Will Cubs spend more money this offseason?

Most Cubs fans want the Cubs to rebuild their foundation and I am one of them, of course.   The Cubs have come a long way as far as building their farm system back up to respectability.  It’s a top 10 system by most accounts and it’s on the verge of becoming more than that.

Others are tired of the losing and want to see the Cubs win now, or at least soon.  I have nothing against this either — so long as it doesn’t take too much away from the long term plan.  One thing I don’t want is to revisit the 2006 offseason plan that nearly worked, but was short-sighted and left the Cubs with a small window to succeed and a bloated, inflexible payroll afterward.

It appears that by this next offseason, both groups of fans may have an ally.  On the surface those two approaches seem to be opposites. Are their competing interests?  Is there dissension in the ranks?

Not necessarily. That ally is the same for both sides and according to CSN’s Patrick Mooney, that person is none other than Theo Epstein himself.

“We’re not  where we want to be right now in terms of payroll. It’s gone down. As we move forward with our baseball plan, eventually it will go back up. Now that in and of itself won’t be a determining factor in our success. We need to generate a stream of young talent through our farm system. But we want to complement that with some aggressiveness in free agency.”

That should make both sides happy.  It appears the Cubs should and will have the money to improve their team from both ends, provided they work out the business with the renovations and the extra revenue it is expected to create.

“They share projections with us based on different scenarios where we might be, but we need revenues to increase in order for us to execute our baseball plan,” Epstein said. “We expect them to (deliver revenues) and we have a lot of folks on the business side working hard for that.”

Mooney senses some frustration coming from Epstein.  He’s been patiently working the team from the ground up in the absence of using their resources on the MLB payroll.  That patience may be tested this offseason if his hands are tied again.  Theo doesn’t seem to like losing any more than the rest of us do.

Most expect agreements to be finalized before the season is over and if so, I think we will see the Cubs really go after some big names in free agency as well as seek to acquire veterans that smaller market teams may no longer be able to afford.

Whether you are for a long term rebuild or not, none of us want to see the perpetual rebuild we’ve seen with teams like the Pirates or the Royals — or even the Rays, for that matter.  Not that the Cubs wouldn’t want to emulate the Rays success with their farm system, but they are in too big a market to trade top players in their prime as the Rays have been forced to do.  The ultimate goal is to have a three-pronged approach:

  1. Build a steady stream of talent from within.
  2. Re-sign and retain all their good young players.
  3. Use their resources to acquire impact players from outside the organization such as free agency and trades.

We’ve seen the Cubs start the first two parts of the plan and it seems we are getting more and more hints that they’ll earnestly pursue the 3rd part this offseason.

The Cubs foundation is no longer in a state of extreme disrepair.  It’s a solid farm system that should start producing talent over the next several years.  They are at the point where they can continue to build on that while also turning some attention to the product on the field.

Theo Epstein appears willing and ready to do that.  Let’s see if Tom Ricketts and the ownership group gives him the green light.


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  • fb_avatar

    Gotta say, the increasing reports of tension between the front office and the Ricketts has me a little worried.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm a little worried but not too much yet. I like that the PBO is adding some subtle pressure on ownership. I think Ricketts wants to spend provided he has that extra revenue. He'll have no excuses after that. We've also seen that they started showing signs of spending this past offseason with Sanchez and Jackson. I think we'll see more this next offseason for the right players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do u think some of this tension or all of it, was created when Theo couldn't get Sanchez?? Maybe he thought if he had uped the initial offer Sanchez would of never went back to the tigers. Idk, that's what I think of when I hear Theo talking about finances

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    I don't know. They sure offered Sanchez a ton of money, way more than any previous offers he had. Hard to get frustrated with that. Detroit just willing to outbid and had the advantage of being a winning team and the inside track as his present team.

  • Aside from the question whether one can accept Ricketts's premise that the renovations (primarily the signs) will bring in enough money to fund the baseball operation at a championship level, there is also the question whether one can buy sufficient impact talent. Soriano was supposed to be impact talent, but certainly not worth what he cost. Undoubtedly there will be more money available once he is off the books (I assume Z already is), but, as usual, it depends on how one spends it. One would feel better if it is demonstrated that Epstein has had better luck than others in that regard. I haven't heard if DiceK really met those expectations.

