Making Sense (?) of an Odd Start to the Offseason

 

primate-ape-thinking-mimic

As the GM Meetings get underway, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the peculiar beginning to this offseason for our favorite franchise. Not all the particular moves and news (Michael has been Johnny-on-the-spot with that, thanks again!) but more of an overview of what it could foretell going forward.

We have seen many rumors and "reports" that seem to contradict what we thought as we head into this silly-season, and some lingering confusion surrounding details of the penalties involved in exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT). None of this is really breaking news, but rather than jumping all over the interwebs to see how it may intertwine, I'll try to condense the most useful information now that things are underway and a picture is beginning to emerge.

The GM Meetings Arrive

Top executives from around baseball have descended upon Carlsbad, CA to begin face-to-face discussions that will shape the future of their respective franchises. Historically this is a period of feeling each other out and laying the groundwork for the real fireworks that come later, notably during the Winter Meetings being held Dec. 10-13 in Vegas. But occasionally deals get done and other baseball-related business is attended to, like possibly changing the trade deadline rules for the 2019 season.

Payroll and the CBT

After a century of futility, the Cubs finally have competent ownership and management and can begin acting like the large-market team we have always been. But just as we fans began salivating over a gargantuan budget and the chance of landing monster FA's, reports began circulating that our financial might may not be so... mighty? I'll dive a bit more into that in a moment, but it seems most of this speculation was based on our swollen payroll and the penalties associated with exceeding the various CBT thresholds.

There are still lingering questions around this complicated subject, and I've seen plenty of incorrect information published over the last several days. There are financial penalties assessed in addition to draft pick and IFA money losses tied to signing future free agents attached to a Qualifying Offer (QO). Here's a table of the financial penalties included in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and an explanation posted on MLB.com.

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As you can see, the monetary hits rise significantly as a team exceeds each level of the threshold. Additionally, a team going over Tier 3 ($40M+) has their top pick in the following Rule 4 (first-year amateur) draft knocked down 10 spots, unless that pick is in the top 6 (which would require cataclysmic events I don't wish to ponder).

Further penalties are assessed if a team over the CBT threshold signs a FA who has been offered a QO. Payrolls are assessed at the end of the season, and penalties apply to transactions after that assessment. The Cubs remained under the limit for the 2018 season, so if we sign a QO FA this offseason, it will cost us our 2nd-highest pick in the 2019 draft and $500K in IFA pool money. But if we go over the limit next year, which we seem sure to do, signing a QO FA will cost us our 2nd-highest and 5th-highest picks and the loss of $1M in IFA pool money. That's quite a hit.

Our current 2019 payroll is estimated to be around $226M. That figure includes options already picked up and projections for arbitration raises. Keep in mind these figures are based on the AAV for the length of a player's contract, so simply adding up the individual 2019 salaries will lead to a false result.

I suspect many of the reports of the Cubs limited payroll capabilities began when word leaked out that we were finalizing the Smyly deal to Texas before picking up Hamels' option. I think those two transactions were uniquely tied due to the buyout language in the initial July trade that brought Hamels here and not indicative of our overall spending ability. Pundits began repeating one another and a narrative was born. No one outside the organization is aware of our top salary limit, and I'm sure a plan is in place to do what we need to do. Theo insists there is no artificial cap limit set for the team, as many have suggested while pointing to the $246M Tier 3 penalties. That's not to say the sky's the limit or all is well among upper management and ownership, but that's a story for another day.

I've also seen comments here wondering about possible payroll restrictions that may still linger from the 2009 sale of the team from the Tribune Co. to the Ricketts family (technically a trust), and I wonder myself. Specific details are hard to come by, but those restrictions are tied to revenue and are set to expire entirely following the 2019 season, so I don't think they'll have much effect this offseason. This is a fascinating topic, and for anyone interested, Brett Taylor at Bleacher Nation wrote the most comprehensive legal explanation of the sale of the team I've found. It's truly impressive.

No Extension for Maddon

joe maddon

Theo announced Monday there will be no talks of a Maddon extension until late in the 2019 season or afterwards. His lame-duck status has now been confirmed. Theo also made statements hinting at 2019 being a year of accountability throughout the entire organization, and I can't help but think he's feeling some heat himself.

"We’re setting out to add to the personnel, so if we come back with the status quo, it means there were a couple things out there we would’ve loved to have done that we couldn’t,” Epstein said. “But that happens. Ultimately we should be held accountable for our performance, not for the amount of change in the names. And we will be, and this group will be.

“In order to keep this thing going with the reality of the business and what happens as players move through the service-time structure and escalating salaries and everything else, the time for that talent to translate into performance is now … or else we’re going to be looking at some hard realities and the need for a lot of change going forward.”

At first glance, that could be interpreted as lowering fans' expectations and a hint we may just lean mainly on existing talent, expecting better health and progression from talented young players. I actually think that isn't an unreasonable expectation. Or it could be media manipulation. We'll see.

Maddon has made some questionable moves, no doubt, but his record here is impressive. Theo has built a great organization from top to bottom, but history suggests maintaining one may be another story. The money doled out in free agency last year was a bust, largely due to injury, but some of that injury risk was well known. Even though I firmly believe a plan was and is in place that wouldn't allow the contracts signed last season to prevent us from chasing the big dogs this season, there is culpability and it is having some impact. He deserves blame and again I think is feeling some pressure from above to make things right.

So, Now What?

I guess we wait and see, opine and obsess, and continue reading reports and rumors, however legitimate they may be. My take on all of this is pretty simple. The Cubs have money, there are targets available on which to spend that money to improve the team, but it's entirely fair to expect the amount spent to be commensurable to the results achieved.

The Ricketts are not cheap, anyone who says so is badly mistaken, but they are also not foolish. Baseball is a finicky game, but we all have expectations. The expectation here on the North Side, given the time, energy, and resources put into the team along with the patience shown by an adoring fan base during a lengthy rebuild, is a deep postseason run each and every season. That didn't happen in 2018, but again, baseball.

We're seeing the pressure put on every level of the organization to respond, and I think we will. I have no idea what the particular moves will be or what the finished product will look like. No one does. But the pressure is on for everyone involved and this offseason already feels different than anything I've ever experienced. I think we'd better get used to it.

Filed under: Cubs, Uncategorized

Tags: CBT, Cubs, Luxury Tax

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  • I am encouraged by the FO's reluctance to accept mediocrity from this team. One senses that they are not at all satisfied with the results achieved in 2018 and will do what is necessary to improve performance. I don't obsess over what they'll spend, whether or not they'll pay luxury tax, etc. etc. It's enough to know they'll address the issues in the best way they can.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Have they tho???? Only thing I have picked up on is blaming the coaching.....so far. Maybe personnel changes are coming. The big part of having a disappointing season was the lack of performance from the Free agents that FO went after.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Theo Epstein talks for more than an hour and "blaming the coaching" is all you pick up on? I don't know how to help you with that one...
    As for the FAs, the two biggest "flops" for 2018 were starting pitchers, yet the Cubs still did well in that department, especially after trading for Hamels. The big part of the disappointing season, to me, were the drafted and traded players who regressed from their performance in 2017 rather than developing and improving.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    3 weeks after Theo had his talks for an hour Hoyer decided to throw the staff under the bus.

    The biggest flops was the FA class. Chattwood, Smyly, Darvish, and Morrow and not finding a lead off guy were the reason this season didn't go as planned.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Once again, you blame pitching. The numbers clearly indicate that pitching wasn't the problem - offensive production was. And - Smyly - really? Is there anyone on Earth that thought he'd pitch in 2018?

