Quantcast

wallet cashI was thinking quite a bit about that Tim Lincecum deal last night (because that’s what I do with my spare time – think about relatively minor baseball contracts for players who have no connection whatsoever to the Cubs).

Let’s imagine that two years, $35 million, and a no-trade clause for Lincecum (who was about to become a free agent) isn’t really an overpay in the current, cash-flush baseball market. That’s at least as plausible as Brian Sabean, long a successful GM, completely and horribly misreading the market. In a world where guys like Lincecum can command $17.5 million per year, I wonder about the long-term ramifications of that shift in the market. Yes, it would mean that teams would be even more aggressively hoarding prospects and trying to lock up young stars with long-term deals (the teams might even take on more risk to do so). After all, if acquiring a guy like Lincecum is going to cost you so much money, those cost-controlled players become even more valuable.

On the other hand, at what point does the pendulum swing so far in that direction that players begin to push back against it? Which is to say, at what point do players who are a couple years out from free agency – or even three or four – simply refuse to discuss extensions, knowing that the possible payoff in free agency has become absurdly huge?

A pre-arbitration extension (i.e., an extension that comes within the first three years of a player’s service, and covers some or all of his arbitration years plus a year or two of free agency) makes sense for both the player and the team, since it provides cost certainty for the team, and the first big, guaranteed payday for the player. But the Matt Cain/Cole Hamels/Justin Verlander/Felix Hernandez-type extensions? The ones that come just a year or two before free agency? Teams wouldn’t be doing them if they didn’t project a benefit. And as the dollars skew the pay scale further and further north, those players will start to wonder whether they’re not maximizing their value, especially when they’re so close to free agency.

Perhaps within a couple years, we won’t see in-house extensions for players a year or two away from free agency anymore, unless those extensions are clearly at or above market rate (as we just saw with Lincecum).

In any event, that player-driven pendulum isn’t going to swing in the offseason, and we’re left to wonder how this emerging, ebullient market is going to affect a team like the Cubs, who have indicated that they don’t presently have huge dollars available to commit. I have two thoughts.

First: You know what might be the savviest long-term move for the Cubs this offseason? Grab a couple mid/lower-tier free agents early in the offseason (the guys the Cubs really want as complementary pieces), jumping them with an aggressive, short-term offer (think $1.5 million for Dioner Navarro last year or $6 million for Scott Feldman). From there, you wait. Do nothing. Sit out the market (which is relatively thin anyway), and let the enormous chips fall where they may. Come late January, the big spenders will be spent out, and the few remaining upper tier free agents – there are always at least a couple – will be left with fewer and fewer options (especially guys who are tied to draft pick compensation). Then, perhaps, the Cubs can pounce and find actual value in a market that will have very little of it for the foreseeable future.

When salaries exploded the last time around in the mid-to-late-2000s, this was a strategy employed by savvy small market teams to compete at the margins. If that’s what the Cubs are right now, then why not embrace the strategy until the new TV deal kicks in and the meat of the Wrigley renovations are underway? Maybe it’s another year or two, but at least it gives the Cubs a chance of fielding a competitive team, even as they aren’t spending the biggest of bucks. (And, if the team isn’t competitive, this kind of strategy has the side benefit of accumulating players on contracts that are very likely to be flippable.)

Then, when the Cubs are ready to spend big, maybe that pendulum has swung back, and more players are reaching free agency. That’d be a good time to have a lot of cash ready to be deployed, yes?

Second thought: In the meantime, might I suggest that those pre-arbitration extensions should become even more of a focus than they already were. If it means extending guys earlier and earlier, and taking on the risk of guaranteeing millions of dollars to unproven players, I say go for it. In 2008, when player salaries were exploding the last time around, the Tampa Bay Rays – one of those savvy, small market teams to which I referred – signed Evan Longoria to a six-year, $17.5 million contract (with three option years that took it up to $44 million) after he’d played exactly six days in the big leagues. It turned out to be what may have been the best contract in baseball history.

Sure, Longoria could have broken a leg or forgotten how to hit a fastball. But, in the era of $35 million Tim Lincecums, is a Longoria contract for a Kris Bryant or a Javier Baez really that significant of a risk?

  • YourResidentJag
    • CubFan Paul

      Very Interesting…revenue is up to $320M from $270M.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        It’s not necessarily “up” – it’s a different estimate by a different entity in a different year. I’d be very surprised to learn that revenues climbed from 2012 to 2013, let alone by 20%.

        • CubFan Paul

          I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s been multiple reports the past couple years about new sponsorship arrangements & events that the Crane Kenney side has been doing. Plus, the $270M was always an average not a year to year figure.

          • Cyranojoe

            Crane’s a magician if he’s pulling that off in this economy, with the team in the state it’s in. But I hope it’s true — if so, good for him, and for the Cubs!

        • cubfanincardinalland

          Where is the disconnect? As you say, the Cubs indicate they don’t have money to go out and sign big name contracts. And they certainly have been operating like a mid range level club.
          Yet Bloomberg says they are 5th in all of baseball in revenue. Where is the money?

          • X The Cubs Fan

            They’re paying for these renovations pretty much out of pocket and Ricketts is in debt.

            • When the Music’s Over

              At this point, it’s probably not a bad idea for fans to embrace the mid-market spending culture for the foreseeable future (3-5 years).

            • cubfanincardinalland

              What renovations?

              • YourResidentJag

                Yep.

              • Ken

                There are renovations EVERY year to Wrigley Field. It’s 100 years old. Plus the coming proposed renovations to the clubhouse, office building addition etc…

                • YourResidentJag

                  So why would those renovations be any different for the Trib Corp.? I think he’s talking about the proposed widescale renovations.

