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Chicago Cubs Headlines for Wednesday

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No arbitration for you


As expected, the Cubs didn't offer arbitration to any of their free agents. I wonder if they tell the players and agents beforehand, or if they find out like the rest of us.

It's been pretty clear since the middle of last summer that the Cubs were not going to offer arbitration to Harden, and this has been the subject of much consternation among some followers of the Cubs. Harden, a Type B free agent, made $7 million last year, and it's possible that he and his agent would be seeking $10 million or more in arbitration. Gregg, a Type A free agent, would be in line for a raise from the $4.2 million he made this year.

If the Cubs offered arbitration to either (or to Johnson, who made $3 million), the players would immediately accept, and the Cubs would be on the hook to pay out money they don't have. Of these three, Johnson might be the only one the Cubs would conceivably re-sign after everybody sees how a slow-developing market shakes out.


And Mr. Miles helps to turn up the anticipation factor for the winter meetings in Indianapolis next week:

Things could be heating up ever so slightly on the Milton Bradley trade front. I don't expect anything before the winter meetings get under way in Indy next week, but maybe we'll have something at the meetings. That would be different.

I should've saved a week of vacation so I could stalk Jim Hendry next week. For his part, Jim Hendry seems poised to deal at the meetings, so we probably won't have time for me to show him around our fair city.

"My personal opinion is I think it'll be a good offseason of trades," Hendry said. "I think you'll see trades made throughout the winter.

"I'm looking forward to Indianapolis," he said. "I think it'll be an exciting time for the game. I felt a month after the season ended that it would be a winter with a lot of trade possibilities. I think fans like that and it's healthy for the game."


All this talk of trades at the winter meeting had better bear fruit or we're going to be pissed. Just sayin'. Our last item today involves the Ricketts/Kenney trip to Florida. I haven't heard anything about wild parties or hookers being used to persuade the Cubs, but Florida's governor got in on the act yesterday (no word on how he looks in a bikini).


Cubs officials met today with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who promised to do all he could to persuade the team to move its spring-training facilities from Arizona.

New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and president  Crane Kenney were among those meeting with Crist, who said afterward, "We like palm trees better than cactus and hope that the Cubs might, too."

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63 Comments

JulieDiCaro said:

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I swear I saw a tweet this morning about the Cubs and Johnny Damon. I'm trying to confirm this rumor. LOL.

berselius said:

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Where would he play - CF? Maybe he wants to crush Jacque Jones's worm-killing record with the team.

flyball said:

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oh, that would just be perfect

(ps, I was informed that sarcasm is /s however I feel this is not adequate enough for the above sentence)

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Someone suggested it in this week's Cubs.com mailbag. Carrie shot it down.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Rangers offer arbitration to Marlon Byrd. Maybe we can scratch him off the Cubs' list. Have to wait and see if he accepts.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Uh. . . I don't want to alarm anyone, but: @cubstraderumors The #Cubs appear ready to sign free agent CF Rick Ankiel as soon as they are able to trade Milton Bradley.

I hope to God this is a terrible, terrible joke.

flyball said:

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I'd rather have Ankiel than Damon

yes, I said it, there

JulieDiCaro said:

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Not me. I think that deal makes Johnny Damon look like Lou Brock.

flyball said:

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Johnny Damon makes Joe Morgan look like a Mensa member

Doc said:

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or a NAMBLA member.

Aisle424 said:

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Maybe they'll switch him back to pitching so he can work out of the bullpen and pinch-hit like Brooks Kieschnick. I've always said the Cubs need more guys like Brooks Kieschnick.

Umbra said:

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That Brooks Kieschnick/Gary Gaetti faux-pitcher role is woefully undermanned.

Doc said:

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I really need some sorta source on that rumor. Because if that one becomes reality, then Jim Hendry needs to drive off a cliff.

JulieDiCaro said:

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yeah, I'm not sure what to make of that. no link provided, not showing up on MLBTR.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Unfortunately, this IS showing up on MLBTR:

"A Milton Bradley-Pat Burrell swap is still a "strong possibility," according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman notes that since Burrell is owed $9MM over one year and Bradley $21MM over two, the Cubs would have to eat good money (he guesses $6MM) to make the trade work.

There is no question that the Cubs would have to flip Burrell in this scenario. Sherman speculates that they could offer him to the Mets for Luis Castillo, a player the Cubs wouldn't mind adding. Sherman says, "It is hard to find a baseball official who actually thinks the Mets are going to land either Jason Bay or Matt Holliday," though ESPN's Buster Olney found one today in regard to Holliday."

Puke.

Doc said:

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Well...that is the New York Post...I wouldn't take that too seriously.

gravedigger said:

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I agree. Now he should just refuse to talk about it further. And everyone else should go find something else to obsess over. But that won't happen.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I agree.