    After a career in management I can assure you that managers and supervisors (and coaches) are held responsible for the production of the personnel they are assigned. It works that way in any business, including baseball.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The front office went after pitching this off season because they thought the offense was going to be good. So yes the FA signing of this past off season was a bust. So if they were pleased with the offense coming into the year why would they sign a offensive player? They didn't think Kyle would struggle. They didn't think KB would be hurt and power numbers would decline. They didn't think rizzo would get off to a slow start. They were counting on Jhey to do something. I don't disagree that offense struggled.But the debate was based on who they signed.
    Why would a team sign a guy for 2 years and pay a decent contract to and not pitch the first year. I wish my job would pay me to rehab.
    I can also tell you that companies don't constantly throw employees under the bus in the media. If you want to make 1 statement about it that is fine then do something about it, don't have another high up dude say something 3-4 weeks.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    what would it take to get scooter Ginnett to bat leadoff and play 2nd base?

  • Already OT: I just realized this is the 7000th article posted on Cubs Den. That's quite a milestone!

    All thanks go to the one and only Mr. John Arguello. What he created from scratch is truly amazing, and I've had fun spending some time going through many of those original posts. Here's a line for you, Papa Bear, a reference some of you long-timers may recognize:

    "Goo-Goo g'joob"

    Thanks for everything, John.

  • Rest In Peace John Aguello. You are missed.

  • "As The Athletic has reported, it feels like the Cubs will be limited in their spending. And while Epstein hasn’t come out and confirmed those reports, he certainly hasn’t gone out of his way to deny them either. Just the way they handled picking up Cole Hamels’ $20 million option by trading away Drew Smyly and his $5 million CBT hit sent a clear message that the budget that has been set for this team is going to restrict who they can add to this roster."

    sorry everyone don't shoot the messenger

    let's just hope the cubs can sign mccutchen or donaldson. I'll keep my fingers crossed we can get one.

  • In reply to bolla:

    It's important to remember that the "message" you don't want to be "shot" over is speculation - nothing more. We see this every year - a couple of months of "what ifs" and "I dunnos," from the press corps, followed by a lot of fan discussion for and against. The real action, when it finally starts, is often a surprise to the fans who bought in to all the earlier speculation. My expectations for this offseason are simple - I don't want to see a repeat of 2018 and especially not of that dismal September. I'm not looking for a massive spend, a blockbuster trade or a mass layoff of coaches and scouts. I suspect that a more efficient combination of signings, trades and coaching changes will determine the product on the field in 2019.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    That last sentence - Yes, something that none of us keyboard GMs have even considered as a possibility.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Well there may not be as much turnover more bounce back expectations. I expect Theo and co to scapegoat Davis and Hope Contreras and Bryant bounce back along with a modest signing or 2. Happ,schwarber,almora and Russell don’t have strong trade value and thanks to Theos accumulation of bad contracts they don’t really have a choice or flexibility.My personal expectations are officially lowered

    I think Harper would have to want to come to the cubs and take less for it to be a real possibility

  • In reply to bolla:

    I hear ya, those who think the Cubs are going to break the bank for Harper & Machado are in for disappointment, IMO. I do think there will be some "bounceback" from returning team members, too. As disappointed as we were, we should remember that the Cubs won 95 games - we aren't talking about a major rebuild here.

  • I go back to Theo saying something to the effect of you pay for future performance in picking the right free agents. And then getting those players in their prime years.

    There are 2 players who fill immense holes in this team and at the same time check all of Theo’s boxes. I would be shocked if we are not in on both guys and make a strong push to land one of them. They arguably become one of your Top 2 players on the team they say they sign and we already have a great team.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think you will be shocked.

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    I whole heartedly agree with Cliff, our players we drafted and developed aren't who we thought they'd be, Theo has missed on his drafts with the exception of Bryant, since he took over for the cubs, especially in the pitching part of draft.
    I hear guys on here talking about how many pitchers he has drafted and I get sick, just how many pitchers has he taken with no. 1 or 2 potential, I can think of only one, Cease, and he traded him because he didn't think he could hold up as a starter, which was a belief from many before the draft. Ireally don't want to hear people talk about his last draft where he took Hoerner with the first pick and he was considered a 3rd round pick by most others, he will probably turn out to be our latest flop to go along with the many before him.
    I know I sound discouraged with Epstein but maybe I am More discouraged with McCloud, whom is supposed to be our draft leader, maybe he is drafting the way the front office is telling him or maybe he is not that good, one way or another this will soon play out if he goes to the giants.

  • In reply to tater:

    To be clear, I'm not fully dissatisfied with the drafting of this FO. There are several players on this team that I expected more from, and we may well see more in 2019.

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    In reply to tater:

    Lol. Seriously, just Bryant? The FO keeps saying they need players who walk alot and hit alot of homeruns. Yet Schwarber isn't included with Bryant. You make no sense. Neither do most of the posters who keep saying to trade him or he sucks. I know he's our biggest trade chip and I wonder why. Maybe because he's a left handed power bat that draws many walks. He's the last player they should consider trading.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    You mentioned reasons why Schwarber should be traded. Fans always want to trade the players that are over paid or don't perform. You have to trade value to get value in return.

  • In reply to tater:

    Oh boo hoo. Look at the pitchers drafted BEFORE Schwarber. Bradley Aiken, Tyler Kolek & Carlos Rodon. Only one has made it to the bigs and even he hasn’t been very successful.

    Go back and look at all the first round picks since Theo & Co took over. How many top 10 picks are there that you’ve never even heard of? The fact that every Cubs 1st round pick has come up and been part of this perennial playoff team says a lot.

    Give credit where credit is due. The fact that no pitching has surfaced speaks to the development system, not the drafting if you ask me.

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    In reply to good4you:

    Besides Bryant, who has lived up to the hype when they made the majors? Except for his appearance in the 16 WS schwarbs has regressed, HAPP has been on a downward spiral the last year and a half, Almora seems like he could be a usable piece,but shows no willingness to take walks to sustain a higher OBP, these are all high picks that might not stick with the cubs, and certainly are not bringing much back in trade conversations, unless you want to package them together.

  • In reply to tater:

    I’m sure last year you would have said the same thing about Baez.

  • In reply to tater:

    Ian Happ just posted a 15% BB rate (incredible), .353 OBP, and 106 wRC+ in his first full season, as a 23 year old. After only 227 minor league games and half a MLB season. He Ks too much, but he's very promising.
    Schwarber isn't quite what everyone had hoped for him yet, but he just posted a similar 15% BB rate, .356 OBP, and 115 wRC+, along with a 3.2 fWAR despite not hitting lefties yet.
    Almora is just not very good, so i'll agree there. The other 1st round picks have produced and we have reason to believe they will continue to get better.

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    In reply to good4you:

    In the schwarber draft: 1st round

    Players taken after Schwarbs,mostly pitchers,
    Aaron Nola
    Trea Turner
    Sean Newcomb
    Touki Tousaint
    Matt Chapman
    Michael Kopech
    Jack Flaherty

    2015 draft
    After Happ 1st round
    Mike Soroka (Atlanta)
    Walker Buehler LA)
    Ashe Russel(KC)
    Brady Aiken(CLE)
    James Kaprellian(NYY)
    Won't go into 2nd round.
    My point is the cubs brass think their is injury in young pitchers, but their is always the chance you may get a potentil ace, you don't get one unless you try, or you pay thru the nose when you try to trade for one. you also pay a premium when you get one as free agent, and then you only get their last few years.

  • In reply to tater:

    The thing is that drafting hitters over pitchers mitigates your risk. Pitchers break. As a rule, almost without exception. Many of the pitchers you listed have already needed major surgery, or were draft questionables because of injuries at the time they were selected.
    Despite not drafting round 1 pitchers, the Cubs have been no worse than 7th in MLB in ERA every year since 2015. They were 3rd or better in three of those years. In 2014, 15, and 16 they were top 5 in pitcher fWAR. They've been a very good pitching team for the last 5 years despite focusing on drafting and developing young hitters.

