks that way. That is the correct move contrary to what you believe.

        Second, it doesn’t matter what the free agent class is like in 2015. Teams with high priced talent that wants to trim salary will be there to make trades with. The Cubs — if in a position to compete — will talk with those teams. You know, teams do make trades!

        You might have a handle on players and what they are capable of doing on the field, but you have no comprehension of the game when it comes to dollars and cents and players salaries, etc.

        • SenorGato

          I doubt the FO is thinking anything close to what they are said to be thinking there.

      • terencemann

        I would just say Szczur doesn’t need to start the season at the ML level because there’s no rule that you have to be ready for the majors at a certain age. Dan Uggla and Nelson Cruz say hello.

        • Sean

          Nelson Cruz would be a great sign to a 1yr deal on a prove it deal and then trade him next season trade deadline.

          If he performs then we could flip him for prospects. Stick him in LF. Not an ideal role model but he’d only be here for one season and we’d trade him hopefully at the deadline. I know I will be scrutinized for suggesting to bring him in because people think next season isn’t a lost season for some reason even though it is. We won’t be good most likely and won’t be able to compete in our division either way.

          Next season is only about developing young players and acquiring hopefully another top 10 draft pick*. Additionally about developing our guys in the minor leagues.

          • Sean

            * I actually do believe we have a chance to sit around next offseason depending on the offseason acquisitions. If we pick up Choo or Tanaka or another moderately impact player then I think we can sit around .500 and miss out on a top 10 pick next year. Maybe even Baez gets called up around July-August and sparks the team offensively a bit down the stretch so we won’t be so abysmal. *

          • Voice of Reason

            I like the Nelson Cruz signing idea, but I’m afraid other teams will sign him for more money and perhaps for a longer period of time than the Cubs would like. A team that needs one bat to put them over the top will probably be willing to throw more at him than the Cubbies.

            You’re on the right path in thinking that we need to sign players for one year that we can flip half way through the season.

          • SenorGato

            Cruz has kinda sucked for a couple years now, is not a good defender, is already a corner guy, is in trouble for PED usage, and is in his mid-30′s. I see alot of people mention him as a legit option and I’m confused. If he’s super cheap and they’re looking for a corner OFer specifically then sure, but otherwise there’s almost a half dozen OFers I would rather sign in FA.

            • SenorGato

              Also the idea of buying players just to hope to flip them at the deadline is abhorrent. Selling is less lucrative than its seems to be imagined to be. Right now the thought process is probably tied around getting CJ Edwards for Garza just it should be noted that this is a 160 pound starting pitcher with a little more than 30 innings past A ball. Those are fun to dream I guess, but it’s not something anyone wants to plan to do.

    • Rich H

      Not that I disagree but I want to look at this topic in terms of building a contender. This team needs it Jason Werth type signing. If for no other reason than to say hey we are not that far away. In that context a Elsbury or Choo deal kind of makes sense. I just am not sold on Elsbury being worth 100 million.

  • Stevie B

    We are a solid 3 years away from being a serious playoff threat. After said time frame, we may be there on a consistent basis, but thinking we will be there any sooner is downright foolish.

    • SenorGato

      Hell no they’re not 3 solid years away from being a serious playoff threat. What is this even remotely based on?

      • Stevie B

        Ok, my reasoning is this.
        Next year is when we start infusing out big club with our minor league talent. There’s 1 year. No way we are more than a .500 club.
        The 2nd year maybe we add a big name free agent or two, while the 1-2 kids we’ve brought up adjust to the league. That’s 2 years.
        Year 3, which of our home growns have blossomed? Who knows…. Did the stars we signed pan out??
        Me saying 3 years away is by NO means a crazy statement.

        • terencemann

          I just think that, if you’re talking about picking up a few pieces after this season and after 2015, then you’re looking at 2016 when the Cubs should have a lot of young cheap talent at the ML level and will be able to add a mega-free agent or two. Why add things one piece at a time if you’re really aiming for the 3rd year in that free agent’s contract to be the big year for the team?

