Projecting Opening Day Payrolls Around Baseball and Other Bullets

money flying bills airA periodic and promotional reminder: Amazon is awesome. I just got Season Three of ‘Game of Thrones’ (on the day it was released) so I can re-watch the first three seasons in advance of it coming back in a little over a month. For those of you who also use Amazon regularly, or those of you who want to start, I would encourage you to head over to Amazon via this link – Bleacher Nation Amazon – and you’ll support the BN business. You could even change your Amazon bookmark to, and it’ll take you straight to Amazon just like your old bookmark did.

  • Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs on how teams are allocating their payroll, from a variety of perspectives. A surprising and interesting tidbit: Thurm shows that the Cubs will have just four pre-arbitration players projected to be on the 25-man roster at the start of the season (really depends on the bullpen), which is the third lowest number in all of baseball. Maybe not what you’d expect from a rebuilding team, but I suppose it underscores the Cubs’ persistent need in the last few years for young, controllable talent. Also, right now, the Cubs’ Opening Day payroll ($87 to $89 million, counting the $13 million going to Alfonso Soriano) projects to be about 20th in baseball, with a median payroll right around $100 million. More interestingly, to me: the Cubs could add $50 million(!) in payroll, and climb to only 8th in baseball. Yes, payroll levels are exploding. (The Marlins by the way, not the Astros, bring up the rear at $42.5 million.)
  • If you want to see how the relative payroll levels are impacting World Series odds, you can see MLB Futures odds at Sportsbook.
  • Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney was on with Dave Kaplan and David Haugh yesterday on WGN FM’s The Game, and you can listen to the audio of his appearance here. Nothing earth-shattering, but Kenney says getting the TV rights deal done and the Wrigley renovation deal done are the two main things that need to happen to kick Cubs revenues to the next level to support the team. He adds the usual hope for getting a deal done with the rooftops by Opening Day – that’s the goal, he said, even if it’s not a real deadline.
  • A great piece from Patrick Mooney on Mariano Duncan, the hitting coach for the Daytona Cubs, and a former mentor to a 21-year-old Derek Jeter. Now, he’s on the frontline of development for the Cubs’ organization.
  • A profile on Cubs closer Jose Veras.
  • With the new homeplate collision rule in place, will there be an uptick in TOOTBLANs?
  • There are rumors that pre-arbitration outfield Mike Trout – who  just happens to be the best player in baseball – is nearing a six-year, $150 million extension with the Angels. Obviously it would be a hilariously huge new record for a pre-arb extension, but, as Jay Jaffe writes, it might well be a steal for the Angels.


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

231 responses to “Projecting Opening Day Payrolls Around Baseball and Other Bullets”

  1. itzscott

    Aren’t the Cubs still on the hook for most of Soriano’s remaining contract? If so, lop that amount off of the $87-$89 million and that gives us an idea of where the Cubs stand with the players they have.

    Any other former Cub players that the Cubs are paying for this year?

    1. Q-Ball

      The Cubs have $16.2 mil in non-contributing ML payroll; $13 mil from Soriano, $1.2 mil for Concepcion, and $2 mil for Jorge Soler (which IMO is not “wasted” at all, but he won’t contribute at the ML level this year either). That gives us a “real” estimate of $68.3 mil at this point. Not sure where $87 to $89 comes from, unless they are assuming that Bonifacio makes the club, in which case our “Real” payroll would be north of $70 mil.

  2. CubFan Paul

    “right now, the Cubs’ Opening Day payroll ($87 to $89 million) projects to be about 20th in baseball”

    Minus Soriano’s $13MM, it’s $74MM to $76MM. Yikes. 27th in baseball.

    1. Jon

      The intersection of 5th lowest payroll in baseball and bottom 5 of pre-arb players is just an ugly mess of a team primarily assembled primarily by dumpster dive pickups.

      1. Q-Ball

        The real culprit is the very poor farm system graduation rate over the past 3 seasons. Dumpster dive pickups are simply because we don’t have young talent ready to graduate. This is on the last FO, but it’s impacting us. Who have we graduated since beginning of 2011 season (where they would still be in pre-arb territory)? Junior Lake, Welington Castillo, Blake Parker….and a bunch of revolving door guys. That’s it. That’s not very good, and the real reason we’re in that position.

        Who have the Cardinals graduated in that time? Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, Lance Lynn, Kevin Seigrist, Shelby Miller, Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, Pete Kozma, Joe Kelly, Shane Robinson, Tony Cruz…..all important members of their team.

        1. another JP

          That’s so true QBall. The pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction for the Cubs this season. It’s rather tough to graduate impact talent from the minors in less than three years time when there’s very little to start with.

        2. FortyFour

          The Cardinals also graduated Michael Wacha, a SP that had huge impact for them last season. The Cubs have a tall order to become a better version of the Cardinals but that is exactly what they will need to do to achieve sustained success and improve their odds of winning a World Series.

    2. jp3

      At least bobby Bonilla won’t still be on our payroll:). Every time I see that contract it makes me laugh at the mets. 25 year 29 million contract….

      1. Q-Ball

        The Mets will not finish paying Bobby Bonilla until 2035, when he’ll be 72. The internal rate of interest on his payments is 8%; unless you think the Mets are going to declare bankruptcy, it’s one of the best investments in the history of investments.

        All that to defer $5.9 mil…….

        1. jp3

          It was a brilliant move by bobby bo. What a short sighted FO the mets had at the time…

    3. baldtaxguy

      But could that adjusted 27th ranking be apples and oranges relative to the other teams? Would other teams have similar dead money being paid (to players not on the roster)? Maybe not many, but some, no?