  • Jim Hickey not likely to return according to Jesse Rogers!!

  • In reply to bolla:

    I hear Chris Bosio is available.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    lol

  • In reply to bolla:

    If true, and Rogers seems to believe it is, I see this as a huge knock on Maddon. The decisions to release Mallee and Bosio and bring in Davis and Hickey were his. Those moves didn't work, arguably to various degrees, but it's clear to me the FO wasn't impressed with the results. I'd guess he'll have little to no input in choosing the replacements and these missteps were a major factor in the decision not to extend him.

    Immediately following the end of the season, management spoke to individual players to get their input on how the season went. Reports are that several position players stated candidly that Chili's method hurt their productivity. I haven't heard the same from pitchers specifically related to these "exit interviews" but do recall several mentions throughout the year of Hickey making mechanical and sequencing changes that some weren't happy with, especially the veteran guys. Some were rumored to have tuned him out as the season progressed.

    If there is a bright side, Chatwood was in a near-constant state of adjustments throughout the season. Maybe a new voice is what he needs to harness his impressive potential.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Jesse rogers said iapoce was gonna be the new hitting coach days before it was announced.So If he's publicly saying hickey is most likely not gonna be back it then it has credibility for me.also jed just said that their may be more coaching changes yesterday.He said "We’re still working through a lot of stuff. I won’t comment on anyone in particular, but a number of people are exploring different things and we’re not at a place now where we can announce it.”

    The cubs seem influx right now it's kind of weird.Can't blame the coaches for the free agents signings/trade acquisitions that haven't worked out.

  • In reply to bolla:

    There is so much going on now that seems to contradict what we've all thought. I'm really getting a feeling, as you noted, that there is turmoil throughout the organization and that may be playing into our offseason pursuits.

    Theo has the platform to speak of all that has gone wrong because he is the highest voice on the totem pole. There is one entity higher than he is, but they don't speak on such matters publicly. This is just my opinion, but I wonder if the ATM is temporarily out of order to make him show better results before allowing more franchise-altering contracts. This could be a matter of a loss of faith, and the Ricketts realizing they will be here longer than Theo, while being the one's burdened with the consequences.

    I've never thought we would engage in a bidding war to win Harper or Machado, and I believe now either would need to really want to play here and accept a steeply-discounted deal.

    Jed Hoyer was interviewed at the GM Meetings and had this to say:

    "We do feel like our answers are internal. We need to focus on getting our players to maximize their potential. With that said, I think we’re open to business and listening and that will probably be our focus more than shopping at the top of the market.”

    When he talked of listening he was referring to trade proposals as a means of improving the roster.

    We've been building and planning for this window of contention for years. The Ricketts have the ability to break the bank and sign whoever they want, and we still may. But the growing sense I'm getting is they have lost a bit of faith in Theo's big-ticket judgement. Having said that, I'm not suggesting it's all his fault, as there is plenty of blame to go around. If we don't spend to the extent many believed we would, I think it doesn't have anything to do with frugality or CBT penalties. I think it has to do with questioning long-term judgement.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I can understand what you are saying but I am having a real hard time with all the negativity towards the FO and their previous decisions. We are not talking about a last place or even a second tier team. The current Cubs team just won 95 games and has been very successful for the past 3 years.

    I don't feel it would take much to put us back on top again. It would be nice to sign a top FA but it is not necessary. The current 2 top FAs have been playing for other teams and their previous teams have not won the world series with them. They can only do so much. We really do not need them. We only need to find some good players that would compliment the players we have now.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree with this.I jokingly told a fellow cub fan ricketts should be real hesitant to give theo another blank check for another big ticket signing because the last 2 haven't worked out(I think darvish will be ok) heyward is a sunk cost.

    I do think the fo expects internal improvement from whoever remains(happ,almora,schwarber or russell etc) and adding a good vet hitter who provides pro ab's like mccuthchen or donaldson and acquiring a left for the pen will be the primary moves

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Speaking of those "exit interviews", I found this quote straight from the horse's mouth, talking about the offensive decline as the season went on:

    “We were assessing every day as it was going on,” Epstein said. “It’s not like we just sat down and found out all the answers. But through some of the exit interviews, I definitely learned some things. It’s some of the stuff I don’t want to talk about publicly until we make some adjustments and then roll it out to the players."

    Putting on my (not so?) trustworthy reading-between-the-lines cap, those last two sentences are intriguing. He said they had been following the decline with much scrutiny yet still "I definitely learned some things" after talking to the players, but doesn't want to announce anything until after the adjustments are made. Chili was a problem, but that "adjustment" has already been made, which leads me to believe there are other problems beyond that they were unaware of. My initial guess would be a lack of roles and consistent playing time for some of the young players.

    I totally get the need for quality depth, but having that in young, developing players may not be the optimal solution. Trading one or more of Happ, Almora, and/or Schwarber (which I doubt) would not only fill some other needs but also open a roster spot for a veteran player more accustomed to a traditional 4th/5th OF role.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well, here's one more opinion to throw on the pile. Offensively, this team has never been the same since they let Fowler go. Forget Harper or Machado. They need a full time leadoff guy. Fowler set the table and the entire lineup (outside of Heyward), responded. Perhaps Schwarber/Russel/Happ for Merrifield? Sign Donaldson. Move Baez to short and Bryant to LF. Also in major need of LH help in the BP...

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    Offensively, Fowler hasn't been the same since they let Fowler go. I'd trade Russell for Merrifield in a heartbeat. Probably Happ. I expect Schwarber to improve in 2019 and would hesitate on that one. I'm not sure the Cubs gain anything with Donaldson at 3B and Bryant in LF, as they would be trading Schwarber's bat for Donaldson's. There really isn't much difference, and Kyle gets on base more.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Oh man, if that’s true AND they let Derek Johnson sign with the Reds! No bueno.

  • In reply to good4you:

    Derek Johnson left the Brewers to sign with the Reds.

  • Hope cubs fans don't get upset if the cardinals sign harper because I think it's either phillies or cardinals for harper.

    It will be the ultimate last laugh, cubs signed heyward and it handicaps their payroll and the card will sign harper a much better player because they have so much cost controlled pitching they can afford him.Remember they went after stanton hard last off season.

  • In reply to bolla:

    That would be a big big blow to the cubs.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I remember that after the Cubs signed Heyward, they won the World Series and finished ahead of the Cards every year since. Oh, I also remember the Cards wanting to sign Heyward then also but lost to the Cubs as they have been doing ever since then.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    What does that have to do with if they sign Harper?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    With all due respect, I responded to what Bolla stated. If you can't figure it out, explaining it won't help you.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Yes I remember too, that was 2016-2018.Harper would hypothetically be 2019 and beyond so the past really wouldn't matter in this scenario.

