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sad thoughtful catIf you aren’t interested in hashing out any of the particulars of how it came to be that the Chicago Cubs were very involved in the Masahiro Tanaka process, but didn’t actually sign him, you can stop reading here. As of today, I’m not too interested in it, myself. My pot is actually much more stirred by the rooftop news.

But, for posterity, the narrative surrounding what happened in this Tanaka process is going to start forming today, and people will want to look back on it – a month from now, a year from now, five years from now – and use it as the basis for arguments. So, while it’s fresh, it’s important to get some things down on paper.

First, and foremost: the Cubs were genuinely interested in landing Tanaka. There was no dog and pony show, and there was a serious effort made. Tanaka was a real fit for this organization, and they were willing to spend serious money to get him, even if there was reason to suspect it would be difficult to convince him to sign on.

Secondly … I’m just not sure they could ever have actually signed him. I expressed my reservations about the Cubs’ ability to land Tanaka from day one, based not on anything the Cubs could or couldn’t do, but based on a simple question: if I were Tanaka, what would I do? Coming to a foreign country, signing the primary contract of my MLB career, and having no personal ties to any particular team … I’d probably want to sign with the Yankees. They are a perennial contender playing on the biggest stage in the world. They always spend the money necessary to field a competitive team, and they have the most storied history in baseball. Hate ‘em all you want, but if you were in Tanaka’s shoes, you, too, would feel the pull.

According to the New York Daily news, Tanaka did feel that pull, and truly wanted to be a Yankee.

Throw in the Yankees’ desperate need for pitching and unlimited resources, and this was always an easy call. So why were we led to believe the Cubs had a legitimate shot? Well, because, as reports indicated, they probably did “lead” – in terms of the bidding – for a stretch this past week. But as I wrote a few days ago:

It’s impossible to sort fact from fiction in anything related to Tanaka, but I think it’s interesting to consider how it all could be playing out behind the scenes if the things that we believe to be true are actually true. Imagine that the Cubs are the high bidder, primarily because they know they have to be the high bidder to have any chance of overcoming the geographical and competitive lures of Los Angeles and New York. Until you’re told that Tanaka is actually going to accept the Cubs’ deal, there is no incentive for you – the Yankees or the Dodgers – to match the Cubs’ offer. They can rely on the geography/competitive stuff to keep their offer down until the last minute when they know precisely how high they have to come to get a deal done. So, in that way, it makes sense that the Cubs would be the “leader” in the bidding, maybe right up until a deal has to be completed in a couple days. Then, the preferred team(s) swoop(s) in, ups their offer just enough, and closes on Tanaka (after his agent returns to the Cubs, explaining that they can get the money they need from a preferred team, and the only way the Cubs can get him now is if they make an obscene, reckless offer). It’s not hard to imagine things playing out this way, as unhappy as it may make you.

It gives me absolutely no pleasure to have been right, but it looks like that’s exactly what happened. The Yankees waited things out, probably got a sense that Tanaka really wanted to join the Yankees, and upped their offer just enough to get him at the last minute over the Cubs (who appear to have been the runner up). As Joel Sherman reports, the Yankees were at six years for some time now, but were told the deal wasn’t getting done without going to seven years. The New York Times reports that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs were indeed the final three teams for Tanaka, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he was told, although the Yankees’ final offer was the highest, the others weren’t far off.

To me, that suggests that the reports of the Cubs being at seven years were accurate*, and the Yankees knew all along what they were going to need to do to get Tanaka. The Cubs pushed them to that edge, and the Yankees stepped up.

*We can play some word games with what the Cubs’ “offer” was, but what matters is how high they were willing to go. All indications this afternoon are that the Cubs were willing to get up into that 7-year, $150 million (plus posting fee) range, if it would get the deal done. Since it became apparent at some point that Tanaka wanted the Yankees and the Yankees wanted Tanaka, maybe the Cubs never actually reached that level. You could say that, therefore, the Cubs didn’t have the money to get Tanaka, but only because they couldn’t blow the Yankees’ enormous offer of the water (because of course they couldn’t (and shouldn’t)). That’s really just a matter of semantics. The Cubs were willing to make an enormous offer, but, unless they went absolutely insane with an offer, they still weren’t going to get him.

You can call that the Cubs getting Sanchez’d again – and maybe they did – but that doesn’t mean the Cubs did anything wrong here. They targeted a guy they really wanted. They saved their ammo to get him (limited ammo that, given the state of the organization, they weren’t inclined to spend on any of the free agents who’ve already signed anyway). I’ve got to believe they were led to understand they had a real shot at him. Given the fact that, at the last moment, the Yankees came up to slightly exceed the Cubs’ offer, it appears obvious that the Yankees, for one, believed Tanaka would really consider going to the Cubs.

So, what’s the “story” of the Tanaka pursuit, as we contextualize it down the road and re-tell the story of the Cubs’ progress as an organization? Is it that tanking for several seasons kills your chances of signing star players, even when you’re willing to pay? I’m not so sure I buy that in this particular context, given Tanaka’s apparently particularized desire to go to the Yankees (and or desire to be on one of the coasts). And, hell, the Mariners got Robinson Cano, after all. If you spend the money, they will come.

Is the story that the Cubs couldn’t afford the one guy they targeted? Again, I’m not so sure it is, given that it doesn’t sound like the Cubs were going to be able to sign Tanaka absent one of those instant-regret kinds of contracts. By most accounts, the money was there to commit $150+ million to Tanaka, which has to be taken as a positive signal going forward. If the Cubs don’t sign any legitimate, big money free agents next offseason? Well, then this is the part of the Tanaka narrative we can revisit and consider anew. For now, it looks like money wasn’t so much of the issue as the “fit.” Tanaka is a person, you know. He has a say in this.

So … I don’t have much of an over-arching story to sum this all up. The Cubs don’t make moves – or, well, try to make moves – in a vacuum. Other teams want these players, too, and sometimes shit just happens.

I guess I’d call this a “To Be Continued” kind of thing. The Cubs weren’t aiming, with their offseason, to build a contender in 2014. That much is clear. Not getting Tanaka doesn’t really do any harm, therefore, to the 2014 team. Not getting him, however, does a great deal of harm to the possibility of being competitive in 2015, absent a series of moves made within the next 15 months to make up for that lost value (trades for near-term impact pieces, free agent signings, etc.). In theory, the Cubs should have the money and the prospect assets (together with, hopefully, a couple prospect breakouts) to turn the corner in 2015.

I hate that 2014 is being punted, but it became the right approach a long time ago for a variety of reasons. When I think about the Cubs missing out on Tanaka at this time next year, though, I want to think about how it all worked out in the end, because the organization still lined itself up for a competitive run, starting in 2015.

Then this entire Tanaka story, and the entire narrative we build around it over the coming weeks and months, becomes little more than something talked about in passing during meaningful September Cubs game in the years to come.

  • Jon

    In 2015 we will be ok with that season being punted, in 2016 the same, and so on and so forth.

    The pass this FO gets….

    • Noah_I

      Jon, I don’t think that’s true at all. Most of us were fine with 2012 and 2013 being “punted”, to use your term, because that was always viewed as part of the plan. The fact that it got expanded to 2014 isn’t that big a deal to most of us, because if we were looking at this reasonably I think we all should have figured that was the case. If you get to next year, though, and the Cubs don’t look like they’re at least a significantly better Major League club, then you’re getting to a big problem. Because next year’s team should feature Baez and Alcantara on opening day, and Bryant shouldn’t be far behind. And that would also likely mean the two guys they gave extensions to, Rizzo and Castro, continue to struggle. If this team isn’t at least a legitimate competitor by 2016, or clearly right on the cusp of it, you’re going to see a lot of Cubs fans who don’t want to retain Epstein and Hoyer after that.

