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Where do the Cubs go from here? Here are my options...

Where do the Cubs go from here?  Here are my options...

The Cubs just lost out on Tanaka and what I've heard is that it was all about location and not money.  It's quite possible the Cubs outbid the Yankees on this one but that would be speculation on my part.  We can take solace in that the Cubs can and will spend when needed, though that is not something that I have ever really doubted.

Now that the initial sting has worn off a bit, we can move on and take a look at what the Cubs options in my personal order of preference..

1.  Bronson Arroyo

There are some pitchers who could fill in for the short term, the best of which is Bronson Arroyo, a player with whom this front office still has a good relationship.  Arroyo has been rumored to be talking with the Twins and Mets among other teams, so it's clear he isn't necessarily looking for a team widely expected to win now.

This idea is slowly growing on me and I even surprised myself that I made this my preference. Now that the Cubs made a run and were willing to pony up a little extra, maybe they'll be willing to make the slightly bigger investment to get Arroyo over the other second tier choices.

Arroyo could provide some veteran leadership and hs the added benefit of giving the Cubs a proven veteran with a history of recent success.  Arroyo could have a good influence on Jeff Samardzija, who wouldn't mind seeing a guy who will throw a ton of strikes,  get you double digit wins and a sub 4.00 ERA joining him on the staff.  On the Cubs, that's probably a #2 starter.  Moreover, Arroyo knows how to pitch and could help Samardzija further develop those skills.

The downside is that it may take a 3 year deal to land Arroyo, but it may be worth it all things considered and they can always trade him if it doesn't work out.  I'd definitely try to get him on 2 years.

2. Paul Maholm

Maholm can give you many of the same qualities that Arroyo can, albeit to a lesser degree.  He does have the advantage of knowing the players and instantly fitting into the clubhouse.  Adding a second lefty doesn't hurt either.

3. Jason Hammel

Hammel would give the Cubs a capable bottom of the rotation starter.  Coming off a poor season, he could be the least expensive of the alternatives.  He also won't get in the way of any of the young pitchers should they blossom this season.  Hammel has pitched a few games out of the bullpen recently and could be a swingman and rotation depth if needed.

I think Hammel would be the best value signing in this group.

4.  Stand pat and fill the 4th and 5th spots in house

  • Jake Arrieta is pretty much locked into one of the last spots.  He's out of options and the Cubs want to give him a shot as a starter first.  He has top of the rotation stuff but lacks the consistency and command to fully take advantage of it.
  • Without Tanaka, Justin Grimm and Alberto Cabrera could get long looks this spring.  Cabrera had success as a starter at AA Tennessee before running out of gas late in the season.
  • Justin Grimm has been mentioned as a potential closer candidate down the road but the Cubs haven't ruled out the possibility of him starting.  The Cubs current staff really liked him out of high school but could not sign him -- and we know how much they value massive amounts of information when it comes to evaluating their players.
  • Chris Rusin would give the Cubs a second lefty in the rotation and has shown himself capable when he hits his spots.  But as a finesse type pitcher, his command isn't sharp enough on on a consistent basis to be more than a fringe starter at this point.  Could end up in the pen.
  • Carlos Villanueva is the fallback option.  You know what you are getting with Villanueva, which is a solid 5th starter who can pitch very well for stretches.

5. Scott Baker

Late addition as I inadvertantly left him off the list.  Thanks to those who reminded me.  Baker would be a nice fit and he already knows his way around.  He was impressive late in the season but questions remain as to health and how much he has left in terms of stuff.

6. Take a step back and trade Jeff Samardzija for young MLB ready pitching

I had a hard time deciding where to rank this one on my list.  I don't like the idea of taking another step back and would only do this if I could get an MLB ready arm such as Marcus Stroman in return.  This would have to be a deal similar to the one the A's made with Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill.  If they can somehow get themselves an MLB ready fill-in and a near MLB ready mid-rotation arm to headline a trade (i.e. Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman), then I would be okay with a Samardzija deal.   But I find that sort of package unlikely right now.

It's more realistic that they'd get a Nolin-like fill in along with lower level lottery tickets and if that's the case, I hold on to Samardzija and see how the team progresses by the trade deadline.

7. Suk-Min Yoon

Yoon is in his prime at age 27 but he's more of a bottom of the rotation guy in terms of both stuff and stamina.  There are also some minor injury concerns.   He could also end up in the bullpen as a 7th inning type arm.  His age makes him a possible fit in some role for the next few years.

 8. Go after one of the other big name free agent pitchers left in the market (Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza)

Personally, I don't like this idea.  All of the bigger names are tied to draft pick compensation except for Matt Garza.   And Garza has some questionable meds, not to mention there doesn't seem to be mutual interest in a return at this point.  All are in their 30s and are more suitable for a short term buy.  It made sense to bid big on Tanaka because he would have been in his prime in 2 years.  All of these pitchers will be on the wrong side of the bell curve by the time the Cubs kids are ready.

These aren't all mutually exclusive options.  In the end, I prefer a combination of one of the first 3 choices and option #4.  A rotation of Jeff Samardzija, Bronson Arroyo, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, and Jake Arrieta would be pretty solid to me.  And if that doesn't work out, then next year's FA class could be a good one for starting pitchers.

What would you do from here?

 

 

 

Comments

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  • I don't know, maybe drop back 10 and punt. Seriously, I hope they don't do something along the lines of Edwin Jackson signing again. Either sit tight and see how the market plays out, or explore Shark trade for quality pitching prospects. Above all no Garza or anything like that.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Agree, don't give up a draft pick on any player over 30 yr

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    With Tanaka, not only did he get 4 year opt out, he got a full no trade clause. Of course with the Yankees, if he turns out to be the next Dice-K, the Commish will find some reason to void his contract.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Agree....especially NO GARZA

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    WHY? The guy was pretty good when healthy and had around a 3.4 era with the cubs and no draft pick.

    If he settles for a 3 year deal and word is that 4 years isn't on the table, then i don't see why we shouldn't check in. He'd be 32 at the end of that deal.

    Of course the deal is off if the rumors about the medicals are true.

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    In reply to Mitchener:

    I'd be leery of offering three years to a guy who been on the DL in each of the three previous years.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Just the previous two...with four straight years of 30+ starts before that. I don't know where this idea of Garza being injury prone comes from, but he's actually been kind of a workhorse. Now, I obviously haven't seen his current medicals, but outside of his two consecutive injuries while with the Cubs, he's been very durable.
    That being said I still hope we let in-house guys battle it out for the fifth spot.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Agree. I really like the idea of Rusin(a young Jamie Moyer?) and Cabrera joining the rotation. Kyle Hendricks should also get a shot. We have a much sronger bullpen than last season and Viscaino could make it even stronger if he comes back full speed ahead. CV can fill in as spot starter if needed.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Agree on hendricks. What else does the guy have to do to get a chance? Metrics and pro scouting often miss out or underestimate x-factors like intelligence, grit, personal drive etc. Hendricks has shown himself to be very successful at every level of the minors. The only way to know if he can be good at the major league level is to let him pitch there.

