Cubs Looking to Struggling Lefty Starters as Bullpenners

james russell cubsLeft-handed starters with huge ERAs are the new market inefficiency.

I kid, though it might be a good place to troll if you’re looking for cheap LOOGYs. To that end, the Chicago Cubs reportedly have interest in Clayton Richard (Bruce Levine) and Jonathan Sanchez (Mark Gonzales), each of whom had an ERA over 7 last year.

Richard, 30, has a modest excuse for his down 2013 season, given that it ended half-way through with shoulder surgery (rotator cuff – shoulder issues are never good, but you can come back from that one, and it sounds like it was a relatively minor procedure). Sanchez, 31, has had a rough two years since the Royals sent Melky Cabrera to the Giants to get him (whoops).

What’s the point of even consider guys like this? Well, you never know where a successful, low-leverage, short-outing reliever might come from. Despite their obvious shortcomings, each of Richard and Sanchez had, at one time, big league-calibre stuff. And then you consider that lefties have hit just .240/.290/.321 off of Richard for his career (3.27 K/BB), and lefties have hit just .218/.313/.363 of off Sanchez (2.66 K/BB), and you see why it’s worth giving guys like that a shot.

That the Cubs are looking to add another lefty to a bullpen that already includes James Russell and Wesley Wright (plus Zac Rosscup, Brooks Raley, and Chris Rusin, before all is said and done) is at least a little interesting, given that the team has carried just one lefty for the better part of two years. Two lefties in a seven-man pen is about right, but three makes sense if one of them isn’t a mere LOOGY (Russell is obviously the closest to being a true, full-inning reliever). If the Cubs do land one of Sanchez or Richard, especially on a Major League deal, you can expect the Russell trade rumors to tick up considerably. For what it’s worth, considering the load he’s faced the last two years, if there was ever a time to try and sell high on Russell, it feels like now is that time.

That said, it’s hard to see either pitcher landing a guaranteed, Major League deal at this point in his career. Getting one or both on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite? Sure. See how they look as lefty relievers in Spring Training.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

198 responses to “Cubs Looking to Struggling Lefty Starters as Bullpenners”

  1. dw8

    See Oliver Perez in Seattle.

    1. fresno cub fan

      The AP reports the Cubs signed Wesley Wright for $1.425 million for one year.

  2. Blackhawks1963

    Yet another low dollar fishing expedition to find a new market inefficiency. Under the theory that if you put enough nickels into the slot machine inevitabily you are bound to hit on a modest payday.

  3. Jon

    If I knew the plan was going to be tanking for prospects with KMart free agents at the big league level, I wish we could have lured Billy Beane out of Oakland. He actually can make this “market inefficiency” thing work with moderate success.

    1. dw8

      You could just root for the A’s too. That’s what I do.

    2. LARRY

      This has been my gripe with “the plan.” Others, like the A’s have shown that it is possible to compete with smart, cheap acquisitions while still building the minors. And say what you will but this FO had major league talent to work with when they arrived. No upper minor talent, yes, but skill at Wrigley that could have been augmented.

      1. hansman

        That is making the assumption that the Cubs have only been signing these kinds of guys for the past 2 years. And that assumption is patently false.

        1. Jon

          Edwin Jacskon being the exception

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        One, the A’s did NOT compete while building their minor leagues: they were a sub 0.500 team for 5 straight years (2007-2011) before competing again in 2012. When they did, it was a combination of their farm system and smart acquisitions in the last two years of the down-time.

        Two, the Cubs FO got a 0.450 team with deteriorating skills that projected to be worse in 2012. It was multiple pieces away from being a competitive team again. The 2010 Cubs were not a “patch” away from the 2008 Cubs, and the 2011 Cubs were still further than that.

        1. Greenroom

          well played. well played, indeed

        2. bbmoney

          Three, the new CBA made what’s being proposed more difficult as well by putting in more spending limits in acquiring amateur talent.

          Although that’s less important than your first two points.

          1. BenRoethig

            Plus, I think the Cubs are in far worse financial shape than Theo realized when he took the job. There’s no guarantee they could afford to spend on that international talent.

        3. Jon

          The worse season during that stretch was 2011 (74-88).

          During the first three seasons of the A’s reboot during this time they were 226-258 for a .466 winning %.

          I’ll sure take that over what the Cubs first three seasons under Theo project to be.

          1. hansman

            So, the A’s conducted several mid-season tear downs that left their August-September teams on pace to lose 120 games?

            Or Beane kept his rosters mostly intact and still managed to perform below average?

            He is a smart GM and I would have been ok with him coming to the Cubs, but to suggest that he would have the Cubs in position to win the WS right now is a stretch.

            1. Jon

              My argument is not that he would have the Cubs in a position to win a world series in year 3. My argument is that he would field a professional team that isn’t on pace to lose another 95-100 games(aka a team you can occasionally watch and enjoy) while still boasting a top farm system.

          2. Greenroom

            So then your point is that if the Cubs had a .466 winning percentage you would be on board, but b/c it was less than that, you have issues? Noted, so that when the Cubs are 15 or so games under .500, we will hear nothing but supportive comments.

            1. MichiganGoat

              I think this is the problem for many fans, they can’t stand having such a losing record and they would rather lose 80 than lose 100 and are ignoring the overall result. Cubs don’t make the playoffs but in one case we have a higher draft pick and more money to spend on the draft. I’d rather lose big and get the benefits of draft picks and trades, than just flirt around .500 and continue to fall short.

              1. Jon

                It really all is a moot point and hypotheticals because Beane isn’t leaving Oakland. Well never say never but probably never….

                That said, Beane’s approach simply shows you don’t have to lose 95-100 games a year to build a strong pipleline of young players.

