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winter meetings 2013As it was last year, the Winter Meetings were something of a let down, in terms of overall baseball activity. Whereas last year’s meetings were dampened by teams adjusting to the implications of the new CBA, this year’s meetings were dampened by the unbelievable volume of activity last week. There simply weren’t as many moves left to make. Plus everyone’s still waiting on Masahiro Tanaka.

The rumors were aplenty, though, as always. At least that kept us a little toasty.

For the Cubs, specifically, there was little movement. The team picked up outfielder Justin Ruggiano this morning in a minor trade, grabbed a minor league catcher in the Rule 5 Draft, and made another minor league signing. The word “minor” loomed heavily.

The biggest story coming into the meetings for the Cubs was what might happen with Jeff Samardzija. Would the Cubs finally break through and extend the soon-to-be 29-year-old righty? Would the Cubs finally break down and trade him?

The answer, of course, is that the Cubs did nothing with him – outwardly, at least. Which is not to say there weren’t a great many discussions involving and surrounding Samardzija (“minor” discussions?). Unfortunately for anxious fans, there is no requirement that things happen this week. Rushing into decisions makes for crappy decisions.

“We continue to try to move the ball forward as much as we can on one of two or three possible outcomes,” Theo Epstein said of the Samardzija situation this week, per Cubs.com. There hasn’t been any fundamental change in the situation. Communication is good and we continue to view Jeff as a really big part of what we’re doing, even as we admit there are several possible outcomes.”

We’ll never know precisely what this week’s meeting produced, but we know there hasn’t been much movement on the extension front. Samardzija is under control for two more years via arbitration, and seems reluctant to sign a long-term deal that doesn’t pay him commensurately with the exploding free agent market. He’s a confident guy with a ton of upside, and he remains content to bet on himself.

That, of course, leaves the Cubs in the crummy position of fielding offers for him without actually knowing whether it’s going to make sense to trade him. That was probably part of the conversation this week, and it will probably remain a part of the conversation through midseason, at least. So long as Samardzija remains with the Cubs, anyway. Epstein sounds like he wishes that the trade talk, publicly, would go away.

“At some point, I don’t think Jeff deserves to read about this every day,” Epstein said, again, per Cubs.com. “It’s a tough thing to read about someone speculating on where you’re going to work. We’ll put it to bed. The situation now is Jeff’s our Opening Day starter and that’s how we’re moving forward …. I don’t want Jeff to have to read the paper every day that there’s speculation that he might be traded or not.”

Although it’s a completely legitimate and thoughtful point from Epstein, the reality is that, with an on-field product that is unlikely to provide compelling headlines on its own merit, the rumors involving a front-line, popular starting pitcher are going to carry the day. We just won’t hear the Cubs talking about it.

From here, I can only assume that each side knows where the other stands. I can assume further that many of the possible trade partners out there have let the Cubs know generally where they stand, and the Cubs have responded in kind. Each of those sides is probably waiting for more clarity on the starting pitcher market – Tanaka being made available, David Price being shopped, any of Garza/Santana/Jimenez signing – before getting too serious in trade discussions.

In the interim, the Cubs will continue to go about building their 2014 roster as wisely as possible. There will be an effort to put together the best possible team, with an understanding that big dollars aren’t forthcoming right now, and flippability is still an attractive feature in a free agent.

That will be true whether Samardzija opens the season with the Cubs or not. The sad reality? Even if the Cubs kept Samardzija, signed Tanaka, and signed Shin-Soo Choo, they still wouldn’t project to win anything close to the 90 games necessary to have a fighting chance in the NL Central or the Wild Card in 2014.

  • EdgewoodDirk

    Man. That last paragraph. Too much truth….it burns!!

    • Senor Cub

      “Even if the Cubs kept Samardzija, signed Tanaka, and signed Shin-Soo Choo, they still wouldn’t project to win anything close to the 90 games necessary to have a fighting chance in the NL Central or the Wild Card in 2014.”

      That’s why I don’t understand why people still believe he should be traded, you are that much closer with Shark then without him and like Brett put it so correctly, it still wouldn’t be enough with Tanaka and Choo to compete although you would be light years closer to it with them then without.

    • cubmig

      Yeah…..it DOES burn. The irony for me is: how does not signing Choo, landing Tanaka and keeping Samardzija not fit “… an effort to put together the best possible team…”? I know—-the money issue. That’s great! A guy ballooning with pockets of money, and we have a money issue. Great. How is it that the value of the Cubs as a team will ever be legitimized if first steps towards putting together the best team possible aren’t invested in to jump-start all of us towards a WS contending club and organization? Choo is out there waiting. Tanaka is an unsure “if”, and Samardzija is in house awaiting affirmation of his being good enough for that desireable “best team”. No moves; just waiting. Something is wrong with this picture.

