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stoveA little rumor action for your evening enjoyment …

  • Andrew Marchand hears that a deal between MLB and NPB on the posting system for Japanese players is still expected by the end of the year, meaning that Mashiro Tanaka will be posted. Teams may just have to wait, which creates a significantly interesting wrinkle to the offseason. Do the other interested teams with limited budgets sit out everything else on the hope of Tanaka? Or do they make moves in the interim, and ultimately take themselves out of the sweepstakes? The Cubs, perhaps more than any other interested team, can afford to wait as long as it takes.
  • Josh Johnson reportedly prefers to pitch with the Giants, and, even after signing Tim Hudson, the Giants are reportedly expected by a rival GM to get a deal done by the weekend. The Cubs have been connected to Johnson as a theoretical buy-low target, given his recent bone spur surgery, and many health concerns. If the Giants do get a deal done, they will have clearly been the team to jump the starting pitching market, having signed three guys – Tims Lincecum and Hudson, and Johnson – before anybody else notable signs. It’s interesting.
  • The deal would also leave Ryan Vogelson, 36, looking for a new home, coming off a brutal 2013 campaign that featured a skyrocketing home run rate, a plummeting strikeout rate, and an increased walk rate (that’s pretty much the dreaded threesome), all to go with a broken pinky. The Giants declined a $6.5 million option on Vogelsong, so he could be yet another buy-low option out there. What makes you nervous? It wasn’t just a blip – Vogelsong’s velocity was way down last year.
  • Jim Bowden’s “one move” for the Chicago Cubs? Sign Jacoby Ellsbury for six years and $120 million. I really don’t think that kind of deal is in the cards right now (or advisable), but Dave Cameron argues that a big money deal like that is actually better spent on a speed guy like Ellsbury than you might think. The Cubs are said to be “waiting in the wings” on Ellsbury, and think that’s about as far as they’ll go – in other words, if he slips to them on a desperation three or four-year deal in late-January? Sure, they’d jump at the chance for value. But six years and $120 million (which actually isn’t completely unreasonable in this market)? I just don’t see it.
  • A minor league deal possibility to keep an eye on: Jeff Niemann. A formerly decent pitcher who is coming back from labrum and rotator cuff surgery, Niemann isn’t necessarily going to be ready to start the year in 2014, and the Rays thus cut him loose. Let’s not downplay shoulder issues – they tend to be the big one – but a minor league flyer to see where he’s at come June? I say why not.
  • Robinson Cano still wants $310 million over 10 years, and the Yankees are digging in around seven years and $160 million, per Jon Heyman. Yankees president Randy Levine says that the two sides have nothing to talk about until Cano gets a little more realistic. It’s still a fair bet that Cano returns to the Yankees, but they’ll start looking around now.
  • A reminder: as the offseason moves on, you’re going to want to follow BN on Twitter and “like” it on Facebook to make sure you’re getting a complete rumor fix.
  • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

    I distinctly remember reading studies that have shown speed guys are worse bets, but that is not the second guy, Cameron and Arguello, who have argued the opposite (i.e. speed guys are safer bets long term because of their athleticism).

    • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

      edit: that is now*

      obligatory add edit button please comment

    • CubChymyst

      I remember that speed guys decline quicker being the argument against signing Bourn last year. Maybe it is more about speed only guys vs guys who also have some power to go with their speed.

      • Chad

        Actually, I distinctly remember the argument being that aging players do not lose their speed as one would think. Ichiro, Juan Pierre, and Ricky Henderson are a few examples. You might say they are more the exception and not the rule, though I tend to disagree.

    • jj

      Cameron’s analysis is pretty weak, at least on a cursory glance. He appears to have cherry-picked his comparables, for one, and eliminated players who didn’t play until age 36. For that matter, Henderson and Ichiro are awful comparisons. Ellsbury has a career 108 OPS+. He’s never drawn more than 50 or so walks. He has no power, save for one Brady Anderson season. Look at baseball-reference’s (crude) most comparable list as of age 29 – its Phil Bradley, Ken Griffey Sr., Tommy Holmes, DeJesus, Victorino, Crisp – not HOF players.

      • terencemann

        That’s the first thing I noticed, too. When you read the full Fangraphs article, it feels like he’s choosing too small of a group.

  • JulioZuleta

    I am really rooting for Cano to get a terrible contract. It is absolutely astonishing to me that so many players have switched to Jay-Z despite the fact that he has been investigated for four ethical violations prior to negotiating a single contract.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      As a former crack dealer, his deal making cred is off the charts man. He has to be kind of pissed, the Yankees seem to actually have finally figured out how not to bid against themselves.

