Getting Half-Way to First Base

Getting Half-Way to First Base

To channel Jerry Seinfeld: what's the deal with teams going halfway?

Prospects are useful for one of two things in baseball: to plug into your lineup, giving you seven cost-controlled years of production or to trade for established major league players.  The goal for teams with an open window is to move prospects for players who will help you win during the window.  The goal for rebuilding teams is to accumulate prospects so you have a good, cost controlled, core of players to make a sustained push with.

Last year, however, we saw two teams decide to abandon a rebuild to create a window.  The Blue Jays traded away the majority of their prospects for R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson.  The offense-starved Royals traded away the crown jewel of their system in Wil Myers to acquire two years of James Shields.  This creates a very small window in which these teams have a realistic shot of winning a title.  Prospects that arrive after that window closes won't help and, given the long term damage that was done to win now, they will support a future team that is going to need luck to compete.

Yet, having already made trades for now, both teams appear to be refusing to make more to help themselves.  The Blue Jays desperately need a second baseman.  Instead of using Aaron Sanchez as bait to get one, they get the lineup hole Chris Getz.  He of the .220/.288/.273 (not a misprint) triple slash with the Royals last year.  The Royals have one more year to win.  They need offense in the worst way.  (Their 648 runs scored last year put them behind EVERY TEAM in the A.L. East.)  Yet, they address this need with a leadoff hitter (Norichika Aoki) and a second baseman with a career .402 slugging percentage (Omar Infante).  Adalberto Mondesi is nowhere close to the majors.  And, yet, no buzz whatsoever that he is headed out of town for a true offensive force.

What these franchises have managed to do is create teams that are marginally competitive today and will be marginally competitive tomorrow.  Their fans deserve more than that.

Monday

  • You may recall that a contract between the Orioles and Grant Balfour fell apart a few weeks ago.  Now, Buster Olney is reporting that the contract fizzled because of problems with Balfour's wrist and knee.
  • MLB.com writes that 1B Mitch Moreland, who seemed to have nowhere to play after the Rangers acquired 1B Prince Fielder, may get the long end of a DH platoon.
  • Apparently Delmon Young isn't ready to retire.  He signed a 1-year, minor league deal with Orioles.  Last year Young split the season with the Phillies and the Rays, hitting .260/.307/.407.
  • LHP Jeff Francis and ex-Cub OF Thomas Neal have signed contracts with the Reds.

Tuesday

  • Ken Rosenthal reports that INF Michael Young, who played for the Phillies and the Dodgers last season, has offers from four teams, but is leaning towards retirement.
  • I reported last week that LHP Derek Holland was going to miss significant time for the Rangers.  It turns out that Holland is expected to be out until the All-Star break recovering from surgery.  Tough break for the Rangers and for Holland.
  • John discussed this some last week, but walking pull quote Nyjer Morgan has agreed to deal with the Cleveland Indians.  Morgan spent last year in Japan.

Wednesday

  • Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw -- arguably the best pitcher in baseball today -- signed a 7-year, $215 million extension.  There really aren't enough superlatives for Kershaw, who has finished first, second, and first and in the last three Cy Young races and led all of baseball in ERA those three seasons.
  • Nice article by Jonathan Bernhardt on the free agent pitching market being held up by Masahiro Tanaka.

Thursday

  • David Price avoided arbitration but he is still get paid.  The left-hander agreed with the Rays on a $14 million contract.
  • Alex Rodriguez gave his first interview since the season long suspension was handed down.  In it, he sounds like he doesn't think the lawsuit is going to work.  I'm torn on this.  I have no love for ARod but I do take issue with the commissioner's office cutting a deal with a drug dealer to pursue a personal vendetta against ARod and Ryan Braun.  To me, all of this seems to be much more about cementing Selig's legacy and less about catching drug users.
  • Great picture of Clayton Kershaw and Matthew Stafford as high school teammates.  Think that high school dominated the league?
  • Jonah Keri at Grantland writes that Clayton Kershaw's mega-contract may cause a revolt among the small revenue teams at the next CBA session.  I would have more empathy for these guys if they hadn't voted away their best chance of competing with the big market teams by agreeing to strict limits on draft and IFA spending to save money.  After that, any revenue sharing they force on the big market teams looks like it's all about the money and not about being competitive.