  • Rich

    The Pirates will regress a small amount. Reds will NOT win 90. St. Louis eh ( 90+ wins ).
    Brewers stink…so … 90 wins coulda, woulda, shoulda…

  • CubChymyst

    My guess is the FO realized that no team is willing to step up to the plate and blow them away with an offer for Samardzija. The FO wants a package for what Shark could be and everyone is likely offering one for what is has currently displayed. The most likely thing at this point is Shark starts the season on the Cubs. Hopefully he improves the first half of the season, then the Cubs can either work on an extension if Shark has developed into what we all hoped, or trade him for the package we all are dreaming about.

    • YourResidentJag

      I don’t know how you can say that. Blowing them away isn’t going to happen. He has proven himself to get high quality return. That won’t change come to July, and it will be a distraction until he’s either resigned or traded.

      As for a prospect return, other teams have established his value, not Theo. They want him. They’re just not giving up a prospect package of say Bundy and Gausman or Sanchez and Stroman. Maybe one or the other, but not both. Theo it would seem wants both. Never going to happen. Also, just because the Cubs appear to want some teams 1st or 2nd top SP prospects doesn’t mean that from any team that would be a quality return. It depends on individual factors. Certainly, the Indians top SP prospect has to still be Bauer. Would you want Bauer as a centerpiece for Shark? I’m not sure I would.

      There probably is a deal out there. It either was rejected by the FO or not even considered yet, but to say the Cubs should keep because “they haven’t been BLOWN AWAY” really doesn’t get at the half of it.

      • YourResidentJag

        hasn’t proven

  • http://BN Sacko

    So by ez observation of the meetings why would anyone think we would get Choo or Tanaka?

  • willis

    The thing is though, if you keep Shark and miraculously ink Tanaka, 1-5 (if healthy) on most days should keep the team in damn near every ballgame. That’s a step in the right direction.

    • Patrick G

      As much as your right, last years first half pitching was pretty solid as well. The bad thing is its tough for this lineup to produce runs. Hopefully that can turn around a little if Castro has a bounce back year and Rizzo’s average goes up a bit

      • willis

        True, but also last year the cubs had Marmol, Camp and Fuji early on to blow games, and then Russell crapped a few away as well. IF they can get one more good addition to the pen this year, the pen looks significantly better and that will help.

        Saying that they aren’t getting Tanaka so I guess it doesn’t matter.

  • Eric

    At some point this FO has to start asking themselves how they can justify keeping Baez and Bryant in the minors. I’m not saying I’m one of those fans, but I understand why people don’t want to suffer through another 90+ loss season.

    • Eric

      That sentence should be:

      “At some point this FO has to start asking themselves how they can justify keeping Baez and Bryant in the minors to the fans.”

      • Required

        I think we will see them all at some point this year.

  • Idiot du Jure

    [Ed. – Racism.] NO WORLD SERIES YEAR THIS?

    • Greenroom

      Dude!! seriously!! whats with the name!?!?!

      • Fishin Phil

        Ban Hammer Time!

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          No question about it.

          • Patrick W.

            Can you not [ed. ..] Screen names?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Yeah. I just didn’t realize until now that it was something bad when sounded out phonetically.

              • Patrick W.

                Thanks!

              • TWC

                Finally!

    • C. Steadman

      c’mon man…

      • willis

        Holy crap dude…

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Did you type that name in thinking you were being funny or are you just genuinely that ignorant/racist?

      • TWC

        I think he’s genuinely just a dick.

    • Hitlarious

      hahahahahahahaha

  • Jon

    Why does every move, in a vacuum, has to be evaluated by whether or not it would propel us to 90 wins. Incremental improvement is possible. I understand avoiding the albatross contracts, but would it be nice if they actually tried with this roster and got it to 75-80 wins. Then when the kids come up,instead of trying to jump from a 100 loss team to respectability, you are already are on the outside looking in.

    • CubFan Paul

      “Incremental improvement is possible”

      Exactly. Brett’s last paragraph made me angry not sad.

      • Jon

        We would be sitting pretty with Choo, Tanaka and Shark in hand.

        Baez could fill in at 3rd or 2nd, with Bryant in right field or 3rd base in the later half of 2014 or 2015.

        Both Almora and Soler are bit further off so Choo bridges the gap in the outfield until they are ready or he can could be valuable should one of those prospects not be ready or are used in a trade.

        • Norm

          So you’re saying there is still a chance to go from “complete outrage that the Cubs aren’t doing anything this offseason” to “sitting pretty” with two simple moves?

          Of course, those moves will cost $35M+ per year…

          • Jon

            “Of course, those moves will cost $35M+ per year…”

            That’s the cost of doing business when you want to play with the big boys.

        • Voice of Reason

          Jon typed: “We would be sitting pretty with Choo, Tanaka and Shark in hand.”