    There not going anywhere this year, so why not give Hendricks a shot at the 5 spot.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    There = They're

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    In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Hendricks has had about a month at AAA, and he was just okay there. He's a one level at a time player, so it's hard to argue he should jump his AAA season for the majors.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought he was there longer. You're right. My bad. Also, I just checked and saw that Epstein said he won't break camp with the major league club this year, but could be up after a stint in AAA to work on some things.

    I did think it was interesting that Bosio made this comment about Hendricks in the offseason:

    "Who's to say he couldn't start for us?" Bosio asked. "I saw a 22-year-old starter (Michael Wacha) for the St. Louis Cardinals pitch in the World Series. Why can't we take a kid that's just had a couple years in the minor leagues and put him in our rotation? Baseball has no age.
    "There's a certain philosophy on development, but, if you have guys that compete, work fast and get outs, it doesn't matter what your age is. Hendricks just keeps getting guys out. What's to say he couldn't be a fourth or fifth starter? That's what spring training is going to be for."

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    See how Cubs management has trained us Cub fans over the years? We have to accept 2nd and 3rd tier players. Why? Top tier players and pitchers are available. We can trade for them. We have have players in our system other teams would want. That's how you build a team. Once we get competitive Free agents would actually want to come here.

  • In reply to Dave Cookfair:

    So we trade good youth for aging players ? I remember four or five years ago when the cubs where playing on espn and the pregame was on. We had way over a hundred million in salary but was under 500, and they asked the experts how do you fix the cubs. Each one had no answer and said the cubs are stuck, they have no farm system with aging players. You can be the phillies or the brewers and be ''competitive'' and have no direction, but the smart way is to have lots of flexability in the form of young players and payroll.

  • In reply to seankl:

    touche'

  • In reply to seankl:

    touche' touche'

  • What a waste of his talent. Man, I hate the Yankees. If we lost out, once again, because of the wife/kids thing I'm gonna be upset.

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    I pretty much agree with your logic John, though I don't think we should go more than 2 years on anybody.

    You need 2 things to contend: Young talent, and payroll flexibility. The last couple years we have improved in payroll flexibility, mostly by waiting out bad contracts. I don't want to make a payroll situation any worse.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Yeah, I hear ya. I'd say 2 years and maybe a club option would be the highest I'd go on Arroyo. Otherwise go to one of the other guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What about Tommy Hanson? I realize everything has been downhill for him the last 2 years but he is 28. Any possibility he becomes a reclamation project for the cubs on a short term deal?

  • In reply to Bochedda:

    Always a chance, but the optimism about Hanson has waned considerably. I think most see him as a bullpen guy now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I could see three years with a signing bonus taking the lion's share of the contract. The third year wouldn't have much attached to it so we could still cut bait without doing much payroll damage.

  • Cubs have four starters right now... Mardj, Wood, EJax & Arrieta (who I am pretty high on.)

    Hopefully another guy or two emerges from the system.

    Cubs gotta go after any TOR guy that hits the market.
    Might cost $200MM, but that's what it takes now.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Ya it's tough pill to swallow on the one hand mediocrity will give you meh draft picks, but on the other hand being bad means you can't make the case for competitiveness, and you lose out on guys like Sanchez and Tanaka.

    Cubs are going to need atleast 78-80 wins or a boat load of money to convince some of the top free agents next.

  • None of the above free agents..! Trade Shark for P's to be ready in a year or two.. Without Tanaka it seems all worthless from here... For the life of me I cannot believe the GD Yankees outbid us... Sorry to be so negative.. But when you've been a fan since the day you were born ...1965 ...but who's counting..? I am just so frustrated... I'm tired of being on the butt end of every joke amongst my friends... One is a Cincinnati Reds fan another who's a Chicago White Sox fan... Family members who are Milwaukee Brewers fans... And my oldest son who disappoints me the most being a Florida/Miami Marlins fan..! I think I'm finally going cuckoo for cocoa puffs... At this point I'm at the "who cares" stage ...I know I shouldn't be that way, but after so many years ,being patient ,standing by my team ...just once ...just once ...I want to go into a season and say this is it...nobody is going to take us this year..: The Chicago Cubs are going to win it all..!!! But yet again I know my heart's going to be broken just like it has been since the day I went to my first game back in 1968... Hey Chicago what do you say..? Are the Cubs ever going to win someday..? Alright I'm getting off my soapbox now.. I am going to check on my negative attitude.. go outside... get a breath of fresh air here in sunny Florida ...regroup ...stick to my guns and say we're going to give it hell and I know we will very soon..! For the record Paul Maholm is probably the only guy that I would sign to come back to Chicago ...that is if he even wants to come back..!!!!

  • In reply to HeyHeyHolyCow:

    What if it was the N0-Trade Clause that was the deal breaker. That would be crazy but it would let Everyone know Theo and Jed "don't play that." I know that wasn't the case, That was just a little humor to make light of the situation.

  • In reply to notownlikeChicago:

    I'd guess it was the 4-yr opt out that did us in. That deal would make zero sense for us, perfect sense for the Yanks who have a short window with this current group.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    For all the talk about us being creative with the contract and front loading it to beat out the Yankees, it looks like that's what they did to us. He'll hit the open market again before he even gets to 30

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Great point. I think the Yankees were the more desperate team in the end. Or at least the most desperate front office.

  • In reply to HeyHeyHolyCow:

    I was 13 in 1965 ha ha.

  • In reply to HeyHeyHolyCow:

    I don't know about your son but you could certainly get different friends.

  • I say go after arroyo at there price, but I also would like to see what I have in hendricks later on in the year. The bottom of the rotation is where I want my cost control guys.

  • In reply to seankl:

    I like Hendricks but mid-season is probably his best shot. I think he's one of the first call-ups if there is an injury or trade.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Would go with Hammel option and hold onto Shark until the deadline and see where things stand at that point. Think they should also keep exploring options for acquiring mid-to-long-term assets in trades that might be getting too costly for certain teams reaching their budgets or luxury tax issues.

  • I like your thinking, John. I've always liked Arroyo and adding him immediately saves the two or three games he annually wins against us. If it takes a three-year contract, so be it.

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    In reply to HankSauer rules:

    Why do we want to win two or three more games this year? We should be thinking about how we can lose more games so we can cement the #1 pick for the 2015 draft.

    What does the 2015 draft look like?

    Set your phasers to 2017 everyone.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    Daz Cameron Mike Camerons kid is presently the top 2015 player , HS OF .

  • In reply to HankSauer rules:

    Arroyo does seem to kill the Cubs, doesn't he? Every time I see he's scheduled against the Cubs, it makes me a little sad.

