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stoveTons of bits to discuss in the first Lukewarm Stove in a little while …

  • If the Cubs hope to go big after Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka – the 24-year-old righty who could be posted this offseason, and who makes a lot of sense for the Cubs – they’re going to have serious competition. George King says the Yankees will be big players for Tanaka, and executives expect the posting fee on Tanaka to reach $60 million, with a contract to match. One talent evaluator told King that the other teams involved will include the Red Sox, Rangers, and Dodgers (duh). Although Yu Darvish is believed by most to be the superior talent to Tanaka, his posting fee was just $51.7 million. The economics of the game keep changing, though, and it’s not inconceivable to see the price on Tanaka surpass Darvish, even among teams that view the latter as better than the former.
  • USA Today mentions the Cubs as a possibility for Jacoby Ellsbury, but, as I’ve written before, I’m not sure I see him as the best use of the Cubs’ resources this offseason. To that point, Ken Rosenthal recently speculated that a team like the Mariners could go hard after Ellsbury to the tune of six or seven years and more than $20 million per year. I think spending solidly in the outfield over the next two or three years makes a lot of sense for the Cubs. Locking into a commitment of that length, though? For a “speed” guy in his 30s? I just don’t think I’m on board.
  • Another mention of a possibility for the Cubs, Nick Cafardo connects free agent pitcher Bronson Arroyo to the Cubs (along with a huge number of other teams). Arroyo, who doesn’t expect to receive a qualifying offer from the Reds, falls right into the Cubs’ wheelhouse of the last couple years. Although he’ll be 37 next year, Arroyo isn’t expected to receive a particularly long contract, and could present flip value should 2014 mirror the previous two seasons. Arroyo never misses a start, but he’s a clear back-end starter at this point in his career, averaging a sub-2.0 WAR the past five years with the Reds. His ERA always betters his FIP, and he’s heavily dependent on the defense behind him (which is to say he doesn’t get many strikeouts). Cheap, back-end, innings eater? On the right deal, why not?
  • The Tigers may shop stud Max Scherzer this offseason, per Danny Knobler, largely because they have the depth to absorb it and he’ll be just a year away from free agency (an experience agent Scott Boras is likely to want to see Scherzer reach). It would take a ton to land him, and it’s a strict one-year rental unless you can get him to ink a very expensive extension. Given the Cubs’ projected level of competitiveness in 2014 – “meh” – I can’t see them pursuing Scherzer.
  • Speaking of tradable pitchers, David Price – who is connected to the Cubs with questionable frequency – is preparing himself to be traded this Winter, per MLBTR. It’ll be a story to watch, if nothing else. I’d think the Cubs would kick some tires, given that Price is under control for two more years, and could be a pre-free-agency extension candidate to whichever team acquires him.
  • Looks like Patrick Mooney has also heard whispers of the Cubs looking to upgrade with a left-handed bat at catcher this offseason. We heard that a little earlier this month from Tim Dierkes, and it seems no less strange now (absent a trade). Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be getting huge paydays this offseason, and I’d think the Cubs could allocate their limited resources a little better than “upgrading” from a top defensive catcher with a decent bat like Welington Castillo (getting a solid back-up catcher? Absolutely. Spending big on a new starter? Uh … ). But, hey, who knows? Perhaps the Cubs get Salty on a reasonable deal and work out a 50/50 platoon behind the plate with Castillo (the Cubs sure could use the depth). Or perhaps they work out that reasonable deal, and then make a trade involving Castillo. Hard to know what the plans are when the rumors don’t fit into a preconceived box. That said, the front office is crafty.
  • Andrew Marchand lists the Cubs 5th among possible non-Yankee destinations for Robinson Cano. You can dream on it all you want, but I just don’t see it. The money for a Cano isn’t going to be there right now, and, even if it were, I’m not sure his contract demands/length would make sense given the Cubs’ time line (and abundance of near-ready infield talent).
  • Jose Abreu – the slugging first baseman from Cuba – is now officially a free agent, and can sign with any team. Once again, the Cubs are not expected to be involved, but Abreu is a huge name on the market.
  • Speaking of first basemen on the market to whom there is no direct Cubs connection, Kendrys Morales expects to receive a qualifying offer from the Mariners, which he will then reject, according to Jon Heyman. A qualifying offer (worth almost $14 million) would really drag down the market for Morales, given that he’s a 1B/DH-only who hit just .277/.336/.449 this year (with similar numbers last year). To be clear, those aren’t bad numbers – it’s a 123 OPS+, believe it or not – but it’s hard to see him receiving a contract FAR beyond a one-year, $14 million deal when you factor in the loss of a draft pick/pool money. If he really does reject a qualifying offer, I could see his free agency lasting deep into the offseason, and culminating in one of those two or three-year, $10/$11 million AAV deals that you wonder if it’s all that much better than one-year, $14 million.
  • cub2014

    Brett, when does free agency start? I would assume
    after the world series at a minimum?

    • hansman

      5 days after the WS.

    • terencemann

      Players scheduled to become free agents, aka “Article XX-B” free agents, become a free agent at 9 am eastern the morning after the final game of the world series. At this time, players are free to start negotiations but cannot sign until the 6th day after the world series. Teams have until 5 days after the WS to extend “qualifying offers” and the player gets until the 12th day after the WS to accept the offer.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/important_dates.jsp

      The other important date is December 2nd which is the deadline to “non-tender” players who are not under contract (arbitration eligible or pre-arbitration players).

