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jacoby ellsbury[It was such a ridiculously active day already today that I figured I was in the clear to go play some tennis and get a milkshake. No dice. Curse you, unusually-active pre-Winter Meetings baseball offseason!]

Ah, remember that time the New York Yankees sat out the big ticket items? That was a nice one year.

According to multiple reports, the Yankees have grabbed their next big name of the offseason (having already signed Brian McCann), and it’s Jacoby Ellsbury, formerly of the Red Sox. He gets seven years and $153 million, according to Mark Feinsand. It’s the kind of absurd – but explicable – deal we expected to see this offseason, and it’s only fitting that the Yankees would usher it in. The Yankees just paid for Ellsbury almost 90% of the amount they’re offering to Robinson Cano. Ridiculous.

The Cubs had long been mentioned as a stealth candidate on Ellsbury, but, as I said all along, the only way it could happen is if he went a couple months without finding a serious nine-figure suitor, and then the Cubs nabbed him on the cheap in February. Thankfully for my own credibility, I made sure to always append those comments with some variation of “but I don’t think that’ll actually happen.” And here we are, with Ellsbury getting the kind of absurdly large contract that I figured he would get … and hoped he would get from a team not named the Cubs. I am perfectly comfortable with how this played out.

As for the Yankees, their quest to stay under the $189 million luxury tax cap is apparently not imperiled by this signing (plus McCann). They reportedly plan to still try and re-sign Robinson Cano and a starting pitcher. Clearly they know that MLB is gifting them some $25 million in luxury cap space in the form of an Alex Rodriguez suspension, and, sadly, signing Cano after Ellsbury doesn’t make nabbing Tanaka dicey. Really rough math here (courtesy of Cot’s contracts, a calculator, and quick arbitration guesses), but I’ve got the Yankees at about $135 million in payroll after signing McCann. Ellsbury puts them at $152 million, and Cano would put them around $180 million. An ARod suspension brings them down to $155 million. Miscellaneous other moves (and the expenses tied to payroll that every team has) probably bring that back up to about $165 to $170 million. Still plenty of room to grab Tanaka and stay under the $189 million mark. Again, this is real quick and dirty stuff, so I’m open to being corrected on the math (or if I missed a big chunk of money somewhere).

  • Joey

    A Cubs wrinkle that could come from this; this absolutely takes the Yankees out of the Curtis Granderson market. Once Beltran and Choo sign, his market will be set and will heat up IMO. I would like to see stealth Theo make a move soon to try and get a guy like him under the radar

    • Jay

      I’m just so fine with the fact that now the Cubs can’t possibly step on their own dicks and actually entertaining signing this guy.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Whats to worry about we have Barney, Macdonald, Kottaras lets get spring training on the way here! Holy…

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I read a rather surprising article last year that the Houston Astros were one of the more profitable teams in baseball. With their low payroll and attendance and TV money the owner is raking in the money. Maybe Ricketts is doing the same. I have said many times that I respect the job the FO has done with the farm system, but this bottom feeder mentality is getting old. And when they do find a diamond in the rough the promptly trade it away. Look at our outfield. Aside from Schierhotz’s good performance we have a career minor league player in Sweeny and A rookie in Lake. If Schierholts hadn’t have been in a platoon situation his number wouldn’t have been as good. And third base continues to be a crap shoot. Add to that our starting rotation only has two pitchers that could make it in most rotations. This PR offensive about the future with visions of champions is just conjecture at this point. Now we are told that two more year until we compete. I agree with the criticism. If you can’t field a 100 million dollar payroll in Chicago then sell the team to somebody that can.

    • Cyranojoe

      Who you gonna get? Seriously, dude. Who? You gonna outbid the Yankees? For who? I’ll give you Cano and maybe enough pitchers to field a stellar starting four or five, not that the Cubs actually have a recent history of problems with our SP. What next? Who’s out there who’s worth the kinds of contracts you’d have to give them? Would you albatross us with the next Soriano contract? Because it sounds like you’d hook us up with four or five of them. And that’s coming from a guy who thinks Alfonso actually played up to the majority of his contract.

  • Wick

    I’m gonna call it now.. Cano heads to Seattle and by the end of the Winter Meetings the Yankees will have traded for Brandon Phillips. Damn how I envy good teams making moves to get better right now.. Hard time to be a Cubs fan, thats for sure.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Speculation is that Choo and Boras are closing in on a deal with Detroit. Boras is leaving NY for Detroit in the morning. Wow.

    • Tony_S

      I’m getting caught up here, is this a serious comment?

  • Jon

    Sigh, I wish I was a fan of a team that had the balls to spend money

    • waittilthisyear

      im happy im a fan of a team that has the brains not to

      • Cyranojoe

        Amen.

  • Mrs. Howell

    Granderson? Really?..

