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javier baez aflAs far as March weekends go, this was about as busy as it gets. For those of you who check out during the weekend and, pfft, live a life, here’s a look back at the busy doings around here from the last few days …

 

  • CubFanBob

    Liriano with a strained groin may miss opener

  • Spoda17

    Heard on MLB Radio that the Tigers offer was more than $24 million per year for Scherzer…

    • Darth Ivy

      from what an agent has been telling me, money per year is not nearly as important these days as how many years they get. So I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing him for $24 million a year if it’s a longer deal

      • brains

        i would actually agree that over 6 years is too much for him, and frankly i don’t think he’ll be elite for most of those years. then again such an offer does fit into the market. as long as we understand that regardless of the years or price that the cubs will never, ever, spend that much for a pitcher, then we can speculate for fun.

        • Darth Ivy

          I can’t tell whether or not you want the Cubs to get him. Like you said, 6 or 7 years is likely because that’s what the market has been bearing out. But you also claim that 6 years is too much, yet seem critical of the Cubs if they don’t make the deal (or a deal like it)

          • brains

            just for the record, i *definitely* want the cubs to sign him, and like fifteen other players. i think revenues are for the team, not infrastructural expansion. i don’t care if there’s a chipotle in the clubhouse, there are lots of good places to eat nearby. i’m just trying to meet the “cubs should never spend any money” fans halfway by saying that i can see why they’d say he’s too expensive.

            i also don’t think the team will green light such a signing until after 2018, and probably then for a hitter. so it’s kind of a moot point.

            • Darth Ivy

              i think they should get him, too, if they truly think they’ll be in the playoffs during his prime years (which, at this point, is sadly debatable)

              But I’ve never read or heard anyone make the argument that the Cubs should never spend any money. That issue is better served by discussing the merits of signing each individual player.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Wild card contention next season would not surprise me, and division title contention in 2016 seems very doable.

                Those years are very much within the prime years for Scherzer.

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  While I like Scherzer, I think signing Shields and Masterson would be a better option if they want to compete in that 2015-17 window

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    Or all three.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Ha wouldn’t that be nice?? I was just saying I like Shields/Masterson better because they would come at a similar price tag to only signing Scherzer

                    • brains

                      i am totally with signing all 3

                    • MattyNomad

                      Scherzer, Masterson, AND Shields?!?! *Mind blown*

                      Scherzer seems a little steep. I’m not saying he isnt worth it, but I would probably go for Masterson and Shields as well.

                • brains

                  i love the optimism, and do not share it in any way. we’d need at least 2 top-tier sluggers first, as well as both a 1 and a 2 pitcher. max would help with that a lot, but contention is a distant dream contingent on a few rookies being better than all stars within 2 years. they might be! but we can’t count on that yet.

                  • brains

                    further, if we trade shark then we’re without a #3 before we even get the #1 and #2 pitchers, and you need the front line stocked to compete with the likes of the cards. the pieces aren’t there, the will isn’t there, and the potential is more of a gamble than a plan.

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    So using your logic the only way the Cubs can compete in 2015/16 is if they get Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, and Justin Masterson??? Little bit over the top there buddy

                    • brains

                      if we got those guys, which i wouldn’t mind at all, we’d still have a weaker staff than the cards and reds in 2016. think about it that way. maybe by 2018 the rookies catch up to stanton and we make a few calculated trades and compete.

                      but on the contrary, you’re wildly underestimating what will be necessary to win if you think that 3 signings is already too much.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Dude it’s brains he’s just dissents to be a jerk… except he can’t pull it off he’s just a pimple that won’t go away.

                    • brains

                      let me guess, you’re already drinking craft beer this morning, goat

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Let me guess you’re still spewing BS, bile, and fabrications… at least beer is good your comments and shtick are old useless BS… thanks for stopping by and smelling up the place again. Kthxbye

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    By the end of 2014, the Cubs could be good enough to compete for a Wild Card in 2015 in the following areas:
                    Infield
                    Bullpen
                    Bench

                    There are enough starting pitchers on the market to help shore up the starting pitching next winter, and I think between free agents and infielders who get pushed to the outfield they can shore up the outfield as well.

                    Doable. Will it happen? We’ll see. But it is doable.