  • Like someone once said "Money is not everything, but it beats whatever is second"

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    LOL!

  • I would trade Jeff S., trade assets at the deadline, continue to sign young IFA's, have a good draft, and most importantly continue the development of your young players. To answer your question, of the options you stated I wouldn't sign any FA pitchers. I would work with the guys we have between the MLB Club and the Minors while keeping my eyes on the waiver wire. Those FA Pitchers are just as questionable as Jake, Edwin, Rusin, Marshall, with the exception of Bronson and He's up there in age.

  • In reply to notownlikeChicago:

    Agreed.

  • In reply to notownlikeChicago:

    Yup, could live with that

  • Samardzija has had runs of pitching very well and some rough runs too. Overall his past two years have been good, not great. He'd be a great #3 or maybe a # 2 if he improves on his past 2 seasons. Problem may be he seems to see himself as an ace. Being under club control this year and next he has to give some concessions in signing a long term contract. The most Samardzija will make this season through arbitration in 6.2 million so the Cubs have some leverage in signing a long term deal with him. Tanaka and Samardzija are completely different situations. Tanaka was in essence a free agent so the Cubs did not have any leverage. If the Cubs keep Samardzija, I wouldn't mind seeing them make a trade for a #1 starter. Love them to get Price. How's this for a starting rotation this season? Price, Samardzija, Jackson, Wood, Arrieta. Last year was rough for Jackson, but history tells us he will improve and Arrieta showed promise after coming here last season. With that staff, if Castro bounces back and Rizzo improves, this team could stay competitive long enough this summer to call up a couple of the young guys they're looking at to be the foundation of this team for years to come. It would make it a much more enjoyable season for all of us Cub fans.

  • In reply to RobBleedsCubbieBlue:

    The thing about Shark is he has the capability to pitch like an ace, and he knows it. I think he has a chip on his shoulder and get the feeling that this will be a career year for him. If he does figure it all out and pitches like a #2, siging an ace in the off season should line everything up for us. Here's hoping that that does happen.

  • Anyone think Garza would take one year for 15m?

    I'd do that.

  • In reply to JB55:

    I don't think he'd do that. He's been looking for stability and he's going to get a multi-year deal somewhere.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I know. But doesn't seem as if anyone is beating down the doors to get him. Meds might be a bigger concern than the public knows?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    3 years might get it done. He'd be only 32 after the deal so you could even have a mutual option or option year that kicks in if he's healthy.

  • In reply to JB55:

    Only reasons for signing a vet right now would be to mentor or to trade mid season. No point in worrying about wins for this season. So the price would definately have to be low to make it worth an Arroyo or Maholm.

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    I would stand pat here. Look to fill any holes with youngsters from the farm. Keep the flexibility.

  • I like Bronson Arroyo, but my #1 preference would have to be Jason Hammel... Just because I don't think Arroyo will be as effective or even more effective in his 37-40 years of age than he has been in the past... Not to mention that he has been beating his peripherals... That said, I wouldn't mind seeing Arroyo.

    Meanwhile, I like Jason Hammel because he can get it up there to 94 mph and up to 95 mph from the bullpen and throw strikes, he's young and I like his chances of bouncing back, especially in the NL, he could turn out to be Feldman for us.

    Perhaps the best case scenario, if they get Hammel, then I hope they get Hammel, Suk-Min Yoon and Kenta Maeda (What happened to him? I thought he was getting posted).. And have all 3 of them (or as many of them as we can sign) compete with Rusin and Carlos Villanueva for the 5th spot in the rotation.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Hammel's the best value on this list, in my opinion. I'm not sure that he has any upside left at this point, but he may be give you the best bang for your buck.

  • I would not sign Arroyo. That car is due to go down with a flat tire. Sign Maholm. At the trade deadline, deal him if he is pitching well and deal Samardzija if the latter has been inconsistent or if he is continuing to over-value himself . In the second half, bring up some of the younger arms who will have been pitching in Iowa. Be patient with the guys who will have been pitching in Tennessee.

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    Re: Tanaka, the Yankees took on enormous risk on that one.

    Over the first 4 years, they committed $108 mil, if you include the posting fee, and that doesn't include luxury tax. That is $27 mil per season. That is a higher AAV than any pitcher in baseball right now, except Clayton Kershaw. More than Verlander, King Felix, Cliff Lee, David Price, everybody.

    If he's THAT good, he'll opt out after year 4 and re-negotiate.

    If he is just OK, the Yankees will be stuck with 3 more years of mediocre, for $67 mil.

    There is enormous downside risk for Yankees, and very little possibility they get a big plus return on their investment

    It only makes sense if the Yankees absolutely don't care about money....and maybe they don't.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Zonk
    This is the best perspective Ive seen on Tanaka so far. Of course if he is a TOR arm for the next 7 years, it is moot, but that chance (and it is decent) that his stuff doesnt translate to MLB at all, that's gonna be a tough pill for Yankees fans to swallow.

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    Stand pat. We said all along that Tanaka was a special case that fit into the rebuild. That didn't work, so instead of signing an aging pitcher who doesn't provide much upside over the in-house options, just let the rebuild go and work on using the spare money to add another TOR arm through another avenue -- likely trade and extend.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agree with that line of thinking, no reason to do anything crazy here, nothings changed, full steam ahead.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed.

  • Put me down for a combo of 4 and 5. Nothing going on in the short term that would be positively affected by a high priced addition. Let's see what the current group can do given a full season of opportunity.

    I don't understand the push for high priced arms during this developmental period--particularly when the FO is shopping at the Dollar Store for positional players. If you are going to spend, spend. If you aren't, don't.

  • I agree with Mike. Stand Pat. Continue the rebuild. Patience People Patience. Look for that TOR starter and do an extension

  • Was it just a year ago we were talking about our 8th and 9th starters? We're going to need to look outside the organization to build that kind of depth.

    I like the idea of Arroyo mainly because I do feel this team lacks leadership in the clubhouse.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta, Chris Rusin, Carlos Villanueva, Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, Brooks Raley, Alberto Cabrera...

    I think we can still get to those 8th-9th starters from within... The problem is upgrading the MLB top 5 rather than adding depth.

  • I don't understand why signing someone like Ubaldo Jimenez can't be done in an open-minded way. Something like this: a 3-4 year deal that's significantly frontloaded. If he's awesome this year, helps the Cubs onto the fringe of contention, then you still have him on a reasonable deal for the next 2-3 years. Otherwise, he's a really attractive trade candidate given that he's on a reasonable contract. Ubaldo would like it because a.) he's guaranteed to be on a contender, and b.) he'd get more money this year than anyone else is offering while still gettting long-term security.

    I feel like the Cubs have to start thinking about more creative ways to build trade assets through the types of contracts they sign, which would make them able to sign more significant FA's.

