Winter Meetings Thread: Posting System, Daytona, Samardzija, Quade, and other notes

According to CBS Sports and others, the current proposal from MLB to NBP regarding the posting system calls for a maximum bid.  If multiple teams make the maximum bid, then the outcome is unclear.  One report suggests that the player would then get to choose which team to negotiate with while another claims that the team with the worst record the preceding season would get the pick.  Unsurprisingly, Yankee fans are unhappy with this change.  Also unclear is where the limit would be set.  There are some indications that figure is a major sticking point for Japanese teams, understandably.  Since MLB wants lower revenue clubs to have a chance at the Japanese imports, the limit would likely be set at a level that mid market teams could compete with the aforementioned Yankees and the other major market teams.

The changes are most important because they will determine the posting process for RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who the Cubs would like to add to their rotation.  The changes would be a bit of a mixed bag for the Cubs.  If you thought that the Yankees and Rangers were likely to outbid the Cubs in the pursuit of Tanaka, then this is a good thing because it means the Cubs can do no worse than tie, if they choose to.  However, there is no guarantee that Tanaka would choose to negotiate with the Cubs if he is allowed to pick.

The Cubs are clearly in better shape if it is based on team record but, given that the Astros made a trade for Dexter Fowler yesterday, if the limit is low enough they may decide to Add Tanaka to a rotation that already bosts Mark Appel and will likely add Carlos Rodon in July.  The White Sox may also choose to make a splash in the free agent market once again.  Personally, I hope that the player's destination is not based on prior season record because it would give one more major inducement to tanking seasons.

UPDATE:   If the tweet MLBTR is linking can be believed, NPB is prepared to accept a proposal with a $20 million minimum bid.  This will open up the bidding process on Tanaka and you can pretty much be assured that the Cubs will match that number and will be among the teams vying for Tanaka's services, but it is difficult to see many teams staying out at that price.

UPDATE #2: I just heard from more than one source who say that team with the worst record will not get exclusive rights.  That benefits the Cubs as the Astros, Marlins, or Sox surely would have paid $20M.  All teams that tie for the bid get the right to negotiate with Tanaka.  Not officially confirmed...so stay tuned.

UPDATE #3: Jeff Passan confirms what I reported in Update #2.

In other news:

10:00 PM

  • Patrick Mooney has a story on Samardzija in which he emphasizes that Theo's first choice is to extend the right hander.  "I’m still of the belief that he can be a guy here. He’s got the exact makeup we’re looking for. So if there’s a way to get it done where he can be a Cub for longer than the next two years, we’re going to pursue that. He wants it. We want it."  The truth is, you can see what you want to see in these statements.  If you think Theo wants to resign him, you take this at face value.  If you think Theo is thinking only about the trade market, this looks like attempts to gain leverage.  My guess is that he's sincere, but he's fully aware that publicly saying this increases his leverage.
  • Stop the presses!  We have a Cubs transaction to report.  According to Bob Nightengale, the Cubs have signed LHP Wesley Wright to a 1 year, $1.425 million contract.  Wright, who turns 29 in January, has played six seasons in the majors, mostly with the Astros.  He strikes out about a batter per inning, but has struggled with walks.  The walk rate has improved in recent years.  He was very effective for the Rays in 16 games last season.  Looks like a good bargain signing and an effective lefty to pair with James Russell in the bullpen.

 

8:00 PM

A new potential suitor has emerged for David Price and it's the Seattle Mariners.  Here's the thing:  They may be willing to give up Taijuan Walker to get him.  That is huge.  If Walker goes in a Price deal, that certainly gives the Cubs some precedent to obtain a higher level, more MLB ready pitcher than previously thought.    If the Mariners pull off the deal, then it gives the Cubs a better comp than the Fister deal.  If they don't land Price, who is to say they won't turn to the Cubs next?  Yes, Samardzija isn't the pitcher that Price is, but if Walker isn't enough to land Price...that would be a good thing for the Cubs, wouldn't it?

3:30 PM

  • (John): Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Cubs will be doing some "serious listening" on Jeff Samardzija during the winter meetings.   It's a curious choice of words.  It makes it sound more like an invitation than anything.  I'm sure that is by design as "aggressively shopping" makes you sound like you are desperate to make a deal. And as I mentioned earlier, that is not how the Cubs want to position themselves.
  • More draft stuff.  MLB.com's Mayo and Callis held a chat session today, and I got some stuff on the draft.  Callis sees the Cubs taking the best pitcher available.  Right now, as I mentioned earlier, he suspects that will be Beede, but subject to change as the season goes on.  More interestingly, I asked Jonathan Mayo who he could see making a Jonathan Gray-like charge up draft boards this year.  He replied with San Diego State right-hander Michael Cederoth.
  • An account that seems to belong to former third baseman Fernando Tatis (he plays for the Cardinals and the Mets, among others) claims that Curtis Granderson has signed with the Mets.  The account is not verified, but he does have 9,000 followers, so it looks legit.  As of this morning, ESPN had the sides looking at a 3 year deal.
  • Ken Rosenthal reports, that the A's and D'Backs discussed a trade that would have sent OF Cespedes to AZ for SP Skaggs and OF Pollock but that the deal is off.  Neither side comfortable with it.  It makes me wonder if that's the bait D'Backs using to try and get Samardzija, I don't see it happening.  Pollock is a nice player, especially on defense but there are questions with Skaggs.  I don't blame the A's for backing off on that one.