                    • brains

                      i will happily eat my hat if we’re making the wildcard by 2015. for real. i hope you’re right. i just see no evidence for any of this – just hope. we don’t need hope, we need fundamentals.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Also notice that Luke said COMPETE for the wild card in 2015. That would place the win total probably somewhere in the 80-85 range

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      Yep. Or roughly a 6 to 10 win improvement over Fangraphs projections for the 2014 Cubs.

                • Darth Ivy

                  I agree with that completely. I’m sure you realize this, but just incase: I was just trying to acknowledge that there is a sound debate on this issue, unlike the “some fans don’t want to spend any money” argument

            • Jason P

              “i’m just trying to meet the “cubs should never spend any money” fans halfway”

              Those fans literally do not exist.

              • brains

                it’s hyperbole, but there are a set of fans so purist that they don’t think that any players should be imported, or by default argue on a player by player basis that no one meets the standard of their expected salaries. in other words some fans “literally” say no to every player, with causal reasoning behind each position, but that effective result.

                • Darth Ivy

                  again, it serves the argument much better to discuss the merits of individual players. That’s really the only way to accurately discuss this.

                  for example, why or why not sign Ellsbury? Choo? Granderson? Tanaka?

                  Otherwise, it’s just empy rhetoric

                  • brains

                    given, like “the plan” and how its logic precludes any signings before the player is even considered. you don’t consider players first, you consider team needs and match them up as well as possible to available players. otherwise you end up in our position.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Yes you consider team need, but then you evaluate the marketplace and determine if the players available are the right fit for you needs. You don’t just throw money blindly at every available player that might fill a hole. “Hmmm, we need a closer, lets sign Jonathan Papelbon to a 100 year, 7 billion dollar contract”

                    • Darth Ivy

                      You consider both. Without discussing individual players and how they fit with the team’s needs, you’re just using empty rhetoric.

                    • brains

                      that’s not what i’m saying. i’m saying the cubs have *not* been considering *either*. the promise is that they will again someday, a long time from now. will a 10 year business model replacing baseball have been worth it? we’ll find out. or at least your children will….

                    • Darth Ivy

                      you’re trying to tell us what discussions the FO have been having behind closed doors?

                      Again, without discussing the merits of individuals players, you’re just using empty rhetoric that means nothing to this discussion

                    • brains

                      i do think the corporate interests are much stronger than the FO in these cases. it might change later, but these are financiers, not baseball people.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      those words you typed mean absolutely nothing. They’re just empty rhetoric

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      Darth Ivy that is exactly what he is trying to do except all he does is throw more BS around.

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    Your arguing with nothing, there is no logic here, just BS and he knows it as well as everybody else here.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      that’s true. I love discussing ideas with people who have different points of view. But having to defend logic itself is not enjoyable

                    • cavemancubbie

                      Don’t let Brains get your goat, goat. He’s just someone who doesn’t understand coat/benefit analysis. An empty space has a decided tendency to echo.

                  • brains

                    yes but no one would do that anyway. however, most other teams would consider a strong player when they have a gap. the cubs would not. the one player the did consider did not receive a competitive offer. and here we are with pie in the sky rhetoric about 5 years from now. “everyone wins, the rich get richer while we are promised that we can root for the team again…after little timmy finishes high school and college”…

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      I’m assuming that player you’re talking about is Tanaka. The Cubs rumored offer was 6 years and 120 million, which was higher than all of the other teams in the bidding except the Yankees. The Yankees not only gave Tanaka 35 million more than the field, but they also gave him an opt-out after 4 years. Your notion that they did not give Tanaka a competitive offer is not only wrong but it’s ignoring facts for your arguments, which is something you do quite frequently. At the price tag he came with, I am ecstatic that the Cubs didn’t get him.