    Could also just use some of the $$ that was gonna go to Tanaka and up your offer on Shark's extension. I do feel like the Cubs need to identify some more ML players who will be here for a while.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    If the Cubs sign Jimenez, I promise I will write a highly critical article saying why this is a bad idea. Short version is this: the amount of wins you add with Jimenez over someone like Arroyo, Maholm or Hammel is likely going to be one or two more for the team overall, but Jimenez costs you more money, more years, and he costs you a draft pick. That is not worth an extra win or two for a team like the Cubs. It is worth it for a win-now team to make that sort of inefficient investment because those 2 wins mean a whole lot more when you are in that 85-95 range.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh I know they don't need the 2 wins; my suggestion had nothing to do with that. The idea was to create a valuable trade asset. In some ways, it's what they did with Edwin Jackson. He sucked last year, but the rest of his contract is actually valuable: 3/33. Someone might have wanted to trade for him had he been better this year.

    I know the Cubs will suck for the next 2 years, and there's nothing they can do about it besides continue this path.

  • I could live with Arroyo - he's at least a quality clubhouse presence and will eat his share of innings. I do worry a bit about him and the long-ball playing half his games in Wrigley though. If the price and terms are right - a decent fit.

    If not him - then I would prefer to see the rotation filled in from among the 'potentials' already in the system. In particular, I would like to see Cabrera given a shot, and he's out of options anyway if I remember correctly.

    Rusin was adequate when he got his shot last season. Hendricks, Beeler, and the newly acquired Marshall can be givin shots throughout the season. Blackburn isn't that far off as an option. And if your fallback option is Villanueva,.... should all these guys fold,.... it is a known and tolerable fallback option.

  • I stand pat... If you can't get a young, cost controlled SP or a true TOR guy, why bother? We have 4 locks at SP (Shark, Wood, EJax, Arrieta) and with Cabrera/Rusin/Grimm, etc... We can fill #5 internally with something just as good as what we would sign.

    The caveat being of course, if we have a reclamation project on the cheap (insert Scott Baker here) that could be flipped at the deadline and then replaced with those internal options.

    Something tells me they're not done though. Maybe make a big trade?... IDK, but I think with the assets we've accumulated that we'll see a couple of blockbusters by ST next year....

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. No way should a #2 at best pull a 25mil AAV for 7 years. That's elite territory. And yes, i'd be saying the same thing had we signed him so it's not butthurt.

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    Glad the Cubs aren't going to have to pay Tanaka that salary. Have to believe they're going to add at least 1 more SP.

  • In reply to Ray:

    You've been pretty consistent with this Ray. Kudos. There's some merit to that. I don't necessarily agree, but there is a good argument for it.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks, John. I didn't see the point of paying Tanaka more than similar pitchers make. The whole unknown commodity thing. Do you know if the Cubs have any interest in Grady Sizemore? The Reds claim he's not signing with them.

  • My real answer: Who cares. Still sad.

    My more measured answer: in the vein of "there's no glory in 80 wins", I don't see a reason to sign a guy with no projectability left, unless you feel confident you could trade him. In other words, if you sign a guy, trade him by midseason or just let Cabrera or Grimm handle it and see what they have.

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    Without question option 4 for me. Why sign old bargain bin guys like Arroyo or Williams when you have good young arms ready for a chance at the rotation. For a team all about development picking up Arroyo while letting Cabrera rot in the BP or wasting Grimm at AAA seems counterproductive. Arroyo won't be here in 2-3 years when the pieces start to shape up.

    Shark
    Wood
    Jackson
    Arrieta
    Cabrera/GrimmGrimm(or rusin I'd you're high on him, I'm not)

    Looks good to me.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Exactly Marcel. As long as we are going to go young and inexperienced,... we need to find out what we have in these guys.

    Arroyo or Maholm wouldn't make me go 'yuck' too loudly, but that would not be my preferred route.

    Especially curious about what Cabrera can do - especially since he is (if I recollect correctly) out of options. Time to fish or cut bait with him.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Couldn't the same guys force their way through Triple A and prove they can dominate at that level first? I would rather have a guy like Arroyo in there that can give us a chance to win, assuming a NTC is not attached. Plus, we can get something back for a guy like Arroyo when these guys come up.

    If you just let them come up to the Majors, and they tank, not only have you smashed their value, but you also smashed the season.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Cabrera will be the interesting one. I believe he is out
    of options so he will need to make the Cubs. So maybe
    you dont sign anyone go with Cabrera & Arrieta as your
    4 & 5 guys. Trade Jackson at the deadline and bring up
    Hendricks. AAA rotation would be Rusin,Grimm,Wada,
    Ramirez & Hendricks to start then Edwards goes to AAA
    after Hendricks comes up. I think Grimm (they said last
    week that he is going to be a starter in 2014) will be
    coming up to start as well (if cabrera or arrieta fail).

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree, 2014 should be a long try out session for our 6th through 10th pitchers. I see the advantages Orroyo would bring (few wins, consistantcy and leadership), but unless his signing leads to an extension for Jeff, I would rather continue the ugly development year

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    I also am not surprised about Tanaka. I think the Yankees are really close to collapsing, I expected it last year. Soriano's hot streak kept them relevant at the end of the year. As for the Cubs I would vote for staying pat. Maybe Maholm or Hammel for small deals. I've stated before I would like the Cubs to explore a trade for Homer Bailey. The Reds are looking to move him to get value before he becomes a FA. Not sure what they would ask for in return. But Bailey is young and is close to a breakout year I think.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Homer to me has the same potential as Shark. So trading Jeff for prospects and trading prospects for Bailey doesn't seem worth it to me. I am for it if we trade for Bailey and grab a FA.

  • The window to win doesn't open until 2016 at the earliest. I'm trading anyone over 27 and I'm not signing any of the above free agents.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I think in 2014 we see what are young guys have
    in Chicago. I also think we will move a few veterans
    before deadline, if it makes sense: Jackson,Villanueva,
    Russell,Barney,Murphy,Schierholtz to see what we can
    get.

    Pitchers: Shark,Arrieta,Cabrera,Rusin,Hendricks,
    Grimm,Rondon,Strop,Parker,Rosscup
    Hitters: Castro,Rizzo,Lake,Castillo,Olt,Baez,
    Alcantera & Bryant.
    I would hope our FO would know by end of 2014 who is
    part of the future or where they need to go to get veterans
    to fill these spots.

    So I think they will be looking at going all in for the playoffs
    for 2015

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Eddie,
    In another post I really didn't believe the hype and thought Tanaka would sign for under 100 million. You (and John) rightfully called me out and I'm here to admit it!