      • Kyle

        Good lord. 3 years of punting and in the fourth year they just have to look “better.”

        The bar couldn’t be set any lower.

        • MattM

          That’s where the Ricketts have brought us…..

        • Jason P

          Really, 3 years isn’t all that much when you’re talking about a full-scale rebuild. The Pirates and Nationals (the first two “rebuilt” teams that come to mind) each took 6-7 years before they got any better.

          Now “improvement” is obviously a vague term. I’d probably be satisfied if they got at least 81 wins in 2015.

    • N.J. Riv

      It’s because right from the get go the FO announced their intentions, that their main focus was on building for the future and not really the short-term. We all knew the Cubs were going to be bad for a few seasons, but I can assure year that after this season if there is no progress the next two seasons things will start to get hasty. You can talk about minor league progress all you want, but if that doesn’t translate to at least breaking, or hovering around the .500 mark in 2015 and 2016 the pressure will be felt by the FO.

      • Jon

        “Every opportunity to win is sacred”

        “Parallel Fronts”

        • hansman

          “Spending $215M on payroll over two seasons”

          “Signing free agents”

          If they were trying to throw the last two seasons, the did a terrible job with their offseasons.

          • Jon

            The difference between the Cubs and Houston Astros the past two off seasons has been Edwin Jackson.

            • hansman

              So Edwin Jackson was worth 15 wins last year!

              And 6 wins the year before (even when he didn’t play for the Cubs)?

              Wow.

              • On The Farm

                Wow, that is going to make the “Edwin Jackson wasn’t really that bad, just go look at his fangraph numbers” people really happy! ;)

              • Jon

                I’ll let you live in your fantasy world were 61 and 65 wins are an acceptable attempt by the FO to put a competitive product on the field.

                • Jon

                  *where

                • hansman

                  I’m not happy; however, I can also see that they built 72 and 75 win teams (prior to the selloffs) signing only “garbage” players and Edwin Jackson.

                  If the reports of the maxed out payroll are true, there wasn’t a whole lot else they could do, other than pick better versions of who they did (which, when you get into the 2nd and 3rd tier free agents is half-crap-shoot).

                  I am miffed that the Cubs have whiffed on 4 big IFAs that could have really helped and they were in on and Anibal Sanchez (How awesome would a 6/90 deal look on him right now). I could whine and piss and moan about it ever chance I got on here but I choose to be positive about it.

                  • DarthHater

                    “I choose to be positive about it.”

                    Your positivity is a disgrace to all true Cub fans. :-P

                    • Fishin Phil

                      Yeah, what are you some kind of commie??? What is in those hamburgers anyway?

                    • hansman

                      I do like RED meat.

                  • Jon

                    “If the reports of the maxed out payroll are true”

                    According to Tommy at the convention this weekend, it’s not true.

                    • MattM

                      Jon they cut and paste what these guys say to match their arguments for them. The fact that Tommy boy flat out said the max out thing wasn’t true doesn’t matter at all to them. They will just act like he never said it and keep using it as an excuse.

                      Also, these BOGUS reports of 150 mil are STUPID! If what Levine was saying was true and no one knew anyone’s bids the Cubs can just continue to “leak” to their lapdog that they big 150 mil.

                      Not only that BUT this situation buys them another 4 years of mediocrity. Think about it. Every pitcher who will be in FA next year and after is either very close to 30 or over. That fits perfectly with what they have said. THEY WILL NOT SIGN OVER 30 YEAR OLD PLAYERS TO BIG CONTRACTS!

                      That means we are NOT signing ANY good free agents ever! On top of that…..All they need is for a prospect to come up and fail and that buys them even more time! We are talking another 6 years EASY!

                      Meanwhile unless Cub fans COMPLETELY wisen up and stop going to pathetic games Tommy Boy will laugh to the bank every year.

                      MLB should have NEVER allowed this family to buy this team! Their ENTIRE FAMILY was only worth 1.4 Billion. They paid OVER HALF of their entire worth to buy this team! Unlike any other very very rich owners who have a team as a hobbie like Mark Cuban…..Tommy Boy and his family are just trying to make money off the Cubs. To be honest they’ve done a good job making money since they have profited over 30 mill per year the last two years!

                    • hansman

                      I must have missed Bretts reporting on this.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Epstein explicitly said at the Convention that payroll was maxed out in each of the last two years. This year, it is not yet maxed out.

                    • hansman

                      So I didn’t miss any reporting on this?

                      I figured that’d be a fairly big deal…considering some posters on here.

                    • MattM

                      So what’s the narrative if it’s true that they are 30-35 million under maxed out yet pocket it all and say they don’t want to sign their best pitcher? Just that no one was out there to help them win the World Series?

                      I guess Ricketts will make 60 million this year….

          • Brocktoon

            Not as poorly as they did if they were actually trying to win games.

    • hansman

      “I hate that 2014 is being punted…”

      So I can assume that you either cannot read or choose not to read.

      • YourResidentJag

        Wow, never thought I’d see the day that hansman is taking shots at Brett. Things MUST be awfully bad in Cubbieland.

        • TWC

          Lou, you’re acing Comprehension 101 today.

          • YourResidentJag

            Followed up by a comment by Brett not directed at me…which reads “Huh?” :)

            • TWC

              Yeah, Ace bombed Comp 101, too, it seems. At least you’ll be together in summer school.

              • YourResidentJag

                :)

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Me fail English? That’s unpossible.

                • TWC

                  It’s perfectly cromulent.

        • hansman

          I’ve taken my shots at Brett before on this board and on twitter.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Huh?

        • TWC

          Hard to follow the chain, but Hansman was responding to Jon’s first comment, in which he referred to you as giving a pass to the FO. In your defense, Joe pointed out that you quite clearly said you “hate that 2014 is being punted”, a point that Jon (and, later, Lou) missed.

          • YourResidentJag

            Hard to follow the chain….hmmmm…..clues into my reading comprehension problems.

            • TWC

              Yeah, but c’mon … I can’t start giving *you* the benefit of the doubt! That’d be like cats and dogs holding hands in the rain and whatnot.

              • YourResidentJag

                Funny my cat always got along with my pet dog. ;)

          • hansman

            This.

    • ari gold

      It’s guys like Jon, blamehendry, etc. that sometimes make me wonder if Chicago deserves a winner.

      • Jon

        It’s fans that are totally good with 5+ punted seasons, 6-7 years of rebuilding that make me wonder if Chicago deserves a winner.

        • ari gold

          Where are you getting 5 punted seasons from? 2014 would be year 3? Don’t even start with pre-Theo, because trading 2 top 60 prospects for Garza was hardly punting. The fact is if Hendry recognized that this team was aging with a bloated payroll, this rebuild would be much further along. The rebuild is just entering year 3 for god sakes.

          • Noah_I

            I think Hendry also knew the team needed to win in 2011 for him to keep his job, so he bet the farm on the Cubs being just a good starter away from being competitive. He was incorrect. And as much as I like the haul the Cubs got for Matt Garza, I’d still rather have Archer and HJL.

          • YourResidentJag

            The fact is that, like Theo, Hendry has board of directors that holds him accountable. Hendry’s board of directors wanted him to spend $$$ after 2007 at all costs so he did. I really dislike someone who thinks they know the background behind moves of the prior organization, and then supplants it with a one-dimensional, blame one guy for everything narrative. The Hendry talk is outdated and old. Get over it.