                    • brains

                      see that kind of emotional response is at the core of most of my posts. if the team can afford to sign a player that will help the team for a long time into the future, why do we take pleasure that the owners saved money that they had to spend on winning? the cubs relationship to their own cause has changed from competition to “bargains”. i would have loved to have signed tanaka, but it was clear from the moment the PR machine went into orbit that we would come close enough to say we tried but not do what it takes.

                      if we never do what it takes, we never win. and that’s the situation we’re in until 2019. it might change, and unfortunately it might not.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Emotional response?? Quit pulling stuff out of your ass. You want the Cubs to spend blindly with money they don’t have. I never said I wanted bargains, but when a guy is signing a deal that is 30% over the next highest offer, and has an opt-out clause which literally has ZERO benefit for the team, what is not to understand? Do us all a favor and go take your conspiracy ramblings that are completely devoid of facts over to some other site

                    • brains

                      you’re the one who just claimed “ecstasy” that the cubs did not sign a player to help the team, because it saved 30% for profit margins. if we have the money from revenues, it should at least in part go to the team. none of it currently is. and we’ve begun to take pleasure in this kind of self-restriction.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Yes, because that Tanaka deal is essentially 4 years and 100 million dollars. That is not market value, not even close to market value. I’d tell you to go read Brett’s article, but you’ve had plenty of opportunities and continue to ignore it

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Sorry, 4 years and 88 million

                    • brains

                      i read it with interest, it’s great. you read hope into it, i read it as a business operations report. since operations are only reset roughly twice a year, and really once a year, the long term business plan, which is currently in a labor austerity and logistical growth phase is going to take a long time. and this has nothing to do with baseball. so we need to stop conflating the two interests into FO actions.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      You need to completely erase the thought out of your mind that the baseball operations and the business operations are two completely separate entities, that have no effect on each other.

                    • brains

                      here’s where we agree fullcount. :)

                      i just don’t think business interests should surpass baseball competition for a full decade. that’s my position.

                      the argument keeps changing against what i say, but i’ve been myopically consistent. the PR releases have changed, and with them fan perception. but what we have is an unnecessarily destructive business plan that might or might not pan out. and the cubs are being run more like a bank than a team. and it’s crap for baseball.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      But professional sports teams are completely different beasts. Buying the Cubs was a long term investment for the Ricketts, otherwise, they in no way would have agreed to take on such a large amount of debt to get the deal done. In professional baseball there are baseball operations and business operations. Each has a main goal (winning and profit, respectively), with their main goals being directly correlated. Making more money often means winning more games and vice versa. The Ricketts know this, and this is where your argument makes no sense. Their profit will absolutely be optimized when the Cubs are winning more games. Because of this, they have no problem spending more money on infrastructure type expenditures now and sacrificing the on the field product. By building this infrastructure, they are enabling themselves to achieve long term, sustained success, a phrase Theo is known to use quite frequently. Anyone who looks at the baseball operations and business operations independently is doing themselves a disservice. The success of both are directly correlated and this rebuild is simply a way of the Ricketts ensuring themselves long term success and return on their investment

                    • brains

                      i understand this argument and think you’ve done a good job of encapsulating it. the difference in perception is that we know they have the money to build, and the time to profit. so why is roughly 35-40m a year not going into the team? that’s a question Brett raises in his article. there are many explanations, but they all lead to the conclusion that the cubs aren’t spending revenues on the field.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      They might all lead to the Cubs not spending revenues specifically on payroll, but it certainly doesn’t lead to them not spending the money on baseball operations, which Brett explicitly states in his article. There are a lot of different ways to spend that money, and the fact that a $500 million dollar, out of pocket renovation is about to begin (hopefully), might also explain this

                  • Edwin

                    Part of the problem when these discussions come up is that normally, people only focus on the one player being added, and only on the first year, and whether or not the Cubs would then make the playoffs that first year.

                    There’s also this need for every contract signed to somehow be a “value” contract, with the Cubs never appearing to overpay, and not paying for players deep into their 30′s.

                    With those constraints, it would almost never make sense to sign a FA. So effectively, fans would be arguing for the Cubs to never spend money, at least until the majority of the team is made up of homegrown players producing a .500 record for the Cubs.

                    • brains

                      edwin, this is exactly right, and exactly my position. once we remove the holistic view of what the team needs and find faults on a player by layer basis, we never find a “reason” to sign a player at market value.

                    • mjhurdle

                      “There’s also this need for every contract signed to somehow be a “value” contract, with the Cubs never appearing to overpay, and not paying for players deep into their 30′s.”

                      I don’t think that anyone really holds this view, at least not in the long-term approach.
                      I think that right now, yes, people don’t want the Cubs to overpay for players to take them from 70-75 wins to 75-80 wins.
                      But once the situation changes to the Cubs being around a 75-80 win team, not many fans would mind over-spending for a player(s) that get them to 85+ wins.
                      So to act like there is some sort of sizable group of fans that don’t ever want the Cubs to ever sign a big money FA (which almost by definition means you are overpaying) is disingenuous.