          • Rich H

            What we should all have noticed by now is that a majority of our position players will be home grown next year. If Olt takes the 3rd base job in the spring and Ha or Sczcur makes a run at 4th of’er, then all but rf/lf and maybe second base will be cheap and cost controlled.
            With that being the case how can you think that the Cubs won’t be in the conversation for a Choo or Elsbury.
            If you notice I never mentioned Barney because I think that he will be gone because he is getting ready for arbitration and is to easily replaced.

        • SenorGato

          With a little luck and a good bullpen this year’s team is pushing .500. I have zero rational reasons to believe next year’s team should be capped already.

  • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

    If the Cubs spend big time it will be on Tanaka not an OF, IMO. From everything we have heard from the FO, Tanaka fits the type they are willing to spend on, he also fits in with the time table of being competitive. Pay for future performance not past performance.

    Tanaka would also create more buzz, for what it is worth. It might be worth something with TV deals coming up and declining attendance but the beauty is it fits in the plan as well.

    • SenorGato

      I wonder if Tanaka has the fastball for this.

  • SenorGato

    The only things that stops Ellsbury from being an elite player is health and a lack of HR power (except in 2011). Even then the power thing has become a little overstated and I find him to be a very different player from guys like Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn because of that.

    I wouldn’t mind doing a higher average salary for less years, if that can be possible.

    Personally, I think they should just say screw it and go after Cano.

    • Voice of Reason

      We have second basemen who are developing in the minor leagues. They are not going to sign Cano! They are not just going to throw their arms up in the air and say screw it! There is a plan in place here!

      • SenorGato

        Yeah, Cano is probably going to be better than all of those second baseman combined over the next 5 years. Probably with ease. Don’t even need them to say screw it – just go after the guy who is probably going to be the best FA to hit the market for years.

        • Brains

          Exactly. Why are we so concerned with saving a few million dollars for a team that is way under budget? Whey aren’t you guys concerned with the REALITY of the games themselves anymore? It’s just out of control this year. That’s not to say that Cano will be signed, or that it will be tenable, but it has to be seriously considered, assuming that the team cares about anchoring the middle and wants to see good mentoring for its youngsters, of which there are many.

        • Voice of Reason

          Teams don’t win World Series just because they have a great second baseman. You have to build a team! Old goats like me remember Ryne Sandberg. He was the best second baseman of his time and he was with the Cubs for years. Did that win them a World Series? Nope! Neither will just Cano.

          Give the kids a chance to develop in the minor leagues. THEN you sign free agents based on what your needs are when you are ready to compete.

          Stop talking about Cano, Choo and Ellsbury because NONE will be with this team next year!

          • Jon

            Your posting style is a perfect blend of nonsensical and obnoxious. What does Ryne Sandberg have to do with any of this?

            • SenorGato

              He didn’t single-handedly win a WS. If 2B was so important to winning then he’d have won one.

            • Voice of Reason

              You ask me what Ryne Sandberg has to do with this?

              Jon, someone posted that Cano is combined better than any of the second basemen we have in our system. The person also mentioned that he is the best free agent to hit the market in years. That’s when Ryne Sandberg came into my mind. I know this is probably a lot for you to comprehend, but try to follow!

              Sandberg was the best second basemen of his generation and some will say the best second baseman ever. The Cubs never won a World Series with him because they didn’t have anyone around him. By signing Cano, he would be just one really good player, just like Sandberg. It’s not all about just one player, it’s about building a team. That’s what the front office is trying to do. Not sign Cano and cash strap the team, but develop minor league players!

              I hope that’s not too much for you to comprehend?
              Let me know…

              • SenorGato

                You ask me what Ryne Sandberg has to do with this?