Friday

  • Interesting quote from ESPN's Jesse Sanchez on Masahiro TanakaSource tells me clubs have not heard back from Tanaka & nobody knows where they stand. Most had about 60 mins to make a case. No visits.
  • The Marlins and slugger Giancarlo Stanton avoided arbitration.  As Rosenthal points out, this is a coup for two sides that have been as antagonistic as they have.
  • The Brewers seem to have their first baseman, signing Mark Reynolds to a minor league deal.  Reynolds struggled last season, hitting .220/.306/.393 in a season split between the Indians and the Yankees.  I really don't understand what the Brewers are doing.  They don't have the talent or the funds to compete in the NL Central soon.  But they keep adding the best pieces they can afford, guaranteeing themselves mediocrity.  Signing Kyle Lohse and losing a pick in the 2013 draft was particularly questionable.
  • I've stayed away from pre-arbitration deals because there are a lot of them and they don't interest me that much.  But this is special.  Braves' RHP Kris Medlan, a 10th round selection, agreed to a $5.8 million contract.  (A raise from his $2.6 million salary last year.)  Afterwards, he talked to the Journal Constitution's David O'Brien about the size of the contract: "So surreal. I didn't have much growing up. Had to fight for every opportunity I've ever gotten."

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  • fb_avatar

    I don't disagree with the notion that teams have to be kind of all-in, or all-out; mediocrity is the worst thing possible.

    I also, though, understand why the Brewers have to add to get from 75 to 80 wins....attendance and fan interest. The Cubs are able to weather a few bad years in this department, but even there the strains are starting to show. In Houston, after posting a 0.0 rating one game last year, they finally felt enough was enough, and the Astros won't be AAA doormats like they were last year.

    I'm glad the Brewers feel they have to land in the middle, because the NL Central is brutal enough with Cards, Pirates, and Reds all committed to young talent.

  • At the convention, fan said he canceled his season tickets because the Cubs deserve an 81 win team. Wow.

    If you ask me the Cubs deserve a team that can win year in and year out, but building an organization like that takes time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Fan said he cancelled his season tickets, but yet he still goes to the convention. Hmm..

  • In reply to Dave S:

    Ha! Good point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The impatience of some Cubs fans amazes me. It's not like the front office hasn't been up front about their approach. Last June I was at a game in St. Louis and saw a Cubs fan with a sign that said something like "Quit Theo / Sveum". It was stated/written so bad that there were Cards fans sitting near me that didn't even understand what it meant. I just shook my head and thought, really, after less than 2 years on the job, he's unhappy and wants the Cubs to make a change? He must have been a passionate Cubs fan, but obviously ignorant about the vast improvement that had already been made to the farm system.

  • In reply to DecaturCubFan:

    Hear, hear!

  • In reply to DecaturCubFan:

    He is like most Cubs "fans". They've never been here.

    When I say the names "Javier Baez" or "Kris Bryant" they have no idea who I am talking about.

    I also tell people to Google "Cubs Den" all the time.

  • In reply to Dave S:

    Big difference between paying $50 for the convention and shelling out $5000 for a season ticket.
    Tough to ask people to eat that amount of money to watch what has been going on for the last couple of years. Go ahead and build but don't be surprised if people find other things to do with their money while they wait.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    I realize the price difference, just thought it was funny a guy would basically say he's not giving The Cubs any more of his money when he did it this weekend.

  • In reply to Dave S:

    I suspect he still goes to the convention and will watch every game because he loves the Cubs. I suspect he canceled his season tickets because he's sick of paying top dollar -- $6,000 or more per seat -- for an obvious and admitted inferior team that might lose another 95 games this year. Can't say I blame him, but I suspect in a couple of years he'll regret not having his season tix.

  • In reply to Teddy P:

    I don't have time or $$ to be a season ticket holder. As much as I love the Cubs and going to Wrigley, I'm not sure I would like to be there that much; however, if I were a season ticket holder, I would not be giving them up now. This would be great time to get a couple.

  • In reply to Dave S:

    Interesting,....

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When barney gets one of the loudest ovations you know something is wrong the fans.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The 5 year plan,I never thought it would take at least 7 years.

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    In reply to TheRiot2:

    It shouldn't have to.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    It's been 2 years & not quite 3 months.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Wow, where did at least 7 years come from? I am guessing it will take 4 to 5 years like they said when they got here. Nothing has changed from the original plan.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Dude - we're only at the beginning of year 3.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The irony is this man and the whinny Cubs fans here not only are in agreement with the management of KC and other teams with limited revenues, who sell their soul for short term gain, but they also believe they could manage the FO better than our current management team!