UPDATES: 2:30 PM

  • A longish article by Jerry Crasnick on the DBacks desire to trade for an Ace.  Short version: they need an ace and are willing to trade good players for it, but not Archie Bradley.
  • Tim Brown at Yahoo tweets: With Ellsbury off board, Choo getting lots of attention. My guess, Rangers the favorites there.
  • Gordon Wittenmeyer jumps in on Tanaka and also sees the Cubs as major players.  He reiterates that the posting process isn't counted in player spending for the purposes of the debt agreements.
  • Baseball America named the Daytona Cubs their minor league team of the year. Among the highlights for the D-Cubs were Javier Baez's 4 home run game in June, Matt Loosen's no-hitter in July, and winning the FSL Championship in September.  Manager Dave Keller was quoted as saying, “I’ve been in professional baseball for 31 years, and there was stuff I hadn’t seen in either forever or a long time."
  • I'd noticed that Jeff Samardzija chat on Twitter ticked up among Toronto fans and bloggers prior to Thanksgiving and among Orioles fans and bloggers immediately after.  This week, however, there has been surprisingly little chatter outside of Cubs fans.  It's unclear how to interpret that.
  • Former Cubs Manager Mike Quade accepted a job with the Yankees as a roving outfield coordinator, reuniting him with former boss Jim Hendry.
  • Right city, wrong team, Paul Konerko has decided to put off retirement at least a year and accepted a one year deal with the White Sox.
  • Yesterday was pretty crazy with five trades and agreements by free agents Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox to Yankees), Justin Morneau (Pirates to Rockies), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Red Sox to Marlins). I'm going to try to have some analysis of the trades up later today.  For John and my sanity, I'm hoping for a quieter afternoon.
  • It's never too early: Jim Callis did a mock of the first 10 picks in the 2014 MLB Draft.  He has the Cubs selecting Vanderbilt (yay!) righty Tyler Beede.  His partner Jonathan Mayo has also started mlb.com's 2014 prospect lists with the Draft Top 50.

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  • fb_avatar

    I think the posting process should be reversed and I am too tired to see the logic behind the opposite view. But what if the player negotiated his own contract as a free agent, and then the team that signs him has to negotiate the posting fee with NPB before he is released from his Japanese team?

    Would the process just be too long and drawn out in that instance? Like I said, I am on no sleep here for two days so I may just be way off base.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Seems like it would waste time to negotiate with a player that the Japanese team may not let go. Also the player would get to negotiate a higher salary that way and then the MLB team would have or be less inclined to send a higher posting fee to the team. No way the NPL agrees to that.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I thought that was the whole point of the posting process--that the Japanese team wanted to be paid for releasing the player from his contract to be able to negotiate with an MLB team. While MLB is concerned about competition for a player among its teams, I'm sure that the ultimate posting amount is the concern of the Japanese team.

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    So the A's signed Kazmir now, making a trade of Brett Anderson that much more likely. I'd love for the Cubs to snag him, but I'm afraid that there are too many other teams interested (Yankees, Blue Jays, Indians, Mariners) to get a value deal.

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    Nicely done, Mike.

    However, I think baseball still needs more ways to help the bottom teams get better so while I don't think it will happen, I like the idea of basing who gets to negotiate with a Japanese player (if the cap is met) on record.

    There should, however, be safeguards in place to prevent a team like Houston from repeatedly winning the negotiating rights over a period of years.

    At any rate, as it stands now the richer teams can more or less buy these players if they want to (to an even greater extent than free agency since you can buy exclusive negotiating rights), and that needs to change.

  • John, if the Cubs are going to draft a player in the Rule V draft
    will they sign a non-tendered player since they have the room.
    Who are some of the players available that you like

  • The way salaries are getting more out of hand the only thing for
    the Cubs to do is improve their farm system more. The only
    way to add good pitching prospects is to trade any veteran that
    can get them these prospects

  • Nice see to Quade got a job he's more suited to, hope he does well with Yankees.

  • Excellent job Mike...

    The money they gave Ellsbury is ridiculous. I don't see how he can ever earn that with his tools... that's a knock on him so much as it is this FA stuff is getting ridiculous. Big contracts used to be reserved for marquee players that drew fans in... not computed on WAR for everyday regulars...

    I hope Callis is right. Then again if Beede takes that next step, he won't be there at #4.

    I'd interpret the lack of Shark chatter as Epstoyer isn't going to sell in anything less than a sellers market. I think they'll let the FA ride last a little longer and see what happens with the Tanaka situation, then they can pretty much set their price as long as it's below what TB wants for Price...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I agree with his years & amount of money being ridiculous. The guy is an above average everyday regular though. He's a top the order hitter with OBP & pop, steals a ton of bases & plays good D on top of it.

    Not defending that contract by any means, though it's not my (our) money, but the guy is a very good & exciting ball player. Would have looked great patrolling the Cubs OF, especially with the exciting OF prospects soon to come. And I do believe there would have been an up tick in ticket sales if he had signed here. We'll never know now. For the sake of the game, I hope he doesn't collide with his fellow Yankee outfielders & earns his pay check on the ball field, not the DL.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Agreed, but his contract has Soriano 2.0 written all over it. Ellsbury will likely be productive for about 3 years, then start to decline halfway through. The Stankees are already stuck with declining contracts like CC, Tex and Mr ARoid. Seems like Hank Steinbrenner doesnt have his dads business sense.

  • My gut feeling is that Theo and Jed are just waiting to pounce on something.

    Their pot is brewing. I don't believe that they are as "quiet" as they appear to be.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Maybe Broom Hilda will brew up another Edwin Jackson.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I hope you're right. I'm ready for some additions/improvements to the 25 man roster.

