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Rosenthal: Cubs have about $20M they can add to payroll

Rosenthal: Cubs have about $20M they can add to payroll

If a report from Ken Rosenthal is true, the Cubs will be somewhat limited in what they can do this offseason and for the foreseeable future.  Rosenthal's sources say the Cubs payroll figures to be around $130-$140M for 2016 and in the years to come.  He estimates the Cubs will already be at about $120M with their current obligations while MLB Trade Rumors puts that number closer to $110M.

The bottom line is that the Cubs will have about $20M to spend.  That gives us some insight as to what the Cubs will do.  It seems to rule out a signing like David Price or Zach Greinke.  Even Jordan Zimmerman received a $22M AAV while Johnny Cueto just turned down 6 years and $120M.  Even if there is some wiggle room -- the most optimistic estimate gives them $30M to spend -- then such a signing would be the Cubs only significant move for this season and possibly for the next few years.

If the report is true, I doubt the Cubs would tie themselves up with such a move.  The Red Sox threat to outbid the competition for Price would certainly hold great meaning to the Cubs.  Even if the Cubs could entice Price to sign for less, the Red Sox loom as a team that could beat the offer by a significant enough margin to snatch him away.   Even if the Cubs could go to $175M over 7 years, a $25M AAV, the Red Sox could go into that $200M plus range that has been reported in various outlets.  It almost makes you wonder if the Red Sox specifically had the Cubs in mind when they  threw out that $30-$40M figure out there.

It becomes much more likely now that the Cubs will try to obtain a cost-controlled pitcher via trade and perhaps a cheaper, shorter term veteran like John Lackey.  That would leave them room to obtain a stopgap CFer as well, especially if the Cubs can create room by trading players like Starlin Castro, Miguel Montero, and even Jorge Soler, who will make $3.67M and is the most coveted of that trio.  Castro is set to make just under $8M while Montero will make $14M.  In that light it makes sense why the Cubs are willing to trade Castro and Montero.  The Cubs have young, inexpensive depth behind both players they can plug in.  Replacing Soler's RH middle of the order power, however, won't be as easy and he won't provide much salary relief, but he is the player that could bring the most in return.  The Cubs could then use the money they would have used on a pitcher to sign Alex Gordon or Jason Heyward.  Trading Chris Coghlan ($3.9M) is also another option.

The Cubs have also worked hard to bring in a lot of inexpensive bullpen options and the team does have some relief pitchers headed for some big raises, most notably Travis Wood (estimated $6.4M in arb) and Pedro Strop ($4.7M).  The Cubs could try to deal either pitcher and pare down the payroll there as well -- and then hope that some of the bargain signings can come in and do an adequate job of replacing their production.  But given the Cubs desire to add pitching depth, trading two of their best bullpen arms is not an ideal solution either.   If the Cubs want to add two starting pitchers then perhaps Jason Hammel ($9M) becomes expendable.  But Hammel was a 2.4 WAR pitcher at that salary, so despite some late season struggles, he did represent a value  signing for the Cubs.  It will be difficult to get a similarly productive pitcher at that salary on a one year deal, which is what you essentially have with Hammel right now.

The limited payroll report also would explain the Cubs desire to hang on to their minor league depth.  Those players will keep the payroll flexible and provide inexpensive replacements should the Cubs need to cut payroll in the next couple of years.  If the Cubs are to maintain an equilibrium at about 130-140M and contend, then their minor league depth becomes essential in that pursuit.

Of course, we are writing all of this assuming Rosenthal's sources are correct, but given the buzz I've heard all offseason about the Cubs pursuits -- which  does not include Price -- then perhaps there is some validity to those figures.  There is also the possibility of a new TV deal that will change this outlook.  This is probably what was meant when the words foreseeable future were used.

As of now, however, this confirms much of what I have been saying so far this offseason.  That I don't expect the Cubs to try to land that big name pitcher.  They could, however, add a cost-controlled impact pitcher via trade.  That would open up the most options for them, though it may cost them Soler and take flowchart I talked about in a different direction.  If the Cubs can trade Montero, Castro, Wood, Coghlan, or Strop instead, then that would take them on yet a different path, as it would free up some payroll, allow them to keep Soler, and give them some flexibility to add a free agent pitcher.

The Winter Meetings start this week and it has been slow to get started, especially for the Cubs, but it should pick up soon.  Especially after the Cubs decide what course they're going to take and pull the trigger on that first move.

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  • Good, trade Hammel and Montero and now you have $45 mil to spend.

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    In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    After seeing JA Happ get $36 mil, is Hammel's contract at all bad? 1 yr, $10 mil, with a team option?

    Trading him creates problems; it doesn't solve them

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Exactly, who can you get to replace Hammel's production at $9M?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Unless one of the rookies or 40-roster guys that played shuttle pitcher last season was ready to step into a regular rotation spot,.... it would be almost impossible to get a better option than at least the pre-injury version of Hammel on the roster for a lower cost.

    But since it is unlikely that somebody like Beeler is going to be a reliable step-up guy, or until somebody like P. Johnson is ready to step into the rotation,.... that's not going to come out of the current farm system.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Great point. We are a pitcher away. Could have won it all last year with current roster. Let others overspend.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Signing two FA pitchers does not make Hammel expendable. The Cubs want to have more than 5 starting pitchers available at the MLB level, so signing two leaves 5 starters plus a swingman.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/03/19/the-chicago-cubs-financial-story-the-payroll-the-debt-and-the-syncing-of-baseball-and-business-plans/
    This is an amazingly thorough piece by Brett Tayler about the salary restrictions the Cubs will have until 2019 as a result of the sale/partnership agreement with Sam Zell/Trib.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Not necessarily. If they sign Samardzija and trade for a starter Hammel is expendable and Hendricks is a strong #5. The $20 million seems low to me, I've been hearing all along that the commitments post arb were going to be $105 mil. I could buy MLB Trade Rumor's number of $110 mil, $120 seems high. That was all of last year's payroll. Trade Castro and Hammel and it frees up $17 mil. They've just got to be creative. I've never thought they were going to sign Price or Greinke.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Part of the goal of the offseason is to improve pitching depth, though. Given that goal, I can't imagine the $10M on Hammel could be better spent elsewhere. Having Hendricks as an emergency option in Iowa (sorry, again, Kyle) gives the team a lot of options over the season. And it could prove to be life saving if Lester or Arrieta (God forbid) misses significant time with an injury.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree with that but if money is this tight I would rather see Hammel moved with Pierce Johnson as that guy at AAA than trading Montero. That makes all your pitching worse.

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    In reply to TC154:

    It's not an either-or, though. For all the world it appears the plan is to spend $20M or so on Lackey/Shark/Leake and then trade (Soler?) for another starter. That gives you your team without trading Montero or Hammel.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    True, but you still need a CF. Maybe that guy comes for Castro and a prospect.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Castro, once you factor in the 4/40 contract, doesn't have alot of surplus trade value

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I would much rather trade Montero than Soler.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Yes!

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Which is exactly why no one will give us a reasonable pitcher for him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I cant see how Hendricks would not start for this team. Sure, his stuff and velocity might say he is a 5th starter, but his numbers have been great since he entered the league (under 3.4 FIP last two years) to the point where he would be a 3rd starter on most teams. I suppose they could add 2 starters ahead of him and then decide to keep Hammel in the rotation, but I just dont see it.