    Stay the course! And when we have persistent achievement, you don't deserve to share in the spoils of victory! We will buy the whiners a house in the Bronx and you can help the Steinbreners spend money and whine with the Yankee's fans.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    81 wins as a goal. Talk about lovable losers.

    That's what's different about the new ownership and front-office. That's why I like them.

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    Wow, an 81 win team? Way to dream big there, guy. Yet another simp willing to settle for 10 years of mediocrity, rather than make the investment and hope for greatness.

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    I agree an 81 win team does nothing -

    But with the wild cards set up as they are
    If you can go into September - even 5 or 6 games over .500
    you at least have a chance to get in -

    and from a season ticket holders perspective - you have
    Meaningful September baseball. Being able to come home from work in 2007 and 2008 and walk to the park to watch meaningful baseball was fun - and I think thats what people want.

    Of course the goal is meaningful October baseball -
    but you have to walk before you can run I guess.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    I don't think you need to take a step from 78-81 wins before you start winning. Once the pieces are in place, you can make that leap forward into contention. If the Cubs are 5-6 games over .500 near the trade deadline, then I am willing to bet the Cubs don't dismantle that team and may even add a player or two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, they were knocking on .500's door the last two seasons. Had they not unloaded everyone they could, in all probability, finished there.

    Now, should anyone be satisfied with a mediocre (.500) team? I think not. But then a 7 year rebuild based upon "phenoms" is no guarantee either.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    They weren't really close 2 years ago. They were 17 games under .500 by the deadline.

    Those weren't players to build with because they were going to get older and more expensive. They also weren't impact players. Not how you do it. We learned that the hard way in the last era.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    There is no crying in baseball.

    Nor are the any guarantees.

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    In reply to xhooper:

    No they were not! They were as close as 7 under last year, but it took a hell of a run to get them that close. Just as some lousy players go on a tear for a couple of weeks before coming back down to Earth, the same is true for a mediocre team. You have to know that a bad team isn't going to be able to sustain that pace, just as Darwin Barney was hitting .350 in May of 2011 and never finished a season within 80 points of that.

  • I see on Rotoworld they posted this morning that the Cubs have made an offer to Tanaka. Not sure how they'd know that, but it appears Theo is showing the guy they are serious about this. So that's something?

  • I figure that the Cubs are just one signing(Tanaka) and one extention(Shark) away from progress that all fans can enjoy.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. If they have a top of the pitching order of Tanaka, Shark, Wood, Areitta (assuming he makes it as a starter) and Jackson would actually be a quite good starting rotation.

    Couple that with a bullpen with Veras/Strop/Grimm/Parker/Rondon in some combination - maybe with Rusin & Villanueva as swing guys.

    Any offense at all makes this a competative (although probably not playoff ready) team.

  • Part of the problem the fans face, I believe, is that there are so many changes on the major league level its hard to identify with the current team. So that may very well be what bothers the base and accounts for the negative reaction. The improvement in the minors is obvious and the FO has done well there. The FO should get rave reviews for what they've accomplished there.

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    It also doesn't help with the perception of the team , when you have jerks like Wittmeyer , Mike Murphy ( how does this guy still have a radio gig? ) , and pretty much everyone at 670.

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    MLB network reported at lunchtime today that the Cubs have officially been the first to offer a contract to Tanaka. Now let's hope it's the last offer as well......

  • I see wittmeyer is at it again, he claim that ricketts is the worst cubs owner. But I didn't know that the cubs where dubbed the lovable losers under his watch. It seems like the ricketts has to pay for the cubs owners of the past. He had to eat a lot of contracts and update a lot of things within the organization. A crumbling stadium, old players with big contracts,no farm system,minor league complexes without proper equipment.

  • Bruce Levine ‏@MLBBruceLevine 1m
    MLB source believes Cubs are lead team for Tanaka .

    At least it's not Nightengale saying it...

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    I usually don't buy into the chatter involving rumors but this is getting ridiculous. Just about everyone, from national to local reporters, agents, and FO people have the Cubs being the team to land Tanaka.