    On this post, I don't think it's wise to trade Jackson, Samardjiza, Wood (turns 27 this February), and others. I understand a bit more if you are thinking over 30. I also think the window to win will be next year, even if we stay pat.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Can't say I enjoy being right this time. You're right about Wood, I'm not trading him, but I would trade both Samardzija and EJ. John wrote a story a few days back in which he concluded that it is far better to finish dead last than it is to limp into third place with 77 wins. I concur. Continue to load the organization with talent that is young, cheap and on the upswing. Take your lumps. Land another top 5 draft pick to exercise in June, 2015. I don't believe this team will be championship caliber in 2015 so I'd rather stay the course, even if it means more short term suckage. I know you disagree and that's fine too, but I want the F.O. to continue to purge guys who will be past their primes two years from now.

  • fb_avatar

    As long as we've come this far with the complete tear down, I say let's stink it up for one more year and get another Top 5 draft pick in 2015, then go for it after that.

    I'm optimistic that the Wrigley Field renovations plan will move forward after the 2014 season. I think the Cubs decided several months ago that they could do it in four years and take more time to get their plan in order.

    So this next offseason, that's where the business plan and the on-the-field plan theoretically start coming together.

    Add two more Top 5 draft picks (the already secured 2014 pick and another in 2015) and a couple major free agent acquisitions next offseason to go with the development of prospects and hopefully you have a contender by 2016.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Tanaka wasn't part of the FO's plan in 2012. This changes nothing. He would have been a nice piece to add to the core w/o losing a draft pick or prospects, but the original plan is still on track. IMO, it's going to be harder for other teams to extend potential TOR FA starters like Scherzer now that they see what the Cubs are up to

  • fb_avatar

    I say we stand pat. Shark, Wood, Jax can hold their own, we need to let Arrieta man the fourth spot, see how he develops in the first half. We will know by break if he's someone we can count on, if not, a spot might open up for some of the younger ones( like a Fernandez jump last season). I think the Cubs owe it to themselves to let Hendricks, Grimm, Rusin grow. I wouldn't count on Cabrerra. Look for him to be traded or released march 30th.

  • Call me crazy but I think theo and company like the negative press for competitve reasons. Let the media say the cubs are broke but the cubs keep bidding on players they see fit. I know they come up short, but when they get closer I feel they will star winning the bids.

  • Looks like another year of being the worst team in the history of professional sports.

  • In reply to ChibiDannimon:

    You don't think that is just a little bit of an exaggeration?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hyperbole is the craziest word ever!

  • I would like to see them sign Garza and Arroyo personally. Maybe jump the salary a bit, but have a no trade clause "if" they will take it with the higher AAV.

    I really don't get the Garza dislike. Solid pitcher who can get it done in the National League Central. I wanted Tanaka as well, but two of Garza and Arroyo could get you just as much production at around the same cost worst case. (For a shorter period of time contract wise, of which, they could still flip these guys for prospects, making it even a better deal assuming they pitch to their talent)

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Garza=cancer

  • fb_avatar

    The bad news gets worse. Bleed Cubbie Blue is reporting that the Cubs and the rooftops are headed to court, which could tie up the Wrigley renovations. The court system moves slowly, and with appeals, etc. Yikes! So much for my optimism on the Wrigley renovations.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I have been saying all along they need to move.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I can see that the rooftop mess would hold up the RF sign and the Jumbotron, but it should have no impact on the rest of it which the city has signed off on and the rooftop contract doesn't cover - the hotel, the pedestrian mall, the extension of the outfield wall, etc. And income from those areas would dwarf the income from the sign and the scoreboard; the physical rebuild and the team rebuild could proceed, it just seems Ricketts wants it all tied up in a bow before he starts anything.

  • And, as a long time Cubs fan, who has the right to say this, I will say one thing about the Yankees vs the Cubs.

    The Yankees play to win every year. The Cubs, not so much. Cry all you want about how much they spend, but they attract, and they attract for a reason.

    This is not to say I'm against a rebuild. But, I also don't think it is a grand end all philosophy, where all of a sudden the Cubs become powerhouses in 2015 or 2016 and the rest of the field does nothing to respond.

    It's going to be a lot tougher than that. You can play to win, or you can play to lose. Don't believe me? How many of you are sitting here talking about tanking 2014 so we can get another high draft pick?

    Losing breeds losing. It has become the culture here. Management takes a chance on Soriano, and it becomes the big no no and dastardly don't do for the future.

    But, at the same time, looking at the free agent class, I get it. You don't want to sign guys for past performance who are going to be potentially blocking guys who "could' be good below them. I get it.

    I guess I get a little skeptical with all of the overwhelming confidence in the plan. I have confidence in it, but it is measured with skepticism. The Yankees seem like they are in the hunt every single year and their minor leagues suck.

    If we talk about the great teams of the 1900's, you won't be talking about the Cubs. You will be talking about the Yankees.

    I'm not a fan, but I do respect their brand, and I also respect their style. They tell their fans they are going to compete and put a winner out there EVERY YEAR. Say what you want, but I personally respect that.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    then maybe you should go cheer for the Yankees.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Maybe you should attempt an intelligent response.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Maybe you should give the "plan" some more time. It isn't finished yet.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Take it easy on the guy, it's hard to match the "intelligence" of taking 300 words to say, "if a team is good now, that means they'll always be good, and if a team is bad now, that means they'll always be bad." Phenomenally intelligent reasoning there.

  • In reply to hitlist2015:

    You missed his point entirely. This whole Tanaka thing must have mushed your brain.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Aw shucks, if only I were smart enough to understand meaningless, sweeping generalizations like "losing breeds losing"...

  • In reply to hitlist2015:

    I feel bad for you if that's the only thing you took from his post.

  • In reply to hitlist2015:

    Baaaaaa

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Cheer for the Yankees because he has questions about management and isn't a blind follower?

    Ricketts loves fans like you.

    Baaaaaa

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yeah, ones who whine and complain but will be right back on the bandwagon when the team is winning again totally have the moral high ground here. Will enjoy the backtracking of yourself and others over the next few years.

    Bahahaha, or something.

  • In reply to hitlist2015:

    Sorry, you have it all wrong.

    I'm a season ticket holder. You're allowed to question what the team does and be a fan, you don't have have to be a sheep to support the team.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Of course you can question a team's moves and still be a fan. But if someone does support the team they're automatically a "sheep"? Maybe they're just people who understand the process and have faith in the front office put in charge of carrying out the plan? Or are tired of repeating the same mistakes over and over and want to see the team built in what they believe to be the right way?

    I don't understand the need to take shots at people for supporting the team. Seems to me the more popular stance among most Cubs fans these days is yours, anyway, so not sure how those taking the less popular view are "sheep".

  • In reply to hitlist2015:

    Just because you question the front office doesn't mean you can't believe in them.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Best post I've seen all day.