  • waffle

    lots of whining here….

    does anyone on this board really think the cubs as they stand would have been in on Ellsbury for 7/150? Not me. And given a choice, which team do you think JE would have liked to sign with?

    It was always a long shot folks

    • kscubfan

      Good point 7 years on a speed guy is going to hurt eventually Cubs don’t need this deal.

    • Tony_S

      Concur. GLOOM AND DOOM!!

      Very little if anything has changed with the Yankees signing Ellsbury.

      Now, if the Cubs don’t chase Tanaka, if/when he becomes available, then there’s at least some room to bitch. Even then there’s debate to be had, sounds like that arm has a LOT of miles, and we’re not talking about the next Kershaw here, regardless of the hopes that are already being pinned on him. But, he isn’t old, doesn’t affect IFA or luxury tax budgets, doesn’t cost a draft pick, etc…. He’s a player the Cubs should be in on, hard.

      In other words, not Ellsbury ;)

      • Mike F

        You guys amaze me in how deluded you are. There is no freaking way, they will be seriously in on Tanaka. Zero chance. Why would they pay 150M fro a guy who is not in any form a Darvish when they can lose 110 games this next season and draft and pay only 7m for years of control for one of the best arms. You just don’t get it. It is all about rhetoric of wait the Cub’s are coming, Oh some time, because 105 years is not enough we have to be patient.

        • willis

          I agree, no chance in hell they even come close to sniffing Tanaka. The mouth pieces will throw a bunch of bullshit out there to satisfy those who buy into every crapload they throw out there, but they won’t be in on him.

          • Tony_S

            Yeah, we’re all just stupid Cubs fans!!

            Wait, doesn’t that include you two then?!

            Look, I could decide to be just as jaded about rooting for the Cubs as I am about world politics or the national debt, but I CHOOSE to BELIEVE that the team sees value and wisdom in certain moves and others not, which, wait for it, so do I.

            I didn’t mind Soriano for what he brought to the team, but was SO sick of hearing Cubs “fans” bitching about that contract at the end. So did I want them to give a lesser player a bigger contract now?! No, no I didn’t.

            And if you really sit there and think a) the Cubs front office chooses to lie to you and think you’re stupid because b) they don’t want to win, I truly pity you.

            One more thing–IT’S A BUSINESS. That’s both good and bad; Ricketts isn’t going to send good money after bad, but winning is where the money really is. My point is yes, Ricketts/Theo/etc WANT to win, but make no mistake, it’s not because they give a shit about you (unless you’re spending money).

            Muy bien?

            • willis

              All I said was they won’t be in on Tanaka and then they will spin some crap which the believers will buy without even think about it. The rest of the post, I don’t get.

              And yes, I’m a stupid cubs fan, have been for 35 years.

              • Jay

                I don’t want anything to do with Tanaka at those numbers. Or any Jap pitcher. These posting fees just make it idiotic to pay premium prices for someone who YOU HAVE NO IDEA how they will translate to MLB competiton. Spend that money on proven pitchers on this side of the pond.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Well way to throw a ethnic slur in there… keep the place classy.

                • Tony S.

                  Certain you meant “Japanese.”

                  • hansman

                    DYAC!!!!!

                • roz

                  You realize scouting is a thing right?

                • Rebuilding

                  Actually we have a pretty good idea how Tanaka will translate. Jap? Haven’t heard that since my grandfather passed away. At least he fought them

                • Brains

                  what is this a third rate WWII movie? unacceptable language.

              • Tony S.

                You got caught in the shotgun blast. Just a little tired of the negativity, yours included. Not sure I understand your dividing line between fans and believers then.

                All good, don’t worry be happy.

                • willis

                  It’s that I consider myself a fan, a huge fan at that, who is way to in love with the cubs. But I think fans can also have expectations and don’t have to agree with how this organization is being run (ran?). Believers in my opinion accept blindly everything this FO and a hole owner throw out there as gospel truth. That their plan is 100% guaranteed to work and attacking it is an ungodly sin.

                  That’s where my divide is. Fans are fans, believers are believers and fans. At this point, after years of ownership and nothing to show for it but piss poor results, and turning this team into a low mid market team, I’m not buying what any of them are selling.

                  I’ll still root like hell and enjoy watching the minor league development, I just don’t agree nor expect results from the way things are being handled.

                  • Jeff

                    + 1,000,000

                  • Tony S.

                    Thank you for taking the time to clarify.

                    I’d put myself somewhere in between what I see as extremes, but I’m also admittedly closer to the believer side. Now, I want to think that’s because I agreed with much of what was said early on, ie the whole thing had to be torn down and rebuilt, from the players and staff and attitudes to the facilities themselves, and not because I blindly “buy into every crapload they throw out there.”

                    I’m all for criticism, and in fact think it should be taken further, stop buying tickets, stop buying jerseys etc and let ownership know you’re doing it because you’re frustrated with the product.