    If 10 people from 10 different places tell the same story logic says there has to be some truth to it.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    You can find 10 people from 10 places who'll tell you evolution is a bunch of hooey.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Totally agree Marcel! Even if the Cubs fail to land him it is clear effort and money were not the stumbling blocks.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    It's fine, except there's likely no basis for the statement other than the set of Theo's jaw as he walked into the meeting.....
    "Oooh, Theo looks serious on this one..."

  • In reply to SKMD:

    And what's the actual basis for your doubt? Is it based on anything concrete or just garden variety pessimism?

  • Baseball is too high-variance and too fickle to min-max strategize like that. You can't always be all-in or not-in. You shouldn't even be in one of those zones the majority of the time.

    Several recent WS winners would have been dismantled before the season started under the "all-in or not-in" idea.

    On another note, the twin rumors picking up steam of a major TV deal and a Tanaka signing have me more optimistic about the Cubs' future than I have been in a long time.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    Agreed, this is my sentiment as well.

  • Mike- great work!!

    I do have to disagree with your take on Bud, Arod, and Braun on two counts. First, Bud can't win no matter what he does, before he let it go on under his nose, now they have testing, tough penalties, and proactive stance to find cheaters. They go after guys that are cheating and now it is a witch hunt for Bud's legacy? To me they nailed a bunch of cheaters and in the process are sending a message to future players thinking of cheating.

    Second, baseball went to a scum bag dope dealer because Arod, Braun, and several others in baseball went first. Cops don't find bad guys in church, you have to go where they are, with other scum bags. Baseball doesn't need to get in bed with scum bags if the players choose not to, the players are at fault here, not the league.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I have to say I agree with mike, selig let all this go under his nose. It seems like he wanted come down on arod the hardest to say look at me, because he never got bonds or the other so called big fish. To me he is guilty too.

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    In reply to seankl:

    Exactly. Selig gave tacit approval to the juicers when they were bringing fans back to the parks after he cancelled the '94 post-season. It's long past time for him to retire.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Guilty of what? Everyone wants to point to the 90's and who did, didn't, and might have approved of steroid use. It's all completely irrelevant to the situation TODAY. A-Rod got the hardest penalty because he committed the worst offense. What if it really IS that simple?

  • In reply to seankl:

    Well how much do you put on the players association then? I'm not a big Bud fan but the MLB had drug testing in the minors WAY before the show because MLBPA wouldn't bargain it, well until Congress forced their hand.

    Now MLB get tips and pursue them vigorously and it is a witch hunt. Well what do you want in the game drugs or no drugs? It is well documented that the masking agents are years ahead of the tests. So in 10 years will people say that Bud let it continue under his nose because the world knows the tests are not catching nearly all the users and the MLB had tips and just sat on them? How does he win that game. Also, while MLB nailed Braun and Arod, they nailed about a dozen more, almost all didn't test positive. They sent a message to guys it isn't just the testing that puts your career at risk. If you really want a clean game that is how you do it.

    Getting back to Bud though, IMO, the guy can't win because it is a witch hunt to save his image. A miscast image based on him being in more control than he was with the players association. Now if he goes hard after guys he is self serving, all the while he easily could get cast in the future as a guy who knew the testing wasn't up to snuff and sat on leads to nail MLB superstars. Would you like that position?

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I agree 100%. Al Capone went to jail because the FBI turned his accountant. Was that a "personal vendetta?" Making deals with criminals is as old as law enforcement. The question is - can their testimony be corroborated by the evidence? Sure, Bosch is a slimebucket, but when he says he and A-Rod texted each other and there are over 500 text messages to prove it, that's pretty solid. Sure, they COULD have been texting about whether to take the Wilma or Dino gummy Flinstone vitamin at 10:30, but most people find that hard to believe.

    Additionally, I had no idea how A-Rod, Braun and others were scamming the system and passing their drug screens. Bosch provided more than evidence - he schooled MLB on a lot of things to look for. I'm sure Sellig felt some personal satisfaction when Braun and A-Rod were busted, but I don't see a vendetta in any way, shape or form.

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    No half-assed attempts to win. A team should either be all in or all out. Nice analysis Professor Moody!

  • Very nice recap of what's happening in the baseball world, Mike. I don't understand all of the griping about people complaining about the Cubs. Let them complain, they have a right, especially season ticket holders. Complaining is a good thing, not bad. Some of the biggest whiners are also the most loyal of fans.

