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monopoly bankruptIf I say that the comments have really improved after the registration requirement (truly, they have – I’m impressed), am I just begging for trouble? Especially considering what follows …

  • Jeff Passan has long been among the best national writers out there. He’s smart, he writes well, and he frequently breaks new ground. That’s why his hit piece on the Cubs’ offseason on Friday really took me by surprise. Not because it immediately makes me question Passan’s standing as a resident smart dude, but because, when the resident smart dude is saying these things, you have to take note and consider them critically.
  • The article, which was part of a series on each team’s offseason (still kinda early, no?), focuses on what Passan calls a “cheap,” “small-market charity case” that projects to enter 2014 with a payroll in the bottom five in baseball. Let’s be clear on some things: no one could, or should, argue that it isn’t deeply disappointing that the Cubs are where they are right now, in terms of big league competitiveness. We’re five years removed from the last relevant Cubs team, and a sub-$100 million payroll is, yes, a little ridiculous. But, outside of a throwaway line or two without explanation, Passan doesn’t seem to entertain the realities of the Cubs’ financial limitations right now (restrictive loan covenants that artificially depress spending, significant debt service payments, significant revenue-sharing obligations, delayed renovation, etc.).
  • Moreover, and more importantly, there are no specifics on what the Cubs should have done differently in the very offseason Passan is shredding. I don’t see too many contracts out there that made sense for the Cubs (and that’s assuming they wouldn’t have had to outbid the high bidder!). With a team that projects to be a high-60s-low-70s win total type, absent a spending binge that would be implausible for any team not in New York or LA, there was no playoff projection in the Cubs’ 2014 future. Hell, spending enough to get the Cubs to a 90-win projection – playoff caliber – could have set them up for the very same long-term problems they were facing back in 2011. You know, the problems the current process is trying to unwind. In other words, pointing to a shoddy payroll as evidence of “cheapness” is pretty meatbally and short-sighted. Spending just to spend is unproductive, and there’s no glory in 75 wins instead of 70. It’s not as if fans are suddenly going to be coming out in droves to see a $100 million loser in August instead of an $80 million loser in August. If the Cubs look poised to receive better internal contributions in 2015 when next offseason rolls around and they still don’t spend? Then this kind of piece would be appropriate (something Passan seems to acknowledge in the conclusion – like I said, he’s smart and all that).
  • In the end, Passan says some useful, accurate things – some of which are critical. But the tone of the whole piece feels inappropriately harsh, given the above. Credit to Passan: after the piece came out, he chatted with folks – some of them nasty – on Twitter for quite a while. When was the last time you saw someone do that after writing a piece that was necessarily going to enflame some passions?
  • You can see statements here from Alex Rodriguez, MLB, the Yankees, and Tony Bosch on the arbitrators decision yesterday to reduce ARod’s suspension to 162 games. The latter three are pretty much what you’d expect, and Rodriguez’s long statement is what you’d expect, too. It implies that he does, indeed, plan to challenge the ruling in federal court, as difficult and costly as that road is.
  • ClevelandCubsFan

    On record right now: the Cubs will have a better record in 2014 than 2013 more or less as constructed. But I still don’t believe this is our final roster.

    • ChiMike702

      Based on what? They had the 3rd worst offense in MLB last year and dealt Soriano and De Jesus without replacing them. They also dealt Garza without a comparable replacement.

      Trying to start an argument, I’m just trying to understand. This team, as it stands, will be absolutely awful.

      • Voice of Reason

        There’s no question this team will lose 95+ games again.

        In fact, they could set the franchise record for losses.

        • Tommy

          To declare this a 95 loss team before a single game has been played is absolutely ludicrous.

          • Isaac

            Well hello, Tommy.

          • ChiMike702

            They lost 96 last year and look worse going forward.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              The last two years are horrible because of the trade deadline sale that happened, this year we don’t have a ton of talent to trade and prospects will be coming up.

              • Ill see you at Sluggers.

                Agreed. We do not have as many “flippable assets” this year to flip at the deadline. Shark could be dangled, Barney could go for a PTBNL and cash but other than that you’re probably looking at prospects coming up and vying for playing time. My guess is Bryant comes by July by hitting his way up and Baez gets a September call up. Next year Baez makes the team out of spring training and you at least have a possible core of Castro-Rizzo-Baez-Bryant with Bryant providing the biggest pop. Complete guesses, with a heavy dose of optimism.