    • Blublud

      Julio, you must not know much about Jay Z. Everything the man touches turns into gold. He responsible for a lot of successful music careers, and we aren’t just talking rap. He is respected in lots of genres. R&B, rock, soul, reggae, pop just to name a few. He represents numerous companies, Roc Nation, Live Nation, HP, Heineken, Rocawear and Ace of Spade. Owns clothing lines, shoe companies, movie production companies, a vodka beverage company. Was partly responsible for a billion dollar development that lead to the Nets movingto Brooklyn. He a very successful man. If anything, he should be the model for you can be anything you want no matter where you come from.

      • mjhurdle

        Not taking away from jay-z, but everything he has been successful at has revolved around his success at music.
        Being a sports agent is nothing like having success at music.
        Just because he had success marketing himself and his music/style does not mean that he understands contract law or sports negotiations.
        He is an intelligent person, but that does not guarantee success as an agent

        • X The Cubs Fan

          But he has his own record label and is always negotiating contracts.

          • mjhurdle

            agreed, but in that world, his name has clout. That is his expertise.
            In this world, he is just another smart man trying to make it as an agent, albeit one with a large bankroll and a recognizable name.
            If you were Theo or Cashman, would you be more intimidated by him, or Boras?

            • Tony_S

              If I were Theo or Cashman I wouldn’t be ‘intimidated’ by ANY agent.

              IDK, just me?

            • Deez

              Jay-Z has always done what’s best for Jay-Z.
              Look at the deal with Barneys of New York after the revelations of discrimination?
              Jay-Z owned less than 1% of the Nets. That partnership was a quid pro quo.
              I can go on & on but I digress.
              Cano screwed the pooch leaving Boras. Regardless of your thoughts of the man, his track record is proven. Cano & others have forgotten what makes them famous. If you’re considered at the top of your sports game, you’ll eventually transcend into pop culture. You shouldn’t try to do it the other way.

              • hansman

                Eh, baseball atheletes, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to become the cultural icons like LeBron or Jordan. Maybe it’s just due to sport popularity or the steroids scandal (imagine if Bonds had done what he did without juice, he’d be a big deal) or something else but baseball stars just seem to fade from existence.

                • Kyle

                  Can’t put a baseball superstar up at the plate every at-bat ninth inning in a close game.

                  We love our Winner Worship, where we can believe that a single player with the innate qualities of Winnerness willed his team to success. Can’t do that as easily in baseball.

                  • cub2014

                    kyle, so true and basketball has the
                    advantage even over baseball of camera
                    interaction and lots of facetime during
                    the game.

                  • hansman

                    This. It’s the reason Tebow was such a god for a while. The face that is put on the screen in a crucial moment is the one that sticks with folks.

        • Blublud

          Since when does computers, movies, vodka, basketball team and being a member of the Barclays group have anything to with music. And like anything else he gets involved with, he surrounds himself with some of the brightest minds in that industry. He has done the same thing in this industry. Trust me, from everything I know about the man, he goes into nothing blind. I don’t Geno Smith was to upset, and KD and Cano are probably 2 of the top 20 athletes in American. If they believe in him, I have no reason not too.

          • mjhurdle

            “And like anything else he gets involved with, he surrounds himself with some of the brightest minds in that industry.”
            Agreed. he himself does nothing more than attach his name to a product in order to increase the product value. And where did his name recognition come from…..oh, right, he made a record or two.

            The difference between every other venture he has undertaken, and this one, is that his name has absolutely zero effect on people buying his product. People may buy headphones, or Armadale Vodka, or shoes/clothes/basketball jerseys because they admire Jay-Z and want to emulate him or feel some sort of attachment to him; but GMs and owners could care less about the name-recognition.
            I hope and assume he has hired actual agents that understand the business, but that doesn’t mean that he will be any more successful than other attempts to hire good agents and start a sports agency.
            I’m not predicting he will fail, but i also don’t see that he will be a superstar in this field. And unfortunately for him, Cano is going to be a big tell on his future. The market is looking smaller than predicted for him, and he doesn’t look to get anything near what he wants.
            If other players see Cano take a little less, you think they are going to choose Jay-Z over Boras still, when the assumption is still, fair or not, that Boras gets his clients paid?

            • anonymous-ly

              It’s silly to think that Jay Z won’t be successful as a baseball agent. For one, he has partnered with one of the largest sports agencies and even if Jay Z doesn’t have experience in this field, they certainly do.

              Secondly, I presume that Jay Z is letting the sports agency handle contractual part of the business and he will be handling the endorsements and investment side of the deal. Where he has plenty of clout and experience.