    And it's not like Cubs fans have been pampered with huge success over the years. Joakim Noah had a great quote the other day, something like "People who want us (the Bulls) to lose are not real fans of the team." I whole-heartedly agree with that quote, and would go further and say about Cubs fans "Anybody who is OK with the Cubs being terrible for the next three years is not a true Cubs fan". Wins are just as important in 2014 as they are in 2016 or 2017.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I can only speak for myself - as both a Cubs and Bulls fan since childhood.

    I don't 'want' them to lose,.... ever.

    But I understand that occasionally (especially once the base talent pool of the team has crashed or is crashing) you have to recognize long-term moves as being occasionally bad in the short-term.

    I was one of the Bulls biggest critics 2-3 years after Jordan retired simply BECAUSE they seemed to be doing everything they could to avoid short-term pain in order to build back up a good team. Once they (the Bulls) actually started drafting smart (again) and improving as a team I was at least happy that they were building a decent team for the future. They have been regularly good most of the last decade (even though they have fallen short of titles), but were almost impossible to watch in the first few years post-Jordan.

    Wins by the Cubs are important,.... but building back a team that can win more regularly and predictably is more important.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    You seem to be saying that everyone has the right to complain except those who are complaining about the complaining.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I don't think many sit and root for them to lose watching a game. Nobody is gleeful at the losing. That said resource management is critical to become a powerhouse in the future. I don't want a bunch of bloated FA contracts that will get us $125 mil payroll and 81 wins but in three years gives us over paid, under achieving contracts.

    That is my beef with the .500 crowd. The Cubs need to spend atleast $50 mil more at $5.5 mil per WAR to get in that ballpark. The problem is they are buying at the wrong time and will probably get negative return from those assets when the farm is helping out. That is poor resource management.

    The 90's Braves is the template. once the farm starts yielding fruit you can better see your weakness' and address them with the flexibility you allowed yourself. If the Cubs get a little fortunate on the development of their farm assets they could be in for a decade run of good baseball. They have the farm and minimal long term investments to combine the two for an outstanding run. We as fans should give a proven front office like this one to make good on that.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Well said. What gets me is that the naysayers never seem to consider that the model franchise sits right in our own back yard, yet they never seem to consider that. Yes, those hated Cardinals (and I'm one that hates them, too), but how does one not give them credit for being in it year in and year out by doing exactly what our FO is attempting to do? They win consistently by bringing up their own prospects and then adding needed pieces. The difference, at this moment, is that their prospects are no longer prospects because they're contributing at the MLB level, whereas our prospects aren't here yet.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Excellent point!!! How often do you hear Cards fans lamenting losing Pujols? You don't for two reasons. First, the contract looks ugly. Second, and most important, they win like crazy without him.

    Both parts we as Cubs fans can learn from. Big contracts don't guarantee anything, and a strong farm system can even overcome losing elite talent. The Cubs are building that farm system!

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    Interesting story at ESPN Chicago about the Ricketts Family Forum at the convention today.

  • fb_avatar

    I don't want to sound like CubsTalk here, but I just think everyone who's getting excited about the Tanaka-to-Cubs story should take a deep breath. Every single "update" we've had has been either contradictory to previous updates, or a rehash of a previously established angle ("ie, Theo won't be outbid") and entirely based on anonymous "MLB sources." I wouldn't trust any news story based on that kind of reporting. We have one report that said every team got 60 minutes to make a pitch to Tanaka's agent, which presumably happened last week in LA, and several days later we hear the Cubs are "pushing hard." How are both of these things possible? You either had 60 min, or you're having ongoing discussions where you're pushing hard. Or having contractions.
    Dan Bernstein may be a great arrogant blowhard, and I quote him with great reluctance, but I have to agree with one thing he said: all the new reports about the Cubs being the team to beat may be simply planted by his agent as a way to goose the brass in LAD and NYY, to see just how much money LA really has.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    The 60 minutes was just for a team to make its pitch, not negotiate. the hour in LA was to sell tanaka on your city, organization, etc. the negotiations are ongoing.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It's not coming from his agent. I can tell you personally that I've heard and have been hearing for months from people who aren't agents. And all sources are anonymous to some degree, but many time they've been quoted as execs and owners. You can argue that it's speculation on their part because nobody knows for certain, but it isn't coming from TAnaka's agent, especially since Tanaka himself doesn't want to make this a circus.

    Bernstein is trolling Cubs fans. Don't fall for it.

