joker burning moneyA reminder that Sahadev is on The Game 87.7 for an hour this morning, starting at 10am CT. Check it out.

  • Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think it’s cool when something I’ve written is cited approvingly in an ESPN article, but I don’t much care for the way my financial piece was used as part of the backbone of an article saying things that are entirely contrary to what I believe to be well-reasoned analysis. Setting aside everything else in that column by Nick Friedell, which is a fairly standard “grr, spend more money, I’m tired of waiting” piece, I just want to point out that, yes, while I concluded that the Cubs probably won’t be able to exercise the full weight of their financial might until after 2019, I also laid out how the financial picture should be improving year to year from now until 2020. Further, that “full weight of financial might” is so freaking strong that it will provide far more money than the Cubs could ever even use. In other words, it’s entirely possible – probable? – that we’ll see the Cubs as one of the top five spending teams in baseball (not necessarily just payroll, but overall baseball expenditures) long before 2020. The restrictions on spending are very real, but the efforts to increase revenue in the near-term are equally real.
  • Yesterday, I discussed the tricky Darwin Barney situation the Cubs are in, and there is more on the situation from and CSN, with quotes from Barney and Ricky Renteria. You know the gist: it’s hard to play Barney regularly with Emilio Bonifacio starting every game, and Javier Baez looms on the horizon in the infield. Barney understands the situation, and is doing his best to remain a valuable part of the team. Can’t be easy.
  • It so Jeff Samardzija to love being hated by Cardinals fans and wanting to play a great team like the Cardinals all the time. (CSNChicago) I know he’s probably not long for this team, but I sure do enjoy him being here now.
  • The Cubs say Jake Arrieta will need at least one more start at AA Tennessee, and I’d think it’s probably going to be two more. He threw 66 pitches on Thursday, which should put him in line for about 80 the next time out. I suppose he could come back to Chicago at that point, but maybe one more rehab start just to be sure? That would have him pitching at Tennessee on Tuesday, April 15, and possibly back with the Cubs April 20th or 25th (depending on how they coordinate with Carlos Villanueva’s starts).
  • MightyBear

    They need Arrieta on the mound and Villanueva in that pen. I think Villanueva helps everybody in the bullpen with some veteran leadership.

  • waffle

    agreed. Might solidify the pen a bit.

  • David

    I especially like where this team will be in 2 to 3 years. But, despite their record, I’m happy with the team so far this year. A lot of positives. I think all these platoons is their way to evaluate what they have/ iron out the kinks and be ready to rock in May. I hope we’re in a position at the trade deadline to only make trades that knock our socks off.

  • pfk

    Your article on Cubs finances was post graduate study great and it is a shame the way it was used by him. That’s life right?
    As for Shark, why the Cubs would trade him for prospects is a head scratcher. That just kicks the can down the road another couple of years – at least. They have a stud right now who is proven, durable and getting better. They have position players who will be up next year that will make them competitive – provided they have pitching. And pitching prospects are a huge roll of the dice.

    • David

      Agreed. Extend shark & Wood, then sign one free agent starting pitcher for 2015. I think that make us a playoff contender in 2015. Then a World series contender in 2016.

      • willis

        Yes and yes. With the key word being durable. He’s going to go out there every 5th day and bring it. And most days it will be awesome. Pay the guy for Christ’s sake. Trade him and it’s only setting things back another few years. It’s very rare that a team has a somewhat young (arm wise) guy that can touch 97, sits 93-95, and is healthy. He IS a part of the rebuild.

        But he’ll be traded and it’ll be awful when that happens.

      • BenRoethig

        I agree. If they can keep up pitching like they have been, they deserve an extension. With shark, you have to get a clear #1 talent in return. We have middle to back end pieces. There are very few teams with the pieces to make this deal happen without the Cubs getting fleeced and even fewer in a position where they might do it.

  • Jon

    I don’t see the angst over Friedells piece, he’s just another frustrated fan

    • Brett

      I don’t know about “angst” – I simply said it was the same kind of thing that, well, you’ve been saying for a year. To me, it doesn’t make much sense. But we don’t have to do that dance.

      The point here was that the financial piece didn’t exactly say what he thought it said.

