Rumors: Nothing "Imminent" For Cubs As Winter Meetings Begin

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The time has come, the annual MLB Winter Meetings got underway in Las Vegas on Monday. Four days in which team executives and player agents can meet and start serious negotiations for sought after free-agents. This week is when the hot stove reaches full temperature, so let's check the rumor mill.

Cubs Rumors

GM Jed Hoyer spoke to reporters Monday night and continued to downplay expectations for the Cubs.

While publicly the Cubs continue to indicate they aren't planning any big moves some rumors still persist they are not out on big name players. Bruce Levine of 670 AM reported there are rumblings the Ricketts family is willing to spend on a high-priced talent. Levine previously reported the Cubs were still in on Bryce Harper, so it at least adds a hint of drama to the proceedings.

Rangers beat writer Evan Grant tweeted out that Texas is shopping infielder Jurickson Profar. Profar, once a top ten prospect in MLB, fought shoulder injuries in 2015 and 16. He posted a career-best .793 OPS in 2018 and played all four infield positions. Former Cubs Den writer Tom Loxas tweeted out the Northsiders have discussed Profar with the Rangers.

Super reliable USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale reported the Cubs have told teams that Kyle Schwarber isn't available in trade discussions. I must say I find this report very dubious and not just because Nightengale is involved. A very recent firestorm just died down over Theo Epstein stating no one is untouchable on the roster. Schwarber has a lot of upside, but I find it hard to believe if a deal was right they would keep the big left fielder.

The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma wrote (subscription required) about the possibility of trading Ben Zobrist this off-season. The idea being, it would free up $12.5 in salary for 2019. There are a couple of problems with that, Zobrist has a full no-trade clause and the Cubs offense might have a hard time replacing his offensive production. On the other hand, the fact his contract is expiring and he had an excellent 2018 might make other teams more receptive to a deal. Still, I feel management wouldn't want to lose Ben's clubhouse leadership and versatility in the lineup.

Bryce Harper Sweepstakes

Scott Boras was holding court with reporters at the Winter Meetings and building the Harper suspense. He sat down with the aforementioned Nightengale for an interview and boy was he peak Boras in it. He compared Harper to LeBron James, which seems like a bit of a stretch since James is a top-five all-time NBA player. He compared his clients free-agency to a submarine race, since the real market for Harper is under the surface.

Harper and his wife Kayla are meeting interested teams in a hotel suite in Las Vegas. Boras is as modest as you would expect, telling teams Bryce is a combination of Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Mike Trout with the star power of Jay-Z and Beyonce. So yeah totally reasonable expectations there, it feels like the Harper move will come quickly after the meetings.

Rest of MLB

The other big name on the market, Manny Machado, has been tied to six teams including the Phillies, Yankees, and White Sox. The other three teams? Why mystery teams of course. Those pesky mystery teams always so close but never get a big free-agent, maybe this is the year.

The Dodgers are said to be shopping outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is owed $11 million dollars in 2019. Puig has shown flashes of brilliance, but has been very inconsistent over his time in LA. The Dodgers would likely need to attach a prospect or take a similar big contract to move him.

Good news for Cubs fans, as Billy Hamilton signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals on Monday. The deal is for $5 million with incentives. I think Pirates starter Jameson Taillon speaks for all Cubs fans.

Speaking of Pirates starting pitchers, the White Sox are continuing their active off-season by trading for Ivan Nova Tuesday. Nova has one more season on his deal at $9.2 million.

The Mets, Yankees, and Marlins are discussing a possible three-team trade that would involve catcher JT Realmuto. It's unclear if the negotiations also include Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Although that hasn't stopped speculation that he is a part.

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  • fb_avatar

    Thank you for the update. Cub rumors have been far and few between.