    and the cards have money to spend this winter because they have so much young controllable pitching.They can sign harper if they really want and the cubs couldn't even come close because how bad the current payroll situation is.Hopefully philly prevents this nightmare scenario.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Not a chance Harper sign in St. Louis. That is nowhere near a big enough market for him. Atlanta is the smallest market I could see him signing in and that's a long shot. It's going to come down to Philadelphia, Washington (sorry I don't buy that they're walking away) or the Cubs. I'd call the Yankees a possibility for the "mystery team" because they were way too quick to say they weren't in on him. Believe nothing the teams are saying this time of year with the exception of Philadelphia who are so desperate to be relevant again that the money is burning holes in their pockets.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I saw a headline earlier today saying the Dodgers plan on staying under the tax threshold completely for the next 4! years. I've been busy and haven't read anything about it, but that's what the headline said.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I read it. Like a lot of what's going around right now it looks like posturing. Could it be real? Yes, because you can make an argument that with their farm system that they should be able to field a team under the CBT and win for several years. Of course you can also make an argument that the team has to win and win soon or Andrew Friedman and company could find themselves out of work. Which is real? We have no idea. For actual team building conversation right now, a month out from the Winter Meetings, this is about as bad a time to speculate as any. Nobody is telling the truth and they're hoping that the media runs around with these false stories so that they can do actual work in piece. Go back to stories from a year ago at this time, or two years ago or three or four, and see what you see. Almost nothing is right. The only team I believe right now is Philadelphia because they've been telegraphing what they want to do for a year and a half.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Rosenthal threw a big bucket of cold water on harper to the cards, said sources said they aren't interested & the media/fans are driving that, they rather go after a corner infielder naming donaldson,moustakas or goldschimdt(via trade).Thank goodness

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    With all your due respect. It doesn't have anything to do with it. Since you can't explain it.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Let me explain it to you since you can't figure it out yourself. Bolla stated

    "cubs signed heyward and it handicaps their payroll and the card will sign harper a much better player because they have so much cost controlled pitching they can afford him."

    That seems to me to insinuate that because the Cubs FO made the mistake of signing Heyward keeps them from signing Harper now and because the Cards "have so much cost controlled pitching they can". Both these statements are SILLY. #1. the Cubs CAN sign Harper if they think it would be wise and #2. the Cards may have more money than the Cubs to sign Harper but that in no way means they can.

    Getting back to signing Heyward, maybe the Cards could have spent more money rather than saving it on their cost-controlled pitching and then just maybe they could have been as successful as the Cubs since signing Heyward.

    With it all said and done, I prefer the Cubs way of doing business for the past 3 years. How about you?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    That is a loaded question. The cubs have done some smart moves but have also done some head scratcher moves and now having crippled themselves with bad contracts and turning over the coaching staff????
    I don’t follow the cardinals super close but they are in a good position with young arms everywhere and money to add difference makers. There is more then 1 way to win.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    But the Cards seem to be regressing and not very good with long term contracts. I like their Fowler contract. They offered more than the Cubs did for Heyward but he turned them down and chose the Cubs. I think Harper at 10 years 400+ million would be an anchor around their necks for a decade. I am kinda hoping they do that but I don't think Harper and Boras really want to go to St. Louis. Either did Stanton want to go there.

  • In reply to John57:

    They may have been but I do believe Cards are on the up swing. They have some young outfielders and couple veteran pieces. Now they have some young arms.

    Fowler is a bad contract. I am not sure why FO's would ever give a a 5 plus year deal. It is just to risky any more. With Harper I am not sure why he would want a 10 year deal. Would put him at 36 and not a very long contract after that unless he wants a 10 year contract and retire???

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don’t think the Cards have that kind of budget.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Don't forget the Cards are also stuck with multiple years with Dexter Fowler.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    16.5 3 more years, they can afford harper if they want him. This team was aggressively trying to acquire Giancarlo Stanton last offseason

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    There is a lot of negativity about the Cubs and maybe some of it is merited. We fire both a hitting and pitching coach and now the hitting coach is gone after only 1 year. There's been talk of Hickey not returning (although as of now that's a rumor.) Joe wanted both so is that a repudiation of Joe? Also, not giving him an extension has brought up questions about his future here.
    It's like we can't take the success. As noted, we won 95 games last year and have won 90 for the last 4 years, the first time in over 100 years. Our core is still young but now not untouchable. I heard a phrase one time--"make change a friend," in other words, change happens and we might as well accept it. How many other teams would you trade for ours, or how many other fans would like to have the Cubs as their team? I think we'll see trades, but even if we don't, we have the talent to win another WS. Can you see Yu win only 1 game again--he was injured and has been an AS a number of times. Chatwood--he has the stuff, so did Jake and he harnessed it, although with Bosio helping him. Maybe on of the minor leaguers makes the staff, we've got enough down on the farm. We haven't won a WS in 2 years, oh no!!!! I'm channeling my inner Santo.
    Go Cubs.

  • Yes, the Cubs front office has made mistakes in drafting but that applies to every team. Joe Maddon has guided the Cubbies to
    95 wins last season and that ain't hay.I think the Front office biggest mistake was spending a high pick on Kyle Schwarber who I still contend has better value to an American League team where he could DH and possibly play 1st base. The Cubbies still need a decent lead-off man. I would like the Cubs to sign Michael Brantly who would provide a huge upgrade in left field. I wonder who is linking Manny Machado to the Cubs. That is such baloney, I can't ever see that happening.

  • Sharma(cubs beat writer for athletic) said all indications are hickey is leaving. So this has legs and I believe it

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah it seems like he's gone. Man, what a gloomy feel this offseason has had thus far.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Davis and Hickey sounded very promising at the beginning of the year but neither has produced good results. Getting replacements could likely produce better results. Does not seem gloomy to me.

  • In reply to John57:

    Just the overall feeling of everything seems gloomy. The organization seems much less stable than it appeared until about 6 weeks ago.
    Heavy indications from the end of year presser that the team has grown content and there hasn't been the hunger or killer instinct that was there a couple years ago. Now they'll have hired their 3rd hitting and pitching coach in a 3-year span. Maddon is on the hot seat. And all indications (true or not) are that they will not spend money during the best FA class in recent memory, with obvious upgrades to fill glaring holes available.

    On the one hand, I'm very glad Theo and co. are aware that things are not great in-house, and they're working to fix it. That's encouraging. The coaching changes may be necessary. I'll defer to the FO on that as I know virtually nothing of the inner-workings of this organization. On the other hand, the constant turnover becomes harmful at some point. And indications are, to me, that Maddon has lost the clubhouse. I could be way off base of course. But these last few weeks have had a melancholy, un-fun feeling.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    If Maddon has lost the clubhouse, he won't survive the year and maybe not the winter. If he is just butting heads with FO, they will probably work it out.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    This could very well explain why no extension has been offered. They'll work it out, or Maddon will be replaced by the ASB.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If he had lost the clubhouse he would not be coming back this season.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I'm very concerned about more coaching changes coming. Reason being, these are coaches with great reputations, yet the front office seems to put more stock in what the young adult athletes in their 20's say about them rather than their track record. That is a slippery slope. When an athlete isn't taking ownership for his performance and is being backed by upper management in replacing the coaches who were the "cause" of their poor performance, what is their motivation for improvement next season when in the back of their heads, they can just blame someone else again? I hope all these players understand that if they don't perform next year, they need only to look in the mirror to find the root of their problems. This enablement by upper management may actually cost us our 2019 season's success, and as a fan, that is very troublesome. If this team isn't wildly successful for the 2019 season, it would seem to me that the whole thing (players and coaches) will need to be blown up and start this all over again.