    It just seems like a waste of resources that I dont think the front office is willing to make to sign a second 10-15 million pitcher or trade Soler/Baez just so we can replace Hendricks. And I get that we wont get through this year injury free but that seems wasteful. Most likely guess from me right now is 1 good pitcher who slots in at 3 and then a couple depth guys who end up just behind Hammel/Hendricks.

    In that situation, I hope we buy our big pitcher rather than trade so we can keep our deep and upside filled lineup intact.

  • In reply to KingTheo:

    It's more of the "two times through the lineup" and he's done problem which taxes a bullpen.

    I think he was on a short leash, but he has to go deeper in games.

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    In reply to rbrucato:

    Yes. They have to get more innings out of their 3 starter next year and that need puts real pressure on the bottom of the rotation. The breaking point is if they sign someone and trade for a Salazar type.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They can not get more innings out of the 3rd starter unless the manager allows it. Hendricks was often pulled earlier than necessary and yet still pitched 180 innings. He is as good or better than some of the so-called #3's that have been bandied about on this board.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Chicken. Egg. He was pulled because Maddon didn't like his chances if he stayed in. I trust Maddon's judgement there. He got 180 innings because he started a ton of games but he still only averaged 5.6 innings per start.

    And let's say Maddon is wrong: Maddon isn't treating him as a third starter. Ergo he isn't a third starter on a Maddon team. As Maddon isn't going to be fired, Hendricks won't be a third starter on the Cubs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Perhaps he won't be a 3 on the Cubs but he certainly does not belong in AAA. That is the point.

    Also, it may be more of Maddon having confidence in the bull pen than lack of confidence in Hendricks.

    I believe Hendricks started game three of the post season. So he was #3 at that point. I think Maddon was still managing.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    So the original post you responded to was that there is a breaking point if the Cubs acquire both Samardzija/Lackey/Leake and a Salazar type. For simplicity, assume our six starting pitchers are:
    Arrieta
    Lester
    Samrdzija
    Salazar
    Hammel
    Hendricks

    Where does Hendricks pitch? If he's the rotation, who goes away? Why is the team stronger for that move?

    And I'm not sure what you're going for here:
    "I believe Hendricks started game three of the post season. So he was #3 at that point. I think Maddon was still managing."

    SOMEONE had to start that game. If they were ecstatic about their pitching options, they wouldn't be going to "Pitchers R Us" this offseason. So how does the fact that he happened to start the third game of a series matter to whether or not he's a third starter in baseball terminology?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    For clarification -

    My statement " I believe Hendricks started game three of the post season. So he was #3 at that point. I think Maddon was still managing."

    Was in response to your statement "And let's say Maddon is wrong: Maddon isn't treating him as a third starter. Ergo he isn't a third starter on a Maddon team. As Maddon isn't going to be fired, Hendricks won't be a third starter on the Cubs.

    Maddon did use him as the 3rd starter in the post season.

    I agree with you that isn't terribly relevant since the discussion is about what the rotation may look like next year. I agree that the Cubs certainly hope for a rotation better than one which would require Hendricks to go in the 3 spot. But I could certainly see him as a 4 or at worst 5. I do not see him going back to AAA.

    Of the 6 pitchers you mentioned I would be ecstatic if they managed to get Salazar for the 3rd SP. Hendricks is better than Shark so I wouldn't acquire Shark in the first place. But if they do hopefully Hammel will be dealt.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    The difference between Hendricks and Lester in total innings in 2015 averaged out to be 2 more outs a game. Lester by reputation gets to try to work out of his troubles where Hendricks is pulled immediately after somebody gets on base after the 5th inning. Even with those parameters, Lester only averaged 2/3 of an inning per game over Hendricks why no comments on Lester and his ability to go further into his starts?

  • In reply to stix:

    two outs is BIG. It is the difference over using a pinch hitter and another bullpen arm. And a consistent 7 IP starter versus a guy who goes 3, 4, or 5 for a month and then gets two starts with 8 is not the same.

  • In reply to KingTheo:

    Why would we trade a future superstar like Soler or Baez?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    It would be a "potential" future superstar for a "potential" TOR. People can argue which is more important, but if a trade like this happens it will be because the FO believes a greater need is being met. I would also not like seeing Soler or Baez go, but I would like to see someone like Salazar arrive. I don't know if they are equal value, but I know you have to give something good to get something good.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    I think I would only entertain moving Soler for Salazar. He kinda reminds me of Pedro with the fastball/change lethal combo. Maybe you could move Hammel to CLE as well.

    I'm not sure any other cost-controlled young pitchers excite me -- I would take Syndegaard or Wheeler though.

    No on Baez -- middle infielders who hit 30+ bombs are few and far between. And Russell is not a sure thing, IMO.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hendricks is never going to Triple AAA.

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    In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Being a young player with options on a competitive team sucks. If it's in the best interest of the team (and it may be), he'll have to learn to smile through it. Swingman out of the bullpen is also an option.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    I agree... He'd be trade bait or being hammered every time before he goes back down. Yo yoing him to AAA & ML like they did Beeler makes absolutely no sense at this point in his career & for his trade value.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.b­u­z­z­n­e­w­s­9­9­.­c­o­­m

  • In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    Never trade Soler. I wish his name would stop being mentioned, he could blossom into a superstar. Trade Hammel, Montero, Castro, Vogelbach, McKinney(?)...

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Hammel, Montero, Castro, Vogs, McKinney, they all have minimal trade value when you consider their expected impact vs. their contract commitments. And you can't just send 3-4 of these guys because trade value doesn't accumulate, especially when considering 40-man rosters

    Names like Baez, Contreras and most of all Soler have much more trade value because of their expected impact vs their contracts. If you're going to try to get a cost controlled #2 starter, you're gonna have to give up value.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.b­u­z­z­n­e­w­s­9­9­.­c­o­­m

  • In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.b­u­z­z­n­e­w­s­9­9­.­c­o­­m

  • fb_avatar

    Do we get a competitive balance pick since the Cardinals are in better shape than we are?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That still may be the most ridiculous thing in baseball. Might as well give the Yankees and Red Sox financial help because "reasons" and it'd make about as much sense.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Seriously! Does MLB even have a plan to revisit this?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Only if they finish among the top-5 of the NL Central

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    It would be $33 mil in room if not for Edwin Jackson's contract, which thankfully is off the books in 2017.....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I wish more people would keep this in mind when they proclaim that the Cubs should spend a bunch in free agency. No contract is a guarantee for success. The longer the contracts and the more money they are filled with increases the chances that we have another EJax contract on the books giving us no production (or relatively low production)

  • In reply to nukee:

    Edwin Jackson is not a David Price or Greinke.... EJax wasn't "smart" money at all. It was a flyer on a MOR guy hoping he'd be a TOR & he turned out to be neither...

    I can go either way on signing a big FA. I won't be terribly disappointed if they don't & wouldn't mind at all if they did... It's not my money. If they don't want to spend the big money, that's fine too.... What I don't want to hear is that they don't have the money & blaming it on the EJax signing... Because they do & will have even more coming in the near future.

  • In reply to nukee:

    Agree, we could have won it all with current roster.

