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wallet cashIf I’ve learned anything from watching the Cubs front office work – and from talking to people in baseball – it’s that this group will always spend money on players if they believe they’re getting good value for the talent. I expect that to be the case once again this offseason.

That quickly rules out Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury. Both are tremendous talents with MVP-level seasons in their past. They’d undoubtedly improve a punchless Cubs lineup and take pressure off the current and future youth from being expected to be offensive saviors. But the fact is those contract negotiations are going to get out of control. Those two stars are going to get too many years and a lot of money. It doesn’t make sense for the Cubs to make those kinds of long-term, over-spending deals at the moment. Yes, I believe there are times when teams should overspend a little to get certain players. This is not that time for the Cubs, and Cano and Ellsbury aren’t those players.

As far as Shin-Soo Choo is concerned, however, he’s exactly the type of player this team loves. He can play multiple positions in the outfield, has a great plate approach that leads to a robust OBP, and hits from the left side, something the Cubs are definitely seeking. If he can be had at the right price for the right number of years, the Cubs should, and will, be very interested.

But, at 31, it’s Choo’s first time hitting the open market. He’s still young enough to cash in on a great season, and I expect him to quickly price himself out of the Cubs’ range. But if somehow the market isn’t as high on him as I believe it will be, and if he’s willing to take a Michael Bourn-like deal (especially if he’s willing to take three years instead of four), then I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that the Cubs would be interested.

The fact of the matter is, if the Cubs spend, it will not be for just 2014. Instead, like with the Edwin Jackson signing, they will have 2015-16 in mind. Combine that with the knowledge that the Cubs love the bats in their system, a few of whom are expected to arrive at Wrigley in 2014, and signs point to the Cubs once again making a splash by signing a pitcher.

So then, who would they target? Matt Garza’s not coming back. Hiroki Kuroda and Bartolo Colon would be nice additions, but they’re older and likely looking to catch on with teams that have a higher likelihood of competing immediately. Ervin Santana will be coming off a great year, so it’s doubtful he will come at a price that the Cubs will find as a value (read that as: someone will overpay him).  Josh Johnson, Phil Hughes and Tim Lincecum may end up being nice buy-low names, but their health and/or recent performance hardly makes their potential signings a ‘splash’. Although, I suppose you could argue Lincecum would be a splash based on name recognition alone. (But then I’d counter that he’s not a good candidate to bet on bouncing back and regaining much value.)

If you follow Cubs rumors at all, you probably know where I’m headed with this: Masahiro Tanaka. First let’s reiterate what many have said and what I’ve been told by numerous scouts about the Japanese righty, who will presumably be made available to MLB teams this offseason. Tanaka’s not going to make the same impact as Yu Darvish. That’s not necessarily a knock on Tanaka; it’s just that Darvish is one of a handful of true aces in baseball. That’s a pretty high standard to reach. But by all accounts, Tanaka has the makings of a very good number two in the big leagues and he would fit beautifully near the front of the Cubs rotation.

And yes, the Cubs are very interested. Whether the posting system stays the same this offseason or not, it appears that the Cubs have made Tanaka their primary free agent target. The real story here isn’t whether they will pursue Tanaka. I’ve gotten a pretty strong impression that will happen. The real issue at hand is their ability to spend.

On that end, while I don’t believe the Cubs’ monetary situation is as dire as some have portrayed, I have heard enough whispers that I know the concerns are not non-existent. Right now, I fully believe that these issues are directly tied to the pending Wrigley renovations, but only time will tell if that’s the case.

The Cubs aggressively pursued Anibal Sanchez last December, reportedly going as high as five years at $77.5 million, before he accepted the Tigers offer for $2.5 million more. They then turned their attention elsewhere and spent a decent amount on Jackson.

Did they refuse to go any higher on Sanchez because they no longer felt it would have been a ‘value’ for them, or were they handcuffed by monetary restraints? I tend to lean towards the former, but will admit that it’s very possible, even likely, that the latter had at least some effect on their decision to bow out at that point.

The most frustrating thing about this situation is that we still may not get our answer to this question this offseason. The Cubs have very legitimate reasons not to spend on Ellsbury and Cano, Choo may price himself out of their ‘value’ range, and, with the posting process still not very transparent, if the Cubs don’t land Tanaka, we may never really know just how much a lack of funds may have impacted that decision.