  • In reply to jack:

    I think that's a good point. Spending money wisely is the key, but as we've seen with the big market teams, having that extra revenue allows you to absorb a mistake or two as well (i.e. Nats and Jayson Werth).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Cubs might have the money to absorb a mistake or too, but not the blow to their credibility if the World Series Ricketts promised is not forthcoming. It sure got nasty the last couple of years in Boston, including over such signings as Carl Crawford, even though the Red Sox had two world championships in our lifetimes.

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    I really think the tensions may all be tied up with this stadium situation. Once it is totally resolved, I think Rickets will have no problem opening up the payroll to add talent to the MLB squad. I'm getting the sense he just needs confirmation that new revenues will be pouring in.

    This could spell out that Appel is their #1 choice for the draft as he is the most ready to join the big league squad. Gonna get real interesting (and fun) now folks!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Agreed on all counts bocabobby!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Right, Bocabobby and John. And we should remember that the stadium improvement deal was well on its way to fruition a year ago, when the Ricketts Sr. campaign fiasco happened. The backlash threw a monkey wrench into the timing of the Cubs' revenue plan, and maybe set Theo's on-field agenda back a year too.

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    Watching KC at Atlanta on MLBN. Braves' announcers are awful. Talk about homers. Had to mute the sound.

  • Ha! Hard not to like that team a lot, though. Are they worse than Hawk Harrelson?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    None in my book. Former Steelers announcer Myron Cope is an improvement over Hawk, and thats saying a lot, because Myron was as annoying as Howard Cosell was.

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    Not sure anyone's worse than Harrelson. I wonder if it's possible.

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    Braves announcers are far better than Harrelson, who if he did every MLB game I suspect there would suddenly be a lot of Jai alai fans instead.

  • While Hawk is terrible he can't hold a candle to McCarver in my opinion.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    The Brennaman/McCarver duo is insufferable.

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Fun fact about Harrelson, when he was hired as the White Sux GM it was only as an answer to the Cubs hiring of a loud GM, Dallas Green. Unfortunately, Harrelson was clueless as a GM and still is as an announcer.

  • Any of them the spawn of the Caray family?

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    In reply to jack:

    One sounded terrible, I mean terribly, like Chip Caray.

  • Yeah, I posted about their announcers during the Cubs/Braves series. The Braves scored early and the color guy made a comment like "It's great to score early against the Cubs so that it shuts their fans up." That comment alone was pretty snide (it was not just that words but the tone of voice... sooooooo condescending). Then Chip Caray piped in and said, "Yeah, they do take a lot of getting used to don't they?" His tone was totally bitter and spiteful.

    Now, I know each teams' announcers has a home-town angle, but this was just sort of a childish and mean spirited back and forth. Plus, what's up with Chip Caray being bitter about the Cubs? A team he rooted for for years while doing the play by play. A team that his grandfather is intimately associated with. If I were him, I'd be grateful to them for both the opportunity to start my career and also proud that my grandfather had worked so well with the organization. I don't remember how he/the Cubs split, but was it acrimonious?

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    In reply to Pura Vida:

    I believe whoever's decision it was realized Caray was a bad announcer.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Chip Caray unknowingly admitted he was the biggest phony: in a Tribune column, when complaining about criticism in Chicago he said "I'm my own man...I'm Harry Christopher Caray III."

    Sure, he just wanted to work with grandfather and father, instead of just exploiting connections.

    As far as his Cubs split, that was the time that both he and Stone were complaining that the players were interfering with the call by telephoning the booth and harassing them on the team plane. Of course, a job with daddy in Atlanta suddenly surfaced. Supposedly the Cubs said that they offered to renew both Chip's and Stone's contracts, but neither was interested.

  • Unless Ricketts want the Cub fans to stop going to games he
    better give Theo the green light to spend the money to sign at
    least 1 top FA a year.

  • I do not mind aggressiveness in free agency, as long as it is tempered with intelligence and judgement, and as long as it does not interfere with the whole build from within from out of a solid farm system.

    Things just do not seem to me to be as bad as some are painting it. Currently, any ol' kind of a bullpen arm (or two) would win the Cubs some games.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Totally agree Richard. I also don't think they're as bad as they've looked so far.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm not so sure on that, John.

    Cubs' hitting has been very spotty and poor all season, as well as their OBP and OPS. I know some of it is the cold weather, but I'm starting to wonder a little.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I'm not worried about stats this early. I do think that they could have won a few more games had it not been for the bullpen and some sloppy play. That stuff is somewhat fixable. We'll see. I'm going to wait until the end of May before I give up on this team as far as being competitive in 2013.