  • If they could get Maholm on 1yr @ 2M or Hammel on 1yr @ 1M I'd be fine. I would consider some possible incentives added to the deals. but beyond that, I would prefer to just stand pat and give in house guys a chance. None of the other choices are even worth considering

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I think Hammel could make sense. He would cost a low base salary and could be a good swing man. His stuff will probably play well in the pen. It gives them flexibility to move him to the pen if Hendricks earns an opportunity in the rotation.

    Maholm would need a starting spot. I would go with a 3 million base salary on Hammel w/ incentives.

  • Anyone heard exactly what the Cubs offer was to Tanaka?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    We'll never know what the deal really was, fact is no one ever outbids the Yankees on a player they have to sign. Never have, never will.

  • No Tanaka and no deal with the rooftop owners means the timeline gets pushed back, but to what extent we don't know. In the meantime, payroll flexibility trumps bottom tier SP signings, so I'll take Option #4 among those listed. Payroll flexibility should facilitate trades in the coming season. Players like Lohse, Gallardo, Dickey and Buerhle, just to mention a few may be available in salary dump moves, and the pending FA's like Masterson, Scherzer and Price may be out there as well. I'm not as worried about acquiring pitching as I am about seeing the renovations continue to drag out.

  • fb_avatar

    if you can stand one last Tanaka post, this was pretty funny - I heard it on the Dan Macneil show this AM, not sure if it's true. Yesterday I had posted "White smoke over Tokyo" because Tanaka had tweeted, "I have decided." ie, a decision had been made. It turns out that was a bad translation from Japanese - what he had tweeted was, "I can't decide" - and what it referred to was, he had asked for photos for his Facebook page and he got so many responses, he was tweeting "I can't decide" - apparently it had nothing to do with The Decision!

  • I don't factor in what happened in the past as to what is happening now. Ricketts inherited a mess and his hands where tied with down side big contracts. He gets clean slate from me and he brought in Theo when it made sense to make his move. I'm optimistic things will work. It feels different now. Quick fixes rarely work or last.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    They get a clean slate from me too, I think they have done a great job in 2 short years.

  • I think that Arietta and Grimm are greatly underestimated by most Cub fans. I hope they let the two of them and Cabrerra fight it out for the bottom of the rotation.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    Agreed. I think all 3 could be solid middle of the rotation guys. Arrieta could be a TOR piece. The way he dominated the Cardinals lineup his first start with us sticks in my head.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Can we wait for Arrieta to have even one average season before we put the words TOR pitcher in a sentence?

    He hasn't proven anything at the major league level.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    If that's the case nobody is allowed to call any prospect evera "potential TOR piece" because they havn't even made it to the show. Tell me how that makes sense? He has TOR-level stuff so why wouldn't the term get mentioned next to him......hell John said it himself in this very article. Is he jumping the gun as well?

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    He's starting this season as a 28 year old and has does nothing of note in the major leagues, let him do something of note first before you go gaga over him.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    An overwhelming majority of players who make it as a TOR piece have at least one season as a M/BOT piece by the time they turn 28. The guy can't even go a full season with staying in the majors. Don't get your hopes up about the guy.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    *M/BOR

  • 2014 lineup:
    1. lake
    2. castro
    3. rizzo
    4. castillo
    5. schierholtz
    6. olt
    7. ruggioni
    8. barney
    not very good! unless all the stars align right.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    It's going to be a very good team defensively.

    It's going to be a fairly erratic team offensively.

    Not sure I like Lake as a leadoff guy though, unless he can get his strikeout rate down. Although with that as the lineup,... assuming that is what we end up with,.... none of these guys other than maybe Castillo is much of an OBP threat. At least he's got some raw speed.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I don't think it will be as bad as some think. Their are indicators of bounce back years. Rizzo and Castro are talented enough to have good years. .800+ ops and .760ish ops. Castillo showed potential in the 2nd half too. Barney can't be any worse and his babip was ridiculously low. Ruggiono has some promise....http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/43097/cubs-could-have-gem-in-ruggiano?ex_cid=espnapi_public. Schierholtz will be an ok bat.

    Olt and Lake will be wild cards, but at least they are young and have a better chance of surprising than some 30 something vet.

  • fb_avatar

    I agree w moody and Hoosier-stand pat. Create the opportunities for the mid level prospects. That goes for the position players as well. They'll be a lot more valuable if they achieve major league success.

  • Not to be totally down in the dumps, I think
    pitching will be better in 2014 and by Sept
    this could be our lineup.
    1. alcantera
    2. castro
    3. rizzo
    4. baez
    5. schierholtz
    6. bryant
    7. lake
    8. castillo
    it will be fun to watch these kids play.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleachercreature:

    because the Majority of prospects fail
    even the majority of a teams top 10 prospects
    doesnt matter what regime -

  • You know, I've been thinking a lot about the rebuild. I think we are really calling it the wrong thing. To rebuild something would imply that there was already something built. Given the long championship drought and the WS absence since 1945, I'd say the Cubs are building something completely new. Since the approach currently being undertaken hasn't really been tried before by the Cubs, I think this coincides nicely.

    Good things take time to build. If one were rebuilding, one could use remnants of something remaining, but that really isn't an option. Instead of being disappointed with the lack of a finished product, I am eagerly anticipating the finished construction. I'm young and I no longer live in Chicago, so this might be easier for me.

    I have mixed feelings about Tanaka. I really wanted the Cubs to sign him, but I didn't feel as positive about him as I did Darvish. In the end, I think this is a wash.

    If I had to pick one of the options, I'd stand pat or maybe sign Baker and give him a shot.

    Cheers!

  • In reply to CGunz:

    I agree 100 percent, I'm young too so like you it might be easier for me but to rebuild we would have to have something. I can wait, I remember the cubs going to the playoffs once every few years. I want to have a young team that grows old together and win championships together, and have those emotional farewells like the yankees had last year from there core that was together.

  • I've been recommending that we stand pat since the end of the last season. I was reluctantly convinced that Tanaka was a good fit but not at any cost. I'm good. I will admit to one impacient fit on a bad hair day prior to being forsaken by Girardi.

  • John, this has nothing to do with Tanaka, but let's get back to the Cubs and their prospects... Check this out: http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2014/1/22/5332144/cubs-minor-parts-erick-leal

    It seems like Erick Leal has added a few ticks to his fastball, from high 80's, to low 90's... Just a slight difference, but it might make a world of difference for him.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I'm still amazed that Thed Hoystein were able to get both Leal & Castillo for Campana. I'm not a fan of BCB, but the one thing I do read is Tim Huwe's Minor League reports. Thanks for the link.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Good to hear. He needs those extra ticks. Without them he was probably a 5th starter type.

  • Just give me Bailey and Masterson next year and I will be happy. Both are good #2 types. Keep Shark and we have a strong rotation. No true #1 but three strong pitchers at the top.

  • In reply to Cubs69:

    No true #1 but three strong pitchers at the top.

    I'll add, you never know who could get hot and lift up the rest of the staff. Even better if one of the kids breaks through and then 'we got something' to build on.

