Cubs Den Winter Meetings: Podcasts, beers, spending, and Samardzija

Cubs Den Winter Meetings: Podcasts, beers, spending, and Samardzija

Right now, Cubs Den is slightly more active than the Cubs.  Hopefully that will change soon for both our sakes.

It's been a hectic morning as we undergo some changes here at Cubs Den as we've been working the phones and email all morning. Here are some of the things we have in the hopper...

Cubs Den Podcast

As you know we've brought in a new writer, Mauricio, and not only is he a good writer (his first article will be tomorrow) but he is tech savvy.  Some of you may know that I am quite a bit closer to the technologically-challenged end of the continuum.

So the planning of a Cubs Den podcast is in it's early stages and it's something we won't see until sometime in 2014.

It would be Mauricio, Felzz, and myself for starters with an occasional guest.  But other than that, nothing is set in stone.  Stay tuned.

BBQ, Beers, Bourbon, and Baseball

Also in the early stages of planning are the Cubs Den winter meetings which is really just an excuse to drink beer and/or bourbon and talk baseball.  Tentative idea is the Piggyback Lounge in Forest Park which serves great BBQ but as implied, they also have an excellent selection of beer and bourbon.  And...there's a lounge downstairs with a bar, couches, and TVs.  Couches!  It's pretty easy to find (Near Madison and Harlem) and blue line accessible if you are willing to walk a bit in the cold.  There are also a couple of free nearby parking lots and street parking.

Date and time to be determined but sometime in the first week of December.  Will update as we iron out the details.

Jed Hoyer Speaks

Ben Finfer of the Score did a great interview with Jed Hoyer on the rebuilding process and while I don't have a podcast.  The guys at Chicago Cubs Online did their usual great (and painstaking) job of transcribing it for the rest of us.

And interesting excerpt from those of you with financial concerns, Hoyer pretty much reiterates what we've been saying here.  It's not that they don't have the money to spend, it's that they are not ready to add that piece.  When they are, the money will be there,

No. I mean obviously the payroll has come down a bit. But right now I think we’ve been really focused on acquiring young assets and building through youth. We are very confident that when the players are ready, to augment that group with older players and some free agents, we are very confident we will have the money to do that. So, that certainly has not been a factor. I think that the only things that have really slowed us down, slowed down our progress, is some of the rules changes that were put in place I think have made free agency harder to build in because there are fewer good players now. Obviously the new CBA with the draft restrictions, and the international restrictions, kind of slowed things down a little bit. We’ve been open about that and that was something we didn’t expect. We’ve had to work around it, but the financial part is not something that’s slowed us down at all.

That is pretty much what many of have been trying to say here.  You can read the rest of the transcript at Chicago Cubs Online.

Latest on Jeff Samardzija

The news on the Blue Jays slowed down a bit yesterday as Patrick Mooney emphasized there was nothing imminent,

"I won't comment on specific rumors and things like that, but I will say that we're definitely exploring starters with teams," Anthopoulos said. "But also, just like a lot of stuff that's out there that is false, we have not made an offer to anybody with respect to a starter.

"So if there is something out there that we've actually made an offer to someone for a starter, that is not accurate. It doesn't mean we're not inquiring...Right now, there isn't anything imminent."

Julie DiCaro of Aerys Sports said something similar in a pair of tweets last night,

I was told by a reliable source over the weekend that the chances the Blue Jays would be able to put together a package that would pry Samardzija away from the Cubs is “pretty remote.” Chances are that the Blue Jays aren’t going to want to give up young arms like Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez in exchange for a second / third starter with two years left on his contract. To get Samardzija, it would certainly take one of those prospects, if not both. I’ve been told, and Toronto GM Alez Anthopoulos confirmed yesterday, that there is currently no deal on the table for Samardzija.

For what it's worth, I do know the Jays are interested but I have also heard that that there is work to be done.  That is not to say a deal can't happen quickly.  Trades can come together in a hurry.  Sometimes it just takes one concession by either team to get things rolling.

The Nationals remain a strong possibility and Bruce Levine talked about the Diamondbacks being interested suitors as well.

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  • You should do a second winter meetings in Nebraska. I'd love to be a part of that.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    How about Omaha and the College World Series? :) Have always wanted to go.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    CWS time is an excellent time John! I highly recommend it & was a regular for @15 years prior to moving south. If you get in touch with me on FB or twitter (@wgacoach), whenever you decide to head that way, I can see about making some connections for you. Your coverage continues to be awesome. I'm looking forward to the podcast!

  • In reply to Andrue Weber:

    Thanks Andrue!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I was lucky enough to be there about ten years ago or so. My son's travel team was playing in a tournament in Omaha and CWS tickets were part of the package. We saw LSU and, I believe, Rice. It was really hot and the lemonade guy went home a wealthy man that night, but it was an awesome experience and the kids loved it.

