To spree, or not to spree...

We all have things we look forward to in the spring. Pitchers and catchers reporting, the first televised game of spring, and of course Opening Day. An odd quirk I've had since my childhood is keeping my eyes on the dormant ivy, eagerly awaiting those first visible pops of green. That's usually a few weeks into the season, and often after my hopes of Cubs' domination had been dashed, but that's when wrigley was about to become Wrigley. Over the past several seasons I've developed another confine fetish: watching that ivy turn colors and fade away while we're still playing ball. I'd really like to make that a habit. We didn't quite make it this year, but we should be set for years to come. The question is, how many?

The offseason carousel has already begun. Chili is out and Iapose is in. Other coaches and FO personnel are being interviewed by competing organizations and we may lose some, but that happens when you stack your staff with competent people. Some of these losses will hurt, but shouldn't be franchise-altering. What we do in signing potential free agents could be. The real fireworks begin after the World Series ends.

We know the offense underperformed in 2018. Theo said it and we watched it. There just so happens to be a couple stud bats available that could instantly help alleviate some of those woes. Harper and Machado will be available for "only" money, but we're talking "back up the Brinks truck and don't forget the address for a long, long time"-type money. Both are projected to land contracts that would make A-Rod blush. There will be many other clubs bidding on their services, and either signing with the Cubs is uncertain, to say the least. Even if we don't ink one of these half-billion-dollar deals, I expect us to surpass the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) threshold in 2019 and beyond to extend our current competitive window. The Cubs have the money to do so, with much more on the way, and I think they will. But there are consequences and long-term ramifications to consider.

The CBT threshold for 2019 has been set at $206M, a slight bump from the 2018 limit of $197M. In layman's terms, which I speak (and comprehend) most fluently, we're already there. With the guaranteed contracts, options picked up by the team and/or player, and arbitration raises for the players we keep, I think we're right around $200M.

Theo has said we are deep in starting pitching but does not expect to subtract. Hamels has expressed his love of this organization, and vice-versa. He may go elsewhere, but I'd be surprised if we didn't pick up his 1 yr/$20M option. There is the possibility he hits free-agency and we sign him to something like 2 yrs/$28M or even 3 yrs/$36M to lower the AAV, but I expect him to return. If he does and we don't shed other significant salary we've already busted the bubble, and haven't even paid the tab for our drink and a date with Harper or Machado to discuss a long-term commitment.

So what do we do? Head to Mesa with the same team we ended 2018 with and play it safe? Of course not. We will add and subtract. That means we will add talent and salary and subtract potential talent yet add more salary. We're the Cubs and we can, except we, or any other team, may not be able to do so. At least long-term. Which leads me to my broader point.

The current CBA runs through 2021. Does that year ring a bell with anyone following the current "competitive window" narrative? That's when a large portion of our current core hit free-agency. Many fans reflexively blame management for a down year yet fail to recognize the the brilliance of the build. I don't. But I do question the plan going forward. I'd like to know if I should plan on watching that ivy die on the vine for years to come or if I should set my DVR to capture this momentary magic.

The Ricketts family bought the Cubs, and that is, IMO, the best thing that has happened in franchise history. We've all heard the stories. Billy Goats, Black Cats, and a dude down the third-base line. That's all BS. The reason the Cubs hadn't won in 108 years was because of poor ownership. Not "poor", but "bad". They were corporate owners who only cared about selling Old Style. They gave us the College of Coaches and Dave Kingman. I bought tickets, and so did you.

This is different. The first thing the Ricketts' did was realize they owned a baseball team but didn't know how to run a Championship-caliber baseball organization. So they hired Theo.

Theo took over a dilapidated, pathetic infrastructure and rebuilt it from the foundation up. He is brilliant at that, even Hall-worthy, having ended droughts and "curses" in Boston and Chicago. He is proven in building a franchise and identifying market inefficiencies. Jabbing when they punch and ebbing when they flow. And the Rings. Don't forget the Rings.

But for all of Theo's brilliance, he has a record of building to a bloated excess. In Boston, and maybe Chicago. He has stated bluntly 10 years is about as long as you want to stay in any one place. The Ricketts are fans and have brought the fan base, as well as the value of the franchise, to an all-time high. What happens if/when they decide to sell?

I think this offseason will tell a lot and still leave me scratching my head. If we land a big dog we extend our short-term window but possibly undercut our long-term viability and ability to extend the core. We work ourselves into the big-market conundrum of having to spend money to gloss over other inneficiencies and to overcome the system-building penalties built into the CBA. Do we blow our wad, going all-in along with the trajectories of our young core and knowing we're destined to burn out and need another tear-down and rebuild in a few more years, or pace ourselves for decades of mere possible competitiveness?

I think what we see in the next couple months will tell us more about that plan than any words from the FO will. We can push all our chips in, knowing we may lose and have to go home early, or we can play it safe and plan for the long haul. I'm conservative in my own life, so I'd like to see a prudent approach to decades of mild competitiveness. And of course I'm lying. In reality, I have another motto: "I flunked moderation". I say we blow it out and win a couple more before Theo moves on and the Ricketts flip this joint.

Filed under: Cubs

Tags: Cubs, Free Agents, Spending, Theo Epstein

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  • Nice read, BP.

    Thanks for giving kudos to Ricketts. I know he received a lot of criticism at the start of his ownership for taking a measured approach to building the organization, but he knew what he was doing. I am surprised, therefore, that you mention Ricketts «flip(ping) the joint». Do you have any evidence (even heresay will do) that that is even a possibility? I think he likes owning the Cubs, and I think his fandom and business acumen will keep him around. There is no doubt in my mind that the Cubs will continue to have «a license to print money» for many years to come, especially if more WS championships join the «Ring from ‘16». Why would Ricketts bail then in the early ‘20’s?

    The effects of the CBA on the competitive window, though, is another matter. I would assume that Ricketts has signed off on the long-term strategy Theo & co have in place, and that the CBA ramifications are included in that strategy. I agree with you that the confluence of both the CBA and many of the player contracts (non-FA status) ending is 2021 is not a coincidence. As the rumblings from the 2018 FA season suggest, the contractual landscape after the current CBA ends likely will be very different. A «balls to the walks» strategy until 2021, which hopefully results in a couple more rings, followed by a big reset after the new CBA is in place seems like one plausible option, one that, if it works out, which would at least cement Ricketts legacy in Cubs history.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I kinda think the Ricketts' legacy is already established, but I'll offer that things change as the family configuration does. Once Joe Rickets is out of the picture, the family fortune, including the Cubs, is divided among heirs, each of whom may have business interests outside of baseball. I like to think Tom and the kids will continue the legacy, but business being what it is, who knows?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    To answer your question, no, I have no insight into the Ricketts' long-term plans. What gives me comfort is the fact although they obviously have incredible business acumen, they are also fans. They wanted to build a successful franchise as well as a profitable holding, and have done both amazingly well. During the height of the real estate bubble in the late 2000's there were several versions of TV shows that depicted "average Joe" investors buying distressed properties, fixing them up, and "flipping" them for huge profits. I've always thought of the Cubs' brand and the Ricketts' time as owners in a similar light. The franchise was pathetic, Wrigley Field was crumbling, and the surrounding neighborhood was ripe for improvements. What they've done on all fronts is amazing. I don't know when they'll sell, again I like the fact they are fans, but I'm worried about what happens when they do. I hope that's not for a long, long time. We've all witnessed the difference between good and bad ownership.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    BP, your correct about the effect the Ricketts family had on the team. Thankfully, baseball didnt allow Mark Cuban to ruin the franchise any further than the Tribune company and Zell already had. If Ricketts is the fan he appears to be, the day he decides to sell hopefully it will be to someone like he is, with corporate $ and the rooting interest at looking at ownership from the fans prespective.

