Quantcast

mlb logoThe Cincinnati Reds had a very quiet offseason, which was not a secret to anyone paying even a lick of attention. That season ticket sales remained nearly flat, then, shouldn’t be much of a surprise, even as the Reds were a playoff team last year. Part of the blame for the lack of sales, according to owner Bob Castellini? Bad media coverage. From a ranging and interesting piece by John Fay, here are some of Castellini’s quotes:

“That season-ticket number is the most important number we can generate …. So when you guys start writing right during the caravan about money, the fact that we didn’t add any guys … well, we had all these guys hurt. We knew we wanted to sign Homer. We knew we were going to make some other commitments. It’s not that we didn’t look. It gets written in such a way – ‘Well, the Reds aren’t doing anything’ – that really does affect people buying season tickets.

“Personally, I get a little ticked off. That’s life. But it’s the franchise. [Chief operating officer] Phil [Castellini] and his guys are out there trying to sell 20-game packages. It hurts when [the media is obsessed with money]. It came at the wrong time with the wrong emphasis. That hurts us. If you’re going to write that we didn’t sign anybody, at least write that we had [Johnny] Cueto, [Ryan] Ludwick and all these other guys hurt.”

If I’m a member of the Cincinnati media, or even if I’m a Reds fan, I’m fairly insulted by the implication that it is the media’s job to dance around what was an offseason that saw two important pieces in Shin-Soo Choo and Bronson Arroyo leave, without any replacements brought in. Could the Reds fill those holes internally? Sure. But it would have been bizarre for the media pump up the team back in November/December on the basis that a couple guys might come back from injury and the team might extend a guy who was already under team control for 2014.

The media coverage of the Cubs’ offseason certainly hasn’t been kind, and ticket sales are expected to drop considerably once again this year. I don’t hear Cubs ownership ripping the media for pointing out that the team didn’t do much to try and put a playoff-caliber team on the field for 2014. Sure, I’ll defend the long-term approach, and I understand why 2014 is going to look like it’s going to look. But I’m not going to ignore the fact that it was a quiet offseason for the Cubs.

Other interesting things from around baseball …

  • Ian Kinsler is taking some heat for his comments to ESPN the Magazine about the Rangers and GM Jon Daniels. Kinsler, you’ll recall, was swapped out in a deal for Prince Fielder this offseason, and apparently he wasn’t happy about the way it went down. Kinsler called Daniels a “sleazeball,” in part because of what Kinsler perceived to be Daniels pushing Nolan Ryan out, and because Kinsler says Daniels was a glory hound who wanted credit for all of the things Ryan did (in Kinsler’s view). Kinsler also said he hopes the Rangers go 0-162 this year.
  • In reaction to the attention his comments are getting, Kinsler said what people always say: his comments were taken out of context. Maybe they were. But ESPN is sticking to its story, and Kinsler didn’t deny the comments.
  • (A separate quote from the ESPN piece that got my attention: “I was bogged down,” Kinsler said of the 2013 season. “They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I’m performing in the game.” Uh … wha? Not exactly the kind of thing you’d want to hear from a 30-year-old veteran, star-level player.)
  • Time Warner is still struggling to get other cable/satellite operators to carry SportsNet LA, the regional sports network it formed with the Dodgers as part of that unbelievably enormous TV rights deal. According to the LA Times, the network is seeking more than $4 per month per subscriber (not per Dodger fan, mind you – per subscriber of any kind), which is absolutely insane. I am obviously hugely in favor of the Cubs eventually getting their big TV deal, but if it comes with a more-than-$4 per month bill to be paid by everyone watching cable or satellite in the Chicago area, regardless of whether they like the Cubs, I’m not so sure how I’d feel about it.
  • The Padres’ absurdly bad injury luck continues apace, now with Cameron Maybin set to miss two to three months with a torn left biceps tendon.
  • The MLBPA is monitoring the Mets’ payroll, which projects to be about $87 million. Obviously the MLBPA has an interest in seeing large markets spending money, so if they’re keeping an eye on the Mets (executive Tony Clark indicated that the players association, in these situations in general, could sit down with a team to get an idea of what the plan is long-term), they’re probably keeping an eye on the Cubs. The Mets and Cubs’ situations continuing to draw interesting parallels (rebuilding in a major market with a very smart front office, dealing with financial issues), though there was a significant divergence this offseason, with the Mets spending big (relative to the Cubs) to pick up free agents like Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. We’ll see how well that works out for them.
  • Diehardthefirst

    Seattle market includes Japan which is why Cano made sense

    • C. Steadman

      Cano is Japanese?…huh who knew?