  • My top choices would be Cabrera or Wada, then Rusin, then Grimm then Villanueva or Ramirez.. I like Grimm better than Rusin but I also really liked him in the pen too.

  • Advantage that a team not expected to compete for the playoffs has, is the opportunity to develop young players. Today is a great example of how much quality starters are worth. Cubs have some very good young arms in guys like Arrieta, Cabrera, Grimm, Vizcaino, and others, so I say option #4. If just one turns into a solid middle of the rotation starter, you have hit gold.
    Tanaka deal is absurd. Four years of control, with a guarantee of $155M plus $20M, and a no trade. Forget about it.
    Arroyo is a good pro, but going that route, to me the most value is Chris Capuano.
    By far the worst news for the Cubs today, is the rooftop fiasco. Every year of delay is costing $50-$100 million in revenue. They have to take action, doing nothing is killing the club .

  • Actually, time is on the. Cubs side. The success of the rooftop business is tied to the success of the Cubs on the field. This is just negotiating. Agreement is close.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Just the opposite I am sorry to say. The talks blew up yesterday. The problem the Cubs have is status quo is what the rooftops want. They would prefer to drag things out as long as possible.
    Apparently yesterday, after months and months of talks, and appearing close to working out a deal, the rooftops demanded that the Cubs put the left field video board on top of one of the buildings across the street. The Cubs went nuts.
    Cubs I think have finally realized that no deal is going to happen, and are ready to start construction on the right field sign, and say, see you in court.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreement? There is not any agreement close at hand with the rooftop people that I see. They apparently will do all they can to delay any progress at Wrigley. Perhaps if they delay until 2020 they'll feel they can force what they want and get the cubs to go along. No matter how many times the cubs compromise though it won't be enough. It doesn't seem to occur to them that if Wrigley is improved their businesses will improve.

  • I think the Cubs absolutely need to sign a free agent like Maholm or Arroyo. Whatever happened to going 7-9 pitchers deep? Right now, I see 3 legit guys and a few super fringy types or with big question marks. Don't forget, at least one or two of these guys is going to get hurt this season... that's when I see giving Hendricks or Cabrera or one of those types their shot. Build depth. Please. I'm willing to have another down year, but I'm not willing to have another year of Berkens and Germanos after the trade deadline and/or injuries.

  • Tanaka always seemed a long-shot to me under the new posting agreement, as who would willingly come to a rebuilding situation that's at least two years from the playoffs. After all, Tanaka was just pitching in the Japanese World Series. Competitors want to compete on a competitive team ASAP, not two years down the road. But the Cubs FO was right to try for it, and no time was wasted as all new player acquisitions in the league was on hold until this first domino got placed.

    (Do you think they are kicking themselves for not out-bidding Texas for Darvish right now. His $51M posting few and $10M per seems a budget steal right now. Highsight: 20/20.)

    What next? It seems more of the same for the Cubs, trying to collect a few more tradable short-term assets as the team plays once again for as high a draft pick as it can get. And once those are exhausted, it will be trading an impact young player for multiple long-term pitching assets. A Castro or a blocked prospect. But I agree with your assessment that Arroyo might be the best available FA pitching option. The team desperately needs a few veterans, and Arroyo is not a "brain-dead heever" so it could help Samardzija have at least a good first half until he's traded.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Agreed. I think the new agreement hurt. Cubs probably would have had a better chance with a blind posting bid.

  • When will we know what level all of our prospects will start at next season?

  • Im upset that the Cubs didnt sign Tanaka (more upset about the restoration news), but Im hoping we build the TOR in free agency next year.

    My wife said to me: "Why waste all that $$$ if he's not an Ace?".

    You're wife is always right....right?

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Our wives are always right :)

  • I actually do hope the Cubs lost out on the Tanaka bid because they refused to include the opt out clause. IMO it is very dangerous to give an unknown quantity all the upside in a contract of that nature with all the risk with the club. I dont want my Cubbies taking that kind of risk with future payroll flexibility and i hope Theo was not that stupid to even think about it. As for next steps, I think the Cubs are going to take a step back (i.e. trade Shark).This Tanaka sweepstakes has just raised the value of high draft picks and top prospects through the roof.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to NIKOMAN:

    the opt out clause is key, you are right; the Yankees either signed Tanaka to;
    a) a 4-year, $108 mil contract, with a $27 mil AAV that is higher than any pitcher not named "Clayton", or
    b) a contract that they will regret

    If Tanaka is good, he'll opt out. If he's another Dice-K or Kei Igawa, he won't, and the Yankees will be stuck with another 3 years

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Wow. That is exactly right. 4 years of good or 7 years of bad. Yankees gambling big w/ their future.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    This also puts them in the luxury tax, so his 22 mil this season adds another 11 million in tax to their payroll. It's basically a 38 million dollar investment for 2014.

  • fb_avatar

    Great job John on your coverage of he Tanaka sweeps stakes! Thank you for avoiding the speculations and “guestamates.”

    I have a comment / observation: Most fans on this Blog acknowledged that this building process would be long and uncomfortable back in 2011 and here it is… two tough blows to the fan base. 1st We loose out on the free agent that could start the turnaround and 2nd the rooftop owners start beating the drum again about taking legal action over their views of the Ricketts privately owned property.

    As we express our disappointment and frustration we need to remember that two years ago we acknowledged that this would be a building process and we would have bad days and that everything Jed, Theo and company did would not work out. In no way am I accepting failure but we need to continue to elevate our expectations for their plan B, C, and possibly D. Hold the front office accountable “YES” but move the team and buy a had full of free agents “NO.”

    Thank you again to all the posters on this Blog (you all really know your stuff)…I learn from you all every day.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm wondering. Why would any pitchers on the market today even be worthy of a contract. They all have their very own issues that made them not right for the Cubs consideration before today. Tanaka was the catch, period.

    If I'm out fishing for swordfish and don't get one, why would I stop at the little shack on the side of the road for some smoked mullet?

    Let's keep our eye on the bigger picture and stand pat.

  • Not to worry. The Cubs will shine in '29....

  • The Yankees did not outbid us, he simply wanted to play there more than here. Maybe he loved watching Hideki Matsui fight for World Series Championships every year, no one knows what's in Tanaka's head. When you're talking $155M or slightly more there's really no difference, he simply went to the city he wanted to go to. Until we get some kind of successful history that's not going to be uncommon.

  • Tanaka ends up being the 5th highest paid pitcher in baseball history.
    Cubs need to offer that kind of cash to a proven MLB pitcher.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Part of the reason for that is he is signing a much longer career than is typical for a starting pitcher. Not a lot of pitchers get seven year contracts, because none of them hit FA at age 25. So, you're kind of comparing apples and oranges.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Add in the posting fee and Tanaka's deal is identical to the one Felix Hernandez got... 7 years. $175 million. King Felix was 26 when he signed.