  • Cutch apparently headed to Philadelphia

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    3/45 range

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    MLB is now reporting 3/50. Paying almost 17M per year has got them into the "stupid " spending range their owner was talking about. All this for a 250 hitter who has lost most of his range and arm. Nice way for one of the really good guys to end a career.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Probably a better fit for Cutch and Philies than the Cubs.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    They are also now supposedly out on Harper. Boras cannot be pleased. I don't think wanted to play there but they were his high end play to keep the rest of the market honest.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Also, I don't want to disrespect the White Sox because their future looks bright, but I have a difficult time picturing Harper in that uniform. Bryce would seem better suited for team with more of a history of national exposure.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think Harper sees himself in a uniform paying him the most.
    Will the White Sox step up is the big question.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I think he sees himself for the most money on a big stage. The only big stages open to him right now are the Dodgers and Cubs. I suppose if you don't believe Cashman you can say Yankees too. Everyone assumed he would sign with Philadelphia because everyone assumed, probably correctly, that they would offer the most money but it quickly came out that he doesn't want to play there and now they're concentrating on Machado. Now the White Sox may be being pressed into the Boras model of a high paying team to drive the market. I can't see him signing there for one moment.

  • In reply to TC154:

    This exactly.

  • Trade any veteran player for good young players\prospects.
    If we get an outfiedler kyle or happ must go. Projar sounds
    good

  • Think our two at the top will just let the Harper thing sort out before offering a lower year, higher yearly with opt outs.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I was thinking that too. Cubs best chance at landing Harper is to be patient while other orgs get itchy or scared.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't see the Cubs getting Harper. I believe the Cubs have a legit restraint on adding big contracts to the payroll.
    I believe the improvements in the team come from trades and not free agent signings.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Last year, the Phillies had to wait until March 11 to sign Boras / Jake to a higher AAV / shorter term / more frequent opt outs ( $25M / 3 yr. / Opt out every other Wednesday)

    Recall that 2018 spring training ran Feb. 21 - March 27. And recall that Jake underperformed after missing almost all of spring training.

    IMHO, the Cubs MUST make at least one move to fix the offense that scored 1 run in each of the last 3 "must win" games and <= 1 run 39 times last year. March 11 is too late for this team to move onto plan B if Bryce signs elsewhere. Our window closes in 3 years and we cannot blow this season playing Boras's game.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    IMO the Cubs window is open indefinitely if they don't spend stupid money on FAs. This FO knows what they are doing. Us fans should just let them do their jobs.

  • In reply to John57:

    Exactly. Every FO makes deals that turn out great and deals that don't.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I think that Theo has made it pretty clear that "Plan A" is to get more from the current team, regardless of who gets added to the roster. Personnel changes in coaching and scouting plus the lack of a contract extension for Maddon have sent a pretty clear message about expectations for 2019. We'd all like to see new talent on the team, but it won't make a difference without a new attitude.

  • If we get Harper does Kyle go?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Think Happ would be more likely. This FO loves Schwarber.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    They may also have to move a contract, which Happ/Schwarber/Almora wouldn't address. Likely have to find a taker for a pitcher or two.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael,
    Since Jed Hoyer loves Kyle Schwarber so much, I hope the Cubbies get rid of both of them.
    The Schwarb is tailor made for the American league as a first baseman ,designated hitter.
    Its a major weakness if you can't admit making a mistake in drafting Kyle.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Kyle has made himself into a very slightly above average Left Fielder, from a fielding perspective. It's time to stop the belief that he needs to be moved from the outfield. Last year he was a plus in the field, and the fact he gets replaced late in games is because of even better options, not because he is terrible. It's bad enough hearing this over and over from National media talking heads.

  • In reply to CubbieBlueTX:

    Amen, brother. It's such a tired trope.

  • In reply to CubbieBlueTX:

    We're hearing it from Cubs Denizens who should know better.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Problem with the end of your argument ronvet69 - it wasn't a mistake to draft Schwarber.

    In his limited time in the majors, the guy has already made himself into a better than decent LF defensively, has driven in 160+ runs, 70+ HR, has scored 180+ runs, and despite having a sub-par batting average has managed to an OBP over 0.350 in two of his season - and that with only about 2 and a fraction whole seasons of MLB time on the field.

    The dude is only 25 now, has only just become arbitration eligible, and has improved in measurable ways since coming back from his knee injury.

    Long-run I suspect you're right and he does end up as a LF/DH/1B in the AL. But not a 'mistake' in drafting him at all.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    More importantly if they don't get Harper they can't trade Schwarber.

  • I thought Zobrist no trade clause has now switched to being able to trade him to select teams in yr 4 of his deal.

  • In reply to stix:

    No, there is no, no trade in year 4 of the deal. He can be traded anywhere,

  • I got some inside information, but I'm disappointed.The cubs are going(or most likely if theo can dump salary) to sign bryce harper but they will trade amaya,alzolay and others(possibly happ,hoerner) to attach for salary dumps.Fluid situation as far as who will get moved

    Harper wants to play for the chicago cubs

  • In reply to bolla:

    Whoah!