    • TWC

      Whoa whoa whoa — Robinson Cano’s Japanese language skills are WAY overrated. I’ve seen him ranked as high as 70-grade Japanese, but I think that’s total bullshit.

  • JCubs79

    I think its going to be interesting to see if the Mets and Cubs reignite their old rivalry in the future.

    Mets have big time pitching coming up here while the Cubs have big time position players coming up.

    Should be a lot of fun to watch.

    • SenorGato

      Same for the Dodgers. Ive legit wondered this myself. They’re the three largest market NL teams too so my guess is when the other two (Cubs and Mete) decide to act like big boys. That’ll be fun.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      I read someplace recently that the Mets were asking about Barney.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Troll alert 👻👻👻👻👻

      • King Jeff

        I’ve read that they’ve been scouting him, along with several other potential SS targets. Not sure why DieHard felt the need to call you a troll.

  • Johnny Chess

    Prediction Castellanos to Cubs, Alex that is.

  • Johnny Chess

    MLB Rumors say Castellanos (27) has an outstanding minor league track record. The Florida native is a career .291/.382/.525 hitter with 36 homers and 35 stolen bases in 848 Triple-A plate appearances.

    • C. Steadman

      that would be a nice pick up i think, we’ll see if cubs claim him..only team after the cubs would be the Marlins correct?

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    I’m calling it…the TV bubble has popped and the Cubs won’t be getting a giant payday.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Depends on what you define as “popped” and “giant.” No team – in my opinion – is getting the Dodgers deal. But the Cubs don’t need to get $2 million per game to be where they need to be (luxury tax level payroll). Hell, even $1 million per game – less than half what the Dodgers got – would be plenty.

      • Edwin

        Really, they just need to get a bigger deal relative to the rest of the league, right?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Exactly, and you can really only go so high before it no longer impacts the product on the field (which, whatever, the excess can go to the Ricketts – it’s their business). For me, I want to see the Cubs – long-term – with a payroll in the luxury tax cap range. I’m an idiot, but I just don’t like the idea of blowing the tax cap away. Feels mercenary-like.

          • MattyNomad

            I agree on this one. The Yankees have done an excellent job of buying championships, but to a certain extent its never a guarantee for success. Going over the luxery tax seems like a legit waste of money, especially when you do so to load up on aging players like Ellsbury and McCann. Perhaps its different when signing guys like Tanaka. However, im sure every team has circumstances in which they feel it would be adequate.

            • SenorGato

              All humans are perpetually ageing. More attention should be paid to their individual talents and the quality of their ageing process. The blanket analysis on age and players can only take you so far. I think someone like Ellsbury will age much better than your typical player. Really hoped to sign him and Tanaka (and Cano but much of that one was frustration at not spending).

              • MattyNomad

                To be honest, I didnt want any of em. Cano is a great ballplayer, but NOBODY is worth what the Mariners payed for him. Ellsbury still has fuel in the tank but you have to worry about a guy who’s career is based on his legs. He could theoretically age better than most, but at some point he’s gonna have to move to left. And Tanaka has the stuff, no denying that….His value in terms of marginal wins is not too far from market value, but for a team that doesnt project to be even .500 this season (maybe not even 2015), those contract demands really dont fit in my opinion

                • Diehardthefirst

                  Cano is worth it if he helps Mariners follow Seahawks

                  • MattyNomad

                    Even Cano is saying the Mariners still need help. Not sure even he believes that he’s the answer lol

                • Brocktoon

                  Whenever I hear somebody say “nobody is worth x” it tells me they have no desire to spend market rate on the best talent

  • MightyBear

    The union and the league won’t get on the Cubs mostly because they’ve been very transparent about what they’re trying to do. The union and league checked on the Astros and gave them a pass because of their “plan” and their screwed up TV contract. They know they’ll be spending down the road, like the Cubs.

    • brainiac

      see that’s where we respectfully disagree – i would argue that they *haven’t* been transparent about anything but the desire to increase revenues as profits. and i do think they’ll increase salary in the future – 5-8 years after the team take-over. and it still wont be up to par with other teams.

      • brainiac

        “the plan” doesnt mean a major overhaul, it actually refers to a kind of functional inactivity.

        • Diehardthefirst

          Plausible denial

      • TTH

        They really haven’t been transparent other than a few planned, rehearsed hits with the media like yesterday with Theo. Usually one during ST, then around the draft, then after another 95, or so, losses are accumulated. Then Jed just parrots everything Theo already said when giving equal time to other media outlets.