  • I look forward to the podcast. Any chance you could get some of the old Cubscast hosts as guests? I miss those guys.

  • In reply to OKClint:

    If they are interested, sure. We can look into that.

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    Plan that meeting with enough notice that I can get off and I might drive up. I can pick Gallo and Hoosier up on the way.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Sorry will be in California during the winter meetings.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I can't do it any. Company policy not to let people take off without at least 2 weeks notice, except in emergencies, illness, etc.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm soaking up some rays in Florida....

    (actually, Arguello has me manning the surveillance van in Orlando during the winter meetings. Apparently, his phone tap on Theo & Jed has a 100 mile range. weird, right?)

  • Lets hope that all the teams interested in Jeff all don't want to
    give up 1 of their top 3 pitching prospects and more

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    The more leverage the better.

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    I'll be there so a few of you can take a swing at me. Just not in the face, huh? I'm way too pretty.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    LOL! Not the face, not the face :)

  • Interesting to think about how good their system could be without draft restrictions.

    Although the Blue Jays have depth in the minors I don't blame them for not wanting to give up Sanchez or Stroman. Those are their only two guys with higher ceilings.

    A team (like the Pirates) who might be more desperate to win this coming year, and have some more high ceilings depth might be a better team to deal with.

    Hopefully, it ends up turning into a bidding war with 3-4 teams and the Cubs can get max value for Shark.

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    In reply to NathanE:

    The Pirates depth means they could more easily make that trade without hurting themselves in the long term, but Neil Huntington has always been hesitant to deal top prospects. However, he has to know his window is short.

    The Reds are another team I could see getting involved in the Samardzija sweepstakes, and we know that front office isn't afraid to deal within the division or with the Cubs.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I agree. And I'd also add that I also hate the assumption that teams are "desperate", like these GMs are in full panic mode to win now. If I owned a franchise, the last guy I'd hire is the desperate or easily panicked type. It's a sore spot with me.

    Now saying they are "motivated" to do something is probably way, way more accurate. But desperate? Probably never.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I agree, I would also argue the same about our front office "needing" to deal Samardzija. I don't think anybody is panicked, or feeling a deal is eminent to salvage value. The only way I see a deal happening is for SURPLUS value. They won't settle for a package of high ceiling guys, if a proposal doesn't include a bonafide top 20 guy, I hope they hang up!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Oh man...I just said this.

    So obviously I agree. Should have read this first and saved myself the trouble.

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    More stuff out there on the Orioles today in regards to Samardzija, but I just don't see it. I can't see doing any deal with them that sends Castillo to Baltimore and Wieters back to the Cubs. Wieters makes more money than Samardzija, and he's obviously on the decline. To me, Baltimore would have to be giving up more than just Gausman. I'd think Rodriguez would also have to be in that deal. I mean the combination of Samardzija and Castillo is just worth more than Wieters and Gausman, especially when you take the money into account.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Yeah that is a lateral move at best.

  • Winter meeting huh? Maybe you can convince my boss to finance my trip out there; isnt that how Theo and Jed do it? Get Ricketts to open up the pocket books.

  • Haha :)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, never posted before but I love your site! Great articles and great comments from all the readers. Keep up the great work. I might even visit your winter meeting.

  • Thanks Johnny (or do you prefer Jonathan?). I appreciate the kind words. Hope to see you there.

  • John,

    Was curious to know what you opinion would be of the type of prospects you would reasonably expect back from another team for a Jeff Samardzija deal?

    I'm guessing the Cubs have to get at least one potential TOR-starter plus another highly-regarded starting pitcher back at the minimum.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I would expect on one around the Aaron Sanchez level. Top 25 level type guys have to headline deal.

  • I know that many fans think they should try to sign him to a long term
    contract, but this will be in the best interest of the team. This is only
    chance to get 1 or 2 top pitching prospects that our farm system lacks

  • These teams will not give away Aaron Sanchez, Archie Bradley, Jameson Taillon or Lucas Giolito just like that... I think a Samardzija trade could happen late in the offseason after most top pitchers are off the market.

    The same goes with free agents... Right now the teams doing most of the transactions are contenders and the free agents are waiting for a chance from a contender... After most of those holes are filled that's when they will start settling for middle tier and rebuilding teams.

    And finally... Am I the only one who understood Hoyer doesn't have an offer for a starter... But didn't say there isn't an offer for something else?