                • fromthemitten

                  The pitching will hold them together for 70-75 wins assuming they don’t trade Shark

      • dunston donuts

        I think they will be better in 2014 than 2013 as well. I base my opinion on the upgraded bullpen. The upgraded pen will allow them to win more of the close games that their lack of offense will put them in. Now if they trade away the bullpen depth then they will be worse than last year.

      • ChiMike702

        I meant “not* trying to start an argument,” of course.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Fans aren’t asking for a playoff team yet- a .500 team for next 3 yrs would break all recent attendance records – I believe Theo knows this and this is what the short term goal is- sausage making is ugly

    • Stevie B

      I will still come 1 time a year as always , as I live in Atlanta, and I will still get my MLB extra Innings package. I’ll watch and listen every chance Zi get.
      I dont care if they lose 140 games this year. Our time is coming.
      Can’t Ricketts just hold a press conference and say ” Hey, listen, we inherited a big ole sloppy shit sandwich, and it’s taking a bit to clean it up….I’ll bring you a winner, even if it kills me”…?Theo and Ricketts haven’t been at the helm long enough to make any determinations about being cheap or able.

      CHILL THE F OUT, EVERYBODY,,,,,,,

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Very good discussion today. My gut tells me that the issue that will make or break this team is the stadium issue. Once this is resolved one way or the other, things will begin to line up for the Cubs.
    When I see someone like John Sickels show the deep pool of young impact talent that is in the organization, how can I not have optimism for the future? Great strength in numbers, law of averages some of these young men are going to wind up as really good major league players. I just wish that in 2014 we can see some signs of success. Young core players establishing themselves, and a young team that plays with enthusiasm and battles and gets better. That would be the best thing for the future.

  • Chris

    I hate to plug another site, but the guy over at Cubs Den has a very interesting take on this, the message is the same as Brett’s, but it takes a look at Theo’s tendency to reduce payroll with the Red Sox. I guess I thought it was interesting.

  • Diehardthefirst

    With Bud gone would MLB allow Cuban to become 50% owner in Cubs? If so the dynamics would be entertaining and Ricketts would welcome the cash and taking spotlight off of him. In 10 yrs he can sell other half to Cuban

    • Scotti

      Rickets has zero need for the cash. He isn’t constrained by cash flow, he’s constrained by the terms. And ther reason that Cuban didn’t buy the cubs is because Zell preferred other offers (the ones that adhered to the structure he was looking for). Simply put, because off the tax implications Cuban’s offer of 1 billion dollars without the debt load, fell short (by over $100 million) of the Ricketts’ initial offer of $900 million.

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    Passan was pretty much spot on – and was creative enough for what he HAS TO WORK with:the lovable Cubs losers.

    CUBS FANS – and those who deem them selves superior analysts, logic masters, and all those highly structured professionals at heart, with two cents to spare on giving opinions, enough to keep a blog owner happy, I might add – have biases that consistently lead them to miss the forest for the trees. Especially as fans of the Cubs…they tact towards any point of contention that makes them feel better (internal gratification) and deride or chide another’s take (external forces that DON’T get the Cubs) if said point is at all demeaning, lacking in precise or numerous details, or hits a BIT TOO CLOSE to the truth in just a sentence or two, without out and out TOTAL condemnation from a sprawling piece.

    Passan was indeed, too nice. That’s what weakened the piece. He didn’t go for a home run, just a nice solid single to the gap, that he turned into a double. (Due to Ryan Sweeney’s inabilities…)

    Passan didn’t want to hurt too many feelings, or cause too much risk to his own media standing. He took the easiest path to lambast with a weakened sauce of contempt pour moderately, instead of total and final damnation. That’s talent too – for those frustrated writers without his credentials and resume. He wasn’t fully invested into telling her WHY completely, just enough to get the job done: we are SO over, for now.

    And of course: It’s also a season preview…no telling if the Cubs magically click their heels Santo-style to get close enough to the playoffs. Mayve Blue balling a projected 2.78 million fans into believing in NEXT YEAR, like a Prior/Wood fiasco circa 2004.

    Passan going too harsh on his words would come back to haunt him if the Cubs got hot from a workout program, and a makeover mid-season. The whole from NOT to HOT cycle that Oprah wouldn’t touch too often her contemporaries went full tilt into the “I’m all that a bag of chips” pieces. Passan might want to get back with a now HOT Cubs..in 2015 et.al. So he left the options open.

