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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.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Red Sox went from 69 wins to 97 wins – so it can be done.

    • caryatid62

      No, the Red Sox went from 90 wins to 69 wins to 97 wins. So they had a 90-win base before dropping off, then spent on free agents prior to 2013.

      • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

        90-69-subtraction of Bobby V.- 97 plus WS title!

        • Mr. Mac

          Do you think we could hire Valentine for a year, dump him, and then win the World Series? It’s worth a try at this point.

          • wilbur

            wasn’t that the quade plan?

          • Fishin Phil

            While I would certainly enjoy the dumping Bobby V part of that scenario, I’m not sure I could stand a whole year of that jerk.

            • Mr. Mac

              Quade isn’t quite the turd that Valentine is. I definitely couldn’t stand a year of him, but if it magically lead to a World Series win, I’d take one for the team.

              • Fishin Phil

                You sir, are a true fan!

                • Mr. Mac

                  Don’t I know it!

  • Dustin S

    Interest from other teams can be so tough to read. It makes it tough to differeniate between real fair value interest and the usual we’ll take him if you’ll give him away interest. It sure looks like the Fister deal put any buyers in the latter mode.

  • Ed

    Scott Boras on the Chicago Cubs’ lack of big moves, comparing them with a lollipop: “It appears as though we’re looking at the all-day sucker. So maybe next year.”

    • gocatsgo2003

      A little slow on the uptake there, eh? Boras is whining in the media because there’s a big-market team that isn’t bidding on his guy (Choo). He’s a big fan of whining through the media and his only aim is to get as much money for his clients as possible. None of his comments should be a surprise.

      • Ed

        I’ve seen his previous comments, I’m just updating everyone on his latest comments. I’m very much in the loop you stroke.

        • Chef Brian

          These aren’t his latest comments. So I’m not sure who you are updating? Brett did a bit on this exact quote a day ago if you care to scroll down the articles. That’s why he called you slow.

          • Ed

            I skimmed thru that post and really didn’t pay attention to it until now when I seen it on another article. So while I was mistaken with the “update” being called slow is not something I take kindly too.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Cubs keep Shark, sign Tanaka and Choo, and they couldn’t win 90 games? Nonsense. Players and teams come out of the woodwork all the time. Think the Cardinals thought Carpenter was going to be a 7 WAR player last year? Or Joe Kelly be a shutdown starter?
    Theo would be making exactly these kind of moves if he had the payroll to do it. Money is on lock down.

  • FarmerTanColin

    Some interesting points can be concluded after this week. Shark wants paid more because he’s suffering through this rebuild. The Cubs will have a better chance to extend him at a lower cost if they can put a solid product on the field or prove to the players that the sun is coming up soon. I don’t see this happening this year but next year I think we see some legitimate change. After another season of boiling down the roster we can assume a few prospects may see the major league team whether by injuries, trades or they out perform their minor league competition by a large margin.

    I think marginal positives are being made. When does losing revenue from ticket sales come into play though? Is that why this years payroll is going to be like 20 million less than last season?I would like to hear from someone in the Rays organization about what it was like to go through all those losing seasons before they started winning.

  • You got bats, we got Wood. Travis Wood.

    Mark Cuban >>> Tom Ricketts. Used diapers >>> Bud Selig. Sorry guys, but I refuse to let it go. We wouldn’t be in this spot right now if Cuban had been rightfully allowed to purchase the Cubs. Again, I’m on board, but I would appreciate some more honesty out of Ricketts. Telling fans “I will put every dollar that comes in towards the baseball side of operations” and then not doing that isn’t helping his cause either. If we’re punting on 2014 I say do it, but don’t tell me you’re gonna throw a hail mary and then continue on to punting.

    • gocatsgo2003

      “Rightfully allowed”? The rules are the rules… the owners have the right to vote and the seller has the right to accept whatever bid he deems best, not necessarily the one with the most numbers after the dollar sign.

      • Norm

        Cuban: “The absolute last position i wanted to be in was paying so much for the team, that if revenues fell off, I couldn’t play to win.”

        • gocatsgo2003

          Exactly. And Zell took the deal that pretty much entirely shielded him from capital gains taxes rather than Cuban’s offer that would have cost him a whole boatload of taxes.

      • You got bats, we got Wood. Travis Wood.