  • In reply to Caps:

    Don't agree, by mid season many teams will be trying to trade
    pitchers and more will be on the market

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Fair enough, I could be wrong, but the Cubs have enough leverage to decide not trading Shark at all if they don't get the value they want... Not to mention the fact that they prefer to keep Shark to begin with.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Good point. Bottom line is you take the deal when you get surplus long term value and not a moment before.

  • In reply to Caps:

    If I'm a GM... I just sign Garza and keep my prospects vs trading for Shark. I realize some have $ challenges... but still.

    The only way we get surplus value (Beauty & value is in the eye of the beholder with prospects) for Jeff is if that GM views Jeff as being able to take that step to true ACE with a change of scenery and his own prospect as less than that. Otherwise, why make the trade?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Exactly... Which is all the more reason for some teams to hold onto those Archie Bradley, Aaron Sanchez type of prospects since they can sign someone like Garza that will not cost a draft pick or prospects in a trade... It's what makes sense to me... Not saying I can't be wrong... Just you watch in 48 hours Shark getting traded and then I'll be wrong lol.

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    In reply to Caps:

    The problem is that right now players are going for way over valuation. At least with Garza there is no draft choice attached to signing him. But is Garza going to be worth the money he will eventually get paid? Probably not.

    It just goes back to who has the surplus and actively wants a guy like Samardzjia - WAS, PIT, ARZ. TOR and maybe BAL.

    But I am going to say this - acquiring Samardzjia is more about finding a way to unlock his potential as much as it is about winning now. Notice the teams that are allegedly in on Samardzjia are not normally big players in free agency. They are looking for value here as much as a contributing piece for a playoff push. And most certainly each of these teams would have no problem giving Samardzjia a QO. If the trade off is a few prospects for a championship (or contending for one) plus a draft pick, all of these teams are potentially deep enough to make this trade, though I question the talent level and depth of Toronto's system more than others personally.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Awesome comment, very insightful, good points.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Great comment. I think you got it right; if a team thinks they can make the playoffs, the move must be considered. Once you get to the postseason, anything can happen. So, a move like this where you get a younger arm that has ace potential, I think you do whatever you can to get him. Prospects be damned, some of these teams like the Pirates should know that the playoffs are no guarantee and windows close quickly, just ask the Bulls.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Timing. Winning windows.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I don't know that there's a significant difference with Shark or Garza in your rotation for any of those. The only significant difference I see is $ for Garza vs Prospect cost for Shark....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    There is one other difference between Garza and Samardzija. There are no health concerns with Samardzija. I have talked to a few people and they believe Garza is one wrong pitch away from TJ.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I wasn't addressing jeff vs Garza, I was referring to your comment that the only way a GM sees value in Shark is "if that GM views Jeff as being able to take that step to true ACE with a change of scenery and his own prospect as less than that." What I meant was, their own prospect doesn't need to be less than Shark for a trade to make sense, he just has to be less than Shark NOW. The prospect that'll be an ace or equal to Shark in '15 doesn't help them. That's why the trade makes sense.

  • Hoyer didn't say the money will be there. He said he is confident it will be there. While it is a small difference in verbiage those are two completely different statements.

    While I agree that the payroll has come down organically as a function of the rebuild and where the team is I'm not sure I buy that they've had the financial wherewithal that they hoped for or expected. What happens with Tanaka will go a long way towards shedding some light on the situation, depending on what the posting system is and if we have any insight in to what the Cubs actually bid.

  • In reply to Eric:

    We already know that Ricketts has offered to put the money there. He did it for Sanchez and I know for certain they were 2nd for both Darvish and Ryu. I'm fairly certain they were in the top 3 for Cespedes if not top 2 as well. You can look at it as they aren't bidding enough but you can also say they outbid 28 other teams including some very large win now markets. They've won out on Soler and had the 2nd highest bid more than once -- and they are not the 2nd wealthiest team.

    So I really have no real doubts and I don't think they do either. There has been no real proof presented that they can't or won't spend money.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not to mention the millions Ricketts has spent on infrastructure like the Dominican Facility and new ST complex, bad salaries/contracts inherited (Sori/Zambrano, etc).

    I never understood why people insinuate Ricketts is somehow cheap with this team.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yep, they've put all this kind of money on players, just not 30+ year old free agents. It's taking some media/fans a while to get used to the idea of investing over spending.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Not to be a critic, but the Cubs made a one-time investment into the Dominican Facility of $7M that comes out to $1.M a year over five years and the ST Arizona Complex is being paid by the taxpayers of Arizona. $99M project of which the Cubs are only responsible for a profit-making venture and headquarters "Wrigleyvillle West."

    So there is an ongoing myth that the Cubs are spending big on these projects, when in fact it is merely a blip on the radar.

  • In reply to dieharder:

    But they will almost certainly provide a much larger return on investment.