                    Otherwise it’s pointless bitching :)

                    • Mike F

                      You are just wrong about negativity. Take it up with Theo. The fact is this was a pitfall team at season’s end. And they clearly are gun shy and money shy.

                      Clearly, LA, NY and Boston will all pay to play on Tanaka. He’s a gamble and looking at what FA end of the rotation starters are getting, Tanaka will get what Jeff is asking for and the posting fee will be in the high 50 M if not higher. It isn’t rocket science they will talk the talk and balk at the walk.

                      I increasingly believe Theo left Boston to be his own boss and this is an academic experiment to prove how smart he is. I think he may just blow up the MLB roster in the Winter Meetings and make it even clearer it is 3 years off. Ricketts is likely just along for the ride.

            • praying the cubs get ready to win

              I think the Cubs trading Soriano and paying all the money they did, I would have kept Soriano and he would have protected Rizzo and been a real bridge to our young players coming up, who would Soriano have blocked last year? I understand Having Soriano would have only meant a few more wins but that’s what we mean we need guys to get us a few wins as that’s how we get to 90 something victories.

        • Jason P

          Very important to remember: Tanaka may turn into a #4. Most scouts say he’s a 3 with a chance to be a 2, which has naturally been turned into “probable TOR starter” by fans.

          If Tanaka under-performs slightly, we’re looking at $20 million a year for something we could have gotten from Kyle Hendricks or possibly Alberto Cabrera.

          • Crazyhorse

            Or a spent 13.7 million for a pitcher named Corey Black. kinda went with your analogy

          • Rebuilding

            Actually that’s not what scouts are saying at all. Most say he’s not quite as good as Darvish but is probably in a range from David Price to Mat Latos. Would love to see a link that says he’s a number 4.

            http://nomprojections.com/2013/10/29/2013-pitcher-projections-are-live-featuring-masahiro-tanaka/

            • Jason P

              He’s not expected to be a 4, but like with prospects, there’s always a fairly high chance he could underperform. I highly doubt any scouting reports said Arrieta’s a 4 or 5 when he was coming up. Same goes for Dice-K.

              Right now the scouting reports are saying he’s a 3 with a chance to be a 2.
              http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/masahiro-tanaka-the-markets-best-starter/

              Kuroda seems to be the consensus comp for Tanaka, and that’s essentially what Kuroda is — a 3 early in his career who got better with age and became a 2.

              I agree that Tanaka’s a worthwhile risk even if you have to slightly overpay. But anything approaching $150 million is insane.

              • Rebuilding

                Wait. You wouldn’t pay a 25 year old Hiroki Kuroda $20 mil a year? I sure would – he’s been worth that as a 36, 37 and 38 year old. Did you even read that article? It said he will likely outperform Kuroda because he might have one of the best splitters in the world. And for whatever reason American hitters really struggle with the splitter. The article you posted made me want him more, not less

                And Tanaka is not an unproven prospect. He was 23-1 (wins are meaningless, but you get the idea) in the 2nd best baseball league in the world which has had many players come to the MLB and be successful

                • Jason P

                  I would pay 6/120 for Tanaka. But that would be my top dollar. 6/150 or 6/160 as someone suggested below is simply way too much, and it would be a terrible allocation of resources.

                  With all due respect to the article you posted, it’s one opinion on a site I’ve never heard of. To me, any projection that has Tanaka possibly becoming David Price seems like an outlier. Many, many others, including Keith Law and fangraphs (as posted above) say Kuroda is the perfect comp.

                  That said, of course I’d love if the Cubs got a young Kuroda. I’d even love for them to overpay for a young Kuroda. But there has to be limits. The Cubs are not the Dodgers.

                  Even though there are lots of players who have successfully transitioned from the NPB to the MLB, many others have also failed.

                  The most likely outcome is that Tanaka turns into a borderline 2/3. In that case, 20 million is an overpay, but an acceptable overpay. If you pay more than 20 million, you’re starting to enter the zone where even if Tanaka meets expectations, the contract starts looking pretty bad.

                  Again, $20 million annually is fine. Risky, but fine. $30 million annually is absolutely nuts. That’s Clayton Kershaw money if not better.

                  • Bill

                    Agreed. I wouldn’t go much above 6/$120M

                • Tony S.

                  Concur, that was a great article, and I am officially infatuated with seeing this man in a Cubs uni

            • Jason P

              And There really isn’t all that big a difference between David Price good and Yu Darvish good. Darvish-good is 4.9-5.0 WAR, and Price-good is 4.4-4.8 WAR. Making the distinction is really splitting hairs.

              • Rebuilding

                And making me want both and Tanaka

                • Tony S.

                  Now THERE is a rotation!!

                • Bill

                  Count me in the “I want Tanaka” camp and I’d practically empty the vault to get him. IMHO the reason scouts aren’t in love with him, like Darvish level, is because he throws in the mid 90’s. Fine.