      1. CubFan Paul

        “but some, no?”

        Probably not enough to matter or change much.

  3. Javier Bryant

    That was a nice article on Mariano Duncan. Seems like a great guy to have in the organization. Speaking of which, is Vogelbach expected to start at Daytona this year, or in Tennessee?

    1. Luke


      1. Darth Ivy

        I choose to imagine Vogelbach as the Daytona verson of Kenny Power at Myrtle Beach

      2. Javier Bryant

        Thanks, Luke. I figured quite a few of the guys who were in Kane County last year would be in Daytona this year

        1. blublud

          Vogelbach finished last year at Daytona. He’ll return there, but with the lack of 1st base options in the system, if Vogs hit well enough, he could get a quick promotion. Maybe mid summer.

          1. CubFan Paul

            “if Vogs hit well enough, he could get a quick promotion. Maybe mid summer”

            & then traded this fall as a top 100 trade chip

            1. Darth Ivy

              ….to the Rays.

            2. Voice of Reason

              We don’t even know if our first baseman with the big league club will make it. Why would be in such a hurry to trade Vogs… as a top 100 trade chip… to the Rays???????

              If Vogs hits well and earns a promotion he could very well be our first baseman for the next 10 years.

              1. Darth Ivy

                He’ll be traded to rays on July 18th, 2015 at 2:33pm

                1. DarthHater

                  I have warned you not to abuse the Force like that, my young apprentice.

              2. CubFan Paul

                “We don’t even know if our first baseman with the big league club will make it”

                I do. He was fine last year and will get more polish at the plate as he plays. As he continues to make adjustments to adjustments he’ll raise is BA that you’re so low on.

                “Why would be in such a hurry to trade Vogs”

                Thats what you do when you have position redundancy (Rizzo locked in for 8yrs).

                1. Voice of Reason

                  You’re missing the point. I like Rizzo.

                  You assume he will continue to progress. He might stay right where he’s at and not progress OR he could regress.

                  What I’m saying is you need to be patient during a rebuild. Rizzo is not a done deal and our first baseman for the foreseeable future. You can’t be in a hurry to trade him yet.

                  On the flip side, if Vogs can hit then maybe he is our left fielder? He has lost some weight. He bats left handed.


                  1. CubFan Paul

                    “You’re missing the point”

                    I pride myself on missing your points ;)

                    1. Voice of Reason

                      But, the problem is your posts show you don’t know as much about baseball as you think you do.

                      It’s like you’re a legend in your own mind.

                      To say that you say Vogs is going to be traded plays to my statement.

              3. InTheoWeTrust

                You are spitting some knowledge today voice of reason. I couldn’t agree with you more. Rizzo is okay but he needs to improve or Vogs will take over. That is why you load the system with 3 or 4 players per position if possible because you never know what happens and Rizzo is still young but needs to start showing something.

            3. blublud

              Vogs will be traded when its time for him to reach the league and he’s blocked, and they choose Rizzo, or another options over him, or when the Cubs feel the can maximizea return for him. Pretty much just like every other prospect in the system. There is no special, trade Vogs, plan in effect.

              1. CubFan Paul

                “There is no special, trade Vogs, plan in effect.”

                There’s a specific plan (development & business/asset-wise) for every individual prospect.

                1. blublud

                  Yeah, and I’m sure that plan is to develop every prospect and help them become as good of players as possible.

                  I’m also sure that this FO has no plans of trading any prospects. That doesn’t mean they won’t trade any, just that there is no specific plan to trade any of them. If Vogs is traded, it’ll be because the got great value in return or because they have no where left to play him.

                2. Voice of Reason

                  CubFan Paul,

                  Sure, each player is ranked with thoughts of their future, but to say that Vogs is destined to be traded is not true and way off base.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    “is not true and way off base.”

                    Sure, if you want to ignore the topic and facts (position redundancy)

                    1. blublud

                      So what if Vogs is crushing and the Cubs feel that the best way to eliminate position redundancy is to trade Rizzo. I’m not saying it’ll happen, but it could. The FO will do what’s best for the Cubs. If trading Rizzo brings back a better package while allowing them to get similar production from Vogs, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. That goes for ever player and every prospect. They won’t make that decision until they are forced to, or until they receive what they view as proper value for either player.

                    2. salesguy

                      I think that given the weight that Vogs has dropped, LF might not be a stretch. With some continued conditioning, and weight training, why can’t he transition to LF. Instead of thinking of him as trade bait, it seems like Vogs is trying to insert himself into the conversation for a potential, future Core piece. A lineup featuring Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Soler, Almora, and Vogs is one to dream on. Those are several high quality bats that should (at least in theory) be able to play at the MLB level.

                    3. CubFan Paul

                      “With some continued conditioning, and weight training, why can’t he transition to LF”

                      The same could be said for 1B also. He’s a butcher there now, but he could turn into an average defender there which is just as valuble as LeftFielder with the same bat.

                    4. Kyle

                      We’ll have to see him in action, but I’m guessing that even with all the weight lost, Vogelbach is stubby legged, slow, and unathletic as heck.

                    5. CubFan Paul

                      “Vogelbach is stubby legged, slow, and unathletic as heck”

                      I’m hoping the weight loss/conditioning translates to more doubles. Screw his defense, he can DH, he needs to SLG more.

          2. Luke

            Geiger is the presumptive starter at first base in Tennessee, and while he isn’t a Vogelbach level prospect, he is a decent prospect in his own right. There is no need to rush Vogelbach. If he crushes High-A Baez style he could force their hand, but that’s somewhat unlikely.