Frankly, I don't think he was obligated to talk about his family life at all. It was just the accident thing that ticked me off.

gravedigger said:

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The GM meetings are going to be in Indianapolis?

A) Why would they do it in a city without a team, that seems weird to me.
B) More importantly, Carl, I think this means you have to go and be our on-the-scene guy. You have work to do.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Indianapolis Correspondent.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Can I be Senior Indianapolis Correspondent? And how do I get my press pass?

summerguy said:

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Question: Who's dick did Gregg suck to get type A free agent status??

Doc said:

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I think is was more than just one dick.

gravedigger said:

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I'm having a seriously crap day. Someone cheer me up.

flyball said:

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my team beat Julie's team last night in basketball

gravedigger said:

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I'm from Indiana you jerk.

flyball said:

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eh, sorry, I always forget that

you really should defect to the local team though

Dmband said:

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Maybe you guys can help me with this...I may not fully understand..But, if Harden is looking for 10 mil, wouldnt it make sense for the Cubs to offer him arbitration, which he would not accept, thus at least sending us some draft picks?

Ps. Im going to ignore the discussion from yesterday regarding Milton Bradley, because Im pretty sure its a foregone conclusion he is outta here...

Doc said:

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If the Cubs offer him arbitration, he has to accept of deny it before the he and the Cubs actually put forth numbers. I with that being the case, Harden I believe would actually accept arbitration from the Cubs. But the Cubs just don't have the financial maneuverability to give him more than about 6 million...

If he asks for $10 to $12, it would be hard for the Cubs to do their traditional meeting in the middle to eventually avoid the arbitration hearing.

Unfortunately, this was the only thing the Cubs could do here.

Doc said:

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There are about 20 grammatical errors in that...

If the Cubs offer him arbitration, he has to accept or reject it before the he and the Cubs actually put forth numbers. And with that being the case, Harden, I believe, would actually accept arbitration with the Cubs. But the Cubs just don't have the financial maneuverability to give him more than about $6 million...

If he asks for $10 to $12, it would be hard for the Cubs to do their traditional meeting in the middle to eventually avoid the arbitration hearing.

Unfortunately, this was the only thing the Cubs could do here.

JulieDiCaro said:

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we would be able to pay him $10 million if we kept Bradley. getting someone else is going to add at least $4-5 million onto what we already pay Bradley.

Dmband said:

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I see. So, whats the down side of it getting to that point? Meaning, if he accepts, and we still dont offer him what he is looking for, and it goes to a hearing....whats the negative impact on the Cubs?

AndCounting said:

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Here's what pisses me off about the Cubs not offering Harden arbitration:

The Cubs could have worked out a deal with the Twins at the end of August.

After retracting the waivers, here's what the Cubs got from Rich Harden:

4 Games; 17 Innings; 13 Runs, 9 Earned; 1 Farewell Toast; 0 in Exchange

If they didn't want to keep him, fine. But Wild Card hopes at that point in the season were completely unrealistic. At the time, I opposed the deal to the Twins because I wanted to see Harden return. If they didn't plan on keeping him, this is idiotic. If their plans changed in that span of time, if somehow the Cubs are only just now realizing that Harden is injury prone, it's just as idiotic.

The most credit I can give Hendry here is that he gambled on Harden's health rebounding and he lost. But it still makes me mad.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Seriously. This was my point. If we have no intention of keeping him, make a damn trade.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Harry Pavlidis has the rundown on the latest Cubs rumors:

http://www.cubsfx.com/2009/12/notes-on-recent-cubs-hot-stove-reports.html

CubsColts2010 said:

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I dont know, i guess my thing is i have a hard time seeing why the cubs offer so much money to such poor athletes.. Soriano, Zambrano can be good when he feels like it, Dempster was NOT consistent at all like he was last season. We had a chance to get Peavy last year and we passed. yeah he was injured but he will get healthy and would have been great in our rotation. we will get Luis Castillo and then give him a 4 year 45 million dollar extension because he is that good.. pfft. other than hitting .302 what is so impressive? Albert Pujols is getting paid less than Soriano and look what he is doing. what happened to the love of the game.. and when is 6 - 10 million a year not good enough? Like many others have said. i would play for the cubs for 70,000 a year. yeah these athletes might be impressive but wow, Lets put a Salary Cap on Baseball :)

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hear, hear.

totally agree.

FrankS said:

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Wowzers, you want to take away the one competitive advantage the Cubs have and that is the fact that the team can afford to pay more for players than any team but the Yankees and Red Sox.

JulieDiCaro said:

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No, not the salary cap part. I was agreeing that the Cubs won't go after the Jake Peavy's of the world, crying poor, but they have no problem ponying up stupid amounts of cash for people who aren't nearly as valuable.

