FA face with the TV booty.

FA face with the TV booty.


An interesting item made the rounds of baseball's ink stained wretches this weekend prepares for it's GM meetings. ( The GM meetings are kind of a farce where GM's have $500 lunches while sitting around talking about what they're going to do at the more important winter meetings in a couple of weeks. But it does lead to good rumor mongering. So get those $100 Escargot appetizers a-ordering I say....) The money given from baseball's national TV contract is going to boom in 2014, giving teams as much as an additional 25 million per year. Which means teams are going to be flush with cash.

“The macroeconomics of baseball are interesting right now with some of these cable deals,” general manager Jed Hoyer said last week. “It’s created some very big markets from what used to be just kind of large markets, and it’s propped up some teams that used to flood the trade market and used to flood the free-agent market. Some of those teams are now holding on to their own players.”

So the Cubs are no longer "THE CUBS". Other teams have money too. Out spending teams to get a player is even harder. Now a lot of this gets thrown under the rug as good news, because, well, let's face it, Jim Hendry's no longer here. Hopefully, the Cubs are no longer in the business of handing out contracts they regret halfway through. But the Cubs will need free agents. Every team does. So with each team having more money in their pocket while also allowing less players into the market, the fight to get a real FA player that might help you is going to be fierce.

Now the Cubs still should be able to land free agents. Chicago is still a destination city. (Especially for players' wives. Follow the wonderful Kim Dejesus on Twitter and see how much she loves living in Chicago, and you see why Dejesus signed here.) The lure of winning a pennant in a Cubs uniform and becoming a folk hero definitely strokes the egos of any prideful athlete. And Theo not only has a track record of winning, but more importantly, understands keeping good relationships with player agents. ( Notice the reaching out to Dempster's agent as one of the first moves of Epstoyer's off-season. That wasn't for Demp's sake.) What will be interesting is to see is when and on who do the Cubs fire their FA bullets.

As the economic landscape changes and more teams have money, it will be crucial not to "need" free agency to fix a problem. Rather use it as an option. This year won't mean much because the Cubs are still in the early trimesters of the rebuild. But as a Baez is added and maybe a Soler to go with an established Rizzo and Castro, and the focus changes from "acquiring assets" to "getting that final piece", Epstoyer is going to have to pull out the checkbook. And it might not be the biggest or the flashiest checkbook in the room.

“It’s hard to predict exactly what we’re going to be staring at in 2015,” Hoyer said. “But what we’re looking at right now, it is a change in what the dynamic has been over the last five to seven years.

“It’s certainly an interesting time. The macroeconomics of baseball are at an interesting point.”

Damn skippy. Jed. Damn skippy indeed.

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    Interesting read. Also emphasizes how important good trades are going to be in the new baseball macroeconomics -- and that's one place I have complete faith in Theo and Jed.

  • Good stuff Felzz. A new TV deal and the Cubs becoming competitive are sort of on the same timeline. 2014/2015 could be fun years both offseason and in season.

  • I saw in a different place that the added revenue could be as much as 50 million a team.

  • Thanks guys.

    You're right about trades Mr Moody. Even more the reason why last season, and most likely this season, will be about acquiring assets. I'm in the strict minority, but I'm positive that the Cubs won't field a team with Baez, Soler, and Amora. One of them will be traded. ( I'll go ahead and say Baez.)

    Another angle that I probably should have thrown into the article is timing. It's possible to get out in front of the market and maybe snap someone up before ( as an example) someone goes 4/60m with Annibal Sanchez and establishes a crazy market.

    It's gonna be interesting. It's gonna be fun.

  • In reply to felzz:

    GMs meeting starts tomorrow. Maybe a trade or two could happen.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I'd love to see the Cubs get out in front of the market and start acquiring players.

  • My condolences to the family of Jim Durham.

  • My favorite basketball announcer.

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    I think you're right felzz, I don't see Amora with the team either. OK, I know it was a typo, but I think that you are correct that you are in the minority with that viewpoint.
    I think you are wrong about Baez, the reason being, he is being touted in national publications as a future can't miss player. I don't think Epstoyer takes a chance and trades him away. Also I'm thinking you're saying Baez because he was a draft pick from the previous regime, am I correct?
    It is possible that anyone of those three guys do not not live up to their potential, but I think it is highly probable that all three make it to the Cubs eventually.
    At least I hope they do, I enjoy watching young motivated ballplayers busting it on the field. I think the Nationals are a great model to emulate, they are going to be contenders for years to come. I'd like to see these guys move fast through the system. I can live with youthful over eager mistakes, rather than the laidback vets that we had here in the past.

  • Actually Dafoxx, Being a Hendry draft pick didn't even enter into it. from what I hear and read, Epstoyer really likes Christian Villenueva, who was acquired for Ryan Dempster. love his athleticism, love his defense, love his makeup. And it's also apparent that Theo is looking for a "haul" for someone like Matt Garza (which he will now not get.). Seeing as how Baez' natural position is occupado for the forseeable future and really not a place to move him too, PLUS high ranking prospects are currently the "hot stock" right now, it might be in the Cubs best interests to see how much pitching they could get with young Javier.

    There's no way it's gonna be Soler, and Almora is too young to be anything right now. So that's where I wind up.... But again, just a guess.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I bet these guys are even more clever than that and look at pieces that we don't even notice (at least I hope so -- those GM dudes make a lot of money). Take the current free agent market, for example. Right now the third base market is pretty dry. Not saying that'll be the case in a few years, but I wouldn't be surprised if Epstein and Hoyer have some projections set out for the next 3-5 years that will play into how they view their short- and long-term assets.

    In addition, it feels like this current regime is good at not being emotional and would be willing to trade absoutely anyone for the right price. If all three prospects pan out to a roughly equal place, I bet the front office would field offers for all three, and as soon as they're blown away by an offer (read: the return value greatly exceeds the present value), they pull the trigger, regardless of the prospect.

  • I agree, they will take moves between now and ST that will
    great for now and the long term future. This does not even
    include the June draft and international signings. Our motto
    should be "In Theo we trust"

  • Along with the increased national television revenue, the Cubs are in line to reap even greater benefits when their current, Tribune company friendly, contract with WGN/Comcast ends. Whether they go with their own network like the Yankees and the YES network, or re-sign a deal with local networks, the Cubs will reap additional benefits, cash wise, similar to what the Angels did this year which allowed them to sign Pujols and C. J. Wilson. I believe the current contract has one more year to go.

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