        • DarthHater

          The fact that somebody doesn’t feel inclined to bitch and moan about something on the internet does not mean that they are totally good with it.

          • baldtaxguy

            Yes.

  • Jim

    Great recap. There are some good signs here, but really, it was never meant to me.

  • Napercal

    Some good news today! Almora listed as 4th best outfield prospect in minors by MLB.com!

    • nate1m

      The admission of Soler is not so great though

      • Napercal

        They only listed 10. Given Soler’s injuries last season, it is unrealistic to think he’d be listed in the Top 10 overall.

        • Noah_I

          Especially with the top 10 outfielder lists covering 3 positions.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    A couple of hundred thousand angry fans with torches to march on he rooftops is what we need.

  • Blackhawks1963

    The Cubs will be solidly competitive in 2015. We pick up a couple pitchers and we will be okay.

  • Cubsin

    I never expected we’d get Tanaka, but losing him makes it more likely we’ll trade Shark for prospects and perhaps move Jackson, Schierholtz and others for more prospects at the trade deadline. There’s a real risk that 2015 gets pushed back to 2016, or even 2017.

    • Jon

      2017, lol, I don’t even know how that would be justifiable.

    • nate1m

      I think Schierholtz was gone either way and ‘The Shark Decision’ will come down to his willingness to sign a reasonable long-term deal and would have with or without Tanaka. He may be less willing without Tanaka but at least the team showed him (and hopefully everyone) they are willing to spend to get better

    • Napercal

      Jackson will have to improve considerably if they expect to get anything for him Wait a minute – did you mean Edwin or Brett?

      • nate1m

        And your comment would change how exactly?

  • SenorGato

    Mostly its annoying that the FO gets an A OK for trying and whirring yet again. It IS an issue that the team sucks and Tanaka wasn’t too into that.

    That said – Fujinami + Trout/Harper 2018/2019!

    • SenorGato

      *whiffing

    • Cubz99

      I’ve yet to see anyone give the Cubs any credit for trying. This was a chance for the front office to shine and they failed to get it done.

    • willis

      And that’s going to be the issue going forward. Catch 22, the Ricketts won’t blow players away with offers and players will always choose to play for a better organization if the money is close. That’s a cycle that’s going to be hard to break, especially after unloading Shark and some other players this year, making this team even worse than we’re expecting.

      I’ve heard all kinds of speculation about whether or not the cubs were there in the end with enough money to sign this guy, and chose the yankees because he can win there.

      • mjhurdle

        everything I have read post-signing is that the Yankees were the highest bidder, which only reinforces the idea that athletes go where they get paid the most.
        I worry about whether the club has the money to sign big name FAs (and I think they do). I don’t worry about them being the high bidder and losing someone because they didn’t want to play for the Cubs.

        • MattM

          That’s the funny thing MJHURDLE if the Cubs really were not going to be outbid how did they get out bid?

          The point is that before the Cubs Convention they “leak” BS to Levin and Kaplan about not being outbid and going all out and also in the lead etc…. They LIED!

          If the Cubs have the highest offer I buy what they are saying and give them a break for losing, but they DID NOT HAVE THE HIGHEST BID LIKE THEY SAID THE WOULD! THEY LIED!!!!

          And now since they didn’t win they can say they bid any amount under the Yanks to look good about it….

          • Ron Swansons Mustache

            You sound like a bit of a nut – just thought you should know.

            You have no f’n clue where that “leak” came from.

            • MattM

              Exactly! So how do we know the Cubs came in second with their bid? They also didn’t deny that they said they couldn’t be outbid.

              The point is that NO ONE on this site or any site knows if the Cubs even came close to offering 150 million to Tanaka. The fact that we are saying things like, “oh well, they tried.” Has happened A LOT lately!

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Just added a section to supplement the reports that the Cubs were right there. Per the NY Times, the Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees were the final three, and Cashman was told by Casey Close that the Yankees bid was the highest, but the others were “not that far off.”

                http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/sports/baseball/yankees-reach-deal-with-japanese-pitcher-masahiro-tanaka.html?_r=3

                • MattM

                  Not that far off? In terms of years or money? I thought the Cubs, “couldn’t be outbid?” We definitely now know that they didn’t have the highest bid.

                  That’s kind of funny actually. I thought the Cubs were only the close team because there initial offer was way higher than all of the other teams. If that’s the case why are the Dodgers mentioned in there as well? Sounds to me like the Cubs weren’t as aggressive as they wanted everyone to think. By the looks of it they just ended up in the scrum. That’s a massive miss fire considering all of the noise they were making pre deal….

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    I’m trying very hard to give you serious responses to your baiting.

                    If you read the entirety of this post, you will see that the issue wasn’t the Cubs allowing themselves to be outbid. There was a level at which adding years and dollars becomes a poor choice. That was the level the Yankees’ bid would have required the Cubs to go in order to overcome Tanaka’s preference for New York.

                    Further, one person said the Cubs wouldn’t be outbid. The Cubs did not say that. No team would ever say that.

                    • MattM

                      Actually, after reading that article it only states that three teams the Dodgers, Cubs, and Yankees offered 6 years and $120 million.

                      It also doesn’t say that Casey Close told them that. It says that Cashman says, “he was told other teams weren’t far off.”

                      You posted Levin’s words and thought they were serious. He said “a source close to the Cubs,” when he mentioned that as well.

                      Even 7 years and 180 million wouldn’t have hurt the Cubs in terms of their salary cap (if it’s real). They could have gone to 30 million if they wanted and it wouldn’t have hurt them.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I can’t read for you, but your first sentence there should immediately set off alarm bells in your head – did he sign for 6/120?

                    • MattM

                      Actually, the first report had the source close to the Cubs saying they wouldn’t be outbid and then Kaplan I think came in on top of that and said that the Cubs were going to be, “very aggressive.” Those were the only two people even saying stuff like that.

                      At one point they also said that the Cubs were in the lead on Tanaka. You posted then and then also posted the cold water portion from the guys like Rosenthal who came in and said the Cubs chances were extremely low.

                      Don’t you yourself find it strange that you as a Cubs fan were being objective about this race along with all of the major reporters. Yet the two Cubs “beat reporters,” Levin and Kaplan were overtly positive…..

                    • MattM

                      Brett I’m going to copy and paste that part to show you what I mean about the last three teams.

                      “Teams were told that to have a shot, they would have to submit bids of at least six years and $120 million. That reduced the field, with the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Cubs apparently emerging as the three finalists.”

                      All it mentions is that the Dodgers, Cubs, and Yankees were “finalists.” It never says the Cubs came in second or that they offered 150 million. Cashmen says he was told other teams were close which is a very loose statement.

                      Were they close because they were the finalists? Or was it because they all offered 150 million.

  • Cubz99

    We won’t know if Tanaka is going to be worth $25MM+ a year, but as you pointed out, Brett, we do know that the Cubs really wanted him and failed to sign him. He fit every quality that the front office has used as an excuse for not signing other free agents over the past few off seasons. With the lack of any impact starting pitching available and the lack of any TOR pitchers in the farm system it is difficult to see the Cubs competing anytime soon.

  • Los_Capitanos

    I would say in 2015-2016, start looking for heads to roll.

    Until then, this FO gets that pass based on the fact that they are following through with everything they said they were going to do two years ago.

    • willis

      Yeah, everything except the “dual fronts” part.