    Do I strongly believe all will go south like I just typed? No, I don't, but there is the possibility, and that in itself is scary to think this supposedly strongly rebuilt organization can crumble this quickly after a single championship. And that would be a huge disappointment.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Well said, but I'd offer that a coach is worthless if the player won't listen. What it comes down to is the reason the coach(es) couldn't connect. Could be that players are not coach-able, or could be that the coach's approach was wrong. If players are complaining about Davis' approach, there could be something to it.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Based on some of Chili Davis' rhetoric, I'm inclined to believe it's on him rather than the players.
    Not sure about Hickey. The SP was better in the 2nd half, but their overall numbers were worse in 2018 than in 2017.
    I don't think a tear down or a blow up is imminent like Clubber said he worried about. I think ultimately things will be fine and this team will be division favorites for the next 4 years at least. But the lame duck Maddon situation coupled with the failed hiring of several coaches is not ideal. As far as Maddon being fired this winter or mid-season... I'd doubt it. It's hard to justify firing a manager on his way to a 5th straight 90-win season (which I expect the Cubs will achieve next year), after you've publicly given him the vote of confidence. Why not just fire him after the 2018 season ended?
    Something that worries me (maybe it shouldn't) is what Theo mentioned the other day about 2019 being a "pivot year" and players will have to perform. I thought that was supposed to be 2018? I thought we were already at that point. Now we're extending the period out one more year to see what these guys can do? I don't know, maybe that is what's best. Maybe the best changes are organic improvements from within. Just seems awfully risky to me.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You are correct, coaching is worthless if the players won't listen. The front office has leaned heavily in their draft picks towards the players they say fit the mold of high character guys who are leaders. So it's interesting to think when Theo talked about players on the team who's performances aren't quite meeting their talent level, could he have been talking about any of Almora, Bryant, Schwarber, and/or Happ? With Bryant as the exception, I think it's safe to say that Almora, Schwarber, and Happ have all underperformed their talent levels. I'm not down on all these players either, as they've contributed at times, but the inconsistency in unacceptable. So if these guys have high character traits, I find it hard to believe that they are the ones who would be placing the blame on the coaching they've received, or was the front office wrong in their evaluations on some of these players? It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Like it or not, it seems to me that Maddon should be held accountable to some if not all the blame of whatever is going wrong since his main responsibility is to MANAGE the team including the coaches. Apparently, his managing (or lack of managing) could be the main problem since it seems that most all the problems are coming from so many different directions that come under the responsiblities of the manager.

    As much as I hate to think this considering all that Joe has done to create a winning atmosphere, maybe he is losing control of the team through his own conplacency.

  • In reply to John57:

    Hickey didn't produce good results? Take out the awful signings from the offseason ( Yu and Chatwood) and I think he did a great job. We had one of the best bullpens all year long even when the closer went down. He had to navigate the starting rotation with a bandaid until we got Hammels to help.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I believe although we had a good season, I believe the peripherals suggest we had some luck. The amount of BB’s this team gave was alarming. At 1 point in the season, every starter and most relievers BB/9 were at all time highs or higher than the previous year. “Controlling the strike zone” is important to Theo and I am sure the walks have something to do with this.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    From 2017 to 2018:
    K/9 decreased
    BB/9 increased
    GB% decreased
    FB% increased
    LD% increased
    soft contact increased
    hard contact was exactly the same

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yeah, Chatwood affects most of those and the last two are actually good things. Fly ball% increasing is a good thing too as long as they don't go out of the yard. And as good a year as Lester had, his K/9 decreased, his walks increased too. Sure Jon will tell you that wasn't because of Hickey.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Whoops, I meant soft contact decreased from 2017 to 2018.
    Fly ball rate increasing is not a good thing. Slugging happens in the air. More balls in the air = more slugging. The name of the game for pitching and defense is generating ground balls. There is no slugging on the ground.

    Chatwood contributed a significant drag on BB/9, yes. But all of the pitchers had worse numbers in 2018 than in 2017. Hendricks K'd fewer hitters (he actually walked fewer too). Quintana K'd fewer (by a lot) and walked more (by a lot). By ERA, Lester had a great year. By literally every other metric, it was the worst year of his career (Ks were way down, BB were up for instance).
    The entire bullpen K'd fewer and walked more in 2018 than in 2017.
    I think we have a solid view of the pitching because the run prevention down the stretch was strong. But by the numbers, the entire pitching staff was worse across the board in 2018 than in 2017. After 2017 Theo stressed reducing BB and generating more K. In 2018 Cubs pitchers were 27th in baseball in BB, and 17th in K. Yes, Chatwood hurt the walks. But even so, why did he unravel? Why couldn't Hickey help him.
    Overall, the pitching was not a strength.

  • In reply to John57:

    Fans thought Davis & Hickey were going to produce better results.
    It will be gloomy if performance declines next year.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I forgot to mention the article said hickeys potential departure is not performance related.Which in my opinion means joe maddons future in chicago is murky,hickey is his guy.

  • In reply to bolla:

    No extension should have told you Maddon's future is murky.

  • Silver Slugger Award for El Mago! Congratulations on the 1st of many.

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    Another Congratulations Javy. We're starting to see all of your talents and hopefully will for the next 10 years!

  • White sox will get a meeting with Harper. It would be pretty funny if they signed him they certainly are on position to do it

  • Cubs open to trading Bryant!!!! Buster Olney printed it.pleasee do it theo!

  • In reply to bolla:

    This is seventy five kinds of stupid. Not a chance. This is exactly what I was saying the other day these guys are all in it for the clicks.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Not stupid at all.Bryants agent is scott boras, he will be 30 when he hits free agency,he will want some insane contract like 7-10 years 300-380 million.Bryant is good but he's not generational bonds,trout,arod good.They can restock the farm or get some cost controlled players to replace bryant.The cubs were in 1st place with bryant on the dl for a sustained period.

    That being said I doubt it happens, but I would absolutely trade him and I been saying this for months.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I know you're not a Bryant fan, but TC is right. Olney took a quote of Theo saying he doesn't believe in untouchables, including Bryant and Rizzo, and turned it into click-bait amid a tumultuous offseason for the Cubs.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Kaplan said it's a long shot but definitely not clickbait, jesse rogers said it's certainly a possibility now more than ever before and again I'm sorry I'm not questioning a reporter who works in the industry who prints a story that he was informed by sources.

    I don't dislike bryant or anything like that I just think he gets extremely overrated by homer cubs fans.That being said I doubt it happens

  • In reply to bolla:

    You can trust these guys all you want, but there's nothing in the Olney article to even insinuate Bryant is anywhere near the trading block. Theo said "no one is untouchable, we don't operate like that." Basically, "we'll always listen on anyone."
    Olney added that to the fact that Bryant was hurt/had a down year, and here we are. This is a big old nothing burger. This kind of stuff is why some of us say these reporters are clowns. Why would the Cubs trade Bryant right now when his value has never been lower?
    You said you'd trade him because he will demand $300+ million in 3 years. Well, this year he'll make around $11M. If in 3 years they don't want to pay him $300M, they don't have to. Trading him for prospects to retool the farm right now, in the middle of a championship window, is insane and will never happen. He is the best player on the team. It's arguable at this point because of the rise of Baez and the fact that he had a down year. Even if he's the 2nd or 3rd best player, this type of stuff is why only Rosenthal is respected.
    You are one of the smarter posters here. You've said you don't dislike Bryant, but your posts read as otherwise (which honestly would be fine. It's your opinion). Your desire to trade him is confounding.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Kaplan and Rogers are employed by ESPN. Olney is employed by ESPN. C'mon now. Theo's own words IN THE PIECE show that Olney is reaching

    ""We've never operated with untouchables," he said. "It sends the wrong message. Given what we're trying to accomplish, it would be virtually impossible to envision the deal that would make sense to move them. I just don't believe in untouchables. Why limit yourself?""

    Let's examine that for a second "Given what we are trying to accomplish, it would be virtually impossible to envision the deal that would make sense to move them". Olney takes part of the quote and builds a clickbait article around it. Theo is saying nothing of the sort and Olney doesn't even legitimize the opinion enough by discussing what type of sources he's hearing this from. Other GMs? Scouts? He doesn't even break out the dreaded "anonymous Cubs sources" which, while dubious, would have give the opinion at least a little weight. Believe what you want but everything I've heard in baseball media regarding the Cubs, and really every top team in the game, has amounted to hot garbage.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I mean here are some of the things being heard around the league besides the Cubs stuff

    - The Dodgers are planning on staying under the CBT for four years
    - The Yankees are unlikely to spend money on FA except for possibly Patrick Corbin on an under-market deal
    - The Braves aren't spending any money
    - The Brewers aren't spending any money
    - Cleveland is going to trade its players and rebuild

    There are little bits of truth in each of those statements but the actual body of the "reporting" in every case is pure BS. Listening to these cats and you'd swear the only teams in on Harper are Philadelphia and the freaking White Sox. Like I said above, c'mon now.