                1. C. Steadman

                  it would be interesting to see what Beane could do given the monetary capabilities of the Yankees or Dodgers…it could be scary

              2. Edwin

                Even if the losing leads to decreased revenue?

              3. Sacko

                well you have got the right team to do that. You would rather lose 90 then 70. wow

            2. willis

              Well, you know it would actually show improvement which can be something to feel positively about. Tanking and 2014 being worse than the previous two years is simply terrible. I’d love to see such improvement. Winning 75ish games would at least show us all that things are heading in the right direction at the major league level.

          3. Nick

            I would rather be 186-300 for a .383 winning % and have the pick of premium talent out of 3 drafts personally. I see no difference in a .383 & .466 winning %. Neither would sniff the playoffs, so what’s the point? It’s really just 1 extra win out of 10 games.

            That is if, of course, they are utilizing their position to make smart moves to separate themselves from the pack draft-wise. The Bryant pick seems like definitely, yes that will be a defining pick. Almora, maybe to a lesser extent. We’ll see what they get this summer (and probably next summer) with their top 5 picks.

            1. Greenroom

              Good points, Nick

            2. Jon

              There really is no empirical evidence that tanking(Cubs plan) is superior to the A’s plan.

              Which makes it tough for me to get past these insufferable seasons.

              1. MichiganGoat

                So losing 90 games is better than losing 100? Not making the playoffs is not making the playoffs, and I like that when this FO realizes there is not playoff chance they sell off any piece that won’t be helping us next year.

                1. Jon

                  A team that flirts with .500, that can be fun to watch at times, and who’s construction doesn’t jeopardize long term goals, yes is a lot better than another abortion 97 loss team that we are going to see this year.

                  1. gocatsgo2003

                    Except that a team that flirts with .500 is essentially by construct counter to “The Plan” because it would likely result in no protected draft pick, lower picking, smaller pool, etc.

                    It is in this light that they made the comments about how being close to .500 doesn’t really help; go ahead and make the playoffs, but there are no brownie points for falling just short of that goal. In many respects, it is much better to tank than “flirt with .500,” even if you don’t agree.

                    1. davidalanu

                      Well, sure there are “brownie points” for coming close to the playoff. Increased attendance, concessions, and radio and tv ratings to name a few. More interest from free agents who truly to value playing for a winner is another.

                      I’m mostly fine with the way they’re going about things. I get it. And I think it will pay off. But I don’t think there’s any denying that by putting out such huge collections of suckitude, some fans are getting turned off. Whether you or I think that’s being short-sided or whatever isn’t the issue. The issue is money, and the Cubs are missing out on large chunks of it by being so God-awfully bad.

                  2. C. Steadman

                    i thought the Cubs were fun to watch this summer…they were pretty much in every game…they only had a run differential of -87 which is pretty good given their 96 losses…the offense was brutal at times and but I’m still a fan of a pitcher’s dual

                    1. Jon

                      What was fun about this year? They lost 96 games and one part of the core, Castro, severely regressed and two others(Rizzo and Shark) while not regressing, didn’t make the leap that many were hoping.

                      It was a disaster.

                    2. C. Steadman

                      Rizzo and Shark were still fun to watch at times…Travis Wood was stellar and was a must watch game every start, watching our catching duo was exciting, Lakes promotion, Gregg’s resurgence, Donnie fricken Murphy…but I am a glass half full guy…i thought the games were fun to watch bc its not like the Cubs were getting blown out of the water like all the other 90+ loss teams who all had run differ. of 100+ including the Phillies who had 89 losses but a -139 run diff(worse than MIami even

                  3. MichiganGoat

                    Yeah it might be more fun to watch but with the new CBA high draft picks are more important than ever. You can’t buy draftees anymore and losing big gets you top draftees. Now I agree you can’t keep doing this forever and eventually you start gaining the talent that even in a losing season you don’t throw it all away. This year we could be surprised by our record if Baez and/or Bryant see significant time and success. These horrible records are directly tied to the massive sell off the last two years. I not as sold on this year already being a 100 loss team but I’m not expecting playoffs but 70 wins is possible with no sell off or a better April.

                    1. BT

                      THIS is why everyone has to STOP comparing the Cubs rebuilding with any rebuilding that has come before it. The entire method has changed. You can’t overpay for draftees anymore. You can’t corner the market on international players. Fewer superstars are making it to free agency. Additionally, in general, teams are much less likely to trade prospects. It doesn’t matter how Beane did it before (or how Theo did it in Boston). It only matters how teams do it now.

                  4. willis

                    Or 100+ this coming season. And yes, it is better to actually have some wins and not intentionally tank away season after season in a big market. Watching fun baseball and a competitive team is in fact better than losing 100 games. And, believe it or not, losing 85-90 games is indeed better than losing 100, according to things like win percentage. But I guess many fans don’t give a shit about winning and blindly think things will just magically turn around. Cool.

                    1. BT

                      Right, that’s it. You’re the only one who cares about winning. The rest of us believe in magic. Nifty argument.

                    2. SK

                      So…you’d rather the Cubs build a team that wins 75-80 year in and year out with the occasional lighting-in-a-bottle season where the team (sort-of) contends, over enduring a few truly awful seasons now with the goal in mind of creating a team that can seriously contend just about every year after the foundation is built?

                      And here I thought the one thing we could agree upon was everybody hated the way the Cubs were run in the 100+ years before Theo showed up.

              2. C. Steadman

                watching the games i am rooting for the cubs to win and be competitive, but at the end of a season like 2013 i would much rather have a 66-96 record than 76-86 record like the Padres

                1. MichiganGoat


          4. DocPeterWimsey

            Out of curiousity, how much was the A’s record buoyed by Interleague play during that time? Remember, the AL was kicking serious butt in that time: in one or maybe even two years, no AL team had a losing record in Interleague play. That meant that even the worst teams were getting more wins than expected from playing NL teams.