          What does sitting pretty mean?

          • Jon

            A Roster I think that could win around 75 games. Not a playoff contender, by no means, but a young team that can avoid being an abortion on a daily basis and with some kids coming up.

            • Voice of Reason

              so, you’re adding Choo and Tanaka and you think that with that line up we win 75 games?

              Remember that we had Garza and Feldman at the start of 2013 along with Soriano’s bat. I know he struggled out of the gate, but we still had his bat. You’re basically replacing Soriano’s bat with Choo’s. I guess you could say that’s a push and with that you’re being pretty generous.

              Then, you’re adding Tanaka in the rotation. Remember that last year we had Garza and Scott Feldman who pitched well.

              Basically, you’re replacing Soriano with Choo and Tanaka replaces Garza!

              That really doesn’t excite me or isn’t much of an improvement to me.

              You mention kids coming up. There is so much of a variable there. Do they come up and play well???

              I say Choo’s price is too much. He isn’t worth it. I would bid on Tanaka if I’m the Cubs, but again, I don’t think the Cubbies will throw in a bid larger than other teams in contention.

              • Jon

                um, Garza pitched 11 games for the Cubs last year, so yeah a full season of Tanaka is a big upgrade.

                • Voice of Reason

                  um… we also had Feldman who pitched well.
                  Who is replacing Feldman?

                  • willis

                    Arrieta.

                  • THEOlogical

                    Um…we also had Marmol at the back end.

              • caryatid62

                At the halfway point of last year (prior to the trade offs), and with a historically terrible bullpen, the Cubs were on pace to go 71-91. The likelihood that those two players are each worth 2 wins is not out of the question.

              • praying the cubs get ready to win

                Bull pen also should be better. Hopefully Castro and Rizzo are better I think is how we might get to 75 wins, then add a couple of the kids.

            • ari gold

              I’d rather win 65 games, get a top 5 protected pick, than win 75 games and pick in the middle of the 1st round. I thought the goal was to make the playoffs? If we’re not going to make the playoffs might as well get another high pick.

              • Jon

                That’s a great strategy….

                In the NBA

                • C. Steadman

                  NBA has lottery so tanking isnt actually a great strategy there either…NFL is probably where tanking works best…

                  • Jon

                    IN the NBA, generally your superstars are found in the top 5 picks. The MLB draft is so random and unpredictable, tanking doesn’t really make sense.

                    • C. Steadman

                      it worked Rays, Royals, Pirates…Astros are going to burst on the scene soon as well

                    • Jon

                      They have been saying that about the Royals for 20 or so years.

                    • C. Steadman

                      and now its paying off! haha

                    • terencemann

                      The best players in MLB usually come from the top draft spots and international signings. It will become more extreme now that MLB has taken a hard line on the draft bonuses. Elite players can’t hold out thinking they’ll fall to the middle of the first round to a team who will spend whatever they want. You saw that with Appel this past draft.

                      The difference in the NBA and NFL is only that there’s more consistency and that those players are expected to make an impact almost immediately.

                    • Norm

                      This is not the case. The top 5 is most certainly better than 15.
                      And, if you plan on the Cubs making a splash in FA next year, that would mean signing a guy that had likely received a qualifying offer. So you’re talking about a Top 5 pick vs. No 1st round pick.

                    • Jon

                      Don’t know if you are being silly, a ton of the Royals top prospects have crash and burned recently.

                    • gocatsgo2003

                      … except that the Royals historically flipped away players once they turned out to be any good to avoid spending any kind of money on them (Kevin Appier, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, etc.). At least in theory, the Cubs could/should/would be able to hang onto their home-grown talent with more payroll flexibility in the future.

                • gocatsgo2003

                  Dude… you’ve really got to stop with the oversimplification in the NBA comparison.

                  Are top-five draft picks in the NBA more likely to have an impact for their team earlier in their career? Sure.

                  Are top-five draft picks the best way for MLB teams to acquire as much top-flight talent in the minors as possible? Also yes.

                  We know you always want to be in “win now” mode, but that’s not the tact chosen by this front office. Sorry.

              • caryatid62

                You’re never going to go from 65 wins in one season to 90 in the next. There will be years in which this team wins 75-84 games.

                • ari gold

                  tell that to the Rays

                  • aaronb

                    One team is 25 years does not a trend make.

                    • C. Steadman

                      but never say never! :P

                • C. Steadman

                  ahem…07-08 Rays…ahem

                • Robbo

                  Not to mention the Cubs went from 66 to 85 wins from ’06 – ’07.
                  Major turnarounds can happen from time to time.

                • C. Steadman

                  98-99 Diamondbacks and 91-92 Braves

                  • Patrick W.

                    Or the 90-91 Twins for that matter.