    • Brocktoon

      Unfortunately you can’t fire the owner.

      5th lowest payroll in baseball. Amazing work Tommy

      • MattM

        You can definitely fire the owner. If more and more people stop going they are done. They do not have the money to eat loss for two to three years! As owners go they really do not have that much money. The WHOLE Ricketts family’s wealth together does not even make top ten!

        Even teams like the Pirates and Twins have richer owners than the Ricketts! I still can’t believe Selig let them buy the Cubs!

  • cm

    Who was it a couple seasons ago that commented the Cubs wouldn’t be remotely ready to contend until well after 2015 and he was bashed beyond belief? Was it McCarver? I think I hate that prick even more now for being right if it was indeed him.

  • nate1m

    Do you think they will have to give a Jason Worth deal to someone to get that first FA or will ‘the kids’ be enough to show the team can compete and make people want to sign?

    • Jon

      The sad think is, I don’t even see a Jayson Werth(like) player to overpay on next year FA market.

      • SenorGato

        Pablo Sandoval

        • nate1m

          I saw that as well but you wouldn’t want to tie up 3B with the youngs coming

          • SenorGato

            I couldn’t care less. None are pure 3B prospects.

            • ssckelley

              You can’t be serious? Third base is one of the organizations strongest positions. The Cubs have a very good prospect playing 3rd at almost every level in the minors.

              • SenorGato

                I couldn’t possibly be more serious. There is some serious delusion in this fanbase and its just as irritating as the FOs misses. How in the hell can a team hoping Mike Olt can see enough to hit .200 in the majors consider that position a strength?

                The Cubs have one potentially elite 3B in Bryant, and everyone thinks hes a RF.

                • ssckelley

                  I never mentioned Olt, and I do not see the entire Cubs fan base completely sold on him either just a few mentioning they hope his issues are behind him. Bryant could very well end up in RF and the Cubs would still be in good shape at 3rd. There are plenty of good 3rd base prospects and the Cubs have bigger needs at other positions. I doubt you will see Sandoval wearing a Cubs uniform anytime soon.

                  • SenorGato

                    To be in good, let alone great, shape at 3B you actually need a starting 3B. Not a Christian Villanueva in AA or a Candelario about to play A ball, a real life major league 3B. Enough with the prospect delusion.

                    • ssckelley

                      Tell that to the front office, they seem pretty confident some of these prospects will be playing at the MLB level soon. If you want to believe that the Cubs would seriously go after a player like Sandoval then you are the one who is delusioned.

                    • SenorGato

                      I am the one that is delusioned….Are you just messing with me here or do you actually believe what you’re writing?

                      A 28 year old switch hitting, good glove 3B is right up this FOs alley. His ceiling is way higher than everyone but Bryant, and hes actually done it. Bet your rose colored glasses that if hes available the Cubs FO will be lining themselves up for another participation trophy.

                    • ssckelley

                      He is a free agent next off season so I guess you and I can revisit this in about 11 months. I love his age, if Sandoval hits free agency there will be a bunch of teams willing to pay top dollar to land him. I stand behind my belief that the Cubs feel they are pretty strong at 3rd base and there is a chance Baez may end up there. The Cubs have more glaring needs at other positions.

                    • SenorGato

                      The Cubs suck at every position and will be very interested in a prime aged third bagger. Baez has a plenty good shot at staying up the middle and the Cubs have consistently made 2B his alt ever since his poor showing at 3B in the AFL.

                      If the Cubs FO is stupid enough to think they have 3B covered because prospects then this franchise is even further gone than I thought.

                • Jon

                  If Bryant doesn’t stick at 3rd, I don’t think the Cubs are very strong at that position, certainly not enough to dismiss a player that might be available in FA.

                  I hear Sandoval lost alot of weight, has anyone seen pics?

                  • ssckelley

                    I think a lot may depend on where Baez ends up and/or if Castro gets traded. The Cubs have not ruled out Bryant at 3rd base.

                    He is on the right side of 30, but because of this I think the money will go through the roof to acquire Sandoval. Top 3rd baseman hitting the free agent market will come at a premium and, IMO, I feel the Cubs have more glaring needs at other positions.

                    • SenorGato

                      Prkbably doesn’t depend on either of those things, luckily.

                    • MattM

                      HAHA! That’s exactly what the Cubs WANT you to thing!

                      So Sandavol fits the “plan” but only if he will come he by only making peanuts. If he won’t take our contract at 75% of what he’s actually worth then he doesn’t fit the “plan.”

                    • SenorGato

                      More Cub fan isms….the guys who want good players are miserable. The ones who pass because prospects “get it.” The absolute worst…

                    • 26.2CubsFan

                      Stop saying “other positions.” We all know what the Cubs glaring needs are – pitching and outfield.

                      If you believe the Castillo experiment will continue to improve, then the Cubs are basically set in the infield by the start of their contention window – 2015+. 1b is Rizzo with Vogellbach in the wings should Rizzo regress rather than progress. 2b is any one of the up-the-middle talent the Cubs have – Castro, Alcantara, Baez. SS is Castro or Baez, 3b is Baez, Bryant, Olt, Villanueva.

                      Pitching is pretty much brutal. Not a single one of the Cubs A prospects is a pitcher. The current ML staff is league average at best. If they get a positive regression from EJ and a step forward from one of the young starters (I’m looking at you Rusin and Arrieta) or a surprise out of Grimm or Hendricks, then you’re slightly above average but nowhere near dominant. Smardzija is what he is, which is an above average ML starter but nowhere near elite. I’m convinced that’s the best he’ll ever be.

                      Outfield is a mess. Shierholtz is not even ML average. Anyone who can’t get on base better than .301 deserves no spot in a ML outfield every day. Junior Lake was brought up because he was the only available option. He’s replacement level at best. Ryan Sweeny’s best days are behind him, and they weren’t even that good. Just above replacement for a CF. And that’s it. The rest are 4th OFs. Almora is 2-3 years away optimistically. So is Soler.

                      You’ve got to get to 45 WAR one way or another. I think the 2015+ team can dream about 15 from the infield positions with Castillo, Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Braynt averaging 3 each. Starting pitching right now is good for 8-10. 4-5 out of the bullpen. At best you’re at 30. The outfield gets you 3-4 as currently constructed. Brutal. Pitching and outfield are the weaknesses. If a 25yo power-hitting RF with good OBP skills were coming over from Cuba, the Cubs would pursue him as doggedly as they did Tanaka.

                  • MattM

                    The funny thing is guys that the Pirates sold this junk to their fans for 20 years and their fans bought it every single year!!!

                    How can you friggen be set at a position that you have no major league talent at? That sounds exactly like something a post 2000 pre 2010 Pirates fan would say!!!! Hilarious!

                    • Ron Swansons Mustache

                      Yep, let’s compare this rebuild to what the Pirates have gone through after two whole years. Apt comparison.

                      Spending big money on Sandoval would be idiotic. That money is better spent elsewhere.

                    • SenorGato

                      That same prospect delusion seems to keep many Cubs fans content. It would be hilarious if it was some other fanbase, instead its either scary or annoying in a given day.

                    • ssckelley

                      Dude, the Pirates? Seriously?

                    • MattM

                      Haha Ron Swanson is HILARIOUS!!!! How about let’s compare what we are going through with what the Pirates went through from 1994 until 2010?

                      SSCKelley It is a valid comparison! You guys sound exactly like Pirates fans back then! Oh man we have a good prospect in AA ball so lets not sign a proven talent because said prospect may or may not make it up and be a good player.