            This might sound trivial, but an extra 3-4 wins a year makes a record look quite a bit healthier. (A 3-4 WAR player is nothing at which to sneeze, by comparison!)

            1. ClevelandCubsFan

              $15-20m in payroll. AKA a stud DH.

          5. DocPeterWimsey

            The assertion was not simply that the A’s were less bad than the Cubs: the A’s were less bad than the Cubs have been. The assertion was that the A’s actually were competitive: and the A’s most certainly were not that.

            Now, is it less painful for fans to see 10 fewer loses? Sure, 10 times a year it probably is. But it’s not like the A’s were every really “in it” those seasons, either.

        4. Edwin

          Actually, the A’s finished 2010 81-81. So they weren’t sub .500 team 5 years in a row.

  4. Jon

    I do. They are my “AL” team.

  5. Big Daddy

    Patience, my friend.

  6. Randy

    Agree w/ Jon.

  7. Coldneck

    This Cubs offseason has taken me from cautiously optimistic, to annoyed, to outraged, to meh. Apathy is next and that’s a team owners worst nightmare.

    1. Nick

      I haven’t been cautiously optimistic about an offseason for this club for years. How/why did you get there? I’m optimistic for 2-4 years down the road, which is when the offseason will begin to be interesting. The cubs should have very little money on the books with a bevy of cheap, impact talent finally producing at the MLB level. It will be how the FO supplements that roster that will be interesting and something to be optimistic about.

  8. FarmerTanColin

    Is there a money cap on minor league deals? It seems like we should be able to just outbid other teams for one of those guys and if it pans out then great. If the player stays at Iowa then that also works out. He gets paid like a major leaguer (2m?) and doesn’t take up a roster spot on the 40.

    1. Nick

      I could be wrong, but yes, I believe there are. I think there are levels of pay based on years experience, but I don’t think you can make more than the MLB minimum on a minor league deal.

  9. Blackhawks1963

    This offseason has been, without a doubt, highly painful. Clearly Tom Ricketts has told Theo Epstein that he has to take the payroll down to the $80 millions range, which is shameful for a big market club even if we are in the middle of a building strategy.

    I trust Theo Epstein completely. My concern now is how long he puts up with this b.s. from the Ricketts family. Because I’m certain this is NOT what he signed up for. By year three I assume he was assured there would be dollars flowing in to augment the farm system investment at the big league level. That’s clearly not happening.

    Think about this for a minute. The 2014 Cubs will have a $80 million something payroll ! That is mind boggling. And hence why I can no longer get mad when Theo and Jed are inventing new degrees of dumpster diving.

    Depressing. Sickening. Not acceptable. All of the above.

    1. Jon

      An 80 million dollar payroll might be acceptable, if they weren’t charging the third highest ticket prices in the game. And then Tom Ricketts cries poor saying he needs sign revenue to even start the renovation.

      Where the hell is the $$ going? That’s what I want to know.

      1. Cizzle

        Name one other sports franchise that gives up to 5,000 paying seats per game to parasitic venues that lies outside of their gates. Where is the money going? Ask Beth Murphy.

        1. Jon

          What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense.

          1. Cizzle

            My point is that the Cubs franchise gives up millions of dollars in revenues to the Rooftops (which everyone conveniently forgets). When they get the venue out from the city’s control and get the revenues they deserve from ads that will block the rooftops (and get people inside the stadium), the money situation will have fixed itself.

            1. Edwin

              Millions in revenue seems like a bit much. How’d you come up with that figure?

              1. Cizzle

                Let’s guesstimate:
                # of rooftops: 13
                # of seats per rooftop: 150
                Avg Price/Ticket: $100
                Ticket Revenue/Game: $195,000
                Additional concession Revenue: 15%
                Total Revenue/Game: $224,250
                Total Yearly Revenue taken from the Cubs: $18M
                15% in Gross Revenues given to Cubs (per agreement): $2.75M
                Assuming that ticket/concession revenue would be at Wrigley instead of the rooftops, that’s over $15M (if you don’t like my assumptions, let’s make it $10M) in lost revenues.

                1. Jon

                  So even if I grant you your generous estimate of 10-15 million a year lost to the rootops, that’s where all there money is gong? really?

                  1. Cizzle

                    If you don’t think $10-15M per year is much money, then you spend it.

                  2. BT

                    Where do you think it’s going? Are you arguing that Ricketts is pocketing the money?

                    1. Jon

                      ” Are you arguing that Ricketts is pocketing the money?”

                      Well yes, if you do the math.

                    2. BT

                      The math that requires figures you have absolutely no access to? That math? Oh.

                2. Edwin

                  That’s only true if you’re assuming 100% of all rooftop seats are sold every game, and 100% attendance from fans who bought the seats. You’re also assuming that each fan who chose the Rooftop did so instead of paying for a ticket to Wrigley.

                3. C. Steadman

                  theres no additional concession revenue on the roof tops…its all you can eat/drink with the price of admission

                4. Commander bob

                  that’s the bizarro world of reality

            2. MichiganGoat

              Well those seats are no owned by the Cubs nor would they ever be and they are getting 15% per seat so if anything it adds to the budget. NOW what they are doing to prevent the remodeling of Wrigley and give the Cubs the revenue streams they need… thats the reason to dislike them.

              1. DarthHater

                If the rooftop seating did not exist, then some significant portion of revenue that currently goes to the rooftops (presumably more than 15%) would instead be spent on Cubs tickets, Wrigley concessions, etc.