  • Jon

    Cubs should have bid more and got Yu. Now, if they want Tananka, they are going to have to pay more for an inferior player(relative to Yu)

    Oh, but they “tried” right?

    • YourResidentJag

      I agree but Texas bid him up and out of the range of the Cubs. Expect it with each big FA and IFA from here on out going forward.

      • Jon

        If they are going to take the pragmatic approach(and I get) to FA’s approaching or past 30, i get it.

        That being said, when you have premier FA’s in their mid 20′s, you cannot lose out on that. You cannot lose out on a Yusil Puig..

        • DocPeterWimsey

          And yet 29 teams do every time….

        • BT

          You really are a piece of work. No one in the majors had a solid scouting report on Puig when he was available, the Dodgers were laughed at when they bid that high for a guy they’d never seen, yet now, he was an obvious premier free agent in his mid-20′s that could not be missed out on. Also, the Cubs should have bid more in their blind bidding process for Darvish that Texas blew away the field with.

          Captain Hindsight indeed.

          • Jon

            Pulling the “hindsight” card is a cop out. Any time we performance of any front office we are using Hindsight. Whats the point of having discussion then?

            • On The Farm

              I don’t think anyone is arguing we should have a discussion, but what you do is completely different. You act like the Cubs FO just should have “known” what was going to happen. You act like even with limited data, they should have spent a fortune on an unproven Puig. Even though the Rangers outbid the Cubs (and everyone else) by $15M+ they should have known Darvish was worth it. They should have known that even though Liriano was coming off a 5 BB/9 and a 4.34 FIP (5+ERA) they should have just known he was a better investment than Baker. If its so damn easy to see these things in the present why aren’t the FO office’s of the MLB blowing up your cell phone, or knocking at your front door trying to get you to better there team?

              • On The Farm

                **Lots of grammatical errors

                • Eternal pessemist

                  My magic 8-ball had all the right answers. I’d be willing to sell it to Rickett’s gor say…1 billion dollars (cue goldmember).

          • frank

            Right–no one knew what he was. A number of people said the same thing about Cespedes. His line this year was .240/.294/.442 Granted, that’s still a 105 OPS+ but not world beating by any means.

        • mjhurdle

          What is Yasiel Puig?
          I don’t want the Cubs to pass on the amazing player he was in his first month.
          But if they are passing on the player that Puig has been since July 2nd, then im not too upset.

          • Jon

            Yasiel Puig was a 5 win player in 2013. You can find arbitrary endpoints for every good player in which there production was down a bit.

            • hansman

              The problem is, we still don’t know what kind of player Puig is. He had an MVP start to the season and then was a solid regular the rest of the way.

              He has tremendous talent but is still very raw. Without his Barry Bonds-esque first month, a lot of fans would have been very upset at his “lack of baseball IQ”. Given the sample sizes involved, you can look for trends in his performance.

              2014 will be a very interesting season for Puig. Is he a .900 OPS All-Star or will he go on to post a .737 OPS like last year’s “EHRMERGHERD THEOJED MISSED OUT ON HIM” wonder boy, Cespedes.

              There are signs that point both ways.

              • mjhurdle

                exactly my point.
                I didn’t pick an arbitrary end point to say the OMG PUIG IS HORRIBLE.
                he has had a great year.
                However, his trend is down. Doesn’t mean it will stay down, it just is what it is.
                We don’t know enough about Puig yet to use him as an example of something the Cubs missed out on.

                • hansman

                  What is interesting, is that the Cubs no longer “missed out on” Cespedes. Shiney toy syndrome and all that.

            • terencemann

              Puig was amazing in the 2nd half of the season, too. .369 wOBA with 8 HR.

              • Cubbie Blues

                Actually, he had 8 in the first half. In the second half he had 11.

              • Jon

                Exactly. So I really have no idea what the hell people are talking about.

        • On The Farm

          I think it was K-Law that said he thinks Soler will be better than Puig… so there’s that.

      • hansman

        Texas didn’t “bid him up and out of the Cubs range”, the Rangers misread the market and paid a crap-ton to get him.

        • YourResidentJag

          So, by default you’re saying the Cubs weren’t able to get him because the bid was overpriced for the Cubs and the Rangers misread the market? BTW, you realize that he is a no 1 starter on any staff and in today’s terms, well worth the price. Maybe the Rangers got lucky here, but in the end the contract looks a lot better now than it did originally. So, I guess paying that “crap-ton” actually worked in the Rangers favor. They obtained a bona fide #1 starter for their rotation.

          • hansman

            In terms of what they paid, it worked out: I’m not disputing that.

            However, it was a blind bid and therefore they didn’t drive up the price, they just overbid everyone.

            • YourResidentJag

              Even though it was a “blind” bid, you still have to, as a team, form an evaluation of worth for a player. Given that you and others felt he was worth more to the Rangers, and by evaluating him in this manner, the end price was to a point where the Cubs wouldn’t have paid him that, no matter the blind bid. I suppose that is what I’m saying here. It’s a mute point. My phraseology is wrong. Regardless of the blind bid, though, if it was open as to what each team was paying, the Cubs wouldn’t have counteroffered the Rangers offer, just like they didn’t with Sanchez.

          • On The Farm

            Usually if you are willing to pay $15M (or 30%) more than the rest of the market you are paying a crap ton.