                • Patrick W.

                  ahem … 97-98 Chicago Cubs: 68 wins to 90.
                  02-03 Chicago Cubs: 67-88
                  06-07 Chicago Cubs: 66-85

                  It’s not *that* rare.

                  • caryatid62

                    It’s rare enough that to imply that it will happen with this team, without free agent acquisitions, is irresponsible.

                    • Patrick W.

                      1: I don’t think anybody was IMPLYING it would happen with this team. Poster said it never happens, another poster said it only happened once in 25 years… there are literally 10X more examples than 1.

                      2: To whom do we owe responsibility on this subject? What exactly is the negative thing that will happen if we DID “imply it will happen with this roster”?

              • THEOlogical

                So Ari, if we don’t make the playoffs, then we might as well tank the season from the get-go? It’s either playoffs or top 5 pick? If your lucky, teams make the playoffs on the first try (after a horrible 90+ loss season). Most though, have to progress to that. Build from within, sign FA’s and win 10 more the next season, and then 10 more after that. Til they finally make it. Also, for those who like the “flippable asset” players, let’s try not be that team. Maybe in 2014, but no more after that. Trading someone for prospects is great, til your farm is healthy. We need to stop getting “flippable assets” and start signing them to a 2-3 yr deal so we’re not bargain hunting again in the off season.

                • terencemann

                  You want a team that is building over time and where you can project that they’ll be better next season than this season. That’s not the case if your team is built around players in their early thirties. Look at the recent Phillies. They fell apart quickly.

                • ari gold

                  I didn’t say I want the team to “tank”. That implies that they’re throwing games. All I’m saying is there isn’t much difference between 75 games and 65 games, except you get a much better draft pick that is probably top 10 protected.

                  • cubfanincardinalland

                    As if they are signing players that are connected with giving up a draft pick?

                    • ari gold

                      They shouldn’t be right now. Not the time for that.

                  • THEOlogical

                    I understand what your saying but eventually you need to improve. When a team starts to improve from a rebuild, they’re going to move from a top 5 draft pick, into the 10-20 range and so on and so forth (unless magically making the playoffs). We had a somewhat middle-of-the-road team last yr, until trades happened. I was on board with the flips, but it’s not in our best interest to do so every yr we are not in contention. If a player isn’t part of the core, or able to be a part of a better team the next yr, that’s fine.

          • http://bleachernation.com Tom Foolery Jr.

            I think you know what sitting pretty means. I think maybe annoying is better suited to your vocabulary.

        • Voice of Reason

          It is so highly unlikely that the Cubs land Tanaka. There are teams with deeeeepppp pockets that are looking to win now and feel they are a very good starting pitcher away.

          The Cubs on the other hand…. based on their spending habits this off season, appear to be heading in the other direction.

          I’m thinking Tanaka is going to be gobbled up by a contender who will be willing to spend a pretty penny for his services in 2014.

          As far as Choo… even less likely than Tanaka!

          • willis

            I agree, Tanaka should pretty much be a dead issue. It would be a miracle for Ricketts to pony up what it would take to get him, not to mention there are plenty of teams that can outbid the cubs for his services. No money equals no Tanaka boys and girls.

          • Cubbie in NC

            I think the new posting system hurts the Cubs. Before if they won the bid Tanaka had no choice. Now he has a choice and probably won’t choose the Cubs unless the Cubs overpay.

            I also don’t blame Shark, he wants to see what the Cubs are going to put around him. Tough choice, overpay him now, or let him walk so he can go to a place he can win.

            • Voice of Reason

              He’ll either sign an extension or get traded.

              the Cubs will not let him walk.

    • When the Music’s Over

      It’s funny. That’s pretty much the sentiment that so many of the plan super backers hold: that once the Cubs first wave of prospects come up that the Cubs ownership/front office is going to make 4-5+ impact signings in one offseason, and like magic, everything will fall into place, including the prospects being impact players from the get go. Even Theo said yesterday that you can’t pretend this will happen. Yet for some reason, outside of Tanaka, the Cubs front office is externally behaving in a manner that suggests they will wait until the bitter end to bring in a bunch of free agents.

      Since I don’t believe they’re dumb in any way, I really do think they’re trying to tank hard this year, and that’s why no one is being signed (regardless of the debt covenants, etc, there is money to be spent), and they are in essence behaving almost in direct contrast to what they believe. We will see if this behavior repeats itself again next offseason.

      • ari gold

        This isn’t the late 90’s with rampant PED use meant players were productive into their late 30’s. Besides potential hall of famers, you’re starting to see players become unproductive in a hurry once they reach their early to mid 30’s. So how is signing a bunch of those players going to help us in 2 years when our prospects are up? They are already going to be declining big time.