                  He throws a nasty splitter, and above avg curve or slider (can’t remember which it is). What I love about him is his control. The guy doesn’t walk a lot of batters. The knock against him is his fastball comes in too flat, not enough movement. If you look at where he threw his pitches, he throws his pitches on the outer parts of the grid. Very few in the middle square. In fact, I read he would have ranked 2nd in MLB for fewest pitches in those middle zones.

                  So, I’m not sure MLB hitters aren’t going to be squaring him up as easily as some think. When you take his plus control, along with his plus-plus splitter, you have a pitcher who can get a lot of major league batters out.

                  • Tony S.

                    Totally agree. And it’s a slider, which makes me a little concerned about his elbow long term, but he hasn’t shown any scary signs yet that I know of.

                    Love the splitter, love the command, the #s, all of it, and we sure as hell need him, with or without Shark. Preferably with, and Shark-Tanaka-TWood-Arrieta-EJax doesn’t sound like a terrible April rotation.

                    • Bill

                      Even with a below avg offense they can still win a lot of games with that rotation and the improved bullpen. If Olt and Baez can make a contribution next year, even better.

          • Tony S.

            Totally agree on this, and that’s where you talk about spending decisions and not necessarily just throwing money.

            “Tanaka may turn into a #4.” Concur.

            “Most scouts say he’s a 3 with a chance to be a 2″ I think this is worth a pretty expensive lottery ticket, dare I say worth overpaying for, considering his age and where this team is.

            Like I said above, definitely debate to be had. But if signing Ells would have nixed Tanaka (at least a viable possibility, look how many people here are saying it about the Yankees), then I am damn glad they didn’t sign him, and furthermore, I think it was a bad idea at that price regardless of other pieces.

            • willis

              I completely think, if they are willing to spend any money, then someone like Tanaka is worth the risk. Even if, let’s say his floor is a back end rotation type, so what? Those types are needed too. It’s going to cost quite a bit to go after him, which is fine with me. I just don’t think they will play at the big boy’s table for him because nothing they have done to this point has shown they will. But, lord knows I’d be insanely ecstatic if they made an aggressive play for him. 2, 3, 4…this team needs anything it can get.

              • Tony S.

                Agree, but…

                Somebody linked to an article here somewhere (I’ll try and find it) with quotes from Theo last April saying the team really didn’t have any money and that payroll was maxed this year.

                I might be splitting hairs here, I thought the party line was that there wasn’t anything we saw as worth spending on, which is why I was touting Tanaka as someone we should…

                But if the money really just ain’t there, ugh.

                I know it WILL be after the Reno gets done, Jumbotron, etc, so I’m still hopeful we can take out a loan or some shit, but I’m a lot less hopeful than I was before.

            • Mike F

              Not at all. They should emphasize drafting front line starting pitching and try to do something now for the worst hitting team in the majors. It’s not just about drafting potential mashers. You have to have batting eyes and speed something that this organization sorely lacks.

              • Tony S.

                Were thenCubs the worst hitting team in the majors? Seriously? I didn’t think they were.

                And I don’t see Ellsbury as the answer, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • http://bleachernation Ferris

            I agree kendricks would b a great fit for us….they need to dave money an need pitching…kendricks and trumbo…for vitters,vellenueva,lake,ml mid level prospect

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              The angels could get more for Trumbo and Kendricks then that package of prospects.

      • Kyle

        The Cubs are in the midst of a franchise record-setting streak of futility, which is amazing considering how much futility is in this franchise’s history.

        Doom and gloom is justified.

        • Tony S.

          It’s not dissatisfaction with where the team is, I can buy that, and I can buy intelligent discourse concerning the direction and the decisions, I’m just taken aback by the vehement reaction at the Yankees signing Ellsbury specifically.

          Put another way: there are far more people NOW screaming because the Yankees signed Ellsbury than were screaming BEFORE for the Cubs to do so.

          • Mike F

            Because you are not infatuated with Ellsbury, but something to consider is both magic Theo WS wins were on display with flashy CF leadoff speed type igniters and then again what did Ellsbury do this season. Theo has a 5 year deal and said he thought he stayed way too long in Boston. This is a slow slow blow it up and rebuild. Ricketts should have went after Billy Beane who would have done more with this money than this ridiculous lose to win thing.

            • Tony S.

              So try and get Gardner off the Yankees as someone said. There you go, WS.

  • Curt

    The ellsbury contract is rediculous but it’d be nice if the cubs
    Would do anythjng of note

    • Tony S.

      See, this comment I can get behind. I don’t necessarily agree, but I can understand your frustration.

    • Eric

      It’s December 4th.

  • Ben

    I’m just punting on 2014 entirely and hoping that when we fast forward to 2015, we at least have a real prospect or two up in the bigs, and not the never-were’s the team is now seemingly filled with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the team blowing money just to sign somebody, but we’re going into yet another year with nothing to care about in the majors, other than praying that Castro and Rizzo can turn it around and that Shark doesn’t blow out his elbow before they trade him.