  • I suspect that Theo & company are even now combing rosters for potential talent. With all of the talk of "Monopoly money," I don't think fans realize that signing Machado and/or Harper could well mean there won't be enough money to keep Bryant, Baez or Contreras. Lester and Hamels, (if the Cubs pick up his option) are aging and there's no guarantee that Darvish will return or that Chatwood will ever find the plate again - more reason to make sure there's money available to sign FAs. I look for trades for players / prospects that are "Machado lite" in nature as opposed to laying out huge dollars for both Manny and Bryce. Then again, I was sure the Cubs were going all the way in 1969...

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    Never been a fan of just signing FAs. The payroll does nothing but go up. Time to start trading.

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    Been a cub fan for 65 years and totally excited when Theo and company came our way, but I think the cubs have failed miserably in their last three drafts, first by over valuing college hitters and second by under valuing HS pitchers.
    We need young arms in our system with big arms we can use as starters or relievers, we seem to lack that in our drafting philosophy.
    In my opinion we should draft as many young arms in our major league draft as possible,unless some position player falls to us that has can't miss on him falls to us, which hasn't happened in the last three years. Then spend our IFA money on hot position players, I think you get more bang for your buck in the international market.
    Every year we seem to spend big time money on pitchers we have to buy on the open market or trade our best assets to acquire pitchers who don't quite live up to their promise.
    Seems there is a differing view on what pitching is worth, is it worth our best prospects or should we be drafting a lot more young studs to start with, I think Theo has struggled with this concept with the cubs and also his time with the Red Sox, just my two cents.

  • In reply to tater:

    Tater,

    In the 2017 draft, 7 of their first 10 picks were pitchers (including the first five picks). In 2018, while the first three picks were position players they did add pitching with 6 out of their first ten picks. So of the first 10 picks in 2017 and 2018, the Cubs added 13 pitchers to 7 hitters. And in 2016, by the way, 17 of their first 20 picks were pitchers.

    I think they built the team through hitting and now are developing pitching. Time will tell. With a ring in 2016 I'm not ready to question their philosophy just yet...

  • In reply to tater:

    Theo got burned with drafting pitchers in his time in Boston. Literally none of them that he drafted in the first couple of rounds panned out really. As a pitching first guy I would have agreed with you a few years ago about the lack of drafting pitchers in the higher rounds but after watching how Theo constructs pitching staffs and the inherent risks of young pitchers I've come around to his way of thinking. Personally I don't think anyone is better than building bullpens than Theo Epstein. Every year it seems he goes into the season with the best bullpen on paper and when issue crop up, as they always do given the inconsistencies of bullpen pitchers even year to year, he has planned for that and is able to mitigate any problems by finding guys throughout the year that can help. Even with the Morrow injury we still had one of the best bullpens in the league in September even after Strop went down as well.

    When it comes to starters high school pitchers are way too high risk to draft in the first round. For every Touki Toussant (who looks to be a very good one) there are three or four Brady Aikens or Mark Appels. I think Theo might have slightly underestimated where the cost of starting pitching was going for a while there but he's still assembled a very good rotation year after year. Even Darvish wasn't a bad signing as he had an injury that was slow to reveal itself and those things happen. Yes, Chatwood was an all out mistake but that's one guy.

    Buying pitching is still easier than buying hitting. The Brewers sort of lucked into Yelich as they didn't pay close to market value for him and the Red Sox were able to sign JD Martinez at a ridiculous bargain due the vagaries of last years market and the fact that so many teams were positioning themselves for this year. You mention the last three years of drafts but Happ will likely still be an impact player either here or somewhere else and Nico Hoerner should be a good player. 2017 was a year where they drafted mostly pitching. There may be teams that make drafting pitching (or trading for low minors talent) a priority, I certainly covet Atlanta's pitching depth, but from a probability standpoint Theo's methods clearly are the lower risk play.

  • In reply to tater:

    TINSTAAPP.

  • In reply to tater:

    You have nicely laid out the drafting strategy of the NY Mets, who haven't come anywhere close to achieving the success that the Cubs have in the past 4 years. Theo has made it pretty clear that they won't spend top draft pick slots on the player category least likely to make it to the major leagues - starting pitchers. Certainly, there have been disappointments, but I'll take Theo's results over the Mets any day.

  • In reply to tater:

    I agree that the Cubs have a massive void when it comes to starting pitching coming through the system, but I wouldn’t put it all on the drafts. Theo & Co have drafted well for bats along the way so why is there such an imbalance with arms? Do they have an elite understanding for one aspect yet completely tone deaf for the other? I believe the onus is on the development on the farm. I was reminded of this watching Joulys Chacin and Wade Mikey shut down powerhouse offenses like the Cubs and the Dodgers. And who is the pitching coach? The guy we shoulda held on to at any cost. I don’t understand why elite development staff gets less a than pro-ball player’s league minimum when they can extract talent that worth exponential value of what you pay them. Derek Johnson, please come home.

  • Nice article Mr Pop, lol. Remember the Cubs owners also chewing gum. Tons of it. And fences, made by Tru-Link Fence Company. I can still hear Jack say, "Hey Hey! There goes one over the fence, a Tru-Link Fence!" And don't get me started on the Managers. We had The Rant of Lee Elia, and the Rant of Lou Pinella to entertain us.
    I almost wish there were no lights still...

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    Thanks, LRCCubsFan. Over the years people have posted random, nostalgic stories here in the comments. While not everyone's cup of tea, they are usually well-received with an added "thanks for sharing". We're going to have some down time during the offseason when not much is happening, so I'm going to try to post something where we can all share stories and reminisce to pass some time and hopefully jog a memory and produce a chuckle or two.

  • Good stuff, BP. I like how you hit on all the points, Ricketts as an owner, Theo and how long he'll be here, the CBT, FA and then when does this team rebuild. I'll take that last one. You're never going to see this team rebuild like they did after 2011 ever again. Ricketts expressed his desire to build a self sustaining organization a-la the Cardinals or Red Sox and I don't think that vision is going to change. For instance, if the 2019 Cubs absolutely wet the bed I would expect a lot of the core pieces moved in a retooling effort. Wouldn't shock me to see a little of that this year. With all the money sunk into the physical plant aspect of Wrigley and the neighborhood you're not going let the team sink into the abyss because these changes were made to augment a winning team and maximize profits, not to prop up a bad product through auxiliary marketing as had been the case in the Tribune era. There was an article recently that speculated on clubs that could never, ever rebuild and it included the Cubs along with the usual suspects of the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers. You've seen all those other teams retool recently but their fanbases won't allow them to rebuild and I think that's happened here now. Look at how the fans reacted to a 95 win team this year that didn't quite measure up. Even here, in this relatively calm corner of the internet, we just barely avoided rampant name calling and animosity. Actually, no that's not true, we didn't avoid it but we kept from crawling into a dark hole. This team cannot and will not rebuild so where does that leave us?