        So you think it’s okay for the owner of the White Sox to pass judgement on who becomes the next owner of the Cubs? Because I believe that Zell should have been allowed to choose whomever he wishes without input from Bud Selig or Jerry Reinsdorf; you know, the guys who did interfere with the process because only they can pre-approve bidders (along with the other owners)?

        http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3687712

        “the seller has the right to accept whatever bid he deems best” is simply not true. It’s who the MLB and the other owners deem the best. In which case, it was decided that Ricketts (who had to borrow his way into ownership) was the best for both the Cubs and baseball. In reality, a couple of bastards named Selig and Reinsdorf (who hate the Cubs) spoke up against Mark Cuban simply because they personally do not like his antics as an owner of another professional sports team. I just find it unfair that ownership and Theo/Jed are preaching financial restrictions when there was a $1.3 Billion bid from Mark Cuban, someone who regardless of his style of ownership didn’t have to borrow the money from dad to own the team.

    • mjhurdle

      I love the mythical properties being applied to Mark Cuban. He has no experience owning/running a MLB franchise, yet it is just assumed that if he had bought the team, it would be raining superstars and playoff berths and free beers. The rooftops would love him and cave to his every demand and the city’s political machine would change and move smoothly and effortlessly to handle any of Cuban’s needs.

      I understand people having disagreements with the way things have gone so far, but to simply assume that Mark Cuban would have solved every problem is laughable.

    • brickhouse

      Cuban never even made a formal bid on the team

      • You got bats, we got Wood. Travis Wood.

        Cuban never made a formal bid because the MLB wouldn’t allow it. Why is that so hard to understand? Do you know that before people can make a bid on a baseball team that only the MLB and its owners can pre-approve you? That allowed Selig & Reinsdorf to make their cases to the other owners.

        • hansman

          Soooo…why are we talking about Mark Cuban?

    • Rich

      I wonder what would have been had Cuban bought the Cubs.
      My guess and lack of memory he would have signed CC Sabathia and Mark Texeira and gobbled up every free agent…

      who knows?

      But with Boras comments..he’s doing his job for his clients..but the Cubs should absolutely be able to afford a higher payroll..

      and also..please someone tell me how the rooftops have any affect on the clubhouse remodel…

      that NEEDS to be done..

      • Bob

        Ricketts is holding the important things hostage until he can get everything he wants. He’s sort of like the evil dictator that’s so manipulative that people actually like him. Then one day when his regime is toppled people look around wide eyed thinking, “what just happened?” I’m waiting to see that day.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        If he is under the same purchase terms with the debt based constraints that the Ricketts are thought to be under as a result of the weird structure Zell insisted on to avoid taxes, it might not be all that different.

        I suspect those restrictions are actually why Cuban dropped out when he did in the first place. I know the conspiracy theories blame Selig for that, but Cuban has never struck me as a guy to be intimidated out of something he wants by a Bud Selig.

        • hansman

          This is an incredibly plausible explanation.

        • jj

          I recall Cuban saying the debt structure demanded by Zell was a no-go. For some reason, the whole “if only we had Mark Cuban” storyline really annoys me. He has 1 championship in the NBA, he doesn’t follow a sign all the free agents model, and he cares about profit (see Nash).

  • jt

    “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….”

    They need a Choo AND a Tanaka AND probably a decent BP arm to have a chance. But there is a lot of young talent on this club that just does not fit into the realm of “project”. I’m not sure anyone has a good idea as to how good (or bad) these kids are.

  • macpete22
  • Cheryl

    Unfortunately, There’s a point where you just don’t believe in the cubs anymore. I think I’ve finally reached that point. They’re not going anywhere next year and will probably not be any good in 2015. Ricketts and the current FO have succeeded in stripping the club down to the point where they might not even be competitive in the minors. Maybe this FO will turn it around some day but the players I used to follow are gone. I wish the rest of you fans a lot of luck but this is probably it for me.

    • Norm

      Take care.

    • Fishin Phil

      I’m truly sorry to hear this Cheryl. You have been a valuable part of this site for years. I hope you catch the Cubs fever again this spring.

    • Jon

      This is THE REAL WORLD. Not fantasy baseball. Stripping down, tanking, and flushing seasons away might make sense on a spreadsheet, but it’s a lazy potential damaging approach to team building.

      Cheryl shares the same view as thousands of Cub fans.