  • Curt

    Dodgers,Yankees,redsox and tigers sign or trade for all the players
    Cubs sign none of the players I’m sure most of those contracts were bad for the cubs but it’s frustrating watching other teams improve while we do nothing of any note

    • Cheese Chad

      Call it improving all you want. I don’t see any of those teams winning the World Series next year. And the team that did this year did not spend ridiculous contracts.

      • YourResidentJag

        I see the Tigers right there. Hmm…

      • caryatid62

        3/4 of those teams were in the playoffs, and the other had been in the playoffs just about every year since 1996. Given that winning the World Series is mostly luck once you get in the playoffs, that might not be the best argument.

        • Cheese Chad

          I didn’t say they wouldn’t. Just said I don’t see it. Tigers unluckiest team ever considering they are there every year and don’t win. Luck is a weaker argument.

          • Caryatid62

            Luck isn’t an argument. It’s a fact–small sample size increases the likelihood of luck playing a larger role.

            • Tony S.

              Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

              Seneca

              • Drew7

                Barf

                • Tony S.

                  Heh

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    Two more years bottom 10 for a top ten pick. The Cubs are still organizationally pitching thin.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not exactly.

      The Cubs are thin on elite pitching talent, or, to be more exact, they are thin on talent that we know is elite pitching talent.

      They have a ton of quality arms in the both the high-risk, high-upside category and the high-floor, back of rotation/bullpen category.

      It isn’t impossible that in 18 months we’ll look at a crop of pitchers that are in the farm system now and marvel at how much pitching the Cubs have.

      It also isn’t impossible that 18 months from now we’ll wonder where all those pitching picks from the 2012 and 2013 drafts went and why we haven’t heard from them lately.

      • jeff1969

        Therein lies the truth about prospecting & developing talent. Just a couple of years ago Baseball America ranked the Cardinals near the bottom in minor league systems, now they’re one of the models. At that same time all those in the know were drooling over the Yankees guys like Banuelos, Bettances, & Montero. What happened to them? A near total crap shoot really.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Fair, but we get better at projecting prospects every year. We learn a little from every mistake.

          I don’t think Felix Pie would be nearly as highly regarded today as he was back in his day, for example.

          • Tony S.

            You know, Luke, I really hope so. I think about him a lot, and the CPats, etc etc, and I hope this organization is better at it now.

  • Cheese Chad

    I am a Cubs fan and will love watching the Cubs until the day I die. Where is the love?

  • trust me

    Boy I do not envy that Yankee team, that team is getting old i mean jeter wells soriano taxera arod ichirro cc YIKESSSS!! THE only player i can think thats decent and under 30 is garner and his probbly going to get traded because he has more value then the rest of these guys on the list

  • Rebuilding

    The big test for me will be Tanaka. I firmly believe we will be one of the last 2 teams standing with the Dodgers. If we don’t go aggressively after him then I will seriously have to reevaluate what’s going on here (again) and I will have to say that either the Ricketts are far more cash strapped than I think is possible or Theo is a paper tiger. Neither of which I think is true

    • Kyle

      At this point, it looks like a capped bid process is almost a certainty, and surely multiple teams will be at the max for Tanaka

      • Rebuilding

        I agree. So that will be step 1. Step 2 will be credible evidence that we offered him at least 6/120

        • Rebuilding

          But judging by tonight it sounds like you will be surprised if we bid the max on post (say $40 mil) for fear we might have to pay it

          • willis

            I’d be incredibly surprised. I don’t think they really come close. They’ll spin like they did, but I don’t believe they will.

            I’d love to have your optimism about the franchise and this ownership. But I just can’t get there.

          • Kyle

            If I absolutely had to guess, I’d be surprised if we bid $40m, yes.

            • Rebuilding

              Fair enough. I’ve long shared your pessimism. I guess we will indeed find out soon

              • Kyle

                Well, we may not. MLB may not formally release the names of all the teams that max-bidded, so who knows.

                • Rebuilding

                  If there are multiple teams negotiating with him I think that will leak from his people in Japan. I think we will have a pretty good idea of who bid max

                  • Kyle

                    That doesn’t seem to be the way they are going.

                    MLB wants to keep it to one-team-only having negotiating rights. It’s just up in the air how that one team will be decided.

                    • Andrew

                      I vote cutest mascot gets exclusive negotiating rights

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Do you think the Cubs go over $150 total? I think they bid the max, even if it hits 60 or so. But then I don’t see them willing to shell out more than 90. Or does your 6/120 include the posting fee? Because I just can’t see the Cubs doing an effective 6/160 or more.

  • Jeff

    It was interesting to listen to Peter Gammons on MLB network yesterday. If you paid attention to what he said when he was commenting on Jeff Samardzija being on the trade block. he specifically said the Cubs would not be seeking to make any moves till 2016.