  • Mayo did his Top 10 Mock picks too and has the Cubs taking Trea Turner...

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/12/winter-meetings-thread-posting-system-daytona-samardzija-quade-and-other-notes/

    I'd love for there to be a SP worth taking at #4, but Turner is an intriguing option because he should move fast, stick at SS, and be able to hit leadoff. But lots of people question the hit tool, so hopefully either he answers those questions this season or another SP steps up.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Either way... we're going to get a very good player at #4. really, this draft is deep enough, that we could get a legit #3 innings eater with our 2nd pick too (P Johnson - part deux)

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    As of today the Cubs 2nd round pick is #54 - Note: This can change a couple spots depending on if any of the qualified players sign with their original team.

    This is a great link, they update the draft order regularly (notice Ellsbury hasn't passed his physical with the Yanks yet, so they haven't taken away the yanks #32 pick yet)

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2014/order.jsp

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Yeah, I've been perusing the mock drafts too. They're all over the place so far. Most have Rodon going #1, but I saw 1, BBall Draft Report, picking Toussaint #1 & Rodon falling to the Cubs at #4. Granted, that was done back in June, so was an early guess. 2 others had Hoffman falling to #4.

    What would be interesting to do is take all of the mock drafts & put them together & see what the computed pick for the Cubs would be. I don't think Rodon falls in that scenario & don't think he falls in real life either, for that matter. With this pitching rich draft, I could see them picking the best hitter available again unless a stud falls.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I can't agree with that. Toussaint is not going #1 and Rodon not slipping to #4. I like the kid but there is so much work to do as far as command and consistency with his secondaries.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Love your work. I agree - there is no way Rodon even falls below #1, unless his agent is Boras and he wants to play that game he did 2 years ago (didn't end well for Appel). But....

    I ran into a mock draft summary from Through The Fence, where they listed the top 6 players from various sites including Cubs Den. According to them, Cubs Den had Trea Turner as the top pick but did not have Carlos Rodon in the top 6. I know it was from 7/17, but what gives or did they get it wrong?

    http://throughthefencebaseball.com/the-draft-board

  • In reply to CubJoe:

    That's crazy.... I have been on here daily for 2+ and have never seen John list Turner as #1...

  • In reply to CubJoe:

    There is BLF's combined top 25.
    http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/11/26/mlb-draft-top-25-prospects-poll/

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No I don't agree with it either. I was just saying what I saw from the Base Ball Draft Report's mock draft back in June. I had a chuckle when I saw it. The compilation of mock drafts I saw had Rodon going #1 mostly, Hoffman #2 on a few but from their it was all over creation.

  • I'm with you Mike, I hope that's it's NOT based on prior year worst record. Obviously for selfish short term reasons I would love it this year (if the max posting fee is high enough to keep out s.m. teams), but since I have faith in where this organization is headed, that would screw us in the long term as good teams basically won't have much of a chance at the top quality Japanese Free Agents.

    Also to your point, the last thing that the MLB needs is ANOTHER reason for teams to tank a season. They already get higher draft picks in the 1st year player draft, more money to spend (which can be used to acquire better talent in later rounds as well), and more slot money for under 25 international free agents. They don't need to add best shot at top quality Japanese players to this list.

    As I mentioned yesterday, the best thing the MLB could do is institute a salary floor like the NHL to keep teams from doing what Houston & Miami did this year. After all each club receives an equal amount of the national tv, digital rights, etc. money, so why shouldn't they have to maintain a minimum level of quality for the product that they are contributing to the league.

    I'm hoping the posting max is 40-50 million vs 20-30. 20-30 is low enough that most teams can hit that max, which makes te max pointless.

  • Also.... Tyler Beede.... Yes, Please!

  • John/Kevin:

    I got a question about the scouting scale... Mayo (I know - it's Mayo) rates Kolek as a 75 (future) grade on his FB. The kid work 94-96 pretty consistently, has lots of action/life on it, and can reach back and hit 99 with regularity. I realize at 6'5" 235lbs, there's not a whole lot of projection here (if any), even though he's only 18.... but WTH does he have to do to get an 80?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Verlander works at 96-97 with movment and command. I'd say that's an 80.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That was kind of my point... There's good and bad with Mayo, granted, but does he NEVER give out an 80 grade? I can't image this kid's FB not being an 80 grade (assuming that velocity is accurate).

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Mayo gave Nick Burdi an 80 FB at #33

  • fb_avatar

    This draft makes me crazily nervous. If the top goes Rodon/ Hoff / Treat, I really don't like where that leaves us. I'm not sold on Beede, at all. And I don't want a HS player this year or this high.
    It'll be an interesting process to watch develop.

    My dark horse to emerge as a top-5 pick is Karsten Whitson. ( he has already been drafted by Hoyer)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I am absolutely in love with Tyler Beede. Their are reports this winter that he has found his release point and is looking dominant. Remember it's never been about his mechanics or his stuff, he is a beast...if his command is improved then my only worry is that he doesn't make it to the Cubs st #4.

    Tyler Beede has the ideal 6'4", 215 lb lean, athletic build that you look for in a durable innings eating pitcher. His frame will allow for added strength as he matures. He has a loose, fast arm and smooth mechanics. He isn't the kind of player that often makes it to college in the first place.

    On the mound, Beede possesses the stuff of a top line arm. His fastball sits 92-94 and can get up to 97. When he works down in the zone, it has good movement. His curveball is 80-83 with hard downward action. When he's on, it's an out pitch. His change is in the 78-82 MPH range and is spectacular at times showing great depth and fade. It's a plus-plus pitch at times.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    The last 2 paragraphs aren't mine but are a snippet from Minor League Ball.