            • YourResidentJag

              Usually, but if your GM and scouts are onto something, which no one else was….was it worth it? Most likely, yes.

          • mjhurdle

            It worked for the Rangers, and failed for the Red Sox with Dice-K.

            • YourResidentJag

              Which scares me about Tanaka. And makes me wonder how much of a genius Jon Daniels is. :)

            • mjhurdle

              agreed. it scares me about Tanaka as well.
              I would like the Cubs to put in a competitive offer for Tanaka, because you can’t just shy away from anything that might have risks.
              But when you talk about “blowing teams out of the water” like the Rangers did, im not on board. The Rangers had the money and one glaring need.
              The Cubs reportedly dont have a ton of money, and they have a lot more holes to fill than Texas did when they got Darvish.

              • YourResidentJag

                Just don’t though if Daniels and his scouts saw stuff and felt with future market prices that it was worth the investment.

    • mjhurdle

      [img]http://s7.postimg.org/b5msayg1n/hindsight2.png[/img]

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Rangers offered a posting fee twice that of any other team. Remember, they had come within an out of a WS just weeks before, and they seemed to view Darvish as “the” missing piece that would get them one more out along the way. In a very real way, that made Darvish more valuable to the Rangers than to anybody else: in their minds, they were paying for the 2012 championship.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        …and Yu outperformed all expectations. Yes, he looked pretty solid, but he was a true unknown when being introduced into MLB. Tanaka may come here and underperform expectations. I just hope our scouts are better then their scouts (and the Cubs have more money to spend then we think).

    • Jay

      This posting fee bullshit makes going after any Jap pitcher completely idiotic. Might as well pay big for a known quantity here in the states if you’re going to throw the money around.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Almost as idiotic as using the term “Jap”.

        • waittilthisyear

          that was a worse speech than the one my grandfather gave at my cousin’s wedding when he married a *japanese* girl

        • ETS

          Maybe it was more about brevity (IE posting from a cellphone, etc) than about a racial slur. I’m just trying to give the benefit of the doubt here.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Even if someone were to be as uncouth to use texting abbreviations, there are some words that have to be spelled out completely.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              …yes…there is a limit to the “benefit of the doubt”. This is over the line (and clearly intentional).

              • Eternal Pessimist

                …but he used a capital J, so at least he felt the name was a “formal name”

            • TWC

              “there are some words that have to be spelled out completely”

              I learned that the hard way when I tried to abbreviate “country”.

              • bbmoney

                ha.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Yeah, we try not to encourage him around here. He can be a bit of a dick sometimes. :lol:

                  • DarthHater

                    I assume you meant “a bit of a dickens.” Another one of those words you should spell out. :-P

              • DarthHater

                Like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

          • bbmoney

            I think the full typing of the words ‘bullshit’ and “you’re” (used correctly I might add) pretty much rules that explanation out.

      • Patrick W.

        Yeah, either you need a period after your 9th word in your fist sentence, or you are tone deaf.

      • Jon

        Dude, that is not the preferred nomenclature.

      • Eternal pessemist

        Lame!!

      • Noah_I

        On top of the racist reference being idiotic, you’re completely misunderstanding the market. Darvish was a Top 10 starting pitcher in baseball in each of the past two seasons, meaning he’s a true ace. Including his posting fee and incentives, the Rangers will pay him about $110 million over the six year contract, which spans his age 26-31 seasons (aka, his prime). So the Rangers are spending $18.33 million a year, essentially. Do you know how much a similar pitcher who hits free agency costs? Cliff Lee’s contract is either going to pay him $26.5 million per year over 5 years or $24.6 million per year over 6 years for a contract that started at age 32. In other words, Lee’s contract STARTED when he was old than Darvish’s will when Darvish’s contract ends. C.C. Sabathia is getting paid very similarly. So taking the risk on the Japanese player combined with Darvish’s success means the Rangers are getting an ace quality pitcher for about 75% of the amount he would cost on the open market.

        • bbmoney

          Yep. And you mention the risk part appropriately. It has worked out great for the Rangers so far. It worked out terribly a few years before that for the Red Sox.

          Darvish was still cheaper than those other guys because they were already proven aces in the MLB and concerns about their ages were less than about Darvish’s uncertainty from never having pitched in the MLB before. It’s always a big risk spending 100M plus on a guy who hasn’t been in the MLB before. The potential reward is also huge though, so it’s a balancing act.

  • Jono

    I’m excited to see what Abreu can do in MLB

  • oswego chris

    I am not so sure Cano gets what he is looking for, he will definitely have to take less years unless teams don’t learn anything from the tale of Artie Moreno and the Angels

    2016 Angels Salaries
    Hamilton 32.7m, Pujols 25m, CJ Wilson 21m, Weaver 20.5 million….

    that’s after TWO more seasons of probable decline from Pujols and Josh…I wonder if the Angels have an out clause on Hamilton if he falls of the wagon?…if they do…I won’t even go there

    • Professor Snarks

      I don’t think ‘out’ clauses are legal in baseball contracts. (But, I’d love to be the guy that sold them their insurance policies).