    Another Actuality: most NON-Cubs fans get the Cubs equally as well as those that post here. They know their pigeons better than the pigeons that nest here. They fly around enough websites and hear rumor and facts and have just about the same level of suspicion to draw the same fly-by-night conclusions the posters here do. So, flock to other sites, and see how they nest. You might gain a bird in hand instead of a Cubs two in the bush.

    Passan too wasn’t going to go into specific deals to fix the team (As Brett suggests: “there are no specifics on what the Cubs should have done differently in the very offseason Passan is shredding. “) because:
    A) it isn’t his job to be GM of the Cubs
    B) He’s got 29 other teams to cover – and analyze, and find quickish ways to write about
    C) What money does Passan get for fixing the Cubs? (A salary as special assistant to Hoyer?)
    D) His motivation is to write to keep someone interested in reading

    If the Cubs fans “can’t handle the truth” – and the hopy changey spin we hear – then as another faux military man said, “Seek life elsewhere.” (GI Jane)

    Passan was attempting actual balance for a team that is in “elevator mode.” Ground floor to top floor in one stop – as the PLAN goes. We build this magnificent farm team, and SHAZAM! they all go to the MLB and Captain Marvel us.

    So he has to tell you, the skeptical reader, the passively yet interested reader, the non-Cub fan, the Diehardian, that both the present tense sucks AND the future is AWESOME. Not easy to do in a shortish piece. And Passan probably did bite off more than a typical CUBS fan can actually chew on without tearing out their last couple of hairs in their thinning crown of thorns. But get up on that cross, you martyrs!

    But then Passan gives you a tried-n-true reason why: MONEY. All about money. If the Cubs were able, wouldn’t they have tried to spend just a bit more? If the ownership could, why won’t they? Reasons given..short hand – and from what he has access to in the public.

    Money is the root of all evil, so it goes….so we won’t want to do that for just doing that sake, right? Or is it, it takes money to make money? Or is it, a penny saved is a penny earned? Or penny wise, pound foolish? Or a stitch in time saves nine? For the Cubs, the phrase is: “WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR.”

    Is it Passan’s masterpiece? No. Far from it.

    I think EXPECTATIONS some of you Cubs faithful have for writers to keep you interested in a 65-win 2014 season ARE a BIT unrealistic. Why should Passan (or I) beat a dead Cubs horse?

    Brett even said, “With a team that projects to be a high-60s-low-70s win total type, absent a spending binge that would be implausible for any team…”

    BUT THIS ISNT ANY TEAM.

    It’s your team!

    Your Chicago Cubs!

    I stopped posting frequently because life changes….daily. And the same old BS tossed around here.

    And today, I felt the need to write, cliche as it was. It was fun.

    • mjhurdle

      “Is it Passan’s masterpiece? No. Far from it.”

      agreed, it was far from a masterpiece. Pretty weak article.
      just because you agree with the opinion doesn’t make it worthy.

      “So he has to tell you, the skeptical reader, the passively yet interested reader, the non-Cub fan, the Diehardian, that both the present tense sucks AND the future is AWESOME. Not easy to do in a shortish piece”

      and yet somehow on this very site unpaid posters that are not professional writers seem to do a better job in the comment section than he did in his paid article.

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        Pat those writers on the backs. Say good job to them. Be supportive of their “creative” endeavors.

        What do you seek from this interaction?

        • mjhurdle

          I am “seeking” nothing more than what I already stated, which was to disagree with the idea that the article was creative, well-written, or that the fact that it was not easy to address the subject.

          You stated your opinion, i was just disagreeing with that.You are entitled to your opinion, as am i. Both were stated, so nothing more is needed from this ‘interaction”.

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        And just because you disagree with Passan’s opinion, does not make his opinion unworthy.

        • hansman

          The opinion isn’t unworthy. That 6th grade reading and analysis level article is unworthy.

          mj and I and others aren’t saying his opinion is garbage. The article is garbage.

          Somehow you lack the reading comprehension to understand that when you seem to be an otherwise bright guy.

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            I doubt there is any contradiction in who I am.

            I am pretty stupid…father told me so. And he was always right.
            A married woman, who wanted a fling, recently told me “I’m pointless.”

            So, sometimes, I must hide my stupidity better than a present. And I don’t flow with the smart people anyways…I do my thing as flawed as any man can be.

            And that’s the sum of it.

    • Patrick W.

      I bet it was fun. Nothing is more fun than self satisfying condescension.

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        We all have our moments…and I see the pot shots back are coming.

        Defenders of the crown, unite!

        • Patrick W.