  • trading hammel takes you further away from the objective...you don't want to trade serviceable pitching to pick up pitching.

    as has been pretty comprehensively discussed, the cubs' roster depth is in middle IF and corner OF. in order to land impact pitching, they're going to need to partner with someone who has it to give and is need of what the cubs have in surplus.

    not sure what can be had for strop & wood, given arbitration figures won't necessarily represent a significant bargain relative to available FAs, but packaging them with castro and/or montero could be a way to land a younger, cost-controlled, back-end type.

    to snag a carrasco, salazar or teheran, the cost will be steeper and have to be anchored by soler or baez...which we should all be ok with if the player coming back represents as much upside as either of those two have (just from the mound v. in the field).

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    I agree Wood is probably non - tendered - deadline is Wednesday right?

    Prob means Cahill is gone as well.

    Trading Hammel does nothing - JA Happ just signed for higher AAV.

    Not sure who would need/want Montero?

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    I think Montero has value. When you take into consideration his bat, his durability and his leadership, I think he's got to be considered an above average ML catcher. Look no further than the South Side to see a team that could use his services. Not saying they would trade for him or what to trade for him, but I am saying he's not chopped liver either. Didn't some team just sign Soto to a contract... willingly?

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Trade Montero. Why do we have him and Ross?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Because a baseball team needs catchers.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Quality ones at that. And there's a good reason why they traded for him to begin with. And it wasn't to flip him along w/his hefty contract this off season. Last year wasn't the go for it year when they traded for him, so all the more reason to keep him now that the actual "window" is here now.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Montero blocks two positions: C and LF

    Montero, Castro, Vogelbach, McKinney, Candelario, and maybe Almora if the FO has little faith should be the trade targets within. Candelario has nowhere to go. Vogelbach has nowhere to go.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Then why would they trade for him if he's already "blocking 2 positions"...? They knew his contract when they traded for him. They actually had 2 catchers when they traded for him. He fits the skillset they wanted from the position. The only way he's traded is if another team comes to them w/an overpay of trade value.

  • What is Shark's projected AAV? For a guy deadset on benefiting from free agency, I wonder if he may even price himself out of the Cubs' budget.

  • I would think the new revenue streams from a new media deal and the 10% - 43% ticket increase next year might up this figure somewhat.

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    If the financial situation is that tight, I think Castro will go. Players like LaStella and Baez can cover 2B for much lower salaries. The Montero rumors I guess make sense now. Not even Shark would fit at 20 mil total a year, unless he takes less than Zimmerman. Hopefully these revenue streams the Cubs are building with the stadium upgrades start paying off. And getting a really good TV deal will be important for sure.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    I am never going to believe that the Cubs are hardpressed for money....even if the team tanks next year the revenue stream will still increase when you consider the raise in ticket prices, higher prices they can command from advertisers, an increase in attendance, etc all the while knowing they are getting closer to the ultimate cash cow...the future tv deal....right when Lesters contract is winding down.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    First i'm thinking that these revenue projections are off or they better be because of the raised ticket prices. If price wants to be a Cub, then the FO and Ricketts family have to make it happen. The cash flow from advertising, radio broadcasts and ticket sales is just starting with the TV deal, hotel and entertainment plaza coming. Remember there is no salary cap in MLB. If price doesn't come then, Lackey and Shark might do it. Trading Castro for another arm or CF could work as well. Can't trade Montero, just yet because he is your #1 C, by far.

  • I agree the Cubs have a "limited" budget but that was also said last year and the year before that but they did make legitimate runs at A. Sanchez & Shields. Guess what I am getting at is if they identify someone(s) I think they could go over that a bit.

    With Zimmerman being signed and Price's price seemingly growing by the day, I think the Cubs are looking to make a push for Grienke. Now will they do anything to sign him, no. But I don't think they will make any free agent moves, especially regarding pitchers, until Grienke and perhaps Price is off the board.

    I also think think they are going to trade surplus at one position for deficit at another. All signs point to a pitcher but they would probably get better value swapping Baez/Castro for a CF.

    Just my 2 cents:)

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Well I just read Grienke is looking for $30 million a year so thats not happening, lol! I wouldn't give a 32 year old pitcher that much per year, even if he is Maddux lite

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Yeah, I think even if they can free up money they're not going to spend it all in one place.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sensible voice! A lot of denial here.

  • John, thanks for the great updates. Theo is going to have many
    choices to make. Trading Soler is a big gamble but
    for the right top prospect it should be worth it. Trading Castro
    and others that don't fit our long term plans is ok

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You're welcome. It's been a different kind of offseason but I think things are beginning to come into focus.

  • Didn't the Mariners just have the least productive season at catcher of all time? Does anyone know if they've anyone coming in the pipeline? Otherwise you'd think they'd be interested in Montero. I like Montero just not at $14 million, even if it pretty fair market value when these team has more pressing needs and payroll limitations.

    Also, trading Montero also doesn't necessarily mean the Cubs think Schwarber is ready to catch. I would think the Cubs would add stop gap catcher for next year if they moved Montero.

  • In reply to 2lf6reedyt:

    Mariners are pretty dumb.

    We trade Castillo to them, they give him all of 25 AB's and then flip him to Arizona where he tears it up. They had the hole filled but didn't hang on to Beef long enough to know it.

    It wasn't the greatest trade for us either, but our problem isn't that we don't have catchers, we just don't know who the guy is yet.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    They are in much better hands now with DiPoto.

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    In reply to 2lf6reedyt:

    No to Mariners; they just signed Chris Ianetta, a left-handed hitting catcher who is an elite pitch framer, good defender, and getting up in years. Sound familiar?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Ianetta hit .188 last year, so the Mariners figured he'd be an upgrade over Mike Zunino's .179. :-)

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    In reply to Zonk:

    No biggie but Ianetta is a right handed hitter

  • In reply to 2lf6reedyt:

    Zunino is pretty bad offensively, despite a lot of promise. They did just pick up Ianetta on a low price deal. I'm not sure if the Mariners would be interested in Montero.

  • Perhaps we should start a GoFundMe for them. ;-)

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    In reply to SteveBB:

    Lol....it's absolutely embarassing

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    Ha ha...

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    I'm sure Rosenthal hasn't taken into account the new money coming from the Pepsi partnership, according to Crane Kenney, not to mention the new money coming from the Toyota marquee, being able to sell 400,000 more tickets because bleacher construction is over, etc. Maybe not even the rise in ticket prices.

    You are about the only one to have raised the income side as opposed to the expense side.

  • With only 20K to spend Soler and Castro look like the odd men out. Baez is inexpensive and it wouldn't make a lot of sense to trade both Javy and Starlin.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    20M

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I didn't refresh my page, or else I would have noticed you already corrected yourself haha

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yeah, I don't know how theo and jed can convince a free agent to come to the cubs on a 20K per year salary. Heck, I wouldn't even take that offer ;)

  • In reply to JLynch2247:

    I would, but it would be an overpay.

  • I'm a little skeptical of that number. If true, that really sucks. I don't even know if you could sign Lackey and Austin Jackson for 20 million. I know those are estimates but 20M isn't anything near what it used to be. I also think trading Montero would be an awful idea.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I think it's about right, to be honest. It lines up with everything I have been hearing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't doubt it. I was just hoping for Samrdzija/Zobrist and acquiring another pitcher to be the 5/6 starter whilst hanging onto Soler, Baez, and Castro. To me, the biggest need is a leadoff man. Zobrist is my guy there.