    • macpete22

      It would not surprise me at all if the Tigers go after him. Especially if they don’t win the world series

  • Die hard

    Cubs don’t have the money to enter FA or any other market in a meaningful way unless Ricketts sells the team to Mark Cuban which can happen now that Bud is going back to hawking used cars where he should’ve stayed

    • terencemann

      The Ricketts are one of the wealthiest families in America. It’s the trust that owns the team that holds the purse strings. My impression is that front offices in baseball are there to do what any executive team does: create a competitive strategy that helps your business get ahead of your competitors and make money in the long run. Different ownership groups may dictate how that works for different teams but, if you’ve been watching the news, it’s pretty clear the Cubs’ front office and Ricketts are on the same page about bringing a winning team to Chicago the same year the Wrigley renovations are scheduled*** to be finished and when half their games will be eligible for a new media deal.

      ***who the hell knows when Wrigley’s renovations will be finished at this point

    • Indy57

      If you look at Mark Cuban’s record at Dallas, you will see that it took him from 2000, when he purchased the Mavericks, until 2011 to win his first NBA Championship. Not sure you will want Mark to own the Cubs if you are looking for a quick winner. BTW, he’s a bit busy with his insider trading trial at the present time.

      • DarthHater

        Yes, and during that same stretch Dallas’s season winning percentage was never lower than .610 and they went to the playoffs every season.

        • Cubbie Blues

          I thought all the teams made the playoffs in the NBA.

        • Indy57

          Good point!

        • Jon

          Mavs should have won it in 2006 if not for some bs officiating

          • Blublud

            Maybe I’m biased since my uncle was at the time and still is an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, but there is no way officiating cost Dallas that series. Dwayne Wade just absolutely destroyed Dallas.

            • macpete22

              Yeah, via the free throw line. The 2 games where Wade shot more FT’s than the whole Mavs team was officiated by the guy who is proud of the fact that the Mavs are 3-18 in the playoff games he officiated

              • X the Cubs Fan

                I mean how can you say the Mavs should of one but the series was 4-2 and Wade was dominant.

                • X the Cubs Fan

                  won

      • macpete22

        He’s not interested in owning another team anymore anyway

  • Blackhawks1963

    Ellsbury is going to receive $125 M plus. Looks like Seattle will go after the Washington state native very hard to serve as the face of their franchise. Also can see the NY Yankees getting in on this too if Boston decides Ellsbury isn’t worth a Scott Boras bidding war.

    Choo is going to be seriously paid. I just don’t see the appetite for the Cubs on this one. $80 M plus for a guy in his early 30′s and with multiple bidders likely. I’d rather bide my time waiting for Almora, Soler or Baez / Bryant / Castro to figure into the outfield picture.

    Tanaka is going to generate a ton of interest because baseball is starved for quality starting pitcher and there is little available in free agency. I can only imagine what will be his final pricetag.

    I can see the Cubs in on Brian McCann, which I would love. But it will be pricey too. McCann could become a prime leader on this club.

    • terencemann

      Free agency just keeps getting weaker and weaker unless you want to give out a record contract and it would definitely be short-sighted to sign a guy just because he’s there.

    • Noah_I

      Choo is a no for me at his likely price because of his issues against right handed pitching and really should be playing left field. He mashes right handed pitchers, but I just have a feeling he’s going to be offered more in years and money than I’d feel comfortable paying him considering the things he isn’t good at and being on the wrong side of 30.

      McCann is also a no for me. I just wouldn’t sign a catcher for big money unless his bat was Victor Martinez in his prime good (his isn’t anymore), and if the ability to catch degraded I could stash him at 1B or DH (the Cubs can’t.)

  • Leo L

    I see the cubs getting players they can flip. short term deals so that if it doesn’t work out they are not stuck, but long enough to give value to to other teams. 2-3 year deals. maybe getting a catcher they can flip is the plan. also I think they should get on Abreu, if he can hit then he can play outfield. or great depth at first base and if he turns out good enough then trade one of our first basemans for depth somewhere else. doesn’t hurt to have too much talent. the only issue is cost.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Abreu is going to be in very high demand according to the reports. The Mets, Marlins, Rangers, White Sox, Giants and Mariners have been consisently linked to him and all aggressively scouting him. He’s going to cost a lot of money. Doesn’t seem like he is on the radarscope of the Cubs at all. Probably because he is viewed as strictly 1st base material and not relly an option for the outfield.

    • Funn Dave

      On the other hand, when your goal is “sustained success,” you have to start giving out longer contracts sometime….

    • Noah_I

      I could see the Cubs giving out larger money this season, but still on shorter term contracts. A.J. Burnett or Carlos Beltran for example.

    • EQ76

      Way to go out on the ledge Leo. You basically just said “I can see the Cubs doing exactly what they’ve been doing the last 2 years”.

  • Eric

    How long do Cubs stay in flip-for-assets mode?

    • YourResidentJag

      Until they can find the core of young farm system players they desire. With each new FA and IFA there will be more and more demand. Translation, not out of Cubs price range, but what are they paying. Well, people to play for them in their 30s on long 5-7 yr deals. Don’t see that happening. And trades for marquee players, like David Price, would essentially mean the same thing. So the waiting game continues….

    • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com TC

      Until you have 5 starters worth keeping beyond the season in your rotation, why not be looking for guys to flip? There’s no downside, and the FO has proved pretty alright at finding guys to fill that 5th spot and flipping them for talent

      • Eternal pessemist

        Exactly. If some of he Cubs young talent had taken a step forward instead of backwards Theo might be looking to sdd the final piece or two.