              • mjhurdle

                Again, we go back to the idea that this is not the music/club/drink/clothing market.
                In those markets, where Jay-Z has been successful, the name recognition plays a huge part.
                For a sports agency, name recognition of anyone but the athlete means very little. Nike is not going to pay an athlete more because Jay-Z is his agent and they love his songs. The Yankees are not going to pay Cano more because RocaWear is awesome.
                of course he is hiring the best experts he can, but so is every other sports agency.
                his success will have very little to do with himself, and more to do with how well the experts he uses do.
                Which goes back to the main point that Jay-Z is on the same level as any other agency.
                he may turn out great, or he may bomb like many other intelligent people who have tried their hand on it. His name makes a more interesting story for fans, but means nothing in the arena he is in now.

                • Tony_S

                  Cashman quote in tomorrow’s paper:

                  “We’re still working things out, but one thing I can tell you–we’ll pay Cano at least a little more now because RocaWear is awesome.”

                  TOTALLY see him saying it…!

                  • mjhurdle

                    Cashman:
                    “We were standing firm at 7 years 160 million, but then Jay-Z agreed to throw in a year’s supply of Armadale, so we upped the offer to 8 years 200 million.”

                    • anonymous-ly

                      Just as it is silly to think Cashman is going to pay more for Cano because Jay Z and one of the best sports agencies represents Cano, it is silly to think that Cashman is going to pay Cano less because Jay Z is his agent.

                      Jay Z and Co. will be as successful as any other baseball agent in getting the maximum value for Cano the market will bear. Where he probably sold ballplayers in signing with him is endorsements and investments. Apparently. I presume Cano has some of the best investment advisers working for him and they think Jay Z will be able to offer more than Boras. Will it come to fruition? That remains to be seen, but Jay Z presented ideas to Cano’s entourage and they must believe it.

                    • mjhurdle

                      you contradict yourself.
                      If Jay-Z “will be as successful as any other baseball agent in getting the maximum value for Cano the market will bear.” then what exactly “remains to be seen”?
                      you already proclaimed that he will be successful as any other agent possible, there is nothing left to be seen.

                    • anonymous-ly

                      “remains to be seen” if he can procure better endorsements and investments. Goodnight mjhurdle, let’s agree to disagree. we are like ying and yang in our opinions. Hope you and your family have a nice Thanksgiving.

                      Peace. I’m out.

                    • hansman

                      “it is silly to think that Cashman is going to pay Cano less because Jay Z is his agent. ”

                      He won’t do it just because Jay-Z is his agent, but if Jay-Z sucks at being an agent then Cashman won’t have to pay as much for Cano.

                • cavemencubbie

                  Who gives a rat’s a** about Jay-Z. He’s Cano’s problem either for the good or bad.

  • ColoCubFan

    If the Cubs had taken the money they’ve spent on surgically repaired “hope for the best” pitchers, and spent it on one proven commodity, they’d actually have a good pitcher instead of a list of 60 day DL members.

    • MichiganGoat

      Okay please list the “surgically repaired” pitchers and their contacts and then use that money to tell us which “proven commodity” pitcher they could have gotten instead.

      • Rizzovoir Dog

        I guess we could’ve gotten a stud with that 7 million we spent on Baker and Chang Yong Lim.

        • Blublud

          8 million on Fujikawa. About $500,000 on Vizcaino(he is on the 40 man). Does the time that Garza missed count, I’m trying to help the cause. If it does, that’s what, another 8 million. That puts us up to 23.5 mil. We could have borrow C.C. Sabathia for a year with that money.

          • MichiganGoat

            Where are you getting 23M? And you can’t count pitchers that got injured after we signed them he was talking about surgically repaired pitchers. I’ve got Baker & Lim and no a Garza was not signed after he was “surgically repaired.” If we signed 23M worth of pitchers that were coming off an injury them sure I’d be angry but we didn’t

            • MichiganGoat

              I don’t think we even signed 10M worth of pitchers coming off an injury, it’s more like 7/8M and that’s not getting you a “proven commodity” it’s getting you a pitcher coming off an injury.

              • hansman

                Maholm was surgically repaired

              • mjhurdle

                So if we saved all the money on “surgically repaired” pitchers, we could have signed….1.5 surgically repaired pitchers?

                • Tony_S

                  Ooooo. I see what you did there.

              • Blublud

                I was being a little facetious there.

  • JL

    I really wish baseball would just go with a salary cap.

    • cubes

      wtf is this crap seriously… salary caps suck… don’t make bad investments. the capitalist free market of baseball is one of my favorite things about baseball. the fact is players make your brand past present and future. if you have good players you have higher odds of winning, if you win you increase revenues.

      name a valid reason there should be a salary cap.

      • JL

        Baseball doesn’t offer a fair playing field between large and small markets. The notion of parity in Baseball isn’t a reality as much as it is in the NFL or the NHL. Baseball is suffering. And Baseball is in denial. At a minimum, fixing the parity issue in baseball is possible and there is asolution out there called the salary cap. It works in other leagues.