                1. caryatid62

                  You can only assume that if the rooftops were owned by the Cubs, OR if they ceased to exist. And if they ceased to exist, there’s no guarantee that the same people who attend rooftops would attend Cubs games. Given that most of those who attend the rooftops are part of organizations looking for a “skybox”-like experience, there’s no guarantee they’d come out to Wrigley to sit in the seats.

                2. Pat

                  You can’t assume a significant portion of the rooftop patrons would be buying seats inside the stadium. Those are intended for corporate functions (in fact, they weren’t supposed to be selling individual tickets). It was a way to take 25 to 100 people from your company out to a game. Since you can’t get 25 seats together inside the stadium, a game is no longer an option. That money would instead be spent on busing everyone out for an afternoon at Arlington, or something similar that can be a group activity.

                  Now since the agreement was signed, they did add the club in centerfield. But considering that only holds as much as maybe one or two rooftops at most, a significant number of the rooftop patrons do not have that as an option.

              2. Cizzle

                MG, only if Wrigley is sold out can the rooftops NOT be considered a supplementary product. The fact that the rooftops sell 0 tickets from November-March kind of solidify that statement.

            3. caryatid62

              We need to stop acting like a billion dollar corporation is struggling under the weight of the mighty small business owners whose properties surround it.

              I understand that the Cubs have some problems other teams don’t have, but come on. This is ridiculous.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Expect those small business have a very real threat that could stop everything from progressing, I don’t know what the solution is to keep them from suing so the Cubs can start the remodel. The rooftops do have leverage right now because previous ownership signed ridiculously long contract with them.

                1. caryatid62

                  Personally, I’m beginning to think that threat is massively overstated.

                  This is all personal opinion, of course, but I wonder if it’s in the Cubs best financial interest (or if it’s a financial necessity) to delay the renovations until the debt is further paid down, and the rooftops are being made to be a convenient scapegoat for this.

                  I’m not sure, even if the rooftops said today that they’d never sue, that we’d see any renovations done immediately.

                  As I wrote above, this is all speculation, but it just seems to me that this might be a possibility.

                  1. Cizzle

                    Have you read the 2004 agreement between the Zell & the rooftops, if so, please expound on it.
                    I have a feeling Zell did whatever he could to screw the Cubs.

                    1. wvcubsfan

                      Pretty sure Zell had nothing to do with that agreement, but feel free to blame all other things on him.

                    2. cms0101

                      Zell bought the team in 2007. That agreement was all Tribune Company, via Crane Kenney.

                    3. Commander bob

                      Zell? next thing you will be blaming everything on the wrigley family.

          2. kgd

            When did he say he needs sign revenue to even begin the remodel? The signs are part of the remodel. The delays in remodeling have been Chicago politics and rooftop leeches.

            He’s said he needs sign revenue in order to increase payroll to where it needs to be.

            1. Jon

              As I understand it, sign revenue pays for the renovations and the increased revenue from the renovations pays for the increased payroll.

              1. kgd

                Do you have a source that says that? I’d be interested to know but I’ve always taken it as this: the remodel is being paid out of pocket which will bring extra revenue in to the team. Increased revenue will relax the sting of the covenants that restrict how much they are allowed to spend on payroll.

    2. ClevelandCubsFan

      Let’s assess the payrill on April 1 before we get tooooo hysterical, OK? LOTS of time left.

      1. Jon

        It’s pretty much down to Tanaka, in terms of determining if their payroll increase at all.

        1. MichiganGoat

          There is always trades that can result in increased payroll.

  10. Jono

    What does LOOGY stand for? (I’m guess in the L is for Left)

    1. dabynsky

      Lefty One Out Guy

      1. Jono


  11. macpete22

    Wow sox trading Addison Reed to Arizona for Davidson. They got their 3B

    1. Jon

      Love that trade for the Sox. Wow indeed.

    2. C. Steadman

      Sox might have had the best offseason so far, cant think of too many teams outside the Mariners and Cardinals who have done better

      1. willis

        Kind of frustrating huh? Sox blow last year, yet work to get better in the offseason. The cubs blow last year, and have kept the roster about the same and probably will be worse.

        1. Jon

          Well, if you believe the rhetoric around here, it takes 5-6 years of tanking to turn a team around.

          1. BT

            Jon has opinions, everyone who doesn’t agree with him has rhetoric.

            1. Fishin Phil

              That is just your rhetoric.


          2. FarmerTanColin

            SO wait the White Sox are now “turned around”. I could be wrong but it’s still December. Not to mention their moves haven’t been much different than the Cubs. The whitesox just did a whole bunch this off season and Rios/Peavy during closer to the deadline. Their returns have largely been close to one mlb ready guy where the Cubs have been multiple prospects of similar ceilings.

            Sox Davidson is similar to Mike Olt with worse defense. Eaton I do like but he’s a league average bat with some defense. Not a game changer and not even a clear upgrade over De Aza. Garcia is also largely an unknown with low walk totals. Their rotation is Sale,Quintana and question marks. Abreu should do well but they need a lot to go their way to even make it back to .500. Cubs also have guys on their way, Davidson just became their top prospect. There’s not much on that farm.

            1. Commander bob

              wow you are an expert on the sox. are you a sox and cub fan/?

              1. FarmerTanColin

                Ha no just a college kid that spends too much time reading about baseball. The White Sox may appear to have a better team right now but in reality its not very close imo. Anyone out of the Cubs top 8 prospects would be the top guy for the White Sox system. If the Sox play as well as they can I still don’t think they sniff the Royals. Also Abreu flops and/or Sale’s arm explodes. They’re going to look like a AAA team.