  • David Waldstein ‏@DavidWaldstein 14m
    Source: Combination of Ellsbury signing and uncertainty over what new posting system will be means that Tanaka now very iffy for Yankees.

    NY Times reporter...now all the Cubs need to do is worry about the Dodgers! And the Rangers...and the Red Sox...and the Mystery Team...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I thought the Cubs were always the Mystery Team? :) I really hope that the Yanks are out of the bidding on him. If he is even posted this year. I think the Cubs may finally win a posted player.

  • "I hope that the player's destination is not based on prior season record because it would give one more major inducement to tanking seasons" -- a very salient point. MLB needs to protect its product across all 32 teams and 162 games schedules. Letting teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City go into a long perpetual declines was fairly embarrassing.

    Looking forward to the Saltalamachia post. I don't know what to make of the Marlins getting him. My only guess is that 3rd guaranteed year was the difference. Also the Red Sox giving a Pierzynski $8 M for one year, but not a 28 yo Salty an average of $7M per year for 3 seems askew at first glance. But in general, it never seems smart to over-invest in the catching position with multi-year contracts unless you have the premier player of his generation (Bench, Molina). Still wish the Cubs had gotten Salty for some veteran leadership. Development isn't helped when it is just young players, a rookie manager, and his coaching staff.

  • fb_avatar

    Gonna post this in comments, since it definitely isn't solid enough to post in the main article. Still interesting, though:

    Fernando Tatis (Yes, *that* Fernando Tatis) 16m
    source, granderson to the mets unofficially....

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha :) It would not surprise me if he is right.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I've seen a fair number of things say that (sadly) isn't Tatis, though the account is one of the most entertaining to follow.

  • At this point signing over priced over 30 FA's is not the way to go

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Agreed on that.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree 100%. Ellsbury,Choo,Cano for 7 years is crazy. You could wind up paying 3-4 years with not much production.
    As for Shark I would not panic and just wait and somebody will bite.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    Funny, someone bit (for) the shark

  • As of right now, seems like there are 3 really desireable college arms at the top of this draft in Rodon, Hoffman, and Beede. Would be happy if the Cubs get any of the 3.

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    "Gordon Wittenmeyer reiterates that the posting process isn't counted in player spending for the purposes of the debt agreements."

    Why is that? They either have the money to spend or they don't.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Pooch7171:

    The debt they took out has provisions which restrict the amount of money that can be spent relative to income. (Hence the huge push to get more signage in Wrigley.) However, like all such financial deals, there are loopholes. My somewhat uneducated guess would be that they are capable of declaring the posting fee a one-time expense, and thus keep it out of operating expenses.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's pretty much what I have been reading. The posting fee would not be considered part of payroll which is tied to the revenue in the deal.

    BTW, great job on the winter meetings threads and thanks for the many updates.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Thanks for the kind words and for digging further into this.

  • At Wrigley for the Season Ticket Relocation Event and there are plenty of seats available. Also plenty of construction.

    They also announced that this is the last year they will be doing this event due to the renovations. Next year it will be done online

  • So the NPB posting fee is only $20MM, this is bad news for the Cubs on Tanaka, right? Because it means half the teams in baseball can afford that entry point.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Sorry, since there's no edit key, I add that now I see it's very bad news because of the reverse standings proviso. No way all three of Houston, Miami and the White Sox pass on Tanaka at $20MM plus contract.

    Plan C? Plan D?

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Depends on language of proviso. If it's just one team that gets the rights, i imagine the Astros will once again be rewarded for tanking seasons.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You said 20mm MINIMUM? Or did you mean Maximum?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    The link says maximum.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Worse than that, they are saying it's going to be worst record first.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    The posting fee is $20MM and if more than 1 team posts this bid, the team with the worst record gets the rights to negotiate.

    So the Cubs would be fourth in line if the Astros, Marlins and White Sox all post the $20MM.

    As John pointed out above, the Astros could sign Tanaka, draft Rondon and pair them with Appel, all of a sudden they have a really good staff.

    The question though for them isn't the $20MM posting fee. It is the $60-100MM salary that may be tough for them to swallow.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    So if I'm an NPB team why would I post Tanaka for 20M when I can have the best pitcher in my league for the next few years and then probably still post him when he is 30 years old when an MLB team would like still post a 20M bid. (I suppose this all depends on how long a team owns a players rights in the NPB)

    Seems like MLB is overthinking this one just like when they tied draft picks to Qualifying Offers

  • In reply to Bochedda:

    As I understand it, in two years Tanaka becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with no money going to his team.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    I thought it was four years, but even if it isn't, I imagine a lot of mileage could be added to his arm by that time.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    And what prevents a team like Houston from posting the $20M with no intentions to really sign Tanaka? If Tanaka doesn't take the contract offer he just goes back to Japan and the posting fee goes back to a team like Houston......

    Seems like a bad way to do this, imo......

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    It may not be Houston though. In terms of the Cubs they're are three others with worse records. The White Sox will likely be all over this.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I don't see any reason that they wouldn't sign him with the intention of trading him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Greg Menke:

    If he busts, its just money. I can't see any team giving up quality prospects for a complete unknown.

  • fb_avatar

    So, anyone want to have the "good to tank" discussion again?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    If Dave Cameron is right and the Astros get Tanaka, then absolutely.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So, Atlanta Braves, you interested in Shark. Cuz I'm interested in Lucas Sims.

  • If the debt agreement loophole is legit - you have to believe the Cubs are all over this.