        Instead we have to hope the step it up in 2014 and the new young talent will get is close enough to be big(ger) buyers for 2015.

    • JM

      My feeling is this is the last year of signing players, expecting to flip them. I think next year they start thinking of players in the long term.

  • Griff

    What’s the deal with Halladay? Does he or the team have an option? I would love to get him for a couple years and see if Price is available w/o giving up one of our top 4. That would be a solid 1-5 in my opinion. Price, Shark, Doc, Wood, Jackson or Arrieta.

    • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com TC

      Halladay is really, really done. It was difficult to watch his last outing, when he got pulled after like 5 pitches, not breaking 82mph. It was sad

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    I used to look forward to the off season but it has turned into a waiting game. Wait on the top tier fa’s to sign. Wait for Japanese pitcher to enter market so everyone can blindly bid against themselves. I would like to see more trades. I’m not thrilled with this free agent class. 120 mil for tanaka,no thanks. Even in today’s market you can get a lot for 120 mil.

    • JM

      Completely agree. Don’t mind at all the Cuban and Japanese players, but I hate the process of signing them.

  • forlines

    I’m all in for Salty. He seems to fit in right where we need him. That’s not to say I don’t like Beef, but for my money, i’d take Salt any day of the week.

    • YourResidentJag

      Problem is he’s showing that he’s a platoon player who doesn’t hit lefties well. Like Choo, he’ll be overpriced and I’ll be EXTREMELY disappointed if this is Theo’s remedy to the situation.

      • Jay

        Why are they even monkeying with the catching situation? Beef is one of the few bright spots we have. He needs to catch 120 games a year.

        • YourResidentJag

          Don’t ask me, ask the original OP.

        • forlines

          I would consider us having more ‘bright spots’ on the team than just Castillo and a few others. Wood, Shark, Castro (say what you will, but if you do, remember to breathe), Rizzo (same), Castillo, Russell, Strop, not to mention our farm. That’s all really besides the point though…

          It’s basically a preference thing. I have nothing against Beef, and think he’s a great player. I also didn’t clarify that I certainly wouldn’t pay huge money for Salty, just that I would prefer him over Beef. Salt doesn’t do great against lefties, but he’s still relatively young, and his avg. is increasing from sub .200 numbers. .270 is not a great avg overall, but it certainly isn’t terrible, and he plays pretty damn good defense. Like I said, simply a preference deal for me.

          • Eternal pessemist

            Unless i read this wrong uou seem to list a bunch of players as “bright spots” that most would consider having had moderately to severely disappointing seasons.

        • Edwin

          Maybe they want more depth at Catcher, to try and limit the wear and tear on Castillo.

    • WestNebCub

      added bonus of signing Salty is getting the chance to see that ‘do every day of the season! top notch awfulness.

  • CubChymyst

    It will be interesting to see what the winning posting fee actually is for Takana vs this speculation. If the fees keep going up, it is hard to believe that Japan would want to make a change.

  • northsiders6

    Maybe each of the scenarios by themselves don’t make sense, but a combination of a few of them? Sitting out and/or missing out on big name players is getting tiresome.

  • jt

    I look for The Cubs to get younger, not older.
    That would happen in the trade market not that of FA’s.
    Tanaka, if they feel he is that good, I could see.
    Arroyo to add depth for a couple of years, I could see.
    Ellsburry and Choo for that price? I don’t see how that fits.

    • Edwin

      I think if the Cubs can get Choo on a 3 year deal, it makes sense. He’d be an upgrade for the next couple years in LF.

      • cub2014

        Choo for 3 years allows you to wait on
        Almora. If Almora gets here before then
        (or chances are not at all) Choo can slide
        over to LF or RF as needed. He is the one
        FA they really need. High OBP for career,
        only 30, decent power, can play any OF
        position.

  • Cub Fan Dan

    Brett/All
    There were some rumblings on the changing of the posting process to allow the top 3 bidders to negotiate with Japanese players already under contract (ie Tanaka), instead of the highest bidder having sole negotiation rights. Is there any update to if that is going to be implemented?

    • CubChymyst

      If that happens bidding will get really interesting, because your gonna want to be the team that came in 3rd for the bidding. If you post a 10 million lower posting fee then the team with the highest posting bid, you could add that extra 10 million to the contract and maybe get the player.

    • Bwa

      The way that would work would have to be that the second or third place bid teams would be able to sign the player but with the understanding they also have to pay the highest bid.

  • Noah_I

    Yeah, the Yankees being involved in the Tanaka thing could really raise the amount needed to be posted to get him. It won’t count towards “payroll”, so it won’t hinder their attempt to get under the luxury tax cap.

  • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

    I can’t wait for the day when “could present flip value” is not associated with the Cubs every fricken year.
    Jacoby Ellsbury worth 20 mil a year? Up yours.
    Tanaka to reach $60 million? Up yours again.

    • Jay

      I so agree with this.

  • On The Farm

    Question, under the posting system couldn’t the a team, say the Rockies, post a $70M bid just to make sure the Dodgers can’t win the bid, and then fail to reach an agreement with Tanaka so he would stay in Japan?

    • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

      He has to until he becomes a free agent.

      • On The Farm

        Right I understand that part, but I was just wondering why small market teams don’t just block the guy from posting if they don’t have a real chance at signing him, and they can keep him from going to a division opponent for a few years.

        • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

          A team could bid 100 mil with no intention of signing him and when the time period expires, get your money back. That would screw whoever wanted to sign him, but it would allow you to wait until he becomes a free agent and save the posting fee. I think Tanaka becomes a free agent next year.

    • hansman

      They could; however, it seems, with the big name players, teams shy away from doing that. It happens with the smaller name guys, though.

      • On The Farm

        That makes sense, if it happened with the big name players it would give the organization a really bad reputation.

    • Cub Style

      They would have to pay the $70 million if they won.

      • Chad

        Not if they don’t reach an agreement I believe. If they don’t reach an agreement it is like it never happened. Right? Maybe I’m misremembering that though.

        • Cubbie Blues

          That is correct. The player also has to sulk back to his old team because he had to originally ask permission to seek a MLB contract.

  • Joshua Shapiro

    Please no more Ed Jackson-type signings. I’d rather see lower ticket prices and watch the kids come up and play then sign big name free agents at this point.

    • frank

      Lower ticket prices isn’t happening, Edwin Jackson or no Edwin Jackson.

  • cubmig

    I hope the FO sees and will act on signing players who have a history of being a dependable and reliable hitter. I hope too, they don’t let age get in the way (or personality). If there was a Nolan Ryan who pitched the way he did at the age he was, there must be comparable hitters who have the record to show they can still deliver at the plate……..Because one thing we have all seen is the lack of hitting consistency (risp situations expecially) AND THAT needs tending to.

    Choo comes to mind (even though some make a case about his 30+ age). McCann is 29, as is Saltalmacchia (sp)—McCann much better imho. I also like Josh Hamilton (32) even though he has shown a slight decline this season (and contract thru 2015 with “perks”). But he has shown he can hit. Just thoughts…..

    • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

      If the Cubs even mention trading for Josh Hamilton, it tells me all hope is lost and it’s time to stick a gun in my mouth.

      • cubmig

        yeah…it’s a very, very big “if”……..BUT….if that ever came to pass. all I can offer is a BB gun….or a water pistol…….sorry. [snark]

        • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

          I can’t use a BB gun. I might shoot myself in the eye.

          • Cubbie Blues

            [img]http://claritieyes.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/img-thing1.jpeg[/img]

  • BlameHendry

    If anyone is expecting the Cubs to commit more than $10 million TOTAL to any player, you’re setting yourself up for some big disappointment. The only player that even has a slight chance of getting more than a $10 million commitment from the Cubs this offseason is Arroyo (yuck). Remember, the Cubs are “broke.”

    Get ready for a bunch more Ryan Sweeneys…

    • Cubbie Blues

      You mean the way they did with Edwin Jackson last year?

      • MightyBear

        And the bid on Anibel Sanchez?

      • BlameHendry

        That was last offseason. This offseason is different. The FO has been crying about how “broke” they are a lot more this season than they did last season.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Fans have been clamoring more this year than they were last year to spend money as well. That is the obvious thing to do if you are the FO. Be more vocal about how much money is actually available. Also, the renovations came to a vociferous pitch this year and money was a huge part of that discussion.

  • WestNebCub

    I don’t see any of the players mentioned in this post being on the Cubs roster next year. And I want Dave Martinez as the manager.

    • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

      Lets have a vote for Dusty Baker. (I’m sorry, my breakfast just came up)

  • Castro to Barney to Chance

    I’m wondering right now (and, hedging: not criticizing so much as thinking aloud) how wise it was to lock into Rizzo at this stage in our rebuild. I love his intangibles and I’m not bummed by his unlucky 2013 campaign. I think he will develop into a reliable major leaguer, if more of a five-hole hitter with plus defense than a star (which has more or less always been the word on him, iirc).

    This is great to have, and there’s something to be said for a young player you can have faith in as a reliable contributor going forward — I think Rizzo’s professional floor is 2013, which was a .742 OPS with gold glove-caliber defense. But Rizzo fills the easiest position on the diamond, blocking the simplest way for us to improve our offense. McCann could help us out greatly as a 1B/occasional C; aging free agents wouldn’t be out of the question per se, since we could slot a given player in at 1B after a few years; no IFAs would be ruled out because they play the wrong position. That this flexibility is blocked by a player who is likely to top out as an occasional all-star makes it somewhat less palatable, too.

    To improve, we need a lot more than flexibility at 1B and a Rizzo-quality player elsewhere (hypothetically received from a different Cashner deal — though how that would have turned out may not have been as predictable as this for the FO). But, it does make me wonder if we should have pursued a non-1B prospect for flexibility alone.

    • Castro to Barney to Chance

      Also, poked around on old prospect lists while thinking about this…did not realize we had 6 players considered top 100 minor leaguers in 2010! Two seem unlikely to pan out with today’s knowledge (Jackson/Vitters), one quickly fell off the map after ’10 (Jay Jackson, RHP), one was part of a deal that eventually brought us Edwards/Olt/Ramirez/Grimm (Lee), one brought us Rizzo (Cashner), and the last is our still-young (if maddeningly inconsistent) starting SS.

      So out of 6 — 3 of whom were generally considered top 50 prospects, while the others were more of the fringe 100 type — we got two near All-Stars and, through trade packages, some more prospects.