However, a change making the posting system more transparent might allow us to keep tabs on just how aggressive the Cubs are in their pursuit of Tanaka. And if they like him, but are not able to compete with the likes of the Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox monetarily, it could be viewed as a blow to the organization’s rebuild.

It’s one thing not to spend because the front office doesn’t believe that allocating those funds in a particular player isn’t a wise investment. I, as should the fans, embrace such a philosophy. But if Epstein and company want to spend on a player and the money just flat out isn’t available to them, that means they’re being inhibited in their attempt to rebuild this team the best way they know how.

If spending becomes an issue, the reasons why funds are unavailable don’t really matter. Maybe it’s because the Ricketts Family really doesn’t have the money to spend. Or maybe they do, but won’t spend until they’re assured that the revenue generators from the renovation won’t be blocked for whatever reason. The bottom line is, under this scenario, the front office won’t be getting money it believes is necessary to make the franchise competitive in a timely fashion.

That’s what may be most disconcerting about the delays in the renovations process. Whether you believe the Ricketts’ claim that the team needs the ad revenue to spend like a big market team isn’t of concern. The fact is, the owners are saying that’s the case. So not only is the process of improving Wrigley being stunted, but it’s possible the product on the field may be slower to improve as well.

We may get more information this offseason. We may not.

  • Kyle

    Whether it happens with Tanaka or not, Epstein has explicitly stated that there have been things he would have liked to do but the money wasn’t there.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      yeah but I’ve come to believe you have to parse Theos statements very carefully. And I think a statement like that could just as likely mean that in a perfect world in which he didn’t have to worry about budgets at all he would simply go out and find the best players no matter the cost. Of course that strategy doesn’t even exist in New York or LA despite the fact that it sometimes feels that way.

      • caryatid62

        You only have to parse Epstein’s statements if you’re looking for a conclusion that fits your pre-existing worldview.

        • Wilbur

          This is the other Wilbur …

          Being an old guy and having heard a lot of things said on a lot of issues over a lot of years by smart guys like Theo its common for them to say a lot of words, but intentionally leave most of their statements open to anyone’s interpretation. So, all three of your comments have merit.

          Put yourself in Theo’s place, If he is handcuffed financially its to his advantage to not let those he will be bidding against know to what extent his offers will be constrained. If he’s not handcuffed, but truly just doesn’t want to spend because the time is not right in his plan or the player’s cost exceeds value he doesn’t want to carelessly rile the fan base that wants him to spend (i.e., no figurative insult to injury comments while the MLB team flounders).

          I suspect one other aspect of the FO’s lack of specificity on timing and amounts of increased payroll is to some extent affected by the fact that while the FO may have a plan, until dollars from the various revenue streams are under contract they don’t have those dollars and won’t make deals until they are guaranteed.

          I think we will be getting noncommittal statements from the Cubs front office for a couple of more years and we fans will be left to put whatever interpretation we want to them.

        • When the Music’s Over

          Also known as confirmation bias, but that cuts both ways.

          On this topic, I tend to believe Theo doesn’t have the monetary resources he thought he would have, whether he was misled or not, when he agreed to take on the job.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          My point isn’t to try to make it fit a view. My point is that his statements are so ambiguous they can be made to fit disparate points of view. So, I think it’s generally dangerous to assume that Theo has “explicitly stated” anything.

  • ccjman

    All the more reason the cubs should have moved in another direction with Wrigley field. Committing to Wrigleyville could have been an error

    • Scotti

      “Committing to Wrigleyville could have been an error”

      The Cubs have not committed to Wrigley. Not a single shovelful of dirt has been moved. Most likely they will commit but that is only because the City would do anything to keep them. If, and when, the Cubs start exploring other options, everyone involved from the City’s side will have every incentive to keep the Cubs in Wrigleyville.

      • wvcubsfan

        I know that this has been cussed and discussed to death, but I really don’t see anyway these “negotiations” don’t keep being delayed and prolonged without a legitimate threat to leave Wrigley. I think that if that threat was made and significant action taken to show it wasn’t a total bluff many of these ‘differences’ would be ironed out in pretty short order.