  • In reply to dieharder:

    I haven't researched the actual figures. I said he spent millions, which you have validated. So why do those critics never mention this, or eating the bad contracts? They imply and actually accuse Ricketts of being cheap. I don't see it. The reality is we haven't lost anyone because the $$$ wasn't there and they have spent money on non-revenue items like the those facilities and eating bad contracts.

    It's as if he is cheap because we don't sign every big name FA. Frankly, I'm kind of glad they're changing the culture. Then again, I realize some will never be happy unless they are complaining....

  • In reply to dieharder:

    Don't forget they are offering to pay $500 Million to upgrade Wrigley field and surrounding area. $500,000,000.00 is more than a blip on the radar.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree to disagree. I don't take any solace coming in second or third and, as of today, that doesn't give me any comfort moving forward. That's a loser's lament.

    I still have faith in Ricketts and our front office and there are very few big name free agents that I regret missing on or would have matched up with our timeline (or what most had assumed was our timelines). However, you're either a winner or a loser and in the case of the players you mentioned above the Cubs sure weren't winners.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Dale Earnhardt philosophy? You're either first or last?

    Not bidding at all would indicate a lack of funds or willingness to spend them. Losing to bids that were well over market price is different. When you're bidding 86M on Sanchez (who some at the time considered way too much -- it was $30M over Detroit's previous offer before they beat it). The bid on Ryu was excellent and again only lost to LAD and their willingness to go way, way above and beyond market value.

    That doesn't indicate a lack of funds at all and if I'm Hoyer and we put those kinds of bids on players we actually wanted, I'd feel very confident that they'll put in another strong bid when a player they actually want becomes available.

    The money is there. It's just alarmist stuff that moves the needle in the press. I'm not buying it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I prefer the Ricky Bobbe 'If you ain't first, you're last' philosophy.

    They did put respectable bids on some of those players. Putting in respectable bids doesn't get you anywhere. You'll always have to bid more than you want or feel comfortable with in a scenario like that.

    I'm not saying bid $100 million on the posting fee for Tanaka but if they feel he is a key piece to contend in 2015-16, I'm not as sold as you are on them having the green light.

    This is a purely hypothetical example, but if Mike Trout or Bryce Harper were free agents this off-season at the age of 26-27, and clearly fit our timeline, do you have confidence the Cubs would pony up the likely 10 years and $300 million it would take to acquire them? To win a bidding war? Unfortunately, I don't.

    I don't ever expect us to operate like the Yankees or the Dodgers but at the minimum we should dominate our division financially. I'm fine with another year of taking our lumps in 2014 but if we don't begin to spend like a major market team come next off-season I will have serious reservations about the Ricketts. You can't keep charging those ticket prices for the product you are putting on the field.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Haha:) Maybe that was it.

    Many think they overbid for Sanchez initially and from what I understand, the bid for Ryu comfortably beat any team but the Dodgers -- and they weren't all that far from the Dodgers. I think they'll make a bid proportionate to what they did for Ryu, that is, one that is intended to win, adjusted for talent level, of course, so it will be higher.

    I think what we should expect from them is that they would put in a serious bid for every player that fits their philosophy, but we can only expect them to win one every so often. They won with Soler, but they can't win them all.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John... I'm not sure I'd ever heard the details on Ryu and the rest. It's encouraging to know that an effort is being made. Contrary to Eric's belief, no one wins all the time. It's frustrating to come up just short so many times. On the other hand, it's good to know they made serious plays on these players.

    And as you and Hoosier mentioned, a whole lot of money has been spent on bad contracts *and* good infrastructure - not to mention a small boatload this year on the Intl. front!!

    The light at the end of the tunnel is still not much more than a pinprick - but it sure feels like it's gonna be moving pretty darn quickly when it does begin to pay off!!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Very frustrating and Ryu was the one that stung the most. I thought the Cubs were going to land him. I also thought they had a great chance to land Sanchez. I wasn't as optimistic about Darvish and Cespedes.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Remind me when I ever said I expect the Cubs to "win" every instance where they attempt to acquire a player? That's clearly not realistic and I certainly wouldn't expect that, even if the Cubs did not have any financial restraints at this time. I respect that the front office sets a limit on what they think is value for a player and sticks with it. My point is I'm not sure they've had the flexibility to do so yet if they wanted to. No one knows for sure.

    For example, I'm fine with them moving Shark if he will not agree to a deal and they can get two high potential arms. My point is if we had a pitcher of Clayton Kershaw's ability who was durable and still in his prime, I would expect us to overpay to keep him instead of shopping him. I question whether the front office would be provided the resources to do so at this time. It's hypothetical so it's moot anyway.