    7 of 9 losses have been to the Braves, Rangers, and Giants. Those are some pretty good teams and the Cubs were pretty much in all of them -- even with some bonehead play.

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    John, how about a post looking at some of the expected free agents next off-season? It's never too early to ignore a current Cubs season. :)

    Do you think they'll still be in value free agent mode or looking at guys like Edward Jackson, who have been consistently productive but not expected to be outrageously expensive?

    At some point they have to add more good pitching if they have any hope of being competitive starting in 2015 - not that I think they'll suddenly be contenders that year if they're trying to work in 2-3 kids into the everyday lineup, but we desperately need to add core pitching.

    One nice thing with Villanueva is he's young enough that he could be here a few years and doesn't have to be traded because of his age and our projected competitive years. Not that he's necessarily a talent to build around, but we're so desperate for somewhat long term stability from our pitching. I also really like what we've seen from Travis Wood going back to the end of last year. Again, he's not likely going to ever be a top of the rotation guy, he is what he is, but he could be a very solid 3 or 4 type if he stays this consistent.

    If they could only add a true ace or blue chip SP prospect who might be ready in the next 2 years, that could slot everyone else down and make the entire rotation better. I've given up hope of both trading Garza for much return nor resigning him long-term. Too many injuries. We've been down that road before with Wood and Prior.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I could certainly do that. Maybe even look at some trade candidates as a follow up article.

  • IDK who Theo wanted to target that we didn't pursue that could lead to any frustration between him & Ricketts.... Nonetheless, they should always have a sense of urgency. They've got the framework laid for a solid foundation of sustained success now. With the new stadium deal and upcoming media deal, we'll be as rich as anybody in the game once our waves of talent start pouring in....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think it may be more about the international players. The Cubs were within reach of all of the big stars and came up short. The frustration may be that other teams were willing to go way above and beyond market price to get an impact player while the Cubs made a solid offer, but well short of the winning offer, especially in regards to Darvish and Puig.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Okay, I get that. But paying way above market price goes against what Theo was preaching.... Is it possible that Theo's frustration is more with the new CBA, other GM's over-spending, etc vs Ricketts?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Could just be that the market was too low. Cespedes, Puig, and Darvish are all looking like bargains right now. And all qualify age-wise as paying for guys on future, not past performance.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I actually think if Theo is frustrated over any one prospect, it's on Darvish. He may well have wanted to go DiceK levels to get him, only to be told the money wasn't there.

  • Attendance is a big issue. It will be hard to fill Wrigley if the Cubs continue to lose like they have this year and last. Still it is never a good idea to overpay. All organizations hurt themselves when they give out bad contracts.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I agree on the overpaying part. However, I think that salaries are on a major upward trend because of the TV revenue. That's why I don't think Edward Jackson's deal is bad at all, in a year or two pitchers like him will be getting 16-18 mil on the free agent market because there will be so many teams with deep pockets. It will also be crucial to lock up your own young stars if you can because the cost to retain them once they reach the open market will be outrageous. I'm glad they locked up Castro. Hopefully Rizzo has a good year and they can start to consider a longer term deal for him in the offseason. (If he struggles, then forget it, no need to sign someone long term at this stage of their career unless the production and benefit to the team are both clear).

  • Update and flash of the future: 8th inning starts with double by DeVoss, double by Easterling, and homer by Baez. 10-2 Daytona Cubs in 90-degree heat in Clearwater.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    And now a 3-run HR by Geiger. If he keeps hitting we'll have to crank up the Geiger-counter.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    You win the comments today.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You know he can't help himself.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    It's a sickness. I need a daily groan-fix from my enablers.

  • This will be a really interesting offseason. The Cubs should have the payroll flexibility to make an impact. They have a number of deals expiring at season's, they are one year closer to a reworked television deal, and they should also have the certainty of an approved Wrigley refurb. That should give them some added comfort to go out and sign a top end free agent or two.

    In addition, a few big market teams may not be in a position to add significant payroll. Looking at the top ten payrolls this season, I don't see a lot of teams that are going to have the payroll flexibility to add another tier 1 free agent. The Yankees are still going to be hampered by a number of bloated contracts and are probably going to have to spend $25 mil/ year to resign Cano. The Dodgers went all in with their trade with Boston last year and with their FA signings this offseason, and they still need to sign Kershaw longterm. The Angels are in a similar situation and will eventually need to work out a long term deal with Mike Trout. Same thing with the Nationals and Bryce Harper and Strausberg. Detroit isn't going to be a major player after signing Verlander to a $180 mln deal. Same can likely be said for the Giants after extending Cain and Posey. Toronto also added a ton of payroll in the offseason. You still expect a few big market teams like perhaps Philly, Boston, and perhaps the Rangers and White Sox to be competitors, but none should be in better shape payroll wise than the Cubs to make a splash.