    I still can't fathom / understand how the use of debt instruments can impact payroll to such an extreme degree. I have a fundamental understanding of debt covenants and get that the Trib needed a portion of the purchase to be finance with debt due to tax purposes - but Ricketts couldn't / can't figure out some loopholes? How about establishing a second family trust as the primary lender thereby having the flexibility to set the covenants? How about having one of his rich cousins to drop $20M annually on a skybox and then 'gifting him'.5% team ownership every year in return?

    And why in the world aren't the Cubs auctioning off naming rights for the stadium? Mets got 20 year / $20M per year naming rights from Citi. You'd think the Cubs could get something similar. Wrigley Field at Pepsi Park or Wrigley Field at Boeing Park. It require no construction and an extremely small financial investment with huge annual revenues....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Roscoe Village:

    The funny thing is, the park already has a corporate name and they continue to give it away for free. If it were me, the first phone call I make is to the Wrigley folks and say, "You like your name up on that marquee? Well from now on, it's gonna cost you"

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I read somewhere that the Tribune Company or Sam Zell tried that with Wrigley and they told them to go fish. They basically called their bluff.

    The Ricketts could try again though.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    It's much more complicated Zell basically sold the Cubs in a "non-sale", so he had to pay no taxes....

    From "Sam Zell's dodgy sale of the Chicago Cubs"

    Now Zell is trying to get around the problem he created when he converted Tribune from a standard C corporation to an S corporation in order to avoid taxes. Firms making that switch owe corporate gains taxes if within 10 years of the change they sell assets, such as the Cubs, in which they had "built-in gains."

    Hence Zell's nonsale sale of the Cubs, which works like this. The Ricketts family, founders of Ameritrade (now TD Ameritrade (AMTD)), will put $150 million of cash into a partnership that will also borrow up to $698 million. Tribune will put the Cubs, the Wrigley Field stadium in which they play, and related assets into the partnership.

    Tribune would emerge with $740 million of cash and 5% of the partnership, while the Rickettses would have 95% and operating control. Call me naive, but it sure seems to me that when you start with 100% and full control and end up with 5%, $740 million, and no control, you've sold 95%.

    Zell's tax folk, however, will argue that Tribune is getting nontaxable proceeds from a leveraged partnership. They'll also argue that Tribune's guarantee of some of the partnership's borrowings makes it a true partner of the Rickettses. Hello? A debt guarantee from a bankrupt company? What's that worth? Can you spell "nothing"?

    By my estimate Tribune would have about a $720 million gain -- the $740 million, less 95% of the $21 million Tribune paid for the Cubs in 1981. At a 40% federal-state combined rate, the gain would generate around $290 million in taxes. Instead, that money will go to Tribune's creditors.

  • I don't understand Mike, you're 2nd update ends with "All teams that tie for the bid get the right to negotiate with Tanaka."

    If the maximum is $20 million then that means the posting process is basically pointless as practically EVERY team in baseball will bid the $20 million for the right to negotiate with Tanaka, why wouldn't they? You don't lose anything if you miss out. So you are saying it's basically an open auction now with a $20 million buy-in that is refundable if you don't win the player.

    That can't be it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That was actually John but, at the moment, that appears to be the system.

    Things are still a little confusing and there is no official announcement.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sorry - it get's confusing to tell who is posting what. Yo are doing a great job though Mike. Really good info.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    No, I understand the confusion. (There is some behind the scenes stuff that's mucking the gears a bit.) Wanted to give credit for that were it was due, though.

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    The posted player might get to select from any teams that have the highest bid.

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    There's no way the deal can be as simple as, essentially, tie goes to lowest record.

    Even the MLB has to see that would be an invitation to worse than NBA level tanking. It's a double-bonus to tank. A #1 pick and rights to the best Japanese posts?

    There has to be more sense.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    It's harder to tank in MLB than in the NBA. More players, more games, and less impact that any single player can make on his team's season performance means that MLB team winning percentages rarely go below .400.

    Contrast that to the NBA. Last year, 9 teams had a sub .400 winning percentage, and Charlotte won approximately 1 out of 10 games! The season before, a laughable 6 teams had a sub .300 winning percentage. An MLB team would have to lose 114 games to post a sub .300 winning percentage, something that hasn't happened since the historically inept 2003 Tigers.

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems like a coup for the MLB ownership group. What's in it for NPB?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    NPB wins if posting fee is non-refundable, I presume. If 5 teams bid, that's $100M for them regardless of who gets him. It's why it seems it only works if there are multiple teams allowed to win bid and negotiate. Otherwise it doesn't make too much sense. You might as well just hand him over to the Astros.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Non-refundable posting fee sounds wrong. Owners wouldn't go for that.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    If it was non-refundable the NPB would RUN to sign that contract, you could easily have 10+ teams in the bidding even in a non-refundable situation for a player of Tanaka's caliber. I don't think that's it.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Yeah I can't imagine that the bids are non-refundable. That would swing the benefits so far in the other direction that MLB owners would walk away. I think we just need to wait and see, because right now a maximum bid of $20M is not making sense to me. There has to be something we don't know yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe in the big scheme more NPB teams win, because more players will want to play in MLB for a bigger piece of the pie. Thus, more players coming to MLB and more (although in smaller portions) postings going to NPB. Just a thought.

  • If this is true than the MLB is a bunch of morons as they just made Japanese players Free Agents - If all teams that post $20 Million get the right to negotiate then Tanaka's contract just went to $20+ million/per year - In which case the Cubs debt provisions probably do take them out of the bidding. I'm hoping this is wrong.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Also if the Japanese team knows that $20 million is the max they can get why would they let Tanaka go this year? He is 2 years from free agency so they ca have him pitch this year in Japan and still get $20 million next year for posting him.