                Jon, someone posted that Cano is combined better than any of the second basemen we have in our system. The person also mentioned that he is the best free agent to hit the market in years. That’s when Ryne Sandberg came into my mind. I know this is probably a lot for you to comprehend, but try to follow!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                So, you’re messing with us or is this really the explanation for why Sandberg was mentioned? There’s no explanation in there and my words have been butchered (though the gist is there, I guess).

          • SenorGato

            If teams don’t win because they have a great second baseman then why should we be sitting around waiting for the farm to develop one?

            What kind of nonsense is this anyway – signing Cano doesn’t make this a one man team. There’s still Castro. There’s still Rizzo. There’s still Samardzija. Those guys will still be on the TEAM. SIgning him doesn’t halt the farm – Cano isn’t being signed to put a bullet in the heads of Baez, Almora, and friends. These knocks on going after these guys (Cano and Ellsbury specifically) are horribly thought out.

            Ryne Sandberg is not the best second baseman of all time. He’s not even the second best second baseman of all time.

            • Voice of Reason

              SenorGato typed:

              “If teams don’t win because they have a great second baseman then why should we be sitting around waiting for the farm to develop one?”

              Voice of Reason types:

              What in the hell type of comment is that? Turn your brain on! I said that it takes a team to win a World Series, not just one player! We need to develop players at all positions??

              Signing Cano is stupid and the Cub front office knows it’s stupid. That’s why it won’t happen and that’s why I’m done debating whether or not the Cubs should sign Cano in the off season.

              • SenorGato

                Signing Cano is smart and the Cubs FO knows it’s smart.

                You’re not even debating – you’re just stating a bunch of nonsense that luckily happens to have a conclusion. Sure it’s a conclusion built around nothing, but that’s besides the point.

  • BlameHendry

    nope. pass on him. Let someone else give him a stupid team-crippling contract. We got positional prospects up the wah-zoo.

  • Eric

    I’m not sure why I would sign an outfielder to a big long term contract when I just got rid of a very productive outfielder with a big contract.

    • SenorGato

      Well there’s the almost decade difference in age. Then there’s the fact that one plays a premium position while the other is a corner. Finally, there’s the fact that Soriano wasn’t all the productive with the Cubs this year.

  • SenorGato

    For the people saying no based on Ellsbury’s supposedly limited game – you do realize he’s averaged 3.5 oWAR a year, 4 rWAR a year, and 6.2 oWAR/650 PAs right?

    That’s really, really good. For instance, Michael Bourn is about half that for each, give or take a few.

    If you don’t want this guy then you’re severely underrating him as a player and probably at least a little delusional about prospects.

    • cms0101

      I don’t think it’s a question of Ellsbury’s ability. I think it’s a question of the cost vs. his inability to stay healthy consistently. I don’t disagree that he’d be a nice addition to the team. I just don’t think he’s the right fit when you start factoring in the budget and state of the current roster. In no way would I avoid Ellsbury because I think Almora will be the CF someday. Also, I predict that the front office will not seriously consider anyone that receives a qualifying offer from their former team, due to the draft pick compensation requirements. And it’s not just because of losing a 2nd round pick, but losing the draft pool money associated with the pick. I think this rules Ellsbury out because he’s definitely going to be receiving a qualifying offer from Boston. It will be interesting to see if a guy like Granderson gets a qualifying offer. I could see the Cubs taking a flyer on him if he doesn’t. It will be an interesting offseason.

      • SenorGato

        I think both the budget and state of the roster are horribly overblown at this point.

        The Cubs are set up to not have to give up their first next year barring a strong September. I don’t think they’d hide behind that whole draft budget thing again – the team has spent something close to 100 million on PROSPECTS since 2010 or so. While it’s cool to fawn over a Blackburn or Underwood on draft day, I think this time the effort will be made to improve the MLB team (finally).