    Makes sense though. The biggest problem I see with this rumor is the Boras factor. Boras isn't going to want Harper to sign without a bidding war. Cubs can't bid until they dump salary. They can't dump salary unless they know Harper is a sure thing. It does explain the apparent lack of involvement of the FO. "It quiet out there, too quiet." so the old trope goes.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I don't know who bolla's source is but the "Charles the Cat" Twitter account has said virtually the same thing and as crazy as it seems has been pretty reliable on these things over time. I don 't think he "knows" anything but he certainly has information and is likely actually at the winter meetings. I gather he's a mid-level exec or scout with some solid contacts. Like you said is does make sense. There are similar things going on with the Dodgers too in talks of moving Kemp and Puig. I'm convinced that Cubs and Dodgers are ultimately the two teams comprising the legitimate market but Boras will have to rope other teams in to set the high bar.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yeah there doesn't seem to be much interest for Harper. That is probably driving Boras crazy. The only team that openly says they want Harper now is the white sox. Should be entertaining listening to Boras over the next few months sprew his take of the situation.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    I desperately want Kemp to be traded to the Rockies and then passed on to the D'Backs and finally closing out with the Giants who will only pay $500K of his salary so that, for at least part of the season, he is getting a pay check from EVERY NL West team.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Oneear:

    I think it is possible for them to talk to some other teams about "contingency deals." "If we sign Harper can we trade..." Curious who they would get back. Even if they made the other team take Heyward, for instance, if we are shipping Happ/Amaya/Alzolay/Hoerner and Heyward we should get SOMETHING in return.

    Sounds to me like it is either just speculation OR the Cubs are in "preliminary talks" with other teams.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Of course, the more teams they contact about contingency trades, the more likely someone leaks the info.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think this is possible too I think the reason that this front office is so quiet is that they're trying to find a way to unload some salary while they quietly remain in the hunt for a number of players

  • fb_avatar

    I still want Harper, and still wanted Hamilton. I know he doesn't hit, but for $5M we would have got a GG outfielder and game changing speed.
    It seems like the Cubs are just seeing what's going on and will make their move when they're ready--of course, they aren't in a desperate place because with everything that happened last year we won 95 games. We have talent, but if we could get Profar I'll take him. I also don't want to sign any 33 or 34 year old veteran. I want players to play for a number of years here, not do a Soriano contract that is good for a year or two and then have dead weight the last 3-5 years.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I've made no secret that I want Harper, well initially I wanted Machado but the circus that comes with him due to some of his actions and his words this fall made that problematic at best. With Philadelphia out on Harper (allegedly) it makes his market pretty small so expect to hear a lot about the White Sox, but he doesn't want to be a Sox he wants to be a Cub. That being said I think he might like being a Dodger too if they get involved. Harper is bright lights big city all the way. The White Sox are in a big city, but the lights aren't all that bright. One story I heard about Harper recently, and it may very well be apocryphal, is that at the end of each season he writes about his season so he can have material for a HoF induction speech one day. That's a guy who craves legacy, and I want him. We'll see.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Having lived in LA the last couple years I absolutely agree that the Cubs and Dodgers are the only real contenders here. I'd love to see the Cubs land him, but man, with his personality he'd be perfect in LA.

    You're right about the bright lights, and the lights aren't any brighter than out here in Hollywood. Then you factor in Dodger Stadium, the awesome weather, and a 4 hour drive to Vegas, it's a strong draw. And I'd really hate to see him sign here because it sure doesn't make our road to the WS any easier.

    But I do think he wants to be a Cub and the allure of winning a WS (or 2) with KB over the next three years (or more), in Wrigley Field, will win out. Hoping so anyway.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That's just not true about Soriano. He olayed well for most of his deal here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to wastrel:

    Wastrel, I stand corrected. I just looked back at his record and you are right. Actually, I now remember that at first he wasn't a very good outfielder but made himself much better. Thanks for correcting the record. That's what I like about this blog, we can correct each other in a kind way and I respect that.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thanks.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Most teams were offering Soriano 100 million for 6 years and for some reason Hendry added two more years which drove the deal up to 136 million. The last 2 years of his deal the Cubs were definitely trying to move him.