        • brainiac

          i think this is right – for me the question, for a while, became “is theo just a terrible president, or is he working under massive constraints?” i decided it was the latter, but then i was turned off again by his glad-handling approach with players and inability to attract other talent. there hasn’t been much good about his tenure here besides the hiring of jason mcleod. the rest is far far worse than hendry.

          • D-Rock

            Unbelievable. Here we go again with the Theo bashing. Man, I thought we were done with this for today…

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

              Nope he has make his “farcical comments” everyday.

              • DarthHater

                [img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8247/8625939893_3a6890e3da_o.jpg[/img]

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

                  Perfect

          • Voice of Reason

            brainiac,

            Theo is doing just what he said he would do and what he was hired to do. He is rebuilding the minor league system. It’s now one of the tops in Major League Baseball. That’s why he was hired and that’s what he is doing.

            It’s not debatable.

            • D-Rock

              Can’t wait till the Theo-bashers have to eat their words.

              • another JP

                Those types of posters will never eat their words… they’ll just come up with more B.S. Nothing more than trolls migrating from Cubs.com.

              • Kyle

                Well, it’s going to be awhile. One playoff appearance won’t be enough to justify the losing. Depending on how long it takes, it’ll take a decade or so before we’re even at par.

                • BT

                  A decade? So it will take 3 playoff appearances to “balance out” three 90 loss seasons?

                  • Kyle

                    Well, what sort of standards are we holding them to?

                    Making the playoffs 1/3rd of the time would be completely average.
                    Making it half would be above-average.
                    Making it 2/3rds would put them on par with teams like the Cardinals or Boston.

                    Your mileage may vary, but I’m not betting the farm on our 2014 or 2015. So that’d be 0-for-4. Getting their batting average up to .333 after that would require 2-for-2 or 3-for-5.

                    Getting their batting average up to .500 after starting 0-for-4 would take 4-for-4 or 5-for-6 or 6-for-8.

                    So yeah, we’re definitely looking like it may be a decade into Epstein’s tenure before he’s produced enough results to show that those of us who are skeptical of the rebuild are wrong.

                    He’s either going to need to get there in 2015 or go on an *amazing* streak (which won’t be easy in a division this strong).

                  • Edwin

                    If the one of the main benefits of losing so much now is that it’s going to lead to “sustained success”, then doesn’t that mean the Cubs need to actually achieve sustained success before we can label the current strategy a success?

                  • BT

                    My standard would be 3 playoff appearances more than justify the losing. My standard is 3 playoff appearances are much more important than three 90 loss seasons. Obviously with this core, you’d expect more, but you’re equating the two as if they are even is absurd. If they were to make the playoffs from 2016-2018, I’m not going to hold Theo’s 2011-2014 record against him, because I’m not insane. I’m going to be happy with the results.

                    • Brocktoon

                      3 out of 8 rather than the disastrous 3 out of 9 we put together prior to “the plan”

            • brickhouse

              Theo was brought in to do more than just rebuild the minor league system. His main goal is to build a World Series winner not a Daytona chamionship.

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

                With the goal of creating a sustainable winner not just a quick chance at the WS and then suffer for years because of those moves.

              • Voice of Reason

                brickhouse,

                do i have to explain everything down to the very last, little point?

                OBVIOUSLY the goal is to win a World Series not a Daytona championship. I’ll be sure to include that in future posts.

                • brickhouse

                  Voice of Reason

                  You made it quite clear Theo was brought in to build the minor league system – He obviously was brought in to do much more than that. How many years do you want to give him a pass for fielding a bad major league team ?

                  • Voice of Reason

                    Again,

                    Theo was brought in to rebuild the minor league system. He is doing just that.

                    You’re just going to have to be patient. The rebuild is not done yet.

                    The Cubs are improving. You’re just not seeing it at the major league level right now. Patience!

                    Ownership could have kept doing what they were doing. Keep the payroll at a certain amount and try to compete every year. OR, they could have done what they are doing now. Building the system to win a World Series and have sustainable success. It wasn’t happening the way the owners over the past 100 years were doing it. The way they are doing it now is the correct way.

                    Again, you’re just going to have to be patient! You’ve waited this long!

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Oh, I forgot, they are also trying really hard to win that Daytona championship!

                    • Diehardthefirst

                      Invading south of the border countries with scouts and complexes to offer asylum to Cuban defectors is not a model to brag about

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

                      Oh leave it to die hard to somehow bring this all back to the Cuban Cubs conspiracy.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Diehardthefirst,

                      What’s the difference between the television commercials asking me to donate to those people or the Cubs offering them a better life in the United States?