JulieDiCaro said:

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it does us no good to have the cash if the Cubs are just going to spend it on the Fukudome's and Kevin Gregg's of the world.

JulieDiCaro said:

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bah--i don't know why i made those possessive. just ignore.

flyball said:

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I'm in favor of a cap, the Cubs don't use their money to any sort of advantage, I want to see what they do with the Rays payroll

millertime said:

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They have used their money to their advantage to sign Lee, Ramirez, Dempster, Zambrano, Lilly, Fukudome, Soriano, Howry, and other players. This has resulted in them winning the division 2 out of the last 3 years, including a 2nd place finish this past year. They are in a position now to compete for the next 2-3 years. That is the advantage our money has given us.

If we had a payroll like the Rays, Pirates, whoever, we'd probably win as much as the rays, pirates, whoever. Which means almost never, unless we somehow strike gold in the draft 3 years in a row and get some crazy unexpectidly good seasons from aging veteran FA's.

On the other hand, with a high payroll, we can be like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets, and be in contention for the playoffs/WS 3/5 years.

flyball said:

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but what if everyone had the Rays payroll? the Yankees wouldn't be the Yankees, well, maybe, but in a different form

I just think the exercise would be really interesting, I see the Cubs ability to spend money a crutch at best, and to a point detrimental, there is a limit, and at that limit we will be stuck with watching a lot of high priced players lose with an underdeveloped farm system, below average backups where 1 injury to a key player takes the team into a losing spiral

oh, wait

FrankS said:

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Well, that is the reason why Jim Hendry should be fired or demoted. But the comments about Peavy being consistent aren't totally correct either. Take a look at the up and down patterns of Peavy's ERA+ stat. He started his career as rather average, then his 3rd season was outstanding, then he was league average, then two great seasons, peaking with his Cy Young award, then declining to very good the next year and then was less than league average this year until he pitched his last 3 games for the Sox.

If you use ERA+ as your baseline, then Dempster has been a better pitcher the last two seasons than Peavy.

CubsColts2010 said:

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I dont know, i guess my thing is one player has a great season and that automatically guarantees he will be great for the next 5 or more.. ask jim hendry, Dempster or (Dumpster) had one good season and it wow'd Hendry so much he signed a 4 year 48 - 52 million dollar deal was it? Yeah.. Good Job.. Good year you had..lets give you all this money for something that you'll never do again.. instead of get someone that is consistent, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, you get the picture(Just venting..thanks for reading..) :)

CubsColts2010 said:

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FrankS : IT does us absolutely no good anyways when we dont know how to use our money. How many world series have the yankees and redsox won recently.. no wait!! How many playoff games have we won recently compared to them.. we dont know how to use our money..Lets Sign Chone Figgins to a 3 year 60 million dollar deal. he is such an amazing athlete.. he deserves it.. Obviously Soriano, Dempster, and Zambrano all deserve the money they make.. NOT! there are MLB players making 1/3 of what Soriano does a year and hitting better then he does. KEEP IT UP HENDRY!! MAKE US PROUD!!

Umbra said:

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I agree about Soriano and Zambrano not being worth their contracts, but I disagree about Ryan Dempster. Why is he included in the laundry list of 'bad' signings by Jim Hendry? The opposite is the case.

millertime said:

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Soriano makes 17 Million a year. To make things easier, round it up to 18. So, you are stating that there are players who make 6 Million a year who are better than Soriano, players you seem to indicate you would rather have on your team than Soriano. Can you actually name any of these players? Also, I think to qualify, the player should have been on the FA market. Also, Soriano plays LF. So a player to replace Soriano should probably be an OF. So find me an OF who has put up similar numbers to the ones Soriano has put up the last 3 years in Chicago who makes 6 Mil a year after being a FA.

Contracts aren't just about what a player does in the future. You can't always just look at the results after a contract is signed and judge it as "good" or "bad", because these contracts deal with a lot of uncertainty. They're about what the player has done in the past up until that point, the age of the player, the position of the player, the player's estimated potential for the future, and the market demand of the player. Thinking that a GM should know exactly how well/poorly a player will perform seems unrealistic to me. There are only educated guesses.

Umbra said:

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Oooh! Oooh! I can name one: Marlon Byrd.

Signed by the Rangers as a free agent after a 2006 season on the Nationals, Marlon Byrd made about $.8 million in 2007, $1.8 million in 2008, $3.06 million in 2009. He has contributed 8.4 WAR to the Rangers, while Soriano has contributed 7.9 to the Cubs.