          I’m defending anything I’m defaming what you wrote. You used a lot of words to say: you Cubs fans are so blinded by your love for the Cubs you can’t see the truth when a brilliant writer presents it to you. That’s the gist of what you wanted to communicate but you decided to do that with actual pot shots wrapped around an analogy that does not necessarily enhance the view of your character. The notion that guys only value ladies because the way they look isn’t a cliché it’s an anachronism. I thought Passan’s piece was self-contradictory at best and lazy at worst but at least he didn’t treat his readers like dummies and at least he didn’t resort to a tired old view of the value of women in a partnership. Maybe you think you’re brilliant and the only reason people could disagree with you is because they are Kool aid drinking sheep, but I just think you’re not capable of believing you’re wrong.

          • Patrick W.

            Of course I mean I am not defending anything

          • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

            1)Defame: “damage the good reputation of (someone); slander or libel.”..

            I’d first have a good reputation in what I write. Which I don’t….I have and will live with that. None other than the court of public opinion will change that….So I don’t look for that to change ever.

            1A) Slander or libel. leave that to courts. Messy that is.

            2) Sorry I used “a lot of words.” Off the top of the head.

            3) “Your character.” Assail (non-violently) how you want to….

            A) I never called Cubs fans the names you interjected: “Kool aid drinking, dummies…”

            I said they “fans of the Cubs…they tact towards any point of contention that makes them feel better (internal gratification) and deride or chide another’s take (external forces that DON’T get the Cubs) if said point is at all demeaning, lacking in precise or numerous details, or hits a BIT TOO CLOSE to the truth in just a sentence or two, without out and out TOTAL condemnation from a sprawling piece.”

            4) Both guys and gals focus, on looks – specifically ratios under/at .7 between waist to hips for women. So to say it is “old-fashioned” is or not of this time, is contradicting plenty of analysis done very recently to the contrary.

            But that is your opinion. Great.

            I am glad you defended the honor of women – as if that was the basis of the ENTIRETY of what I wrote – which it never was. Sadly, something triggered you to latch on to that one-two sentence area…hmmm…interesting.

            5) Course I did plenty of cliches…that TOO was done for a reason. When I go to such extremes, that was a tactic.

            6) I don’t think I am brilliant at all – projection by you – I am of ordinary intellect some days; most days lacking. Today, I must be lacking due to the Mjhurdle, Patrick, Brett, Jason P….4 horseman of the Cubs honor society expressing their mild displeasure.

            7) I am very capable of being wrong and admitting it wholeheartedly. Been wrong more than right in life….to much greater loss than you’ve likely experienced.

            And I’ll make more mistakes, errors, and decisions that will undoubtedly be of more critical import than what I think of the Cubs.

            8) I didn’t name call the Cubs fans – you projected that into what I wrote. You’d say its implied, but aside from this word, “martyrs” you don’t have a lot of a case, just imagery. You decided on what that imagery represents to you….the reader.

            In this case, I struck enough of a cord with you to get you all riled up.

            • Patrick W.

              Not riled up. I just see a LOT of writing in my daily life and I get a little interested when someone defends bad, lazy writing with bad, lazy writing. If I misread your intent then the whole thing is not bad, it’s terrible.

              • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                Good to know my terrible writing can be a “little interested” by you.

                What can a writer do with a subject like the Cubs?

                1) Rah rah on the minor talent coming and when it will come
                2) Look at transactions (which he did) 14 minor league ones.
                3) Backstory the entire rebuild (without all the information from the Ricketts)
                4) Put some colorful language in there to make it worth his while to write
                5) Move on to the next piece – write write and hope it gets more masterful so guys like you can be “engaged” down the road

                Why does it matter what I defend? It won’t change even one game, one move, or create a nickel for Ricketts to sling to the next additional player we think has upside…

                EOC.

                • Patrick W.

                  A writer can not contradict himself when writing about any subject, or at very least admit to and explain the contradiction. I genuinely like Passan I just don’t think long form writing is a strong suit for him and this article you reference is an example of him when he’s not good. I can point to examples where he is good. I just think when he allows himself to write in a stream of consciousness style his point suffers.

                  • Patrick W.

                    I should have just said this and not the rest.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              “4 horseman of the Cubs honor society ”

              Glad to see the comments have gotten better, how does this help? Post allow people to disagree with you defend yourself and leave the retorts. I know did this in the past but I’m trying to behave more but the only way it changes is if people don’t need to attack anytime disagreement happens.

              • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                I appreciate your trying to assist.