  • Now reports are out there that a Japanese player can choose with whom he would like to negotiate with in case of multiple teams posting the same bid.

    Looks like we need to wait for an official announcement as to what the process is.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    That's what I heard it will be...but trying to confirm. No luck so far.

  • It's not entirely awful for the NPA because there would be less incentive to let really good players go. As a league they want to keep their players, as individual teams they can't pass up huge $$$ so by limiting $$$ they keep more players.

    So very unclear if the 2 day old LATimes article is correct about the player getting to negotiate w/ all teams.

  • Under that process if the Cubs miss on Tanaka and trade Samardzija, the team will be in good shape to get the #1 draft and top Japanese post for next year without intentionally tanking.

  • The quick scouting report on Aaron Nola seems pretty promising. "Impeccable command of three pitches" and if he can get stronger and work his fastball at around 95 rather than 91-93 I feel like he would be a no brainer in the top ten. Maybe he will climb the boards this summer.

    "Among the 2014 college pitching crop, he may be the best bet to reach his ceiling"

    I like that as well.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Been sayin Nola at 4 isn't a reach and at the end of the day might be the best arm to come out of this class. John and Kevin see him as a #3 , I see a guy with great command , 3 plus pitches and gets people out.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree with you and I actually think Nola could easily outperform many that are picked ahead of him, but he just doesn't fit the profile of a Top 5 pick. High floor, but ceiling also a premium at the top and I think his is more limited than some of the other guys mentioned (Rodon, Hoffman, Beede, Newcomb). I think he could sneak into the top 10, but top 5 seems like a stretch to me.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    5 years from now sticky tab this one John, Nola will be better than Beede and possibly Hoffman. He is near MLB ready now . Many a few months ago before seeing film or having seen him in person had him a late 1st, now He has been seen by more scouts and he is coming in around 10 . With a repeat season of last year He will challenge for a higher pick. I just dont want to see him with that red magpie accross his chest .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I have seen him pitch along with Beede and Rondon. Nola stuff isn't close it just isn't. That doesn't mean he can't be a good pitcher his command is great butif Beede's command continues they way it was his fall. Beede will be the best pitcher to vonebout of the draft.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Nola is not close to the pitcher Beede is.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    a couple extra ticks on a FB doesnt overide the ability to with precision command 3 pitches . I base my opinion on having pitched myself at higher than a HS level and seeing all 3 guys Hoffman / Beede/ Nola . Your opinion is like saying because Marmol throws with better velocity than Glavine he is a better PITCHER . Pitching is alot more than velocity of a FB . Nola is a bulldog who locates , doesnt beat Himself and gets results. Forget the name in front of the stat line . Beede / Nola same conferance but Nola better results and my opinion, key word there is He will get better results long term than Beede . Scout fall in love with tools, I like baseball players who have that special something that You watch and just know they are going to be good, Almora is a guy like that who I was hoping the Cubs would draft , hope Cubs take Nola , again just my opinion .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    He might be, but it might be because he's a #3 starter and the others don't make it -- but a high floor, #3 ceiling guy is not the type of guy you take in the top 5. You have to look for major impact at the top, especially in what looks like a strong class.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    look at Ghost Dawgs post John in the starting Rotation thread where Baseball America classifies what makes a 1-5 in rotation. Nola checks alot of blocks for a # 3 . Plus make up , plus command and depending who your talking to anywhere between 1-3 plus pitches that at minimum by Baseball America's criteria is no less than a 2 .. Beauty of baseball , different projections on the same player. I guess I see a higher floor/ ceiling than a few .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I do know what makes up a 1-5, though definitions do vary. Opinions can always differ. At any rate, I don't see the 3 plus pitches. I think his 3 pitches have a chance at being average to above average -- maybe the curve becomes a plus pitch, FB above average, and the change right now looks like an average offering.

    There is also the issue of a smaller build and the ability to carry the heavy workload of a front line starter. Not crazy about the arm slot either.

    He's a good pitcher, just not the guy you normally seen getting taken with a top 5 pick, especially in a draft that is strong with higher ceiling college arms. We can agree to disagree on this. I think he'll be a solid to good big leaguer and quite possibly better than some of the college arms picked ahead of him, but when you have that top 5 pick, you have to go for that bigger upside.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We can agree to agree to having different opinions on Nola , no .worries

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    You do know it's not just my opinion, right? It's pretty much universal he isn't a top 5 caliber prospect.

  • The Owners In The NPB Have A Good Deal Going. WhyWoUld They Change It? & WhySMyPhoneCapitalizingEveryWord?

  • In reply to plymkr:

    Is it a capital I phone?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Lol. ItDoesn't Do It On Other Sites. Idk.

  • In reply to plymkr:

    Obviously, the baseball gods recognise the significance of your every word.

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    So, Quade is with the Yankees now, huh? Maybe he'll teach Girardi his patented two-for-one switch. lol

  • If all teams that bid the max of $20 million get the right to negotiate then record doesn't matter at all. Do you think the Yankees or the Dodgers are going to bid $19 million? No. Everybody that wants Tanaka will bid the $20 million and Tanaka will be a free agent just like any other which means that his salry just went to $20 million+ per.

    I think that would take the Cubs out of the running. I don't think the Cubs are prepared to tie up that much salary in an unproven pitcher.