  • In reply to Eric:

    "I don't take any solace coming in second or third and, as of today, that doesn't give me any comfort moving forward. That's a loser's lament."

    So putting forth your best bid and falling just short reflects the same on a front office as not even trying?

    Are you one of those guys who if the Cubs went to the World Series 5 years in a row but only won once, you'd be upset?

  • I don't see Pittsburgh trading one of their top pitchers away for Samardzija...they are only a contender because of that farm system...they won't be able to pay to keep Samardzija...Toronto is our best bet...they need to win now and might be willing to overpay for Samardzija...Washington doesn't really need Samardzija so overpaying doesn't make sense...same for Arizona...they really don't need Samardzija so i don't see them overpaying either. Shark hasn't proven he can be an effective starter the entire season...so kind of a gamble to trade prospects for him.

  • In reply to Mick:

    It is also a gamble to keep prospects. Any or all of them could fail to develop, and those that do could do so too late to put them over the top.

    Every trade is a gamble.

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    In reply to Mick:

    Winning now doesn't mean blatantly disregarding policy to do so. Every team needs to win now. Toronto has an incredibly smart GM. he is not going to panic and overpay to win. Samardzjia's value is tied to supply and demand and competition in the market.

  • I laughed at the comments that Shark is a number 2 pitcher. He is a tail end of the rotation pitcher. He could potentially end up being a number 2 but he isn't one at this point. He really is a 29 year old prospect. Who wants that when you can keep your younger arms who are cost controlled for longer.

  • In reply to Mick:

    He certainly isn't one at this point.

    But GMs trade for the future,whether near term or long term, not for the past. If anyone trades for Samardzija, it will be for what they view as his potential, and whoever the Cubs get back will be viewed for THEIR potential.

    No one that the Cubs get in return, whether Sanchez, Giolito, or whoever, will be a CURRENT #1 or #2.

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    In reply to Mick:

    What rotation would he be at the tail-end of?

  • In reply to Mick:

    You can laugh all you want but Samardzija's record as a starter shows he's a TOR SP. What's really laughable is that you would refer to Shark as a "29 year old prospect".

  • In reply to Mick:

    Mick, I'm guessing you've either never heard of the stat xFIP or you simply don't care that it exists.

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    I'm thinking the Dbacks with their recent hiring of Dave Duncan, they might be motivated to see if he can work his magic on mullet man

  • Glad you're going to podcast! Looking forward to it.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Thanks!

  • Asked Jason Parks a question about a Blue Jays package, mainly because I wanted to dream on a very rich Samardzija package. When I asked him where the Cubs system would fit if the Cubs got Sanchez, Stroman and DJ Davis for Shark, he didn't answer the question, instead he said,"That's not a realistic package for David Price, much less for Shark."

    I thought that was rich for Shark, but for Price? Not sure if he's just super high on the trio of Jays I mentioned, but that deal seems very reasonable to me for Price.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Also, someone asked..."could the Blue Jays actually be stupid enough to consider sending Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman to Chicago for two years of Jeff Sarmfhugjhkhjiza?"

    Parks' response:

    "I hope that doesn't happen. It seems a bit reckless to me. For what its worth, I would take Stroman over Sanchez."

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Interesting. I do like Stroman a lot but I'd lean toward Sanchez. But can see argument for Stroman, better control and closer to bigs -- and stuff just as good. The height is an issue but the build is not.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I do remember him saying Sanchez headlining a package is possible, however. Same with Tallion -- but not Bradley or Giolito. Sanchez, Stroman, and Davis would be a huge haul.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right, I thought Sanchez, Stroman and Davis would be a ton for Shark. But a ton for Price? That comment surprised me.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    It makes for an interesting question: Given the hypothetical choice that the Cubs could have either one for free, would you rather the Cubs have David Price (2 yrs control, etc.) or Sanchez, Stroman, and Davis. Given where the Cubs are, I think I'd choose the latter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Assuming I'd have either one for free, but couldn't deal any of the pieces once I got them, I think I'd take pretty much any prospect package over Price.

    But I'm also of the mindset that we're not going to compete the next 2 years so a guy like Price is wasted over that time span.

  • Speaking of youth, where do you see Dillon Maples fitting into the farm system next season? I got a chance to see him pitch for Boise and he was pounding the strike zone, looked like he rediscovered himself. Through really well that day. Thank you.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    His FB & CB combo are among the best in the organization. When they stopped the CU experiment and sent him back down to Boise, he seemed to benefit quite a bit from that. His ultimate spot will be determined by his command & control. If he can command his stuff, and master that 3rd pitch... he has TOR potential. Thats probably a very small likelihood he realizes that ceiling though. So a more likely ceiling is that he ends up a dominant arm in the back of the BP. He's still really raw and far away so his floor is A ball....