    • SH

      Nice link, and all the more frustrating wrt cash for major league player salaries…owners could likely make a profit on flipping this team alone, but yet we wait for them to funnel revenue back to pay off the debt which would be covered by that value increase. Of course, a market could turn at any time (see this post for an example!), but still a bummer. At least we have what appears to be a bright future!

    • Brains

      more evidence of the fakery that’s been going on by the ricketts. we’re not chumps, are we? can we at least expect that they’ll run the MLB with some semblance of dignity?

  • YourResidentJag

    Like watching Holmes and Spiegel online. Worth it in the mornings.

  • Blackhawks1963

    The fact that veteran / free agent salaries are skyrocketing is of minimal issue for the Cubs right now. This is a good thing. TheoJed are entering year 3 of the building strategy and we aren’t in a position yet to add complementary free agents. Nor do we have any big names about to come down for their first big contract.

    So let others go into crazy bidding for Cano, Tanaka, Garza, Jimenez, etc. We sit in a very good spot right now. Very soon Baez and Bryant will arrive on the doorstep. The foundation is starting to form and this thing soon to take off.

    The one thing I WOULD say is that I would aggressively shop Samardzija right now. He’s a low mileage pitcher who is not yet expensive. Given the extreme demand and crazy bidding for starting pitching right now he should command a great return in trade. Call Arizona…see if they bite on a package centered on Archie Bradley. Call the Dodgers. Call the Angels. Call the Red Sox. Call the Nationals.

  • Blackhawks1963

    By the way, apparently Rick Renteria is coming to Chicago for a 2nd round of interviews. Acta, Hinch and Martinez are not. And the Cubs apparently still want to talk with Torey Lovullo.

    I’ve said for a week it sure looks like Renteria is going to be the hire. Unless Lovullo absolutely blows them away in the 11th hour. I’m good with Renteria. Great resume…gets high marks from everybody he’s ever encountered in baseball…has managed in the minors…is bi-lingual…embraces statistics.

    • DarthHater

      I can’t form an opinion of the guy until I see his batting order and bullpen management on opening day. After that, I’ll have a vehement view of him set in stone forever. :-P

    • TWC

      “I’ve said for a week it sure looks like Renteria is going to be the hire.”

      “I told you so”s are for insecure jerks. Preemptive “I told you so”s are even worse.

      • DarthHater

        Yea, I’m sticking with the secure jerks.

  • SH

    “find actual value in a market that will have very little of it for the foreseeable future”

    But of course “value” is defined by the market.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      I think value, in this sense was meant to mean of value to the Cubs.

  • war

    Long time reader first time post. I have been thinking the cubs should do two things this offseason to shore up the major league club. 1 sign Curtis granderson, OF with good power will cost less than other power bats (cano) less per year contract. Move 2 trade for Sherzer (spelling) from the Tigers. He is only 28 has improved and may cost less then other options and is better then Other FA options. Tigers asking price could be less then Tampa’s asking price for David Price. Once trade is done sign him to a long term deal. May be less then what dodgers pay Kershaw. The cubs then have a good power bat to help score some runs and an ace pitcher already in place when the kids hit the show. I’m not sure what kids would go to the tigers but it won’t set us back as far as price would. What do you think?

    • YourResidentJag

      I agree with the Granderson part at the right price.

    • @murdiddlyurdler

      no.

      • Mdavis

        Scherzer is going to cost a similar package of prospects as Price.

        • Blackhawks1963

          The deep pocket Tigers are under no pressure to trade Scherzer. I think the “rumor” that he could be traded is a load of hoey. But if Scherzer is traded then it will cost the motherlode to acquire him.

          • war

            Could cost one of the big four few others down the ranks but FO could use shark or Castro as throw ins. Tigers are in a different place then most teams and are looking some towards tomorrow but are clearly wanting to win now. It’s better then two of the big four and four others down the ranks Tampa will want

            • Dave

              Castro and Shark are not just throw ins.
              Both of them would get a lot back if you put them on the trade market.

    • ssckelley

      The only thing I don’t like about Granderson is that he is another left handed hitter in an outfield already full of them. The Cubs desperately need to find another Soriano to hit between Rizzo and Schierholtz.

      • YourResidentJag

        Well, for this year, yes. But I’m looking at him being the power hitter we need as well in 2015 and 2016. The time when we get all those RH power bats up from the farm.

        • ssckelley

          hmmmmm, you might have me on that one. Possibly as early as May 1st the Cubs could have a right handed option coming up.

          Castro
          Lake/Sweeney
          Rizzo
          BAEZ (woo hoo!)
          Granderson
          Schierholtz
          Olt/Valbuena/Murphy
          Castillo

          /drools

          • YourResidentJag

            Well, not to get too premature, but yes that’s what I’m thinking. We’ll see how Mr Baez performs at the AAA level.

            • ssckelley

              I still want Corey Hart though, assuming he can pass a physical. Having Lake and Sweeney coming off the bench would be a nice luxury.

              • Indy57

                Yep

              • YourResidentJag

                Corey Hart would be a solid acquisition. My problem is a 1 yr deal and then it would be all too easy for Theo to flip him for prospects.

                • ssckelley

                  I think it takes more than 1 year to get Hart, again, assuming he can pass a physical. But coming off injuries I do not think he would approach the kind of money Choo, Cano, and Ellsbury will command this off season.

                • Voice of Reason

                  A few free agents that the Cubbies should look at:

                  1. Halladay
                  2. Volquez
                  3. Gavin Floyd

                  Position:
                  1. Juan Pierre
                  2. Delmon Young
                  3. John Buck
                  4. Chavez

                  You sign each to no more than 2 years. And, if one wants big bucks then you move on.

                  Next year is going to be just like this year. Waiting for the kids to develop.