        • cubes

          how is there no parity in baseball? also salary caps don’t at all solve the “parity” issue in other sports. some teams are run well and some are not run well there’s your parity.

          are you so brainwashed that you forget that the cubs “are” a large market team.

          • MichiganGoat

            Just look at the NBA and how that salary cap has created parity, players just plan just form super teams with each other and you end up with only a couple of teams able to compete.

            • mjhurdle

              Why bring up the NBA?
              We are talking about sports with salary caps, not entertainment television productions :)

            • cubes

              Nba is exibit A of how your parity argument is nonsense.

              • MichiganGoat

                Exactly and the NFL shows it neglects players and puts more wealth in the team and leagues pockets.

              • Rudy

                In the NBA it is impossible to create parity unless you have a “fantasy” draft every year bause all it takes is one or two players to be a perenial title contender for a decade. The nature of the game pretty much disqualifies any parity comparisons.

          • JL

            How is there no parity in baseball. Are you serious. So your telling me teams like the Royals and Marlins are equal to teams like the Dodgers and the Yankees. The salary cap works very well in the NFL and every year every team has a chance to win unlike baseball.

            • cubes

              you mean “how is there parity…”

              fact is there is hardly parity in LIFE deal with it…

            • mjhurdle

              A lot of that would depend on what you define as ‘parity’.
              In baseball, there is FAR less discrepancy between the worst team and the best.
              “But wait, that can’t be! The Yankees are great and the Pirates are terrible! Where’s the parity? The difference is sample size. The best baseball teams aren’t that much better than the worst teams: they only win an average of 27% more of their games. But by spreading that small advantage over 162 games, it appears that they are much better. For example, in 2010 the Yankees finished 38 games ahead of the Pirates. Sounds like a lot, right? But if we applied their percentages to a 16 game NFL schedule, the Yankees would have finished the year 9-7, while the Pirates would have finished about 6-10. Meanwhile, if the 2010 NFL season had lasted 162 games, the best team (New England Patriots) would have finished 142-20, while the worst team (Carolina Panthers) would have finished 122 games back with a record of 20-142!”

              http://blog.minitab.com/blog/the-statistics-game/which-sport-really-has-the-most-parity

              • Eternal Pessimist

                Well done…but it also highlights how excessively long the season is. Seems like the end of the season games rarely matter.

            • mjhurdle

              If parity for you means different teams making the playoffs and advancing, then MLB holds the edge on the NFL as well, even with fewer teams.

              http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/8908029/mlb-more-parity-nfl

              • MichiganGoat

                Stupid science

            • caryatid62

              Salary caps are a devious manifestation of ownership attempts to artificially suppress workers’ salaries. It’s gross.

              • Edwin

                I actually agree. A salary cap, and even an amateur draft, are about surpressing wages.

                • MichiganGoat

                  The draft slots are one of the worse things MLB did to the small market teams. Now the Royals and Rays can use thier limited budget by over spending on the draft and are forced to be equals to the Yankees when drafting. Why this was so easily accepted is still confusing to me.

                  • Edwin

                    It’s terrible for the players being drafted too.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Yes and if add a salary cap it’s completely screwing the players. I like the luxury cap thing MLB has, spend all you want but if you spend too much there will be a penalty.

  • Oswego Chris

    Hello? EJax…

    That’s a joke by the way

    • MichiganGoat

      That’s fine but he wasn’t “surgically repaired.”

      • NyN

        I believe he was referring to Ejax as te proven commodity

        • MichiganGoat

          Ahhh

  • Caryatid62

    Salary caps are awful, awful things. They only exist to screw players out of potential earnings.

  • Sandberg

    Nothing on Choo, eh? I’m surprised by the lack of chatter on him.

  • morgan

    Can we quit going after other teams trash, Niemann is terrible and isn’t an upgrade from that bum lefty we got

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      A minor league deal doesn’t mean he’s the replacement for anyone. A minor league deal means he goes to play in the minors and get a chance to show he’s worth rostering in spring training.

      Every team signs plenty of minor league free agents.

  • josh ruiter

    Tanaka and Choo….SIGN ALL THE ASIAN PLAYERS!!!

  • Jim

    The last time the Cubs spent big money on a speed guy he immediately stopped being a speed guy …

    • Tony_S

      Not being funny… When IS the lady time we spent money on a ‘speed guy”? Juan Pierre?

      • Tony_S

        *last

  • EuroCub

    Cano should lay off the drugs he is taking, that’s for sure…

    • Tony_S

      Mmmmm. He’s a proven slugger, in theory post-PED, at a historically weak offensive position, in a terribly weak FA market, trying to cash in on what will most likely be his one, giant payday, in a world where Lincecum gets 2/35 or whatever the hell it was.