    If this is really the deal then the MLB ruined a good thing. Like I said earlier why would Tanaka's team post him this year when they can get $20 million for him next offseason (since that's the max)

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    Well looks Dave O'Brien's at least mentioning Shark as possible Braves acquisition. http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-braves/2013/dec/04/braves-quiet-baseballs-top-tuesday/

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Sounds like he's just speculating, though. But maybe he has a basis for that. Who knows?

  • Just as most suggested after the Fielder-Kinsler trade...

    Jason Beck Tigers beat reporter:

    Dombrowski: "We're looking at Nick Castellanos as our third baseman. Miguel Cabrera is going to first base for us." So that's now set.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Would they be better off with VMart at 1B and Cabrera DH?

  • Ha! False Alarm, Their is NO deal between MLB & NPB per Ben Badler of BA and Japanese Media....

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler

    "Japanese media report says posting system negotiations will continue tomorrow "

    and also...

    MLB, NPB's Japan will continue talks on posting agreement Thursday

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    The link is in Japanese if anybody can translate. google trans doesn't make much sense...

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20131204/k10013582911000.html

  • It says "no agleement has been compreted.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Sorry.....I don't think I am supposed to laugh but I did. Shame on you.

  • If the max bid is $20M and the player can negotiate with everyone, this could significantly hurt the Yankees. Tanaka was of interest to them because the luxury tax threshold doesn't apply to posting bids. So they could bid high and then low ball the Tanaka salary (similar to how Darvish only got 6 years, $60M).

    With a $20M max bid and then essentially player free agency, the contract Tanaka is going to sign will go through the roof. Could be 7 years, $120-$130M. And then the AAV of that would go towards the Yankees payroll, which would then be subject to the luxury tax threshold.

    Of course, this all assumes they sign one of Cano/Choo. If they don't, they'll have plenty of room under the luxury tax threshold. Assuming, of course, ARod's contract doesn't apply (another big if).

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    My thoughts as well. The Dodgers and Yanks might be more affected by this because they are close too (or over) the luxury tax threshold. Although, the Dodgers might even care.

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    If NPB acceptsa big ceiling of $20 million or whatever, that essentially eliminates the posting system. I think the Cubs can compete with the Yankees and Dodgers moneywise, but I don't know if they can compete with the Yankees cachet,or the Dodgers proximity to Japan.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    "Bid ceiling"

  • If I'm Tanaka and free to negotiate with any team that makes the posting money, then sorry, but I don't see the Cubs as having a particularly strong hand compared to the Yankees or Dodgers for example. Why would Tanaka want to come to the Cubs? You can't say "for $$" because surely LAD could easily match or beat anything the Cubs can throw out there. The guy will want to go to either a winner, or a team with a positive track record with previous Japanese players. Yankees, Rangers, Seattle, and the California teams would all seem to rank well above the Cubs in this regard. Probably Boston as well.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    You can't say that for certain. Cespedes took a smaller bid to go with the Oakland A's, who were terrible the season before.

  • Appears my original report was correct.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So Free Agency with a $20 Million dollar (refundable) posting fee. That's brutal. So Tanaka will now be bid to $20+ million per year easily... if he is even posted.

    He has 2 years left until Free agency, I don't think his Japanese team will post him this year if they know that they can still get $20 million maximum next offseason.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I hope that he will still post. If he does, I think the Cubs still have a good shot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Honestly I would almost rather his team Japanese come out in the next couple of days and say that as a result of the new posting agreement that they will post Tanaka next year.

    That would mean right before the Winter Meeting a high profile starter is taken off the market. Which means less teams might hold out hoping for something better and make a deal for Shark.

  • Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 2m
    In the story is concern from one official who believes MLB could be encouraging Japanese teams to hold onto players because $20M is too low.

    Gammons also reporting that Tanaka may not be posted now because of the low posting fee.

    This new system could be worse than initially thought if it keeps top talent from coming over.

  • Interesting trade question ...

    It is rumored that Oakland is shopping around Cespedes. They reportedly talked to the D'Bag ... I mean ... D'Backs about a deal involving Skaggs and Pollock (roughly a package that would cost to land Shark).

    Given the notion that the A's like adding players that aren't OVERLY expensive, and the fact that they have been adding pitching pretty heavily this off-season (perhaps a clogged rotation), how about a Cubs-A's blockbuster surrounding Shark and Cespedes?

    Yoenis had a down season, but he was still able to hit over 25 HR and drive in 80 in about 130 games. Plus, he plays in a very hitter-unfriendly park. I'd imagine that he'd fare even better playing in Wrigley. He's not that expensive, he's a good bet for around 30 HR and 90 RBI and he can run as well as play defense. He would solve our left field conundrum and would provide support to Rizzo.

    After all, the Cubs DID want him before he ended up in Oakland.

    However, given the fact that Oakland has a lot of arms in the rotation (plus they want to bring Colon back), the Cubs could expand the deal and make it Cespedes and Anderson for perhaps Shark and Nate? Just a thought.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I say NO.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Cespedes is a FA in 2 years and we don't have anything close to a shortage of power bats. We need PITCHING. Young, controlled pitching.

    Trading Shark for Cespedes doesn't only not make us better, it makes us significantly worse.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I wouldn't say significantly worse.

    I'd agree with the notion that we need to add young pitching, but at the same time, a proven commodity is something that should be taken into account as well.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    So what if he's (kinda proven)?

    He's a free agent in 2 years, meaning he's NOT a long term piece.
    (Remember that the reason he signed with the A's is because they agreed to give him a 4 year contract while the cubs and others were offering 6-7 years)

    Furthermore, as I said, we're already overwhelmingly right handed.

    And lastly, we slugged GREAT last year, relative to our team BA and OBP.
    We really don't need power hitters. We need guys that get on base. And Cesoedes doesn't do that notably well.