        2. C. Steadman

          it is frustrating but the Cubs have a different plan, and I have bought into it, and I think 2014 wont be as bad as 2013…but i wouldve expected a little more than George Kottaras and Wesley Wright for the MLB club…my guess is waiting on Tanaka

      2. C. Steadman

        i guess the A’s have had a really good one as well

    3. Chad

      Did they just give up their #2 prospect for a reliever? Wow.

      1. Jon

        That’s really why I wanted to get involved with Arizona on a Shark trade or any other trade. Towers just begs to get hustled.

        1. C. Steadman

          certainly seems that way haha

        2. Chad

          True, but I don’t think the cubs should do that deal without Bradley in it. If it is July and the Dbacks are in it then Bradley might become more accessible.

          1. C. Steadman

            if its July and the Dbacks are in it they might just pull up Bradley and hope for a Gerrit Cole like impact

      2. bbmoney

        Towers is having his second straight really weird off-season. Although that Bauer trade looks a little different after he was terrible again. And Upton didn’t set the world on fire after his hot start last year, but still. Some weird moves.

        Davidson must not have had the required scrap quotient and he probably told Towers if he ever had to throw some mop up innings he’d refuse to hit anyone.

        1. Blackhawks1963

          Rick Hahn is on fire. Holy cow. That is a great trade for the Sox. Losing Reed hurts, but to acquire a quality young 3rd baseman to go with the additions of Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, Abreu and Eaton?? Very impressive.

          1. Michael

            They can find a quality closer much more easily than it would have been to find a third baseman.

          2. Chad

            This trade reminds me of the Cashner-Rizzo trade.

            1. FarmerTanColin

              That Rick Hahn is soooo hot right now.

  12. Jon

    Rick Hanh is kicking Theo/Jed’s ass(in comparison) this offseason. Hate to say it but it’s true. They have added two impact bats and a got a really good prospect in Eaton for a #4-#5 starter.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Two impact bats with a combined 18 major league hits. Not to mention they are both considered below average defensively at their positions. I don’t think it’s a terrible move, but Reed definitely had value.

    2. willis

      Difference in ownership. Ricketts hires a brilliant baseball mind, and handcuffs him, while The Sox’, who have a very good baseball mind in Hahn, let him do his job.

      1. BT

        By let him do his job, you mean cut about 20 million in payroll by trading Peavy and Rios and cutting Floyd (that with the Abreu signing)? Yes, Hahn is having a great offseason, but it’s not due to awesome ownership.

        1. YourResidentJag

          So, you’re saying they should have kept those guys around then? Ok.

          1. BT

            THAT’S what you took from my comment? Really? Comprehension is a skill, son.

            1. YourResidentJag

              Well, you did use “cut the payroll” with the names “Peavy and Rios” and then through in “it’s not due to awesome ownership.” Your statement couldn’t be taken multiple ways. It’s really not conducive to needing good reading comprehension.

              1. YourResidentJag

                couldn’t be taken more so in multiple ways.

              2. C. Steadman

                ” Yes, Hahn is having a great offseason,”

                BT agreed that Hahn did good by cutting payroll by getting rid of those guys

                “but it’s not due to awesome ownership.”

                but BT only gives the credit to Hahn and not Sox ownership which willis thinks is also behind these moves…i agree with BT, this has nothing to do with ownership

                1. willis

                  I don’t think ownership is behind anything, I think they are not restricting Hahn from piecing together a team he feels can compete. I am of the opinion that Ricketts is behind the way the cubs are doing things and very involved in the lack of movement at the major league level.

                  1. C. Steadman

                    lack of movement at the MLB level could be Theo’s own choosing, gearing up for Tanaka…and sorry read your original comment wrong, thats my bad

                    1. willis

                      All good, and you may indeed be right. I wonder if we’ll ever know. But I think with the “money” thing beng mentioned all the time by the FO, they are being restricted from some they want to do. JMO. I believe Theo is a brilliant mind and would be more aggressive if not. We’ll see.

                    2. C. Steadman

                      no doubt there are some monetary restrictions from Ricketts until some renovations and signage get approved…and yeah we’ll probably never know how involved/not involved Ricketts is but I do think $$ will flow once renovations and signage get approved and team becomes more competitive…i think we have hit bottom and are going to start to creep up

                  2. terencemann

                    I mean Hahn has made a few nice moves but let’s not get carried away. Eaton should be a decent player but he’s not a first tier center fielder. Davidson could be a fine third baseman but he’s also projected to be more of an around average player. These were smart moves but not moves that will build a championship team.

                    1. C. Steadman

                      i read on twitter some scouts dont like his defense and project him more of a 1B guy(davidson)

                      I do wish Cubs couldve nabbed Eaton

                    2. terencemann


                      …that’s exactly the issue with Davidson. He’s not a great hitter for a first baseman and he might not defend well enough for third.

                    3. C. Steadman

                      yep, its funny at how bad the Sox system is bc Davidson just jumped to their #1 according to (Jonathon Mayo isnt the best at rating prospects disclaimer) when he wouldnt crack our top 5…maybe even top 7

              3. BT

                I said Hahn was doing a good job, How in the world did you misconstrue that to mean he shouldn’t have traded Peavy and Rios?

                My point, and I’ll type this slowly, was that he was not given an open check book by ownership to do whatever he wanted. He had to cut 20 million from the payroll, and has not replaced that with a commensurate big money signing. In other words, it appears that he is operating under fiscal constraints (like other major league teams based in Chicago).

                Ignoring the actual wisdom of the moves that brought them to this level of spending, I don’t know how making him operate under a budget that is 20 million dollars lower than last year translates into letting him “do his job”, or how it reflects well on an awesome ownership. I therefore pointed out that dichotomy.


      2. hansman

        Except for the whole farm system thing.