    That said, I don't see many impact bats hitting the market. I expect the Cubs will be able to improve their pitching staff markedly. They should have the money to go sign a SP pitcher or two and some relief help and they will probably also acquire a fast track SP prospect with the number 2 pick. However, I think its pretty evident that their offense is not championship caliber without a few additions as well and I just don't see anyone who's hitting the market next year who fits the bill. That's disappointing especially considering that Brett Jackson looks like he may never shake off his proclivity to K and their other positional prospects are either Singles hitters or still a year or two away.

    For that reason, I think the FO is going to have to get creative in the trade market or aggressive in the international market. Going into the season you really hoped they could flip someone like Marmol, Garza, or Baker for a positional prospect who could make an impact in the near future. That's looking less and less likely. Maybe Garza can get healthy and pitch enough before the trade deadline to entice a contender, but that's not a given and Baker and Marmol's trade value is basically nonexistent. That's going to make it that much tougher for Theo and Jed to put together the type of lineup they need to compete.

  • Any thoughts on Ellsbury on an Adrian Beltre-type deal if Boston lets him walk? 1yr/$13M perhaps? It would give the Cubs some talent at the top of the order and help provide a bridge to Almora (not that he would necessarily be ready by 2015). He's been hurt, so he could be interested in re-establishing his value. Obviously, there is the Theo connection. They could even give him a qualifying offer to get some value if he walks - though Ellsbury might ask for a verbal commitment to refrain from that so he can truly maximize his big FA contract.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I think signing Ellsbury to a short term deal could be a good move for the Cubs, but that probably depends on whether or not signing him requires draft pick compensation.

  • Theo has to stick to his long term plan and forget the media and
    the fans. Lets hope he can add a player, by any means, anytime
    he wants.

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    I keep reading about why the Cubs should spend more money and all that but my question is always this....

    Spend money on what????

    People who clamor for all this free spending don't even consider if there's even a player(s) worth spending it on. I've said it time and time again. The days of young, impact players hitting FA are gone. The good players on the market are usually a year or two away from their declining years while seeking 5yr+ deals. So basically you take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back signing guys like Cano or Soriano to long term deals.

    What i'm saying is, people want the Cubs to do the same things that got us into this mess in the first place. Overpaying for a few years of a players prime and 3-4 years of their decline. That is the only scenario available for this offseason's big FAs. Why do you want us to make that mistake.

    TL;DR? Why spend money just for the sake of spending it since there's no one that presents a solid investment on the market?

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    If Josh Johnson makes it to free agency, I'd be all over that. He'll be 30 years old, which is not too old to make an impact, and he's a terrific pitcher. We have an organizational area of need in the rotation, and a rotation fronted by Samardzija, Johnson, Garza?, and Edwin Jackson would present a formidable challenge along with the wave of good young hitting that should start arriving next year

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I'm pretty certain he'll make it to free agency. Trouble is that some don't see him as a frontline starter anymore. Pitching in the low 90s, so-so command... one scout called him more of a 4th starter type these days.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Was going to say the same thing. That applies for all the so-called "top" FA. Name any one of them and i'll give you minimum 3 reasons why signing them long term would be a bad investment.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Johnson posted a FIP/xFIP of 3.40/3.73 over 191 IP last season. I'm not saying give him a 6 year contract, but I'd certainly want that SP on my team.

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    In reply to Eddie:

    I'd be fine with him too on a 2-3yr deal. The problem is some team will give him that 4-5yr deal on reputation alone and that's my entire point. These guys will get overpaid and lose value making it a bad investment. It's paying a premium for past performance again, a mistake we made a point not to make anymore.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree with you 100%. There is not much out there to spend on. We have to develop our own players and when we do lock them up like we did with Castro. There might be a few exceptions like the Rays trading Price because they can't afford him but this won't happen very often.

  • In reply to John57:

    Yepers. The reality of the market at the moment is that good, young, on the upswing Free Agents are gettng harder to get, and more expensive when they do come on the market.

    The smart teams will be making bets on the youngsters they have in their own systems by doing what the Cubs have done with Castro, or what the Tigers have done with Verlander.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree with this completely. There is nothing in FA that warrants contracts in excess of 2-3 years.

