The Little Girl got a chance to ride some carnival rides for the first time in her life yesterday (and I got me some cheese), which was awesome. She started out on each one a little unsure, transitioned to elation, transitioned to what appeared to be queasy stomach, and then immediately asked to ride another one.
- Gordon Wittenmyer writes about the Players Association having concerns, privately, about how little the Chicago Cubs are spending at the big league level in recent years. This is one of those situations where I think the conversation was worth having, and the situation worth noting (and, thus, the article worth your time reading), but the actual meat is a little less sexy than it initially seems. Obviously, at its most foundational level, we’re talking about – just as we did when Scott Boras said similar things – a group of folks who want another group of folks to give them more money. That’s … not really a thing. As rational beings, of course the players collectively want the Cubs (and all teams) to spend more money. With the Cubs competing for more free agents, free agent salaries necessarily inflate. And, since free agent salaries never seem to deflate, it’s a great thing long-term for the players for the Cubs to be serious in free agency again. It remains my expectation that, in time, they will be. But it doesn’t really behoove the Cubs to alter their rebuilding plan to placate the Players Association – it’s not like spending a little now will help the Cubs in signing bigger players when they’re ready to do so (let’s be real: money talks, and that’s what will matter). In other words, if executing The Plan, as necessitated both by the organization’s financial situation and the best way to build a long-term winner in today’s game, requires the Cubs to ruffle some Players Association feathers, they’ll have to do that.
- When it comes to spending, here are some things that we know: (1) the Cubs will go into this offseason with virtually nothing committed in future salary obligations, considering the huge chunks of money that come off of the books after this year; (2) the Cubs did not spend their full baseball operations budget last year, and the front office has said that the money has been rolled over for future use; (3) many of the impact prospects in the Cubs’ system, as of this upcoming offseason, will be knocking on the big league door, and you’d like to see a team with some “names” on it to cushion the prospects’ transition to the big leagues; and (4) the renovation is coming and the TV deal is coming – although the dollars from them aren’t kicking in yet, with each passing offseason, they are closer. Take it all together, and I see a team that probably should start spending a fair bit this coming offseason. We’ll see what happens. As you know, the Cubs’ present financial might is tied very closely to attendance revenue, and attendance looks to be dropping significantly again this year. Hopefully that was always appropriately projected, and doesn’t wind up being the explanation for another year of payroll reduction.
- Unsurprisingly, given his recent hot streak and reduced K rate, Junior Lake is earning more playing time, according to Ricky Renteria (Cubs.com). And Lake responded to that public bit of confidence with an 0-4, 3 K night. It had to come eventually, so I’m not actually being as sardonic as it sounds like I am. He’s been legitimately good, and deserves an extended look, regardless of what happens with Justin Ruggiano’s and Ryan Sweeney’s eventual returns.
- Wendy Thurm looks at the latest motion in the federal lawsuit attacking MLB’s territorial restrictions (a subject of great interest both to the fans (blackouts!) and to the Cubs (TV deals)).