    I could be wrong but I don't think Tanaka's gonna be Felix Hernandez.

    Then again... Felix didn't forsee what's going on now. IMO, he could've got another $100MM had he waited a year.What was a big deal at the time is looking like a bargain now.

  • fb_avatar

    Quoting Peter Gammons in his newsletter from this morning: "The Cubs simply didn’t have the cash to finish it, and knew they were not seriously in it. The Yankees reportedly saw a $60M drop in ticket revenues in 2013, their television ratings waned, and Hal Steinbrenner knows New York does not tolerate his family’s team finishing tied with the Orioles for third place."

    The key part of that quote: The Cubs simply didn't have the cash to finish it (though I interpret that as meaning they wouldn't give Tanaka an option to void the contract after four seasons).

    I also just read that the rooftop owners have filed a suit against the Cubs which will delay any renovations.

    All this points to the Cubs doing nothing. Until that is settled, the Cubs are forced into acting like a small market team with a small market budget and rightfully so. So what do the Cubs do? Find guys who will do short term deals that can hopefully be flipped for long term assets and keep drafting well. Not much else.

    Hopefully Epstein and Hoyer do not walk away from this before they complete everything they set out to do, including winning a World Series. But the timeline continues to be pushed further back.

  • I think we should all boycott the rooftops and all of the neighborhood bars they own.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. It's gotten to the point that their money leaching ways have become to affect the progress of the organization and growth from the on-the-field product. It was cute before, now it's gotten downright annoying. That so-called "contract" should have been voided the minute Tribune crapped out and sold the team.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    My favorite analogy was that the rooftop owners and their patrons are like your neighbor who is constantly peering in your windows to watch your premium cable channels but won't kick in any money towards the bill. The unfortunate part of this is that the Cubs can't ignore them because the residents elect the politicians (whatever happened to the days when you could buy a vote or two?) and we have a classic David v. Goliath battle here. I am actually somewhat surprised that Ricketts doesn't just throw up his hands and look for somewhere else to build - and not just the 'burbs. What about elsewhere in the city (North side of course!)?

  • In reply to Bham Cub Fan:

    Goliath needs to explore other options.

    Just put out the word... who wants the Cubs?
    There would there be a whole lot of hands raised.

    Build a whole new Wrigley and Wrigleyville and make it like a baseball Disneyland... all shiny and new.

  • Some stream-of-consciousness rambling on the subject:

    I think I would either sign Maholm or stand pat. The Cubs already have a ton of SP depth--although some of it won't be ready until later this year. If they do stand pat, they have the luxury of having some flexibility.

    What if they sign someone like Arroyo (who is probably going to get something like 3/45), and then Arrieta and Cabrera are both lights out in ST as starters? What do you do then with the guys who are out of options?

    I wouldn't want to go more than a year or two on Arroyo.

    With Maholm, I'd be okay going 3-4 years. Guys like him are usually better in their 30s than their 20s anyway. IMO he will age well, and he's not going to cost a lot. You know what you're getting with him, and as the Cubs roster turns over, you can still use him as a #4 or #5. Plus, he's a lefty and the Cubs don't have a lot of good lefties in the system.

    But I don't think the Cubs really need Maholm, because is a guy like Rusin really any worse than Maholm? Maholm is more of a sure thing, but Rusin looked pretty dang good last year, first in ST, then in the PCL, then in the NL during the second half. His peripherals weren't great, but guys who pitch for Bosio and who rely on cutters as out pitches seem to always outperform their peripherals (for example Wood and Feldman).

    If the Cubs didn't have so much depth, I would want them to go out and sign a Maholm or someone like that, but out of the gate they could have Shark/Wood/Jackson/Arrieta/Rusin, and still have Villanueva and Cabrera in the bullpen as potential backfill, with guys like Grimm, Hendricks and Wada at AAA. That's ten candidates right there who all look pretty legitimate. And, besides those guys, they still have a bevy of fringe candidates like Marshall, Jokisch, Loux, Ramirez, etc.

    It's a long list. And with a roster like the Cubs' how much is a Maholm worth over a Rusin? Do you really want to lock yourself in a long term contract with someone you don't really love, for that kind of very dubious/marginal upgrade? I would almost rather see some of the young guys pitch and get a shot.

    I suppose what the Cubs expect to do with Samardzija should probably influence whether they sign a Maholm type guy. If they expect they'll be dealing him at the deadline, then they probably need another veteran. If they expect to hold onto him, and either extend him or just keep him for the remainder of the contract, then they ought to stand pat.

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    Is there any talk of Price for Shark +? Seems like that might be a deal that could get done. If the Cubs were willing to go 7/150 for Tanaka they should be able to afford an extension for Price. For TB, they are in a similar situation with Shark as they were with Price, but I think he'll be cheaper to sign, plus they'll have some other pieces from the deal. Pipe dreams? Maybe, but if so I like what I'm smokin'.

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    I'm not interested in any of these free agent options. Or any free agent pitcher that wouldn't be used as an asset to flip at the deadline.
    And what would we really get for Jason Hammel? Not enough to block young options, in my opinion.

    I really like Cabrera as the 5th starter. Grimm as a fallback option. Then, Hendricks still has the opportunity to work his way into the rotation if he forces the issue. It's an uphill climb. But, he could be a somewhat valuable, 4-5 starter capable of eating innings. With years of control, those kinds of guys do have some limited value.

    I'm bummed about Tanaka. But the financial flexibility is better served next offseason with a deeper crop of starters. The time to really spend money starts next offseason. We'll also have a clearer picture of what we have in-house.
    And unless someone is willing to overpay for Samardzija, we need to keep him. Even if he's a #3. But he could do a ton of service for himself with a dominant first half. But, if Arizona offers Bradley? Done.
    This will be a bad team. But we won't lose 100 games. I'm hoping for an offensive boost from the kids in the second half- 2 impact bats are exciting building blocks.

  • Something I've been considering for a while:

    Is there a possibility that a veteran pitcher would actually prefer to sign a low-salary deal on a non-competitive/rebuilding team just for the sake of being traded at the deadline?

    This sounds weird, but if you knew you were getting close to the end of your career and just wanted one more shot at the playoffs, wouldn't it make more sense to sign with an obvious non-contender with a gentleman's agreement of being traded to a contender at the deadline? Come July, the team gets a haul of prospects and the pitcher gets to play for a team that is already in the playoff hunt.

  • Someone made a point that the 'Yanks are used to winning. That doesn't mean that the cubs can't eventually be winners. I've been a cub fan for many years, but there are some things that we should agree on. 1. The Yankees have a great history over time. 2. They have not been shy about continuing to invest in their club. 3. The rooftop owners are holding the cubs back and that doesn't show signs of changing. Unless the current situation with Chicago and the rooftop owners changes what can we expect for the future, more of the same?

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