                  Don’t tie up a lot of money with free agents. Keep that money pool together and when you’re ready to compete you dive into the free agent waters OR trade to fill holes.

                  Everyone says they need to sign free agents when you have the chance to fill a hole. Don’t forget that we can also make trades for holes that we have.

                  If we pass on Choo now, perhaps he’s available in two years if we need an outfielder to fill a hole.

                  • Voice of Reason

                    Chris Young in the outfield, too!!

                  • ssckelley

                    This will be the 2nd year in a row I am beating the drum for Chavez. I think having a veteran third baseman around like that would be great for the prospects. Plus he can still hit and play the position.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Ok by me.

    • Jim

      I don’t see pitching as an issue with the Cubs. I would definitely want to see how guys like Rusin, Arieta, Hendricks, Black, Edmunds, Pierce, etc do before I trade away a lot of top prospects for a starting pitcher. Maybe this is more of a next Winter topic.

      I would go after Choo before Granderson. Though close in age, I believe Choo offers more of what the Cubs need than Granderson. I think both guys will have a lot of suitors this FA period as well as Ellsbury.

  • war

    Maybe one year pillow contract or option year for granderson

    • CubFan Paul

      I’d like to see Schierholtz traded, then upgrade to a guy like Granderson/a power bat looking for a 1-2yr deal.

      • ssckelley

        That could be interesting, back in July I often wondered what the asking price was on him and I was shocked the Pirates were not all over Schierholtz as they seemed to be a logical fit.

      • YourResidentJag

        Unfortunately, I think if the Cubs were to get him, it would have to be at 3 to 4 yrs. At 4 yrs, I’m skeptical we sign him, though.

  • war

    Granderson can be had yanks want Beltran redsox will want victorino dodgers tigers braves and nationals are full angels are broke mets maybe after cano. Only the whitesox or cardinals would go after him and that’s not even for sure since the cardinals have taveras and sox are trying to slash payroll

  • Blackhawks1963

    Granderson is about to turn 33 and will have zero problem getting a 3 year contract. He strikes out 175 plus times and is extreme benefactor of the short RF porch at Yankee Stadium. He also needs to play the corner outfield at this point because his skills in CF have significantly eroded. And there are a lot of teams interested in his services, meaning the Yankees are going to tag him.

    No thanks for the Cubs. I’m not in the mood to acquire a hi-strikeout 33 year old with major injury concerns on a big money 3 year deal. Schierholtz is a much better option in RF for the money until Baez or Bryant factor into the outfield equation.

    • YourResidentJag

      You’re assuming Bryant will be an OF. You’re assuming Granderson will get injured. You’re assuming he can’t play CF for one more season before moving to LF. You’re assuming he can hit HRs in Wrigley, especially with the wind blowing out. Lots of assumptions, there.

      • YourResidentJag

        *can’t

      • Blackhawks1963

        We shall have to disagree. I’m not ponying up $40 M plus on Granderson and I dont’ think TheoJed are either. He really needs to move to the corner outfield spot, and will cost the Cubs their 2nd round pick. We need to add a 33 year old who strikes out nearly 200 times a year like we need a hole in the head.

        • YourResidentJag

          I’m ok with it because we desperately need LH power and it could be available this offseason at a reasonable price. Yep, $40 mil is a reasonable price when you figure estimates for Choo could be upwards of $100 for a guy roughly the same age. So, if it’s a hole in the head…fine.

    • ssckelley

      I am with you on the concern of his SO rate, age, and what the market prices him out at. But in his time with the Yankees Granderson has hit 63 home runs in Yankee Stadium while hitting 52 on the road, those are not numbers that reflect a “extreme benefactor of the short RF porch”.

      • YourResidentJag

        Thought so.

        • YourResidentJag

          I guess I should further respond to this statement. As you proven, Granderson doesn’t really have a significant advantage playing at Yankee Stadium. Also, another point, more ppl on here want Choo over Granderson. But when you consider BB%, up until this past year, the two players are virtually the same. Will the high BB% rate this yr for Choo continue? I don’t know. I do know that, once again, his numbers against LHP are concerning.

    • war

      I see your point Blackhawks but it may be one to two years before the kids come up and our present line up has not RBI guys. The games lost early this season where one or two run loses when need and RBI guy. I think granderson may be the best option in total contract years wise we may pay a bit more but bidding won’t be through the roof

      • Blackhawks1963

        Let me just put it this way…I will be shocked if TheoJed have interest in Granderson for a variety of reason. Ditto Choo and Ellsbury. I don’t see the Cubs making a big ticket addition to the outfield. Not with one of Bryant or Baez likely to figure into the outfield picture soon and this team not at the point where adding complementary “big ticket” free agents makes sense.

        I think IF the Cubs make a splash in free agency, it will be on Brian McCann. But even there the bidding for his services is expected to go crazy.

        • YourResidentJag

          So, you’re suggesting a guy who could easily top $100 in the open market and plays the most physically demanding position on the field. And because of age will have to change positions to probably DH. Talk about a hole in the head.

      • ssckelley

        But in a weak market someone will over pay for Granderson. But be careful, your RBI comments will get the stat nerds all lathered.

        • war

          Thanks man not trying to start fights I don’t understand the stat dynamics as of yet I just look at what was lacking and saw grandersons RBI totals and thought it fit

  • Justin

    Wow, on the Timmy contract. I honestly didn’t even think the Giants would make a $14 Mill qualifying offer on him. If they did make the qualifying offer would another team give up draft compensation AND pay him more than that?? That dude’s decline has been insane. I just don’t get it at all…

  • MichaelD

    Are players signing extensions one or two years out signing for much below market price? They should be signing for a little below market, because they are getting some risk reduction. I think we are only seeing what looks like signings that look like good discounts for the teams because the prices have escalated so quickly that any signing a year or two ago looks like a discount.