                But really, I always fight my battles alone. Never won; but I go away knowing I took on all comers, even when I lost to all of them. Closest to honor I’ll get.

                Again, thanks.

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  But this isn’t a battle or even a fight, it’s a place to discuss and hopefully have fun. There is no winner or loser. Sure it’s fun to joust with fellow commenters and there was a time on here that happened a ton (many times with me charging on my horse) but things and times have changed on here. The fight to get the last word doesn’t end well on the internet.

                  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                    Battle for narrative.

                    I’ll walk away from this…I do it all the time.

                    Have a good day.

            • roz

              Judging by the novel you just wrote, I’d say Patrick struck a nerve as well.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          honestly aren’t your fingers about ready to fall off? your post went on and on and quite honestly didn’t make much sense to me.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The TL;DR version is apparently: “most of you are idiots, incapable of critical thought.”

    • Jason P

      There was nothing even remotely insightful about Passan’s piece — he rehashed many of the complaints people about here have made for months.

      “But then Passan gives you a tried-n-true reason why: MONEY. All about money. If the Cubs were able, wouldn’t they have tried to spend just a bit more?”

      How brilliant! The Cubs are a big market team with a low payroll, so their owner must be cheap!

      If he doesn’t have the time to devote to creating a worthwhile analysis of the Cubs situation, then that’s fine, but it doesn’t make his piece good.

    • Chet Masterson

      “CUBS FANS – and those who deem them selves superior analysts, logic masters, and all those highly structured professionals at heart, with two cents to spare on giving opinions, enough to keep a blog owner happy, I might add – have biases that consistently lead them to miss the forest for the trees. Especially as fans of the Cubs…they tact towards any point of contention that makes them feel better (internal gratification) and deride or chide another’s take

      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[/img]

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        Pots and Kettles meet in AA weekly.

    • PcB

      Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In brief: “smart” characters using long words when short ones would be better, especially when they are also motor mouths. Characters afflicted with this trait often seem to go out of their way to over-complicate their speech, probably because writers think that this is the only way to show that someone is more intelligent than the average writer. This could also be the trait of a particularly anal-retentive character who always has to be right, the trait extending so far that the character always has to use exactly the right word — never using “blue” when “azure” or “indigo” or even “royal blue” would be more accurate, for example.

      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SesquipedalianLoquaciousness

      “Especially as fans of the Cubs…they tact towards any point of contention that makes them feel better (internal gratification) and deride or chide another’s take (external forces that DON’T get the Cubs) if said point is at all demeaning, lacking in precise or numerous details, or hits a BIT TOO CLOSE to the truth in just a sentence or two, without out and out TOTAL condemnation from a sprawling piece”

      PROTIP: Your writing would be better if you maybe just, ya know, talk like a person instead of a word jumbling machine.

    • PcB

      Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In brief: “smart” characters using long words when short ones would be better, especially when they are also motor mouths. Characters afflicted with this trait often seem to go out of their way to over-complicate their speech, probably because writers think that this is the only way to show that someone is more intelligent than the average writer. This could also be the trait of a particularly anal-retentive character who always has to be right, the trait extending so far that the character always has to use exactly the right word — never using “blue” when “azure” or “indigo” or even “royal blue” would be more accurate, for example.

      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SesquipedalianLoquaciousness

      “Especially as fans of the Cubs…they tact towards any point of contention that makes them feel better (internal gratification) and deride or chide another’s take (external forces that DON’T get the Cubs) if said point is at all demeaning, lacking in precise or numerous details, or hits a BIT TOO CLOSE to the truth in just a sentence or two, without out and out TOTAL condemnation from a sprawling piece”

      PROTIP: Your writing would be better if you maybe just, ya know, talk like a person instead of a word jumbling machine.

    • MightyBear

      Hey JP that post was a little brief. Could you expound?

    • http://tootblan.tumblr.com wv23

      Brevity is your friend.

    • J Bounds

      This is the most contrived attempt to sound intelligent I’ve ever read on the interwebs…… +1 to you sir!

  • TommyK

    I don’t believe at all that the Cubs financial issues require them to have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. I’m sure they can’t afford a $150 million payroll, but they could afford substantially more than they are going to pay next season. There is no reason they can’t be at least an average spending team. If Ricketts entered into a deal to buy a baseball team that prevents that team from being competitive, he is an awful business man.