                      I live in PA! Pirates fans used to ONLY talk about prospects and how excited they were for them only to have them never even make it to the bigs…

                      That’s exactly what you guys are saying!@!!

                    • ssckelley

                      I don’t see a content fan base here, or anywhere for that matter. I see this FO taking a lot of heat for sticking to their plan. I know I am not content and the fact they may go into 2014 with no intention of at least trying to reach the playoffs and it makes me sick. But this FO has been open and honest on what they are trying to do here, I will be a Cub fan to the day I die so I have no choice but to believe in what they are doing. All the experts in baseball say the Cubs are doing it the right way and soon they will be the team everyone will need to watch out for.

                      I know how tough it is to say this to fellow Cub fans that have been waiting all their life for a World Series but patience.

                    • ssckelley

                      Then MattM you need to find a different team to root for then. Us fans are not to blame for what the FO does, you either believe in it or you don’t.

                      If you lived in PA and are familiar with the Pirates situation then you would know that for years they were poorly managed. The reason why it took them so dang long to win was because they did not stick to their plan and made some horrible trades.

                    • MattM

                      ssckelley that is totally NOT true. The Pirates tried to DEPEND on their prospects and NOT spend money and tried to get Pirates fans to buy it!!!

                      BTW if you guys want to compare this team to the last two years of the Pirates guess what we LOSE!!!! We are already looking at another 2-3 years AT LEAST before we sniff 500…

                    • MattM

                      By the way ssckelley they have not been open and honest!

                      Remember “every season is sacred?”

                      DO you remember “dual fronts?”

                      That’s not being truthfull!

                    • SenorGato

                      I see exactly that content fan in your posts Kelley. What the Cubs have in A ball should not have any bearing on what they do in the majors.

                    • ssckelley

                      lmao, I think I will leave the 2 of you alone to enjoy your misery together.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  I could be behind signing Sandoval, but I think we should make sure we’re expecting the ’12 and ’13 Sandoval, not the outlier ’09 and ’11 versions. Those would be nice, but I suspect his production with the Cubs would be more in the range of a wRC+ of 118 to 124, not anything in the 140s.

                  My biggest question would be where to play him. He’s not that great defensively, and I think the Cubs could probably find wRC+ of close to 120 with a better glove at third somewhere else. That’s not a hugely high standard.

                  If Rizzo continues to regress (I doubt that will happen) I’d be tempted to try Sandoval at first. A switch hitter with a patent bat would be a nice addition of the Cubs lineup regardless of which prospects make it. If they can find a place to play him, that is.

                  • ssckelley

                    Well if he can play outfield then that changes everything. I was looking at him solely as a 3rd base man.

      • nate1m

        How about Brett Gardner or Colby Rasmus? Similar age and stats as Werth at the time. Could fit without blocking a prospect.

        • Jon

          *Don’t fit the plan
          *Don’t make us contenders
          *Might cause us a draft pick
          *Might cost too much $$$$

          • nate1m

            I’m not sure if they won’t fit the plan in a year depending on who’s ready in the minor. As to your other points, that’s what makes it a Jason Werth type deal

            • MattM

              Anyone 30 and over we cannot sign because the don’t fit the god forsaken plan!!! That means anyone outside Sandovol we cannot and won’t want to get!!!!

              Basically, we will be sold this prospect nonsense for the next 10 years! If the statistics hold true and 1/3 of our big name prospects actually are good then we are SCREWED! Literally one of Baez, Bryant, or Almora will actually be good! Every statistic shows that!

              • hcs

                You don’t understand what ‘statistics’ are, or what they do, do you?

                • MattM

                  OMG!!!! A bandwagoner mentions statistics so now we much ALL get on bended knee and bow to Epstein!

                  I understand statistics! Here is a statistic for you 288 losses over the last 3 years! How’s that statistic?

                  • DarthHater

                    Hey, Matt, I found a website where you will fell more at home:

                    [img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7422/12094336854_4a15f7a3c5_o.jpg[/img]

                    • MattM

                      So Brett I have not insulted anyone personally on here and yet DarthHater has put a post up insulting me! That is a violation of your rules! Are we going to play double standard now because he always agrees with you?

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Given how you decided to ride in with both middle fingers wagging? On today of all days? Yeah, I think I’m going to let that one slide.

                      But, by all means, if it offends you, I wouldn’t blame you for deciding this isn’t the place for you.

                    • bbmoney

                      ah yes… bandwagoner and the reference to worshiping the FO should probably be taken as a compliment….

                      save it.

                    • jp3

                      DAD!!!! Darth is calling me names!!!

                    • MattM

                      Congrats Brett! You’ve created the environment you always hoped to! Those that agree with everything you say, and then attack the ones who don’t. That’s totally ok with you!

                      I’m glad you have your rules! They really mean something don’t they!

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Darth, don’t call names.

                      Matt, chill the eff out. You are also violating a number of provisions of the commenting policy with your incessant drum beating (namely, this one: “you agree not to engage in behavior that is not in the interest of facilitating enjoyable, productive discussion (i.e., disruptive comments; excessive caps, exclamation points, and/or text-speak; “trolling;” comments designed to annoy, irritate, or otherwise inflame the passions of other users). Disagreements are fine and encouraged. Persistent, irritating behavior is not.”).

                      Both of you stop. Better?

                    • MattM

                      Brett by your admission is it ok for everyone to start insulting people now? Or just today? Is that ok since your ok with it since it’s today of all days?

                    • MattM

                      The last one is perfect for this site! Anyone who does not agree with what the FO is doing is attack by this group. By definition you are saying that we have to agree with only what you say, and what the front office does!

                      I’ve seen countless posts where someone doesn’t agree and is taken to task by this group.

                      Do you just want everyone to agree with everything? Say it now so we know your intent! You continually let Darth and Michigan and Hansman insult people who disagree and only seem to have an issue when its the person disagreeing saying something back.

                      Why have rules. Just tell people to always agree…

                    • MattM

                      TWC the definition of Bandwagon from Free Online Dictionary:Informal A cause or party that attracts increasing numbers of adherents.

                      On this site the bandwagon is to agree with all FO moves.

                      Bandwagoner is an informal adverb for someone who joins the bandwagon.

                      It’s funny but here is Urban Dictionary’s definition of Bandwagoner: Definition 4: someone who only likes a certain thing because its “popular”

                    • hansman

                      So there is a website that helps you fall more but in the past?

                      I love the Internet.

                    • Pat

                      Not sure whether to reply with the “you can’t handle the truth” pic, or a Norman Fell branded meme here.

                  • MattM

                    Pile on guys! That’s the atmosphere Brett has created! Bandwagoner is not an insult. You are a Bandwagoner if you agree with the teams moves.

                    I do not and therefore I am a meatball? The definition of meatball as a derogatory term is: Slang A stupid, clumsy, or dull person. … US and Canadian a stupid or boring person.

                    So I’m stupid and clumsy according to DarthHater. Brett has his rules for a reason….I have been personally attacked using a derogatory term that is the definition of on of his violations! What are you going to do about it Brett?

                    • TWC

                      “Bandwagoner.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

                      “You are a Bandwagoner if you agree with the teams moves.”

                      Yeah. You definitely do not know what that word means.

                    • brainiac

                      MattM, it’s going to be OK – the cubs have always been “losers”, the difference now is just that the new ownership has removed the “love” and the “able” parts of the sentiment.