        1. willis

          Granted, and I’ve said a billion times I love what’s going on with the minor leagues and am enjoying watching the young players develop. But, We were told dual fronts on the rebuild, but there has been hardly an attempt to make the major league team better, and we are into year three of this FO and into what…year 4 or 5 of the ownership? Yet the major league team is still terrible with no attempts going on to improve it. I just wish there would be some signs of improvement at the major league level and that Theo and Co would be able to spend if they see what they believe is an asset.

          Now, if Tanaka gets posted and the cubs ink him, I’ll be ecstatic and shut up.

          1. hansman

            I meant for Hahn. The White Sox farm system stinks royally.

            1. willis

              Derp…got it.

              And I’m not praising the Sox, I’m saying they are having a better offseason than the cubs and they are trying to add pieces to the major league team that will improve their 2014 from their 2013. The cubs are not at this point. I’d like to see the Cubs try and do the same.

          2. C. Steadman

            then why are you praising the Sox??…they arent doing it on dual fronts…take a look at their farm…

  13. Michael

    That sox trade was a true billy beane move…trading an overvalued closer for a top prospect…there are so few good 3bman in the game right now…you can find a closer in every offseason

    1. Jon

      Hahn is smart as hell. Good to see him out from the umbrella of that idiot KW.

      1. C. Steadman

        yeah but wish Hahn was doing it for a team other than the White Sox…

        1. Michael

          yeah a theo and rick duo would have been epic…no disrespect to hoyer or anything but rick was able to dump peavy’s salary and get a top mlb ready prospect, dump rios salary and get something in return, trade an overvalued backend of the rotation pitcher for another top mlb ready prospect and now trade an overvalued closer for another top mlb ready prospect.

          1. JulioZuleta

            I like that the Sox have gotten younger, but I think you really overrated every one of those trades.

            1. oswego chris

              yeah, I am not sure what the White Sox are doing…they have given away two guys with multiple controllable years who have already done it on the big league level for prospects that are just in the pretty good prospect category…the Cubs have 3 or 4 guys equivalent to Matt Davidson…and I am still not sure why they got rid of Santiago…

              1. Commander bob

                Controllable years? LOL That’s really doesn’t make any sense if you don’t care about having control over a certain player.

                They are changing their teams dynamic without tanking 4-5 seasons. They have picked up 4 guys in the last 6 months that will be strting position players—half their starting lineup.

                Hahn went to New Trier and is a Northwestern MBA guy. He knows exactly what he is doing.

                1. FarmerTanColin

                  Yeah they picked up 4-5 guys that outside of Abreu look to be about average to slightly above average major leaguers.

                  Whoa watch out Hahn went to fancy kid schools. He must be an amazing baseball mind then.

                  1. YourResidentJag

                    Theo went to one of those schools, too.

                2. JulioZuleta

                  Starts with “LOL” ends with “Hahn went to New Trier and is a Northwestern MBA guy. He knows exactly what he is doing.” Love the post.

                  They lost 99 games last year an will probably be very close to that again this year. The guys they traded weren’t old guys at all, and they were MLB proven. The 4 guys they’ve picked up that you somehow know will be starters collectively have 180 MLB hits and a combined OPS that is below league average. Two of the 4 are butchers on defense. Just hard to see how the moves make them better…at all. But hey, he studied business at Northwestern so obviously he’s a smart baseball guy. (He is a good baseball guy, but going to Northwestern has absolutely nothing to do with it.)

                  1. Commander bob

                    You missed the New Trier part? Do you even live in Chicago or are you another one of those WGN fans?

                    1. C. Steadman

                      I live in Chicago…whats so great about New Trier that makes Hahn know exactly what he’s doing as a GM?

                3. hansman

                  They tanked last year and had more losses than the Cubs WITHOUT trading away big chunks of their team.

                  But hey, the White Sox are doing it the right way! BY DOING SOMETIHNG!!!! ZOMG LOL JK!!!!@!!!!11!!11!!11!!11

          2. FarmerTanColin

            Hahn has done some nice work no question. Hoyer has as well though. Feldman, Garza trades are pretty major and nothing has really happened this offseason but I could see a couple guys on the move come May/June. Soriano would only go to one team so getting a prospect at all with upside was a feat. Dempster also a dampened trade but still netted Hendicks and Villanueva.

            The difference seems to be Hahn is getting more major league ready guys where as Hoyer is targeting younger prospects.

          3. Commander bob

            Hahn has dumped a ton of salary and replaced half the field guys with a group of young studs. Thats what good teams at lest try to do…not tank 4-5 seasons and kill a fan base.

            1. Jon

              I thought a rebuild took 5-6 years? That’s what the cubs front office hopes the kool aid drinkers are drinking.

              1. TWC

                The fucking Kool Aid line. Again. Criminy, kid, you need some new material.

                1. cubbiekoolaid2015

                  Ooooooooohhhh yeeeeaaaaaa!

                  1. C. Steadman

                    hahahahaha made my day

                    1. Jon

                      It’s going to suck after Jan 1st when Darth can’t post w/ these multiple accounts.

                  2. cubbiekoolaid2015

                    Great, now I’m gonna have to add (formerly someday…2015) to all my comments for the next week or two. Lol Sorry Darth.

                2. Commander bob

                  Yea, its not the Koolaid group. It’s the Pom Pom squad.

            2. SK

              Eh, Sox have improved, but let’s try to control the slobber here. That is not a team of young studs unless we’ve revised the standard for that designation to where it’s practically meaningless They’re not winning that division. They’re not going to sniff a wild card spot. They’re going to win 70-75 games. And with a 25th ranked farm system, unless they spend more money or find some lightning to ride, they’re going to stay right there.