    I think the Cubs management has badly miscalculated, and that miscalculation is reflected n Brett’s reasoning. Both the Cubs and Brett seem to be under the impression that it doesn’t make sense to spend money unless it will make you a playoff team. I strongly disagree. There is real, monetary value in being a .500 team rather than a sub .400 team. Fans are not going to spend money to watch a team that embarrasses them. Fans aren’t going to spend time watching a team that embarrasses them. When you put an embarrassing team on the field, you lose money. A .500 team is not embarrassing. The 2014 Cubs are going to be embarrassing. Yes the people that read this blog know that the Cubs have a lot of great prospects and the future looks bright. Most fans have no idea of this and aren’t going to spend the time getting to know the Cubs minor league system.

    I’m also getting fed up with the delay in the renovations. How much revenue can the rooftops generate that it is holding up a $500 million renovation by an entire year? I used to blame the rooftop owners, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the Cubs have botched this. Ricketts needs to stop making everyone happy and start playing hardball.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The debate about the “value” of a .500 team versus a .400 team, in terms of revenue (and the intangibles that accompany not being a trash heap), is a legitimate one. But that isn’t the position this front office has elected to take. When rebuilding – from a purely baseball, asset-gathering standpoint – in the new CBA environment, a .400 team will have a much easier go than a .500 team (not just the higher pick, more pool money in draft and IFA, but also the ability to sell off at the deadline with impunity). Ugly as it is, that is the reality.

    • itzscott

      Just once I’d like the posters who want the Cubs to substantially increase payroll explain who the Cubs should have allocated those additional payroll dollars to, how many more win that would’ve translated to and why they’d feel so fulfilled with a .500 team?

      I fail to understand their rants about payroll and where that would’ve catapulted the Cubs in the standings.

      • rcleven

        If were talking about free agents I don’t see what could have been done. There are trades that that can be made without depleting the farm. Oakland seems to be able to make these trades on a low budget and is a division leader or very close to the top.
        Bean doesn’t fall in love players and hardly ever gives a player more than a two year contract. He sets his targets then goes after them.

      • dunston donuts

        I could see a strong argument made that Michael Bourne, Anibal Sanchez, a few bullpen arms, and not trading the existing players could have made the MLB team a potential wild card contender. It would have weakened the existing group of MiLB talent though… no Olt or Edwards. Until we know how those trades pan out it’s hard to say what was right.

    • Voice of Reason

      Tommy K:

      I want the cubs to be one of the top spenders but its too early to sign free agents or trade for veterans. We don’t know where our minor league talent is going to play position wise. Once we know where we need to fill holes I want them to spend like drunken sailors so we can make a run at a world series.

      We tried to buy a world series with one of the top payrolls in baseball. How many world series did we win?

      The cubs are doing it the right way. That’s with players we mostly develop. Just be patient a couple more years.

  • Ricky

    “…the new norm. If Ricketts welches on his word to spend, what’s ugly already could get worse in a hurry.”

    For all the bashing he did in the article, he did end on a realistic note.

    • Ricky

      Sorry, the wrong part of that sentence copied….

      “This sub-$80 million payroll is tolerable for another year as long as it’s not the new norm”

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I would also comment that it would be unwise to sign any position players to more that a one year contract seeing that 2015 seems to be the year that Soler and Almora make it to the big show. But who knows how injuries could affect that scenario. I think that Junior Lakes performance may be a deciding factor in where Bryant plays. If we were to think that the 2015 outfield has Almora and Soler in it then what about the other position? I would think that they would want a left handed bat in the outfield. Adding Bryant to that outfieldleaves no left handed bats there. If Bryant plays and sticks at third then what do we do with Alcantara? Does he become our utility man as Baez takes over second? It’s kind of sickening to fantasize about the season that may never come instead of having some optimism or hope for the coming year. But tht is the case.

    • http://BleacherNation blewett

      Having Lake as 4th OF and Alcantara as super-utility guy would be fine by me….because that would mean all the other prospects worked out!

  • Jim

    One point I haven’t seen discussed much is the increase in value ( current and future) in the Cubs farm system compared to 4 years ago. Can’t be overstated that high level prospects can essentially replace cash in some cases.

  • TSB

    Did you ever go to your favorite store (be it clothes, music, book, hardware, etc.) with money to spend, but then discovering that there is nothing you want or need? Smart people wait until the time and selection are better, while others just buy something for the sake of buying something. It seems like some would prefer that the Cubs take the latter course, and get big name free agents even if they won’t get the Cubs that elusive pennant.

    • Jim

      Agreed. Free agents , the big time ones anyway, aren’t the answer. Their value per dollar is a fraction of what a young constant controlled player is.