      • TulaneCubs

        They’re not trying to make 4-5 impact signings. That’s the whole point behind having prospects in the system, that you don’t need 5 guys making $15M+ per year.

        Sign Tanaka this year, another next year and another the year after.

        That’s 3 impact players in the next 3 years to add to the prospects for a run in 2016. And they’re not all acquired at once.

  • BlameHendry

    If we apparently are flushing both 2014 and 2015 down the toilet, why is there any reason to hold on to Samardzija? There’s only 2 more years of cost-control with Jeff, and if we aren’t even going to try over the next 2 years, it’s completely useless keeping him around and then getting nothing in return when he signs elsewhere, aside from maybe a compensation draft pick. Even if the offers out there for him aren’t exactly what Theo and Jed had hoped for, they should just tell all the interested teams they have 1 week to put together their best offer, then choose the best offer they get and run with it. Better than the nothing we’d get just letting him walk after 2015. It’s not like he’s going to be more valuable in July than he is now, with another half-year less of team control.

    • Jon

      They aren’t going to give him away. If Shark can pitch strong the first half of the season, I think he’ll fetch the haul they are looking at during the July deadline right now.

      GM’s are prospect smeagles during the offseason.

    • C. Steadman

      he actually might be more valuable in July…injuries to a SP on a contending team could force the GM to be more desperate than he would be in the offseason

    • http://BN Sacko

      I don’t think they can hold unto Shark as they can’t extend him. For what we are doing I don’t think he wants to be a Cub. Theo-Jeff shouldn’t have to go threw this-hell he’s gonna go through a lot more by staying. My guess he would have like to be traded then look at this team everyday.

      • Justin

        I think one of the big issues with extending Samardzija has to be the no trade clause. If you look at it from his perspective why would he cut the Cubs any discount when he could be traded to a team like the Blue Jays as soon as the trade deadline this yr if they offered a good amount. So he would basically be giving the Blue Jays the discount at the point. I would be nervous if I was him too.. It’s a pretty tricky situation.

        • http://BN Sacko

          what no trade clause?

          • Justin

            I am saying he probably wants a no trade clause. This front office doesn’t give out NTC’s, so there’s a problem. That’s my point….

            • Fishin Phil

              I hate NTCs. If a guy earns it through 5/10 rights, that’s fine. They just tie the team’s hands. I would rather see them give slightly more money than an NTC.

              • Voice of Reason

                So instead of $22 million a year, give the guy $27 million?

                When you have cats that demand and and are good enough to receive NTC’s, odds are they are making so much money that you won’t be able to trade them anyhow! lol

              • Justin

                Yeah, I am not a fan of NTC’s either. Especially, after seeing the Soriano situation unfold where he only had 2 teams he was willing to go too. It just sucks. But if I am Jeff, I may want some protection or I could end up in Seattle or something in the next yr and be stuck there for the life of the extension…

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  By that time, Sori had 10 & 5 rights, anyway.

                  One factor that people forget is that, like most people, players want stability in their lives. Knowing that you can just stay in one place is a very nice one.

                  • Justin

                    Yeah but they would have traded Sori before the 10/5 rights kicked in, knowing that once they did kick in he had the hammer. The FO is smart enought to do that. But I get what you’re saying..

                    • terencemann

                      Zambrano and Soriano would have gotten to 10/5 at the end of 2011 by my estimate so, yeah, they could have dumped them after Hendry was let go if not for the NTC.

            • http://BN Sacko

              Probably wants a NTC? Are you kidding?
              Thats my point we wants to be traded. He does not want to play with this team.

              • Justin

                No, I am not freaking kidding. It was reported multiple times over the last yr he wants a NTC. Whatever dude…

                • http://BN Sacko

                  Don’t dude me if you think a NTC is what’s holding this deal.

                  • Justin

                    Sure thing. You’re the all knowing Sacko, not dude.. My fault. I will never discuss NTC’s in the presence of your legendary stature again.

                    • http://BN Sacko

                      thank you sure care figure things out better then Justin
                      since you don’t have a clue
                      If the FA said they would really like to extend and keep him don’t you think they are making more then reasonable offers? There not spending on anything else. Shark doesn’t want to be part of this crap thats going on.

              • C. Steadman

                it has been rumored he wants a NTC

            • Voice of Reason

              You can say this club doesn’t hand out NTC’s anymore, but they will have to at some point. Some time there will be a big name free agent they will want to sign or if Bryant turns out to be a future hall of famer and they want to keep him around…

              I guess you can say that by Shark asking for the NTC, he is volleying the contract negotiations back to the Cubs. He is gauging how much The Lovable Losers really want him!

              • Justin

                I agree that at some point an NTC is going to have to happen. If I was Samardzija I would probably want one too if i was giving any type of a less than market deal. As soon as you give out one NTC though, the flood gates are opened. Tough call for both sides for sure..