    I think to look at that closely we need to start with 2019. This wasn't a bad team. This was a team that essentially slumped in a major aspect of the game at the wrong time. It's important to remember though that it actually picked up its game in the areas of pitching and defense as the offense was going in the tank. So for me you look at the aspects you don't mess with much and that's the rotation and the bullpen. It would seem that in light of Darvish's uncertainty that the Cubs simply can't afford to not pick up Hamels option from a team standpoint but there is no question the money is tight there you're talking an $85 mil dollar rotation which no other team in the NL is going to have to deal with that particular burden. If you do do anything with this rotation I think you trade Q and his 10.5 mil and get a younger pitcher for the #5 spot which is where he would land if everyone else comes back. I've suggested a push to get Sean Newcomb in the past, who is probably a #2 sooner rather than later, and could live in the low pressure world of the BOR for a year to hone his craft. There may be other options but there could be a fit with Atlanta in a larger trade and frankly, I love Sean Newcomb having watched him from AA forward. So that's my bias but you could take the same concept and apply it to another young guy. Atalanta makes sense because they have the biggest embarrassment of riches on teh starting pitching side than we've seen in awhile and a veteran presence, particularly if they move Teheran which many expect. If you don't do that you probably leave the rotation alone but now with more depth with Smyly, Alzolay, Montgomery, Mills and possibly Underwood behind them. You don't fix what ain't broken if you don't have to, but getting younger if you're going the sustainable model is the type of things those teams do often to save a little money. $85 mil rotations cannot be the norm going forward.

    The next place you don't mess with much is the bullpen. For the most part this piece doesn't have anything to do with sustainability of your program because by the very nature of bullpens you have to retool every year. You can't spend $20 mil AAV on a closer, but outside of that you can spend some money on short term deals.Think of the bullpen as petty cash, you can spend but it's on a budget for short term investments. Fortunately, despite a lot of talk by some to the contrary, this bullpen just needs it's usual tweaks and maybe one more guy that can close games effectively to go along with Morrow and Strop. Some resources need to be spent here but nothing that sacrifices tomorrow.

    Then, of course, you have the position players which is where most of the work and pain of fixing a short term problem, while not sacrificing the long term, is going to have to be done. To start with let's just get Jason Heyward out of the way. He isn't going anywhere and it's foolish to talk about that. Next year might be different, after getting through the second opt out with a clearer vision of how much contract you have to eat to move him, but it ain't happening now. What he has to be though, on most days, is the worst hitter in your lineup. If you look at the really good offenses in 2018 including the Red Sox, A's, Astros, Yankees and Dodgers the worst guys they trot out on a daily basis are somewhat over the 100 WRC+ mark. You can't have a regular or semi regular under that and for three years the Cubs have had two, sometime more. Even without the baggage Russell was going to have to go. Now to be fair, one of Heyward or Russell has to go but Heyward is a given and you can only go defense over offense in the extreme at one position. So you look here at money, trade assets and farm system for solutions. The farm isn't going to be much help here in 2019 so it's money and trade. The Cubs could feasibly move three players Russell, Happ and Schwarber. Schwarber is the most critical here simply due to his value. He's a 3.2 WAR player getting better which means you have to look long at hard at what you do. Few teams have a guy in LF with that kind of WAR so can you improve here? Well Harper makes you better in LF but of guys available he might be it. People have propoased moving Bryant here primarily, but you have to be careful because if his ceiling as a 3B playing multiple positions as well the 7.2 WAR of 2016 is probably his ceiling but lower that to about 5.5 if he's playing LF because of the value of the position. Still you . might want some more contact in the lineup and Kyle has the best trade value so you consider it. Happ has value to but it's potential value and his switch hitting abilities that give that. I don't see a lot of value to the Cubs to be honest. Almora looks like a 4th OF, Happ has similar issues to Schwarber but not quite as good. The OF needs to get better while improving your mix of hitters. Schwarber will get you that CF you need, Happ might in a larger deal. Brantley is a nice option but he doesn't add wins in terms of WAR, he just improves the lineup efficiency. Also signing Harper and moving Heyward to CF has it's drawbacks as well as Jason will be less valuable in CF than he is in RF. So for the OF you overspend, maintain some version fo the status quo with maybe one addition or retool with big trades. All affect the future in various ways.

    Then you have the IF. I won't spend much time here because it's obvious, you either acquire someone like Machado who can play SS either full time or to back up Baez or you change the nature of your bench. Like Harper, Machado probably means you don't sign a Bryant or Rizzo in a couple of years and instead trade them the yer before they go to retool. You also have to consider defense here as this team can always fall back on pitching and defense when the offense goes cold. If Russell goes this is the most pressing area of concern as it affects defense, your roster depth (if you have to carry a SS instead of say a La Stella or Bote) and is also a place you can improve the lineup. This is why Machado has always been the better fit but I'll tell you I didn't like the hustle stuff. Tough choices.

    I really see it as this, we either open this window wide open again and compete the next couple of years or 2020 could be a time of retooling and frankly and of reckoning. That's the year you should be looking at, not 2021 when it might all be too late.

  • In reply to TC154:

    As usual you're pretty much spot on. And I caught the little poke about our relatively calm corner. Luckily the worst of that only lasted for a couple weeks from people I mostly didn't recognize and seem to have moved on. Maybe we bored them away.

    I agree about the future re-tooling rather than the need for another tear-down. I recall an article from a few years ago, perhaps in the Wall Street Journal, detailing the sorry state of infrastructure Theo found when he arrived. We simply won't have the need to do all that again.

    My concern is mostly about swelling an unsustainable payroll. I joked about just blowing it all out and going for broke, but that's not really what I want to happen. I love seeing these superstars added to our team, but I always feel instant unease when looking at the commitment. Like you, I'm sure management has a plan for the future, I just wish I knew more about it. All we can do is watch it unfold and enjoy the ride, wherever it takes us.

  • They gave us the College of Coaches and Dave Kingman.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=kingman+home+run+over+waveland&&view=detail&mid=2B370E33EA921197708B2B370E33EA921197708B&&FORM=VRDGAR

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    That was a shot, allegedly landing on a porch on the third house down Kenmore. A bit wind-aided (that was the 23-22 loss to the Phillies) but still impressive.

    Kingman was a large man. I remember being at a game when I was about 7-8 years old. They let kids and parents on the field before the game to meet the players. I was sitting on my dad's shoulders taking pictures, and I swear (I think) I still had to tilt the camera upwards to get a shot of Kingman's face.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't think anyone else has ever hit one close to that house.
    Mega power + wind blowing out a gale + replacement umpires = a perfect storm resulting in the longest HR I've ever seen.

    If the video board was there, I'm not so sure it doesn't go over it.

    Had he hit it toward one of the rooftops, it would've been on top of the building and not by a little. He had hit two others earlier that were not nearly as well struck and one of those came close.

  • I don't see huge FA signings this off season for the Cubs. If they change significantly, it will be via the trade, and only then if the FO decides that the current roster needs a shakeup. Looking at what Fowler added for the Cubs and what Cain did for the Brewers this year, you have to assume a legitimately good lead off hitter is a good place to start when looking for new position players. I know, not required. I know, Theo has pooh-poohed the idea. But tangible results speak volumes. The impact of a leadoff hitter to the Cubs circa 2016-2017 and Brewers 2018 are worth further examination.