    I also kinda like Desmond Jennings (not to lead off) who could be a nice bounce back candidate and play all three spots.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I think that's more realistic than some of the things I've heard. They may still have to clear some money to do that, but they can do that by maybe dealing guys like Coghlan. Zobrist, though, doesn't seem to be on the Cubs radar as much as he seems to be for other teams.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    As Yogi once said (supposedly): "A nickel ain't worth a dime any more."

  • Good stuff John. Been saying since the season ended the Cubs payroll would be right around $140M next year give or take. That'll likely put them above league average, just like last year.

    Yes, the Cubs new TV deal will be massive and at that point, they'll have much more money to spend. But that's not until 2020 and until then, they're stuck with their below market TV deals through the 2019 season.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    Thanks. I think too many Cubs fans see the Cubs as a generic "big market team" that can just spend indiscriminately. 1) they are not as wealthy as many seem to think they are and 2) no team should ever load up on big money long term contracts regardless of wealth.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Nothing wrong with spend money, as long as the management team is smart. The Giants had a $170m payroll last year. Cain ($20m) and Lincecum ($17m) didn't even play. They just signed Crawford to a long-term deal. The rumors are they will go big on Grienke. It wouldn't surprise me to see them go after a guy like Fowler as well. The lack of revenue for the Cubs is not a positive. But it is what is is.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I think the Giants are starting to feel the effects of that spending, though they did squeeze out one more WS win in 2014. They were in a different spot, though. Their window was closing. Guess is they'll try to rebuild on the fly now. They do have some good young players but not sure they have enough to replace aging vets. If payroll lacks flexibility, they could find themselves in a tough spot going forward.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Not sure I agree that they are "feeling the effects." With Linecum and Hudson coming off the books, that's $30m allocated from last season that they can spend on the upcoming season. That alone could cover Grienke. And I don't think their window is closing. If they sign Grienke, I'd put them down as World Series favorites. They have gotten a bit lucky, though. They offered Panda more than the BoSox, and when he didn't sign, they went with Duffy, who looks to be as good or better. They also offered more than the Cubs on Lester, and you could argue were lucky he didn't sign, because now they can go hard Grienke or Price.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    They certainly didn't have the kind of depth they've had in the past. Less able to withstand injuries/regression than they were in previous seasons. Signing Greinke makes them stronger, but not as strong and deep as previous contenders. They'll have to stay healthy. Giants were good because of great depth in their first two WS wins. The last one was due to a late season hot streak and a pitcher performing on a historic level. Last year, that lack of depth caught up to them. Greinke doesn't solve that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    They aren't a perfect team. Unless you have a Dodgers-like payroll, there are going to be holes. But when Panik and Crawford and Belt and Pence and Pagan all get hurt for long stretches of the season: no team has the depth to handle that. How would the Cubs do without Russell and Rizzo and Soler and Fowler? What the money allows the Giants to do is try to fill holes without trading from their depth or starters. It is a lot more appealing to me than trading Soler, for example. They aren't forced to make those decisions.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    That is my point, though. The Giants used to have the kind of depth to handle multiple injuries. They have less flexibility now. They're a weaker team overall. Signing Greinke solves the top of the rotation but the depth issue will remain. If they stay healthy, they're a legitimate threat again, if not, then they could struggle again anyway. The NL West is winnable, though, because the Dodgers have not dominated despite their huge payroll, so maybe they'll have enough to at least stay in the race even with injuries if they have that dominant top of the rotation. Essentially that is how the Dodgers won last year but were then exposed again in the playoffs. I always thought the good Giants teams were better because they could outlast the Dodgers and other teams. I don't think they can go toe to toe with the Dodgers long term with this strategy.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    What you write sounds good, but it isn't really true. The Giants never had the depth to handle losing their starting right fielder, first baseman, second baseman, center fielder, and shortstop all in the same season. No team does. The years they won they avoided injuries, they didn't replace them with depth. And had great pitching. In 2011, when Posey got hurt, they missed the playoffs. The next season, he was league MVP and they won the World Series. No amount of depth is going to help the Cubs if Bryant or Rizzo miss the season.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Living in the Sacramento area and having approximately 4 million Giants fans as friends, neighbors and relatives, I completely agree with you. I wont be surprised when the Giants sign Price or Greinke and make a run at Fowler. A Bumgarner and Grienke/Price combo along with a lineup of Posey, Pence, Panik, Duffy, Belt, Aoki and whoever they get for CF is one helluva team. As much as I love my Cubbies, I see the Giants as a major WS contender for 2016 when they add Price or Greinke. Plus, they have that stupid even year thing going for them.

  • If one assumes replacement CF assumes Fowler money (Span?), then the Cubs need to free up some dollars if they want to add a second tier starter and a contact hitter. My thought is trade Castro (possibly for a pitcher) and give 2B to Baez, sign Ben Zobrist as contact hitter/everyman and sign a second tier starter (I.e. Samardzjia) Zobrist gives 2B insurance if Baez falters, can spell Soler in RF against tough righties and Schwarber in left against tough lefties and on catching days.

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    In reply to AZBobbop:

    If Soler & Castro get traded, put LaStella at 2B. Baez can get alot of AB's platooning. Castro would have to return a CF though. They could sign Gordon and put him in RF.

  • We can all speculate what the Cubs might/should/could do IF they are limited to a $130M to $140M payroll. Yet the real question is not what they do with $20M, but why in the world would their payroll be limited to $130-$140M, not just for 2016, but FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE as well?

    That's outrageous!

    Why not $175M or $200M?

    Is the the whole debt covenant thing Zell made Ricketts swallow?

    I thought one of our greatest assets was our payroll flexibility. I guess there's not much flexibility after all -- if Rosenthal is to be believed. I hope his source if full of it.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Yes, that deal was highly leveraged and the Cubs are required to keep certain ratios to ensure Zell gets paid. I'm not sure when those restrictions are lifted but I think it's somewhere in the 2018 range.

    I also think the report fro, Rosemthal should be read that the Cubs have $20M to add to the payroll as of right now. The ticket price increase alone will create millions more per year "for the foreseeable future" and once the business side allocates a percentage of those increases to the payroll, the FO will have a little more to work with.

  • In reply to Cubsinfl:

    From not fro* lol

  • In reply to Cubsinfl:

    As well as all the advertising on numerous video boards. Do you think that the depicted "Brand Plaza" is going to be called that very long? How about the three script signs shown in conjunction with last year's depictions of the 2 large video boards inside the park? They haven't been erected yet.

  • In reply to Cubsinfl:

    Mike Illitch at the Zimmerman press conference, "I don't care about money. I want the best players."

    On whether he will go over the luxury tax, "If I have to go over for the best players I will. Oops, I guess I am not supposed to say that. But, yes, I will go over if it makes us better."

    Little contrast to our situation.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Mike Illitch is 86 and a billionaire. I don't blame him one bit. He wants to win a WS.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    I loved his transparency.

    Good for him.

  • If the Cubs are now penny pinching then there's no way Wood comes back. If Castro is gone what about to the Yankees for Nova and Clarkin. I think Nova is about $4m and has upside and they are shopping him. On his own I think no where near enough for Castro so add Clarkin.

  • Our FO has consistently found an edge as they have built the team. Now they have far more levers to pull and assets in play. I'm confident they will improve the team this off-season.

  • In reply to ccia:

    Here's where giving Edwin the 4 year $52M deal is really coming back to haunt them. They are strapped. Because of the Trib deal they have to keep payroll under a limit until significant, new revenue streams are enacted.