      • CubbieBubba

        It can’t help the return on the trade, when the other team already knows that he isn’t going to be easy to extend. If any other team has to pay him like a free agent, then why trade the top half of your farm system away to get him for 2 years, let alone 1.5 or 1 or .5.
        The eventual return is already looking unappetizing. I’m hoping for the cubs to just bite the bullet and extend him. If free agent pitching goes up next year like it did this year, it’ll cost em quite a bit more.

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      He could bring more in July!

      • http://BN Sacko

        I understand that but what does that have to do with NTC

        • Chad

          He would probably have gotten an extension at this point if it was not for the NTC.

          • CubbieBubba

            that and about 100mil, give or take, to cover the gap between the two sides

  • When the Music’s Over

    “There will be an effort to put together the best possible team…..”

    Loved this line. I can put in an effort to run a 7 minute a mile marathon without any training after drinking heavily the previous 3 days, but that doesn’t mean that effort will be very heavy.

  • SANITY CLAUS

    HO HO HO! NO WORLD SERIES IN YOUR STOCKING THIS YEAR! RICKETTS HAS A LUMP OF CRAP DARKER THAN COAL FOR YOU! HOHOHO

  • Joker

    Can’t we all just agree that there is no need to get worked up about 2014? Yes, the situation sucks. Yes, the team will be awful. There are no realistic miracle cures that can prevent that at this point.

    Just support the Cubs through this year and we can talk revolt against ownership later if things don’t look up for 2015. Like that will do us any good…

    (Face facts, you are still going to love the Cubs and they are still going to get your money. We are enablers here.)

    • Edwin

      I’m in love with the Cubs, but we have a flawed relationship. I just keep thinking they can change!

  • FRED NORRIS

    There’s way too much Tom Foolery on this board lately

    • Tom Foolery

      Hey! What did I do?

      • http://bleachernation.com Tom Foolery Jr.

        Hey is that you Dad?

        • Tom Foolery

          Okay, NOW there’s too much Tom Foolery on this board!

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      not enough Chuck Woolery .

      • Tom Foolery

        [img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2856/11342540424_98920b78c1_o.png[/img]

  • FRED NORRIS

    NO WORLD SERIES THIS YEAR!

  • Patrick W.

    I don’t know if I agree with the assessment for wins (not that they WOULDN’T be projected or that they SHOULDN’T be projected to win enough to sniff the wild card, but if they could actually beat those projections) if they made those moves.

    A great deal less has to break the Cubs way (that is the “web of layered dependencies” diminishes) if they make those roster decisions.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I still think there are teams lurking in the wings waiting for news on Tanaka. In light of the moves, or lack there of, that have been made it seems clear to me that Samardzija doesn’t want to hitch his wagon to this team. All the moves and statements to the effect that money is tight or not spending money until the youngsters come up is telling Jeff that he needs to go somewhere different. How many times has he said that he doesn’t like losing? If he isn’t traded before the start of the season then he will be showcasing himself for contenders at the all star break.

  • http://bleachernation.com 1cubsfan1

    If they surprisingly signed Choo and, somehow, signed Tanaka too, and the Shark remained as well… I’d be excited about our chances in the NL Central/Wild Card, especially when you factor in the chance that Castro and Rizzo could, possibly, turn things around and return to form. Call it wishful thinking or whatever, but I really don’t think it’s too far fetch.

    • Jon

      There would be bitching about what Choo is going to make 5 years from now.

      • cubbiehawkeye

        ….and people are bitching now because they don’t hand out big contracts. What’s your point?

    • Blackhawks1963

      Well by that logic in you bought a lottery ticket and won the big prize you’d be instantly better off financially.

  • bobk

    Considering that we are not making any major additions this offseason with the hopeful exception of Tanaka, who do you think the Cubs would be going after next year? I really like our prospects but if we plan on introducing our young talent to the big show we should have some established talent at that level already.

  • C. Steadman

    hey its about time i get an image to my name…but how do you do that? any help would be appreciated

    • Fishin Phil

      Try gravatar.com (I think that’s it, but someone can correct me if I’m wrong).

      • On The Farm

        The puppet has spoken correctly.

      • C. Steadman

        lets see if it worked..

        • C. Steadman

          and it did! the new and improved C. Steadman has an image now!

      • C. Steadman

        thanks Fishin Phil

  • CubFan Paul

    The Braves think they’re the front runners for Samardzija.

    • On The Farm

      Well considering there is a bunch of “suitors” it probably wouldn’t take much to be a front runner. Sims and Bentencourt look interesting, but I would take Sims + whoever they drafted from the ATL area (they always end up being studs don’t they?).