CubsColts2010 said:

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yes but peavy also has been playing hurt. and i wouldnt pitch lights out for san diego either lol.. the white sox are going to have a great year with peavy this upcoming season. and all the cubs fans are going to put there heads down and shake them back and forth and get on there knees and look up at the baseball gods and wonder why Jim Hendry does what he does. lol i swear if he let some of us hardcore die hard cubs fans put a line-up together and make some trades..we could get us at least one playoff win lol..

thisyearcub said:

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If that happened, it would be nothing short of a disaster. Playing armchair GM is fun, but don't fool yourself.

JulieDiCaro said:

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you don't like the idea of us voting sam fuld into the ASG?

gravedigger said:

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I decided I no longer want his pants. You are free to dispose of them as you wish.

millertime said:

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Ummmm, Dempster was great last year, what are you people talking about? ERA of 3.65. He had a very solid year. His second in a row. He is way underpaid right now, because we got him for a discount. At the end of his contract, yeah, he might be overpaid. But right now he's underpaid. He will make 12.5 Million next year, that is a steal.

Soriano, other than this past season, has been one of the most productive players on the Cubs. At the time he was signed, he was the most highly sought out FA in baseball. The Cubs could have not signed him, but then they probably wouldn't have been as good. It's hard to win a playoff game if you can't even make it to the playoffs. Soriano hasn't been MVP good, but he's still one of the best OF's in baseball. Well above average. In 2010 he will be paid 18 Million. And there is probably little chance he puts up numbers that justify that amount. But a healthy Soriano is worth at least 12-14 mil per year. The rest is a premium for signing any big name free agent.

Zambrano is also a guy who people complain about, and it drives me crazy. Yes, Zambrano is not an Elite pitcher, and yes, the Cubs signed him to a big deal. But Zambrano has been a solid pitcher year in year out. He has a 3.51 career ERA. That's pretty darn good. In 2010 he will make 17.8 Million. Not the best contract, but again, to keep a quality guy like Zambrano, you got to pay a premium. If it makes people feel any better, we totally underpaid Zambrano earlier in his career.

Both Dempster and Zambrano were in the top 30 in ERA this past season. Compared to other pitcher's their age, they're both in the top 15. So as far as other guys who should be at the same contract level/FA level, they're pretty good. Comparaing Zambrano to Lincecum isn't exactly fair, since Lincecum is still young enough that the Giants can pay him nothing.

I think the thing to remember/realize is that it is the norm to overpay free agents. That's how free agency works, and it's why it's so much better/cheaper to develop talent on your farm system. Since a free agent will typically go to the team that pays him the most, that means the team that signs him is obviously the team that values him the most. Odds are good that he won't live up to the contract. This is similar to an auction term called "Winner's Curse". I've written about this before, but to save time just google it. It takes 2 seconds to read and is very simple to understand. Free Agents are normally overpaid. With talent from a farm sysytem, you can underpay them for several years before they can go on the FA market.

millertime said:

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I'm sorry, why is winning the division 2 out of the last 3 years, finishing in 2nd place for the division this past year(despite having our best player miss 1/3 of the season, and improbably slumps from other key players), and putting this team in a position to contend for the playoffs for the next couple years grounds for firing? Do you have any idea how many other teams would kill to have the success the Cubs have had lately?

gravedigger said:

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so the parmesean cheese i was dumping in heaps onto my pasta turned out to be garlic.

you know when you have a shit day and then its one of the little things that totally breaks you? yeah, im about there.

millertime said:

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Yikes. I had a similar moment one time when I was making garlic toast, and accidentally used Onion Powder instead of Garlic Powder.

To counter balance this you should take a $20 bill, put it in your coat pocket, and then take a few Forget-Me-Nows. Then later, when you put on your coat, you'll find the $20 that you forgot you put there, and you'll be all like "kick ass I just found $20!". Works every time.

gravedigger said:

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That would be a good idea if I had more than $3.27.

CubsColts2010 said:

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Thanks UMBRA!! Also Millertime: Garrett Anderson, .295 Career Average.. made 2.5 million last year. thats another 15.5 million other players could get when combined even hit much better than soriano. HEY HEY!! thats also Roy Halladay's Salary for this year ... Matt Holliday..yeah might be bigger contract this year. but at least he is a beast and drives in 100 RBI's ..he only made 9.5 mil in 2008..(55% of Soriano's yearly salary) but that is just a few free agents. and yes, ok Dempster's season wasnt horrible. but he also wasnt consistent. Soriano and Zambrano can send some of there yearly salary to the "Bring in Roy Halladay Charity Mr. Hendry" maybe Halladay would talk some sense into Big Z and Would certainly help out wells and Dempster. He would help our team more than just by getting us wins.

azcubbie said:

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The Cubs had to go to Tallahassee, 400 miles away from Naples. I wonder if they did that to see what it is like to have to travel to away games! Moving to Florida would be the dumbest thing they could do.

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