    Situation is much better next offseason. EJax, Hammel, Ross, Wood and Coghlan can come of the books - that's $36M right there.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    Crane Kenny already said it is NOT the Trib. deal. Front office gets what it needs, and baseball ops' budget is the rest.

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    In reply to hoopscubs:

    That is also a lot to replace on next years team. Are these scrap heap relief pitchers going to be able to replace Wood in the pen? Ross was a darn good back up catcher. He alone had a hand in a few late inning wins that were of the flukey nature that may not be easily duplicated. Coghlan has been a starter or a super sub. See Jon's comments above about Hammel's value. That right is coming of the books next year, but may also be a lot to replace.

  • In reply to johnsmithcubfan:

    Contreras and CJ Edwards will replace Ross and Wood. Coghlan will be easier. Hammel may be missed and need replacing. Pierce Johnson may or may not be. But if a trade and acquisition are made, it will cover that. Ross will join the coaching staff at some point. EJax is a non-factor!

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    Doesn't Jackson's contract expire after next season? I think that's about $15M. I can see trading Castro, but Montero is a great teacher and Schwarber can learn from him, but he can learn from Ross too. Is one better than the other in the clubhouse? I've read (probably here) that Ross is a coach almost in practice if not in name, but trading Montero means that catching would be split between Ross and Schwarbs and right now that doesn't seem like a good idea.
    I like putting Sczcur in CF and letting him play. We also don't know if Mendy Alcantara can improve. He is someone I haven't heard mentioned too much because he had a bad year in AAA but in winter ball and ST he could still be a part of next year's team.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    IF Szczur or Alcantara could provide an adequate stopgap CF guy for 2016,..... that would solve a lot of the financial problems until EJax's salary comes off the books in 2017.

    Or if Baez, or Castro, or Bryant in some combination could rotate through CF to cover it next season,.... that would solve some short-term problems as well.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I would to like Szczur win it in ST & be given a legit amount of rope to settle in & try to keep it. I know Russell is a special talent, Soler, etc... but they've given some players extra time to play thru things. I think Szczur's defense & speed on base paths should allow them to at least bat him 9th & work thru any adjustments he might need on the fly. If not, then why even bother with him on the 40 man anymore. Fish or cut bait.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Am in agreement with this Szczur-related point Milk,.... Would love to see him given the chance to snag the job,.... and hold onto it come Spring Training. Would solve a decent number of looming short-term problems.

    Not a perfect solution - but a workable one if he could pull solid defense in CF and give the Cubs something north of 0.250/0.320/0.400 and good base-running skills. And even then - if Almora continues to develop - he would give you a good 4th OF with the ability to cover CF and the corners post 2016.

  • The expectation from ticket buyers next season is going to be far greater than it was this past season. I agree with John's point about not loading up on big money long term contracts - but sadly, 20M doesn't buy you much these days within MLB and I'm personally worried about Arrieta repeating his Cy Young season next season - and Lester, for me, is/has always been even more of a concern.

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    Although there may be little truth to the rumor, the Castro/Gardner trade makes a lot of sense. The salaries are essentially a wash, and CF is covered. The Cubs could then sign Shark, and avoid trading for a pitcher. Maybe even money left over for Cahill? Hoyer said today that Bryant will play third next season, and Schwarber mostly in LF.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I'm hoping for a Castro Gardner trade too. LaStella and Baez can platoon 2B. Or fill in at 3B if Bryant plays OF some games.

  • In reply to Antman:

    I think Castro for Gardner would be an absolutely horrible trade for the Cubs. Among other things, Castro is 7 years younger, cheaper, a better contact hitter, etc. I would rather move Castro to CF than to trade him for Gardner.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    My dad mentioned that to me two years ago. I bought then and still believe he could do it. For one, he is probably the best on the team at catching balls over his head.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Gardner is more of a speed oriented player, and those types of players don't tend to age well. He's owed a similar amount of money to Castro (higher AAV), has less upside, and was absolutely terrible in the second half. It'd be great if he could step in and provide Fowler like production with better defense, but it appears his best years are behind him. I'd rather hang onto the guy just coming into his prime years vs obtaining a player who costs slightly more, makes less contact (though has a bit more pop), and is exiting his prime. We already have enough guys with pop and a propensity to strike out. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to add another player who will strike out 130+ times and is likely to regress further in the coming years

  • I wonder if the Cubs might stealthily take a look at Jae-gyun Hwang, 3B from the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization, who just got posted. He might come cheaper than a free agent starter. The Cubs could then move Kris Bryant to RF and deal Jorge Soler for young, elite caliber starting pitching.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    Another Koskei type flyer? No thanks. They have Baez who can go to 3rd to free up Soler if that's what you wish.

    But I still prefer they keep Soler. He has the batting eye, plate discipline & approach they've been preaching about. They'll just be weakening their OF that took them 4 years to finally gain just to get a pitcher who might contribute once every 5 games.

    If they aren't going to spend on FA elite or next tier then keep drafting/developing pitchers & use more #1 or #2 draft pick or both to get it. They won't be getting anymore KBs or Kyle Schwarbs picking near the end of 1st round. They've had 4 dratt classes & it's time to see what Pierce Johnson is. Feast or famine. He was drafted #42 OA. Who else should be ready by now to at least compete in spring training from that class? And Carl Edwards, he was traded for & touted to be a starter. Now I'm reading some want him in the pen. Forget that. Start him. They already have Grimm & N. Ram in the pen from that trade. It's time. If they aren't going to spend again for a FA pitcher, then use in-house, use the kids. And heck, sign & give Cahill a shot #5... They'd at least have him for pen duty if he falters. But do not trade from the core OF & Soler is the main piece of that Core especially if Schwarber goes to catcher.

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    The problem with Soler is will he stay on the field. He can be great, but will he have to be great on an AL team?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Edwards could barely go five innings as a starter in the minors and you're clamouring for him to start? I'm sorry, but that just doesn't make a lot of sense. If the FO did want him to start, he'd likely spend half of next season down at Iowa to get stretched out, and we wouldn't have him directly under Chris Bosio getting the attention he needs. As much as I'd love for Edwards to eventually get a shot at starting, that time isn't now. He walks far too many batters at this point in his young career. That's not the type of pitcher our FO wants to take the mound every fifth day. Maybe Bosio can work his magic and solve some of these control issues. But just throwing Edwards to the wolves and expecting him to start with these control and stamina issues is quite unreasonable. Be patient and have some faith. You're taking a very black and white approach

  • In reply to CubbieInfantry2327:

    No, that is not what I was "clamoring" for. If you go back & re-read, it was 1 option as an alternative to trading away the core piece of the OF for a starting pitcher, which the poster I was replying to suggested.

    To add, Ep n Hoy already stated KB is the 3Bman. Trading Soler severely weakens the OF that it took 4 years & many journeymen to build. They're already going to be down Fowler & trading Soler leaves just Schwarber as the only remaining OF starter from the 97 win team...?

    Plus the basis of this article is the Cubs aren't supposedly going to break the bank open to buy pitching... So if they aren't going to break the bank, I suggested options from in-house candidates v. trading core pieces of the everyday lineup.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    As 009 pointed out, Hoyer says the Cubs already have a 3B. No sense paying a posting fee.