  • Bill

    This article reminds me of a column written by Mike Royko. Royko was probably the best newspaper writer Chicago has had in my lifetime. Even though I didn’t agree with Royko’s politics, his column was a can’t miss. Anyway, he once wrote about how fans really didn’t want the Cubs to win because that would take away the lovable loser title and what would they have to dream in the future if they won? It was all said tongue-in-cheek, but in the spirit of Royko, maybe Ricketts has taken his point to heart. He is doing his best to make sure the Cubs don’t win, because he wants the Cub fans to be happy and happiness only happens if they lose. How else to explain Ricketts actions?

  • TSB

    As it is known, it has been 68 years since the Cubs won a pennant. In that time, they have had different players, managers, front offices, coaches, etc., and yet they still lose. What is the key to their un-success? It can’t be the Chicago water, because even that other team on the south side has won. Maybe it is the curse of the goat…

  • TulaneCubs

    A couple of bloggers challenged Jeff on who he wanted the Cubs to spend on (it may have been Brett), arguing that it didn’t make sense to invest heavily in free agents considering how bad the core is now. Jeff agreed, but said they could have spent on other free agents. When pressed, he named Omar Infante, Tim Hudson, Grant Balfour, Corey Hart and Gavin Floyd.

    Considering the wave of Cubs infield prospects, a 4 year deal to Omar Infante made no sense. Hudson, Balfour, Hart and Floyd are all injury reclamation projects or undervalued. Which is exactly how the Cubs have spent in their last 2 offseasons. So, basically, Passan’s complaint about free agents amounts to,”They haven’t signed the type of guys they did the last 2 seasons yet this year!”

  • http://bleachernation 29bigcat

    Signing garza would also help boost sharks trade value,or may help him want to sign extention

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    My new theory is that Passan was out drinking with Boras before he wrote the article. It must be frustrating for an agent to see a team not signing their guys.

  • Bill

    I think for the most part the article was spot on.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    wow it seems to me their is two sides to this argument. on one side their r people who want the jim hendry cubs go buy free agents and be somewhat competetive and don’t win.or you can do what theo and jed are doing and tear apart and build from the ground up.passan sounds like he has some axe to grind or he is a season ticket holder who is crying because the resale value of his tickets has gone in the crapper. i am a long time cub fan who has seen nothing but losing since 1969 to the present. no GM has ever tried to rebuild from within no matter who was the owner. seems to me the signing of free agents now is completely foreign to the plan theo and jed have told us they r implementing.don’t know why passan can’t figure it out. if the cubs go on the cheap after the rebuilding process is complete then he would have a good reason to write his article. i don’t have the luxury of some of my fellow younger cub fans due to my age and some health issues. but after the load of garbage i have watched over the last 50 years, i am willing to roll the dice for 1 or 2 more years.outta here.

  • Diehardthefirst

    So the Tanaka circus act 1 is over as he met in the warm California sun with 9 teams– did he settle on any team? If Toronto wins Shark to Yankees?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      If the moon was made out of cheese would you eat it? It’s a simple question.

    • nkniacc13

      Sources out of Japan have LAD,LAA and NYY as finalists but who knows

  • Diehardthefirst

    Does it come down to whether or not he likes to hit?

  • Cubz99

    It is interesting that the national beat writers are starting to all report Theo and Jed are handcuffed and were likely misled about the payroll situation when they took the job. I think he is right and things will get very ugly if Ricketts doesn’t start making payroll available by next year.

  • Swaz46

    In all this discussion of how much the Cubs are or are not spending, shouldn’t we take into account the dollars put into the Latin American Academy, the new Spring Training complex, the increased number of scouts both in the states and internationally, the increasing of the number of front office personnel, and the general cost of making this front office something that resembles a 21st Century baseball organization? I understand that this discussion is primarily about payroll, but it seems to me that when people like Passan or Wittenmyer complain about the lack of spending, they are conveniently leaving out any discussion of the INCREASED spending in those other areas.

    • Kyle

      We can take those things into account, sure.

      The Latin American Academy was less than $10m.

      The Cubs convinced the taxpayers of Mesa to pay for the spring training complex, rather than their own cash.

      Scouts and front office guys (outside of the GM level) don’t make much, so that doesn’t add up to a lot.

      Those don’t add up to anything close to the lost spending.

      • Bill

        Also, it’s not like scouts and FO guys is a cost unique to the Cubs, every team has this cost. I’d doubt the amount the Cubs paid for their scouts/FO guys is much more/less than other teams.

