mlb logoWith baseball back in the swing – at least Spring Training – there are more interesting MLB-wide stories to share. So, share them I will …

  • It’s been reported that Matt Garza had an offer from the Angels earlier in the offseason that was very similar to the deal he ultimately took from the Brewers. Why didn’t Garza take the deal with the (presumably) more attractive team in the (presumably) more attractive city? Well, Garza told Adam McCalvy: “[The Angels] offered, but it was more of a weird situation. I was on vacation with my wife and I didn’t want to be disturbed, and it was like, ‘Here it is, we’ll pull it in a certain amount of hours.’ I didn’t have a chance to respond, so I just said, ‘Whatever. It is what it is.’ …. It wasn’t anything big. It was an offer and I said, ‘I’m on vacation. I’m not thinking about baseball, Dude. Me and my wife are enjoying ourselves.’” I’m no baseball player, but, as a guy with young kids and a 364-days-a-year job (well, 365-days-a-year in years with Masahiro Tanaka news on Christmas), I totally understand and respect committing to a vacation with your wife. But … it’s your first, and what might be your only, big-money free agent contract on the line, and the place that you might be living for the next three, four, five years. Knowing that the offseason is feverish and fast-paced and things can turn on a dime, how in the world could you put yourself in a position where you weren’t prepared to act on an offer at a moment’s notice? Maybe the truth is that Garza felt he could do better (he ended up getting $2 million less in guaranteed money from the Brewers than the reported Angels offer), and the vacation thing was just the way it played out. Still. This is not a flattering story in my book.
  • (Funny speculation: depending on how early in the offseason the offer came, maybe the Angels don’t make the Mark Trumbo trade for pitching when they did if they’ve already inked Garza. And maybe the Diamondbacks still have Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs when conversing with the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija. And maybe something happens in late December. None of that is likely, but it’s always fun to think about the butterfly’s wings.)
  • Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt, Jr. engaged in a surprisingly candid Q&A with Derrick Goold, in which he discussed, among other things, the Cardinals’ payroll situation. The Cardinals apparently take out more insurance policies than other teams do, which affords them a lot more payroll flexibility in years when they’re hit with serious injury issues (like last year). Here’s a piece of what DeWitt had to say: “We have an ever-growing insurance expense on an annual basis. I think last year it was $4 million or $5 million — in that general range. That’s not factored into (public) payroll numbers. Now, if someone is injured and we get recovery from that, well, that offsets the cost of the insurance and offsets the cost of the player. But it’s getting more expensive to insure players. And you don’t get full coverage. Generally, what we have is a 90- or 180-day deductible. That’s either missing half a season or a whole season. If someone is out six weeks, there’s no recovery. When you have long-term, high-cost contracts we think it makes sense to cover ourselves. If you lose a key player making millions of dollars and you don’t have the resources to replace him, that puts you in a tough spot.” Obviously this approach makes sense only if you have a lot of long-term, big money deals, but it’s a smart way to ensure that, if you’re a competitive team, you won’t necessarily be crushed by injuries if you need to spend in-season to pick up replacements.
  • Rob Neyer is officially writing at Fox Sports now, and he takes on the many questions facing the (very expensive) Yankees this year, one season removed from finishing 12 games out in the AL East and missing the playoffs. Neyer says that the “error bar” for the Yankees is huge, given the questions surrounding an aging and unpredictable roster (is Mark Teixeira’s wrist totally effed? can Derek Jeter play one more quality season? is C.C. Sabathia going to continue declining? will Masahiro Tanaka transition well? and so on). Usually, Neyer says, the error bar for a team at the start of the season is about five wins – meaning, we can predict a team’s win total within five, in one direction or the other. If I said the Cubs would win 68 games in 2014, does that set a pretty fair range of win totals for them? 63 to 73 wins? Sounds about right to me.
  • Pitcher-turned-writer Dirk Hayhurst takes on the issue of low wages for minor leaguers, which was the subject of a recently-discussed lawsuit. Hayhurst offers a very interesting perspective on life in the minor leagues, and argues that the meager pay such players receive shouldn’t be viewed as the price of “living the dream.” I still don’t know what I think about the issue. On the one hand, playing professional ball – like most jobs – is voluntary, and it’ll pay just enough to keep potential employees lined up. On the other hand, it pays very, very little, and it’s not like minor league players have a seat at the negotiating table when MLB and the MLBPA are negotiating things that directly affect those minor league players.
  • Jonathan Papelbon is betting on the Phillies to go all the way this year. In related news, I am now taking all action from anyone named Jonathan Papelbon.
  • The most photoshop-ready picture of a raccoon watching baseball you’ll ever see:

  • Mike Taylor


    • Darth Ivy

      “when will then be now?”

  • brainiac

    for that amount of money from the team most likely to bounce back this year as contenders (with toronto), this does seem to be a stalling measure that backfired. hey, you can live in milwaukee. it’s no cubs. though i think for the contract and time he took, the cubs missed the boat, as usual.