      • sethdiggs

        You’re being too easy on him by saying “didn’t exactly.” He completely disregarded the bridge between now and 2020 that you allude to above. As a tone-convenient result, his main takeaway is is that the Cubs financial condition will not change until then. I would’ve called his interpretation narrow at best, but since it doesn’t even allow his audience to consider financial progress during the next five/six years, I can’t even give him that. He really discredits himself here by making a pretty deliberate move for the sake of supporting his argument….not cool. He knows it, which is probably why he threw in the “While there was a lot to digest in that report.”

  • Ed

    I think Friedell should stick to Basketball.

  • Rebuilding

    I know it’s early, but this division is a lot less scary than it looked a year ago:

    The Reds have regressed A LOT – loosing Choo hurt more than they knew, who knows if Chapman will ever be the same, Latos is hurt, Cueto is always battling injury and Hamilton can’t hit

    The Pirates overachieved by about 10 games last year because of surprising pitching, losing Burnett hurt a lot, no one outside of McCutcheon and Marte is very good in that lineup (Alvarez mashes bad pitching and is helpless against good pitching), and Taillon just had TJ

    The Cardinals are scuffling, I think Matheney is an idiot, Fangraphs just had an article asking if Shelby Miller is “broken”, Wainright is 37, and their middle infield provides 0 offense

    The Brewers are actually MUCH IMPROVED, Estrada and Peralta have added a lot to that team

    We should be no worse than 6-3 and possibly 7-2 with a decent bullpen. Samardzija, Wood and Hammel look solid. Castro and Rizzo are seemingly back to their old ways. We have Baez coming with Bryant not far behind.

    I don’t think we can do it this year, but there is no reason we can’t compete next year. I think you keep/re-sign Samardzija and lock him and Wood in a 2 and 3. Then go all out for Scherzer this offseason. You can then look at Hammel, Arrieta, Jackson, Rusin and Hendricks at 4/5.

    In the bullpen next year you could add Vizcaino and Edwards (bring him up in the bullpen first like was done with Pedro). A bullpen of Rondon, Strop, Grimm, Edwards, Ramirez, Vizcaino is top-notch

    There is no reason we can’t be right there in 2015

    • willis

      Yep, no reason. I agree things sit. But, they’ll tear this thing down at some point this year and then it’s back to waiting another couple years for anything good. I’ve loved what I’ve seen for the most part. I wish I could have faith that competing mattered and this team would try to get better, not worse. I just don’t have that yet.

      • BWA

        I think the inevitable tear down looks to be much smaller this year. The obvious guys to go our hammel and schierholtz because they will be free agents. Barney is a possibility but he could stick in a bench role. The only major piece I could see being dealt is shark , and I really hope they extend him.

  • Medicos

    Extremely entertaining game last nite!!!!!

    Best daily line-up for us non platoon advocates:

    1. Bonifacio—–CF
    2. Barney or Valbuena—–2B
    3. Rizzo—–1B
    4. Olt—–3B
    5. Schierholtz—–RF
    .6. Castro—–SS
    7. Lake—–LF
    8. Castillo—–C
    9. Pitcher

    This lineup will give Lake-Olt-Barney an opportunity to show if they should still be on the roster in the future.

    Starters: Shark—Wood—Jackson—Hammel—Arrieta or Villanueva
    Closer: Rondon or Grimm or Parker ?????
    8th inning: Strop—Grimm
    7th inning: Russell—Grimm
    Long Relief: Villanueva

    It’s hard admit but PLAYER DEVELOPMENT is the key element to this team’s success in 2014 not Wins and Losses.

    • Funn Dave

      Entertaining is not the adjective I would use. Groan-inducing, perhaps. Agonizing. I was barely even happy when we won–I just felt so defeated by that point.

  • JasonP

    I miss Andrew Cashner.

    Wondering if Samardzija would have bought Rizzo at the time?

  • Soda Popinski

    “I know he’s probably not long for this team, but I sure do enjoy him being here now.”

    Brett, what do you think the odds are that Samardzija is traded? I would love to see him stay.