  • From MLBTR:

    Clubs angling to sign Masahiro Tanaka made formal offers by Jan. 16, Nikkan Sports reports The list of teams includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs, with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100MM over six years.

    The Diamondbacks have made no secret of their pursuit of Tanaka this winter, and according to Nikkan, they've offered him a deal for six years and $120MM. "Like other teams, we're very interested," CEO Derrick Hall was quoted as saying at a recent meeting of MLB owners. "We want to win this competition." Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick reportedly met with Tanaka directly during his recent tour of clubs in the U.S.

    The Dodgers and Yankees are believed to have made equivalent offers, according to Nikkan, while comments by Angels owner Arte Moreno suggest that the team would have trouble fitting Tanaka into its budget. Overall, we appear to be nearing the stage in negotiations where the only step remaining is Tanaka's actual decision."

  • fb_avatar

    Love this quote from Theo. So in keeping with everything that's been said here the last two years:

    “They know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation to get this right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations. I’m more proud of them for their willingness to take that heat and stick to their plan than I would be if they panicked the first time their name was dragged through the mud publicly and said, ‘we can’t do this. We need to put lipstick on this and we need to find some quick fixes just to keep the fans at immediate bay.’

    “They’re dragging the Ricketts’ name through the mud. They are in this for the long haul and because of that, they’re giving us the ability to lay the foundation.

    “The Ricketts’ vision is a long-term one, and our job is to implement it.”

    He's making a subtle point I hadn't even thought of, but he's right. By allowing the bad press to fall on them, the Ricketts are taking the heat off of guys in the front office.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-chicago-cubs-theo-epstein-criticism-20140118,0,3622636.story?track=rss

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hey Mike,

    I kust heard a wild rumor out there that the Cubs offer for Tanaka was 8 years @ $200M. You hear any #'s out there yet?

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Wouldn't mind the years. The AAV would be too much.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I haven't heard anything, though I see Joao confirms the rumor below.

    I haven't heard anything in terms of definite numbers, but I've said the Cubs should be willing to go to a $30 million AAV, because they need him and I don't see the money being better invested elsewhere in the short term. In the longer term, the Wrigley and TV contracts will make that a less terrible expenditure. So, that AAV is something I could live with.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    $30M AAV seems excessive. I dig Tanaka as much as the next guy, but Kershaw's AAV was $30.7M, and if that really is what it will take to sign Tanaka I think the Cubs need to draw the line and pass on him.

    Tanaka won't be that little extra push the Cubs need to make it into a playoff spot for 2014, and seeing as the Tigers only agreed to a 1 year deal for Scherzer, it's very likely the Tigers will put their money into extending Cabrera and let Scherzer walk after this season.

    If you wanted the Cubs to pay $30M AAV for a pitcher, wouldn't it make more sense to put that money into a known commodity in Scherzer next winter (which will still be well under Kershaw's precedent of $30.7M) than putting up $30M AAV for Tanaka this winter?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Great quote. Makes me even more excited to have these guys in charge.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hear, hear!

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Awesome quote! That makes my whole off-season to read that. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mike, Thanks for that info from Theo about the Ricketts. Helps clarify some things.

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    I've heard that as well. If they got Tanaka for that kind of money, I wouldn't know whether to celebrate or to panic. I understand whoever gets this guy will have overpayed, but $200M is just insane.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to João Lucas:

    (That was supposed to be in response to bocabobby's comment up there.)

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    In reply to João Lucas:

    Thanx João Lucas!

  • fb_avatar

    Tom Loxas reporting that he heard the deal was for about $180M total.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    If the Cubs could sign Tanaka for 8 years and 180 million dollars, which includes the posting fee, I'd be OK with that.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Nobody trusts that Loxas dude

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Yeah, I know where he heard that from. It's speculation. Nobody really knows.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    He also said it was for 7 years. That's an AAV of almost $23M/year. Wow!

    But it is close to what I said it might be. I was at 8 years/$180M plus posting fee.

    My guess looking as good as his right now.... lol

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    They're all guesses right now :) Nobody has real info on any offers, but those are probably pretty close to what will happen.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Just in response to earlier John, there's a difference between skepticism and pessimism. All I'm saying is be skeptical of anyone who claims the inside scoop when information is as tightly controlled as this case.
    And : go get him, theo.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I'm a skeptic, but I've heard stuff from people I trust. At some point, my trust for people overcomes skepticism. Much of it is speculation but some of it is concrete, such as the amount of time they've spent scouting him and the opinions they have about him. I've seen them, so I know that they like him a lot. I also know they were planning on making a big run. I have much to make me believe the Cubs are serious, more than I've let on here -- and I have nothing that leads me to have skepticism here. You also have to factor in that he fits into their pattern with regard to age and timelines.