    I’m curious what his boy Theo told him in private that Theo isn’t telling the fan base.

    I’m calling bullshit on this rebuild, the truth is we have a owner who doesn’t care as much about winning as he does profits and paying off the the debt of a team his daddy let him borrow money to buy.

  • North Side Irish

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi 10m
    Source: NPB clubs indicating they will accept maximum bid structure for posting system, now negotiating w/ MLB where that point would be.

    Wow…this could be huge for the Cubs depending on what they do with multiple bids at the max.

    • ssckelley

      It only helps the Cubs if they set the max bid at a high amount like 50 million.

    • Kyle

      The two possibilities we’ve heard are that the player gets to choose or that the player goes to the team with the worst record the previous year.

      Either of those has the potential to be good or bad for the Cubs’ chances.

      • Cub Lifer

        Tanaka ends up with the Yankees. And they will cross their fingers that his arm doesn’t fall off and that he will be real good for them. They are one of the few clubs with the balls to roll the dice on Tanaka. If he ends up a bust, then they shrug their shoulders and move on to the next shiny object like they always do. Not sure the Cubs have this sort of big money gambling luxury. If Tanaka were to bomb with the Cubs that would be a death blow to the whole Theo strategy I’m afraid given the financial limitations.

        • Hawkeye

          What are these “alleged” financial limitations. This gets thrown around this board quite a bit, but I have yet to read/see/hear any reason why we have theses strict financial limitations, other than we just don’t want to spend money.

          • YourResidentJag
            • Hawkeye

              Yeah I’ve read/heard this before but it still doesn’t calculate in my mind why this would limit payroll so much. The Trubune was able to turn a profit with a payroll of 160 mill. To me debt service on 580 million (this looks like a bargain now BTW) just doesn’t equal the kind of cuts we’ve seen.

              • Cheese Chad

                Tribune turned a profit?

              • Tony S.

                I don’t believe the Trib was turning much profit at anything, and that was a great article I hadn’t read, thanks Jag

              • hansman

                The cubs have never had a 160M payroll and only had 1 season ever that wws within 10% of that figure.

  • Cub Lifer

    You can’t criticize Theo Epstein. He’s been given the financial parameters he’s been given and he’s doing his damnedest to build the Cubs into a winner the best possible way he can. It’s clear that literally all the eggs are being put into the farm system as the salvation. It’s clear also that the Ricketts either are allowed to renovate Wrigley in order to unlock new revenues or else thing is going to be run on the cheap. Maybe this is the way of holding the city and the rooftop owners hostage?!?

    • Jay

      Last I checked, it was the rooftops owners doing the hostage holding. They get out of the way, everything starts moving forwards. Thank you Crane Kenney you fucking dumbass.

      • Crazyhorse

        The rooftops are holding noone back, they have a contract that will eventually run out and they have a right to sue if they they feel they have been cheated and the Cubs are doing what is best for them but to say that his is the reason the front office and the Cubs are poor is total nonsense

  • josh ruiter

    Just a thought with no where to put it…so here it is…maybe I’ll post a thread tomorrow. With all the movement and the lack of elite pitching out there, just a few things came to my head.
    1. Package Shark, Alcantara, & Lake for Bradley, Skaggs, and Trahan. Turn around send T. Wood to Pittsburgh for Glasnow. Plug Skaggs in right away…start Bradley in AAA.
    2. Sign Cano with the money saved from extending Shark to a 8 year 150 million contract loaded with incentives, including a 5 million bonus every year he finishes in top 3 in mvp voting, and an additional 2.5 million bonus every year he finishes top 5 in OPS+. That adds roughly 60 million and puts the potential of the deal at 8 for 210. You pay more if he lights it up, less if he doesn’t.
    3. With rumor of the max bid proposal accepted by NPB…Do what it takes to get Tanaka. He will round out our starting 5…Tanaka, EJax, Skaggs, Rusin, one of the young guys.

    It doesn’t put it is the top realm of competition but all said only adds about 40 million to the payroll. By this time next year we will be looking at Baez at 3b, Castro at SS, Cano at 2b, Rizzo at 1b, Castillo at C, Bryant in RF, look to have another moneyball type player in the OF and maybe one more signing? That to me makes 2015 competitive and 2016 with the arrivals of Almora and Soler and we have a very strong and young team. One guy over 30 at that rate in Cano, and hopefully Trahan knocking on the door to let us deal Castillo for surplus value. Rotation in 2015 of Bradley, Tanaka, EJax, Skaggs, and Arrieta, Glasnow, Edwards, Ramirez, Johnson, Hendricks, looking to get a shot at the 5th spot. IF Arrieta can’t hold it and the other three don’t earn it…you still have Rusin to step in. Then by 2016 you can almost guarantee pencilling in one if not two of those guys. You end up not banking on Paniagua, Underwood, or any of the other slew of high ceiling but real low floor guys – which will leave us unhampered at worst and possibly pleasantly surprised.