        • frank

          Agreed–if there was a credible threat of the Cubs leaving Wrigley, those renovations would’ve been started yesterday.

  • Rizzo1684

    When did Sahadev Sharma start writing articles on Bleachernation? I love your work and I hope you become a regular on this site.

    • jt

      ditto

    • Funn Dave

      I didn’t even notice that he had written it. He does great work.

  • Werner

    Is there a reason to expect the spending and FA activity of last off season to be different than this off season? I am honestly asking.

    • Wilbur

      I don’t have any expectation for change …

    • cub2014

      I think you would expect them to add 1-2
      long term pieces (same as 2013) and
      some solid low price potentially flippable
      pieces (same as 2013)

      Who?
      Choo & Tanaka(a top starter) fit the long term
      pieces. Arroyo or Lincecum and Hart or
      McLouth fit the short term. If you cant get
      Tanaka you might go in on a trade for Price
      or if you cant get an OF, then all in for Cargo.

      You have 3 FA they should bring back: Sweeney
      Gregg,Navarro if the price is right.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Arroyo no. Below average and about to decline. Lincecum no unless he’s caught reworking his delivery. Except olt or vitters I don’t see the Cubs trading high prospects before May. Then. .. gregg no no no. There are a 50 relievers who can take his place. Navarro yes but unlikely if he wants to start. Sweeney maybe if we don’t get Choo.

  • butlerdawgs

    “We may get more information this offseason. We may not.” So, what you’re saying is that it’s a crapshoot?

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I think we read to much into that Theo comment. Ricketts refuted that and explicitly said, they don’t have exciting players and had the resources to do whatever they wanted to improve the team. Clearly, neither Ricketts or the Theo want to be the Dodgers. I think they way the Sanchez thing worked out it really wasn’t either option Brett. They made a serious attempt and in fact they were thought to have signed him. It became obvious he wanted to stay in Detroit and was ultimately using the Cubs to leverage Detroit. If memory serves me correctly, both Theo and Tom flew to Miami to work the deal out without Sanchez, but he and his agent were using the Cubs in the end. I think we read too much into that situation. The important thing is how serious they were and the attempt was made.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I am sorry that isn’t Brett, my bad didn’t read closely enough.

  • MightyBear

    I still believe that Epstein and Co will make a run at Ellsbury. I also believe the money is there if the player is believed to be an important part of the plan ie Annibel Sanchez. I also believe that they won’t overpay for a player or get into a bidding war with another club over someone’s services including Ellsbury or Tanaka. I said it before but I’l say it again. I would be very happy if they signed Ellsbury, Baker and Sweeney.

  • MightyBear

    Also, another great article by Sahadev. Well done young man. I must say Mr. Taylor not only is a good writer and runs a great site but between Luke and getting Sahadev to write several pieces, he is accumulating some great talent for BN. Kudos to you Ace.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, MB. I’ll take a tiny bit of administrative credit, but mostly it goes to guys like Luke and Sahadev. Good work is good work.

  • #23

    Any thoughts on targeting Ubaldo Jiminez if they aren’t able to get Tanaka?

  • Hee Seop Chode

    With regards to Brett’s assesment of surplus value: could it be that the 4th, 5th, and 6th WAR are individually incrementally more expensive than the 1st-3rd? As in other markets, there appears to be a dramatic increase in compensation relative to anticipated future performace benefit for elite talent.

    Can top level talent be purchased for anything less than top dollar? Can anyone recal an elite free agent providing surplus value?

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Define elite. Shane Victorino has been money in the bank.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        Fangraphs defines a Superstar as 5+ WAR. That’ll works for this discussion.

    • Wilbur

      I like the question …

      It also begs the question is the value of the 4th through nth WAR for any one player nonlinear and if so is it only a positive (my assumption) trend line for contending teams and meaningless for “also rans?”

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Nice writing, but what is the big mystery? The president of the team said a month ago that all the money available was spent this season. That was 90 million bucks.
    The paid attendance was down 12% and actual attendance even more. So all of a sudden they are magically going to have more money to spend?
    This is the issue that fans and the media should be paying attention to. Not the manager or AA ball players. Until the Wrigley Field debacle is solved, it will be a cancer for the organization. What the hell are the Ricketts waiting for, take some action.