                    • Brocktoon

                      OR they could have operated on dual fronts

            • Kyle

              Then he was hired for very unambitious reasons.

              • Voice of Reason

                You call it unambitious and I’ll call it the most ambitious plan the Cubs have had in my lifetime.

                • Brocktoon

                  I guess It speaks to what an amazing job Macphail/lynch did by building a better farm system while putting up a modicum of effort on the big league team

  • CubFan Paul

    “regardless of whether they like the Cubs, I’m not so sure how I’d feel about it”

    Our cable bills are already full of $4 channel charges. One more is just the same.

    • https://twitter.com/LouHemp beerhelps

      Serious question, who would those $4 charges be? For 1 single network?

    • MattyNomad

      Yeah, in the long run (Given a big TV deal, sustained success at MLB and MiLB levels, etc) I would probably pay an entirely separate bill at the same price to see that happen. $4 seems like a steal of a deal…even more so since I just payed $20 in order to HEAR spring training games on my phone.

  • Stu

    What is probably even more amazing is that anyone would buy Cubs season tickets when they advertise that they aren’t trying to win this year. And they also are not going to see much of the future either with the holding back of prospects.

    So, what is in it for the fan? To see if Rizzo’s BABIP turns around?

    • mjhurdle

      well, i would have bought season tickets if my number was called because I want to watch as many Cub games as I can this year, and preferably in person.

      • section233

        Yep – I bought season tickets last year and renewed this year because I know that opportunity might not present itself again. All the Cubs have to do is go .500 and the season ticket waiting list will grind to a halt. Got lucky with some great seats in section 233 (hence the screen name) this year after doing the bleacher combo plan last year.

        • CubbiesOHCubbies

          So was your screen name bleacher combo plan last year?

          • section233

            No – it was Rightcenterrow5.

            • ClevelandCubsFan

              BleacherComboPlan would have been a better screen name.

      • MattyNomad

        Ive been on the waiting list since my 18th Birthday, just about 8 years now…and since this rebuild I’ve gone from damn near 80k down to 5k. Another horrible season and I just may get that call soon too.

        • C. Steadman

          I’m 88535…i’ll be waiting for awhile b/c the Big Four will be up in the next few years and like section said…the waiting list will soon grind to a halt with excitement

          • MattyNomad

            Well Im hoping that doesnt happen for at least another 2 or 3 years lol. We’ve already been through 3 years of hell, I could wait a couple more with the aid of those top 5 draft picks and international spending sprees. Lucky for me, I know plenty of the Wrigley crew and get in with or without tickets. Hoping to really cash in when those pricey playoff tickets hit the market lol.

            Even got field tickets to Pearl Jam, standing room right in front of the stage. Damn near $2500 tickets for the big bold price of 1 beer and some concessions (Roughly $20)

            • C. Steadman

              wanna be friends???? haha thats pretty cool man, wish i had resources like that

              • MattyNomad

                We’re all Cubs fans…aren’t we already bound together in some kind of fraternal brotherhood that is “Gotta Catcha Breaka”

                Sorry…thats real corny. lol My little girl Addison has been up since 6:30. It’s been a long morning.

                • C. Steadman

                  haha hmmm i wonder how you came to name her “Addison”

        • Brocktoon

          You’ll absolutely get the call next year. They were despersately contacting people who turned them down in the last 2 years to get them to commit this year.

    • C. Steadman

      if i had the $ and the chance i would easily buy them…i plan to go to a handful of games this year

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I can’t ever remember a player ripping a GM publicly like Kinsler has done with Daniels. Calling him a “sleezeball” unbelievable!

    • King Jeff

      I think Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle had some not so kind things to say about Samson and Loria after they were traded.

      • C. Steadman

        except sleezeball would be regarded as a compliment for Loria

        • King Jeff

          Probably. It’s funny, I watched David Samson on Survivor a few weeks ago, and he was a sleazeball there too, probably why he got voted out first.

          • C. Steadman

            yeah Marlins are a poorly run franchise, it’ll be interesting how they piss away their young foundation

            • Jon

              I hope they piss Stanton in the Cubs direction :)

              • C. Steadman

                Stanton for cash considerations??? :)

                • King Jeff

                  They once traded Miguel Cabrera for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, and a bunch of middling prospects, so we can dream.

                  • SenorGato

                    Maybin and Miller were top ten guys at the time.

                    Speaking of Miller – if he comes back healthy this year he could be an interesting target in the offseason. I think the Red Sox did an excellent job rebuilding his mechanics and hes thrown much better over there.