              C’mon, man. There are plenty of, you know, good teams out there to envy. Maybe pick one of them.

              1. bbmoney

                That pretty much sums up my thoughts. Nice moves by Hahn the past year. But I don’t think they’ll really be much better next year. Rios was pretty good, need to replace his production. Peavy pitched well for the Sox, need to replace him. Find a ‘closer’, etc.

                Eaton, Garcia and Davidson are nice young pieces who figure to be better in a couple years, but its not like you should just be counting on them to be great in 2014. Abreu is the wildcard here. Big risk, but he could just crush the ball too, especially in that park.

                1. hansman


                  1. YourResidentJag

                    And Brett wonders why he has to add registration to the responding thing.

                    1. Jon

                      It’s funny that how those who are perceived as negative, or overly negative will gladly hash out in detail why they are unhappy with the state of the franchise, while so many of the “drive by’s” are from the regular “sorority” of posters here.

                    2. hansman

                      Maybe I am dense but is that directed at me?

                    3. YourResidentJag

                      Yep,, why the hyperbole? None of us know what the Sox will be next year. Maybe wild card competitive, maybe not. I’m not saying they’re great moves but it’s not a bad thing to get younger with prospects, right?

                    4. bbmoney

                      That’s funny Jon. Go drink some of your own Kool-aid .

                    5. hansman

                      “It’s funny that how those who are perceived as negative, or overly negative will gladly hash out in detail why they are unhappy with the state of the franchise, while so many of the “drive by’s” are from the regular “sorority” of posters here.”

                      Keep on keeping on Jon. We’ll let you into the sorority someday.

                    6. Jon

                      My Kool Aid tastes an awful lot like scotch.

                    7. hansman

                      “Yep,, why the hyperbole? None of us know what the Sox will be next year. Maybe wild card competitive, maybe not. I’m not saying they’re great moves but it’s not a bad thing to get younger with prospects, right?”

                      That’s, pretty much to a T, what the Cubs have been doing the past 2 years.

                    8. BT

                      Don’t let the rhetoric get you down Jon.

                    9. Commander bob

                      Registration means nothing. People can set up 20 email addresses at AOL so if one account gets deleted you just go to the next one. Registration will actually draw the trolls here.

                2. Oswego Chris

                  The odds of Eaton and Davidson being productive MLB players are long, while Santiago and Reed are as young and have had success…that’s all I am saying….there are elite prospects and there are prospects…Eaton and Davidson are guys you will find some prospect gurus aren’t very high on

                  1. Commander bob

                    Well look at it another way then. I watched Reed a lot. He’s hittable, plain and simple. He didn’t miss bats. So he’s movable. He’s not Bruce Sutter.

                    The Sox have 4 lefty starters. Most people would say that might be one or two more than you should have. Santiago had decent stuff but lacked control. He was eaten alive by the disciplined hitting teams. The Red Sox destroyed him.

                    The other thing you are not factoring in is that the Sox needed to change the dynamic of their team. Even if these guys coming in are just OK its worth it to them. Their hope is that these guys turn into good players but even if they don’t its worth a shot.

                    1. hansman

                      How in the world do you get a 9 k/9 and a 1.1 WHIP and not miss bats.

                      I suppose you think horses never leave the ground when they run.

              2. YourResidentJag

                Ummm…I don’t know about and neither do you.

            3. frank

              What they’ve gotten in return hardly qualifies as “young studs.” Their overall avergeness has been documented numerous times already–they may have improved, but certainly not by as much as some people seem to think.

  14. cubsin

    I’m still optimistic about Theo, Jed, Jason et al. I’m far more concerned about Crane Kenney and the business side of the operation. I understand that the political processes involved slowed down the renovation of Wrigley Field, but we’re now at a standstill because a few rooftop owners are displeased about the signage that is essential to funding the work involved. We won’t have the revenue to support a $100 million plus payroll until that project is well under way and the new WGN radio and television contracts are resolved.

    At the rate the Business side is moving, the Baseball Operations side may need to change their five-year plan to a ten-year plan.

    1. woody

      Kind of makes me wonder how long until Theo and Jed get restless. Their reputations are on the line.

  15. ferris

    Garza been a very good pitcher an mostly durable…..this is a solid two or three guy….. hes better than shark,an not much older why are we willing to throw 110m for tanaka it will take that to get him…yet not 50-60 for garza. Who is prooven here…loves chicago….an is great in a clubhouse.

    1. bbmoney

      Mostly durable is a tough sell for a guy with 32 starts the past two years combined.

    2. cms0101

      There are several reasons why this won’t happen. Despite a few twitter comments, Garza wants no part of returning to the Cubs. And the feeling is somewhat mutual. Similar to the Dempster stuff, there are behind the scenes things that fans will never know. Once Tanaka is posted, or not, Garza is going to get more money than you’re predicting anyway. Think $100+mil over 6 years.

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Garza wore out his welcome with the Cubs and has the reputation of being an insufferable asshat. He won’t be coming back to the Cubs under any circumstances.

        1. TWC

          If only folks’ reputations as “insufferable asshat” really worked to keep them away…

    3. C. Steadman

      its going to take more than 50-60 to get Garza…he’ll be asking for a high price since he doesnt come with losing a draft pick

  16. Lou Brock

    Garza not welcome in Cub clubhouse, believe it. Hahn’s next move will be Gordon Beckham to the Yankees for one of their highly rated catching prospects.