                  • hcs

                    I was actually referring to ” Literally one of Baez, Bryant, or Almora will actually be good! Every statistic shows that” which pretty heavily implies a misunderstanding of, i don’t know… everything on your part. I assume what you were (in your foaming-at-the-mouth vitriolic way) trying to say is that, statistically 2 out of three top prospects will fail. Okay. That’s a fair assumption. That hardly means that “Literally” one of the three will succeed. That was what made me question your understanding of statistics. Maybe none of the three will succeed. Maybe they all will. There are exactly zero statistics relating to the MLB success of any of these three, and won’t be for at least six months, if not longer.

              • Boogens

                It’s a good thing that we have more than three prospects then.

        • SenorGato

          Gardner was the other name that came to mind but he willnbe three years older than Pablo S.

        • Noah_I

          I like Gardner actually, and am not sure how expensive he will be considering he does not hit for power. His best recent comp to hit the free agent market is Michael Bourn, and Bourn was a year younger when he hit free agency, only getting a 4/$48 million deal, and Bourn always got more press as an elite player than Gardner has. At that price, he could be a temporary solution at the leadoff and CF spots until one of the prospects shows the OBP skills you’re looking for and Almora is ready to take CF, then switching to being an elite defensive LF.

          One more note on the Gardner value front: if teams view his best recent free agent comp as Michael Bourn, that would, as of today, only hurt Gardner’s value. Bourn was pretty bad offensively with the Indians last year, although he was dealing with injuries. His OPS was only .676.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            I’d love to get Gardner onto the Cubs. That would go a long way towards lessening my team OBP concerns.

  • Cubsin

    Jim Callis lists Soler as his #11 outfield prospect. So the Cubs finish with two #2’s (Baez and Bryant), two #4’s (Alcantara and Almora) and one #11 (Soler).

    • JB88

      Three #4s. Remember Vogelbach was the #4 1B.

    • Cubsin

      Opps, add another #4, Vogelbach at first base.

  • DarthHater

    I don’t buy the notion that the Cubs would be willing to go to the 7-year, $150 million range only if it would get the deal done. If you’re willing to go that high, it makes no sense to make the offer conditional like that. You just make the offer. If it gets the deal done, then you got what you wanted. If it doesn’t get the deal done, then you made the Yankees overpay. There’s no downside to making the offer without the “if it gets the deal done” condition.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re reading way too much into the phrasing. Negotiations are conversations, not necessarily a series of offers in envelopes.

      • DarthHater

        I’m reading the emphasis that you put on the phrasing by putting it in bold font. I know we’re all pissy today, but please don’t be so presumptuous as to try to f-ing tell me what an f-ing negotiation is, thank you very much.

        • Hee Seop Chode

          Woh there. Respect the Ace.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Hey, man, for the record up front: when I’m commenting on my phone on the WordPress backend, I can’t see the name of the person commenting, so I just respond to the comment. (It’s a really terrible new backend in the latest WordPress. Why in the world would an admin not want to see commenters’ names?) Had I known that it was you commenting, I probably would have phrased differently (mostly so that you didn’t dump a picture on me).

          As to the substance, there was no presumption there – I was making a point in response to what I perceived in your comment to be an overread of what I wrote. Your comment acted as though I was saying the Cubs literally slipped a piece of paper across the table that said “we’ll come up to $155 million but only if you accept right now”. I don’t think it appears that I was saying that (and I wasn’t). I was making a broader point, and your comment seemed to lose that in an effort to frame a literal conditional offer.

          • MattM

            So now Hater is hating on the site owner for no reason lol! This dude is true to his name hands down!

          • MattM

            “Had I known that it was you commenting, I probably would have phrased differently”

            So you do treat guys like Darth Hater differently?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I respond differently to different people if I know them well, because I understand better what they’re trying to say if we have a history.

              Get off it. Keep playing the victim card, and eventually you will be.

              • MattM

                You are absolutely correct! I agree with you! Thanks for correcting me.

                By….Keep playing the victim card, and eventually you will be. Are you threatening me? I would definitely be careful with that as the NSA is monitoring everything! Just saying.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Wow. It doesn’t get much more ironic.

                  Sigh. No. You were not being threatened. But you are very close to getting the boot. Free advice: take a break.

                • mjhurdle

                  [img]http://s12.postimg.org/scgch3l1l/image.png[/img]

                  • MattM

                    mjhurdle…..that takes me back!!!! TEEPEE style! The bloody nose episode was easily the greatest!!!

                • brainiac

                  mattm, shutup dude. at least come up with some playful hyperbole that enrages michigangoat if you’re going to blow off some steam about the cubs’ woes. well, at least it works for brainiac…

                  • MattM

                    Brainiac I work for the government I can’t be playful! I do like reading your posts though!

                    • brainiac

                      thank you thank you, i try to keep them absurd

                  • MattM

                    BTW I thought the NSA quip was funny. No? Ok then…

  • Chuck24

    So is anyone really surprised that the Cubs didn’t sign Tanaka? Anyone, anyone, Buehler, Buehler? The reason he didn’t sign with the Cubs is because he wanted to play with a winner. This is exactly what I said earlier would happen. The Cubs are not going to sign top flight free agent players until they, at least, become reasonably competitive…OR…they are going to have to greatly overpay them. This is why it’s important that management needs to do what it takes to show they intend to have a team that can compete…which it hasn’t done as evidenced by the crappy baseball we’ve seen for the couple of seasons. Sign Samardzija and re-sign Garza…For crying out loud…can we have a Big League team, instead of a team that would have trouble competing for a Triple-A title?

    • On The Farm

      “So is anyone really surprised that the Cubs didn’t sign Tanaka?”
      (From Brett)
      I’m just not sure they could ever have actually signed him. I expressed my reservations about the Cubs’ ability to land Tanaka from day one, based not on anything the Cubs could or couldn’t do, but based on a simple question: if I were Tanaka, what would I do?

      Guess that sums up that no one should really be surprised they couldn’t sign Tanaka..

      ” This is exactly what I said earlier would happen.”

      Kudos to you for figuring it out.

      ” The Cubs are not going to sign top flight free agent players until they, at least, become reasonably competitive…OR…they are going to have to greatly overpay them”

      Usually it’s the team that offers the most money, most years, or combination of both. That is usually where the FA goes to. Off this logic a team is always going to “overpay” what the rest of the market it willing to offer, because that’s kind of the whole point of going to the highest bidder.

      “can we have a Big League team, instead of a team that would have trouble competing for a Triple-A title?”

      The Iowa Cubs finished fairly well in the PCL this season, if you think the AAA was even close to the MLB team’s talent, you’re delusional.

  • Argonzo

    When the money is equal the problem with ‘Player X preferred NY or LA’ and ‘Player X preferred a winning tradition w/o the 100+ year drought’ is that the former is never going to go away and the latter is going to be there until it’s not.

    • Wilburthefirst

      Simple, well stated and oh so true…

    • MattM

      How about when we try to sell the bs that we won’t be outbid and don’t even come close to the highest bid then try to set our bid to just under the highest bid after we lost? What does that do?

      • BT

        Wow. Clearly a lot of inside information. I just wish you had shared all of these negotiations with us as they happened, rather than telling us now that it’s over. For the record, was it Jed or Theo that told Tanaka that we won’t be outbid? And did they wait until the final offer was in before they set their offer just below it? I can’t believe we have someone with this much inside access and we aren’t hearing about it until just now. This is so exciting.