  • In reply to Terry Rosdail:

    Hendry was told by his superiors to give Soriano two more years. The Tribune wanted a big name player. They thought it would help sell the team. Hendry did not want to do that. Aren't we lucky the Tribune is not calling the shots anymore.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    True that!

  • The Orioles “are closing in on” naming Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde their manager, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Hyde will indeed get the job, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Yeah, I just came here to share that disappointing information... Now we need to hire yet another new coach who might only have a job for 1 year. I can't imagine anyone outside the organization will want that job.

    On another coaching note, I'm awfully interesting in seeing how the Mets offense will look with Chili Davis as their hitting coach. It sure won't look good if the Mets offense gets a lot better next year, even though part of it will be with their upgrades of Cano and whomever else they bring in.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I own Brandon Hyde's game worn 1937 Cubs uniform.
    To my knowledge it's the only 1937 Cubs jersey in existence with #17 on the back.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    OK? I didn't know that.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Here's the story...
    In 2014, the Cubs wore a series of throwback uniforms to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. I liked the 1937 uniforms best.

    The Cubs auction off these uniforms after the games. Something like a Rizzo or Castro would go for thousands. An unknown 1st base coach like Brandon Hyde, a few hundred.

    At that time, Brandon Hyde wore #17. I knew that Bryant was wearing #17 all the way through his minor league levels and wondered if he might make a deal with Brandon for #17 when he got to MLB. Worst case scenario... it's a nice 1937 Mark Grace uniform. Throwbacks don't have names on the back.

    In 2015, that is exactly what happened. Hyde switched to #16, Bryant got #17. It's still worth $300 because Kris Bryant never wore it in a game. Had he worn it in a game it would be worth at least 20X as much.

    So, if you ever see someone at a Cubs game wearing a full 1937 #17 Cubs uniform, you can be certain that it's me.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    That's great. Thanks for sharing the story.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Great story. Clearly you put more thought into it than some people did. Congratulations on that.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    That was was great thinking on your part!! Nicely done.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Thanks guys!
    I've lost some weight this fall and it fits much better now.
    Already told my brother that I want to go to a game this year.
    It's about time Hyde/Bryant #17 made Wrigley appearance #2!

  • I wonder if Troy Tulowitzki is worth a flyer at league minimum since the Jays released him today?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Everyone at another site is falling over themselves to get him, but DFA's rarely pan out. Last big name I recall was Shane Victorino who rehabbed in Mesa for a while before Cubs re-released him in 2016. And he had played some the season before. Tulo hasn't stepped on the field in a season and a half.
    However, the bar isn't high. Essentially his roster spot would bump Bote back to Iowa, or Russell after his suspension ends. Could compete in spring training with little risk, but I wouldn't bet that he could win the competition--or that the Cubs would win his heart over other options.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    As long as they have a 40-man roster spot open for him and he’s willing to sign with the cubs and compete to win the starting SS job, it’s an extremely low risk gamble. The cost is the league minimum (a little over $500k). If he plays the slightly above average D at SS that he’s totally capable of and hits with an OPS around .780, then it’s a win. If he can’t stay healthy or he’s ineffective, he can be cut and the cost is still just the league minimum while Toronto pays him the remainder of his $38M he’s owed over the next two years.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Excellent points Lang,... he's worth a flyer. Very little downside other than maybe loosing a some reasonable money.

  • So now, per ESPN, that Hyde is Baltimore’s new manager is it Ross for bench coach?

  • I’m sticking with my prediction: Harper to Padres.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    If they have a hint of interest Boras will get them involved soon since he's lost his leverage piece in Philadelphia as they've allegedly turned their attention to Machado. Right now that leverage team is the White Sox which, for many reasons, is very difficult to believe. I still think it's LA or the Cubs though. Bright lights, big city and ready to win now.