    I guess that I would doubt that we will see a lot more players coming into free agency than we have. The players will just be making more in their extensions than they have in the past. Those deals will still make sense for both the players and the teams just at a higher salary.

    I think the way we will see an increase in the number of players going to free agency is if there becomes a bigger gap between haves and have-nots. In that case the have-nots will not be able to re-sign their players at close to market price.

  • jh03

    Part of me wants Mike Trout to hold out until free agency just to see how ridiculous of a deal he would get. If 1.6 wins are worth 17.5 mil a year, and a no-trade clause, what’s 10+ wins a year (wayyy before your prime) cost?

    • jh03

      And obviously Trout would be in his prime when free agency hit.. I just put that there to note he’s at 10 wins now – what will he be at then?

    • Blackhawks1963

      Harper and Trout are going to break the bank at some point. The contract showered on each will be in the stratosphere.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      $600 billion, 18 lifetime contract.

      • jh03

        This is probably low-balling him… ha.

    • ssckelley

      You are right on Trout, I know I am hoping the Cubs are in a position to get in on him when he hits free agency. It does not happen very often that someone that good hits the free agent market when he is in the prime of his career. But the numbers will be insane, for Harper as well. Back to back years we will see Trout in 2018 and then Harper in 2019 hit the free agent market.

      • Blackhawks1963

        The large market and deep pocket Angels aren’t going to let Trout go anywhere. They will invariably sign him because he has become ubitiquous with that franchise. If it takes $300 M to sign him, then they will pay him that.

        Meanwhile the Nationals have a billionaire owner in Ted Lerner and are focused on investing big to win. Harper is very doubtful ever to leave the clutches of the Nationals.

    • Cubbie in NC

      Trout it appears is heading down the path of holding out to be a FA. I do not blame him, I would want to see how the Angels are going to be before I sign on long term. By the looks of things he will be looking to get out.

  • Eric

    I wonder how willing Scott Boras would be to let his clients sign a Longoria contract knowing that the market could turn again during the contract years….

    • ssckelley

      But the thing is it was a huge risk for the Rays to take. Had he flamed out the Rays would be out 144.5 million.

      Would you offer Baez a 10/144.5 contract today?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Wrong Longoria contract.

        • ssckelley

          I am confused: 15 yrs/$144.5M (08-22) & 23 team option is what Baseball Reference lists for his contract.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            That incorporates the more recent extension he signed. His original extension – the pre-arb one – is the one referenced in this piece.

  • Oswego Chris

    I will check it out again, but if I recall, the free-agent market has very little value…so clamoring for the Cubs to sign free agents will not be a good allotment of resources…

    Now, if you would like them to identify some salaries to trade for….Price…etc, that’s a valid argument to spend…just be ready to give up precious prospects

    • YourResidentJag

      Wouldn’t suggest that move. FAs don’t cost precious resources.

      • CubbieBubba

        …unless they are tagged. Even though that will just cost a 2nd round pick, its probably worth more on the time frame the cubs are running than most available free agents.
        That said, I hope they do plunk down some money on whatever free agents they can to hopefully put a team on the field in 2014 that isn’t so painful to watch.

        • YourResidentJag

          As far as losing a second round pick, maybe. Eventually we won’t be getting as high of picks so yes, I can see the merits of keeping the 2nd rounder.

    • Andrew

      I think there are some pretty valuable pieces on the FA market this year.

      Dan Haren and Chris Young both had disappointing years, but there are encouraging numbers with them. Haren still strikes a lot of people out (8/9IP) without walking many (1.64/9IP). Young still walks plenty(9.6%) and plays good defense but had a tough BABIP (.237, compared to his career avg of .274) that dragged his numbers down.

      I’ll also keep banging the Choo drum that he would be a great piece to have, even if he’ll cost a lot. There are few players in the league as good at getting on base as he is and that is something the cubs lack now and unfortunately will probably lack for a while as our best prospects still don’t walk a ton.

  • Rizzo1684

    I want to run a crazy idea by some of you, if the Cubs are not going to go after any big free agents and still want to make it look like they are putting a competitive team on the field. Would either team make a trade if it was say Dan Uggla and most of his contract and their #1 prospect Lucas Sims (top 100 prospect but is 3 years away) for Darwin Barney. A team like the Braves need salary relief very badly due to everyone of their top players are in arb. We could actually benefit from the chance that Uggla bounces back and the $ due to us not going out for any big time free agents anyway. I think it would be a win/win for both teams, if not Uggla how about Ethier with the same type of deal or another team that is under a bad contract. I just don’t see these type of deals being done and I have always wondered why?

    • Blackhawks1963

      Uggla is horrendous as a hitter and even worse defensively at 2nd base. He’s finished. Let him stay Atlanta’s problem.

    • Nate Dawg

      IMO, Atlanta probably wouldn’t trade away their top prospect for a slightly above replacement-level 2B who can’t hit (and will also need to be paid soon). But what do I know? I’m just a random dude on the internet.

    • ssckelley

      So basically I am paying Atlanta $26 million to buy one of their top pitching prospects and giving them Barney? They can keep Uggla though, I would rather have Watkins at 2nd base.

      Well, there went our money for free agency. But interesting concept.

      • Andrew

        Dan Uggla is much, much better than Watkins. Uggla strikes out but so does Watkins (20.8% K rate in iowa). The difference is that Uggla adds more walks and much much more power to go with his high K rate. Uggla had a bad year but every other year he’s played he has been an above average player. To think that Watkins is better than him is the epitome of loving your own prospects too much. At the same price exactly ZERO GMs would rather have Watkins than Uggla.