      • On The Farm

        “This is THE REAL WORLD”

        Thank god, for a second there I thought I was stuck in the Matrix

        • Fishin Phil

          I saw that show on MTV, didn’t care for it.

        • Patrick W.

          Preeeeeeeety sure this is the Matrix.

          • On The Farm

            Are you the one called Morpheus?

      • Norm

        Says you and Cheryl.
        The people who are paid to run the organization (and it is an “organization”, not just a major league team) think otherwise. And I have much more faith in Theo/Jed and the rest than I do in Cheryl and Jon.

      • Rich

        I dont disagree..

        it is hard to hear that every season is sacred and then realize that 2014 will net us a 2015 top 3 draft pick..

        I am excited for the young kids and the ownership of the Ricketts. Remember he did not go out and get the best available baseball guy, he got the best guy. He brought in whom he thought was the BEST…

        I think Jason McLeod is the rock star in the bunch..

        but to wait until 2015 to START seeing youngsters play is really frustrating..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      “might not even be competitive in the minors”

      Not too worried about that. The 2013 FSL champion Daytona Cubs will largely be moving to Tennessee this year, and that’s just the headliner. I expect both the 2012 and 2013 pitching draft classes to be in full season leagues, so even that end of things stands to be in decent shape this season.

      I’m worried about Daytona’s offense, but that’s about it. The minors should be quite good again this year. Four playoff teams from the six highest levels would not surprise me at all.

      • Norm

        I think she was saying the big league team wouldn’t be competitive in the minors.

        • On The Farm

          If that’s the case then maybe Cheryl is losing it. As Luke mentioned the Daytona Cubs won the FSL, heck even the Iowa Cubs were still “in the hunt” toward the end of the season, and I know for certain I would rather have the MLB roster we had last season, than the AAA roster.

          • Rizzovoir Dog

            She’ll be the first one on the bandwagon when the team starts winning again.

            • YourResidentJag

              She’ll be. Anyone who doubts this organization and then they come back to playoff dominance will be. I think you tipped your hand here. This is all MLB fans.

    • Chef Brian

      We have been pretty spoiled on the 90’s and 2000’s as far as the distance between losing seasons goes. From 1947-1962 the Cubs had 15 years without a winning record abs the cherry on that losing streak was a 59-103 record. They had an OK couple seasons than in 1966 they lost 59-103 again! Than from 73′-83′ they had a 10 year streak without a winning record. Now I can’t speak on your intestinal fortitude but I have already lived through one of these losing steaks and I’m still a fan. I’ll be damned if I’m going to bail on the Cubs now. I guess best of luck to you, but remember it can always be worse and least there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if it seems pretty faint sometimes. ..

      • Fishin Phil

        …. and sometimes it’s just an oncoming train.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      Don’t let the door hit you in the Keester on the way out.

  • Patrick W.

    I’ve been a fan of this team for 45 years but the last 4 years have been bad and the next 2-3 may be bad so I’m out of here!

    I mean I was born in 1968 and fell in love with the team when they were terrible. I loved this team through all the losses and terrible decisions. I was there when Bartman ruined our chances at a world series, but now that the last 4 years have been bad and the next couple of years look bad, I’m done.

    I grew up listening to Jack Brickhouse and then Harry Caray and Steve Stone when the Cubs absolutely sucked. I’m a true fan through all of the losing, all of the near misses, but since we might endure a 5 year stretch of rebuilding, I quit!

    Yes, I’ve been a true-blue die-hard Cub fan all of my life, but now it’s over because it’s already December and nothing has been done to make this a championship quality team while other teams (the MARINERS for chrissakes) have ensured a World Series, so I will turn my attention to some other team that will win. My days of rooting for the Cubs are over.

    • Fishin Phil

      For those of you keeping score at home, the above post was sarcasm.

    • Bluffer McBluffington Jr.

      Well played, sir.

    • C. Steadman

      cant tell if this is sarcasm or not(call me Sheldon Cooper)…but its really depressing

      • Fishin Phil

        Bazinga!

      • Patrick W.

        People who cannot understand sarcasm are more likely to suffer from dementia and experience a decline in the brain’s abilities.— UberFacts (@UberFacts) December 12, 2013

        • C. Steadman

          haha hey now…sarcasm is a little tougher to read while reading than it is actually hearing it…glad you’re still on board Patrick! it wouldve sucked to lose you

          • Patrick W.

            Extremely convenient that they tweeted that today!