  • Maddon reading a book and Bolla's inside info. Hot stove don't get no better than this if you're a Cub fan. lol

  • Maybe Hyde would be the guy to convince the Orioles to take a chance on Russell or Heyward which would help shed some payroll.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    There is no way the Orioles would take Heyward. Heyward is the second worst contract signed in the last 5 years. Right ahead of the O's signing of Chris Davis.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Heyward gets 106 for 5 more years. It's more than he should get, but in reality he's probably worth 5/75. That's not a big deal. If we knew then, what we know now, yeah it's a bad contact but if the Cubs kicked in 30-35mil & sent him with Happ, Q, or any player of value, other teams would listen NL

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Actually it is $126M because of the $20M bonus he will be owed. I was talking about the Orioles only above. It will be tough and costly to move him if that is what the Cubs decide. It has been done before. I thought it was a bad signing from day one.

  • Looks like the Dodgers are going all out to sign Harper. Really pushing Puig trade and other high salaries. Cubs to a lesser extent are doing the same. LA throws money around, but I get the feeling Bryce would rather be a Cub. I have no Inside info to back up the legitimacy of that feeling. Both orgs have lots of lineup talent, but neither has the right mix offensively.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    I could see Puig in Arizona for a couple years. He would take there and build his value for a great contract from a dumb team

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Puig is a free agent after the 2019 year. So there would be no couple of years. I highly doubt the D-Backs would even want him for one year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Everything points to those two teams. My gut keeps telling me Dodgers but I hope I'm wrong. If they sign Harper and get Kluber our window is effectively shut. No one will beat them,

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    Kershaw(pre injuries) way better than Kluber. Bryce would make any team better, but not WS favorites. Jmo. Dodgers are a legit contender if they get the RIGHT pieces. Plus Seager is back. Bryce alone would do the same(with Cubs) as the Dodgers with both he and Kluber. Of course this all depends on team health.

  • fb_avatar

    Rake, not take

  • I haven't seen anything reported about the biggest improvement to the 2019 coaching staff to date: Joe Maddon. Not only has Joe promised a more "hands-on" approach to managing, he's reading up on managing millennials and other self-help materials.The biggest sign of all? Joe has apparently stopped using that nasty "gray-away" hair stuff and is displaying his natural, mature white locks. I'm calling it here: 2019 WS champions!

  • Dodgers spend money, but are always trying to clean up shortsighted expenditures.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Not under Friedman though. the largest contract he's signed to date is the Kenley Jansen deal. He's also cut almost $100 mil in payroll in just over 4 years.

  • In reply to TC154:

    100 mil won't cut it for Boras. He is talking 400 to 500 million for Harper. IMO 400 to 500 is never going to happen. Boras is going to throw a tantrum.

  • In reply to John57:

    He'll get probably 12-14 years $375 mil or so, and that's likely a fair deal.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I would not want Harper when he was 40 years old. 14 years is a very very long time for a contract.

  • In reply to John57:

    The years are to lower the AAV. The deal will be loaded with opt outs. If he got a $350 mil contract the AAV would be $35 mil at 10 years but $25 mil at 14. It’s a risk but AAV is what counts against the CBT. A $35 mil AAV is an albatross

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think 350 mil contract would be an albatross. It doesn't matter how many years long it is. That is one heck of a lot of money for just one player. Who easily could get hurt. I say let the White Sox have him.

  • In reply to John57:

    I mystified why people care about the money. The money isn't going to bankrupt the club. The point is not letting the language of a contract cripple you from a standpoint of getting other key players. The Ricketts bought the Cubs for under $1 bil and Forbes has them valued at $3 bil. Money is not a problem, CBT concerns are.

  • In reply to John57:

    Response to TC15:

    It is irrelevant how much the Ricketts paid for the team and how much it is worth now. I am mystified why some people do not understand this. What is important is the difference between revenue and expenses but I don't know anyone who knows that number. But IMO the CBA penalties for over spending are the most important issue for the Cubs. They do not want anything restricting them getting the absolute best talent.

  • I'm guessing he will sign for 10 years $345 million. That way he breaks the record for total salary, which Stanton currently has at $325 million and average annual, which Greinke currently has with $34.4 million.
    I think both of those barriers are important to him & Boras. Hoping the Cubs can do it, but that would put them over $260M on the luxury tax threshold if they aren't able to move some other contracts

  • Either of those figures are too much!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Neither Theo nor Friedman is paying 10y $325 or 12-14y $375. Too many years for that high of an average salary. Boras could be in line yet another lesson. Greinke and Stanton are overpaid and will become even more so as the years go by.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Last year Boras tried to get 7 years 175 mil for Arrieta. Jake got 3 years and 75 mil. I think Boras is going to get schooled multiple times in the next few years. With the CBA agreement and the current penalties I have a hard time seeing all the top tier guys getting what they expect. The owners won that negotiation big time.