        • Brains

          uggla is getting worse and fast. he’s the kind of player i fear signing because he’s at the decline stage age-wise and is already worse than other players after their decline. ellsbury is a similar worry for a long contract. he’s fast, but guys don’t stay fast into their mid-30s, and then those other stats suffer because so much is based on his speed.

        • ssckelley

          I could not disagree more, and I am not very high on Watkins. Uggla did not just have 1 bad year, he has regressed statistically the past 3 years.

          • Andrew

            Yes he is a declining player, but so was Soriano at age 33 and look what he just did at age 37. There is still a lot of value in players that are in decline. Uggla is still a better player than Watkins

            • ssckelley

              We don’t know that, the only advantage Uggla has is he can still hit the ball out of the ball park once in a while and the last couple of years he has not done that enough to justify his horrible glove at 2nd base. The past 3 years his OPS has dropped .206 (from .877 down to .671), at that rate he might be hitting worse than Barney last season.

  • Rizzo1684

    I understand and the point is not us getting Uggla b/c he’s a good player, the Cubs look at it as getting a top 100 prospect for nothing more than money. While having a once popular name that can still hit homeruns to play 2b or 3b or just DH when we play in the AL.

    • war

      Good thought rizzo I don’t think uggla can help and don’t think you could pry a top prospect out but maybe ten thru teens rank but points to you for outside the box thinking

    • On The Farm

      Just seems a bit out there though. I mean really looking at Uggla’s decline, you are spending all of his contract money on a prospect, which as you pointed out is three years away. I mean it might make more sense if the pitching prospect was closer and you had a better idea of what you were getting. Also, we don’t play a whole lot of games against the AL in a given year (played 20 games against the AL this year, not all in the AL ball parks). So really we would be carrying a really expensive defensive liability. I don’t mean to crap all over your post, but three straight years of decline coupled with a real young prospect for $26 million seems like a stretch for this front office.

      • ssckelley

        But his post does make me wonder when we will see the day teams start buying prospects from smaller market teams. If teams are willing to shell out 300 million for a 30+ year old 2nd baseman, or $35 million for 2 years on a declining pitcher, spending $26 million on a top A ball pitcher almost seems reasonable.

        • Kyle

          Well, part of the reason the 30-year-olds get so much money is because the system is rigged to keep the 20 year olds from bargaining their services on the open market.

        • jt

          until recently PEDs (including greenies) maintained the value of older and wiser and more proven players. Travel and the loss of the ability to stave off decline is giving more of an advantage to younger players who are cheaper.
          I believe The Cubs could spend spend spend. I believe they believe there is not much value to doing that.

          • ssckelley

            You really think so? Look at how much money they were willing to spend for 16 year old international prospects. We all know A league top prospects are risky but not as much as 16 year olds. As we see more and more large market teams widening the gap in revenues it makes me wonder if we would ever see the day a small market team sells off a prospect in order have the payroll to acquire a badly needed free agent. When you think about it this is not much different than teams trading away players for prospects at the trade deadline with the team trading away the veteran player kicking in some cash. The Soriano deal was structured this way, the more money the Cubs had to kick in the better the prospect they wanted in return.

            • ssckelley

              In looking back on it, the Cubs paid the Yankees $29.2 million for Corey Black.

              • Brains

                exactly. it was a terrible trade done for really no reason. we didn’t have a replacement. Jed Bartman move.

                • ssckelley

                  I disagree, Corey Black looked pretty good at Daytona this year. He will probably start next year at AA.

                • hansman

                  Mmmm, I wonder what you’d be saying if they didn’t trade Soriano for Black?

              • mjhurdle

                where is the 29.2M coming from? i thought the Cubs were only on the hook for 17M of that contract, of which Soriano only had like 25M left on.

                So if you wanted to break it down that way, wouldn’t it be that the Cubs paid the Yankees 17M for Corey Black? Or am i missing something?

                • ssckelley

                  I just went to baseball reference and looked up how much of Soriano’s contract is impacting the payroll. I suppose they did not actually give the Yankees 29.2 million, all I see is between this year and next that is what they owe Soriano.

              • jt

                The Cubs would have also had to pay Soriano another $5.8M on which they would have reaped nothing for the future.
                So, the net loss would be closer to $23.4M.
                If they get 6 years of use out of Black as a RP’er for about $9.6M then they average about $5.5M ((23.4 + 9.6)/6) a year for those years.
                But then again, Soriano was sunk cost to begin with so the above, it Black pans out, is not too bad.

            • cms0101

              The money they spent on 16 year olds adds up to what they gave Nate Schierholtz last year. Still, I don’t see why a team wouldn’t accept more salary to get a good prospect back in return. Ownership would have to be seriously committed to something like that though. Taking in bad contracts just to get a little something extra isn’t going to be popular with owners. In a deal like Soriano’s, the Yankees wanted him. They were willing to give more depending on how much salary the Cubs absorbed, but taking Uggla and his money and getting a prospect isn’t the same because the Cubs don’t want Uggla.

              • ssckelley

                But if the Braves were willing to give me a top 100 prospect to eat all his salary then I might be listening if all I had to give up was a Barney or a Watkins. Basically the Cubs would be paying 26 million for a top 100 prospect. If Baez or Alcantara show they are ready to take over you can always flip Uggla to someone else.

                No question it is an odd deal, but again I can’t help but wonder if the day is coming where these types of deals happen. The Braves are still a playoff team, but 26 million tied up into Uggla could keep them from pursing anyone in the FA market. In the future this could be a way a small to mid market team remains competitive.