    The other target may be a middle infielder. It seems likely that Russell will be dealt soon. Both sides could use a fresh start. I'm not sure what his trade value is, but trading him to a rebuilding team who will give him playing time just makes sense for multiple reasons. This doesn't mean that an all-star is needed (Hello Mr. Machado) but a decent middle infielder is a real need.

    If trades are in the works, expect someone in the Happ, Almora, Schwarber, Russell, Caratini, Bote group to be included. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of these guys moved. Wouldn't be surprised if the FO doesn't trade them either. It depends on their individual evaluation, will the change of hitting instructors affect the young'uns, etc..

    I would be surprised if only major changes to the BP occur this off season, given how this season went down. Gotta think some guys will be on the move.

  • Unpopular opinion but the cubs can let bryant walk after 2021, If I'm the gm I'm not paying that guy 250-300 million with 7-10 year contract when he'll be 30 sorry.Definitely go all in on machado or harper with multiple opt outs.I'd try to sign baez this offseason to a long term deal and contreras next offseason to a long term deal. Rizzo is the new school ernie banks he should retire a cub,ONLY if the nl gets a dh though so he can transition in his latter years. 3-4 year deal 72-82 million after his current contract expires.The cubs have waves of pitching coming up in the next 2-3 years they will be fine in that dept and amaya,velasquez,ademan along with other future prospect acquisitions who will ascend.Let's do it go all in the next 3 years then transition with the pups to play with baez,contreras,rizzo, maybe harper or machado. The time is now, I loved the way machado was trolling brewers fans that was fun to watch they hate him along with brewer players.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Not to mention KB's shoulder issue and the need for a new swing... you know, that thing we're all terrified to talk about lol

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    His shoulder should be 100% next season so no need for a new swing

  • In reply to bolla:

    There is no way you could make a decision today about Bryant 3 years down the road. If you get 3 MVP seasons out of him, you'd be nuts to let him walk. If you get 3 more 2018-type seasons, a different story.

    I think the larger picture dictates that the Cubs always consider available value, regardless of tenure with the club. They'll re-sign Bryant - or not - based on the return they can expect on the dollars they spend.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The cubs still would be paying for past production and the service time manipulation still lingers.I think boras will make the cubs pay big time in fa, and quite frankly I don't think bryant is worth some insane large contract that starts at age 30. I've said before bryant is good without a doubt, but I don't have him on a pedestal like a lot of cubs fans.I think his defense and defensive awareness is lacking & offensively he's not as great as people try to make it sound.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Boras will undoubtedly seek top dollar for Bryant, as he does for all of his clients. Your analysis of his value could prove absolutely correct and the Cubs may well decide that their money is better spent elsewhere. My point is that Bryant will have 7 seasons of experience. So far, we've seen four, with one of those being his rookie year and another an injury year. There's a lot of baseball to be played between now and the time the Cubs need to make a decision.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Definitely and being objective I do think the best years for bryant will be in the next 3-5 years so at least the cubs will have him for 3 of these years.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Will you want the Cubs to trade Baez also? Baez is a year younger then Bryant. And they are both eligible for free agency in 2022.

  • In reply to bolla:

    That's why I'm not freaking out over the idea of signing Harper or machado and how that affects our ability to resign our own players it's not like we have to keep everyone including Kris Bryant this is a business as much as I appreciate what these guys have done for this city. We're not gonna keep a lot of these players and we're gonna have to develop more positional players let's be real most of our OF's are already replaceable. I like Contreras but I don't think I want to sign him to a deal when he's 30+ and he starts to lose some of the athleticism that makes him great, Russell is no longer a part of our long term future to me and that leaves Bryzzo and Baez as guys I'd strongly consider resigning. To me I'd rather just take Harper or Machado now to pair with our currently strong group and then let one of Bryzzo or Javy walk we have 3 years to evaluate which ones to keep and which ones to let walk or trade. I'd rather sign the 26 year old superstar that rarely hits FA now rather than get caught up in what these kids have done for this organization and then resign them going into their post prime years. To me Harper and Machado are flat out better players than Kris Bryant and we'd be signing them going into their prime years unlike the vast majority of stars that hit free agency. In addition, our starting pitching isn't getting any younger we have 3 important starting pitchers that are over 30 years old and Lester and hamels are 34 going on 35 and they're the type of proven postseason pitchers that are extremely difficult to find. To me it's a no brainer I'd spend very big but not necessarily irresponsible money this offseason we have a really good group of cost controlled young players that we won't have together forever and an aging but still talented and postseason tested starting rotation. Theo has to capitalize on the talent that we have in place now I certainly wouldn't mind if we had to do a short rebuild or retooling because we're going all in to capitalize on this window that we have. The facts are we don't have the pitching prospects or impact prospects to add great starters to our rotation moving forward and I think that the team has to capitalize on Lester, Hamels, and even to a lesser extent Darvish's last effective years these guys aren't only really good but Lester and Hamels are postseason proven pitchers. Honestly some of you are gonna call me crazy but I honestly can't say that I'd rather even have big name pitchers like David Price, Chris Sale or Clayton Kershaw pitching in a big game over Jon lester. Those guys have consistently been mediocre to bad in their playoff appearances and to me Jon Lester is a flat out better big game pitcher than both and to me it's because of what's in between the ears and not just talent as much respect as I have for Kershaw and Sale as pitchers.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Great post kkhiavi! I fully agree. I think Rizzo will be a Cub lifer (at least I hope so). And I would be happy to retain him and one of either Baez or Bryant, but there's no rush to get either to commit to a long term contract. I love that we have all these guys (Contreras included) on the front end of their prime. I would much rather strengthen our chances to win over the next 3 years while evaluating the in house talent, and the front office can really decide on how to move forward starting around the 2020 trade deadline and into the end of the 2021 season. So adding either Machado or Harper (I still prefer Machado) props that window open very nicely. There's still chances that one of our pitching "prospects" turns it up a notch and becomes a mainstay near the top our rotation within a couple more years. And I agree about Lester over those other pitchers you mentioned. So really, the front office has to hit on position players that will be ready to play by 2021 or 2022, and it won't be so bad to either trade away or allow some of our core to walk by the time they hit free agency. And I think Theo's track record on drafting hitters speaks for itself, and I fully expect that we will have 2 or 3 really talented players knocking on the door of MLB by the time our core players need to be replaced.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Good points on having these guys during the front end of their prime Cubber and that certainly needs to be factored in with players who have a lot of value based on their athleticism such as Javy or Contreras you have to wonder whether those players can hit well enough to outweigh their loss of athleticism as they get older. Javy we know is very reliant on his overall athleticism in all 3 phases. Contreras already isn't a good framer so do we really want to keep him as his athleticism declines which is one of his most appealing assets as a player. All these things need to be weighed and evaluated before we hand any of these kids big money. Agreed on the pitching too I think we generally can't rely on most of these kids from what I've seen especially for starting pitchers but all it takes is one kid to take a big step forward and exceed expectations. I think most of us that have been reading cubs den for a long time didn't expect Kyle Hendricks to reach the upside that he's reached and he wouldn't be the 1st pitcher to out pitch his baseball america ranking. I think restocking the farm system is gonna play a large part in whether we can sustain success but at the same time I do think we have to capitalize on our aging but still elite rotation as well as having all these kids under cost controlled rookie deals.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I absolutely agree about lester in the postseason over sale,price and kershaw. Kershaw has good starts but he also lays eggs and I think he gets in his own head.I remember him being very demonstrative and yelling in his mitt and just showing frustrated body language because he couldn't locate his pitches vs the nationals 2 years ago, it was crazy it was like he was imploding.Sale rarely can get thru 5 innings and his postseason #'s are underwhelming outside dominating the yankees this year.