    • hansman1982

      “Nice writing, but what is the big mystery? The president of the team said a month ago that all the money available was spent this season. That was 90 million bucks.”

      That was back in April/May-ish when payroll was $106M

      “The paid attendance was down 12% and actual attendance even more. So all of a sudden they are magically going to have more money to spend?”

      Attendance was down 5% the year before and we spent the same amount year over year.

      “What the hell are the Ricketts waiting for, take some action.”

      Permission from the City to perform the construction. Permission from the neighbors to pay for the construction.

      • cubfanincardinalland

        Your response, while accurate, puts light on what an absurd business model the Ricketts find themselves in. Any action requires approval from the local pols, no matter how minute. If they manage to get that, then they need permission from outside business on how they run their own company. Couldn’t make it up if you tried.
        Did you fellows know that the single game ticket sales for the Cubs and the rooftop owners was about the same this season? It is complete and utter lunacy.
        Any true Cub fan should be writing a letter to Tom Ricketts today imploring him to find an alternative to this failed business model the Cubs are in. It is killing this franchise.

        • willis

          I hate to say it, but I agree. Being so worried about traditions and history…what tradition and history? The Cubs for the most part have sucked for a very, very long time. And every year Wrigley has been their home and for all we know, is a big player in the fact that this franchise is stuck in the mud of suck balls. As much as I love my memories at Wrigley, it’s holding this franchise and it’s ownership/management back from taking a new step in Cubs history. I think the Ricketts’ vision is on the right course, but being able to take action to allow this vision to become reality…that’s the tough part and hell half impossible. Tom, it’s your franchise, maybe the best thing is to move it somewhere you can build a brand new state of the art stadium and soon enough with its resources and leadership, we see a world series.

          • willis

            I should have said every year of that suck Wrigley has been their home.

          • C. Steadman

            i also hate to agree but i do…the Cubs have some fun traditions but the fact is they arent of the winning variety…i want to get rid of the “Lovable Losers” and “There’s always next year”…there are some traditions that can be moved such as 7th inning stretch guests, ivy clad, brick walls, and maybe a Jumbotron that mimicks the old manuel scoreboard…it wont be Wrigley but it’ll have some neat little reminders of the past

      • 1060Ivy

        The Cubs are awaiting permission from the city which was basically granted months ago?

        My understanding is that the main stumbling point is gaining assurances from the rooftop owners not to sue them if they renovate or reduce their views. The Tribune signed a agreements with the rooftop owners years ago and the Ricketts assigned responsibility with purchase of the team.

        Wrigley hasn’t prohibited the organization from winning.

        More surprised that the Ricketts are finishing their four season as owners and still haven’t figured out how the hell to get things done in Chicago.

      • Pat

        More than that, I think they are waiting until they can sell some of the sponsorship opportunities. The new Bud sign isn’t going to cover all that much as far as costs go. Despite all the talk of spending their own money on the renovation, they want to cover as much of the costs with other people’s money as possible. Which is perfectly normal for something like this.

  • Scott

    Lincecum – K/9 – 8.8, BB/9 – 3.5 and his xFIP – 3.56 vs. 4.44 ERA make him an ideal candidate to bounce back next year.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Too much hangs on that delivery. I dunno. If we could get him for 4/$30 maybe. Just seems like a risk.

  • Kevin

    So much uncertainty with the Cubs at the major league level, it’s very difficult, to get, or to stay excited about the future. Is Tom Ricketts honest with the fans? Does Tom have a self imposed budget or is it truly limited based on Zell purchase agreement? How long before we know if Wrigley Field will actually be renovated? Lots of questions with no way to know the answer to any of them. I like what the FO has done with the farm system but just how much longer do we wait for good things at the major league level?

  • TSB

    Cano’s initial asking price: 10 years, $350 mill. All those fans demanding that the Cubs sign a “big name” free agent, would you for this deal, or even if it was cut by a fourth? Anybody crazy enough?

    • C. Steadman

      never sign a guy for a decade

      • MightyBear

        305 million

    • Kyle

      Nobody ever signs for what their agent throws out there before FA even starts. It’s just a negotiation thing.