            • jt

              If you look at it as “R”eturn “O”n “I”vestment the money spent on FA diminishes that spent on prospects. But there is also a cost to the Vets without greenies during heavy travel periods. They just don’t respond as well as younger players to an unsettled schedule and recovery from nagging injuries. That results in the cost of diminished wins.
              The off season workouts without PEDs become harder for the older guys. So the year to year maintenance of performance is harder.
              Vets were worth more during the PED era.
              Factor in the money needed to acquire vets and keep vets and you get a diminished ROI.

              • ssckelley

                Yep, sorry…I read your post wrong the first time.

                • jt

                  I feel better for all the times I’ve read posts incorrectly…
                  thanks.

            • YourResidentJag

              I still think PEDs gave an advantage of longetivity to an older player. I think you’re going to see a more pronounced dropoff in the years after age 34 for most players now.

      • Rizzo1684

        There is no right or wrong answer @Onthefarm so please crap all over the idea all you want lol. I was just wondering why trades such as this never happen. You are right 26 million is a lot of money for a player who is clearly on his decline. BUT a prospect like Lucas Sims who is being ranking in the top 60 rankings in a few listings is a really good prospect (but not at that untouchable level.) Also would Atlanta ever even consider this? Maybe not b/c of the value of a really good starting pitcher. I want to know where the line is and I could see Atlanta making the move b/c 26 million could be used now in locking up a lot of their players which is a big value and I could the Cubs doing it if they are high enough on a prospect like Sims to make the trade.

      • Andrew

        Yes Uggla is on the decline, but that doesn’t mean that declining players arent still valuable. He had a bad year last year. but compare his age 33 year to Sorianos age 33 year then look at what soriano did the next few years. He went from a well below average player at 33 to an average to above average player for the next few years. A player doesnt just go from a well above average player for 7 years to a suddenly worthless player. Uggla is still a valuable player, even if hes not worth all of what he’s owed the next few years

        • Brains

          for an extremely incentive-based contract he might be a good pickup, but for high upfront money uggla is the worst of all possible signings

          • Andrew

            It wouldnt be a signing. If the cubs got him, it would be with Atlanta taking on a good portion of what is owed to him.

            • Brains

              ah sorry

        • Rizzo1684

          I agree with you Andrew and I think the deal would probably be someone like Watkins (cheaper than Barney) another lower level prospect for Uggla and a top prospect. I would make the trade and everyone is going to say what about Olt, Alcantara, Baez, and Barney…. actually no one would say Barney. My answer to all of them is if any of the prospects knock down the door and are ready to play then we just got ourselves an expensive bench bat with a top 100 prospect in our system.

          • Andrew

            The problem is that teams dont look to get rid of prospects, especially well regarded ones, simply for salary relief. The only likely trade scenario would be the cubs sending a minor player or prospect to the braves for uggla where Atlanta eats a decent amount of ugglas salary.

            • ssckelley

              You are right, they don’t make these types of deals now but my question is that day coming? If I am the Braves and say for example I wanted Choo, but my payroll budget did not allow me to pursue him. I called the Cubs, offered the deal Rizzo1684 suggested and that allowed me to sign Choo. If I was the Atlanta GM that would be like trading a top 100 prospect for Choo and Barney or Watkins with hardly any impact to my payroll. To me that seems like a brilliant move on the part of the Braves GM and if I am the Cubs I just bought a top 100 pitching prospect for less than what Lincecum will cost the Giants over the same 2 years. Everybody wins!

  • Funn Dave

    Haha, Voice of Reason and I were debating the merits of long-term contracts just last night.

  • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com TC

    Important to note that tall MLB teams are getting 50-75 million in additional revenue from national MLB deals. That’s an absurd amount of money coming into the market at once, to say nothing of pending TV money explosions coming to individual teams. The $/WAR is going to undergo a large, immediate jump due to this, and a secondary bump due to less WAR being available on the market. If the free agent $/WAR ended up at $10million by 2015, it wouldnt shock me at all

  • jt

    Lincecum:
    First half of 2012 is sunk cost. That money is gone. It was not money well spent by the Giants.
    Since the 2012 AS break has 287 IP and has given up 134 ER for a 4.20 ERA in 47 starts.
    That is an avg of a bit over 6 IP per start or about 200 IP per a 32 start year.
    *
    I assume that Sabean knows much more about Lincecum than any of us.
    I assume that he knows more about why Lincecum had such a terrible 2013 May and is satisfied that problem is solved.
    I assume that Sabean looks at the 148 pitch thrown no hitter and gives Lincecum a mulligan for that game that followed game.
    He could be evaluating Freak on the other 40 games tossed after the 2012 AS break of which he held his opponent to 3 ER or less 31 (many of which he pitched 7 or 8 innings) times (78%). Add in another 5 in which he allowed exactly 4 ER to get 36 of 41 starts (90%)
    So, of those 40 starts he was reasonably decent 9 out of 10 times and good more than 3 out of 4 times.
    *
    Add in 6 starts in 2013 May and the mulligan.
    32 of 47 he was good (68%) and reasonably decent 33 of 48 (70%)
    *
    So Freak is a 200 IP/year guy who gives the team a very good chance to win somewhere between 68% and 78% of the time. He gives a reasonable chance to win somewhere between 70% and 90% of the time.

    • Andrew

      I think it’s worth mentioning that Lincecum, due to his history with the giants (2WS rings, 2 Cy youngs, no hitter) he is more valuable in terms of being a team leader and as a marketing piece to them than any other team.

  • North Side Irish

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 1m
    ICYMI, a Wrigleyville apartment building owner is suing to block the Cubs’ new hotel: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20131023/BLOGS04/131029919/apartment-landlord-sues-to-block-wrigley-hotel

    Do lawsuits count against the payroll budget?

    • Kevin

      who is getting sued, the Cubs or City Hall?