  • In reply to bolla:

    It is a dumb statement!!! First of all how many players are generational players???? So saying Bryant isn't a generational player so he can be traded goes true for every player on the roster. We can't keep chasing guys that are cost controlled players. At some point you need good major league talent on the field. I get tired of people saying we need to restock the farm. Restock it thru drafting or International signing or flipping guys. Not trading a guy who was Rookie of the year and followed it up with MVP year. Just because he was banged up this year and wasn't as good as normal and is 26.

  • http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/25226392/chicago-cubs-open-trading-3b-kris-bryant

    here's the article.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't see any quote from Theo or any Cubs front office member saying they are shopping Bryant. In fact, it can equally be concluded that they will trade Baez, if you think they are actively trying to trade KB from the information in that article. Further, when Olney goes on to say this is the same thing as trading a 30 year old Garciaparra in the last year of his contract to trading a 27 year old with 3 years of control, you can tell he's really reaching to garner more ESPN clicks with this entire story. ESPN is garbage reporting and has been for quite some time. They are as low as all the other click bait stories. Why bother with all this garbage?

  • Javy Baez is on the trade block!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    He made $657K last season and is expected to receive about $7M in arbitration. The Cubs do need salary relief. :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Oh I know he’s not getting traded. If click bait is gonna continually be perpetuated here, I can make up my own rather than just perpetuating what others are making up. One day the Cardinals are gonna sign Harper, the next day they are not. Now the Cubs are actively looking to trade Bryant... it’s all stupid nonsense. I don’t know why people believe everything single thing they read.

  • "As part of their early offseason discussions, sources say, the Cubs have indicated to other teams they are willing to discuss trade proposals for almost all of the players on their roster, including Bryant"

    here's a direct quote.So basically buster olney is putting his credibility on the line by printing this.Sorry guys it's true, no need to be in denial.Accept it.Man I swear I hope this happens the cubs can get a HUGE package in return then it opens up soooo much payroll (after '19 & '20) along with the tv contract, think big!!.Sick of watching sub par bryant defense at the hot corner

  • In reply to bolla:

    You're allowing your anti-Bryant bias color your opinion. Olney spouts untrue things every single day as does Nightengale, Heyman and others. Rosethal is usually pretty reliable and has actually apologized when he gets things wrong. The rest are trying to sell their particualr media hosts. Don't kid yourself otherwise.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I respectfully disagree.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Buster Olney has credibility? If you read the piece, he says that Theo "was asked," meaning that Olney is speculating on an answer Theo gave to someone else. But, for the sake of argument...

    I have been saying for years that Cubs fans will be disappointed when some of the current players are traded while they still have a year or two of control left. The objective is to maintain a "core" that is young, talented and cost controlled. Theo does not want to engage in a bidding war if there's a suitable replacement in the system. I don't think Bryant will be traded this year, but I can certainly see it happening at some point - or not. It all depends on value received.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Buster olney has covered mlb for 25 years, is a hall of famer voter and has won associated press awards for his work.To attempt to discredit him is laughable and pretty arrogant(I'm saying in general not talking about you).He doesn't need click bait at all.

    And I agree bryant will be traded at some point.Most likely after 2019 depending on what the finals results are.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Everyone is discrediting this "reporting" right now and dismissing it as clickbait. Just take a look at Twitter. Then there's this from Gordon Wittenmyer who knows a thing or two about clickbait:

    "Bryant is not being shopped. Cubs doing nothing more that operating under longstanding policy of listening with a "no untouchables" policy. No different than any other year. Would take a shocking haul/scenario for team to consider moving him"

    The fact that you immediately thought that this was reality does say something about your bias. Inherently that's OK, we all have bias but defending clickbait reporting during the offseason, or even hoping it to be true, is a dangerous game. Kris Bryant is a generational player and has the 4th highest WAR in all of MLB in the 4 years since he entered the league. I'm not saying they'll never trade him, in fact I've always said that spending on other players should not hinge on trying to save money to sign KB, but the Cubs are going into a critical season with their manager operating in the last year of his contract and are already short a great player to be a true WS contender. The thought that they would move Bryant THIS YEAR, when he is coming off an injury and his value is lower than normal, is absurd on its face. Next year with two years left if they are looking to drastically alter the makeup of the team I could see a huge haul as a temptation, but it makes zero sense now and most of your fellow posters have said similar things. Olney is being blasted by his actual peers. You're a good poster and make this little corner of Cubs-dom a more interesting place, but you're better than this. I'm ok with you not liking Bryant but this has been a little over the top.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Lol at a generational talent. Adam Wainwright who’s washed up and missed 3/4ths of the season blew 3 balls past this same “ generational talent “ with a man in risp in a critical spot vs the cards last series of the season.I don’t care about war or woba or the rest that over analytical nonsense.I watch cubs games and see a below average defensive 3b who never delivers in crunch time.

    Buster Olney has no reason to click bait. He’s an established journalist with a good resume, click bait is for sites to Draw views.

    The pedestal Bryant gets put on is ridiculous.

  • In reply to bolla:

    "I can feel your anger. It makes you stronger. Gives you focus."

    I'd say September was crunch time for the Cubs 2018 season, wasn't it? That's when Javy struck out 38 times in one month. More than he ever has since his rookie season.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yea the same month woba,wrc+ superstar kris Bryant had 32 strikeouts. By the way who had the only cub rbi in the wild card game? Oh

    I do remember Bryant botching a routine out and extending the inning with his usual low iq defense. No need to get angry and attack actual productive players like baez

  • In reply to bolla:

    Injured Bryant. You are out of control man... enjoy your day. Maybe I'm just one of those "Cubs homers" you're talking about. Are you still behind your exciting "Bryant's gonna be traded news" that you were so thrilled about, that's been discredited all over sports news today? Good job perpetuating the problem rather than being part of the solution.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Oh he was still injured after missing 6-8 weeks resting the shoulder. What about the 2017 season when Bryant had Gregory polanco type numbers and hit .237 with risp? Injury excuse again?

    No need to engage in a p*ssing contest over my opinion. I see nothing wrong with trading Bryant so the cubs can have more payroll flexibility and replenish the farm or big league team.Which is better than the alternative of the boras free agent sideshow in 3 years. Don’t be upset at me be upset with Olney for writing the article.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Way over the top... Buster has lost all credibility all for his ESPN paycheck. Just sad...

  • In reply to bolla:

    A direct quote from the writer of the article is NOT THE SAME as a direct quote from the source. Give me a real source from inside the organization and his quote, and then this might have legs. No legs...

  • bolla is the dumbest guy in the internet. He would rather have mccutcheon than Bryant. Meathead

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Oldno7. More like YoungYes6. Am I right?
    Don't be a jerk

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Old No 7 is Jack Daniels signature bourbon brand and also the inspiration behind most of the comments by the guy.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I don’t think I threw that comment at you , Kramer. Tool! You either cliffie. Democrat maga!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    You threw up a little on your shirt there. If you're not at home, please call a cab. We'd sure miss you if anything happened.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    If you want to make an ass of yourself and lose any chance of respect, that's on you. But there is a rule to keep politics out of it, and we try to keep a respectful tone here.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    By the way I’ve been admonished for saying less than this comment yet this guy calls me dumb and a meathead

    *Crickets*

    Very Disappointing

  • In reply to bolla:

    Oldno7 is being admonished. You've also been praised for your input and improved discourse, bolla, and thanks again. You are a valuable member here. Hopefully Oldno7 can follow your example, or move along.