            1. blublud

              I don’t think a mid summer call-up to Tennessee if Vogs is playing well is rushing it. He played extremely well in Daytona last year in his short time there. If he repeats those stats(especially that walk rate) while increasing his power numbers, Vogs will be in Tennessee around mid summer. I would not consider that rushing him. He’ll be there by the end of the year either way.

            2. CubFan Paul

              “but that’s somewhat unlikely”

              To crush it Baez style is unlikely for almost every prospect. But it’s reasonable to assume Vogelbach could crush it, with good plate discipline to the tune of .500-.550 SLG

              1. C. Steadman

                500-550 SLG is High-A Baez-style(535 SLG) and with good plate discipline would be >High A Baez

                1. CubFan Paul

                  The bar is set higher for first basemen

                  1. C. Steadman

                    you first said High-A Baez style is unlikely for almost every prospect but then gave Vogs a reasonable assumption of 500-550 SLG…you were just contradicting yourself

                    1. CubFan Paul

                      And you’re trying to hard.

                      What Baez did last year was unreal. To ask for that, is setting the bar too high.

                      For a 1B to crush it *Baez style*, .274/.338/.535 would not be enough.

                    2. C. Steadman

                      considering only 5 players with 200+ PA in florida state league had better SLG than Baez…natural to assume Vogs will have a better OBP so yeah 535 SLG would be enough for Vogs at 1B

                    3. CubFan Paul


  4. Cornish Heat

    Brett, seems like a nice little business relationship you’ve developed between Amazon and yourself, eh?

  5. Darth Ivy

    It’s nice to see fiscial discpline. 197 losses in two years sucks, but at least those losses didn’t come with $150 million payrolls. Obviously they’re not going to keep payrolls this low forever.

    1. brainiac

      at this point we have to say wait for next year. i hope they enjoyed paying themselves back for their own loan that they took from themselves. nice ponzi scheme to say that they can’t invest in the quality of their “product”.

      look, our owners are abhorrent, mcleod has done a great job with the minors, jed has either the least power of any GM in the history of baseball or has done a terrible job being creative within limitations. and theo has transitioned from player development to white collar middle management branding.

      this year is in the toilet, and next off season will determine their reputations into posterity. right now the main FO look like jokes who were very, very lucky in their previous jobs.

      1. Corey C

        You sir, excuse my French, are a fucking idiot. LOOK at the farm system compared under Theo and Jed, to the farm system that was under Henry. You’re a blithering idiot if you don’t see progress. Lucky? It’s baseball, luck is inherent, but what isn’t lucky is building a great foundation to sustain future progress.

        What last’s longer? A 1800′s home with a 300 million facade that takes a year to fix, or a brand new 300 million home with a modern structure?

        Henry tried to throw money at the wall and make it stick, Theo and Co are building a wall that money will stick to.

        My advice for you?

        Go be a Whitesox fan, or go back under your bridge.

        1. brainiac

          corey has to be a PR plant. several of our top prospects are from hendry drafts, first of all. and if you don’t love wrigley you don’t love the cubs, or you must live in st. louis. plus we agree about the farm system. but peoria isn’t the MLB squad. it isn’t even a real city. i don’t care about the minors. i care about my team, and i don’t like to see it treated as a mere medium for further financier accumulation.

          1. Corey C

            So? Who cares who drafted the “elites”

            The farm system, as a whole, is much better under Theo’s guide than it ever was under Henry.

            Singing all the players! only works for a couple seasons, if it works at all.

            1. Kyle

              Well, it’s better than it was under Hendry at the end. It’s roughly even with where it was with Hendry at the beginning.

            2. brainiac

              i just wish people would stop crapping on hendry, who gave us great teams, signed great players, and got hampered by big industry at the end of his tenure. if we can’t blame theo for having no cash on hand, we can’t blame hendry for being told to spend at the end of his. hendry was great.

              1. Corey C

                and I wish people would stop crapping on Theo and Ricketts.

                I’d much rather spend the money on improved facilities (through the entire farm system and spring training, like they’ve done) and suck for years, than trying to sign all the players with bloated contracts that will hurt us in the future when extending the prospects that make it.

                1. Kyle

                  False choice fallacy is false.

                2. Brocktoon

                  I don’t think the city of Mesa was going to give us money to invest on the major league payroll

              2. notcubbiewubbie

                yea i’m sure every cub fan on this website wishes theo and jed would adopt all of hendry’s no-trade contracts for average prima donna players who choke in the post season.

                1. brainiac

                  i’m with you totally on this, if they’re being paid that much we should be able to trade them as a team security. but that also entails actually signing players good enough that they can demand a no-trade clause. if someone else is willing to give it, then here we are left back in the cellar with our fidelity to middle-management needs again, and not baseball.

                2. Brocktoon


              3. brainiac

                BRETT, i think it’s time for a column weighing the strengths and weaknesses of being a GM that has to answer to big business these days. especially pointing to the fact that Hendry did a *good* job with the team, not a bad one, but was forced to make decisions by external motivations, perhaps like Theo is now.

                The guy signed Ted Lily from the hospital after a heart attack. This guy was invested and gave us some great teams.

                1. brainiac

                  we’d be hard pressed to find one of those opinionated clowns at the newspapers doing the kind of logistical and financial analysis that Brett can handle.

                  1. Jon

                    Witmeyer is trying, but the pollyannas dismiss him as a troll and unnecessarily negative.

                    1. DarthHater

                      Glad you’re avoiding that name calling that only children engage in. :-P

                2. notcubbiewubbie

                  wow people really overuse the word GREAT when discussing jim hendry and his teams!!!!!!!!!!!!

            3. Edwin

              Singing all the players sounds like an interesting idea for a musical.