      • ssckelley

        This City is listed in that lawsuit along with holding companies. Like WRIGLEYFIELD
        HOLDINGS LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, whoever that is.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      “Do lawsuits count against the payroll budget?”

      Heh, heh, heh…errhh…what am I laughing at…I’m sure it does!!

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I am not seeing an answer to my question. Bloomberg says the Cubs are 4th in all of baseball, with annual revenue of 320 million dollars. Team valued at 1.32 billion. They bought the team for 900 million just 4 years ago.
    So why did this team have a payroll of 90 million dollars last year, which was 16th in baseball? And why do I hear Theo Epstein say he thought he would have more revenue to work with when he came to the Cubs?
    Yet they tell the fans that all the money is going back into the team. So where is the money? If they are not going to spend it on a team on the field, I wish Tom would take his profit and sell the team to someone who will.

    • hansman

      Where is the annual revenue comparison in all of it? I skimmed through and didn’t see that.

      Then again, your line of questioning screams:

      [img]http://rlv.zcache.co.uk/i_ask_questions_posters-r87b8528655ec417fb7b435a225a18b5c_2800_8byvr_324.jpg[/img]

      • YourResidentJag

        Click on the link after Infographic.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          70 million more in revenue than the Cardinals, yet the Cardinals spent 25 million more in team payroll than the Cubs this season.
          320 million vs. the Reds revenue of 205 million. Yet the Reds spent 20 million more than the Cubs for their team on the field in 2013.
          115 million more in revenue than the Brewers, yet they had the same payroll this year?
          The Cubs spent 24 million more in payroll than the Pirates, and they took in 135 million more in revenue than Pittsburgh?
          The numbers are not adding up.

          • Kyle

            Something something Dominican Facility

          • cub2014

            i understand the Cubs holding back on spending
            up until now. Spend smart and spend now. We
            are very close to being competitive, only a couple
            quality big leaguers and a couple of solid rookies

          • Hebner The Gravedigger

            The numbers are not adding up because we only have a small part of the picture. Without the related expenses, a balance sheet, and a statement of cash flows we can’t accurately compare two clubs. If all MLB clubs wanted to produce this information, then we could compare.

            • cubfanincardinalland

              Why would the Cubs expenses and cash flows be any different than any other major league team? They have the same business model as any other club if they truly are allocating all revenue towards baseball.

              • hansman

                I would really love to see the math that goes into these calculations. We have an example from just a month ago where they were grossly off on the Astros numbers.

                Are they doing legitimate research into each organization or piecing together what they can about a couple of organizations and running with that across all of MLB and making educated guesses?

              • Hebner The Gravedigger

                Cubs-In-Card-Land: Your question is a good one, but I can’t possibly provide a full answer in a short post. This is my best effort to help clarify….The quote that readers on BN refer to about the Cubs allocating all revenue towards baseball operations never made any sense at all. No rationale business person would ever spend 100% of revenue on baseball without accounting for other expenses such as operating expense, debt service, Captal Exp (“CAPEX”), a basic ROI, etc. Expenses vary between clubs based on items such as size of scouting department and taxes. MLB Clubs don’t have the same size of scouting department, or pay the same taxes. CAPEX is important because big ticket purchases (Dominican Facility / Wrigley rehab) require large cash outlays, but the related revenues (cash inflows) are recognized over a long future period. All of this information (and much more) is required to evaluate / compate a biz. Again, the concept that all revenue is allocated towards baseball can not be correct. A more accurate quote from the Cubs should have been: “All net operating cash flow from the Cubs will be reinvested in the team”.

                • YourResidentJag

                  That’s a really solid explanation. Thanks.

          • war

            I believe wriggles up keep takes a good chunk of money out of the budget hence them waiting to spend after the renovations.

      • Kevin

        gotta love Cartman

  • YourResidentJag

    Arguello reporting that the Cubs have cooled on Dave Martinez. Anyone hearing the same?

    • ssckelley

      I never thought they were very high on him in the first place.

  • MightyBear

    To me the effect of the Lincecum contract is significant for the Cubs. They are trying to extend Samardizja and/or Wood. Shark seems like he wants to test the FA waters so the it would behoove the Cubs to move him now. Wood on the other hand seems like he would be open for an extension and is further away from FA. Personally, I think they should trade the Shark as soon as humanly possible and extend Wood on a five year deal.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, I think Samardzija’s agent did a little dance after seeing what Lincecum signed for.

    • Deacon

      Amen on trading Shark. I don’t want to take another long-term, high dollar ride on the Zambrano-is-he-going-to-ever-reach-his-full-potential train.

      • Cyranojoe

        Eh, personally I am comfortable with Shark where he is. If he works his butt off and becomes a true, reliable Ace, that’s great; otherwise he’s a serviceable staff ace/second until we develop/pick up the next Verlander. And I suspect once we have someone better than Shark, with whom he must genuinely compete in order to stay near the top, we’ll see a better and better player out of him. But even if that doesn’t work out, he’s still a good pitcher.

        That said, if he wants ridiculous money, then trade away. I’m just not so sure that’s the case. I think he wants to prove he’s an Ace before he ends up signing on the bottom line for 2nd/3rd money.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Sadly, we don’t have time to let him do that…he either needs to sign (by mid-year at least) or be traded for something of value.

  • jt

    Where are the wins for a team?
    Giants were 59W 21L when they allowed 3 runs or fewer in a game.
    The Braves were 71W 17L when they allowed 3 runs or fewer.
    A’s were 68W 13L when they allowed 3 runs or fewer.
    Card’s were 74W 10L when they allowed 3 runs or fewer.
    Buc’s wer 72W 19L when they allowed 3 runs or fewer.
    *
    SP’ers who can keep the score under 3 for 6 or 7 IP along with a BP who can shut things down for 2 or 3 inning is where the wins are.
    The more often they keep the score to 3 or under, the more value they retain.