    Lock up our own guys first, everyone else is. This offseason Samardzija is in line for a nice extension.

    Trade for young stars in their prime, not past it. David Price should be available if we're willing to part with top prospects.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Agreed - 1st priority should be locking down Samardzija for 3-4 years, with maybe some option years afterwards. I would also consider trying the same with Wood if he keeps up the level of competence he has shown. Good Lefties are hard to find.

    Then see what Rizzo thinks about a contract similar to Castro's if the team continues to view him as the core player at 1B.

    In a season or two - might be worth trying the same with Castillo,... and IF Schierholz keeps doing what he has been doing,.... perhaps a contract extension for him,.... if he isn't traded midseason.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't think you necessarily have to do it the way it was done in the past. You keep building the farm and you add guys through free agency or trade to supplement. It's not about building through free agency without any regard to long term thinking, as it was with the 2006 Cubs.

    Nothing wrong with adding a piece or two to get you over the top.

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    In reply to John Arguello:


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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh yea, I agree with using FA as a supplement for pieces. I'm more referring to the people who constantly scream we should overspend on all these impact players that aren't there. They seem to think we can drastically improve the team through FA when it's impossible to do that these days,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed completely about how the Cubs attempted to build in the mid 2000s. It almost worked.

    How many outs were the Cubs from getting into the NL Championship when Alou got interfered wih by Bartman in 2003?

    Got into playoffs in 2007,... swept in 3 games by AZ

    Best record in the NL in 2008,... swept in 3 gams by LA

    And the the 'window' closed and the attempts to bolster the aging team with more poorly thought out Free Agents and a few dumb trades failed miserably.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I have to think, young or not, still an impact player still or not, Theo will be all over Jacoby Ellsbury if he's available.

    Shin Soo Choo is another guy I could see Theo being interested in.

    If Chase Utley continues a renaissance year, I could see him signed and moved to third.

    What I'm saying: if the quotes above are accurate, and I have no reason to doubt they are, and Theo really does want to get into free agency sooner rather than later, there are guys he would consider.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. He would be a nice addition to the top of the lineup - with pop, speed and defense. He had a breakout year in 2011, but was derailed due to another lost season due to injury. Ellsbury, Almora, Soler would be a nice outfield. IF Ellbury can stay healthy and IF Almora and Soler pan out. Soler seems to be the most likely to pan out, but reports suggest that Almora, just based on the defense, could be an impact major player.

    Price would cost a fortune (Baez, Vog, Candelario, and then some) and an extension would be absolutely necessary - which could run $180M easy. Price, Samdzjia, Vizcaino, Appel and Jackson could be a championship caliber rotation.

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    In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I'd pay that for Price, happily. I'd get concerned if Soler or Almora were added to the deal. At that point, we're really ripping out the heart of the minor league system for one player who can blow out his arm at any moment.

    Not saying I wouldn't make the deal, but I'd be concerned.

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    In reply to Roscoe Village:

    The Red Sox would probably want compensation even if Ellsbury were a FA.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Utley's knees are a serious concern,... wouldn't want to see the Cub touch him with a 69.5' pole.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'd be fine with those guys for less than 3yrs. The problem is you most likely have to overpay to get them which kill all of their value and makes it a bad investment overall. That's my issue with the whole thing.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree with all your points 100% Marcel.

    The problem is that some other team will almost always overbid on any "top" free agent, not just in terms of $, but more importantly years. I have no problem signing almost anyone to a 2 year contract. But that leaves the pickings pretty slim.

    I think Theo & company need to stay the course of signing value, wherever that comes. And not breaking the bank unless a true young impact player hits the market (which is unlikely to happen often).

    For this rebuild to work properly, they have to have lots of patience.

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    In reply to MrBillySir:

    Here's the flip side.

    Brett Jackson looks like a washout. There just isn't a lot of outfield talent coming up the pipeline any time soon. Soler may be a year away, but Almora is further and then it really gets ugly. If we sign Choo to an expensive 6 year deal, he will probably not be worth it by year 6. But, in year 1 and 2 we'll have a pretty good outfielder to complement Soler and whoever we stick in center, and have a much better chance in 2014 and 2015. By the time the contract becomes and albatross in 2018, hopefully (a) we're going for our third World Series title in 5 years and (b) the minors are providing enough talent to make up for Choo's lack of performance.

    I'm not talking about build a team through free agency, but adding one key part to the team we want to compete soon.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Do you see Ellsbury being worth giving up an unprotected pick? I'd like to see the Cubs sign him but I'd even be concerned about giving up a second round pick for him.