  • In reply to John57:

    His contract could turn into 5 years and 135 million if he hits incentives.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I guess we will have to wait and see if those option years are picked up.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    6/230 for Harper. Opt outs years 3 and 4. Of course no trade clause or limited. He'll make 38 mil a year & still be able to sign one more big contract before retiring

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Wrigley0923, that would be an awful deal for the Cubs. A $38 mil AAV? That would cripple them as far as adding other players under the CBT or whatever level of the CBT they feel comfortable with. The money isn't important here, if you've been to Wrigley recently you understand they'd pretty printing the stuff, it's what counts towards the tax. If there was no CBT Someone would pay Harper $500 mil, AAV be darned.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    It wouldn't make sense for him to do this. He can get much more guaranteed money, more guaranteed years, and still get the opt outs after year 3 or whenever.

  • In reply to John57:

    Harper isn't that. He hasn't taken the field at 26 years of age yet when prime years are 27-31. He's the best FA to hit the market in well over a decade. He's not getting a dime under $325 mil. He's going to want an opt out after year two because if he's raking he could be a fall back position for the teams that are opening their pockets for Trout, then probably 2 more at years four and five. Money for mid level FA has certainly changed but an accomplished player, with Harper's skills and potential going into his age 26 season is going to get PAID. So is Machado btw.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Agreed TC. I wanted to reply to your comment above about salaries vs. team revenue and why fans so concerned with players salaries. Yeah, $300+M is a mountain of money but why fans resent the players for stupid money when the teams/owners are the ones absolutely raking in the money.
    Passan wrote a good column last week regarding salary vs revenue.
    https://sports.yahoo.com/bryce-harper-manny-machado-become-highest-paid-free-agents-since-rod-013808682.html

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Great piece, JohnCC. Thank you. I agree with pretty much everything Passan writes there. On the horizon there is only one other player that is going to command this kind of money and that's Mike Trout in two years when he'll be going into his age 30 season, but of course he's in the team photo with the greatest players of all time so that will be it's own thing. The other thing that Passan doesn't mention is that the money means different things to different teams. Giancarlo Stanton's deal was a horrible business decision for the Marlins because they didn't have the revenues to support and basically by backloading it they passed the buck to the next ownership group. That was a team that allegedly lost $7 mil/year for 5 years. When he was traded to the Yankees they only cared about the CBT, not the money.

    Bringing this back to a more local discussion the White Sox are suddenly all in on Bryce Harper. Here's the thing though, the total money for them means something. That team breaks even year after year and has never drawn 3 mil fans and in fact has averaged around 1.7 mil fans over the last 10 years. A $350 mil expenditure for Harper could very well cripple them financially because they have neither the attendance not the ancillary revenues to support it. The Cubs, on the other hand, have only drawn less than 3 mil fans 4 times since 2003 in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 when they were undoing a deep rebuild with fans not quite on board yet in 2015. Also their ancillary revenues, including a new TV deal in the offing, absolutely dwarf the White Sox. One look at Wrigleyville after the Ricketts transformation will tell you that. The total of the contract would not be a problem for them at all, only the tax number which is AAV. To Passan's point should fans care? Not if you're New York, Boston, LA or Chicago and maybe a few others. If the money is there why have a problem with it going to the players? Otherwise it goes to the owners, both deserving but in proportion.

  • In reply to TC154:

    All orgs care about the CBT. If Harper signs with a team with no thought about his and his team's future based purely on dollars, he will regret it in the end. Elite players absolutely need good players around them and that takes more dollars. Bryce might blow his ticket to the hall if he doesn't hold Boras in line.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Prime years are now closer to 24 - 28

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    No prime years are not 24-28. 24 is way too young. More like what TC said 27-31 years old.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That is an old way of thinking. Players are being brought up to the majors younger. Your peak is around 27. After 30 many players are declining.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Sorry, but i respectfully disagree. There are a few who may peak early (~24). But for most players it is later like ~27 years old.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Stanton is as overpaid as you think. If you value WAR at $9 mil per he's already posted 17.2 WAR of the 36 WAR that he would need to post for the contract to be "worth it". Does anybody think Stanton won't post 19 WAR over the next 9 years?