  • Jon

    re: Adam Eaton and Skaggs for Shark? Doesn’t do it for me. Maybe Eaton/Skaggs/Delgado trio.

    • Brett

      I didn’t say that would be the return.

  • Edwin

    I wish Detroit would have called the Cubs instead of the Nationals this offseason.

    • Jon

      Doug Fister doesn’t fit the “Plan”

  • DarthHater


  • Leo the Lip

    Just a question. Wouldn’t Garza’s agent filter out direct conversations with any club? If Garza is on a vacation, I would think his agent would have gotten that call from the Angels and not Garza himself. Maybe I’m just being too critical here. But if I was Garza and I had my druthers…

    • Darth Ivy

      I’m sure that was the case. It was probably his agent who Garza was talking to.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        Agreed. If he actually used the term, “Dude,” I seriously doubt he was attributing it to Angels big wigs.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Garza’s health is a ticking time bomb. That and he wore out his welcome in Chicago.

    Is it me, or does Garza seem like he is dumber than a hockey puck? I think his Milwaukee experience ends up badly for the cash strapped Brewers.

    • Funn Dave

      It’s you.

  • Darth Ivy

    You have to respect someone putting family before business. And MLB players don’t get to spend a lot of time with their families during the season. But c’mon, “show me the money”

  • Javier Bryant

    Orioles are close to signing Jimenez…Probaby rules them out of Samardzija, for now

    • Kyle

      *sigh* 4/48, reportedly.

      • Rich H

        Depending on how much of that is a signing bonus I am at a loss of why he is not on the Cubs radar. Say 6 mil is the signing bonus and it is a little front loaded to minimize the risk then you are talking about 10 m per year after the first year. How can that not be good baseball sense when some 5th starters are getting 8 and 9 mil contracts?

        • bbmoney

          I don’t really care if any of it was a signing bonus, frankly I’d prefer none of it was.

          At that price I’m a little frustrated that it’s not the Cubs signing him. Probably 1 more year than I would have wanted to give him, but also probably a lower AAV than I would have thought, so kind of a wash.

          • Rich H

            The reason why I mentioned signing bonus and front loading is it makes it easier to move later on if he regresses back to the pitcher we saw in Colorado there at the end of his tenure there.

            • bbmoney

              I’d rather keep the money up front and then if you have to eat money later to move him (not that i’d plan on moving him) and worry about it then.

              But that’s fairly unimportant compared to the being bummed the Cubs didn’t sign him and seemingly weren’t even involved at that price (unless I missed some reports).

  • brainiac

    i guess one selling point for the foreseeable future is that the cubs are like a baseball vacation for high-anxiety players. no expectations, no pressure to win, lots of bison dogs, just show up and get paid.

    we could try and see if it works.

    • MichiganGoat

      You never get tired of this shtick do you Brains?

      • Chef Brian

        Never ever. Every Story, Every Post, Every Time…

        • MichiganGoat

          Yeah it was tiresome then and its just comically annoying now, but persistent like a weed.

          • brainiac

            comedy is part of the act. the rest is glitter and dazzle.

            • brainiac

              and pessimistic realism made by someone who actually cares if the team wins, new owners, next owners, no owners. but that part’s boring.

              • bbmoney

                I know I don’t care if the team wins……..

            • MichiganGoat

              Well except comedy should be enjoyable but I give you points for how persistent with your constant rabble rabble rabble.

  • Picklenose

    In regard to the Matt Garza offer from the Angels. A few years ago we decided to get energy efficient windows for the house we are slowly rehabbing. We scheduled several estimates. The first salesman we saw (from Sears home improvement) quoted us a price. We told him that we were getting other estimates and he offered us a discounted price, but only if we took it right then and there. We did and it turned out to be nearly double what we should have paid. After that experience, when any salesman gives me a take it or leave it offer, I leave it. Perhaps Garza had a similar reaction to the Angels offer, basically, if you have to say take it or leave it, then there is something wrong with the offer and it is not worth interrupting a vacation to consider it.

  • http://BN Sacko

    The Angels or The Brewers? That is so messed up man. No wonder our FO didn’t want him.

  • Fastball

    Garza’s agent would have not gotten ahold of me on vacation. We stopped taking them with us two vacations ago. Smartest thing we have ever done.

  • Funn Dave

    “This is not a flattering story in my book.”
    I think that’s a pretty unfair judgement. Believe it or not, some people place more value on family than on money. If I were a potential Garza suitor, I’d see it as a positive sign that money is not Garza’s first priority.

    • CubFan Paul

      Had Garza taken Theo’s offer he’d probably still have 4yrs & $50MM left on that deal

      He was never going to get more than Danks-money

  • diamonddon

    After reading this story about Garza, I am happy the Cubs traded him. On vacation Bro??? What kind of answer is that with a multi-million dollar contract at stake?

    Cubs got a haul in return for him and I think 3 of the four players in the trade will help the 2015 and beyond.