    I'll let John tell you where he ranks compared to other prospects in the organization. This adversity early on may actually prove to be a good thing for him down the road.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    From what I understand, the Cubs simplified his repertoire and approach, subtracted the change-up and had him just try to pound the zone instead of trying to be too fine. That helped him take a big step forward but he'll have to try expand that if he is going to be anything but a reliever. He's still young, so there's time.

  • I meant threw really well that day in Boise. Sorry.

  • fb_avatar

    A suggestion that you may want to consider for your podcast is Fansportslive.com. It allows you the ability to incorporate video into your podcast. Just a suggestion.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Thank you Lou.

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    Any good places to stay near the Piggyback Lounge in case I decide to venture down from Wisconsin?

  • In reply to Ray:

    Oak Park/Forest Park not much for hotels. There is the Carelton of Oak Park, which isn't too far. Nice place from what I hear. I've only eaten there.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John.

  • In reply to Ray:

    There is also the "Write Inn" and some B&Bs: http://www.visitoakpark.com/leisure_accommodations.cfm

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    In reply to BradS:

    Thank you.

  • In reply to BradS:

    Thanks Brad. I really didn't know there were so many hotels around here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, you gave the best answer. The Carelton is really the only one within stumbling distance of the Piggyback. And it's home to two decent bars itself.

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    In reply to BradS:

    I love the Carleton. Can't we just pack sleeping bags and crash on John's floor?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Haha :) If you can sleep with my Doberman eyeballing you all night making sure you stay right where you are.

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    In reply to Ray:

    you can stay downtown and take the L to Oak Park.

  • You can laugh all you want but Samardzija's record as a starter shows he's a TOR SP. What's really laughable is that you would refer to Shark as a "29 year old prospect".

  • In reply to Paulson:

    You'd have confidence in Samrdzija starting a crucial playoff game? I sure wouldn't. His peripherals are nice but he sucked in the second half. Of course he could still be that pitcher but I don't understand why anyone would have confidence in him to win a meaningful game at this point.

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    In reply to Eric:

    I am on record as saying Samardzjia ends his career with less wins than Kerry Wood's 86. He still has to learn how to "pitch" and I don't know if his competitiveness will allow him to have to pitch to contact in certain situations.

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    In reply to Eric:

    I, for one, would love to see him pitch in the playoffs. Playing football at ND, he always excelled on primetime. Pitched pretty great on opening day last year (which, unfortunately, was probably the most meaningful game of the year).

  • Lots of posturing going on from all fronts! But, there is no doubt that the current management on the correct path for "sustained" success. Cubs fans who have "dealt" with it for 100+ years need to give these guys few years to get it right for the first time in a very loooooooooooong time.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Nice post. Yes give them the 4 to 5 years that they originally asked for. You can see the plan coming together soon.

  • Not trying to be facetious here, but what happens if when the Cubs are ready to spend on free agents, that the class is weak or that the good ones available are not at positions of need?

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Kinda like this weak class?

    Actually, I don't think the Cubs are going to ever be too dependent on free agency. They'll use it to add a piece the way the Cards did this year or the Red Sox last year. Those kind of guys are always around.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What if enough of the prospects don't pan out like we are all hoping they do? I know people here have used the Royals of an example of a system that was considered to be amazing at one point but hasn't lived up to the hype. You can only ask fans to be patient for so long.

  • In reply to Eric:

    That's always a possibility, but at least the team would have the flexibility, payroll wise, to determine if they have enough assets to make it worth buying free agents.

    I think the other thing that people forget about the Royals is they had a ton go wrong for them with their young players, had a payroll in 2013 that's $23M under the Cubs... and still went 10 games over .500.

    Considering the extra money the Cubs will have to play with above and beyond a team like the Royals, it seems like they'll have a lot of room for error with prospects.

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    In reply to Eric:

    That's why they are trying to build depth as well. Take third base for example. Out of Olt, baez, Bryant, Candelario and Villanueva, someone's bound to step up and take ownership of that job. In fact, most scouts believe that several of them will likely be productive major leaguers, meaning in a year or two, you may see Baez at 2B, Bryant in RF, Villanueva packaged to fill a need and candelario a phone call away at AAA. Good problems to have.

  • In reply to Eric:

    As long as they get a few impact players between all the prospects and the core players, then they've got a good base to build around.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Jed Hoyer just answered this question...