    He doesn't fill any need of ours. At all.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    The Cubs were middle of the pack in SLG last season in the NL. Yes they were second in the NL in HR, but they were second to last in total RBI.

    The Cubs cannot rely on the idea that the young prospects will be the messiahs and save the day. Adding quality hitters in the middle of the lineup should definitely be accounted for.

    I agree that the team needs to look for players that get on base, but Cespedes has shown that ability (as evidenced by .360 OBP last season). Of course his numbers are a small sample size because he has been in the majors for two years, but he has still shown the ability to provide dependable offense in a tough ball-park.

    I highly doubt Nate will hit 20 next season, Soriano and Navarro are gone, Valbuena is a question mark. After that, who can provide power?

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Middle of the pack is pretty impressive when you consider that they were in the basement in BA and OBP.

    It's nice that you throw a 360 OBP out there and disingenuously neglect his sub .300 OBP in 2013. But feel free to pick and choose what stats you cite.

    And are you just going to pretend his contract is not up in two years and hope that he forgets?

    How does this solve any problem?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    If you would have read my first post, you would have noticed that I said that he had a "down year". That was in reference to the AVG, OBP, etc. Also, I said he has been in the majors for two years, so the sample size is small. But I DID say that I referenced the .360 because he has shown the ABILITY to have a high OBP.

    His contract is up in two years, but what's the problem with that? By 2015 the Cubs should have their major prospects up and they should be able to spend as much as they want. If they deem that Cespdes is not the answer but there is a better option out there then they invest in that.

    Would you rather him be tied up on a long-term contract? In my opinion his contract is a bargain. He'll make $10.5 million each of the next two seasons, and you won't find a 30 HR 90+ RBI hitter for that little.

    Also, how does this solve any problem? Really? Did you not read what I said in the aforementioned post? WHO do the Cubs have that provide power outside of Rizzo? There's not one player on the roster that can account for 20 HR's. Nate is highly unlikely to repeat, Castro can hit double-digits, but he'll have to really step up to get to 20, and Beef Welly isn't exactly a power hitter. We can all sing the praises of Baez and Bryant, but they are still prospects.

    Cespedes has a friendly contract and would certainly be an upgrade to what we currently have. I cannot believe you're seriously asking how this solves any problems.

    Again, I agree with you (and everyone else) that this team needs to improve the getting on base factor, but that can come through free agency if the Cubs want to spend.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Whether you believe it's a good idea or not the Cubs are not trading Shark for 2 years of Cespedes.

  • Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale 2m
    The #Cubs signed left-handed reliever Wesley Wright to a one-year contract believed to be for $1.425 million.

    Finally got a second lefty out of the pen...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Beat me to the punch.

    He's tough on lefties which is good. He also has a rather fresh arm (not overused).

    Decent signing, and cheap. Good start for Theoyer.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    T-minus-10 seconds until the deluge of fans whining that he 'sucks' and that we need to spend and go get Cano.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    The main article will update shortly. Too fast for me, as usual, North Side ;-)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Wrote a separate article on it, which I will do for any Cubs transaction.

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    Wright isn't a world beater, but I remember thinking how strange it was that he was sold for cash, and non-tendered this year, despite decent numbers. Decent enough to be a ML LOOGY anyway.

    This must also mean that Rusin and/or Raley likely isn't ticketed for a LOOGY role

  • I've got a Japanese friend who says the player's union in Japan has been putting pressure on NPB to limit posting fees so that more of the money goes to the players themselves. Could be a piece of the puzzle here.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Interesting. Most of the money is definitely going to the players now.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Yes, this is true. I was actually saying this to Mike Moody earlier.

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    Just throwing this out there before the community chatter regarding potential Price-Walker (I love the sound of that).

    The thing is, you can't say that the Fister package has no affect on a Samardzija deal and then reverse 180 and say a potential Price/Walker deal does. So please don't go there.

    Not singling anybody out because we are supposed to play like big boys now. Just a general throw.

    I would only hope the same logic applies in both instances.

    Now if you ask me, I think the Fister deal lowered the bar and a potential Price deal would rightly align things after Washington's misfire. But that's just me.

    (BTW -- This comment is not directed at CD staff, only the general public).

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I really don't believe Fister deal lowered the bar at all actually. i think it's a separate deal under different circumstances. I do think that expectations were too high overall, however, but that is just a general opinion. Walker for Price would be a strange deal by the Mariners. I'm not sure if it will have an impact on the Cubs but it certainly can't hurt.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    stupid deal for Seattle, Keep Walker and use the cash for bats. Price to me isnt worth a MLB ready Walker, if Walker was a couple years away then yes.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree...don't understand it at all. But hey...that might set a nice comp for Samardzija trade, who will fetch less than Price, but he's close enough to where we can perhaps expect a better prospect than I originally hoped.

  • There has been a lot of chatter about Japanese teams with high profile players may opt to keep them instead of posting for what appears to be a relatively paltry posting fee they'll receive under the new setup. What I wonder, however, is if this could stem some under-the-table negotiations between the player (who will now get a much bigger payday without the exclusivity of negotiating rights) and his Japanese team in way of kickbacks. If I'm Tanaka and I can sign for 100M+ (considering the Red Sox and the Rangers spent roughly $103M and $112M or Matsuzaka and Darvish respectively), perhaps I might kickback another $20M to my Japanese team to lure them into posting me. This way Tanaka would still get significantly more money than either Daisuke or Yu, did while his team would get only $10M less rather than $30M less than their teams got.

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