      At 10/310, especially when you’re talking about the evil empire, he’s not on drugs. He may or may not get what he wants (I’d take the under on yrs and AAV, plus I think the Dodgers already have a 2Bman), but I think to say he’s on drugs is overstating it a bit.

  • Walter Sobchak

    I think over the course of the offseason the shark trade talks will really pick up … I think w the bigger picture the fo wants to do trading him makes great sense this offseason his value is maxed

  • Diamond Don

    Totally against salary caps! MLB is a business and free enterprise is the way to go. I don’t buy the smaller market teams can’t compete argument. Smaller market teams did really well last year without spending excessively. Look at the A’s and Pirates both small market teams. Cardinals did pretty well too. Dodgers and Yankees who spent the most didn’t fair as well.

    • josh ruiter

      didn’t fair as well? the Dodgers won their division, come the playoffs its a total crapshoot. Yankees didn’t fair well? With an aging roster and massive injury issues they damn near made the playoffs, where everything is a crapshoot! How can you say that? The difference isn’t at one teams peak and anothers valley, the Yankees valley is this past year, and the small market valley is, well, Marlins last year, Astros, Twins of late, etc. Two different valleys. Peaks can be similar IF the small markets draft incredibly well for a long stretch and play moneyball to the finest. But when the Yankees field Granderson, Cano, Jeter, Texeira, Russell Martin, ARod, Nick Swisher in the field with I don’t care who else, that’s a hard team to beat consistently!!

      • caryatid62

        The Astros aren’t a small market team. They won 51 games this year.

        The Phillies aren’t a small market team. They won 73 games this year.

        The Angels aren’t a small market team. They won 78 games this year.

        Having a large payroll does help, but not nearly enough to warrant a salary cap.

      • cubfanincardinalland

        The Yankees made the playoffs 18 out of the previous 19 seasons, and the Pirates finally had a winning record after 20 seasons. But payroll has nothing to do with it?
        And PS, the Cardinals are hardly a small market team. It is actually one of baseball most ridiculous outrages, that they are eligible for a competitive balance pick.

        • Edwin

          The Pirates have also made a lot of shitty moves over those 20 years. That’s also a reason why they haven’t made the playoffs. I don’t think baseball should reward teams for making bad moves, and refusing to spend money.

          Why do you say St. Louis is not a small market? On the Nielson 2013-2014 DMA rankings, they are 21st. St. Louis is the 58th largest city in the US. They might not be small, but they’re easily not a large market team.

          http://www.tvb.org/media/file/TVB_Market_Profiles_Nielsen_TVHH_DMA_Ranks_2013-2014.pdf

  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

    Really think the cubs should think about picking up Grady Sizemore, just read an article over at Cubs Den, seems like a great alternative to the FA sweepstakes, and he only costs $ no pick. Seems like a great buy low candidate on a short term deal.

    • Turd Ferguson

      Sizemore has been finished for 3 years. He’s a broken down mess and the whispers on the ravages of steroids are loud. No thanks.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

        Sizemore had surgery for the same condition that Carlos Beltran had when people thought he was “finished” basically he had no cartilage in both of his knees. He’s only 31 and 2 years post surgery, which is the window of recovery time needed. If he turns into even a neighbor of the player he was 5 years ago, he worth the flyer.

        • Tony_S

          “worth the flyer.”

          Concur

        • Mike F

          Yeah, he had micro-fracture surgery if I remember right? In football they don’t come back, but in baseball it’s a different thing. I don’t know what he has left, but it seems to me it’s too early to just say he’s done from steroid. Cubs Den ha a piece on him. But there are going to be issues on anyone in the junk been.

          Kazmir is the pet and I thought the last 3 years his fall from grace was harsh, but he’s had some issues and when all is said and done his price will be a little high. I think people are getting a little ridiculous, this MLB not the NFL and unless you want Ted Thompson, you can’t go just draft alone. People are intellectually dishonest about the cardinals. They don’t paint faces of the organization like the Cubs have with Castro it is all about the team and they trade use all forms of fa and get a big bump from small market comp picks.

  • ssckelley

    Niemann would be worth a minor league contract. He might be ready by spring training and worth seeing what he has left. Could be an option for the bullpen.

  • bbmoney

    If the Yankees are serious about sticking close to 7 yrs 160m, the Cubs need to get involved. He alone would make the cubs legitimate playoff contenders, but that would be an amazing deal.

    It’s probably just posturing though. I’m guessing 8yrs / 215m

    • Tony_S

      “He alone would make the cubs legitimate playoff contenders”

      No. No, he would not.