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Sims, Bethancourt, and Martin for Shark. I think that would be a fair trade.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I don’t deny the talent Samardzija has. Big arm, a low mileage arm, great stuff. But keeping him is a case of playing Russian Roulette in my mind. Fact is Samardzija was maddeiningly inconsistent in 2013. What happens if his fine 2012 season ultimately is determined to be a fluke?!? What if Samardzija keeps pitching more in line with Edwin Jackson versus a solid #2 type starting pitcher?!? Then his trade value takes a nosedive. Hence why I’d rather see TheoJed get less greedy now and just move the guy for the best package of prospects that is available.

    • Norm

      The risk would be worth if if the best prospect package available is something along the lines of a #70-100 prospect.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      I remember early in the season we played Atlanta and Shark was hot off the opening day win over the Pirates. And I was thinking “this guy is ready to breakout”, and in that Atlanta game Sharl was lights out in the beginning. I think he had 11 strikeouts through 4 innings and the announcers were talking about Kerry Woods record. And then he just lost it. Seems to me a lot of the time that there were base runners he would try to be too fine and ended up behind in the count and walking guys. And we lost that game. The offense spotted him a lead and he blew it. I actually feel more comfortable with Travis Wood being in the game with men on base. Wood is good at working his way out of trouble. Shark has tried to be too fine and ends up walking the batter with a man on base already. Then he finally has to get over the plate to keep from loading the bases and ” boom” he gives up a hit. Maybe his stuff isn’t as dominant from the stretch. He has great stuff, but still seems to be more of a thrower than a pitcher at times.

  • http://bleachernation.com 1cubsfan1

    I don’t know their system that well, but what do the Braves have, in their pitching coffers, that would entice Theo/Jed to make a trade involving the Shark?

    • On The Farm

      Their entire system is weaker than normal. I think Lucas Sims is their only top 100 prospect and he is sitting toward the back end of it. Not a lot of anything really.

      • North Side Irish

        AJC.com says the Braves won’t move Sims…not sure they can get a deal done without him.

        • On The Farm

          Yeah, not sure they really have a center piece without Sims

          • Jon

            Rather keep shark and ride him into the ground for 2 years, than trade him for garbage.

            • On The Farm

              I would have to agree with that, I am not in love with Sims either, but he is definitely the only guy I really see as a center piece prospect wise only, but they won’t be moving of the arms they just graduated.

        • C. Steadman

          i dont even know i’d want a deal even with sims…not a big fan of their top prospects

        • bbmoney

          Yeah, assuming the deal would just be for prospects (not young MLB pitchers/talent), I’m quite sure they can’t get a deal done without him.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Theo/Jed-searching for upgrades..where when who? Bunch of bs

    • Blackhawks1963

      A. TheoJed don’t have the salary allotment to do much in free agency or trade.
      B. The Cubs don’t have anything to trade of much value unless they trade key prospects…which of course they aren’t going to do.

      If people are upset with the offseason then point that ire in the direction of the Ricketts’ family. I’m assuming Theo is getting rather grumpy about the financial handcuffs.

      • brickhouse

        Why won’t the Cubs trade their top prospects ? Hoyer just stated they would trade top prospects if it improved the team.

  • http://BN Sacko

    searching and signing are different

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    There is a restaurant in Chicago that likes to charge $ 30 for its Filet Mignon and it’s the house specialty. A few years ago they changed ownership at this restaurant and brought in a new head chef.
    The filet Mignon is now $ 35 but it does not taste or look as good as it used to. I think they are buying their meat at a different wholesaler cause this new chef cannot be the problem, he was at a great restaurant in Boston before he came to Chicago and was recognized as one of the best chefs in America.
    I told the new owner the other day I will not be going to his restaurant anymore. I hope he understands why I will not pay him premium prices for substandard food. He said he will be getting better soon and that I will get a better filet Mignon after a few years of training his staff to serve his customers better. I said call me when you’re satisfied that you can deliver on that promise.

    • http://bleachernation.com 1cubsfan1

      And that what the Ricketts are banking on… that the fans will return when the product and service is better.

    • http://BN Sacko

      Listening to bs from a class chef doesn’t mean his food is any better at any time when he keeps bsing. try a different analogy.

    • TWC

      “I told the new owner the other day I will not be going to his restaurant anymore. I hope he understands why I will not pay him premium prices for substandard food. …”

      “I will, however, go on Yelp and drone on and on to anyone who cares — and many who don’t — that I am personally offended at the new chef’s approach and feel that the owner is not living up to the expectations I put on him. In fact, just today I left a comment on the website in which I made a ridiculous analogy comparing this restaurant to a professional baseball team. However, in the end, it’s just the internet and no one really gives a shit.”

      FTFY.

      • On The Farm

        “Even though I saw the steak on TV and read about the restaurant in the newspaper, I still decided to go to the restaurant and demand that the owner *owes* me a world class steak.I am entitled to have the owner cook me the best steak in the world because I love steak!”