  • In reply to TC154:

    "Isn't as overpaid as you think" sorry for the typo

  • In reply to TC154:

    $9M per WAR does not work in all cases. If that were the case Mike Trout would be a good deal at $80M a year. I think the $9M per WAR only works for lower AAV and lower WAR players like <2 WAR. Plus WAR has it's flaws, like to defense is included in my opinion.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    to much defense*

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    It's not a perfect formula and each team has it's own proprietary value system, but it comes close enough for discussions sake. My point was that Stanton's contract, if it is an overpay, is not much of one. As Trout goes his value is incalculable. You could never come close to paying him what he's worth based on production. The player AVERAGES 9.1 WAR per season. Even as he declines going into FA at 30 you could probably pencil in 8 WAR for several years (barring injury of course). Trout will probably get something like $450 mil in two years but he'll have to get extra years at the end or the AAV would be crippling. These are complicated discussions that you have to look at from all angles. Just dismissing thumbnail valuations out of hand isn't anymore right than suggesting that Trout get a $80 mil AAV which he is certainly "worth".

  • In reply to TC154:

    I don't see Trout getting $450M in 2 years. He will be entering his age 29 season then. Only a year or 2 of prime years left. A team would be crazy to pay him that much unless it is the Angles for marketing reasons. That could be Albert Pujols all over again.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Completely different player, completely different skill sets. Pujols was a phenomenal player. Trout is the best player I've personally ever seen outside of Barry Bonds and he's a tricky eval because of the steroids. I'd still probably go Bonds but it's close.

  • In reply to TC154:

    My point was Trout is not getting $450M with his next contract. Unless they give him a contract of at least 12 years minimum. That would pay him into his 40's. Which he could look very much like Pujols does at the end of his contract.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Who knows? Maybe he won't. He signed an undervalue $160 mil contract and maybe he's not going to go for every dollar. I always assume that every player will and that will a tough sell, that much I agree with you on.

  • I was really hoping the cubs could sign joe kelly but the dodgers got him. A good deal too, not sure why theo would spend so much last winter because it’s restricting the cubs this winter smdh. All the other big spenders were prudent last offseason while the cubs spent away , which was very shortsighted

  • In reply to bolla:

    It's strange how you complain about the Cubs FO overspending but you're disappointed that they didn't overspend on Kelly, like the Dodgers did. If $25 million for 3 years is a "good deal," why didn't Boston pay to keep him?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I was wondering the same thing. Kelly, in his last 3 season, .7, .7 and .4 WAR. It's not an enormous overpay at $8.3 mil AAV but he is 30 years old so decline at some point is to be expected. I'd rather the Cubs save that money, get someone like Soria or Ramos and still have the funds to pursue Harper.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Because Boston is at 240 million in payroll right now with Kimbrel being another free agent

    8 mil annually for 3 years isn’t bad at all for a reliever.kelly had a 2.59 era and 13 k’s in the postseason including several high leverage situations vs the dodgers,Yankees and Astros where he blew away their toughest hitters with consistent 100-101 heat.the cubs have bullpen pitchers who don’t miss bats like that

  • In reply to bolla:

    After the 2017 season our rotation consisted of Lester, Hendricks & Q. The FO has to spend on pitching to fill a need. Arrieta & Darvish would arguably still be the top arms on the market if they were available this year so it makes sense that they went big last year. Also, last off season no one was thinking “boy, the Cubs sure could use some better hitters”. We needed arms and I feel the FO made the calculated move. Sadly, the baseball gods turned everything upside down.

  • I forgot you Homers don’t watch baseball outside cubs games, so you immediately go check stats cuz you didn’t actually watch what kelly did in the postseason.