      • cms0101

        Except for Alfonso Soriano…

    • hansman1982

      Cano on a 2.5 year deal at $35M per? Yes, yes, yes.

      • DarthHater

        Cut BY a fourth, not cut TO a fourth. It would be a 7.5 year deal at $35M per.

      • Patrick W.

        He said cut BY a fourth, not cut TO a fourth. So it would either be Cano on a 7.5 year deal for $35MM per, or 10 years at $26.25MM per. If you cut both the years and the total by a fourth it would still be $35MM per.

        We just can’t tell, hansman, we just can’t tell what he meant.

      • C. Steadman

        hans was thinking quarter pounder

        • DarthHater

          Can’t believe he wouldn’t be thinking three-quarter pounder if at all possible.

        • ssckelley

          My lunch was a quarter pounder and I feel miserable.

          • Gutshot5820

            Why? Quarter pounder is not that bad for you if you skip the cheese. It’s the large fries and large coke added that makes it a bad meal.

            • willis

              Because McDonald’s burgers, even when shit house hammered taste terribly. That would be my guess.

              • Gutshot5820

                Meh. If he thought it tastes terribly even when “shit house hammered” he would have bought something else. Nobody is that sadistic are they?

                • willis

                  Oh I know not if he enjoys them, but my opinion is that they are terrible things. I eat McDonalds when desperate, but other than that any FF place has a better burger.

      • Hansman1982

        Shit, I thought you meant give me that much hamburger over ten yearsin quarter pound patties.

        Damn reading fails.

    • MightyBear

      305 million

    • Brains

      I’ve been a proponent recently of signing Cano, and I agree with everyone who laughs at that 300m number. He’ll stink by age 39, so if we can’t get him for 7 years, 185-190m then forget it. But if we can get that kind of contract out of him we should do it. Why? Because you all have become complacent as losers, and you’re depressing to the world. Let’s bring a born winner in here to mentor players and be a baller…if we can.

      And on the never ending debate if the Ricketts’ can afford to work as a big-market, let alone a mid-market team. Of course they can, they have and make oodles of money. I’m already tired of these entitled suburbanites. We go to our job and work hard every day, why can’t they try to do their job right? That job is building a good team, #1, #2, and #3. An expanded concession stand is like #20. I’d rather eat at Ian’s Pizza anyway.

  • jim

    Any spare bux are goin to elect next gov of aksarben. So much more than is dreamt of in chicago philosophy. Big city folks think they so smart…the putzs.

    • #23

      huh?

  • Gutshot5820

    Frankly, I’m against any long term huge free agent signings for players over 30 and years 5 or more. I think there is plenty of data showing now that pre and post steroid era, those types of contracts are a disaster, Cano asking for $305M is ridiculous and any GM that gives him even a 8 yr 200M+ contract should be voted for dumbest GM of the year and be required to wear a dunce cap. Without steroids and the natural regression with age, I would be surprised to see Cano or Ellsbury contribute even remotely close to what they will be getting paid.

    I believe the new trend will be what the Boston Red Sox did last summer. Spread your bankroll across several saber friendly players that are tailored to your ballpark on short term deals. Im my mind, any contract with veterans should NEVER be his last contract, that way the player will always have an incentive to play hard and stay iin shape. If you give Cano or Ellsbury, basically a career ending contract, you are only asking for trouble, there is no incentive to stay in top physical shape over the offseason. And what are you going to do as management or a coach if the payer starts dogging it during the season? You can’t bench they guy. You pretty much leave all the leverage in the player’s hands.

    I personally would like to see the Cubs offer a large contract to Tanaka and spread some money over 4-5 saber friendly free agents the FO likes. With a few smart upgrades, we can definitely be competitive next year. I will be utterly disappointed if they stand pat and do nothing.

    • wvcubsfan

      NO TRASH HEAP WAIVER WIRE CHEAP WORTHLESS PLAYERS WITH LOW BATTING AVERAGES!!!!