    • On The Farm

      Is that why pitchers with ERA’s, FIP’s, and xFIP’s in the low three’s to high two’s are some of the best pitchers in baseball? Sorry you post just seemed a little obvious. Isn’t it kind of obvious if your Runs/game is 3-4 your best chance of winning is to hold your opponent to less than that?

      • jt

        Spahn’s FIP was 3.44 and that was low because his BB rate was low.
        Bartolo Colon’s FIP is 4.06 for his career.
        The Reds were 17W 7L when Arroyo gave up 3 or fewer runs and 0W and 8L (4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7 ER’s in these games) when 4 or more. I don’t care that his FIP was 0.449. I don’t really care what the contribution to his FIP was during the games he gave up 6 or 7 runs. I care that they only made up 12.5% of his starts.
        When evaluating a pitcher such as Lincecum I’m sure Sabean is not expecting 32 stellar starts. His value is not from the days he gets beat up. His value is the % of games he can bring the “A” stuff.

        • On The Farm

          Yeah, but I guess I still don’t understand what you are trying to say. I am just trying to say that it seems pretty obvious if you can hold a team to three runs or less you are giving your team the best chance to win.

          • jt

            “Yeah, but I guess I still don’t understand what you are trying to say”
            –On The Farm
            Note the volume of games!
            The Pirates held opponents to 3 runs or fewer 91 times. That is 56% of their games. They were 22 and 51 in games in which they allowed more than 3 runs.
            Miguel Gonzalez for the O’s was a very effective pitcher. 28 starts of which 22 he had only allowed 3 or less ER’s. I don’t care about the 3 games in which he gave up 7, 6 and 5 runs. I care that there were 22 of 28 in which he gave the team a great chance to win.
            With all the runs scored by The Cards it was still the games were they kept opponents to 3 runs or fewer where the lions share of the victories were.

            • On the Farm

              Right, but I don’t get what is so revolutionary about what you are saying. Isn’t it every teams goal to try and get 5 SPs who give up less than three runs (don’t they actually have a stat built around this, the quality start?) and from there get a bullpen that limits the amount of runs they surrender. I get that those teams had a lot of games like that, but if you look up their team ERA I am sure they are near the top of the league. Isn’t that an obvious goal (limit the amount of runs your opponent scores so we have a chance to win)?

              • jt

                The value of Lincecum to the Giants or Burnett to the 2012 Pirates was/is not the expected ERA or FIP. I expect they suspect(ed) there will/would be games in which they get bombed. That is collateral damage. (my guess is that Pitt was surprised how much they got from Burnett). But they are expected to put their teams in a position to win in a high % of games. That is why Jason Marquis could make a living with poor stats for so long.
                As the 4th and 5th starters, I don’t care what the peripherals of Jackson and Arrieta are. I care that out of 64 starts 40 of them give up 3 or fewer ER and get close to 6 IP in each of them. I’d also like to see at least another 8 in which they only give up 4 runs.
                Again, I see great value in a pitcher such as Bronson Arroyo. No, he is not a great pitcher. But he gives that low scoring game at least 75% of the time.

    • Kyle

      Honestly, I’m surprised the “3 or lower” records aren’t even better.

      • jt

        “I’m surprised the “3 or lower” records aren’t even better.”
        –Kyle
        That is to say you are surprised at the number of games that it took fewer than 3 RA to win.
        there were 2215 fewer runs scored NL 2013 than NL 2003. There has been a change in paradigm.

  • cubsin

    Shark thinks he’s going to be an ace pitcher soon, and wants to be paid accordingly. So the Cubs choices boil down to giving him what he wants and keeping their fingers crossed or trading him for the best prospect package they can get.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    I did a little experiment to see if there was an underlying bump on who pitched in SF as far as attendance was concern. The results:

    Average Attendance (Home)
    Pitcher 2011 2012 2013 Grand Total
    Cain 41,669 41,745 41,713 41,708
    Lincecum 41,895 41,720 41,643 41,755
    Madison 41,742 41,661 41,521 41,651
    Others 41,896 41,678 40,387 41,285

    St.Dev. Attendance (Home)
    Pitcher 2011 2012 2013 Grand Total
    Cain 476 434 362 417
    Lincecum 512 439 349 444
    Madison 575 521 315 492
    Others 464 405 6,934 4,172

    Avg. Attendance (Away)
    Pitcher 2011 2012 2013 Grand Total
    Cain 30,233 32,181 34,376 32,084
    Lincecum 34,919 32,620 34,699 34,079
    Madison 31,325 32,555 34,479 32,848
    Others 33,733 32,541 35,399 33,921

    St.Dev. Atttendance (Away)
    Pitcher 2011 2012 2013 Grand Total
    Cain 10,213 8,649 11,360 9,936
    Lincecum 8,667 12,077 10,287 10,266
    Madison 10,349 5,591 10,601 9,059
    Others 8,916 8,907 7,635 8,487

    The only real bump seen in 2011 Away Attendance Lincecum was coming off an impressive run as the best “pound for pound” pitcher in the NL. Less Variation there too. 2012 I’d have to look at what drove the St. Dev. Higher. (Probably pitching in Houston more than a few times…as their attendance was the lowest.)

    So no sign. effects from this cursory analysis.

    SF obviously since their 2010 WS has huge attendance bump. 2010: Home 37,499 Avg. Cubs were actually had paid attendance higher than SF.

    But SF has been in the top 10 usually for attendance (over 35K)

  • Pingback: Qualifying Offer Deadline Passes: No One Accepts | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Pingback: The Merit of “Winning” the Offseason and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+