    JH: I guess I would say this. First of all the concept of going for it, I think what we are trying to do is build an organization that’s built for the long haul. That can stand up against a team like the Cardinals. I think that is the most important thing. The Cardinals have been built in such a way where they don’t go for it. They are just well built. They add pieces every off-season to augment what they already have. That is ultimately the goal is to get to the point where we are that kind of organization. One of the things that I think helped us in Boston a lot is that we were going up against a Yankee team that was coming off of those late-90s team that were some of the best teams of all-time. I think it raises your game when you have to compete against that. So, that is what we are trying to build. As far as a timetable, I guess all I would say is that we are really happy with where we are as far as organizational talent. I think we’ve added a ton of talent over the last couple of years. We will continue to do that and when exactly that turns into that sustained winner I am not sure. But I will say that if you told me that we would have added this much talent to the organization in two years I think that I would have been real happy having this conversation at the end of 2011.

  • John, how does the DFA process work? Specifically, should we have interest in Kyle McPherson? Can we claim him? A quick glance shows decent numbers at AA before TJS, still only 26...... I have to admit IDK anything about him.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Team have 10 days to look to trade the player or put him on waivers. My guess is the Pirates try to sneak him through waivers but if he's healthy he's definitely worth a look. Profiles as a mid rotation type innings eater who will throw strikes and miss enough bats to keep hitters honest.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Surgery was July... probably can't count on him for anything until 2015. Must be an educated gamble that they can sneak him through.

  • Congrats on starting the podcast. I was for you doing this way back in like May when I just discovered your blog. Been a loyal reader and occasional poster ever since, and nothing will change with the podcast too once its up and running. Maybe live internet radio could be close behind with fan participation. Wish I could make the winter meeting. Maybe this becomes an annual event and I can make it next time. Keep up the great work and expansion of your very successful career.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    Thanks. I hope it works out well.

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    Can we talk about any other player than Jeff Samardzjia? Including my comments, I feel like I am living a real life version of the movie Groundhog Day.

    I vote that on John's next article the first Jeff Samardzjia comment (in the absence of any real news, of course) gets the Private Pyle Bag of Bar Soap treatment.

    Can't we spend some time on another subject?

    Also - at this Winter Meeting Gathering of the Vibes -- what are the odds someone shows up wearing an NPB Masahiro Tanaka jersey?

    And by the way, does that "r" in Masahiro have a hard "t" pronunciation? Because that would be cool. I'll sit down and wait for my answer.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    ok, how about this (as I watch MLB Tonight discuss Samardzija-Toronto): next year my kid's travel team will go to Omaha for a tournament at the same time as the CWS. Parents are welcome but not required to attend. Has anyone been to this tournament, is it worth the trip, what is there to do besides the CWS, is it easy to get tickets to the CWS?

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Tickets will be tough to get but will be impossible if Jeff Samardzjia is pitching :)'

    I would go see your kid rather than the CWS, but, if he has free time and you can catch a game you should go. Ask the secretary of the traveklng squad to look into tickets.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Michael - It really is a great trip. We did it a few years ago and the CWS part is really fun if you follow it. Kids will get a kick out of it too. Competition is pretty good but varied. Fields can be nice to piles of crap. You could be sent out as far away as Lincoln so you are driving around a lot. All in all - a cool experience.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    we did the Cooperstown tourny in '12 - as you say, the kids had a blast, even though they got their butts kicked.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    It's really the only thing out there other than possible minor signings, which I have covered. There's a few more names available...Garrett Jones, Kyle McPherson, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Tyler Cloyd. The KC relievers are nice but I don't like their control issues and they're going to get expensive in terms of price and they will cost prospects. McPherson intriguing but TJ surgery in July means he won't help until 2015. Cloyd, Jones..ehh. Not thrilled.

    A few Baltimore guys Wieters, Hunter, and Reimold, will get tendered. Reimold was the only one with a shot of getting non-tendered, in my opinion. Can still trade for any of them.

    Have a guest post on rebuilding, but wasn't sure if I wanted to publish at this point with new writer coming tommorrow. Probably later this week.

    Will write on the bullpen tomorrow or Wednesday.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hey John, I meant in the comments section. You could do an picture essay on Kate Upton and the first comment would be on what the Cubs could potentially get in a Samardzjia trade how those pictures subliminally indicate which team will acquire the Shark.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Ha :) I know. I really don't blame everyone for talking about it though. There really isn't anything else going on. I actually shelved a couple of articles and so did Felzz. Just one of those days. Good day to take it slow.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Ha! That's funny because it's true.

  • From Twitter:

    Tomas Cabrera ‏@tomasjcabrera 4h
    #BlueJays han ofrecido a los #Cubs 4 prospectos por el derecho Jeff Samardzjia.

    Translation:
    BlueJays have offered the Cubs 4 prospects for righty Jeff Samardzjia.

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    FWIW, More crap I just make up:

    Robert Murray ‏@RobertMurrayMLB 11m
    Heard today that the #Cubs are not close to trading Jeff Samardzija.