              1. Corey C

                There’s a babe ruth/no no nanette joke in there somewhere, haha.

                Silly typo.

          2. another JP

            Well, I guess we can assume you weren’t at the Cubs convention this year, eh?

        2. TTH

          Who the hell is Henry?

    2. Jon

      “fiscal discipline” is nice for a governing body. This isn’t the government. “fiscal discipline” is Ricketts taking existing revenues for himself, rather than investing in the team.

      1. roz

        Show me proof that Ricketts is pocketing money instead of using it on the team or paying down the debt.

        1. Jon

          um? A bottom 5 payroll in the league? Also they admitted there was left over money this year that they are going to “roll over” into next year. Do you believe that? I don’t see them using it on a big deal for a 33 year old James Shields or a meh Justin Masterson.

          1. Corey C

            WHO DO YOU WANT TO SIGN?

            God, idiots like you really anger me.

            THERES NO ONE WORTH SIGNING (That don’t want a fuck load of money, and are young enough to be around when the Cubs are competitive)

            You’d rather throw money at Sorinao/Garciaparra/Cano/etc and possibly compete now instead of building a base and farm system to compete for years, wouldn’t you? Oh yeah, that worked so well for the Cubs, look where we are now?


            1. Corey C

              Sorry for the F-Bombs Brett, I just get a little heated in here.

            2. Edwin

              Right now we have one of the worst MLB teams in baseball, one of the lower payrolls, and one of the best farm systems. And some of the highest ticket prices.

            3. brainiac

              the problem here is that you’ve believed the PR plan that the cubs couldn’t possibly sign a decent player (for an assortment of important reasons Brett and some of us have talked about) WHILE rebuilding. that’s what every other team does. why they would *avoid* that approach here speaks to other institutional processes that have nothing to do with baseball. it’s just branding.

            4. Kyle

              “THERES NO ONE WORTH SIGNING (That don’t want a fuck load of money, and are young enough to be around when the Cubs are competitive)”

              That’s patently ridiculous. The Cubs have one of the worst teams in baseball. Almost everyone would be an improvement.

          2. gocatsgo2003

            Because MLB payroll is the only way that a team can spend its money on itself?

            1. Kyle

              None of the other ways are large enough to account for the lost MLB payroll outside of stadium expansion, which we haven’t actually started on yet.

              1. CubFan Paul

                “which we haven’t actually started on yet”

                & supposedly the expansion won’t come out of team revenue, but from that Ricketts LLC & other Ricketts/rich people investment firms.

          3. roz

            The payroll number alone does nothing to prove that Ricketts is “taking existing revenues for himself” and neither does them rolling over money to next offseason. The problem is that people keep making these broad statements about what Ricketts is doing with the money based on just the payroll. It doesn’t work like that. Now, I’m not saying that Ricketts and the business side haven’t screwed up a lot of things, but unless you get a chance to see all of the Cubs finances (which none of us ever will), you can’t make conclusory statements about Ricketts lining his pockets.

            1. Brocktoon

              Perhaps then you could explain either where the money is going or why teams like the reds can afford higher payrolls than us with much smaller revenue streams.

              1. roz

                Well I’m pretty sure the Reds aren’t under a massive load of debt.

                1. Brocktoon

                  So they are taking existing revenues for themselves

                  1. roz

                    Is everyone actually upset that part of the revenue is going toward paying down the debt, the debt that they are legally obligated to pay?

                    1. Brocktoon

                      People are upset that the terms of the sale involved taking on a debt load they couldnt(wouldn’t?) handle without making the major league team a horrible embarrassment

                    2. roz

                      Brocktoon – as far as I’m aware, they didn’t have much of a choice there. That’s the only way Zell would sell the team. Even Cuban backed out because the deal sucked, but I’m not sure there was a way around that.

                    3. Karl Groucho

                      Not really taking a side w/r/t to rebuilding or fund allocation here, but I think it’s somewhat reasonable to yes to that question. The repayment of debt goes toward the ownership interest in the team. That investment, in turn, will be recouped by the Ricketts qua Ricketts upon sale. Thus, using team revenue to pay off debt goes indirectly to ownership’s pockets, and takes money away from the ballclub for the Ricketts family’s use after they no longer have anything to do with the Cubs.

                    4. Karl Groucho

                      *say yes to that question

                    5. Brocktoon

                      Bingo bango. It’s McCourt ownership only ricketts (via papa joe) actually has the financial wherewithal to not be forced out of the team a few years in. To think we’d be better off if ricketts really was broke so we could get our Guggenheim to swoop in and save us

        2. Edwin

          show proof that he isn’t.

          1. Corey C

            That’s not how it works. You’re the one making the claim that he is pocketing money.

            1. Edwin

              No I’m not. I’m asking for proof that Ricketts is putting every $ back into the team. The point is that you can’t really prove it with any certainty either way. You can choose to take Rickets at face value, you can choose to doubt everything he says, but in the end it’s mostly just speculation.

              1. another JP

                Let’s fix this right now– Ricketts or no other owner has any obligation to prove to you or anyone else what he’s spends money on other than payroll. The fact you’d even imply he should prove that the Cubs are taking any alleged payroll savings and putting them back into the team shows you have no clue about business.

                Given the reported restrictive debt structure the Ricketts family signed to acquire the Cubs, they’ve assumed a large amount of debt and risk with the deal. If I risk my hard-earned capital and livelihood on a venture I damn well will run the enterprise as I choose. I understand that runs counter to the prevalent thinking around here that people have some right to obtain information about a professional franchise just because they want it, but it’s really nothing more than an unrealistic and immature POV.