  17. ferris

    Then id think about arroyo two yr 25-27m. We need to replace sharks innings when we trade him

  18. woody

    Just spitball’in here. I read someplace in the months past that the Astros were one of the more profitable teams in MLB. I think their payroll is something like 35 million. And as bad as the attendance has been at Wrigley it is still better than the majority of teams in MLB. So is Ricketts making money? I think so. Signing all of these guys with ERA’s in 7′s is like the Romans sending convicts to the arena to get killed by seasoned gladiators. I’m not going to beat a dead horse and get all critical of the FO. I think they are doing a great job of executing the portion of the rebuild that is in their control. But frankly I think they have thrown in the towel on 2014. The tanking attendance will force the ownership’s hand unless Bryant and Baez totally bust in their respective leagues it is obvious the will be up by mid-season. All the people looking for a Tanaka or Price or a Choo in their X-mas stocking with be sorely disappointed for sure.

    1. Fishin Phil

      I don’t think they’ve completely written off 2014 yet. I do believe that if they don’t get off to a good start, they will be quick to pull the plug. At that point you will see assets getting flipped like pancakes. I don’t really have high expectations for this year, but hoping they catch the proverbial “Lightning in a Bottle”.

  19. Eddie

    I think Boone Logan’s deal with Colorado
    may facilitate Russell’s departure from

  20. North Side Irish

    Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 4s
    Lots of speculation among executives that the Cubs are poised to try to strike big on Tanaka. We’ll see.

    Feel the optimism!

    1. Fishin Phil

      “Feel the optimism!”

      NSI, around here we call that Koolaid. ;)

      1. North Side Irish

        Perfect…I’m kind of shaped like the Kool Aid Man…

  21. Serious Cubs Fan

    Any see the Addison Reed for Dbacks 3rd base prospect Matt Davidson? Great deal for White Sox. They are making some great moves

  22. Lou Brock

    If Tanaka signing does not happen, either not posted or signs elsewhere, how about signing someone like Bruce Chen as a bridge to the trades or FA signings of starting pitching for next year.
    Chen pitched really well last year and appears to have some Jaime Moyer years left in him.
    Probably could be had on a one year deal for 3/4 million and flippable at trading deadline.

    1. C. Steadman

      i think its going to happen bc the new MLB/NPB deal lasts for 3 years so Rakuten wont get anything more than $20 mill for Tanaka for sure…its just if they want to make a $20million bet on if Tanaka doesnt get injured/regresses and keeps up his level of play in 2014 or post him now… bc they cant raise his value anymore…20 mill is now the max value

  23. Fastball

    If Russell brings back some value in a trade then why not move him. You can take Raley and Ruscin and make them the same reliever as Russell. Basically they are the same 89mph fastball and probably have better breaking balls than Russell. Neither of these two guys are going to make it as starters. I believe they both could be decent enough Loogy’s in this BP. I would venture to say they would probably out perform Russell in reliever roles. Rosscup has fastball in the mid 90′s so he could be the power lefty bp role.

    1. willis

      I agree, I think there are plenty of LHP in the organization to replace what Russell is. If there’s a deal out there to be made, I’m all for it. Like you, I love Rosscup’s stuff and I think between Wright and Raley/Rusin that’s four right there that can be just as effective or better.

  24. Aaron

    “Signing all of these guys with ERA’s in 7′s is like the Romans sending convicts to the arena to get killed by seasoned gladiators.”

    Woody…very funny. As Cubs fans…we would actually be paying good money or out never to have back time to watch the killing of our own guys. Crazy!

  25. Jon

    We can dream about Tanaka…we can talk to death about Tanaka…but there is likely a snowball’s chance in hell Tanaka is going to agree to sign with the Cubs. $20 million posting fee is chump change and it doesn’t cost anything for all but one winning major league team to throw their chips into the posting pot. I bet every major league team submits the posting bid…meaning Tanaka is a free agent deluxe. I continue to insist he is predetermined already to be wearing Yankee pinstripes. If not the Yankees then he goes to the Mariners where there is a Japenese owner, a large Japanese-America population, a Japanese language media outlet that beams Mariners games back to Japan and of course a boatload of newly unlocked MONEY.

    1. cubsfan08

      Blackhawks…is that you :) Seriously – that has to be a copy and paste of one of his comments from the past couple weeks…

      1. Jon

        Yeah, it’s the one he copies and pastes every other day. He had a similar one “ctrl+c” for weeks trying educate us on why Rick Renteria was going to be the next manager.

  26. justcommenting

    I really like this site and Brett’s insights. I’d love to be on board with the rebuild (for the most part this site has helped me to get there), but the very word REBUILD has always meant a long tedious progress that was very unfan-oriented. Basically the FO is saying, “We’re going to suck for a while, but the end product will be worth it.” Usually that means hang up for a while, nothing to see here. But, the suggestion that this process will be short with the Cubs has kept me from hanging up. That might be because they teased us ( after a long stint of just never winning it) with the product we saw toward the end of the nineties and beginning of this century. I think for the first time as a Cubs fan I really believed we might win it instead of just that blind hope that I’d always held tight to.
    Last offseason I waited for the word of big signings, but was happy with the efforts the team made. At least they grabbed the flipable pieces they needed and flipped who they could for an excellent return. I wasn’t expecting the Cubs to be major contenders in the FA market, but lately it seems like a search through the scrap pile for a shiny piece of something.

    I’ve sat through games against the rivals at enemy parks, accepting the razzes that we sucked by defending the Cubs with the statement, “They’re rebuilding.” It’s all good when you know that’s the truth even if everybody thinks you’re just making excuses. Last year I saw it and I applaud the moves they made. This year I’m having a lot harder time buying into the plan and this article here isn’t helping with that.

  27. Cubs Reportedly Sign Lefty Jonathan Sanchez to a Minor League Deal | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] The Cubs’ interest in Sanchez was reported last week, by Sullivan’s colleague Mark Gonzales, who said the Cubs were considering Sanchez as a reliever, and I offered some thoughts: […]

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