  • John, great update as usual. I think you have trained us well that the Cubs hands are tied until 2019, when we can remove the Sam Zell handcuffs and the new TV deal for 2020. So the $140M number does not surprise me. I do think we may have a little extra for signing bonus' from the 250k increase in attendance, and the playoff revenue of around $12M. So I could see the FO working a deal to sign a larger bonus that is paid out in 2015, and a lower 2016 salary. That is similar to what they did with Lester last year. Maybe they do that with Hayward, or a SP.

    In 2017, Ejax salary is gone, Hammel can be removed for $2M. Cog and Wood will be gone for sure, Miggy will have one more year, so he will be traded. Castro should be traded also. Let's see how many of these can be pulled forward to this winter.

  • In reply to TROS:

    Thank you. I hope you are right. A little more wiggle room would go a long way.

  • In reply to TROS:

    As I said above, the "Sam Dell handcuffs" are fiction. Actual revenue is the fact, per Crane Kenney.

  • Overpaying a 34 year old Zobrist seems like something Ed Lynch would do?

  • In reply to Gator:

    He's whatever team's "Ben Zobrist."

    However, unless you are Mike Murphy, Ed Lynch is irrelevant.

  • Lots of thoughts here:

    1. If the cash is that tight, I really don't want them to break the bank on Heyward and give the Cards a draft pick in the process. Spend the cash on pitching. That doesn't mean blowing it in one wad on Price or Greinke.

    2. I hear what you are saying about Hammel being a value but there could be some addition by subtraction there. Seemed like he pouted every time Maddon lifted him early. I think Theo keeps him but he could be a good MLB asset in a trade package. I still see us getting one mid-rotation starter that is going to require coughing up a QO pick as well as acquiring another via trade.

    3. Montero is expendable and could save us some $ as well. We've discussed his pitch-framing skills here, but his ball-blocking skills are brutal. How soon will Contreras ready? Could he be brought up at the beginning of the year to learn under Ross? Could he handle that kind of a jump?

    Apologies for the long post.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Bruce and Jordan said that part of Maddon giving Hammel the short leash, and Maddon saying you never have enough pitching, is that he was used to Tampa Bay developing pitching within its own system. Since, as discussed yesterday, that isn't the Cubs focus, does that mean he has to change?

  • In reply to jack:

    I may be dense, but who are Bruce and Jordan? Also missed Maddon's comment and the discussion yesterday on that.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    I think that's the weekend morning guys on 670 the score? Bruce Miles & Jordan Burmfield or something like that...?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Levine.

  • Bryant in CF solves lots of issues.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    That's a tough fit and Hoyer said on ESPN 1000 today that Bryant is their 3B with the occasional start in the OF.

  • I know I remain in the minority here,.... but - assuming of course that neither Castro nor Baez is traded this Winter - would it be worth it to get one (or both) of those guys some reps to see if they can play an adequate CF? They've both got adequate speed (Baez more than adequate) to cover some ground in the OF. They've both got solid throwing arms for at least distance. Castro has looked his best tracking down fly balls from SS and 2B,...

    And both can be had at CF for fairly reasonable contracts,.... especially true for Baez.

    I would hate to see Baez traded before we really have a solid idea where his ceiling is,.... and Castro is a solid clubhouse guy and contact hitter,...

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I'm in this camp too. We've all seen how well Baez looks defensively. He's one of those guys who can play wherever you ask him to and play it well. I don't see why you wouldn't throw him out there to see what you got....

  • I still like Nori Aoki as the lower cost "CF". Aoki projects as one of the better 2nd Tier FA outfielders offensively. He has limited experience in CF. He is a contact hitter and not prone to Ks.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I like Aoki. He's been injury prone of late but he's got a nice blend of hitting and can steal a base or two. He gets on base and can hit at the top of the lineup. Not sure about his defensive ability though. Might probably be part of platoon if they go this route.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I don't think Aoki is the answer for them. Not a CF and not really a fit for the Cubs. This is something I've said in the past here and I cannot be specific about why, but just don't think he's the kind of player they're looking to bring in.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have heard, and seen a couple of times, circus catching resulting from poor routes. If true, that doesn't fit into the CF equation. I think you are right about Aoki.

  • In reply to Gator:

    Maybe as a short term stop gap, depending on the $. They could certainly do worse. He has the obp & BA, bats left. Could be the bigger part of a L/R platoon w/Szczur. And Szczur coming in late innings for D. I say stop gap because he's going to be 34 this yr.

    Since they "seem" to be pinching pennies, though he's not their normal type of target, he's probably the type they are looking for this off season. Zobrist will definitely cost more.

  • That $14M or $15M that Edwin gets this year really hurts though. Certainly there would be some nice flexibility we would like to have when allocating resources to perhaps a 2nd free agent starter or CF option.

    Lackey will command in that neighborhood of AAV (as a mid-rotation option). So, if we truly only have about $20-$25M to use we are looking at 1 mid-rotation FA pitcher and maybe 1 CF type of guy with a back loaded deal I would think. Trades are almost certainly on the horizon...should be interesting.

    Anybody else thinking guys like Fister, Chen, or Leake are the more realistic targets at this point? Leake would be interesting also without the draft pick compensation.

  • In reply to drockttu:

    Don't think it is that much. Spotrac says salary for 2016 on dead contract is $11 million. Whatever the signing bonus, it does not affect 2016 cash flow. Also, the Cubs don't pay the $507k Atlanta does.

  • The Cubs have literally increased their value by a BILLION dollars since the sale over 6 years ago. Are we still going to blame Sam Zell for the tight purse strings?

  • In reply to IndicaPro:

    You can't spend Value. You spend revenue. There is a difference.

  • In reply to John57:

    Thank you!

  • To Johns's points above about be a generic big market team:

    John, firstly, the cubs ARE a "big market team." spending indiscriminately is something which no one I know wants to return to.

    However, you can't make the type of national splash in the water which the Cubs did this past season and come out next season with anything less than a better team for going deeper into the play-offs. The current roster would expect that.

    Theo & Tom built this team. They'll have to deal with the consequences of back-sliding or not and improving their financials either way.

    20M - after this past season feels embarrassing and taunting to me. Perhaps that's the secret sauce which will fool everyone come April.

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    In reply to SteveBB:

    I believe that Ricketts has to show profit for some of his backers... otherwise, $20M does sound like we are handcuffed.

  • In reply to Jeff Wilson:

    Again, Crane Kenney said the only bottom line was that the FO needs get met and baseball ops gets the rest, and that revenue projections are up.

    I don't know if the South Bend Cubs guy invested into some Wrigley LLC, but an unrealized 150% capital gain should be adequate for any invester, including the Ricketts Family Trust.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    Chicago is a big market, but the Cubs don't have as much to spend the kind of money many fans think they can or should.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    with all due respect to you John, that's BS. The ownership of this team has more money than most. The question is....: will they spend it correctly at the right time?

    For most fans....the right time is now. It's more simple than it was when buying Apple stock in 1996. That was a risk. Here - without catastrophic failure - it's almost a given. At least a 40-50M given.

    I'm tired of hearing how little money the 1% has to spend on changing the oil in their multi-million dollar toys so that they continue to run with the best.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    They are bound by certain debt service limit as a part of the sale of the team. That agreement runs for 10 years. this doesn't mean they won't spend, it means they have a budget.