                1. Kyle

                  Ricketts has no legal obligation.

                  But given that he’s in a spectator business where the entire business model is based around convincing us to be interested in the team and how it is run, the “he has no obligation to fans” zeitgeist may not be in his best interests.

                  1. Karl Groucho

                    +1 re: spectator business; odd to see the general sentiment that nothing is owed to fans when, erm, my enjoyment as a fan is much more important for why I follow the Cubs than the business’s revenue streams.

                2. Brocktoon

                  You mean if you risked your daddy’s hard earned capital and livelihood

                3. aaronb


                  We need to also raise the appreciation of Jeff Loria and Frank McCourt around here also.

                  Those guys bought teams and ran them as businesses too. And they had to go out and make the money themselves.

                  They couldn’t just borrow the cash with Dad as a co-signer.

                4. Edwin

                  I don’t think Rickets needs to prove anything to anyone about where he’s spending his money. What I’m tired of is people making stupid demands like “prove that Rickets is/isn’t spending every dollar the Cubs bring in on the Cubs” when it’s just such a stupid question to ask.

                  1. BT

                    It’s not a stupid question to ask when half the poster’s on this board routinely accuse him of robbing the fans blind.

                    If I accuse you of being a thief, which would be more fair, me proving you are, or you proving you are not?

                    1. another JP

                      I’d tell you to mind your own business and move on.

                    2. Brocktoon

                      Ricketts is fine for now because it’s a minority of fans that believe he’s a thief. When that number reaches critical mass(possibly as early as next year when we walk away with Jeff Niemann and Chris Denorfia in the offseason) he’s going to have to prove he’s not, whether it’s fair or not.(unless he’s ok with attendance flirting with 2M

              2. Kyle

                It’s not “just speculation.” It’s informed speculation.

                We know a lot about how baseball teams’ finances work. We don’t know everything, but we know enough to have a pretty good idea of what must exist in the gaps.

                1. another JP

                  OK, explain to all of us what the so-called “gaps” are in the Cubs financial plan and what should in it’s place.

                  If you’re as smart as you purport to be on this and every other Cub forum on the net this should be a simple exercise.

                  1. Kyle

                    You misunderstood.

                    I didn’t say the financial plan had gaps. I said our direct knowledge of the financial plan had gaps.

                    Example: I know how much they spent on MLB payroll last year. I know how much they spent on IFAs and draft acquisitions. I know how much their top two executives were paid.

                    But there are gaps:

                    I don’t know how much they paid in total to front office staff
                    I don’t know the exact amount they spent running baseball operations in the major and minor leagues outside of player payroll.

                    But these gaps also aren’t complete blind spots. We know how many front office staff were hired and we have a rough idea of what the pay range for those kinds of jobs are in the industry. We know how much other teams have spent on baseball ops in the recent past, which gives us an idea of the size of that expenditure even if we don’t know the exact amount.

                    Same thing with revenue: We know pretty close to how much they get from TV. We know how much their average ticket costs and how many were sold. We know how much they project to get on average from each fan in in-stadium sales, and can get good estimates of how many fans actually showed up at the stadium.

                    1. another JP

                      That seems to be a somewhat tortured response so let me make it simpler-

                      Name one baseball franchise that opens it’s books to the public and discloses, e.g., “the exact amount they spent running baseball operations in the major and minor leagues outside of player payroll.”

                    2. Edwin

                      I can’t think of a single baseball franchise that does that.

                      That doesn’t mean we can’t use what we do know about the team to make estimates to fill in the gaps. Forbes does that exact thing with their team value article each year.

                    3. Kyle

                      None. Nor did I ever say they should.

      2. Jon

        lol, I love when people have a negative opinion of the front office on this site, it is countered with personal attacks, rather than counter arguments. It’s what you guys do.

        1. mjhurdle

          to be fair, there are just as many personal attacks against people that have favorable opinions of the front office.

          I’m not sure any opinion can claim sole ‘victim’ status around here.

          1. brainiac

            i try to avoid any personal comments, though i’ll poke gentle fun when people get riled. i’ll say this much, i actually don’t mind when people get angry, it just means they love the cubs, like me. fans disagree about method and gatekeeping processes. my disagreement with middle management is much stronger. all i see is a business trying to profit while committing austerity measures that essentially equate to factory layoffs. just in baseball. these guys are ruining the sport.

            1. Jon

              It’s what “children” do brains. Ignore them.

              1. BT

                Yeah, it’s what children do. Now let’s complain about personal attacks.

          2. Brocktoon

            I don’t see brainiac throwing a tantrum calling everyone who disagrees with him fucking idiots

            1. mjhurdle

              Did I say he did?

              1. Brocktoon

                Nope, just pointing out Corey seems rather unhinged

        2. Edwin

          That’s not entirely fair. There are some posters who counter with well thought out arguments, and there are some who counter with insults. Lumping them together does no justice, just like lumping all the negative FO posters into one group.

        3. another JP

          See my above comment to Edwin, Jon. It also applies to you, dude.

      3. Darth Ivy

        fiscal discipline is crucially important for everyone and everything (did I write “fiscial”?). If anything, it’s more improtant for businesses and people because they can’t just raise taxes and immediately increase revenue

        Sure, as a fan, I’d rather the ricketts prioritize winning over profits because I only benefit from the winning. But like I wrote above, at least they’re bad with low payrolls and not large payrolls

    3. Darth Ivy

      The Ricketts are also trying to invest half a billion dollars in wrigley and the surrounding area. But they’re keeping a medium to low player payroll for now. So F them, right?