        • MattM

          Absolutely! Next time I’ll share it with you before hand. Sorry I didn’t spell it out for you sooner….. :(

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I now know that they are willing to spend some money. That gives me solace, guys like Wittemeyer make it sound like they are just cheap and won’t spend money on payroll. They are wrong.
    I think the wife had a lot to do with Tanaka. She is a big star in Japan, and apparently wants to pursue her career in the US. So either LA or NY was a no brainer. Most guys on here who are married know, we make suggestions, not decisions usually!
    The really bad news today was the rooftop fiasco. Costing this team $50-$100 million in revenue every year of delay. I was describing the situation to someone today who is a sharp businessman, he was looking at me like I was from outer space. It really is just a bizzare situation that the Cubs find themselves in. His comment was that most billion dollar companies he knows, do what they need to make money, and keep you in court for 20 years if you don’t like it. They could drain a Beth Murphy dry if they wanted to.

    • MattM

      HAHAHA WHAT!!!! How do you know the Cubs will try to spend? You don’t even know what they offered! No one does not even Levin! Levin was lied to when they told him they wouldn’t be outbid so how on earth do you know that they will spend or did spend?

      Is it because the guys who were told BS said they were willing spend? How can you believe that when the rumors that were leaked to them were true?

      • MattM

        Meant to say that the rumors leaked to Levin and Kaplan were NOT true….

  • sychophant

    whatever
    and the Cubs might still suck in a couple of years
    but nothing changed
    Tanaka was a 25 year old free agent without a draft pick compensation that the Cubs went all out after – they will (I hope) continue to make a play for guys like that – it is the model theo et al are following
    This was not out of character, and they seem to be showing they have $$ whenever the right deal presents itself
    2014 will be less of a lost season as long as some of the prospects are on the team in August
    2015 will be the beginning of the winning seasons (GOD I HOPE!)
    and future seasons should see an 88 to 92 win team (or better) for the foreseeable future – World Series wins would be a nice bonus
    If the Cubs are not in that range by 2016 – then the theo plan failed and a new regime can come in
    but as far as I can tell – they told us the plan; they have been implementing the plan; and nothing has changed – 2014 should be fun because of the prospects
    2015!!!!!

  • Napercal

    The Cubs made a great effort on Tanaka. Let’s fact it, the Yankees have signed the majority of foreign pitching prospects that they wanted over the years from Contreras and El Duque to Tanaka. If you are a baseball player and live in a foreign country, you are a Yankee fan. My son travelled in Europe last year wearing his Cub hat. No one could understand why he wasn’t a Yankee fan. The moves made by Theo are all understandable and defensible. The inability of the business side to make progress is frightening. This stadium issue has dragged on for years now. These issues are not a surprise. They look like the gang that can’t shoot straight and leave me wondering if they are competent when it comes to addressing broadcasting rights and other issues. If the business people can’t get the business issues addressed, how are we as Cub fans supposed to believe that the revenues from the business side will sync with the spending needs on the baseball side in any kind of timely fashion? That, more than anything else, is the reason Cub fans are upset.

    • Jon

      Without knowing exactly what they bid…how do we know they made a great effort?

      If they bid the most(like Kaplan is suggesting), then yes that’s a great effort.

      If they lost by 30+ million, then no, that wasn’t a great effort.

      • Argonzo

        The Cubs are getting the benefit of the doubt on the terms of their bid – mostly out of hope.

      • Napercal

        I think making any reasonable effort is great given that Tanaka has nothing more than potential. There isn’t one Japanese pitcher that has come over here and sustained his performance for more than a couple of years. Given where the Cubs are in rebuilding I was leery of committing that kind of money on a pitcher with no major league experience with that kind of workload.

        • Jon

          “There isn’t one Japanese pitcher that has come over here and sustained his performance for more than a couple of years.”

          This isn’t true.

          • Napercal

            Really? Nomo had 3 good years followed by 4 awful years followed by 2 more good and 2 more awful years.
            Daisuke had 2 really good years and 5 awful years
            Yu Darvish has had 2 good years so far
            Oh yeah. What kind of return did the Cubs get on the $4.5 million they spent on Kyuji Fujikawa last year? He was supposedly one of the top closers in Japan prior to joining the Cubs.

            • bbmoney

              This is a really weird comment given the small number of Japanese pitchers who have come over, the fact that Japanese pitchers finished 2nd and 3rd in last year’s AL Cy Young award voting, and a Japanese relief pitcher just had one of the best seasons by a reliever ever, posting a .565 WHIP. It’s also really hard to make the case that Nomo wasn’t a successful MLB pitcher given the high offensive era he was pitching in.

              Darvish and Iwakuma don’t meet your criteria only because you’ve set criteria they haven’t had time to meet.

      • hansman

        It would also be nice to know how the end of the negotiations went. If the Cubs were at 6/130, ahead of everyone and the Yankees made there offer, the Cubs may not have made another offer if the agent said “You need to offer X/YYY”.

        • willis

          Me too. I wonder if we’ll ever know?

          • hansman

            Not until Theo commissions his biography.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Save the $20 mil for Scherzer

  • TSB

    Great; now the crowd that wants the Cubs to sign free agents (even if they are the bums of the month) know how much money the Cubs have and were willing to spend. Now they’ll be even more encouraged to buy for the sake of buying.

    • On The Farm

      “Great; now the crowd that wants the Cubs to sign free agents… know how much money the Cubs have and were willing to spend”

      Correct, the fans now know how much the FO is willing to sign a 25 year old pitcher who has a potential to be a 4+ win pitcher.

      “Now they’ll be even more encouraged to buy for the sake of buying.”

      What has this FO ever done (in Chicago) that would make you think they would make a move for the sake of making a move?

    • DarthHater

      Damn straight, TSB. Now I know that Ricketts has $150 million just sitting around and, frankly, its burning a hole in my pocket! ;-)

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    I really don’t think Tanaka was the Cubs saving grace or anything. IF he produces in the majors at 75% of his production last season, then, yea–that’s solid. But I don’t think the Cubs spending a total of 175 million on him made much sense.

    Yea, you can argue that you can’t buy a 25 year old nowadays and that you can’t get anyone like Tanaka without giving up serious prospects, but let’s be honest–as an organization, did spending that much money REALLY help?

    There will be PLENTY of pitchers hitting the FA next season, and we’ll be 175 million dollars richer (take a few million after a minor signing to finish the offseason) to sign them. Honestly, I’d much rather have Homer Bailey than Tanaka, throw stones at me all you want.

    A few solid moves and decent performances from some prospects and we can have a decent team come 2015. I honestly think the best move now would be to trade Samardzija, Russel, and Schierholz at some point during the season for some prospects (I’m still kind of eaten up about the Adam Eaton thing) and suffer out the *already punted* 2014 season.

    Hell, Tanaka is guaranteed success this season. He could always Tan-nank.

    • dumbledoresacubsfan

      Isn’t* haha

    • Jon

      There will be PLENTY of pitchers hitting the FA next season,

      There are 5 right now, TOR arms set to become FA’s. We will see what this list looks come next fall and who gets extended.

      Max Scherzer
      Jon Lester
      James Shields
      Justin Masterson
      Homer Bailey

      All of these players are either near 30 or older.

      • Diehardthefirst

        They could trade Shark and Castro for Scherzer now and make him offer can’t refuse to stay thru 2018

        • Noah_I

          Samardzija and Castro wouldn’t net Scherzer at this juncture. And I seriously doubt Scherzer will reach free agency. I wouldn’t be surprised if Shields, Masterson and Bailey reach it, though.

      • MattM

        Jon well stated! If they are near 30 and want TOR money then by default Theo can’t sign them because it takes him away from his “PLAN.” If we win by not following the “PLAN” then in point of fact we LOSE!!!!!