                    • brains

                      the question, of course, is over what it will take to reach 80 wins so it makes sense to sign the contract. the answer, of course, is signing such a contract. it’s a death spin logic.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      “people only focus on the one player being added, and only on the first year, and whether or not the Cubs would then make the playoffs that first year.”

                      Not true

                      “with the Cubs never appearing to overpay,”

                      Not true

                    • Edwin

                      Darth Ivy,

                      I guess I should have sadid “some people” to make it more clear? I’ve seen it written plently of times on this site by commenters that going after a player like Cano or Ellsbury is a terrible idea, because they don’t turn the 2014 Cubs into playoff contenders.

                      mjhurdle,

                      I don’t think fans never want the Cubs to spend, but they seem to only want the Cubs to spend once they’ve reached a situation that can be difficult to reach. And when they miss out on a player like Choo, like Ellsbury, like Tanaka, there is always a “well at least we didn’t overpend on player X like team Y did” type of comment.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      Maybe that would make sense if they only thought that player had one more year left in his prime (or at least with enough production). But if the cubs were to give someone a 6 or 7 year deal for one year of enough production and playoff contention overlap, uh, that would suck

                      But that’s my point about having to discuss individual players and the merits of signing them instead of using generalities. It only makes sense to argue why or why not the cubs should’ve signed specific players for specific reasons, not these generalities

                    • Edwin

                      Darth Ivy,

                      I get that. But that’s the point. When looking at a potential FA, it’s helpful to consider all years of the deal, the current state of the team, the expected future state of the team, and the expected future state of the FA market.

                      What seems to happen too often instead is someone takes a look at Player X, states something like “He’s on the wrong side of 30, he doesn’t make the Cubs a contender this season, and they would have needed to overpay to get him”.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      what you’re saying they should IS what we’re doing.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      you’re saying that all the years should be considered, then go ahead and criticize how they’re considering that the later years make the deal not worth it. But the reason why they don’t want the deal is because they don’t like what they see the later years turning into. That, plus the state of the team and how it will evolve during those years. Making those considerations is exactly why many people don’t want to make many of those signins

                • Jason P

                  This was actually somewhat true this past offseason, but long-term, I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to have that stance.

                  • brains

                    now we’re getting somewhere. this is where we agree – i hope you’re right that this situation will be a temporary one. though i think its temporariness is elective, arbitrary, and much, much, much too long.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Scherzer? Unless he gets hurt in 2014 then he’s going to get Clayton Kershaw per year kind of money. Either the Tigers or the Yankees will pay it. I can’t see the Cubs in the bidding on any level.

      Masterson and Shields? Lets see what happens. If both stay healthy and have good seasons, then a BOATLOAD of teams are going after both in free agency. The Cubs will simply have “a chance” to get one of these guys. My guess is Masterson stays in Cleveland as a foundation piece to what Shapiro and Francona having going there. Shields might get traded at the deadline if KC sucks (which they might).

      Lester? I’d say he’s a virtual lock to re-sign with Boston.

      Moral of the story? Cubs need to concentrate on building pitching from within and perhaps be in a position to trade key prospects for young pitching.

  • Darth Ivy

    The updates on MLB’s At Bat app are pretty sweet. Either they had this last year and I turned it off, or it’s a new feature, but the app gives you a notification everytime there’s a score in a Cubs game. Needless to say, I’m glad i got that feature in time for that homer-heavy game.

  • brains

    you’re climbing the ladder the right way. the piece provides strong opportunities for both critique and praise. it ends as it should – with a hopeful sentiment that by *2019* everything will have ironed out.

    the place where many of us disagree with the plan is that 2019 is still a very, very long way away, and there’s no guarantee that any kind of sustainable progress will be made via the minor leagues up. it’s definitely possible, but i just find it unfathomable that we should be bombarded with PR spin for 10 years of our lives while they obtain a new profit model and transform the neighborhood.

    it’s a question of sportsmanship, honesty, and competition. i’m glad to hear they’ll be even richer by 2020 and that chicago will have permission to have a team again, but just by the law of averages, at least 1/10 of this board will have already died waiting for a tv deal.