      1. brainiac

        to that i say please don’t completely change the best stadium in world sports so that it’s unrecognizable, and a professional can manage a team and make improvements at the same time.

        1. Darth Ivy

          no one is trying to change it so it’s unrecognizable

        2. Darth Ivy

          but I guess you’re right. Despite trying to invest half a billion dollars, F them because they have an $80 million payroll.

          1. Jon

            The stadium deal, is from advertising revenue from signage they haven’t got approved yet. (as Kyle alluded to)

            It also doesn’t help, that in a democratic leaning city environment, Daddy and now Todd have screwed around with these silly anti-Obama super Pacs

            1. Darth Ivy

              yep. F them for keeping payrolls low while they plan on spending another half billion dollars

              1. Jon

                Which you could respect, if they were taking these direct payroll savings and translating them right into the renovation project. But that is not what is happening.

                1. Darth Ivy

                  If that were true (which we don’t know), it still doesn’t make a difference. It’s still their $500 million that they’re spending

                  1. Brocktoon

                    You act like it’s an altruistic spending of 500m.

                    1. Darth Ivy

                      Nope. All I’m saying is that I think it’s silly to so heavily bash them for this payroll number when they’re trying to spend $500 million of their own money on the stadium and surrounding area.

                    2. Brocktoon

                      But it’s an investment. Other than the locker room/cages none of it is for the benefit if the actual team.(I guess you could lump he advertisements in here too, but considering that money is going right to the renovations it seems off to include them)

                      Just because the investment has a tie in to the cubs doesn’t mean they get a pass for not caring about the actual product they give to the fans

                  2. CubFan Paul

                    “If that were true (which we don’t know)”

                    They have said the expansion funds won’t come out of team revenue.

                    “t still doesn’t make a difference”

                    $60MM a year is a huge number that i’m glad won’t be coming out of the revenues.

                    1. Darth Ivy

                      $500 million of their money is still $500 of their money

                    2. CubFan Paul

                      “$500 million of their money is still $500 of their money”

                      Wrong, when we’re talking about team revenue and payroll

                      But don’t let the facts interfere with your side of this argument. Carry on.

                    3. Darth Ivy

                      It’s actually right. 95% of the Cubs are owned by the Ricketts. When you own something, that’s your property.

                    4. CubFan Paul

                      Keep moving the goalposts.

                    5. Darth Ivy

                      I haven’t done that. You simply ran out of comebacks

                    6. Kyle

                      “They have said the expansion funds won’t come out of team revenue.”

                      That’s pretty much fundamentally impossible.

                    7. CubFan Paul

                      “I haven’t done that”

                      Yes you have. I only took issue with: *If that were true (which we don’t know)*

                      I corrected you, & said: *They have said the expansion funds won’t come out of team revenue*

                      You’ve been moving the posts ever since.

                    8. Darth Ivy

                      I never countered your “we don’t know that” counter. I accept that I may have been wrong about that.

                      But I’m not wrong about the $500 million being their money. They own the Cubs (95%). when you own something, it’s your property. Cubs’ revenue is Ricketts’ revenue

                    9. Darth Ivy

                      go back and read my orginal point. You’re focusing on a point that has no bearing on my original point

                    10. Darth Ivy

                      wait, maybe I’m not understanding. If the Cubs are financing any of the $500 million, then my point is even stronger. If the Ricketts are pulling that money out of their pockets completely seperate from the Cubs, then that only supports my point that it should curb the ricketts bashing

                    11. Darth Ivy

                      “if the cubs *aren’t* ….”

              2. Kyle

                “Nope. All I’m saying is that I think it’s silly to so heavily bash them for this payroll number when they’re trying to spend $500 million of their own money on the stadium and surrounding area.”

                They’re trying to get city ordinances changed to allow them to generate new revenue streams for the team and use that as a way to pay for the expansion/renovation.

                They aren’t exactly writing a personal check.

                1. Kyle

                  And given that thanks to their political bungling that project is still not really started after four years, I’m not inclined to let them use it for an excuse for why current payroll is down.

                2. Darth Ivy

                  That’s right. It doesn’t have any bearing on my point, but what you write is true.

            2. another JP

              Ah, so now we’re beginning to see what your real issue is with the Ricketts.

        3. InTheoWeTrust

          It is a building not a person. Do you like the Cubs because of Wrigley or do you actually like the Cubs for the team. I hope they mix it up down there and get what they need so they can start spending money on the team and afford it. That is all they are trying to do, generate other sources of income to practically spend money.

    4. Brocktoon

      How is that obvious?

      1. Darth Ivy

        the timing of young players coming up (which should put them closer to being competitive and make it more reasonable to spend on free agents) and increased revenue. Seriously, these are things that are discussed everyday around here

        1. Kyle

          I’m not sure how many more cheap players we could reasonably be expected to field over what we did last year. Almost the entire team was pre-FA.

          1. Darth Ivy

            there a impact prospects who should get called up over the next couple years who are likely to help improve the team. If that happens (yes, IF), it’ll make more sense for the team to spend on free agents

            1. Kyle

              Then I would say it has less to do with the team not having enough cheap players and more to do with the team not having enough impact players.

              I question the wisdom of “We can’t get impact players because we don’t have enough impact players” as a strategy.

              1. aaronb

                Show me one guy who we can sign cheaply, who is under 28. That we can sign that can guarantee we win 100 games a year for the next 15-20 years.

                If you can’t name that guy, you don’t understand the plan.

              2. Darth Ivy

                Kyle, it’s about getting those young, cheap, impact prospects up so it’ll make more sense to sign free agents.

                1. Kyle

                  Inheriting Samardzija and Castro weren’t young and impact-y enough. We had no choice but to sit down and give up for a bunch of years while we waited for more, I guess.