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy 16

    Cub2014..really being Gregg back?? No way! Especially since Strop has been great! Gregg is done

  • cub2014

    strop has proven nothing as a closer! do
    we want to risk that unknown again like last
    2 years? but don’t worry gregg probably
    isn’t coming back

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Closer is over. rated. All a guy needs to prove is that he can consistently get 3 out of 4 batters out, preferably in the heart of a lineup. If you can do that consistently, you can be a decent closer at minimum. There will be another AAA guy or scrap heap guy like Gregg who can close out the games next year if Strop can’t. Bigger fish to fry than this.

      • cub2014

        Cleveland you should have been watching
        the cubs the last two Aprils:
        So the first couple weeks of next year we
        loose 3 or 4 games you thought you had
        won and it set the tone for the whole year.
        I don’t think we want to go back there.

        • bbmoney

          I’ve been watching the Cubs the past two years.

          Closers are overrated. Or more to the point experienced closers are overrated. It’s good to have some good relief pitchers in general, I don’t really care if any of them have closing experience.

          • cub2014

            I don’t get the Kevin Gregg hate:
            87% save rate this year only 5
            blown saves. Pedro Strop in 12
            save opp he has 8 blown saves.
            Kimbrel from ATL has 5 blown
            saves this year (granted more
            chances). I don’t want to go back
            to that unknown again. Greg has
            a career 82% save rate if you take
            out that 1 year with the Cubs he has
            a career 87%

          • cub2014

            Strop was very good in the 8th
            why change it?

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          Yeah it sucked. It’s not because closers are so valuable. It’s because Marmol wasn’t a good pitcher anymore. And we were using a bad pitcher in an important spot. But Sveum seems to still believe that the closer is something of a sacred role (“not everybody can get those final three outs”), and if that’s your mindset, you’re going to make a mistake. (Not a Sveum hater by any stretch, but I think he does rely too heavily on the closer.)

  • MI6

    When you evaluate a young player (e.g. Castro to Barney range in age), how long a time frame should a front office use? Babe Ruth, after all, had a bad year in ’25 that the Yankees ignored, while the bad year of ’34 led to his going to Boston (where he retired).

    • Rich H

      If only that was true. Watch Burns’ Baseball again. He covers Ruths problems in ’25 very well. The Yanks were set to cut him if he showed up to Spring like that in 26′.

  • EQ76

    I love how the FO is acting like 2 broke girls here. good grief. they have money.. a lot of it. it always has been about spending it wisely with these guys. Last year with a higher payroll going into the season than we have now, we almost dropped 80 mil on Anibal Sanchez. I’m not at all worried about the money. With a new TV deal in the near future, an eventual settlement on the stadium remodel drama and the FO knows that a more competitive team will be an instant cure for the attendance issues. Money will be there. This is the Cubs.. one of the most popular sports franchises on the planet, they have money to spend.. they just want to spend it wisely. I fully expect a couple of good, impact moves this off season. Guys like Choo and Tanaka may be the answer.

  • Rizzo1684

    Cano on anything more then an 8 yr deal is not going to happen b/c that is what the Yankees are offering and everyone knows he wants to stay in New York but c’mon you can not say that if the Cubs added him on a 8 yr 240 million deal and signed some smart short term pieces that Cubs would not be knocking on the door at the playoffs. Barney was a -.03 WAR and Cano was a 7.7, I know all about the other stats but lets keep this simple. Thats one position, not counting Baez getting the callup for 3rd, the added lineup protection and increase in value of Rizzo and Castro, the other smart moves the front office could make. Cano won’t happen to the Cubs I just hate reading ppl’s comments saying that he’s not worth his money bc he is.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Barney and Castro are not Babe Ruth!

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Cano is an absurd conversation, shows the bi-polar nature of all of this. The extremes seem to dominate the conversation. Either we are the little sisters of the poor or we keep talking about Cano. For my two cents, I wouldn’t be shocked by Jacoby E, but there are always a lot of teams trying to get better, its not the Cubs have a monopoly on trying to improve.

    • Rizzo1684

      I agree Cano is an absurd conversation and with my comment I did not mean for it to come off saying the Cubs will or should go after him. What I meant was on a 8 yr or less deal he would make perfect sense for half of the teams in baseball and the GM’s of those teams should not be fired. I just hate reading ppl’s comments putting him down saying that if the Cubs signed him it was be awful for the team.

  • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

    Dear Theo,
    Go ahead and live on the waver wire. Keep thumbing through the classifieds of Tommy John weekly. Go ahead and put a shit team out there in 2014. Watch the attendance drop, drop and drop. Go ahead and lets see if attendance for 2014 drops below 2 mil.

    • cms0101

      Frank, why are you acting like you’re so surprised that this was the approach? They’ve said all along that this is how things were going to be. We’ve been warned about the potential extended timing of the rebuild. Plus, they spent money on a couple non-Tommy John pitchers last year with in Feldman and Jackson. Vizcaino and Baker. Who else? Teams ranked near the top of the waiver claim list SHOULD watch all players that pass through. You’ve got to take the competitive advantages where they come. Despite a similar record to last season, there has been improvement on this team. Take away some of the horrible bullpen losses early in the season, and this team is closer to .500 than you realize. Getting Rizzo, Castro, Barney or his replacement to hit more consistently next season will also make a big difference. You can argue that Jackson wasn’t the correct signing, though I would disagree, but you can’t bury your head in your sarcasm and say they didn’t spend money. Are you trying to say you’re pissed that they aren’t going to overpay, unnecessarily, Ellsbury and Cano? Really? Choo could be a potential target as Brett speculates, but if the Reds offer him a qualifying offer you can forget him too. But so what? Schierholtz, Lake, Sweeney, and Bogusevic are still curious to me and I’d like to see them perform a little more. They’re talking about giving Vitters and opportunity in the OF as well, but I’d love to see a right handed hitting free agent added to the mix. These value pick-ups have been working for these guys. At minimum, they’ve restocked the farm system by trading some of these guys the last two deadlines. There will be a time when adding guys like this will be for a playoff run, but that’s probably next season and beyond. Imagine you’re the GM next year. What savior free agents would you spend the money on? Considering any potential consequences, like lost draft picks and draft pool dollars, explain why your plan is better than Theo’s.

      • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

        I re read my comment several times and I still can’t see anything that suggests I’m pissed that I want them to overpay for Ellsbury and Cano. Are you sure your reading the correct post? I also never mentioned Jackson or Choo.
        Players that are on wavers are on wavers for a reason. You might find a few that’s a find, but not often. Please give a list of this years playoff teams that got value pick-ups off the waver wire.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          The very nature of the waiver wires is that it’s difficult for a team doing well to get much because they get offered in reverse order of standing.

  • Mick

    To what advantage to the Cubs is there by advertising that they have lots of money to spend? This gives the leverage to player agents, Tom Tunney, the City of Chicago, WGN, basically everybody other than the Cubs. I’m calling bullshit on this, that the Cubs have plenty of money and will get any player they REALLY want. I just don’t think they REALLY want any of these FA’s, mainly because their roster is in no way prepared to contend. Same can be said for the Sveum vs. Girardi debate. Why would the Cubs go out and pay a premium for a manager when they’re not in a position to contend for at least the next 2 seasons?

    My prediction is that Sveum will be back for the final season of his contract, the Cubs won’t sign any top FA’s, and that we’ll be shopping the bargain bin again for 1-year, flip at the deadline type of players. But this has nothing to do with money, it’s all about waiting to make the FA and managerial splash when our first wave of prospects have arrived which, will be 2015.

  • Die hard

    There will be no money to pay the ground crew let alone FA– get real — the blueprint used to build this team was outdated before used and absent money for FA the future is not bright according to my crystal ball 🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮

    • DarthHater

      [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/300×300/38642274.jpg[/img]

      • DarthHater

        [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3789/9957673666_ddde95c812.jpg[/img]

  • Dustin S

    Cano for 10 years/$30m after the way the Pujols/Hamilton deals have looked is nutty.

    He’s a righty and won’t be cheap, but Hunter Pence would be an impact pickup. After seeing this team struggle offensively for years I’m more interested in bats than arms. Tanaka looks good but the rotation isn’t the problem. This FA class overall is just pretty weak after the few big names. Plenty of Theo/Jed buy low guys though.

    • Gutshot5820

      This is just fantasy but compare the two.