  • Do you guys see this clown show boras is hosting right now about harpers free agency? "bryce harper bazaar" you kidding me? You really want to deal with this nonsense in 3 years?

    TRADE HIM NOW.They can get soooo much in return, trade him to the yankees and give us gleyber back,sheffield and florial.

    No need to get defensive and emotional think logically.It's about the cubs

  • In reply to bolla:

    That might not be a bad deal, or at least the start of one. You think the Yankees would give up that much for him? Maybe throw in Russell for another prospect or two.

  • It's hilarious how defensive people get over bryant, I seriously wish the cubs would trade him.Dude is overrated you think he's trout the way cubs fans act.Instead it's excuse after excuse as he under produces annually.

    I bet if the cubs don't win the 2019 world series bryant is gone and I'll be smiling ear to ear when it happens.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Trade KB now for a great haul, and sign Josh Donaldson to a 1 year "prove it" deal.

    And then the Cubs can use their freed up funds next offseason (Hamels, Zobrist, Morrow, Kintzler, Strop, Duensing and Cishek all come off the books) to re-sign Donaldson or to sign Arenado or Rendon.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    Just realized Arenado was league average away from Denver. Rendon might be the better fit as his road stats were excellent.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    Thank you for being objective and having some vision. Or they can wait & go after trout in 2020 when walkwood,lester and Quintana come off the books. Next offseason tv deal kicks in.Eat a chunk of heywards contract with that newfound revenue and trade him.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Full transparency. I love Kris Bryant as a player. We don't win the World Series in 2016 without him. But I think it's possible to love a player, but still recognize that trading said player sooner rather than later may be best for the organization. They have supposedly tried to sign him to an extension twice. He has supposedly rejected them twice. It's not my place to question why/why not. But here are the facts. Cubs have him under team control for 3 more seasons. If Theo has concluded that Kris is not going to re-sign here, then he has this offseason and next offseason to trade him and still get value. Could he bring value with only 1 year of team control left (after 2020 season) - I guess we'll see what Arizona gets if they trade Goldschmidt as a comparable. The Cubs got nothing for letting Arietta walk. The Nats will get nothing for letting Bryce walk. I don't think Theo will do that with Kris.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    I agree. I'm fine with them trading any player really, except for Rizzo maybe. I think he should be made a Chicago lifer, and hope he will. There will be great value to trade KB probably by the 2020 trade deadline. I like your idea about seeing what AZ gets this offseason for Goldy. I would think KB would bring even a little more with one year of control left, even more for 1.5 years to a team with a great minor league system who's not a normal contender and looking for a huge upgrade during a pennant race.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Nice idea in theory, but we cannot trade Bryant in the middle of the season, and if we did that prob means our season is in the toilet and we are sellers. He's going to have to be moved in the offseason unless we are rebuilding or just having a terrible disappointing 19' or 20' ( which I doubt)

    Another problem is if we trade Bryant now, we are most likely going to be trading him for 80 cents on the dollar when he should prob be worth surplus value w 3 years of control w an MVP, ROY, and saber metric darling.

    Cubs are going to have to hope he heals up and rebounds big time next year. Then again....... All it takes is one GM to fall in love and offer the moon for KB. Hope Theo learned something from dealing w CAshman. Cash knew Theo was in love the Schwarbenator and viewed him basically untouchable ( prob why Theo dropped that quote about nobody being untouchable all of a sudden) so he kept asking for him in a trade for Chapman. Cash played on his belief the Schwarbenator was the next David Ortiz/ Johnny Bench combo. Then he leveraged that into receiving a better package then what the tribe gave up for Andrew Miller ( who had no DM shadow hanging over him along w more control ).

    By no means am I saying he should have traded the Schwarbenator, because as a GM/PBO you have to believe in your evaluations of your players. He just should have got Andrew Miller for that lucrative package. Then we don't need Wade Davis,and we have Jorge Soler to trade to someone else.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If they traded Bryant at the deadline in 2020 or 2021, it wouldn’t necessarily be a result of the Cubs not being in a pennant race. Remember when Theo traded Garciaparra to the Cubs at the deadline of 2004? Red Sox fans were up in arms pissed about the trade, and they broke their “curse” 3 months later. If by then we have an in house replacement for him, and his return fills some other pennant race needs and we get to restock the farm system a little bit, then I can see it happening.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I remember that, as I was a huge fan of Nomar and thought he would take us over the top, LOL.

    I do agree it could be a similar case for KB in 20-21, but not only is that situation super rare, Nomar albeit a fan favorite still was an oft injured player w declining skills ( I am hoping thats not KB in a couple yrs) whereas I am hoping KB is back to his MVP form perhaps ready to cash in on his payday.

    If this was to occur midseason, I find it hard to believe that if KB is the player we expect him to be and we are in pennant race w a realistic goal at a ring, we are not going to be trading him for prospects or at all. It will be similar to what happ w the Nats this year, go for it 1 more time.

    I just think the PR hit, the team impact, ect of this type of move needs to be done in the offseason. You just don't trade a in prime MVP candidate at the deadline unless the team is in the toilet a la the Baltimore Orioles. Could it happen? Yea, anything is possible, but highly unlikely.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    While I am big supporter of Bryant I despise Boras and his tactics. Let’s get him healthy for a full year and have full value before even evaluating a trade only because of his agent.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    Exactly.I don't see why so many cub fans are up in arms over the idea of trading bryant before he hits free agency.It's actually smart, I understand the cubs are trying to contend for championships now but if they don't win it next season I can realistically see it happening.

  • In reply to bolla:

    My fear is that we have seen the best of Kris. He morphed into Longoria, solid, but not generational.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    How many current 3b do you consider generational???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    0

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Shhhhh be careful the truth infuriates certain people around here. Kris Bryant and generational talent in the same sentence is freakin comedy

  • In reply to bolla:

    How many players were College Player of the Year, MILB Player of the Year, ROY, and MVP in 4 consecutive seasons? That will tell you if he is a generational talent.

    BTW, through May before his injury he was back to his MVP pace with a .925 OPS and a 148 wRC+. KB is the best offensive player on the Cubs.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't think it's comedy, but it will take career to earn that status.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Doesn’t make me made. It just silly to say we will trade KB cause he isn’t a generational 3b. Like we have someone better waiting.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Get over yourself. I actually like both players, alot. Appearently, I'm just more objective than you. You have a serious problem with KB. You piss all over him all over these pages all the time. I just want Javy to be more consistent. He proves he knows the strike zone, yet expands half the time and wants to hit 500 ft home runs instead going with the pitch half the time and doesn't help his team in crucial spots at times. There's no guarantee that Javy will ever repeat his 2018 season even, while KB has proven in a bad injury riddled year that he could put up numbers some players will never achieve.

    You make some point about cherry picking some KB stat with RISP in one season, while it wasn't any better than Javy's career RISP. Now that's comic gold!