  • Eric

    Gah, I’m getting desensitized to the numbers. For a split second Ellsbury seemed reasonable at 120 million…

  • Blackhawks1963

    Cano is the one big free agent who might be screwed. I believe the rumblings that the Yanks are not going to wait around on him. I think they sign Drew, and if they do then Cano is finished having leverage and may be reduced to begging the Yankees to sign him to a favorable deal in late February.

    I still believe Ellsbury signs a mega deal in Seattle. They are desperate for an impact signing and have the cash and home state link to get a desl done.

    I say Drew and McCann and Jimenez to the Yanks.

    Choo to the Rangers.

    • Tony_S

      Not sure how signing Drew takes Cano’s leverage? They’ve got a 40 y/o starting SS and a 3B staring down the barrel of a suspension possibly longer then an entire season, who is also closer to 40 than 30. Drew would be plenty busy on the left side of the Yanks infield.

  • Curt

    I hope cano gets screwed how many teams can afford that kind of money, the Yankees , dodgers, rangers, redsox am I missing anyone now who of those teams needs him he’d playing chicken I hope hewaits to long .

    • caryatid62

      Why? His job is to get the most money he can within the time when he is most marketable. There’s no reason to want him to get screwed–he’s working within the market that’s set up.

    • ssckelley

      Personally I hope Cano gets every dime he is asking for and I hope the Yankees pay it. It takes a huge chunk out of the Yankees payroll and could get them back above the luxury tax threshold thus making Tanaka a less desirable option for the Yankees.

  • Werner

    It never, never ever ceases to amaze how much bile is directed at players who want to get as much as they can. It’s like nobody has ever asked for and hope to get a raise in their life. Money? Oh goodness gracious no. I’m in it for the love of the game.

    • Frank

      Werner, I guess your going to tell me next Santa Claus and the Easter bunny aren’t real.

      • Werner

        Oh crap, Frank. Uh. Yeah. Listen, I’ve been meaning to talk to you….

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Look, MLB cannot be much different from beer league softball, and nobody’s paying me millions to do that.

      • Tony_S

        So the better question here is, why the hell not?!?

    • anonymous-ly

      Players should have the right to make as much money as they can. However, there needs to be some balance and control over the increasingly large disproportion to the average worker. If you think higher these $200-300M dollar payrolls are a freebie, think again. The owners are not footing the bill for these high payrolls out of their pockets (see Ricketts).

      The increases in dollar value of contracts are being subsidized by higher ticket prices, higher vending prices, higher cable TV bills, and the cost of advertising in the stadiums are being subsidized by higher prices to the consumer.

      I’m all for free market until it effects the ability for the average worker to go to a ballgame with family without costing a small fortune. If you are wealthy and can afford to go to games and pay higher cable bills, I guess you are one of the lucky ones. But the increasing disparity in the salaries for ballplayers in comparison to the average worker is getting a bit ridiculous and out of whack. The Dodgers can afford to buy all the players because every household that wants to watch FOX channels and sports are rewarded by having to pay an extra $5-6 dollars a month.

      Soon, we too Cub fans will be honored to be obligated to pay an extra $5-6 dollars on our cable bill to subsidize the Cubs spending. Hooray! And judging by Ricketts actions so far, only a small portion of that money will be going into baseball operations.

      • bbmoney

        So to be clear…… You dislike free markets and want controls in place?

        I prefer the invisible hand personally.

        • anonymous-ly

          To be clear, I am in favor of free markets until it goes out of control to the point where it clearly takes advantage of the average worker. By completely blocking out average worker the opportunity to afford to go to a ballgame and at the same time raising consumer prices and Cable TV bills to the people who can least afford it,

          • bbmoney

            That’s a terrific soundbite but is entirely meaningless.

            Who decides when it’s out of control? You? Me? Who decides what to do about it? Do you want artificial caps on ticket prices to ‘protect’ the average persons ability to go to a game? Caps on cable bills so all can afford their cable tv?

            A salary cap won’t make tickets more affordable. It’ll just increase the owners bottom line. The only way to drive prices down is for people to stop going to games and stop watching on TV.

            • anonymous-ly

              I don’t know and I don’t have the power or the answer for it. Happy now?

              Just making a point that all the increases in salary and payroll are getting passed on to the average consumer through higher prices and higher cable bills. The players and owners are getting all the benefits with increasing disparity, while they are passing the increasing costs to the average worker.

              Everybody is getting excited because when we get the new media contracts, we will be able to spend like the big boys do. But you realize, the average household is going to subsidize and pay for that with higher cable bills (surprise!), not one penny will come out of the Ricketts pockets.