      Extrapolating, and thinking about this FO’s eye for talent (according to Buster Olney, this year’s Red Sox team “saw over 1,300 more pitches than any other team” (excited for the day our Cubs can do the same)), our current crop of 6 — 4-5 of whom are considered top 50 prospects — will hopefully exceed a 50% success rate, through trade or otherwise. Though it’s a sobering reminder that even highly touted prospects (and systems with 5-6 top 100 types) don’t always work out. Here’s hoping we make a play for some more experienced talent while continuing our focus on the farm.

  • MightyBear

    I still think the Cubs should and will be in on Ellsbury. However, 7 years at 20 mil per year? Who started that rumor, Boras? I realistically think Ellsbury will get 5 years 90 mil which the Cubs can and should do. Anything more, let him go. Anything less, shame on the FO.

    • YourResidentJag

      With his injury concerns, it would be a big risk.

      • MightyBear

        That argument sucks. They’re all big risks. Injuries can and will happen to everyone.

        • YourResidentJag

          No, it really doesn’t. Paying for 20s performance and getting 30s play out of someone who missed large chunks of seasons due to injury is a crap reason to sign a player like Ellsbury.

          • YourResidentJag

            Especially when the speed, Carl Crawford element, is a major part of his game.

        • Eric

          Absolutely not on Ellsbury for 5/$90.

    • SenorGato

      5/90 would probably end up a steal so yes please.

      • SenorGato

        Its also not going to happen at that price btw.

      • Eric

        A steal compared to what? I have no interest in paying $18 million a year for a guy who has been injury prone and whose biggest asset is his legs. Doesn’t make any sense to me at this point.

        • SenorGato

          I have all the interest in paying for a guy who puts up 3 rWAR in his sleep and almost 5 rWAR over 650 PAs.

          A steal when objectively considering price and production rather than see price, react angrily/jealously/negatively to price that sounds high.

          • Eric

            Who is reacting angrily and jealously? That comment makes no sense.

            The point is I don’t think he will be anywhere near worth that price in years 3 – 5 of the deal, when we will need him to put up that kind of production.

            • C. Steadman

              you dont think he’ll be a 3-3.5 WAR type player during those years? I think he’ll be worth 18mill(~3.3 WAR)….id rather only go 4 years though

              • Eric

                It certainly possible. He’s proven to be productive when he plays. However, within the last 4 years he has played 18 and 74 games total respectively in two of those years. To me his durability is a concern.

                As far as WAR, 8.0 came in 2011 when he hit 32 home runs, which was pretty clearly an aberration. He was great this year at 5.8 but his other two full years he was at 2.7 and 2.5.

                I like Ellsbury and think he is a good player but personally don’t think that he is worth the gamble if you go to 5 years based on where the Cubs stand right now. I also assume Boston will give him a qualifying offer, which plays into the equation.

                I do want to see us starting spending some more money and adding to the talent at the major league level but I’m not sure he’s the best fit at this point based on what he’ll cost.

                • SenorGato

                  Yeah, in those other two seasons he put up 6 rWAR and 8 rWAR. That’s a big deal too.

                  • Eric

                    2011 was clearly a fluke as far as the power was concerned. He was great this year but he has not shown the consistency to justify that kind of contract.

                • C. Steadman

                  if i could pick between Choo and Ellsbury i’d choo-se :D ( sorry couldnt resist) Choo…to me ellsbury is a greater risk due to injury and possible speed decline towards the end of his contract…but I think ellsbury’s value is 18m a year on the open market and i do see it going into the 20 which is too high…my prediction is Mariners get him at over 20 a year

            • SenorGato

              Beyond your GUTS, what supports your opinion here? Looks like the only thing that could stop him producing that well is injury.

              • Eric

                Players typically don’t improve as they move into their mid-30s, especially one whose greatest asset is speed. Once again, you are paying for past performance here instead of future performance. Not to mention he has had 2 years with a WAR over 3, once of which proved to be an outlier. That’s not putting up a 3 WAR “in his sleep”.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Elsbury’s biggest assets are not his legs: in fact, they are way down on the list. His biggest assets are power and above average OBP. Sure, he’ll steal some bases; but he’d be pretty much just as valuable if he didn’t bother. (Perhaps more so: he’d hurt himself less playing like that!)

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            That suggests that his legs have nothing to do with his OBP and SLG.

            • Jason P

              That’s a great point.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Well, I’m sure that Els had one or two infield singles that a slower guy wouldn’t have gotten this year. However, his infield hit percentage was under 5%, which was a career low for him. Now, I would not put too much stock in that meaning anything: but it certainly contradicts the idea that his legs are some huge asset.

              I am not too sure that Els would be keen to come to the Cubs. People might recall that Els missed a lot of time a few years ago due to an undiagnosed hairline fracture of a rib. The Sox (run by Theo) were very reluctant to admit that there was something actually wrong with him, and Els took a lot of heat from the local media and even teammates for not “manning up.” They all looked pretty dumb when they finally found the problem. (Moreover, I seem to remember that it was diagnosed by someone outside of the organization!) That was a few years ago, but it is possible that hurt feelings linger.

              • On The Farm

                “I am not too sure that Els would be keen to come to the Cubs. ”

                Parade rained on.

              • jt

                I’ve lived in the Boston area for that past 10 years.
                Doc is right on the money on this one.
                I’m a big fan of “Els”.
                Still for that money and at his age and the stage of development of The Cubs…
                I’d take a pass.