            • C. Steadman

              that is pretty convenient!! betcha saw that this morning and couldnt wait to drop it on some poor sap like me! :D

              • Patrick W.

                Noooooooo. There’s NO WAY I would have thought about that in advance. And you’re not a sap! Just because you can’t *understand* sarcasm doesn’t mean YOU are a SAP!!!

                • C. Steadman

                  I UNDERSTOOD THAT! 1 for 2 :P

    • FarmerTanColin

      Is the era of instant reports and blogs and expectations killing some fans? I guarantee once the Cubs start winning these “leavers” will come back and act like the suffered all along.

    • On The Farm

      Patrick, why so B I_I tt- Hurt? :)

      • Patrick W.

        Thought of that one, took it out of my script just to see if anybody else would. Back in!

        • On The Farm

          You’re good.

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      Born in “68” you will get sucked back into the fold come next April…..

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    The top targets for Cubs should be young and controllable. None of the Free Agents meet that criteria and to suggest that we missed out on someone is BS. The Cubs need Choo but don’t want Choo. Same for Tanaka. What positions are we looking to fill? There is depth in the OF (Soler, Lake, Almora, 3rd(Bryant, Olt, Vitters and Jeimer, SS (Baez, Alcantara), 2nd can be filled by anyone and with Rizzo at 1st Vogelbach and any Power Prospect. That being said, Bullpen, Bullpen, Bullpen.

  • Moe C

    If they keep the shark sigm Tanaka and Choo they will prob win about 70+ games which is another losing season but the point would be is that they would set themselves up for a run in 2015 and hopefully for a few years after that. By late 2014 when we are out we will prob see Baez, Bryant, Almora and maybe a few other top prospects. And if they are ready by 2015 and lets say cubs add another few free agents to go along with Tanaka, Choo anf these prospects i do see them winning 90+

    • Moe C

      Then maybe with a trade this year we could add some power bats cuz 2015s FA market looks to be very weak. Although adding a Gallardo would be awesome

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      People keep saying “if we keep Shark”. Shark will be gone believe me. He hasn’t been drinking the kool aid. I’m not sure he makes it to opening day. Those who thought he would be moved this past week were mistaken. The reason being that the market for pitching isn’t moving parallel with the market for position players. And I mean starting pitchers. The fact that the agreement capped the posting fee for Tanaka at 20 million means that Price and Shark will not be pounced upon until that is sorted out. Seeing that both those guys are under control for two more years and there is no draft pick compensation involved it would be highly unlikely if someone doesn’t field a good offer on both of those guys.

      • Rebuilding

        At this point I think it makes sense to keep Shark through the 1st half into the deadline. I don’t think that extra half year is going to have a major impact on return. As we saw with Garza, if a team wants to win this year and has injuries they will give you a hefty return. Shark wants #1/2 money (post arb years) but has actually performed like a 3/4. Let him pitch the 1st half – if he pitches lights out you have more value or you might contemplate signing him to 1/2 money. If he pitches like he did in last season’s 2nd half he’s still Jeff Samardzija (which seems to carry weight with a lot of people) so you prob still get a decent return or maybe he realizes an extension for 3 money is adviseable. Of course, you take 1/2 season of injury risk as downside

    • cub2014

      moe, if they keep shark, sign tanaka and choo
      you think they will only be 4 games better?

      • Turn Two

        Last years win total was largely carried by a strong set of performances by feldmsn and garza and soriano. Hard to believe but last years opening day lineup would theoretically beat the projected opening day lineup for this year.

      • Moe C

        Ok maybe i was a bit drastic with 70 but if they make those moves they arent winning 90+ maybe in 2015 with prospect help but that is if we sign choo and Tanaka which I def dont think will happen so next year will be 100 loss season especially with the shark gone which i still think will happen. And if they dont sign anyone 2015 wont be much better.

  • LER

    I’ve been a Cubs fan since my first trip to Wrigley in 1951, and that was a trip from the South side at that. There are better teams in W-L terms every year and there have been a handful of good Cubs teams: 1969 and 1984 set the pace. Good would be fleeting until someone put together a sound organization. Dallas Green should have been allowed to complete the job he was doing well. Theo and Jed are the next coherent guys since Green. There have been staggering setbacks along the way. 1985 was the worst of all because we went from seven games ahead in mid-summer to losing all five starters within three weeks, and going in the tank. Being a Cubs fan shouldn’t be either an endurance sport or a secular trip to Calvary, but it has been. Now there is z growing sense that there may be good days ahead. Having seen Derek Botelho pitch for the Cubs (and Paul Reuschel, too), I’ve got a fairly well developed sense of how frustrating it is. So do two of my kids. Bt all three of us see hope, and I plan to be functioning when it delivers. Jumping ship isn’t part of my skill set.