              • bbmoney

                Sure I realize the costs get passed to consumers like us. But we have a choice not to consume and that’s the only way the prices will come back down.

                The players just get paid based on what we the consumers are willing to pay. It’s Absolutely crazy to think about an athlete making 250 M….. But it’s what they’re worth to the owners because of our nation’s thirst for sports.

              • anonymous-ly

                Yes, we have a choice but in a lot of ways the choices are being forced down out throats. If you like sports, most assuredly new cable increases will be included into a sports package. So if you like ESPN channels. you are going to have to pay for a Cubs channel, like it or not. If the Cubs do a deal with FOX and you like FOX programming, you are going to have to pay the extra $5-6 for Cubs on FOX Sports, all or nothing.

                I personally, could care less if the Cubs get a new media deal because judging by Ricketts actions so far, only a small portion will go into baseball operations. However, I would personally contribute a reasonable amount as a group if it meant every dollar was going back into baseball operations.

              • hansman

                Ya man. The bourgeois is keeping the proletariat in their place and stealing from us.

                • anonymous-ly

                  Nobody is claiming the Ricketts and ballplayers are “stealing from us.” Just as bbmoney said, we have a choice not to watch or spend money on the games or advertisers that market in the stadiums..

                  But we should be cognizant, that the extra $25 Million all the owners are getting this year and the new cable media deals being passed around are not freebies. All this is getting paid by the average household with little or no input.

                  I for one am severely disappointed that is seems so far that the Ricketts will be pocketing the entire $25M this year and possibly for the forseeable future. So the new MLB TV deal just pocketed the owners an extra $25M a year with no benefit to the consumer who will ultimately foot the entire bill to line their pockets.

                  • Tony_S

                    That $25m isn’t a friggin prepaid card, it’s cold hard cash. The owner can spend it on hookers and blow, that’s why he’s the owner.

                    As for your ‘poor you, poor me, poor working man’ attitude, if you don’t like your circumstances, change them. I haven’t had cable tv in about 8 years, and I don’t miss it. I do still have the internet, and there’s plenty of options for viewing entertainment, to include sports. As for going to the games live, we usually take in one 3-game series a year, somewhere. Incidentally, we find this relatively easy to afford in part because we’re not paying $50-100 a month for cable/satellite that we don’t want or need. We also discovered the wonders of the Cactus League about 3 years ago, which I think is the best kept secret in sports for taking in some games and chasing an autograph or two.

                    So stick to your “we have a choice not to watch or spend” in your last post, because your “choices are being forced down out [sic] throats” from earlier is way off.

                  • Mike F

                    I understand where you are at, but the key is if people don’t want to subsidize this, for the market to work, they have to exercise their vote and not go to games, it is the dollar vote.

                    If Theo is being straightforward, and Ricketts is either the author or going along, the 500000 people what aren’t going, the drop in all accessory and merchandising sale is just the start. They are making bad assumptions. We have seen Crane has done this repeatedly over the years. Clearly the WGN/Tribune were entertainment companies and knew the business. And the business is MLB not 5-7 years of flipping and going the minors alone route.

                    And in fact if they lose another 100 games they will have large drops in attendance, q-viewership and advertising in all forms. We live in a society where the long term is an accumulation of short terms. Out focus is to short to sustain what appears a theo/ricketts experiment. Let me phrase it differently, people in Chicago aren’t going to pay for boring dull and unexciting shit the Cubs have put out the last 2 years for 3 more years on the promise of sweetness and 2016/17 and the only way to fix it is to not reward low quality product.

              • brickhouse

                There is a good chance that in a few years the cable system will move to a more a la carte choice. Most people paying for cable don’t watch sports and paying higher bills may lead to that change. There are articles that the days of the Dodger type cable contracts are going to stop if the new system takes place.

                • Eternal Pessimist

                  Not really…as cable goes a la carte, the sports fan will be willing to pay more to make sure they get their sports…especially local. The Kardacian fan will be willing to pay more on average for that program. Right now our sports watching is subsidized by history channel watchers and vice-versa. We will all probably have less programing overall, and need to pay a little more per component that we chose.

            • BT

              It’s completely meaningless, and useless to argue. Anonymous here has forgotten 2008-09 when every Cubs game was sold out and Stubhub was the only place you could buy tickets. The average Joe was still priced out of tickets, but scalpers and the secondary market were raking it in. If players all played for 30,000 a year, tickets would still cost whatever the market will bear.

            • cavemencubbie

              You’re right BB. One of these days the ‘bubble’ will break. The corporate suits will find out the American public has advertising burnout and is not paying attention to the ads. Cash strapped families, instead of buying expensive cable contracts, will take their kids to the zoo. Salaries will revert to the moving statistical mean (inflation) and hopefully everything will normalize.