          • C. Steadman

            speed isnt way down on the list…he’s lead the AL in SB in 3 of his 4 “full seasons”…he stole 52 bases and only got caught 4 times this year…thats an insane success rate…and also one of his great assets

          • mjhurdle

            I wouldn’t say that Ellsbury has a ton of power. He has only hit more than 9 HRs in a season once. And while he hits a respectable amount of doubles, that could definitely be tied to his legs more than his power.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              No, it was tied to his power. (I listen to Sox games whenever they are not opposite the Cubs.)

  • willis

    Please Jesus, I’d rather see Rusin and Baker getting bombed out every 5th day than Arroyo on this team.

    As I’ve said for months, the cubs do not have the money to play the Tanaka game, so give up hope on that right now. Kick the tires and Price and Scherzer to see what it would take. Tanaka is going to be way out of the park for this FO.

  • SenorGato

    You see how the Dodgers get a duh on Tanaka? The Cubs should have that. When do they get there?

  • poloy

    Quit griping on who they didn’t get.
    Cubs added a lot of good talent the last 2 years. They won’t be getting All the great talent.

    Choo is only FA that makes sense. They shouldn’t try to buy a championship, just look at the Yankees.

    This FO is doing it right, give them another year or 2.

    • SenorGato

      I’d take one of the great talents at this point.

    • SenorGato

      The Yankees bought a WS just 4 years ago.

      • CubbieBubba

        and the yankees make tons of money and dont have attendance problems

        • CubbieBubba

          …not on the scale the cubs do anyway. not yet.

          • SenorGato

            It takes alot of effort to do what the Cubs have done the past 3 years.

            • CubbieBubba

              I guess my original point should have been, that it wouldn’t hurt to get a big time player in the short term because it would still put behinds in the seats. The argument against signing someone like Cano is too frequently: he won’t help them win a World Series in the next 2 years. So what, personally, having Cano vs No Cano is the difference between me going to maybe 2 games at Wrigley next year vs 10+. It’s too painful to watch the cubs when the best hitter in the lineup is Bogusevic – there is nothing to get excited about.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            It wouldn’t matter much if the Yanks attendance did fall: the Yanks main revenue source is TV these days. They also make a ton on general merchandising.

        • terenceman

          The Yankees also had 3 generational players on their team entering the 2008-9 off-season.

    • YourResidentJag

      Choo is showing splits that with age concern me…like his ability to hit against LHP.

      • SenorGato

        He also sucks at defense.

        • auggie55

          Choo sucks at defense as a CF, but as a RF he is very good. Choo was forced to play CF this yr because the Reds already had Bruce in RF.

          Since the Cubs minor leagues are so thin at C, I can understand them wanting to sign either McCann or Salty. I like Castillo, but if the Cubs sign a C FA they can wait on their minor league OFs to develop and become ready for the ML.

          • bbmoney

            “as a RF he is very good”

            The defensive metrics from 2008-12 disagree with that. Both on fangraphs and baseball reference.

            • bbmoney

              If you sign Choo, which I’m not entirely opposed to, it’s because he is a career .390 OBP guy who’s never posted an OBP below .344 in his career.

              He’s a very bad defensive OF at any position (truly awful in center) and he doesn’t handle lefties well.

    • C. Steadman

      Yankees arent a good example of how buying championships dont work….this is only the 2nd time theyve missed the playoffs since 1995…with 5 WS rings since then

      • Castro to Barney to Chance

        But think of how cost-ineffective those WS victories were!

        • C. Steadman

          i never said they were cost-effective, just pointed out that using the Yankees to argue that buyin world series doesnt work is faulty

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Ah, but you are missing the basic premise underlying the logic: any tactics or strategies that does not win EVERY year clearly are flawed.

  • cubs2003

    If those are the kind of numbers Ellisbury is looking at sweet Jesus, stay away. I had to read that bullet twice to make sure I didn’t misread it.

  • Gopher Cub

    In regards to Tanaka, I see the hype of him being equal to or just slightly exceeding the excitement that surrounded Fukudome when he was a cub. The question then becomes will the revenue gained and Tanaka’s play out weigh the likely 120 million the Cubs would have to drop to get him through the bidding process and actually signing.

    • Chad

      I think it would depend on how many years the additional 60 is for. Is it 5, 6 or 7 years for example? I would hope the whole thing would be closer to 6 years for 100 mil (including the bidding)

  • Mike

    I’d personally try to get Cano, due to his production, winning tradition and the veteran presence he could bring to the Cubs. I understand due to age them not doing it and holding tight on spending money in the free agent market for one more year.

    I would go after the Cuban “Abreu”. If the FO thought process is to acquire long term assets and build organizational depth, than I would surprised if they do not pursue Abreu regardless of Rizzo’s presence.

    Given the positional talent coming up it makes a lot of sense for 2014 offseason to be the year to spend big dollars on free agent pitching. Kershaw, Scherzer, Lester, Shields all could be available. All will likely not be, but signing one could springboard the 2015 season.

    • SenorGato

      From what I understand the Cubs are terrified by the implication in signing a Cano.

      • terenceman

        Cano is exactly the kind of player a team would blow-up its payroll to get if it thought it was one player from getting over the hump toward winning a WS. He’s the kind of player the Cubs might go after following 2015.

        • terenceman

          Or 2014 if it looks like the minor league players won’t have the pieces they need to be the team they want to be.

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