  • I have always maintained that Scott Boras is the Devil and I personally believe these two current circumstances support me in that:

    1) When we drafted Bryant I was truly disappointed to learn who his agent was and said to myself there is no way we sign him to a contract after his arbitration eligibility runs out. If you don't believe me then convince me Boras did not have a significant part in Arietta not even wanting to stay for the money we gave Darvish:

    https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/jake-arrieta-reportedly-turned-down-big-money-from-cubs-before-they-signed-yu-darvish/

    2) Boras cares nothing at all about common decency or ethical behavior. Just making money for himself and is clients. In his mind, it appears Addison Russell's situation is "good for the league" and he talks like all Addy needs to do is just finish his counseling then re-join the Cubs and resume his career as if nothing happened. I'm taking bets now on my prediction that Boras will whine about us being unfair to Addy if anything short of that happens.

    https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/cubs/scott-boras-anticipates-addison-russell-remaining-cubs

    Overall, my heart sinks whenever I hear Scott Boras is the agent of a Cubs player and I would not doubt that he has nothing but disdain for the Ricketts Familly, Theo & the Front Office, and especially for us fans who he likely thinks just do nothing but get in the way of maximizing his commissions. I wish there was a way to ban him from coming near anyting related to MLB, seriously.

  • In reply to NGWheelz:

    On point number 2. You are so correct. So disgusting to twist anything involving domestic disputes and saying "it's good for the league." That is just disgusting! Honestly, I can see the Cubs going to an arbitration hearing concerning Russell's 2019 salary. He made $3.2M in 2018 and really doesn't even deserve 1 cent of a raise. Although I know MLB rules kind of build that in, so I think the Cubs should literally offer the lowest reasonable amount allowed. Whether it's the same $3.2M or about $4M. Because whatever Boras is gonna high-ball will probably be like $6 or $7M, and with the numbers he put up in 2018, there's no way I can see Addison winning that arbitration case.

  • In reply to NGWheelz:

    "The learning curve in this is good for everybody. It's good for the league, it's good for baseball and in the end, it's really, really good for Addison going forward. Any time we try to improve people and have a system that does that and brings attention to things that in a society make us better on and off the field, I think it's a very positive step."

    I don't see a problem with that quote at all. He's saying Russell getting help and improving as a man is good for everyone. It is. These things coming to light and the player being punished, and then possibly rehabilitated is good. It can possibly help with future DV problems.

    I don't really understand any Boras-related vitriol. He isn't a bad person. He's a good agent. His job is to get his payers paid as much as he can. The players have turned the game into a nearly $10 billion industry. They deserve to be compensated accordingly.
    I doubt Boras hates the Ricketts, who are currently operating with a $220+ million payroll. And i doubt he hates the fans, who keep turning out by the millions year after year, so that the Ricketts can more comfortably hand out multi, multi million dollar contracts.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Agreed. I’ve never understood the Boras hate.

  • In reply to TC154:

    He's greedy.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If I was a player that would be the agent representing me.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Player salaries are the most visible part of the organization's finances, and an easy area to criticize when fans feel they:
    1. Might lose their best player to a higher bidder.
    2. Might NOT get a needed player due to being outbid.
    3. Might see their team financially hamstrung by high player salaries.

    The exorbitant profits hauled in by the team owners, TV networks and others in and around baseball are often hidden in the accounting process and aren't usually as visible to fans as player salaries.

    Boras is the best at what he does and frequently gets blamed for single-handedly driving up already high ticket prices. He says controversial things in support of his clients, for which I have cussed him numerous times. His clients, however, think he's great!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Great points, Cliff. It does make sense.
    I'm more pro-player than pro-owner. It's rough losing your players to greener pastures (higher salaries) and missing out on premium FA, but these guys usually get one big pay day in their career, if they're lucky. The should make the most of it.

  • This is the time of year to have a little creative fun, we all know Theo is not going to trade Bryant BUT what if: The Angeles call and are willing to take Bryant off the Cubs hands in a trade.

    Bryant - Rizzo - Chatwood - Kintzler - Almora

    for

    Trout - Simmons - Skaggs

    What does Theo do:
    1. Hang up immediately while chucking?
    2, Dream of the best player in the world roaming center at Wrigley while hanging up?
    3. Call Team Theo all together to crunch the numbers and lineups?

  • In reply to Rock:

    I'm really not into "what if" trade scenarios, but your suggestion is an example of that Theo means when he says that no player is "untouchable." It would cost another team a ton for Bryant, but he could be traded if the offered value improves the team.

  • In reply to Rock:

    In short, no way in hell does Theo ever accept anything close to that trade. Just for starters we'd trade away Bryant (3 years control), Rizzo (3 years control), Almora (4 years control), plus the 2 pitcher salary dumps, for Trout (2 years control), Simmons (2 years control), and Skaggs (2 years control). And then consider all their salaries, and the Cubs 2019 payroll would actually go up by about $7M even after that swap. So we'd trade 2 impact players for 1, and have payroll go up, and now would need a 1st and 3rd basemen. That trade would probably drop us to a 3rd place team.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Damn, dude. Sounds like you did your homework. I need you to tutor me.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Hahaha... I don't think there's much I can teach anyone. I just knew that Trout was making $30+ ($33+ in actuality) and Simmons was making over $10M ($13M actually). When I looked up the numbers on BR that's when I got hipped to the 2 years remaining on these guys, and already knew the extra remaining years of the Cubs players. Skaggs made $1.875, so figured in his arbitration raise he'll probably make between 3 and 4 million, and all of a sudden that's $50M. Then figure Bryant ($13), Rizzo ($12.3), Chatwood ($10.5), Kintzer ($5), and Almora ($1/2M) and that's $41.3, so actually even a bigger difference. Now what I didn't do was consider AAV, however, knowing Rizzo's is very low (around $6M), and that Simmons is around $8M and Trout's is up to $24M AAV, I think that only tips even further to favor the Angels and hurt the Cubs. Bad deal... I even tried thinking of a deal that would be fair, and then my head started hurting from all the names and numbers. I think there would have to be a 3rd team, and then more Cubs players and some prospects involved, and not involving Rizzo, and then something would start to feel fair for all involved.

  • Did Theo fire Carrie??? Anybody have any insight to what happened???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I tweeted those exact thoughts, jokingly saying I wasn't aware the Cubs' finances were THIS dire. Well done!

    Honestly, I don't know. All I have is her Tweet, and that can be taken as an offseason joke, as this is her choice, or she is being phased out. I have no idea.

  • This pains me. I have to admit to my fellow Denizens I have succumbed to the evils of modern something or another. I am an intensely private person, but in my quest to promote my beloved Cubs Den, I began Tweetering two days ago. If you know how to work these modern mechanisms, consider giving me a follow @BPPilbean, so I don't look like such a dork with no followers as we continue our journey. I'll do my part in continuing the discussion, and my faithful partners will have the satisfaction of knowing they were among the first of my eventual dozens and dozens of followers! Thank you.

    And just so I don't get rusty:

    "Spent my day with a woman, unkind.
    Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    One thing I will never do. I opened a Twitter account a couple months after it started but then saw what it turned into, and stopped shortly after. Its been years, and I don't miss it nor will i ever join that instagram, snapchat, flickr, ect.

    Hope you keep your sanity.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Thanks for the warning, Jim. I am as far from a fame-whore as you could possibly imagine. But I'm exploring new territory as I try to spread the word. I already feel dirty! Wish me luck.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Twitter can be whatever you want it to be. You can block things, and you choose who you follow. It can certainly become a cesspool if you follow people that like to live in that world, so just be discerning with your choices if you are concerned about it.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks, Michael. It's a bold new world, but I've been around the block. :)

  • We know you have been around the block, BP! We want to know how many times! ;o)

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    i can't even remember, and I think that proves my point. :)

  • If the Mariners plan to rebuild I would love to take Edwin Diaz off their hands. I wonder if Happ and/or Schwarber gets it done.

    Paxton would be a great addition but our rotation is so full of old guys I don’t know who we could send back that might appeal to them. Maybe Quintana would be included in the package?

    The other guy that would be an offensive upgrade would be Mitch Haniger.

    I know the last two have trouble staying healthy but they are super productive when they’re on the field.

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