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    In reply to SteveBB:

    TC is right. They can't spent it through the terms of the Zell nightmare deal. (Whether they would or not if that deal wasn't in place is another matter altogether.) It's honestly kind of shocking that Selig let a blue chip franchise sign such an offer. I suspect it's been more of a straight jacket than was foreseen at the time.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thank you! I am in some doubt that few if any have any insights into the "Balance Sheet" or contract limitations.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    True- however, not to say the FO leaked bad information, but it still wouldn't be out of the question for a good GM to tone down expectations prior to the winter meetings, only to spend a little more aggressively. There is an element of poker playing involved in all of this. Price/Greinke no-I agree with that completely, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Cubs add $35 mil + after all is said and done.

  • I've seen a lot of - "trading Hammel makes the problem worse" or "takes you farther from your objective." Simply put, I dont get it.

    The objective seems to be to add 2 starting pitchers. in addition to Lester, Arrieta, and Hendricks and that brings you to 5. There are often a handful of interesting rotation arms that can be picked up on the cheap after the money dries up in Jan, Feb and March - we'd only be looking for depth at that point.

    Moving Hammel's $10M is a big deal and I'm not as worried as to how to replace that spot. Getting rid of $10M frees up the opportunity to buy 2 significant free agents (ie. Shark/Gordon).

    I also think Coglan and his $4M will be traded. Castro and his $8M is highly likely to be traded and I think the Cubs are hoping that he would be part A of a bigger deal to get that impact pitcher. I think the Cubs hold onto Montero. Its a tough $14M to swallow but for 2016, he's a necessary stopgap. I also think Montero will be helpful for the transition to Contreras.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Only question is if there is a trading partner willing to pick up the salary.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    it is a big deal because when you are spending a lot more for marginally better production, that is inefficient -- and when you are working with a limited budget as is reported, you cannot afford to be inefficient. There are few ways to build more inefficiently than free agency. I already see people complaining about the Lester, Hammel signings, the Montero trade, etc. Now they want to trade all that in for a new free agent class and expect that one to be much better and much more efficient. Is that really realistic?

    I think it's easy to get glossy-eyed over free agent and it seems much more enticing until you see the reality, which is what we are seeing now already. Cubs fans should know better than anyone that that is the quickest way to dismantle a promising team.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Further point: the financial limitations argue against giving out big contracts. Edwin Jackson is already biting us hard this season. Imagine paying to ship off Hammel and using the savings to buy one big shiny free agent -- and then that free agent goes full metal EJax on us. We've really hobbled the team before the season even begins.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Man so true John. Theo and Jed have built a deep system based on value, redundancy, and efficiency. I've been a season ticket holder since the 90s and I want them to do exactly what they're doing and maintain their philosophy of amassing young cost-controlled talent and payroll flexibility. Those are the two biggest assets in baseball and the Cubs are rich in both categories.

    Not to mention the fact that Theo/Jed have opened up a huge window for the Cubs to contend that should last many years. And in so doing, they built a team that wins 97 games and goes to the NLCS in their 4th season at the helm, at least a year (if not more) ahead of schedule.

    And now that we have that success, some fans think the wise thing to do is return to the Jim Hendry era of bad contracts and wild free agent signings? An era by the way when the big market Cubs regularly had Top 10 payrolls, often as high as 3rd overall, and won a grand total of one postseason series for their efforts. One...

    Right because...what?!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, do you buy the rumors that the they might be interested in Heyward or Gordon? I guess that would hinge upon using soler to add a cheaper, younger starter?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Really great point!

  • Cubs overpaid Lester.He should of got 120-130 MAX.Now there are better pitchers on the market and the cubs don't have the money to sign any of them.So now you have to potentially ruin the chemistry of a 97 win team by trading a castro,montero or soler or trade a young player like baez who has versatility and pop and hasn't even scratched the surface.Hopefully he can earn some of that money in the next 2 years I couldn't care less about War when this guy couldn't even get out the 1st inning of 2 playoffs starts without giving up runs.

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    In reply to bolla:

    Jon Lester would be the 3rd best pitcher on the market right now if he was a FA, behind Price and Grienke. I don't think you can say right now the Cubs overpaid Lester. And if they stuck to $130 mil for him, he would have stayed in Boston.

  • In reply to bolla:

    In that reportedly Boston offered more and the only reason he came here was that he believed he was mistreated in Boston, what are you going to do if that was the market, other than take a pass.

    The only possible salary dump you mentioned was Castro. Certainly not Soler or Baez.

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    In reply to bolla:

    If we're worried about team chemistry, couldn't we make the argument that the guy who has won two World Series with one of the more successful teams of the last decade is as important as Castro, Montero, and Soler?

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah I don't know if you can say the Cubs overpaid for Lester. I still think he is as good if not better than Price. Greinke might be better right now. But Lester is still a very good TOR who was solid in 2015 without an exceptional performance. I know that's what you pay for but Lester does have durability on his side and I know we will continue to see him being a solid TOR starter for 3-4 years of his contract.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Lester was fairly paid. You need to figure that you're paying for 19-26 fWAR over the life of the contract (using $6-$8 mil per WAR as a range). 2015 was a slightly down year and he achieved 5.0 WAR. If he does that again or say a slight increase to 5.5 WAR in 2016 that's 11.5 of the 19-26 in 1/3 of the deal leaving 7.5 to 13.5 to achieve in the last 4 years meaning if he averages between 1.9 to 3.4 fWAR on the 4 years of the deal he will have earned the contract. That's very achievable and you'd probably have to say likely barring injury.

  • I'd hate to see the Cubs trade Montero, between him and Ross that would be the best schooling Schwarbs could get, and we all know he needs schooling. I'd like to see them sign Shark and Iwakuma. Iwakuma would be like adding a #2, Shark a #3. Iwakuma is flying under everybody's radar, and from what I've read Seattle is only offering 2 years at 24m or so. The Cubs could afford both pitchers I don't care what the media says their limits are. This takes pitching off the table and they still would have the depth to trade for a cf if they have to, although they could maybe fill that from within with Sczcur or Alcantara. Just my 1 cents worth.

  • In reply to GoIrish:

    No one seems to think Iwakuma wants to leave Seattle.

  • Here's the Baseball Prospectus Cot's Baseball Contracts for the Cubs 2016-2021

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aGy8W2C1-t5LPVmN0cNn6jA--ZzbauadSV9wf_if2QE/pubhtml

    How is the new TV deal going to work. Are the cubs going to create the programming and then sell it to stations across the United States.

  • Why is nobody bringing up Coghlan? He makes the most sense to deal to make payroll room... The Cubs have Schwarber that will most likely play LF almost everyday... And Coghlan I think will make about 5-6 mil in arb next year, then he will become a FA.

  • In reply to Caps:

    LOL! you really want Schwarber as your left-fielder? Somebody please shoot me. Now.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    Schwarber had some rough moments in the playoffs but he held his own in the regular season. He should improve as he gets work out there and he will be the starting LF for the majority of games, something Jed Hoyer reiterated today.

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    In reply to SteveBB:

    Yeah, he's really more of a shortstop.

    Where would you play him? That Bat more than makes up for defensive shortcomings in left.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    So what do you do with him, Steve? Take him to the back and shoot him? Because he's a worse catcher and still working on it and you've got to get that bat in the lineup and in case you didn't know... Metrics had Schwarber pretty much around the same range as Coghlan defensively in LF.