        OMG DUAL FRONTS DUAL FRONTS!!!!!

  • When The Musics Over

    The Cubs have a ton of work to do to in order to be competitive in 2015, especially if Shark is moved.

    • willis

      Yeah that’s the thing, now everyone is pushing back to 2015 as a “maybe they can compete then!” season…well, what’s to stop them from tearing down this roster again this year to set them back even further? At the rate things are going, I wouldn’t put a year on it…not 2015, 2016, 2017 etc. There are way too many unknowns at this point. All we do know is that they will blow ass in 2014…again. Which will then hurt the years going forward. So, for the sake of sanity, I hope you guys don’t put any faith into one specific year and point to it as when things get better.

  • Justin

    I think the correct phrase for what the Cubs had done to them is Dirty Sanchez’d….

  • Truely Blue

    I like the cat picture. Even the cat looks sad, eh? I didn’t really have much more than a little hope that he would come to the Cubs.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Cubs may have to use $20 million to cut tkt prices by 25% if team not producing by May 15

    • 1060Ivy

      Tickets will be available at more than 25% off on secondary markets – stubhub, craigs list, etc. – well before that time.

      Cubs have used Stubhub to dump a portion of their unsold tickets through these channels so no worries, they’ll most likely put your thoughts into action.

  • Benjamin Button

    The Cubs whole pitch was that they’d just flip him to the Yankees midseason anyway. So he just cut out the middle man.

  • Kyle

    Why is the fact that the Cubs are bad now and maybe not good enough in the future always a less important story than explaining why it wasn’t their fault?

    • Kyle

      Eh, maybe that’s a *little* unfair

    • DarthHater

      Why is the Cubs’ situation always a less important story than the way Brett reports on the Cubs’ situation?

      • Kyle

        Because I disagree with him. It’s amazing how much people’s tone bothers you more when you disagree with them.

        • DarthHater

          [img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7376/10750623675_8cf58a4ed0_o.jpg[/img]

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Kinda seems like I agree with 2012 Kyle. Not sure who this new guy is.

          • Kyle

            2012 Kyle was excited by a productive and useful offseason.

            2014 Kyle is annoyed by the front office accomplishing essentially nothing for an entire offseason and still having people trip over themselves to make sure that no blame is assigned.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Yeah, I was talking about the spending part.

    • SenorGato

      My theory is that Cubs fans have no clue what to do if/when this franchise sees success in the nyude. They don’t mind glancing at her with clothes on from a distance – you can imaagine anything. OTOH shit getting too real too fast might be too hot to handle. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with being great…its best to seem like you’re trying and look to garner sympathy (empathy?) on failure…makes you relatable…and if you can save money doing it? There goes my muhfin hero.

      Lot of babble there.

  • itzscott

    In all honesty I don’t think money was the deciding factor or the Yankees being perennial champions or NY being the nexus of the universe….

    But I think it had everything to do with Hideki Matsui and the overwhelmingly positive career experience he had with the Yankees, along with the history the Yankees have with signing Japanese players.

    I don’t think any team can compete with the Yankees for Japanese players and I seriously hope the Cubs don’t waste their time on the next Japanese phenom that wants to make the leap to the majors where the Yankees, Dodgers or even Seattle express an interest in themselves.

    • ssckelley

      I completely disagree, I hope the Cubs keep going after these types of free agents.

      • Jon

        Odds are you won’t see another one these FA’s for a while. Unless there is some 25 year old international phenom I am unaware of?

        • ssckelley

          Honestly I don’t know who the next big international phenom will be, but I do not want the Cubs to stop going after them. I do not think every international free agent will be dead set on signing with either the Dodgers or the Yankees. It might be tough to ever land one but I can guarantee the Cubs will never land one if they don’t get in the game.

          • itzscott

            I think the Cubs would be better served to use their Dominican facility to become to Dominican phenoms what the Yankees are to Japanese phenoms.

            • ssckelley

              That very well may happen, the Cubs made a lot of noise last year on that front. But I still do not want them to simply give up on going after Japanese players.

          • MattM

            HAHA ssckelley that’s exactly what the Cubs want you to think! This thought process takes them out of ANY meaningful free agent signing from now on!

            They will ONLY sign under 30 year old AMAZING players but will not pay AMAZING player money. They also only want team friendly deals that have “value.” SInce players who are awesome will not sign a low “value” deal with the Cubs then the Cubs get an easy by for YEARS!!!

            As longs as Cubs fans believe in ONLY PROSPECTS and never want the Cubs to come off the “PLAN” then the Cubs can continue to suck and not worry about it!

            • ssckelley

              So this is just some kind of ploy and the Cubs are lying to us? If the Cubs believe excitement over prospects are going to sell tickets then they are dead wrong, the attendance is on the decline.

              If you seriously believe any of this then why are you here?

              • MattM

                Nope that’s not what they are doing. All they have to do is try to keep ticket sales in the 2-2.2 million range and they profit another 30 million plus this year! That’s what they are doing!

                If you know you can get 1 “big” prospect to come up a year and can sell that prospect until they tank or whatever you are golden for that year. Then the next year you have another and so forth. This is exactly what is going on! The Cubs profited 30 mil a year for the last two years and are not stopping! THe only thing that will stop this nonsense is if they get under 1.5 million this year and actually lose money.

                THen the next year they will have to sign mock good players like Jackson to team friendly deals to try to get attendance back up! It really is the perfect situation for a business owner who is only interested in profits!

          • MattM

            I was replying to the below statement btw…
            “Honestly I don’t know who the next big international phenom will be, but I do not want the Cubs to stop going after them. I do not think every international free agent will be dead set on signing with either the Dodgers or the Yankees. It might be tough to ever land one but I can guarantee the Cubs will never land one if they don’t get in the game.”

            It doesn’t matter because these players are almost never available so it takes the Cubs completely out of having to spend any money.

    • Brocktoon

      If that was the case you’d think the Yankees wouldn’t have to outbid everyone else.

  • rabbit

    I’m not sure if the state of our pitching in the system is anywhere close to being ready to compete in 2015 especially if the major free agent pitcher sign with their respective teams or elsewhere. I think 16′ or 17′ is more realistic with 2 more drafts to flood the system with more pitching.

    • DarthHater

      I agree that the pitching in the system is deficient and I don’t think they can or will just hope that several more drafts will turn anything around. Before ’16 or ’17, they will start trading existing prospects for pitching.

      • willis

        Yeah the pitching isn’t up to snuff to make an impact yet, and when it is ready it’s not really all that great. I really hope that this year they use the #4 pick on a solid power arm that can be ready to pitch in the major leagues by the end of 2015.

      • MattM

        So you are now advocating the Cubs trading away prospect that fit the “plan?” That would put us back at square one wouldn’t it?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Trading some prospects is not the same thing as trading all the prospects. The Cubs have more than enough depth to make some intelligent trades and still keep a very good young core intact.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Part of the reason you collect as much minor league talent as possible is so that you can use some of that depth for trades. That’s always been part of The Plan.

  • Threat Level Midnight

    The way I look at the last couple of offseasons is that I’m not sure much could have been done to keep the Cubs from sucking. Even spending gobs of money. A lot of the big money contracts handed out the last two seasons have gone south already. The team was terrible shape to being with when the reins were handed to Theo and Co. I’m not happy losing 100 games every year right now, but I am far from convinced that buying up a slew of free agents would have done much more than make the team somewhat more watchable. Either way, no serious contention.

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