        The way I see it – the Cubs dropped their payroll these past three years to plant seeds. In that time they’ve completely revamped the farm, opened the DR academy, expanded the FO, dropped every major contract from the roster, planned out the renovations, partnered with Budweiser in the first of many new sponsorship we will be seeing….The owner just this past week said himself that money is not the issue but rather setting a situation where the money spent really can max it’s impact. They’ve done that really well and I think this whole rebuild can start picking up a little steam, finally.

        • cms0101

          I still don’t think they’re in a position to sign long term free agents to $100mil plus contracts. I’d love to see them spend money smartly on some free agents this offseason, but I just don’t think Ellsbury will be someone they go after due to all the factors I state previously. I disagree with you on the draft pool budget. I think it will be important for teams more and more as they become more aware of the impacts that these rules have on their drafts. And it’s not about signing one player in the 2nd round, it’s about the dollars tied to that slot, and the added 5% the Cubs are allowed to go over their overall budget. Losing a 2nd round pick could mean losing almost $1mil of their draft pool. There should be other opportunities to continue to improve the team without focusing on guys that get qualifying offers. Time will tell us who’s correct, but I’ll go out on a limb here and say they will not sacrifice the 2nd pick and pool money for Ellsbury. But I do expect them to spend money somewhere this offseason.

          • terencemann

            Considering they’re not just a couple players from competing next season and just calling up top prospects in 2015 doesn’t mean those players will be stars right away….

    • Voice of Reason

      SenorGato typed:

      “If you don’t want this guy then you’re severely underrating him as a player and probably at least a little delusional about prospects.”

      Answer:

      Ellsbury is a really good baseball player nobody is doubting that. The problem is that the Cubs front office will not sign him so it’s a moot point. They are in a rebuild and will not commit that kind of money right now to a player. In three years if they need a centerfielder with speed, then yes, they could commit some money for someone like Ellsbury or trade for him.

      Don’t think that people are discounting Ellsbury’s capabilities. It’s just that the Cubs aren’t signing him.

      • SenorGato

        The problem is that the Cubs front office will not sign him so it’s a moot point.>>>

        Seriously, are you just fucking with me at this point? This isn’t real.

    • mjhurdle

      “6.2 oWAR/650 PAs right?”

      That is solid. Course, it will take him 2 years to get that many PAs, but that ratio is solid. :)

    • Eternal pessemist

      “6.2 oWAR per 650 PA’s”

      Unfortunately 650 should never be used as a denominator fir him since (as mentioned previously” he only played around 90 games per year…damn brittle bones syndrome!

  • Rudy

    I’d rather have Granderson for less than Elisbury or Choo. I also think Tanaka should be the main target.

  • Robert Johnson

    I think Theo learned his lesson with the Crawford signing & I hope with the Edwin Jackson signing. All he needs to do is look at what the Red Sox did last off season. They sighted 7 guys for a total of $100 million & 12 contract years in the process of going from last to first. I know we have a different plan but spending $100 million on 1 guy never works.

    • terencemann

      The Red Sox also had a few established stars on their roster entering the season to go with a strong rotation and bullpen. The Cubs enter the off-season with an average rotation (at best) and one of the weakest rosters in all other areas.

  • Sean

    This is a list of the 2015 Free Agent class. I more or less think we should wait to spend big next season not this offseason. I don’t see may fits this offseason other then Tanaka. I pick up buy-low candidates again this offseason, and hope to deal them at the trade deadline next season. Flip guys for prospects. You can make a case for signing Choo but only if its to a reasonable 3yr deal that were not over paying him either.

    • Sean
      • Sean

        The 2015 Free agent class has interesting guys available, but all above the age of 30. Not many super-stars other then Kershaw but he will never reach Free agency because he will be lock up to a most likely record extension for a starting pitcher by the Dodgers.

      • Cyranojoe

        Huh, won’t Navarro be a free agent next year?

        • Cyranojoe

          Oh, derp, that’s for 2015, not 2014.

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