  • josh ruiter

    I meant 8 at 160…with the incentives…maybe he signs it…he is extremely cocky and high on himself. He probably sees that as an automatic 8 for 220.

  • josh ruiter

    And Brett, just quick numbers crunch here too, but I believe 7/153 comes in just a hair under 22 million a year but you adjusted the Yankee payroll only 17 for Ellsbury. IF my 22 number is correct, assuming your number for Cano stays the same that puts them at 185. subtract the 25 from ARod back down to 160. add the 10-15 mil for arbitration, other players, etc. they are at 170-175…giving them 20-30 million left. Enough? I don’t really know how that works out with posting fees/contracts/etc.

  • trust me

    Looks like CC will be pitching every day for the Yankees.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Odds are good the Yankees add Tanaka and either Garza or Jimeniz. Now that they signed McCann, they could also trade top prospect Gary Sanchez for frontline pitching.

      • praying the cubs get ready to win

        Maybe a Sanchez, Gardner and a top low minor league pitcher for Shark and Barney.

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        The Yanks are at about 150 million with 17 players. Kuroda turned down 14.1 and Cano and Granderson are unknowns. Tanakawa is still going to be $12 mil if the posting doesn’t count.
        SO best case scenario is they sign Tanakawa for 5/60 + massive posting fee.
        18 players = 162 mil Leaving 7 players and 27 mil They still need another starter and pick one from Kuroda, Garza, Santana, Jimenez for 15-18 mil per

        Thats 10 million left and 6 players needed

        Add a Setup/cheap closer option for 5-7 mil and the rest league minimum.

        Of course if the Yanks squirm outta the ARod salary the could resign Cano or get Infante and more pitching. (I’d do the later)

        If everything goes right and everyone stays healthy

        • TOOT

          Horseshack, is that you?

        • TOOT

          Welcome back KOTTER?

        • aaronb

          Did baseball add a hard salary cap?

  • Crazyhorse

    Lets be realistic its hard for the Cubs to go after any type of quality Fee agents, when the Cubs traded Soriano to the Yankees, And remember this Front Office will be picking up the tab of 13.7 million dollars so Soriano can hit home runs in the American League.
    The Cubs did get. Corey Black and one can debate that the 13.7 million dollars the Cubs traded to recieve this fine pitcher (Black did pitch well in Daytona) somehow might not be factor into his overall compensattion. when it all said and done. its like giving this prospect 13.7 in proxy.

  • North Side Irish

    Bruce Levine ‏@MLBBruceLevine 13s
    Former Cub manager Mike Quade accepts roving outfielder instructor job with Yankees.

    Yankees really are signing everyone…

    • Tony S.

      They heard about the Ex-Cub factor.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    On the bright side. The Astros acquired Dexter Fowler. We have a better shot at the 2015 #1 overall draft!! (I kid, kind of….). If Theo/Jed/Ricketts are going to throw away 2014, we might as well be really bad as much as that pains me to say

    • Crazyhorse

      Yeah ” Little” moves cough cough wink wink may make the Cubs as good as last year a top 5 draft pick and “Big” moves might make the Cubs interesting and better but……… maybe not – let go with the little moves that makes the following year better and predictable.

    • Jeff

      If we trade Jeff Samardzija, we are a lock for the #1 pick in 2015.

      • Tony S.

        +1

  • Cheese Chad

    Most bad-ass first base coach in baseball now belongs to the Cubs.[img]http://www.csnchicago.com/sites/csnchicago/files/styles/large/public/tattoos-0021_0.jpg[/img]

    • Tony S.

      Holy shitsnacks, is that really Hinske’s back? Nice ink.

  • Fastball

    I suppose if Theo had been hired by the Cubs 10 years ago all this growing pain would be over. But we are now moving into a new era which is the same as the previous era’s in MLB. The haves and the have nots. Our organization is in the have nots category. Always has been and Always will be. Lovable Losers yes the Cubs once were and they were really good at it. Had just enough good players that were socially acceptable to draw us all in from the 60’s til 2008. Now we are back in the Phil Wrigley days of ownership or maybe even worse. There was always about 4 guys I used to really follow everyday. Now we have an owner who will never take this team into promised land because he doesn’t have the money and never will have the money. He also doesn’t have the nerve. He isn’t playing with house money like when he was an investor. He is playing with his own money and his families money. It’s a little harder to get off your own cash when you have no idea how to replace it. I don’t buy the fix Wrigley first anymore. I don’t buy the we need a Jumbotron anymore. Maybe I never did. Problem is we can’t make a run now and we probably won’t make a run in 2 or 3 years either. There will be a new set of excuses because that’s how it works when things are going as they are. What Ricketts needs is a partner. He needs to bring in a big time investor who has all the money it’s going to take to bring this organization out of decline its in. Yes it’s a decline. Face it as everything continues to shrink year after year. Oh we have drafted a bunch of kids. This organization isn’t the hallmark for player development and many have tried this well before Theo came along. Tom Ricketts if this was any other business you were running there would be somebody else sitting at the table with you. Probably more than one somebody else. Right now your in over your head man. As MLB continues to move forward you are falling farther behind. You have bet the whole shooting match on this grand plan. And what if, what if it fails or only produces 50% of what you bet on. Your business is in a bad spot. Right now you got the kitchen and the bathrooms remodeled but how you going to do the rest of the place. Ricketts needs help and you have to fix this MLB team now. You have to invest in your product on the field. I don’t care about Wrigley Field and it’s rennovations anymore. Fix your product or your going to lose more than you bargained for. Your bean counters may have figured wrong. Then what. We will be like the Dodgers were 3 years ago. A laughing stock. You need to find somebody who will come in and set you flush with cash and right this ship. It’s make it to the haves or your prize possession will just be a dull finish on an old machine that doesn’t run anymore.