  • North Side Irish

    Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick 2m
    Pitcher Josh Johnson signs one-year, guaranteed $8M deal with #padres. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10003949/josh-johnson-san-diego-padres-agree-one-year-8m-deal

    I would have loved to see the Cubs give him that deal…he wanted West Coast

    • mjhurdle

      agreed, would have loved to see Johnson with the Cubs for 8 million. But it seemed pretty clear he wanted West Coast from the start.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I have no doubt some people will try to trash the front office for not landing him, but I don’t think any non-West Coast team had a chance.

      And I have to wonder if any non-Padres team had much of a shot. If you start naming the ballparks that have the reputation for being the most pitcher friendly, San Diego’s is going to be on the list. Seems like a pretty good place to try to recharge a pitching career.

      • North Side Irish

        timdierkes ‏@timdierkes 19m
        Heard Pirates were runners up on Josh Johnson, who got a one-year, $8MM deal with the Padres according to @jcrasnick.

        Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 7m
        Interesting twist to Josh Johnson’s $8M deal with Padres. If he makes fewer than seven starts, San Diego gets a $4M club option for 2015.

  • TSB

    Don’t like parity? OK, let’s make baseball like the roller derby leagues. You know, teams like the Yankees or Dodgers (maybe the Cubs) have opposing teams on their payroll, with names like the Royals, Astros, Brewers, etc. They can stock the opposition with minor leaguers or has beens, so that victory can be assured in all games, except for the games that are pre-ordained. Competition,, who needs competition?!

  • Sean

    Josh Johnson just sign a 1yr $8mil deal with the Padres. What the hell. That is great value!! Why weren’t we in on that!! We should have signed him!

    • Sean

      For pete’s sake! we gave Scott Baker $7mil last year and we just missed out on Josh Johnson! WTF. We should have signed and traded him at midseason

      • X The Cubs Fan

        He was going home to California unless someone severely overpaid.

    • Jeff

      Easy, Ricketts isnt going to let Theo spend much money this year. We will win it all through the farm system.

      Ha Ha…

    • anonymous-ly

      I guess you missed the news lately. The Cubs are not spending any big money on free agents this year.

  • Jono

    Would Choo, Ellsbury, granderson, Cano, and mccann sign for one year, but enormous, contracts? Pay each $30 million (uh, give Cano $40 million), trade for scherzer and price, then spend the next several years recovering. At least it’ll be a fun year, right?

    • Jono

      Wait, what am I thinking? Too many lefties. Nevermind, dumb idea

      • Eric

        Yes, it was the ‘too many lefties’ aspect that made it unrealistic…..

        • Jono

          Epstein would be all over that if there were a couple more righties in there!

    • Jonathan

      Completely unrealistic but at the same time you would be giving up your 2nd-7th round picks and would potentially get 5 extra 1st rounders the following year. There is probably something exploitable there with somebody that is more of a 20 million dollar guy.

      • Jono

        CORNER ALL THE MARKETS!!

  • Die hard

    Marlin Byrd a juicer? Was that while with Cubs? Nows with Phil’s .. Desperate club

    • Cubbie Blues

      Sometimes, I think I would like to take a peek inside your head, but then I get a little freaked out by what I might find.

      • Fishin Phil

        I did once. All that was in there was a sign that said “This Space For Rent”.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Oakland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati are just some of the decently successful clubs that are proving salary controls are not needed in Major League Baseball. Let the market of supply and demand dictate salary levels. And so long as there are multi- billion dollar TV deals to be had and an endless gush of marketing dollars pouring into the sport, to go along with strong attendance across the league, then let things be as they be.

  • josh ruiter

    On the Ellsbury front, I read and agree with the majority points of what the article says about speed guys not regressing like common thought says. I also agree with the overall statement that speed guys tend to be more athletic allowing them to age more gracefully and have sustained success into their later years. However I have one real beef with the argument as it comes to Ellsbury. Sure he is athletic, yes he is fast, yes he has some pop, yes he is a good defender, but so much of that game is built on his speed. If you get him on a 3 year deal, do it immediately on a higher AAV. But what that article fails to consider is that Ellsbury has not stayed healthy, and how does fragility and speed guys correlate to aging well in baseball? I tend to think not well, though I have no facts, the example of Ichiro, Pierre, etc. above are all healthy guys to be sure. Look at the drop off for J-Rol in the mid 30′s in conjunction with injury issues. I tend to think he fits on the wrong side of the argument b/c speed and injuries don’t age well together at all!!

  • MightyBear

    Me and Jim Bowden. In complete agreement.

  • terencemann

    John Ely has been released by the Dodgers. The Cubs should definitely definitely scoop him up if they can get him on a minor league deal.

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