    • Chef Brian

      Well said!

    • C. Steadman

      amen brother!

    • Patrick W.

      Hear hear! (hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!)

      • Pat

        Harrumph

    • cubbiehawkeye

      I drink to that

  • Ken

    Geez this site is getting depressing. I’ll bet Cheryl is more down on this site than she is on the Cubs. I get the whole re building thing, I get short term assets, long term assets, flippability, building up an almost totally barren farm system(Vitters, Jackson, McNutt, etc…give me a break.) But the Cubs are now getting there. A Top 5(at least)Farm system, a respectable starting staff, several key pieces in place. Its time to to start looking at the glass half full. Its not a pipe dream to think that Castro and Rizzo should bounce back. That Barney might actually be a .250 hitter, that Shark will continue to improve, Castillo becomes an All star…I could go on. I’m not saying it will, but it could. And if you did add Tanaka and Choo that team could compete. All the while the future(Almora, Baez, Soler, Bryant, Edwards, etc are on the way. Enjoy the ride.

    • Jon

      The Cubs don’t have the money to sign Choo, probably not Tanaka either.

      • cubbiehawkeye

        How do you know that?

    • C. Steadman

      Castillo and Baez were part of that “almost totally barren farm system”

      • Jon

        Also Rizzo was acquired with Cashner(another piece of that barren farm system)

        • C. Steadman

          well technically Cashner had graduated with 50+ IP in 2010

      • ari gold

        The upper levels were almost totally barren. Castillo wasn’t too highly regarded but looks to be a core player. Baez was at Boise when they took over. Not exactly pounding on the door to the majors at that time. The farm system was pretty awful.

        • Jon

          It’s amazing how people can move the goal posts and frame the arguments to support the myth how they turned around one of the worst farm systems in the game.

          • ari gold

            So you think that the farm system was good? Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, etc. would disagree with you. And that was before the only 3 semi talented players above above A-ball flamed out.

            • aaronb

              Baseball America had us 14th.

              What would you call that?

            • Jon

              If a number is somewhere in the in between 1 and 30, I call that average/mediocre.

        • C. Steadman

          it was below-average…consistently ranked 16-22 not “pretty awful” which would suggest 25-30…also Castillo was re-ranked to #6 in the organization after 2011 b/c he had a great year at AAA

          • ari gold

            With the benefit of hindsight, I think we can agree it was pretty bad. Like I said besides Castillo, all our “top” prospects above A ball flamed out. We had no pitching. Our top prospect was at Boise. Most of the talent was in short season ball (years away). So I’ll stand my comment that it was pretty awful. We can agree to disagree.

            • C. Steadman

              okay yes upper level farm system was “pretty awful” but lower level looked good…when farm systems are ranked they rank them as a whole so the Cubs as a whole had a “below-average” system

              • ari gold

                Yes correct, but what I think Ken’s point was, was that we didn’t have a lot of gusy in the upper levels wating to bust through, so it was always going to be a long process of rebuilding the organization. Hell, even now, only Baez and Alcantara have played in AA out of our top 10 (might be missing one other but going off the top of my head). So we’re closer, but not there yet.

    • On The Farm

      “a respectable starting staff”

      15th in ERA, 18th in FIP, 19th in xFIP 17th in K/9, 22nd in BB/9. Does this Starting staff look like it is a Shark extension and Tanaka signing away from being a good staff? Tanaka would at best move them just outside the top ten. And that is not enough when you consider that there are a lot of offensive holes (i.e. if the offense can’t score runs, it doesn’t matter what the pitchers do). Even if Rizzo and Castro bounce back, and Barney hits .250, you sign Choo, that just isn’t enough hitters.

      Couple that with the bullpen being one of the leagues worst (like way bad) and you have the makings of the exact opposite of “several key pieces in place”. The only real key pieces the Cubs are counting on are starting the year in AAA and AA.

  • Ken

    Thats why I said almost.