    • C. Steadman

      you can always head south on that street and find a cheaper restaurant in the hood that serves minute steak for $26….the people who are true fans of filet mignon wont miss you

  • itzscott

    Maybe the Cubs can sign Garza to a team-friendly 3-year contract without a no-trade and then trade him again at the deadline for another haul of nice prospects.

  • North Side Irish

    Sporting News names the Cubs as one of their winners from the Winter Meetings…no, seriously.

    Jesse Spector ‏@jessespector 16m
    Mets, Tigers, Cubs among big winners at winter meetings http://bit.ly/Jjlqoc

    • Fishin Phil

      Ummm, pretty sure that said Chicago White Sox.

      • C. Steadman

        Cubs are on the winning side as well

        • Fishin Phil

          Read whole article next time, stupid puppet!

          • C. Steadman

            haha isnt Jeff Dunham suppose to do that for you?

            • Fishin Phil

              His reading comprehension is not much better than mine.

              Congrats on the new avatar!

              • C. Steadman

                haha thanks! i think you knowing how to do that outweighs not reading the whole article

          • hansman

            The best part, the Cubs are listed as winners in the title.

    • Blackhawks1963

      That would the the Chicago WHITE SOX they are referring to.

      • North Side Irish

        Cubs are listed in the Winners side too. As well as in the heading of the article.

        • Jon

          Yes, and the rip on Towers was just awesome

          Think for a moment about what general manager Kevin Towers said following the acquisition of Mark Trumbo. “If 180 strikeouts translates into 40 homers and 150 or 120 RBI…”

          Here is the complete list of National League players to hit 40 home runs with 120 RBI this decade:

          Did you make it through the list? In the American League, Miguel Cabrera has done it twice, along with Jose Bautista, Chris Davis, and Josh Hamilton. In 2009, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols did all go 40/120, so there’s a bit of an arbitrary endpoint problem with “this decade,” but you get the point: those are ridiculous numbers to expect from Trumbo, who set his career highs of 34 homers and 100 RBI this year, but did so with a .294 on-base percentage. Trumbo’s 2.2 WAR would indicate that he is not the transformative player that Towers thinks he is. This is a problem.

          As for the last player to hit 40 homers with 150 RBI? That would be Alex Rodriguez in 2007. The last National Leaguer? Sammy Sosa in 2001. Sosa also did it in 1998, while Andres Galarraga put up those gaudy stats in 1996. To find the last National League player with 40 home runs and 150 RBI who was connected to neither steroids nor playing his home games at Coors Field, you would have to go back to Chuck Klein and Hack Wilson in 1930, a year when offensive numbers around baseball were bizarrely high.

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            Hard telling what Hack Wilson was using back then. They probably had patent medicines with cocaine and opiates in that era. How about all the guys like the Babe that would suck down beers until curfew time after the games.

        • On The Farm

          The reading ability of some of the posters on this site is astounding.

          • Fishin Phil

            I’m part of the “No Puppet Left Behind” generation.

            • On The Farm

              That explains a lot of things ;)

  • Jon

    In the middle of the season last year, I think the Diamondbacks would have gave either Bradley or Skaggs but the Cubs asked for both. . You’ve got the cloud of Tanaka and Price right now, plus GM’s are in prospect mode .

    In July Shark will be the most valuable pitcher on the market and they can get a haul if they chose. Or the Cubs can get Tananka this off season and decide to extend Shark, that might be an idea, you know, trying to actually win?

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      The timing is better at the mid season mark assuming the Pitcher/Bat is not hurt and delivering the goods. Prospects for a “playoff ticket” is buying decision several GM’s will do as you can’t buy a free agent in July.

  • Jp3

    Please god put up the jumbotron ASAP so we can stop being fed nonsense about not having money for real free agents… Really a Justin Ruggiano is what we did.

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      Honest question: Would you have preferred the Cubs spending 7.25 on Chris Young?

      • bbmoney

        I actually would have. But I’m also a long-time believer in Chris Young’s talent. And not a believer in Ruggiano (or Bougasevic for that matter so it’s not like I hate the trade).

      • caryatid62

        Why are those the only two options?

        • Jp3

          Exactly. I’m not saying you have to go out and sign 240 mill dollar Cano but there has to be a happy medium. I’m tired of all these marginal signings as the highlights and hoping they turn into flipable assets. I’d like to watch some playoff baseball eventually, and a ruggiano, scheirholtz, ect isn’t making the playoffs. Ironically if we’d been offered a nickel Nate S would have been gone too.

  • Revery

    CBS has the Braves becoming the active front-runners but I cannot find it anywhere else. Which makes sense because CBS is always wrong.

    • Norm

      CBS got it from the Atlanta J-C’s David O’Brien.

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