                  1. Darth Ivy

                    I’m not saying that I’m glad that sat down and gave up for a bunch of years. I’ve repeatedly wrote that I’m disappointed about the last few years and I wish they spent more. go back and read what I wrote.

        2. Brocktoon

          So adding more cheap players means we’ll spend more overall than when we don’t have as many cheap players?

          1. Darth Ivy

            no. Adding better talent through the farm system means that it’ll make more sense to spend on free agency.

            1. Brocktoon

              It “made sense” to add talent through free agency this offseason too, but here we are with jason hammel and a rock

              1. Darth Ivy

                I wanted them to get Granderson. That’s been well documented around here. But again, it’ll make even more sense when these impact prospects come up and start adding wins.

                1. Brocktoon

                  I don’t disagree, I’m just leery that having guys who are cheap and actually perform will be a great excuse for ownership to say see told you you didn’t need any money

                  1. Darth Ivy

                    Leery isn’t what I’m addressing. I’m leery, too.

                    1. Jon


    5. Darth Ivy

      I think people are missing my point and are arguing just to argue. I would rather have the Ricketts spend more money and put a better product on the field. As a fan, I benefit from wins, not profit. I’m not happy about how the last few years have gone. But I think people take this Ricketts bashing too far. the fact that they’re trying to spend half of a billion dollars should be appreciated and curb the bashing.

  6. blublud

    If they give trout 6/150, then the Angels are just stupid. I don’t knock Trout, as he’s worth every penny of it and I hope he gets it, but that’s a huge over pay from the Angels. Even if you value his, I believe, 1 Free Agency year that’ll be bought out at 30 million, do you really think he make 120 mil over the next 5 years, with one being pre-arb and 4 Arb due to super 2 status. I don’t think there is no way Arb pays him that much.

    1. Jon

      “but that’s a huge over pay from the Angels”


      1. DarthHater

        Jon! You’re learning, man! :-D

        1. Jon

          I’m like you now, I can just type the image url verbatim :)

          1. DarthHater

            “I’m like you now”

            You don’t want to go there…

    2. Chad

      Have you seen the Angels in FA? There’s definitely a chance.

    3. CubFan Paul

      2014 pre arb: $600K
      2015 arb1: $10M-$15M
      2016 arb 2: $15M-$20M
      2017 arb 3: $20M-$25M

      1. blublud

        I thought he was a Super 2. I guess not.

        So Trout would have been payed 60.6 mil over the next four years. That means his 2 FA years were purchased for 44.7 mil per year. That is just Crazy. Once again, good for him, but that’s a lot of scratch for 1 player.

        1. CubFan Paul

          In an arb extension, I bet his FA years would only average $25MM a year tops.

          If the deal is short enough, he can get a 10 year deal at Kershaw-AAV ($30MM)

    4. Jon

      Seriously Trout @ 6/150 would be a steal. Like Rizzo, they are buying out some of his arbitration years for cost certainly. It’s a gesture of good will.

      I heard rumors last year Trout was getting upset they wouldn’t talk about his deal, especially when handing out that $$$ to Pujols/Hamilton.

      1. snakdad

        Well, they still had the whip hand on pay last year and they used it, but if they’d thrown a bit more money his way just to acknowledge what he did and how special a player he is, they might have saved millions on this deal they’re about to give him. Or maybe not–I can’t pretend to see inside Trout’s head.

        1. blublud

          They owed Trout nothing last year. He had to follow the same structure as every other pre-arb player. What Trout did last year actually irritated me a little. Had he negotiated a contract extension like this one, fine. But to think the Angels should have just bumped him to 10 million for no reason when that has happened to no player before him ever was a dumb suggestion, I don’t care he is the greatest player ever.

        2. aaronb

          They had the whip sure….But what good does that do if they plan on keeping Trout past age 27?

          They lucked into drafting a generational talent. The smart play is to try and keep him happy long term.

      2. blublud

        I think its a steal for Trout as a FA. However, when you already have control over him for the next four years, purchasing 2 more years for 45 million per might not be a steal.

        1. Jon

          I seem to remember a discussion where you thought Trout was overrated by the “stat” guys, so I see where this is going.

          Short story, he projects as a top 5 player in the history of the game, so throw all your arbitration games out the window and keep this guy happy.

          1. blublud

            Uh, you got me wrong. I have never said Trout was overrated. I said that the boy wonder in Washington was overrated. Only thing I said is that he is not, IMO, a better offensive or more valuable player than Cabrera. Other than Cabrera, he is the best player. I have never said he was overrated.

            1. Jon

              yeah, I remember that. Look past the “counting” stats.

              1. roz

                Assuming you’re talking about Cabrera vs. Trout, Cabrera had a better last two season offensively according to both wOBA and wRC+.

                1. blublud

                  There is zero doubt that Cabrera is better than Trout with the stick in his hand.

                  1. Coop

                    There is also zero doubt that Trout BLOWS Cabrera away in the field and on the bases.

          2. Voice of Reason

            You’re probably not a very good poker player and you certainly wouldn’t be good at running a business.

            1. Jon

              I certainly wouldn’t be good at running Tom Rickett’s – Chicago Woolworths 5 and dime

    5. mjhurdle

      If Trout only took 6 years/$150, that would be a steal from the Angels.

      I had always thought that Trout would want to push it to the 8-9 year range to make this a huge contract, but still have it expire when he is young enough to get another 8+ year deal.

      If the Angels can only have to commit to 6 years now and still remain in Trout’s good graces, that would be amazing for them.