  • ssckelley

    Arrieta can’t get here soon enough, it will be nice to have Villanueva back in the bullpen full time. It would probably mean the end of the road for Schlitter unless he turns it around fast. It is hard to imagine he can prove he deserves that roster spot more than Grimm or Stropp at this point. Unless, perhaps, a trade is on the horizon.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Why would the cubs not extend shark for 5 years? Is he not exactly the type of core player the cubs are trying to develop? Adds leadership, an obviously just coming into his prime with a fairly fresh arm. I have a hard time getting it, certainly it can’t be about lack of payroll.

    • ssckelley

      No question the Cubs want to extend Shark, they have attempted to. It is coming down to the amount of money they are willing to pay him along with a no trade clause that he wants.

      I remain hopeful the 2 sides can get a deal done. TOR arms are extremely hard to find and cost a crap load of money on the FA market. Shark may not be a true #1 but he has the stuff to be.

    • MightyBear

      I think the FO wants to be absolutely certain the Shark is a two or better before they pay him off and make a big commitment. I also think the Shark is in a position to wait it out to get paid off. I do think the FO is seeing a trend in baseball where there’s less FA’s that are going to be available and they may up their offer. I think the Shark may leave some money to stay with the Cubs. It could all work out in the end. With another successful year by the Shark and Wood, the Cubs should make a commitment to both. With help coming form the minors, they would be very close to having a dominating rotation.

  • candyland07

    Perception I guess and hopefully people are entitled their views . I did not see the correlation of your article as the back bone to his article. He simply mention your article since ,I would believe that its the most recent and substantial viewpoint that may help speed a discussion of the Cubs synching baseball and Business and as paid professional writer I think he had an obligation to mention that view point which in my opinion is one of your best writing material to date. He wrote about his beliefs as a Cub fan and why he is losing faith.

    People who are Cub fans are Cub fans for many different reasons, You believe , believe and believe. You love Theo ,and you believe in the ownership of the Cubs.

    Well some people are losing Faith- me i knew the Cubs would be bad for years, I knew the renovations would not be easy and the spin that the Rickets family was factually untrue. Their is a contract and no one is stealing your product. I understand that finishing last and not improving the team for many years would help create a better farm system . I knew the Cubs payroll would go down and with each passing year This ownership has proven my own assessment but other people are starting to see the Bison Crap .

    Cub fans are getting frustrated and as the years continue the frustration grows. But you know what once the cubs win people will flock to the ball park. its a shame disguised as a rebuild plan .But the Cubs have the right people in the office for a rebuild . As mush as I detest punting seasons for better draft choice selections . Team Epstein should prevail but in the meantime THe Cubs are terrible and people are getting sick and tired of it.

  • FFP

    “How is it possible after all these months that there is still no resolution (with the rooftops)? It wasn’t as if Ricketts didn’t know the agreement was in place when he bought the team. If he didn’t like it, he shouldn’t have purchased the club. ”

    No. Ricketts liked the deal so much he took it in spite of the drag that remains the rooftops. He has had plans, and continues to impliment plans to mitigate or eliminate that drag. Yes. It is frustrating that it is taking so long. I am frustrated, too– primarily with the rooftops.

    That ESPN piece sort of reminds me of a few comments that whine some version of: “I don’t understand why the world refuses to agree with my model of it!” Might be your current model, Nick. He must have floated more than a half dozen questions with no reasoned or informed answers or even guesses.
    Brett’s financial piece was used in a way one could not have predicted. (Well, I wouldn’t have predicted–) But, re-reading it (and seeing the competitive games we have played so far) got me thinking more about syncing.
    I understand now that that future “full weight of financial might” doesn’t mean that’s when we’ll finally contend. Contention/post-season play is a point on that line between right now “full weight;” and that point is closer than Nick thinks. “Full weight” will just be our maintanence money.

    • candyland07

      We are closer to what after how many years ? the renovations will take 4- 5 years The TV deal will take until 2019 or 2020 with every year passed , if those are the dates then yes we are closer but its still a long wait overall closer or not if those numbers are correct, Meanwhile ….. is the point.

    • FFP

      Contention/post-season play is a point on that line between right now and the time the team reaches “full (financial) weight;” Sorry. Smartphone. Dumbthumbs.

  • waittilthisyear

    as an avid bulls fan, for whom friedell is the beat writer, let me assure you that he is a hack whom i have tremendous disdain for.