    Bruce levine said harper negotiations will start at 10 years 350 mil, that's not that bad imo. Levine also said it feels like the cubs and harper marriage is inevitable, don't know if that's his own speculation or inside knowledge. With the tv deal pending marketing a team with multiple superstars is important.I can't wait til hot stove season, a part of me kind of agrees with kaplan that the cubs can use that harper/machado money to shore up the pen(like have a power pen with nasty lefties and righties) and offensive upgrades(mccuthchen,merrified,donaldson). morrow is not gonna be depended on to be the closer anymore.So I expect a trade,minors promotions, or potentially signing a britton or kimbrel(only if reasonable contracts) because the cubs have the starting pitching already they need to fix the offense and improve the pen.The 2018 cubs didn't have a championship bullpen despite having a league leading era they had too many flaws.

    The cubs are definitely going over the luxury tax threshold this year, unless they can miraculously get rid of heywards contract(doubt it).They also have a lot of money coming off the books after '19 & '20 and the threshold increases the next 2 years so even with arbitration increases they'll be ok payroll wise.

  • In reply to bolla:

    One thing about the postseason bolla is that these elite teams can care less about how big of a star you are. That's what's so great about baseball it's not like the NBA where your stars dictate how far you can go in baseball anyone can contribute. Eduardo Nunez can hit a pivotal home run in game 1 of the WS or a relatively nationally unknown young star like Javy baez can take the league by storm like in 2016.

    You know my viewpoint on the luxury tax and going back 10 picks. If it means getting a true superstar then I think it's worth it we have plenty of money coming off the books so we should have more payroll flexibility in the future and I think you have to capitalize on this stacked but aging starting rotation. The playoffs have shown me this year that postseason success in no guarantee for any superstar no matter how great like Sale or Kershaw. Guys like Jon Lester and Cole Hamels that generally pitch their best games when the stakes are highest don't grow on trees and I certainly don't want to waste these guys final years worrying about the future and resigning young players that I don't even know that I want when we're probably never gonna have a better group then we do right now especially if you add harper or machado and then some.

  • fb_avatar

    Another great read BP. You are a learned fan and now writer, although I think you'd be writing the same thing if you hadn't been tagged to write as a contributor.
    One thing you didn't answer is the consequences of going over the $206 M limit. Does it just entail a luxury tax payment or is International money involved?
    I'd like to see us get a legit LO hitter and one with speed. I keep harping on it, but speed is beneficial both offensively and defensively. One reason Milwaukee was so successful was the 1,2 combo of Cain and Yelich. It reminded me of Dernier and Sandberg. Dernier had a .278 BA and .356 OBP and 45 stolen bases, Sandberg had a .314 BA and a .367 OBP with 32 stolen bases and combined they scored 200 runs. We need a combination like that.
    As for pitching, the one area that Theo hasn't thrived in is scouting pitching in the draft. Maybe we'll get a few from the last several drafts but he's been much better at identifying pitching in other organizations and trading for them.
    The Ricketts and Theo have been successful by completely updating and hiring the scouting dept. Every winning team has a great one and I think we do now.
    WS tonight--I'll be watching, and not really unhappy that the Cubs aren't in it. Of course, I'd love to have them there, but this was a hard team to get behind. 40 or so games scoring 1 or fewer runs, and a lot with 10+ runs. There was no consistency with it. So let's get this
    disappointing (with 95 runs) team behind us and look forward to spring time.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Sorry, I should have explained the penalties for going over the Competitive Balance Tax in greater detail. It's an incredibly complex system, but I'll try to break it down:

    There are different levels of penalties based on the amount a team goes over, and they get progressively worse for each consecutive year of overage. The penalties also vary depending on whether a team pays into revenue- sharing (large-market teams) or receives revenue-sharing money (small-market teams). The Cubs pay into the fund, regardless of payroll (due to market size and other factors), so I'll focus on the penalty structure that applies to us.

    Monetarily, we would have to pay a 20% penalty on any payroll exceeding $206M as calculated at the end of the 2019 season. That percentage penalty increases to 30% in the second consecutive season above the limit, and 50% for the third (and all following) years of overage. A team can dip back below the threshold for any single season and "reset" the penalties back to the first-year level, which is why we saw the Dodgers, among others, shedding payroll last offseason to reset for this year's monster FA class.

    The percentage penalties I just listed are for up to $20M over the threshold ($206M-$226M in 2019). If a team exceeds the limit by $20M-$40M, there is an additional 12% surtax, and if a team goes over by $40M+, it is taxed at 42.5% the first year (I'm not sure if that's total tax or an additional surtax, I'm working off of memory and some shoddy notes). The $ penalties increase by how much you go over, and how many consecutive years.

    The Cubs have money, and could easily absorb these monetary penalties if they choose to. But the current CBA added another phase of penalties that really hurt in the long run. These are mainly tied to signing and/or losing free agents that have the qualifying offer attached. If the Cubs were to lose one of our free agents (like we did with Arrieta and Davis) with the QO, we would receive an additional draft pick after the 2nd round, if we are under the threshold. But if we are over, that compensation pick drops to after the fourth round. If we sign a another team's QO FA while under the limit it would cost us our 2nd-highest pick in the following draft AND we lose $500,000 in International Free Agency pool money. If we are over the threshold, however, that same FA costs us our 2nd-highest pick AND our 5th-highest pick AND $1M in IFA money.

    Regardless of free agents, if we go over the limit by $40M+, our highest pick in the following draft is dropped by ten spots (I.e. 28th to 38th).

    There's even more, but that's most of it. The additional penalties regarding draft picks and IFA $ were added to not only hurt financially but impact a team's ability to build for the future. That's why I'm so concerned about going over for a long period of time, with massive, long-term contracts. You may fall into a vicious circle of having to buy free agents to make up for your weakened draft classes.

    I hope the numbers are accurate, I think they are, but that is the general idea.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The fact that teams desperately try and stay under this threshold shows how punitive the rules are when going over the limit. Because of that, I just don’t see the Cubs going after Bryce or Manny. In addition, it precludes them from signing their guys to long term deals if the decide to do so.

    Sometimes it is the smaller, less glamorous signings you make that put you over the top.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I am with you. I can't see the Cubs going after Manny or Bryce. I will be surprised if they do. They will be massively expensive and I think signing them will shorten the our competitive window. I prefer to continuously making the postseason than making the postseason for fewer years as the favorite.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    The thing is the Cubs will have a large sum of money coming off the books after the 2019 season (I believe at least $30M in AAV). And there will be more coming off the books after the 2020 season (around $25M). So they could add one of those impact players knowing that they'll go over that amount for one or 2 years, and then fairly easily sneak back underneath it. So in essence, it would allow them to pick up the $20M option on Hamels, and even add another big time player, because the $20M (Hamels) plus the $30M (other contracts through the 2019 season) for a total of $50M will come off the following year, plus the other contracts that end after 2020 (about $25M). So they can effectively go over the threshold for a year or 2, and then sneak back under for when they might need to add more, whether its extending some of their own players or adding via free agency.