    Mike Moody ‏@mqmoody 3m
    @RobertMurrayMLB Because they think they can extend him or because they can't get a decent return for him?

    Robert Murray ‏@RobertMurrayMLB 1m
    @mqmoody They can get a great return. Many teams interested.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    So the trade market for Shark is very strong and the Cubs FO is willing to let the market play out and let teams outbid each other. That's great news.

    (By the way if that first self-deprecating line in the beginning of your post was in reference to my remark yesterday about you "talking from your posterior", and it's still bothering you that I said that, then I apologize Mike. We can disagree without resorting to personal attacks.)

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It wasn't you, it was me. There were a couple comments commending you on the post.

    Sometimes the mirror is not a particularly pleasant thing.

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    MLBTR reporting dioner navarro is close to signing with someone. If it isn't the cubs, I don't know where they're going to replace his and Soriano's offense. We're counting on Rizzo and Castro to bounce back, which may not happen, and Castillo might not have the same year next year. Could be another year of wasted quality starts.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Heard the Marlins were interested in him, but that's about it, interest.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I heard Boston.

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    In reply to djriz:

    "Gammons doesn't have the name of the front-runner yet, but he adds that the Red Sox are not in pursuit"

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    Nothing serious here, but kind of fun seeing the guys Royals fans don't want to give up to get Shark:

    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=281&f=2054&t=12381246

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Everybody wants something for nothing...

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    What a coincidence. They don't want to give up Bubba, and we don't want him. It's perfect!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It must be nice for those people to have trade discussions with no basis in reality. It so much simpler! Seriously though, those comments just make me appreciate how lucky we are to have knowledgeable posters contributing to the discussion here at Cubs Den .

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Just saw a rumor that Cubs are kicking the tires on Juan Uribe.

    He would definitely be an upgrade over Barney at 2nd offensively and if Mike Olt doesn't set the world on fire like we all hope in Spring Training, Uribe could be a fall back option at 3rd as well.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    They did say they were looking for veteran leadership. Uribe is well-liked. Thinking he might be more Valbuena's platoon partner at 3B, though. Hasn't played even half a season at 2B in his career. Closest was 77 games in 2004 and he hasn't played there at all in 2 years. I think his body is built more for a corner these days, but he could add a little pop and some of that veteran leadership in the infield.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Where did you see the rumor, by the way?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry was watching the Hawks game, I saw it on twitter from MLB News...

    MLB NEWS ‏@MLB_NL_AL 7h
    MLB NOTES
    Yankees close with Beltran.
    Red Sox out on Ellsburry
    Cubs looking at Uribe
    Rangers and Rays having serious talk about Price trade

    LINK: https://twitter.com/MLB_NL_AL/status/405113902708453376

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Thanks. I don't know that guy but the idea sort of intrigues me.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Since Uribe will be 35 to start next season and I doubt he'll have much 'flip' value, I wonder if they would want him to fill the Soriano 'leadership' role? A Spanish speaking veteran could have value.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Well, whether it's true, I like the idea. Decided to write a quick article. Thanks Ghost Dawg.

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    A couple of blurbs taken verbatim from MLBTR which tie into discussions we've had here:

    Recent reports have linked the Blue Jays to Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, but the club has not made any trade offers to acquire a starter, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB Network Radio (via MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm). Though Anthopoulos did not deny interest, or that the club has talked things over with Chicago, he did dampen expectations of any major news before the Winter Meetings. "Before the Thanksgiving holiday sometimes there's that last little push [when] teams want to get some things off their plate," said Anthopoulos. "So maybe things happen here in the next two or three days. If not, we'll take it to the [Winter Meetings], I guess, at that point."

    The Diamondbacks are down on the free agent market, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. "I've spoken a little to our own free agents," said GM Kevin Towers. "But from the looks of where this free agent market is right now and where it's headed, it's not a place where I want to do a lot of business." Gilbert notes that the club has made an offer to infielder Eric Chavez, but that he is still mulling interest from other landing spots.

    Mozeliak also said that the club looked around at possible trades [for shortstops], but found the cost prohibitive, tweets Stan McNeal of FOX Sports Midwest.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sounds very much like what we've said here. Makes sense.

  • Was reading a chat from the scout Jason Parks, they asked him who he liked better, Gregory Polanco or Kris Bryant. Said he really like Polanco, but Bryant, although he will probably strike out more, will be a 35 plus homerun hitter, so he would take him. I hope he is right.
    Also said that the guy the Cubs just promoted, I forget his name, sorry, was one of the best baseball scouts in the world.

  • Count me in for Piggyback, John. That place is terrific.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Very cool. Looking forward to it.

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