                    • JadeBos

                      People forget that Cabrera had some warts. He kinda ate and drank himself to 1st base. The feeling from the Marlins at that time was that Cabrera was a ticking timebomb. And he did almost lose everything a couple times due to alcohol.
                      So the Marlins bet on Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson long term and lost.
                      Right now the Marlins have a pretty good young core and a billion dollar stadium they got for free. I hate the Marlins (as any Cubs fan should) but they’ve done a couple things the Cubs haven’t yet.

        • MattyNomad

          I found this article to be extremely complimentary to him

          http://deadspin.com/disgusting-rich-person-jeffrey-loria-sold-a-painting-fo-1459729755

          • C. Steadman

            he’s such a good guy

  • Diehardthefirst

    75 years old is the Jeter Roberts DP combo for Yanks- one would think that Castro Baez or Alacantra would help them and they have some decent minor league pitchers

    • C. Steadman

      Yankees have the same talent level of pitching as we do, if not worse…we need TOR prospects

  • rob

    Brett, or anyone – if there is not a collectively bargained payroll floor, what right is it of the union to meet with teams to get a feel for the long-term plan, because they want them to spend more money? I do not understand this concept.

    • Jon

      It really is aggravating. Not to mentioned a salary cap, which would push more lucrative mid 20′s FA’s on the market as well. The Union needs to STFU. Look at next years FA class. ..garbage.

    • King Jeff

      I would imagine it has to do with the possibility of collusion and possibly concerns over teams not spending money from revenue sharing that is meant to be put back into the teams.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Turley Guerra and Enns for Castro would help Yanks and Cubs

    • C. Steadman

      thats selling real low on a 2x All Star 23yr(almost 24) old MLB shortstop…HUGE NO ON THAT TRADE!!

      • Diehardthefirst

        Trade em one year early rather than one year late- besides the league caught up to him last year- may be overvalued

        • C. Steadman

          its been stated numerous they messed with his plate approach, i’m willing to bet castro rebounds to 275 or greater this year alone, plus right now Castro is worth more than those pitchers…we could easily get a better return somewhere else if we needed to sell him now which we dont

          • Edwin

            Thats something to keep an eye on this season though. Was it the new approach that messed Castro up, or was it simply him having problems hitting the fastball, and pitchers realizing it?

            • half_full_beer_mug

              Maybe it was all of that including off the field problems. Perhaps he can figure out all of those and return to the form of the previous two years.

              I think too often we as fans consider players in a vacuum and don’t take into account all of the aspects of real life.

            • C. Steadman

              i think it was approach, he was faced with a lot more 2-2, 1-2, and 0-2 counts than in previously years which means trying to be more patient I’m sure…66 more AB than 2011 with those counts, 102 more AB than 2012…he did bat 20 more times in 2013 than 2012…2011 was career high for AB..

        • King Jeff

          If he’s currently overvalued, why sell him off for next to nothing? Those pitching prospects you mention aren’t even the best of a mediocre Yankee farm system.

        • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

          In this case, giving Enns to your friends would not feel stupendous.

          See what I did there?

  • Funn Dave

    “’They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I’m performing in the game.’ Uh … wha? Not exactly the kind of thing you’d want to hear from a 30-year-old veteran, star-level player.”

    My first reaction was the same as yours, Brett. But now I’m thinking we should at least give the guy some credit for being honest. I mean, teams always talk about what good things veteral players can do for the young’uns, but that talk doesn’t seem to account for the fact that all players are different, and not everyone automatically becomes an awesome mentor upon reaching age thirty. At least now, if a team was considering trading for Kinsler, that team knows he does not fit the veteran-mentor description, and won’t expect him to do something that he’s not equipped to do.

    • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

      I would tend to agree with you, Funn Dave, especially since I like Kinsler as a player. The exception I take is having that attitude after you get paid. I’m alright with a me first attitude if a player is trying to get a deal, but once a franchise pays close to market value for him, I think the leadership expectation is not too much to ask.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Sure sounds like the reporter did a hatchet job based on an interview with Kinsler. He is mega mad how his comments were twisted and turned.

    I’ve come to realize over the years that there are an overwhelming number of schlock reports in sports. A bunch of slobs with mustard stained shirts desperately clawing at sensationalistic stories to keep employed in an increasingly Internet driven 24/7 news world. The good ones are the exception in that business.

  • Diehardthefirst

    VOR wants to help “those people” … Admirable

    • Voice of Reason

      And, Diehardthefirst thinks that Barney is better than Castro and we shouldn’t help “those people”

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+