    Regardless, I'm pretty confident that Theo and Tom R have gone over the numbers enough and have a plan so they can push their limits as much as they can get away with without incurring too many penalties in the draft. With the new TV deal they will make, plus more $ made through extra playoff games, it will be worth paying those taxes as long as this team is going deep into the post season year after year. If anything, that's what hurts them the most about the team's poor late season play this year. Think of all the extra money they would have made and possibly be putting some towards new contracts this offseason had they played at least an extra 3 to 7 home games in the NLDS and NLCS.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I agree with your premise with one small caveat: we will have some contracts and money coming off the books, but we're at the point where those expiring contracts will be nearly equalled with arbitration raises. Baez alone, for example, made $657K in 2018 and is projected to settle around $7M in his first year of arbitration this winter. Hendricks is projected to jump from $4.175M to $7.6M, and Bryant is an odd case for a few reasons but will get significant annual raises. Then we still have Contreras and whoever we hang onto among Schwarber, Monty, and others. Their raises alone will be like adding a mid-level FA or two every year for the next couple seasons.

    But I do agree with your thought process. We can afford to go over for a year or two and plan to dip back below to reset when a big contract is coming off the books. Another thing to consider is the draft penalties and loss of IFA money is mainly tied to free agents with a QO attached. I don't see us losing a FA that we would offer a QO to until after the 2021 season, and if we sign a couple big deals this winter, we may not have to sign another QO FA until after that time. In other words, we can go over the limit for the next few years and, with proper planning, only incur financial penalties. No draft pick/IFA $ penalties.

    After 2021, a new CBA will almost certainly set new limits and penalty structures, so there is no way to accurately plan for that. But the penalties have, for parity's sake, been getting tougher, and I expect that trend to continue.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Totally BP... The players will get their arbitration raises, but I'd think that figuring about $3M on average for each of them on a year to year basis is safe. So even if 4 or 5 of them are getting those raises, that's still around $15M. So it doesn't make all that money come right off, but there's still a big chunk, hence why I think 2 years of being over the threshold is more realistic. And you nailed it on the fact that we won't be needing to sign any free agents with a QO attached. That's something I've always thought about from the beginning of the new CBA, as we've got enough talent, and are set up perfectly to add Harper if necessary and have the QO penalties not be a big deal since we are below the spending threshold. Still prefer Machado, and there's no QO for him either, so even better!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks for explaining the CBT. I did a little fact checking on your post and it seems like you got it right. I hope you don't mind but I am posting a site I found while checking the cost of going over the CBT. By that way nice article. Look forward to reading more. Here is the link I found.

    https://www.mlb.com/news/details-of-mlb-mlbpa-labor-agreement/c-210125462

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I don't mind at all, I appreciate it. I think that is one of the sites I pulled some notes from. Thanks.

  • I'm shocked that fans want the Cubs to sign Machado. This is just the type of player, the Cubs don't need.This is another Milton Bradley in the making. I'm not a fan of $200 million dollar contracts, they rarely work out. I don't hate Kyle Schwarber, I think his value is to an American League team where he could DH and possible play 1st base. However, the Cub brass love him which is hard to figure out.
    Addison Russell has probably worn out his welcome and lowered his trade value so good luck getting rid of him. Nico Hoerner has looked pretty good in the AZ. league, would the Cubs consider him for the big club in 2019 ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I'm not sure what's hard to figure out on Schwarber. The trope that he can't play LF defense has been disproved, he's an average to slightly below average fielder which given his production is fine, and even in a year where he fell into the team wide slump he was a 115 wRC+ player. After struggling to come back from injury in 2017 he was a 131 wRC+ player in the second half of that season. I think 130 wRC+ is a reasonable expectation year to year as he stabilizes and there is a chance he could be better than that if he can get the K's down to say 20-22%. Plus even this year he was a 3.2 WAR player. That's a more than solid player and people wonder what the FO sees in him? Now, all that said, I can see why you would move him as well. The Cubs lineup is not balanced the way it should be and needs a different mix. Kyle could fit into that or, with his being the highest value of players you would move, be a trade piece to achieve it. Basically he's a well above average run producer, a decent outfielder, a very valuable commodity in a trade and a 3.2 win player. Why would you question what the FO sees in him? It just baffles me.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Kyle Schwarber OPS splits in 2017 and 2018 are below

    2017
    1st half .694 in 277 PAs
    2nd half .894 in 209 PAs

    2018
    1st half .867 in 321 PAs
    2nd half .740 in 189 PAs

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Those numbers could be viewed evidence that he was doing fine until Chili Davis "fixed" him. Kyle may never be another Bryce Harper, but he could well be a fine LFer if he gets straightened out in the batter's box. That's a big "if," and the Cubs may choose to let him work on it elsewhere, but their most economical option for improving the OF might just be on the roster already.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Actually to me I think he benefitted from Davis’ program early. He was looking to hit was was pitched and allowing the power to take care of itself. Guys with natural power do t need the Mallee style launch angle approach. I think when the Cubs offense dipped he felt the need to actively try to hit HR and he struggled because he was pressing. I think Davis had to go but I don’t think he did any harm to Kyle.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    My problem with Schwarber this season was that he was not hitting pitches in the zone. He would either whiff or watch it go right down the middle. Yes he drew alot of walks, but his contact rate(pitches in the zone) dropped big time imo.

    I'm all for Harper, especially if they can unload a couple OF's. He's a generational impact player and only 26. Plus he will bring in more fans, money, etc to the Cubs. I don't want a McCutchen type player. We already have a team loaded with 2-2.5 war players at every position. They need an every year 5+ war player to make a difference in their lineup.

    Defensively, another SS is a big issue also. Machado is a downgrade defensively at SS. I'd rather have a gold glove caliber/no bat backup for SS than waste it in Machado. Plus the Angel's may trade Simmons which would be a perfect fit for the Cubs. Happ+ should be enough to pull it off. The Angels need to rebuild, so for the right players, 2 yrs of Simmons should be a no brainer for them.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I think the Cubs should go after a trade with the Angels for Simmons and Ohtani. Ohtani has stated he regrets signing with the Angels.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Not sure I'd want any player who publicly states he's sorry for accepting huge money from his current team, especially in his first year. So sorry, Ohtani.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    That was an onion article. Ohtani didn't really say that, but I agree with trying to acquire simmons. I'd send anaheim monty,russell and kintzler for simmons & a prospect or bullpen arm.

  • fb_avatar

    Say what you want about Machado (and I’m not sure I want him on my team) he does have 2 RBI tonight and he puts the ball in play.
    As for the longest HR I ever saw af Wrigley look up Glenallen Hill’s. His ball landed on the rooftop of the building across the street from the park. That was a blast!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I just sat down and watched my first live pitch of baseball since we lost to Colorado.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I've watched some of all of it, I watched very little of the two NLDS series but I watched some, but I didn't really get engaged un til the last couple of games of the ALCS and NLCS. Last night was fun. Great players playing good baseball despite some dodgy starting pitching. At the time of the Sale trade all the rumors were that the Red Sox wanted to send Benintendi to the White Sox in the deal but the latter wouldn't budge until they included Moncada. Now, I still think Moncada will be a good player, Benintendi is a stud. The Red Sox dodged a bullet.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Wow that's crazy, I watched pretty much every game since the cubs were eliminated.It's still postseason baseball which is the best , it's fun to watch when you have no dog in it.I really enjoyed watching the red sox vs astros alcs.