      A
      8 yrs of declining Cano at age 31-39 for $305M

      B
      Yu Darvish
      Solar
      Puig
      Hyun Jin Ryu
      Cespedes
      Abreu

      All in their primes and can be had for the same amount or less that the full price of Cano’s declining yrs in a steroid-less era. Not only is the difference astounding, but it can be argued that each player individually can out WAR Cano for the duration of their contracts.

      It’s probably just a bargaining ploy but Jay Z must be smoking something something strong and if any GM comes even close to that number with all the new data, he deserves to wear a dunce cap for the rest of his life.

      • Gutshot5820

        Come to think of it, if our owner was not such a cheap ass and decided to turn this team around like normal LARGE market teams, if they went balls out on all the international free agents and invested 300M+ this team would have been a contender from day one and for years to come without worrying if our prospects would bust.

        Turns out the true market inefficiency was IFA free agents, NOT injured post rehab pitchers. Now it’s too late, the cat’s out of the bag and Abreu and Tanaka is going to cost more in terms of dollars.

        In retrospect, if we went hard after those IFA guys, the only impact guy on the farm we wouldn’t have is Kris Bryant. Yes, we probably would not have Pierce Johnson, but we could have possible picked someone like Wacha instead, But we are spending so much time emulating the small market teams, we have to suffer the first five years of the Ricketts reign while he rolls in money.

        Seriously, the Ricketts inital 175M investment, with the appreciation of the Cubs franchise, coupled with the reduction in debt through payments of principal and interest paid directly to…the Ricketts Family Trust, plus whatever tax write-offs they can think of… I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a billion dollars so far. They probably at the very least tripled their investment.

        The Ricketts are laughing at the Cub fans all the way to the bank.

        • Voice of Reason

          Gut shot is funny. On an earlier post in this same thread gut shot said that can and ellsbury will never match the production to what they will be paid. He additionally said that you are asking for trouble if you give these type of players long term contracts.

          Now comes the post that I’m replying to from gut shot. In it he says the cubs are acting like small market teams and not spending the money they should to win.

          You’re a trip!

          Pick a lane dude. Should they depend money or not???

          • DarthHater

            Maybe he thinks they should spend more money, but not on Cano or Ellsbury?

        • Brains

          It’s not even the money that’s getting to fans these days, I think. It’s that they’re misappropriating revenues as profits and then crying that they don’t have enough funds unless they get all kinds of perks. It’s pretty common for “evil” businesses to maximize profits while firing workers right before their pension. I wouldn’t call them evil, no one is getting hurt except for the god of sportsmanship, but these guys are so cynical that it kind of infects the rest of the process and makes Theo look bad.

          • Castro to Barney to Chance

            And, to be sure, the Cubs’ owners’ ROI ≠ the Cubs. So, true — what they’re doing may make business sense, and they may have every right to do it. But it doesn’t have to make me happy, in much the same way that Dempster exercising his right to block a trade (presumably maximizing some personal “ROI,” if you will) didn’t have to make me happy, either.

  • Funn Dave

    Great article.

  • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

    cms0101, Get ready get all flustered with what I say.
    1. The FO doesn’t need to go out and piss away money like a drunken sailor signing FA’s and I hope to hell they don’t.
    2. They’ve spent two years building the farm system and they did a great job, but are they incapable of building the farm system and put a quality team on the field at the same time? I’m talking about 2014. The attendance drop speaks for itself.
    3. If there is a player that is ready to come up, why is everyone worried about an extra year of control. I see people writing about waiting until April or after June. They weren’t worried about it with Castro and Rizzo.
    4. Put anything you want here. I’m experiencing a brain fart.

    • YourResidentJag

      4. Then they shouldn’t let Sveum go based on this premise because they’ve invested too much into the farm system and a manager influences very little over the course of the season in terms of games won vs games lost.

    • Kyle

      We absolutely were worried about it with Rizzo, and he was held down until the control dates had passed.

    • bbmoney

      You’re way off on point #3. You clearly weren’t reading this site the beginning of last year because it was constantly talked about with Rizzo. And most of the baseball writers who actually know what they are talking about have criticized the Castro call up exactly for control reasons. There was no reason to rush him to the majors at 20 when he had no chance to help the Cubs win that year. The Cubs wouldn’t have had to ink him to the extension as early as they did if they’d waited a few more months to call him up as Brett has noted previously on this site.

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