  • DCF

    The interesting part is the one that neither Brett nor Passan really elucidate: the “financial realities” part, like debt/interest payments etc. If the Ricketts directly drain the Cubs winnings into their debt payment, I fully understand why Passan calls that cheap. Buying a company and paying back the purchase price by skimming the company’s winnings isn’t neccessarily the the most commendable approach to doing business. I don’r\t really kow if this is haqppening, but it seems somewhat plausible to me.

    • Norm

      Wait, if I buy a business and pay off my loans with the revenue generated before I reinvest into the business, I’m doing it wrong?

      • Jon

        If, in the process, you allow the product or service you offer to degenerate to crap…then yes, you might be doing it wrong.

    • Boba

      How would you pay off the debt then? Doesn’t a well run company usually use it’s profits to pay off it’s debt?

    • Scotti

      “Winnings” somehow doesn’t seem right. “Earnings” somehow doesn’t seem right.

      Regardless, I have, from day one, assumed that the debt payments are being paid 100% by the income generated by the team and I have zero problems with it. I wouldn’t even have a problem with the family paying itself back for the principle (because TR is a financial guru, he was able to refinance a huge amount of the debt through the family as well). .

      None of that is why the team isn’t going into debt to run the day-to-day affairs of the club. The team is simply not allowed to take on debt to run the day-to-day affairs because of the structure of the “partnership” deal. The Cub “partners” (Trib/Ricketts), in theory, have access to the funds that the Cubs brought into the relationship. This is, of course, not true and likely why the IRS called Zell/Trib out on the whole deal, but, it is what it is.

  • Jon

    Btw, has anyone heard ANYTHING, on the renovations since Rham told them to start digging? Are they still being hustled by the rooftops? Since the on the field product is a disaster, it’s only fitting their renovation plan is also one.

  • brainiac

    I have a new thread idea: will Theo and Jed stay past their 5 year contracts? I would bet a lot of money that the answer is no unless they’re given substantially more freedom to run the team like professionals.

    Other things kept me from checking this site for a while, but post-meetings I have to say that the Cubs look so bad for next year that we might break the all time loss record in the modern era.

    • bbmoney

      Which of course assumes that they haven’t been given freedom to make the moves they want.

      Which, while it may seem like a safe assumption, may not be. Ricketts hasn’t signed many big time FAs (although Edwin Jackson was the 6th largest contract signed last offseason in terms of guaranteed dollars and 30M for Soler isn’t small), but he has agreed to eat plenty of ‘bad’ money on contracts that have allowed the FO to increase returns on trades for guys like Zambrano, Soriano, and others.

      I know for a lot of people the story on Rickett’s being cheap has already been written. I just don’t subscribe to it being that simple. I think the FO is probably frustrated at how the revenue piece isn’t falling into place (TV, Renovation), but I’m not all that confident that it’s impacted many baseball decisions…yet…it just has potential to soon. Which is worrisome to me.

      • brainiac

        i was down on jed for a long time because he’s so ineffective, even though within constraints, but i also understand that he has an unusual situation where he’s a GM without much power to make his own decisions.

        but i just can’t imagine why any GM would torture the team, torture the fans, sacrifice loyalties of long time followers, make half hearted and untrue proclamations about “being in” on free agents, and sending away average players for sub average minor leaguers, just because they can. there’s a cause/effect thing here. they’re prepping for the long term under the promise that they’ll be able to spend like a big market team eventually.

        for now, this offseason has showed just how clearly handcuffed these guys are. the minors are looking amazing, much credit for that. but this mlb team is 4-5 years from being consistently effective. that’ll be like 7 years since they got here. will they bother to stick around and work for snake oil salesmen who are worth billions but offer no salary from their own revenues if another team comes calling?

  • Chiburgh

    Are the Cubs cheap??

    It’s too early to tell. When TR, Theo and Jed all sat down to devise “The Plan”, they underestimated how flawed this organization really was. Recovery has taken a lot longer than expected. To refer to the Cubs as cheap is unfair at this point.

    I know the name of the top prospects, but really don’t know their skillsets. To put all the emphasis on them is also unfair especially when you look at the history of the Cubs development of players. How can all of them be a slamdunk so early on in the process? It doesn’t work that way. We are looking at each player dealing with an adjustment period too.

    If the plan falls into place, as I see it, 2017 will be the absolute earliest the Cubs would and should be signing FA to fill in the pieces. Until then, until TR opts not to complete the process by signing FA, he can’t be referred to as cheap.

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