  • In reply to bolla:

    It is, and I’m all in now, this season was just tough and I needed a break. Cubs fans showed their backsides this year and it was exhausting

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Dave Kingman has to have the longest HR at Wrigley

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I've seen the Hill HR.
    The Kingman HR went higher and farther. The ball landed on a front porch three houses down the street.

    He nearly hit one onto one of those buildings earlier in the same game. The one in the video was hit a LOT harder.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Kingman's was definitely hit further than Hill's, and I've heard he hit one even further at Wrigley while he was a Met.

    Legend has it Roberto Clemente hit the longest in-game HR in Wrigley history, I think in '57 or '59. His blast would have hit the iconic CF scoreboard (no one has ever done that during a game) but was just to the LF side. It went across the street and landed in what was then a vacant lot, and eyewitness reports estimated it around 560'. Clemente himself said it's the hardest, longest ball he hit in his life by quite a bit.

    For anyone interested, there is a Twitter account called Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials). They have been photographing the various construction projects over the past several years and have a large portfolio of overhead photos. In several you can see the rooftop where Hill deposited his and the house and porch where Kong's landed (the big white house with the grass on the side). And you can see where Clemente allegedly hit his. Kingman's was clearly longer than Hill's and, if true, Clemente's dwarfed them both.

  • At 78+, I am little concerned about the long term window. All in now is my motto if you get my drift.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to veteran:

    You’ve got a long way to go.
    Even in 5 yrs most our players will be around 30 and there’s nothing wrong about that. The way athletes take care of themselves they can still perform at a high level past 30.!
    I’m more concerned about the monetary window, but in 2020!the Cubs will have their own network and have plenty of money to sign their players, the only caveat is what the salary cap is.
    I have no idea what are starting lineup will be at the start of next year let alone in 5 years.
    In the deep of the winter when it’s -10F out and snow everywhere we should have a contest to see who can come closest to that opening day lineup.

  • Listened to a cubs talk podcast featuring kaplan,crull and others who cover the cubs.They were giving opinions on what the cubs will do this offseason.A couple interesting takes, kaplan said he thinks schwarber has played his last game as a cub.Whit merrifield was mentioned as a trade target and if acquired would be the cubs new lead off hitter.

    Some think the cubs will be in on harper and machado others don't. Kaplan said he thinks the cubs will not be in on either and will sign josh donaldson to play 3b and move bryant to the of.Added he thinks andrew miller will be signed and the cubs will shore up the pen instead of sign a big name.Andrew mccuthen was mentioned who I would like the cubs to sign to play lf or platoon with schwarber in lf

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'd never even heard of Whit Merrifield until now and here he was the AL hits and SB leader. Definitely a late bloomer.

    Sounds good to me!

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I'm not opposed to Merrifield, but I'd be wary of a guy who's a late bloomer and just had a career year right before he turns 30 in January. The speeds gonna start to diminish, and with that, say good bye to some of the hits and his defensive ability. There might be a couple good years left in him, but I question whether we'll get his .304/.367/.438/.806 slash line with those 45 stolen bases, or something closer to the .286/.324/.437/.760 from his previous 2 years, which doesn't accomplish what we'd need out of him. Also, he does tend to K quite a bit too.

  • For the record, I think signing someone to play 3B (Donaldson being avail) and shifting Kris Bryant to the OF works on several levels.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    He may not have many suitors, either.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I'd love to have Donaldson on a 2 year deal if he'd accept about $15-20M for that.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I saw a "first pass" on thoughts on contracts MLB Trade Rumors last week or the week prior. The article said that Donaldson would be in the 4-year, $100Mil+ group. I find that hard to believe but it may be the price of poker these days.

    It is not in this FO's nature to sign a guy they cut loose, but I'd be interested in Marwin Gonzalez at the right mix of years and dollars. He could split time at 2nd with Zobrist and spell Javy at short.

    I think our best option with Russell is to use his remaining options and place him in Iowa until a solid offer comes from a team needing to fill a SS hole due to injury.

  • I wonder if the Cubs might not have many good options, but to keep Russell another year, due to his low trade value. Might he snap out out of it? A forty game suspension should be a pretty good wakeup call.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    IMO I don't see how he could any worse than he did this year. I think he is only 24 years old.

  • In reply to John57:

    He wasn’t very good last year either.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I've wondered the same. I can't see the Cubs wanting to keep him, but who else wants him?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He has already served 11 or 12 games. He will basically miss the first month. I think he would need to be moved in a package of Cub players to get value back.

  • The Ricketts family has no intention of selling the Cubs. When they bought the Cubs, Tom Ricketts said that the goal was for the Cubs to become a multi generational family business. I don't see that changing given how well this investment has already paid off for them using any objective valuation metric.

  • In reply to Corbi296:

    I agree, I think the Cubs will be the Ricketts baby for the foreseeable future. Tom spends an awful lot of time at the ballpark. I see the family as good people as well as good at business and avid Cub/baseball fans.

  • In reply to Corbi296:

    I hope you're right, but I lived through the last of the "Wrigley" years, when the offspring of the original owner wouldn't spend on the team. I hope it never comes to that with the Ricketts, but times change, families change and priorities change.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The cubs have spent money in his tenure. They just spent it foolishly this past off season.

  • Can anyone bring this out of stater up to date on the TV contract and its effect on the team?

    Thanks in advance.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I'm interested, too, but I have to believe that out-of-market games will still be shown on MLBTV, which is how I usually watch.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    I have a bad feeling its going to be like the YES and Dodgers network where you almost never get the home telecast on MLB extra innings.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I hope not. That would certainly factor in to whether I purchase MLBTV for another year.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    ...unless they sell a "stream" of the Cubs network at a reasonable price.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    This is the last year of the current TV deals with all their channels. Cubs working on their own station or streaming deal for 2020.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    My question is will their own station bring in the haul of cash everyone expects it to? I read an article awhile back about the Dodgers network and how it isn't as great as everyone thinks it is. They said alot of Cable & Satellite networks wanted to charge ridiculous amounts of money to broadcast the games. Especially for fans that live in the area. They said that fans in area had to pay a premium to watch the games. Idk if it's true or not, but I'm not discounting the article. They said it's a 50/50 shot it could be a boom or bust. They said LA's turned into a bust. They also said YES & the RedSox station were hits, but that's because they came out before all the new competition nowadays between cable & Satellite providers. Especially with Netflix, hulu, Amazon, etc wanting to charge a premium for anyone(even locals) to watch their hometown team.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    The Dodgers TV deal was a great success for the team. They are getting paid. It was a huge bust for the fans though. Less than half the fans in LA can get the games. So not sure what will happen with the Cubs games if they get their own station.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    If there's a CubsNet, I'm a buyer.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    From a business perspective the deal is going to be huge for the cubs organization but I don't know if they're going to have a subscription based channel or what their plans are with any certainty. If that's the case then it can certainly negatively effect lower income fans that can't afford the premium channel unfortunately but the teams gonna get their money and these modern day tv deals are generally one of the main revenue drivers for professional sports organizations. I read somewhere that the cubs could see income in the $100 million dollar range just in the 1st year. I'm sure the cubs are doing their homework on what's the best avenue to maximize revenue the Ricketts have made all the right moves thus far from a business perspective in running this team and I'm sure that this tv deal is gonna be a nice boost to this teams income although the new CBA rules make it very difficult to go far above the $200 million dollar range payroll wise anyways. I just hope that this tv deal motivates the team to pony up for Harper or Machado those are the type of marketable players and personalities that help the team on the field and from a business perspective

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Good points on the TV deal. The entire system of delivering baseball through the evolving media options makes this a fascinating case. I expect the new deal to be groundbreaking in it's creativity, but one thing to keep in mind:

    Cubs will receive obscene amounts of revenue to pour into baseball operations: CHEER!!