    • gocatsgo2003

      2019 feels like the time that the team will be ready to compete for a World Series; I fully expect us to be more “competitive” on a shorter timeline.

  • farmerjon

    Gordon Wittenmeyer was on the WGN pregame yesterday… He regurgitated your financial piece and managed to put a negative spin on every angle. He never mentioned your piece, but it was CLEAR he had read it

    • brains

      a subsidiary point is the question of priorities: the yankees do good business but put winning first. the cubs do bad business and put winning last…or at least at some nebulous point in the future. why do people like wittenmeyer and others get pissed? because the cubs are the only team besides the marlins that put business in front of baseball. so in front that fans care more about an imported unathletic middle management type than the entire team of players put together.

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

        Your arguments almost sound exactly like someone else’s that frequents the boards.

        And they sound exactly like someone who didn’t actually read Brett’s piece about the financial standing of the Cubs. You may have looked at the words, but you certainly didn’t read them.

        • brains

          here comes “the hansman”

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            BS will always be BS sadly you keeping trying to do a PR spin of your own and called it gold. It is still BS.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Well he’s returned to his original stupid name and continuing the comments… hmmm maybe “brainiac” was banned?

          • brains

            the original reference was to zombies, then the comic book character. not my capacities. you’re too literal.

            • DarthHater

              Well, that explains a lot. ;-D

          • cavemancubbie

            Goat, there are a lot of people on this site who act like spoiled brats, demanding goodies from daddy. When daddy dos not supply their perceived needs in a timely manner, they stomp their feet and tell the world daddy is a cheap SOB. The previous owners of the Cubs cared not one wit for we fans wanting a winner. Running the Cubs was strictly as a business, either for tax loss purposes, and or advertising income. I commend the Rickett’s for someone who wants to make the Cubs winners, but will not pee money down the rat hole of ‘stars’ that are fading. Bankruptcy helps no one.

      • Myles P
  • Edwin

    I think there’s a chance that the Cubs can compete for the wildcard in 2015, but it depends on a lot of things breaking their way. I don’t think the odds are in their favor, but it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing ever.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I’m confused when people say the Cubs are cheap and not spending money right now. That couldn’t be the furthest from the truth. As Brett noted, the Cubs have spent a TON on the front office revamp, scouting, facilities (Arizona, the Dominican), the international draft, etc.

    The people who rip the Cubs on spending haven’t listened to what Theo has said from day one….and that is, there are no shortcuts to the building strategy. Seriously, how would adding a few very high priced and aging free agents changed anything, other than to make a few of you feel better and create false hope that the club accelerated the rebuilding process?!? How does outbidding the world on somebody like Sin Shoo Cho change anything in reality? The only free agent of note the past two offseasons that was intriguing and viable was Mashiro Tanaka….but even here it was always going to be an extreme longshot of getting him to come to Chicago to play for a franchise being built up from the ashes. And clearly, we were not going to outbid the Evil Empire known as the NY Yankees.

    Gordon Wittemeyer is comical and non-credible by the way. I stopped reading him 5 years ago. Ditto his evil twin Paul Sullivan. Hence why the blogosphere has exploded and the print media in this town has become completely irrelevant when it comes to baseball.

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

    Excellent writeup by the Aussie. Cricket is a helluva sport and interesting to watch. If you like watching something that you have no idea what is going on, that is.

  • Ivy Walls

    Valbuena point.

    Barney is an extra piece and will be traded for some consummate value for a defensive oriented middle infield part-time starter to utility player. Barney belongs a contending team where his contributions are needed and appreciated. Therefore Valbuena whom the FO and field staff have always liked with his production and professionalism within his role/talent level is here to platoon at 2B and possibly 3B when/if needed provided Olt is not there.

    Here is a thought for you all, Barney for Ichiro (Cubs get most if not all of his $$) then move Schierholtz to Detroit for value, use Ichiro for three to four starts a week, get his value up with production and rejuvenation and then trade him again to a contender in July.

    Question than is who is the other utility players:

    • Blackhawks1963

      Looks like San Francisco is interested in Ichiro. The Mike Morse experiment doesn’t look like it will work out and Ichiro would be a big hit in a market with a large Asian American presence.

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