  • Ken

    And understand this. They have the money. I’m not saying they should, but if the right player at the right time at the right price presents itself they have the money.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    It’s pretty obvious that the Cubs are in on Choo especially if the Astro’s are the favorite.
    Which explains the prodding by his agent.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Interesting that Choo may wind up deciding between the Rangers and…wait for it…the ASTROS. Wow. That’s interesting. I think.

    • cub2014

      choo is down to 5 years around 20mil per year.
      the rangers are still negotiating with Cruz.

      cubs and astros are still in on Choo, very
      interesting.

      • Fishin Phil

        I like the 5 year part a little better. This could get interesting.

  • mjhurdle

    Rob Zastryzny ‏@RobZastryzny_8 1h
    Tried the “it’s called offseason for a reason” line on my mother today to try to get out of chores.
    It didn’t work.
    ——————–

    ha, Rob Z is a good follow if anyone likes to follow Cub players on Twitter

    • Fishin Phil

      I like that!

  • Die hard

    Minor moves by a minor league organization masquerading as a major league club to avoid the tax man cometh

    • cub2014

      what?

      • Fishin Phil

        Don’t try to understand it, you will only hurt your head.

  • http://jr33 jradey

    The Cubs are about $, game called, enthusiasm lost.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I continue to fail to understand why the Cubs keep wasting money on guys like Justin Ruggiano – bench pieces that would only be useful if you were trying to win within the parameters of your financial ability – when they could just pocket it and use that bench spot on a $500k guy. It’s like they don’t know how to care only about money the right way. What idiots.

      • kscubfan

        This made me LOL…thanks Brett needed that one.

      • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

        It is a trade off of Power vs no Power. Remember the days when the Cubs had a Power bench player i.e. Jake Fox or Colvin or Mcclendon or that guy from the Cardinal’s

      • FarmerTanColin

        Why don’t the Cubs just follow in the steps of the one gm in that great baseball movie? Major League.

        “I’ve never heard of half of these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime.”

      • Die hard

        Have to agree with you there– I thought it was because Theo likes the Italian cooking the guy will be adding to clubhouse cuisine

    • hansman

      If you want to see a team that was cheap, had no interest in winning on the MLB side of it and purposely tanked a season, the 2013 Astros (and I think they have had a couple of them in the past 5-7 years).

      The 2012 and 2013 Cubs, while not good, were constructed to win ballgames at the major league level if 5-6 things went right and nothing went wrong.

      Well, in 2012 and 2013 we had a couple of those things not go right (2012 was Stewart and Marmol; 2013 was Garza) and a couple things go wrong (2012 was Byrd and C injuries; 2013 was Castro and Rizzo).

      • YourResidentJag

        So, that team (the Astros) are doing it again, then? I suppose by your conclusion. Not that I buy what you say that is.

        • hansman

          Im saying that the Cubs aren’t throwing seasons away. They aren’t going great guns to contend but not tanking like some think.

          Factor in the spending restrictions amd they are doing everything they can.

          • MichiganGoat

            It’s also worth noting that our final record was also fuel by am aggressive sell off at the trade deadline. If we didn’t trade everyone worth trading each year our record would have looked better than it did.

            • Jon

              Um, selling off pieces is part of the process of tanking

              • MichiganGoat

                No way really? Of course it is but the point is that the teams at the start if the season weren’t “screw it number one pick here we come” like the Astros have done the last two years. They were built with a “if everything goes great we have a chance and if the playoffs are out of the picture then we have pieces to sell” belief and model. This pitchfork and rabble rabble belief that the Cubs are purposefully tanking is wrong and short sighted. The Astros are purposefully tanking and the Cubs are nowhere near what the Astros have done these last two years. My point is that if the Cubs did not have a sell off each year our record would’ve looked better but the organization would be worse. And any rational mind that not shaking thier fist at the Cubs would see this.

                • Jon

                  The difference between what the Astros have done the past three off seasons and what the Cubs have done is Edwin Jackson. That’s really it.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    This made me spew my beer.

                  • CubsFaninAZ

                    Add up all the Eric Bedards Carlos Penas and Ronny Cedenos and youll get an Edwin Jackson haha atleast for one year.

          • Jon

            They’ve made minor improvements to a team that lost 96 games. Outside of signing Tanaka, they have pretty much 2014 down the toilet

  • Ken

    Yes I think it was respectable, considering the early bullpen issues and until 2/5 of it were dealt.