    That money comes from somewhere, so it will cost fans more to watch the Cubs (and as you pointed out, adversely affect or even remove the option for low-income fans): BOO!!

  • I saw this article on Bleacher Nation a few days ago. https://www.bleachernation.com/2018/10/24/where-does-the-cubs-projected-2019-payroll-stand-heading-into-free-agency-quite-high-already/
    It states the Cubs are already at just under $211 million on salary cap for 2019, & that doesn't include picking up Hamels $20M option. It includes $14.5M for health & pension benefits. I didn't realize teams needed to include that. If that is accurate, we may have a much more difficult time trying to stay under the $226M 2nd tier penalties or even the $246M 3rd tier, which would drop our draft pick 10 spots.

  • Baez,rizzo and heyward gold glove finalists!! Baez may win it he's going against wong and lemiahu at 2b.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I certainly hope he wins I'm tired of him getting hurt in this process because he plays a number of positions anyone that watches the game and knows what they're talking about sees him as a gold glove defender. He's one of the most fun defensive players to watch locally and even from a national standpoint and I hope and expect that MLB finally rewards him because he deserves to be recognized for his defensive contributions

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    In reply to bolla:

    No way he can lose. DJ missed time w an injury and Wong is ......Wong.

    Javy has to be at least a -500 to win. Its his award plain n simple.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Isn’t it based on fielding percentages?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    No.

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    I was going to reply to Bolla's post earlier, but it doesn't have a reply button. Do you agree with me about Schwarber whiffing or not swinging at pitches in the zone this season? Do you think it can be fixed by a different hitting coach or is it mental? I personally like his presence in the lineup in the 5 hole. Maybe 6th if they sign Harper. Besides Simmons, I'm also high on a trade for Mallex Smith if the Ray's want to part ways with him. He has what it takes to be a legit lead off bat, or 9th if Joe goes with the pitcher batting 8th. Simmons and Smith would be a great 9/1 either way. And it would be even better if Theo could pull it off and keep Schwarber. But then I think, would Tampa part ways with Snell & Smith for Schwarber, Happ, +? Or Schwarber, Q, +?

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Snell is a cy young candidate , not only that but a candidate who dominated the red sox,Astros and Yankees this season.the rays aren’t trading him lol

    McLeod said that the best is to come from Schwarber, and that he needs to work on a few things to become the overall hitter they saw at Indiana.he said it in a way like they plan on keeping him and make adjustments with his swing and yes I do think it can be fixed.I read iapoce worked with him in the minors.I’ve said before I don’t think Theo will trade Schwarber in my mind he’ll be back next season. I’d be actually shocked if he was traded. I think happ and Russell are gone and maybe one of the lefty starters(q or monty). I’d love to get Smith but he’s good I don’t think the Rays will trade him either he has 5 years of control left.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Maybe Russell & Q and a minor leaguer like Erving Moreno or Leal gets it done. I like both players that you suggested.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Auto incorrect... should have been *Erling* Moreno. The other option could maybe Almora & Q w/minor leaguer. Almora born in FLorida.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    The time for trading for Blake Snell is long over. After Archer was finally moved a few reports seemed to indicate that it was never Archer that Theo talked with Tampa Bay about seemingly ever year, it was Snell. There is a guy similar to that, a big strong lefty, that cold be available in trade and that's Sean Newcomb. The Braves are loaded with pitching in the minors including Wright, Soroka, Anderson and others and are said to want to move on from Teheran. They'd probably want a veteran on that staff so the question is whether you could do something with Q and another player to get him. He looks like a young Jon Lester to me.

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    No where else to comment so I’ll do it here.
    Machado again fails to hustle. The Dodgers are up 1-0 in the 6th and he hit one he thought was a HR and when it hit the base of the wall was only able to get a single. It’s the WS!!
    Run hard and good things happen. If he’s not going to now how about in May? Theo said that if we could have won 1 more regular season game we might still be playing.
    I don’t want him here.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Sounds like you could also be talking about Baez and Contreras. I guarantee you Machado despite his “lack of hustle” still wins us more then 1 game.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Maybe if Joe bats him 9th it wouldn’t matter from that spot in the order. Anything out of the 9th spot is bonus... :o)

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    For those interested, Nico is doing very well in the AFL. He is hitting
    .376 with an OBP of .400 and slugging of .490. Not much power (1 HR) but he's getting on base and 25 TB in 12 games. It will be interesting to see him next year and how fast he progresses through the system.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I hope they don't rush him through the system and he gets enough development time so that he's truly an asset when he gets to the MLB level.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I saw that on another site. Giambrone is coming along as well.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    The pitchers are holding their own too.
    Leal 0.00 ERA
    Rondon 0.00 ERA
    Clark 1.29 ERA

  • I think the Cubs need to go out and sign Marwin Gonzalez. He could cover the first 30 games at 2b before Russell is eligible. He can play a decent SS, 2b and 3b, and if you get rid of Russell he stays at 2b. He’s also, I believe, a switch hitter and a definite offensive upgrade over Russell. Hopefully they either pick up Hamel’s option or extend him in some other way. To upgrade the bullpen I would target Ottavino and Britton so the load can be lightened on Morrow. Don’t know how most of you feel about signing Machado and/or Harper but I think with a new hitting coach and a full year of Bryant the offense will improve significantly anyway. I wouldn’t want to put out all that money when we have our own guys to extend. As far as a lead off hitter goes if we can’t swing a trade for one I’m OK with using Zobrist/Almora.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    Not sure if others will agree with you but I do.

  • I agree with you guys too. :-)

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    PASS On marwin gonzalez, this guy has an on base% above .327 ONCE in 6 years. He does not get on base enough, can't hit breaking balls and his ba is not good for such a low on base %.He's versatile player who is light hitter. I rather keep happ than sign gonzalez, I don't want dj lemahiu either

  • In reply to bolla:

    I would agree that his OBP isn’t stellar but his two best years were his last two. He also hit 23 hr 90 RBI in 2017 and 16 Hr 68 RBI in 2018. I wouldn’t call that a light hitter, especially comparing him to Russell the guy he’d be replacing. Also his good fielding at SS and 2b would eliminate having to pick up another guy as a back up SS. I think he’d be a very good fit and wouldn’t break the bank.

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    Good job Boston. Congrats on your win.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Note that the 2018 champs only have one player from the 2013 squad on the roster... Xander Bogaerts.

    Don't expect most of the guys from 2016 to stick around, folks.

  • Ok, its over. Time to go to work Theo and Jed.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    I am glad Boston won. I think a few more logs were just thrown on to Theo’s fire. Or maybe a gas can for that matter.

    I am excited to see the winds of change.

  • Offseason in ...3....2....1....Go!

  • Yankees beat writer said yankees will not pursue harper and are lukewarm on machado after his postseason antics.

    I think it's cubs,phillies and a distant 3rd nationals for harper. Phillies or yankees for machado

  • In reply to bolla:

    Braves for harper too.I'm just naming the teams I think will be strongly interested. Unfortunately phillies & braves have way more money to spend than the cubs do as far as current payroll commitments go.

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