  7. another JP

    I also saw the Fangraphs article on payrolls and believe it’s quite illustrative of just how disciplined the Cub FO has been in building a team and compensation structure. Most of the other clubs with few pre-arby eligible players have large payrolls that they’re paying out to FA, while the Cubs have minimized that effect by signing cost effective vets with something to prove to 1 or 2 year deals. With all the prospects coming up, it makes perfect sense and is a smart way to proceed without wasting valuable resources.

    And the A’s or Rays payrolls prove you don’t have to pay $180M/yr. to field a winning baseball team.

    1. CubFan Paul

      ” the A’s or Rays payrolls prove you don’t have to pay $180M/yr. to field a winning baseball team.”

      That’s because the A’s and Rays are forced to.

      1. Voice of Reason

        The A’s and Rays are forced to do what?

      2. another JP

        No team is forced to do anything. When the Cubs do better than the Phillies this season with half the payroll, ask their fans which management they’d prefer to have. When Dave Cameron was asked during his chat yesterday who the worst GM in the league was, it took a nanosecond to respond with Amaro.

        1. CubFan Paul

          “No team is forced to do anything”

          the A’s and Rays are forced to build *competitive* teams with bottom five revenues and payroll.

        2. Kyle

          “Cubs’ Execs are better than Philadelphia’s”

          damnation by faint praise

          1. aaronb

            Team X is run poorly….so It’s totally cool that we are too.

            1. bbmoney

              said no one ever….well except now you have I guess.

            2. another JP

              Poor application of modus ponens by aaronb, right “Mr. Logic”? Maybe the Cubs should have followed your advice and signed Pujols and Fielder to those deals the Angels, Tigers, and now Texas are now forced to eat. And you’re passing judgment on the moves of the Cubs? Unbelievable.

              1. Kyle

                I have no idea who Mr. Logic is.

                My proper title is Wielder of The Crushing Fist of Logic

        3. Brocktoon

          I’ll stop complaining then. We could have a pathetic payroll and a pathetic front office we might wind up with the #1 pick that way…wait a minute

    2. Edwin

      The Cubs have been showing great restraint at improving the MLB team the past couple years.

    3. Chad

      The angels have also shown that throwing a ton of money around doesn’t guarantee success either. A mix of young cost controlled players and FA vets are the ideal formula.

    4. aaronb

      The Cubs have traded or let walk anyone who made any real money. THEY’VE ALSO LOST 100 GAMES A YEAR FOR WHAT WILL BE A 4TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR.

      Is that really something to champion this organization for?

      Are we going to champion Wal Mart and McDonalds next for payroll expenses low?

      1. NorthSideIrish

        Cubs have lost 100+ games once in the past 40 years…but don’t let facts get in your way.

        1. aaronb

          288 losses over the last 3 years is pushing 100 losses a year over 3 years. Especially since this year is almost guaranteed to bring another 100.

      2. another JP

        “Are we going to champion Wal Mart and McDonalds next for payroll expenses low?”


  8. BABIP

    This is all I know of Game of Throwns:

    1. BABIP

      ^ ^ ^ hint: South Park. ^ ^ ^

    2. mjhurdle

      I have not yet had a chance to watch any episodes of Game of Thrones, but, from watching the reactions and discussion of people at my workplace, I have always assumed that ‘Game of Thrones’ was some sort of ‘Justin Beiber’ or ‘One Direction’ for adults….

      1. Ron Swansons Mustache

        Except that it is actually good.

  9. JacqueJones

    Trout in arbitration is going to be historically high. Even without taking into account his advanced stats, in his first year, he gets to say “I was in the top 2 in MVP voting all three pre-arb years, youre going to pay me a lot of money”

    1. blublud

      I didn’t know he was top 2 in MVP in 2014. I need one of those crystal balls you have. :)

  10. Edwin

    Payroll numbers go up and down. I think it’s frustrating that the Cubs have gotten to this point, where their team is this bad, but I suppose it’s better to be bad with a low payroll than bad with a high payroll. Although, bad is still bad.

  11. Kyle

    I’ll bet Wendy Thurm one million internets that the Cubs have more than four pre-arb players on their Opening Day roster, even excluding Rizzo.

    1. CubFan Paul

      I count six, if Olt and Vitters make the 25 man.

    2. pete

      I noticed her count probably excluded Olt also, but it seems to me that even 6 is a fairly low number for year 3 of this process?

      1. Kyle

        Well, there’s a definite donut hole in the graduation of prospects between the Castro/Barney/Samardzija era and the next generation.

        Most of that is due to poor drafting in the late Hendry/early Ricketts years.

  12. NorthSideIrish

    BP released another of their Best Tools articles…this time Best Infield Defense/Best Infield Arm. Baez ranks among the Others Considered class for Best Arm, but Shawon Dunston is listed as having the Best All-Time Tool. I always wished they would have had a radar gun on his throws to first.

  13. DarthHater

    Just made another Amazon purchase via BN.


    BTW, Brett, we expect you to reinvest every dollar in visible improvements to the BN site. Don’t go lining your pockets, like some people who shall not be named! :-P

    1. hansman

      So does that make you Tunney or the Rooftops?

      1. DarthHater

        Nope, just makes me an average fan who happens to also command a Death Star.

        1. hansman

          Bah…the Enterprise could destroy your pathetic excuse for a ship.

          1. DarthHater

            Your pitiful Captain Kirk is too impetuous. Easy prey for the seductive power of the Dark Side!

            1. hansman

              Bah, he just wants you to think he can get suckered in by the Dark Side so then he does some awful stage fighting to destroy you!!!!!!

              You can have the guy in the red shirt, though.

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