    • Cheese Chad

      Have you been to Wrigley Field? It needs fixing. The new age is getting outside revenue by advertising or letting a company sponsor your stadium. I hope we never do the latter, I hate names like U.S. Cellular field. So yes, this is the new age, it’s just a bigger story because the Cubs were the only team that hadn’t renovated their stadium EVER, ate least like this.

  • Bret Epic

    Doubt we end up getting Tanaka, but I think we might end up winning someone like Yoon Suk-min. I’m okay with most of these signings taking place. A lot of the “Cubs caliber” guys are still available, and will likely go for much less. Let teams overpay for now and the Cubs pick up “prove it” guys that we can flip again at the deadline or sometime next season. It’d be nice to have some of these high profile players, but I’m not ready for a big contract to backfire on the Cubs. If we end up receiving some players that could become part of the “core,” I think it will be through trade.

  • Crazyhorse

    Now let turn it around with reality about Big Theo , If the Cubs are strapped by cash because the Trust can only rely on monies generated by the Cubs and The Buisness aspect is only relying on those monies then Theo are Jed are picking one aspect that they feel that can succeed and thats only through player development. Joe Rickets is a very smart man (I dont like him) but he is Buisness and as fans we are not nearly as important as he knows Cub fans will flock when the team wins.

    Hiring Theo for his baseball sabermetric mind is a win / win for this Buisness model .only becasuse it buys time to reallocate currency to build a commerical entertainment complex controlled and owned by the Ricketts family.in Wrigleyville ( That is almost unheard prior to the Rickets Trust that owns the Cubs)

    The Cubs can NOT afford to build on all fronts – maintain a competative 25 man roster, pay the note on the purchase loan that bought the Cubs. and pay for renovations and grease local politicains and certain social media outlets. and those pesky rooftops. Rickets thinks long term in all avenues. Its is to be admired unless your simply a Cub Fan.

    As Cub fan we must wait – the Team is not important in the present but the foundation is
    Theo is doing a good job and he know how to keep the team flat – He is the perfect man .
    he is buying time- or he really is a lousy ,
    Either way its been bad news to be a Cub fan.

  • cubs2003

    I’d be curious to know what payroll number the Cubs have to work with. This is looking like a full on rebuild small market style. Maybe that’s the best thing. I’m still frustrated about Fister. I didn’t want Ellsbury at that price tag, but I think I’ve said that about every recent FA. If the Cubs are tanking two more seasons they might be better off staying away from any big free agents. I like Cano best of them all. If you’re spending big bucks, it might as well be on a big, athletic bat who can play a premium position with little injury history. It’ll be an overpay in the end, but I can’t see a better option if you want to improve your club drastically right now. I don’t know much about Tanaka, but I trust the FO does and will make a bid they feel is appropriate. I’m sure they’re not the only ones, though. I guess I’ll see how the offseason plays out and that’s part of what’s fun about baseball.

    • Bill

      Agree. If the Cubs were going to spend Yankee type money on Ellsbury I’d rather they spend a little more and get Cano.

      It would be nice if Theo/Ricketts gave us a ballpark figure of what payroll they have to work with or would like to spend this season. Are we not spending because they think the players aren’t worth the money, or are there fiscal constraints because of the debt structure?

      I’m not sure why the Cubs couldn’t have put together a comparable package to land Fister. We certainly wouldn’t have had to give up any of the top prospects (the big 4).

      • cubs2003

        This is overly optimistic, but:
        Shark
        Tanaka
        EJax
        Wood
        Arrieta

        Sweeney
        Castillo
        Cano
        Rizzo
        Schierholz
        Olt
        Castro
        Lake

        B:
        Barney
        Valbuena
        Kottaras
        etc.

        It’s way too late to do the whole thing and I’m sure there are platoon issues, but that seems like a respectable start of a good club with a bunch of guys waiting in the wings.

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