    There’s a reason why the dodgers are better than the cubs

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah stats sure are stupid. Screw what actually happened over a span of several years. Let's hand out contracts based on what someone did over a 17 game sample.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yea you’re right this is exactly why stats show Kyle Schwarber is an overrated player who is not as good as he was hyped yet has groupies still making excuses for his fat a** but joe kelly who performs in the highest leverage situations vs top 5 offenses in the postseason had low war lol for 3 years

    Gotta live hypocrites

  • In reply to bolla:

    Well if we're valuing players based solely on what they do in October, then Schwarber will be licking his chops at being one of the highest paid players in the game.
    Career in Postseason: .306/.403/.613 with 6 HR in 72 PA

    The thing is, Kelly has excellent stuff (although it hasn't translated to consistent success), he's shown flashes of brilliance, and the actual numbers warrant at least an argument over whether $25M is a good deal. Personally, I think it's about right. But I can see where others would be hesitant.
    I'm still not going to sign guys up based on what their October looked like, especially if the rest of their baseball life has been "blech." Why didn't Steve Pearce get $100M? Why are you so down on Schwarber if October matters more than anything? Your own argument falls apart with Schwarber.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Ummm didn’t the fo that “knows what they’re doing” sign Brandon Morrow based off what he did in the postseason? It certainly couldn’t of been because of his stats prior to 2017 cuz they weren’t impressive at all and he was signed by the dodgers on a minor league contract and didn’t join the dodgers until June

    And Schwarbers postseason numbers are garbage and just like him, it’s heavily influenced by 4 games at dh in the ws and the 2015 nlds besides that he’s been primarily below the Mendoza line but Schwarber is besides the point.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Okay so if we take over 40% of his games and PA out of the sample, he's garbage. Got it. (even though he still slugged .571 with 4 HR in 40 PA outside of the series you mentioned... oh but I forgot you don't like SLG unless it illuminates your point so my bad, we'll throw that out too). Right, so if we only look at the games where he did bad, and we ignore certain stats, he's a bad player. Same page

    Why is he beside the point? You were the one who brought him up in the first place. In a conversation about Joe Kelly.

  • In reply to bolla:

    No need for name calling, either Schwarber or your fellow Denizens. Nobody said Kelly isn't worth having. I believe the $25 million is an overpay, while others think he's worth it. If the Cubs face him in the NLCS, maybe you can say you told us so... or not.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'm no homer. I watch almost as many Red Sox games as I do Cubs games, they've been my second favorite team for over four decades, and I watch a fair amount of West Coast games as well. I go to the stats to get a complete picture. Using the eye test without stats or vice versa is never going to give you the whole picture. The fact is Kelly was not very good until the last 6 weeks of the season. An awful lot of Red Sox fans wanted him replaced at the deadline. He had a 4.39 BB/9 for the season and that came down at the end of the season. So is he the pitcher he was for those six weeks or the guy he had been for two years? LA is betting that he is and that's fine. The Cubs can't afford another miss at that price break particularly when they need Harper's bat if at all possible. Soria and Ramos will come much cheaper with solid numbers.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Not saying Bolla is incorrect Joe Kelly has some electric stuff and he's shown that he can be dominating when he's commanding his stuff. I think most of us homers even are familiar with him from his cardinal days where he when he was in mostly better form than his Boston days in addition to this years postseason. But I think you also make great points TC Joe Kelly is an interesting high upside signing but he also carries a lot of risk. Like you said he tends to have command issues and you never know what form you're getting from him month to month and year to year. In some ways he reminds me somewhat of Carl Edwards except he seems to pitch his best in big games unlike Carl. I'm interested to see what happens with this signing I certainly think he has upside but it's a risk by the dodgers too this guy seems to always be injured or dealing with some type of command issues.

  • OT, but, Looks like nothing lost & nothing gained in the Rule 5 today unless I missed something. We have 4 40man roster spots available.

  • People need to settle down till the off season plays out. Not making excuses, but the Cubs would likely have won 3 more regular season games if it weren't for the weather issues pushing their stamina past the limit late in the season. Schwarber's back went out shortly after that ridiculous one-game flight to Washington. As for their schizophrenic offense, it goes back a few years. It was inconsistent in 2016 as well. They were down 3-1 in the Series because the bats took a couple days off, as they often did for stretches that year. Anybody remember that? Kinda like 2015 offense dead in the water against the Mets. I don't think Harper makes as much difference as the right catching combo would for this team. The other thing is Chatwood. He had a horrible year. It was his first horrible year. People assume he could never be successful again. Well maybe not. But you don't know that. Three starters might go down and he might step up. It's baseball y'all.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    What are all the arm-chair GMs gonna do all winter if they can't complain about the Cubs FO? I mean, how would we know that they're all smarter than Theo and Jed, their mothers and anyone else they've ever known if they "settle down?" I wonder if they'll be back to praise Theo when Darvish is the most effective starter on the team in 2019?

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