  • In reply to Caps:

    "So what do you do with him, Steve? Take him to the back and shoot him?"

    Thank you. This was the best laugh I've had all day.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    I think, though I never saw a single Cubs game (overseas), that Schwarber was often more feared than Bryant. That has an impact on the lineup. I thought for a first-timer he did pretty well out there.

  • Hey, lets play "Who are these two pitchers?"

    Pitcher 1:
    33 GS, 201.2 IP, 204 H, 24 HR, 39 BB, 164 K, 3.66 ERA, 1.205 WHIP
    Pitcher 2:
    32 GS, 180.0 IP, 166 H, 17 HR, 43 BB, 167 K, 3.95 ERA, 1.161 WHIP

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I know this. But I'm not entirely sure where you're going with it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have discovered that they are actually pretty darn similar, even though one is much more lightly regarded than the other.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Zimmermann and Hendricks. I think Hendricks (and others like him) get overlooked because they don't throw the baseball 95+. They win in other ways. Good point though. Hendricks is very valuable to this team as a back of rotation starter. He will probably always have his doubters though. Also, Zimmermann did have an off year in 2015. Time will tell if he bounces back.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    You win the Internets!!

    Zimmermann will be pitching in a big ballpark, which may boost his numbers. But then there's the DH. And his arm might fall off.

    I don't think Hendricks arm is going to fall off.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    And just think, we get Hendricks for around $500K / year. Zimmermann will be getting $22 Million / year.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    The problem is Zimmerman faces lineups a 3rd time through. Hensricks cannot. And when coupled with Hammel in the 4/5 spot in crushes a bullpen.

    Apple and Orange comp.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think we all agree Zimmermann is better. But it is interesting to see the stats so similar for last year. Hendricks is a nice 4 or 5 starter particularly given his low salary.

  • LOL! you really want Schwarber as your left-fielder? Somebody please shoot me. Now.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    I saw Greg Luzinski play LF on a team that won the World Series.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Are you comparing Greg Luzinski with Greg Luzinski?

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    I think Schwarber will be a much better OF than Luzinski. Hulk can run.
    That Ruth guy's teams also did OK with him in the OF.

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    Where do you propose playing Schwarber? We don't have the DH in the National League.

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    Can someone explain the Sam Zell debt deal to me in very simple terms? I read about it frequently but don't really understand it.
    thanks.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I second that. The team per Forbes had the second highest operating income in baseball (just behind the cardinals). Makes no sense they have little resources to spend based upon that unless there are major constraints per the sale agreement.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I've forgotten the exact details but the gist of it -- from the Wittenmyer pieces -- is that the Ricketts technically didn't purchase the Cubs. They entered into a partnership with the Tribune to buy the Cubs over time. The Trib owns 5% because Sam Zell is the Devil and then they technically haven't sold the Cubs for tax purposes. Because this happened at a bad time for banks (this is what I remember hearing at the time, it could be wrong or a defense that isn't true), the Ricketts had to finance the deal through a vehicle called a family trust. Essentially the Ricketts loaned the money to themselves. The problem here is that family trusts have very strict covenants on spending-to-income. So the Cubs, by law, can only spend so much on players. Those covenants aren't there for other teams which allows more flexibility.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    So Mike when do the Ricketts get out from under? I don't understand what that has to do with what they pay the players. I recall Tom R. saying that all the money earned by the club is plowed back into the organization.
    Sorry about being so obtuse but some things are more difficult to understand than others.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    No idea how long those remain in place. A while is probably the right answer. It affects things because it literally says how much they can spend on the team. And what he said is true, but "earned" is the key. That's money the team has after the debt payments and such have been made. And they can't pay out of pocket for a new player because that would break the lending covenant.

    So what's happening (and this is entirely the Tribune's fault, not the Ricketts): some of the money that comes in is siphoned off and paid to the family trust. That is, back to the Ricketts. But they legally can't take that money out of their pocket and use it to buy free agents. It's a crazy situation.

  • RU Kidding me? All these cost controlled kids...just brought up and starting....Some of the highest ticket prices in all of baseball....Increased seating capacity and park always filled....Only 1 overpaid starter Lester...they don't plan on signing another big name or two? Then trade for upgrades...we've come so far...no time to all of a sudden..go on the cheap.

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    I just read on csnchicago.com that the Cubs handed out 60 playoff shares and each one was $122K. Winning KC shares were $370K. I'm sure that each share would have been more but they handed out so many full shares--it shows how generous they were and how many they thought qualified for them.
    Just in time for Giving Tuesday.

  • I think the title of this post sparked a nerve in us Cub Fans. 150 comments and counting.

  • I'll be honest I read this and I get depressed.

    I don't need the team to go crazy with payroll like the Dodgers but come on, you just reached the NLCS, sold out most of the second half, have some of the highest ticket (and concession) prices in baseball, and you only have $20M left to spend.

    We have an obvious large hole in our starting staff and our bullpen needs help as well. But we can only afford someone like John Lackey because he's a shorter term and the risk is higher he will regress due to age and scrap heaps for the bullpen when discarding two of our good ones?

    Theo has been right a whole lot more than he has been wrong, but if this is all true I'm going to be very nervous. I'm also going to disappointed in our owner that doesn't seem to have the abilities to appropriately fund a championship level team.

    You don't need to sign Price and Grienke along with Heyward, but if we come out of this with John Lackey and a Bartolo Colon swing type pitcher we are in trouble...

  • I don't see how anybody could doubt what Theo and Jed do at this point. I have no doubt they'll find a starter at a price they are comfortable with. If they can get a quality starter to be the #3 (i.e. Shark/lackey/etc) with hammel and Hendricks 4 & 5... That's a pretty darn good rotation.

  • Check out the link below. It is old but it has a lot of good information. What I took out of it is yes, there are spending limitations based upon debt service coverage covenants in place per the original purchase of the team. Said that, revenue is definitely up in the past year. Playoff money, ticket price increases, etc. So they should have more money to spend this year just on that alone. All new revenue should theoretically be put right back into the baseball operations budget. Hearing some of the comments by Theo back then, I am as confident in ever of this management team. They get it and want to win just like all of us do.

    http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/kapman/ricketts-forced-tribune-take-huge-debt-cubs-purchase

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    They surely got something for putting companies pretty pictures and stuff on those great big flashy video thingies.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Exactly. New advertising streams, playoff money, higher ticket prices, I assume merchandise sales are going well with the improved team last year. Revenue is definitely up. We will see how much of it they spend on the field.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    Are the Cubs more active than average in the IFA market? Where does that come from? Do you big spenders really think the Rickett's are pocketing money? The renovations are an investment in the long term, and an attempt to keep the Wrigley thing going. I think the issue is how much money is there. But I don't think the balance sheet is going to have holes shot in it to please anyone's emotions here. And that is what this is; emotions! No one knows the facts. Even John and Mike Moody say they don't know. They hear things. Their perspectives are based on that limited knowledge. What can they say, the Cubs are signing Grienke and Price to create news? That isn't journalism. That is what the MSM does. There are plenty of reporters out there that base their content on hype. Why aren't you guys there?

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Yeah, but rampantly speculating is fun.
    Not rampantly speculating is no fun.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    What is the point of having a message board if we don't talk about free agency when it is that time of year? It is all speculation on all of our parts because we are not in the FO.

  • fb_avatar

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