  • EuroCub

    Summer Trade Deadline is Shark’s day and place in time to make up his mind. If he is not happy with FO office before the deadline, send him packing, if he wants to be a Cub (be it win or lose) sign him. But after that, there is no value increase on him and pushing or hassling for extension doesn’t make sense either. So the deadline is the make it or break it moment in terms of Shark, regardless whether the Japanese guys are going to get posted or not.
    Personally, i was never a huge fan of Shark, although first half of 2013 was looking really damn good. Ultimately, either id shop him for top tier prospects, or sign top tier FAs. Same case. Make it or break it. Cubs are too big to succumb AND stay in the trash rankings they do, with <70 wins. F*** this s…tuff. And im tired of hoping that our prospects will actually become the lead core of a WS potential team. Challenge for Scherzer, ignore Price, ignore Choo, shop Shark/Schierholz to get almost MLB ready / MLB experienced player and get on with it. I know it's rebuilding, but i seem to think pretty much the same Borascumbag does. It takes too long. Then again, i give away 2013 record to the Marmol attics in the first half, that allowed him to blow loads of game. 2013 Cubs where 70+ wins team. Getting rid of that saverblower, should make Cubs a 75+ win in 2014. So please dont come back with bs excuses in October 2014, thank you very much.

  • Die hard

    Unless he’s paired with Shark to the Braves?

  • Cusifer

    Why would the Cubs be so keen on trading Shark and then sign Tanaka? Tanaka talk is just talk. “That they’ll be a part of the process,” or whatever Hoyer said doesn’t make sense if you’re going to simultaneously trade the other pitcher you have that’s worth keeping. If they said they had no interest people would lose their minds. There is no serious offer to be made for Tanaka.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      The two pitchers are independent of each other. I don’t think getting Tanaka makes mmuch difference as to whether Shark goes. Tanaka is simply about getting a young stud on a long term deal in his prime. Shark is about what’s more valuable: 2 cheap years of Shark and a compensatory pick, a 5 year deal at $x million, or a cache or prospects.

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    I appreciate the discipline this FO displayed at this years winter meetings. Theo/Jed have demonstrated max trade value is obtained in July the off season is about adding to the club needs. This summers top five pick with one more top five pick and the Cub organization looks good and competitive at all the baseball levels.

    • T-Bone

      Yeah. Remember that guy Kris Bryant thats supposed to kill the ball and lead the Cubs into the future? Can you imagine 2 more of those!?

      • Rebuilding

        If Vogelbach and Johnson sneak into the back of the Top 100 and assuming our #4 pick gets listed we may be sneaking up on the most prospects ever in the Top 100 record

        • commander bob

          Wow you can really hang your hat on that!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Rebuilding

            Thanks Commander. I think I will

        • Rebuilding

          I would be curious to know whether an org has ever had all of their Top 10 prospects appear in the Top 100 list (using BA). I doubt it

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    hello my name is JMC and I’m a Cubs addict. Day after day I try to quit but I am powerless over my addiction. Is this the right place for a12 step process or do I need to go to detox? God I can’t help it I have do they still play the blues in Chicago and na na na hey hey goodbye running through my head. my dreams are punctuated by Harry Caray saying you can’t beat fun at the old ball game.

    I crave a cold old style among the Ivy ….I desire a Cubs World Series victory and realize that that is it like carving ones name on a cake of ice on a hot July day

    please help me brothers and sisters

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Oh brother, things are really getting weird!

      • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

        Take 2 Prospects and call me in the morning

  • Norm

    Who’s the one that said he guarranties that MLB front offices don’t look at WAR?

    See Jack Z’s/Cano’s press conference.

  • YourResidentJag

    Castellenos has been DFA by the Red Sox. Didn’t the Cubs want him.

  • cubbiehawkeye

    Am I the only guy eager to see Junior Lake this next season? Stats aside dude played with insane energy and when he hit a bomb it was a true bomb…he put a charge into it.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Reminds me of a young Soriano.

    • Rebuilding

      He’s fun to watch. 90% chance he’s nothing but a righty platoon/utility guy. The other 10% makes baseball fun. He’s got all of the physical tools

      • commander bob

        College Football Awards are on ESPN right now and Theo Epstien is up for Punter of the Year Award.

    • commander bob

      He also faded like a June rose.

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