    I had skepticism about the Bourn and Fielder rumors over the past two years because it was warranted. I don't see any skepticism warranted in this pursuit, least of all coming from a guy like Bernstein who loves to troll Cubs fans.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Even if you do or think that. That is really petty, I was at work last night busy dealing with numerous players, agents, etc. I don't usually rely on one source either, and of course anything something you don't know for certain is always speculation...zzz

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I'm just being consistent. I had already heard the same thing but I chose not to write about it. I did not run with it when I heard it and I'm not going to run with it just because someone else put the same info out there. I have very good reason to be skeptical here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ok, I'm talking about you speaking to where my info comes from. Even if you have an idea, that's not something you do.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Well, perhaps I could have phrased it better. Maybe just should have said "I heard that too but too speculative for me to print".

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cool John, not mad just saying about the source stuff. Certainly there are times you are right. As far as offer goes there was multiple people who bought it.

  • If Tanaka is in Japan now its about 12:50 p.m. Dec. 19. I would think he'd have to make a decision tomorrow.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Oh man, I hope so. Although it does make me anxious to think about it. It's at the point where it's a let down if he goes somewhere else.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know you believe this John, because you are among the approximate 30% here who are sensible. The front office will do the best they can. And I am not of the opinion that money is a problem. I think the only hold-back will be if the money is irrational. At what free agents are getting paid today, $20million for a #1 or a #2 is pretty reasonable. Compare what Tanaka has done to Samardzija? I think Samardzija thinks he is worth $20million, which he is not! I think the Cubs will bid a little over what they perceive as reasonable AAV and add a year or two. I also think it will be front-end loaded. If 8 years at $160, they might offer something like $30, 25, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15. That would make the contract easier to dump in the later years as well as offer more security up front. It would also make it easier to keep the Cubs budding stars down the road. I can imagine about 5 or 6 of them getting long term deals after a couple of years. Think of how tradable the Rizzo and Castro contracts would be if they rebound to a reasonable level?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't get it. Everybody has been more or less on board with the new regime and building from the bottom up, and now money is no object for an unproven major league pitcher. He projects to be very good- but how much better than Shark will he be? They've been so cost-conscious in all their dealings, I think one needs to understand the risk to giving this guy over $20mil AAV. That Soriano contract felt so immensely bad and immovable at times, and now so many are giddy about Tanaka. I'd like to have him, but this is big-time risk. It could really hurt the franchise if he is mediocre. They tossed a lot of cash at Conncepcion and Soler and they are just prospects too. Why not save this cash for proven talent?

  • In reply to Cuyler:

    Because most of the proven talent that is available is old.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/nikkan-sports-five-teams-made-formal-offers-masahiro-023708570--mlb.html

    Reported as $160million, 8 years, plus $20million posting fee.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/nikkan-sports-five-teams-made-formal-offers-masahiro-023708570--mlb.html

    Report was from Nikkan Sports.

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    Gordon Wittenmyer throwing cold water on this because, hey, that's what Gordon Wittenmyer's do: Beware reports suggesting Cubs have high offer on table for Tanaka or that he's favoring Cubs. Multiple sources say Cubs remain long shots.

    https://twitter.com/GDubCub/status/424744849888141312

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm finding it more and more difficult to take anything he says seriously these days.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Why wouldn't you take him seriously about that? I prefer reporters that bring a healthy dose of skepticism to the table and keep management's feet to the fire.

  • In reply to Teddy P:

    More like an over dose

  • In reply to Teddy P:

    Wittenmyer is a troll.

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    In reply to Oneear:

    And if it is a fact that the Cubs offered the most money, it's kind of a slap to Gordon Wittenmyer constant talk of the Cubs having money troubles. It would be more in line with what the FO has always said, if the right player is available, the money will be also.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Trolls don't feel slaps. They live to stir feces which sells papers.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Agreed. I think we can lay the lack of money concerns to rest. Cubs have shown more than once that if they like a player and he fits their long term plan, they will spend for him.

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