    I'd like to see the Cubs sign Choo, Utley, and or any other free agent we can get decent on-field value for, even if we have to overpay for it. Last season we were able to turn Paul Maholm/Reed Johnson into a decent prospect, and the other trades brought in a few lesser prospects. I guess my point is that we can continue to build for the future and appease impatient fans by signing talented free agents, even if we have to overpay, but I worry about giving up draft picks in the process.

  • This has only the most tenuous Cubs connection at this point, but Deadspin is reporting that Felix Pie tried to climb into the stands at AAA Indianapolis yesterday to physically confront a heckler.

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    Thats a great point. At this point young talented FA's just are not hitting the open market. As hard as it is to watch this current roster, Cubs fans just have to stand pat and trust in Theo, our scouting department, and player development. I really think its still our best choice to just go about trying to flip vet's for prospects and trying to trade with small market teams that cannot pay to their own. Its sad to say, but gone are the days where 27-29 year old free agents are in their prime and hitting free agency. Now you're always paying for past performances.

  • Just the Cub luck that during the last 3 years many teams have
    be signing their good young players to long term contracts after
    2-3 years in the majors. But some teams still can't afford to
    pay their young payers who be FA in the next 2-3 years.

  • I'm sure this has already been posted, and this doesn't have to do with the Cubs spending monetarily at least this offseason, but Buster Olney came out with a piece yesterday putting the Cubs as his most likely team to land David Price this offseason. Thinking about a rotation that included Price, Shark, Jackson, Appel or Grey, and maybe Garza could be a serious force to be reckoned with.

    Obviously, a deal for Price would be cost us an arm and a leg, and I know this question has been posed in previous articles/comments, but how much do you think it would take for the Cubs to get him? Maybe a deal w Baez as a centerpiece, perhaps Barney, Pierce Johnson and maybe another pitching prospect?

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    Big Z
    At Wrigley

  • At this point trading our top prospect(s) for a pitcher like Price
    must be looked at. Even if we get Appel or Grey mid-2014
    is the earliest they could help us. Lets hope with the 2nd pick
    and international signings we can get other quality arms.

  • I agree with much of the analysis above cautioning against overpaying. Of course, that's right -- except for:

    1. We haven't won a World Series for 105 friggin years; so

    2. As a fan starving for another contender, another chance in the playoffs, I really don't give a darn about spending wisely to get maximum value, because;

    3. The Cubs one of the most, if not the most profitable teams in baseball with or without a Jubotron and all sorts of advertising, meaning;

    4. They should overspend to get us that shot in the playoffs.

    John, Marcel, Mike and others, you are absolutely correct from an analytical perspective. And yes my view is all based on passion. But I'll go crazy waiting for 2015 just to be competitive, which means they won't be legit WS contenders til, what, 2017? I can't friggin wait that long for another chance!

    Sure we overpaid for some guys for the 07 and 08 teams. Sure we had huge payrolls those years, probably the highest the cubs have ever had. But here's the key question: the Cubs lose money those years?

    If not, then darn it spend the dough and forget about the analysis about maximizing value like we're some small market team worrying about Ricketts maximizing profits. I DON'T CARE about profit. I just want to win.

    And finally signing FAs allows you to keep your prospects who can ultimately keep you competitive -- not GET YOU TO being competitiveness in 5 years. In other words signing FAs is NOT inconsistent with building for sustained success.

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    Maybe we can spend our money on David Price. According to Buster Olney of ESPN on mlbtraderumors, he feels as if the Cubs have one of the best shots at obtaining him. Hell to the yes!

  • In reply to Ryan Kalasz:

    I don't know why, but I personally think Price will be a Cub prior to the start of the 2014 season (as I mentioned prior to Buster's report). They will extend both Price and Shark and draft Appel or Grey. If the Red Sox don't trade for Price, the Cubs will. That, or the Cardinals will trade for him and sign him to a ridiculously team friendly deal (5/$90M) - because, well, thats what they do.

    I'm a huge proponent of the rebuild, but as a season ticket holder, its hard to watch them trot out DeJesus in CF, Valbuena at 3B and a bunch of no-name BP arms. I've pegged 2015 as the start of something special, but that assumes a lot, specifically the development and major league success of prospects sill in High-A. I'm all for passing on Prince Fielder at $210M contract when the first three years of the deal will result in 70 win teams. BUT, at some point you need to assemble impact talent. Championship teams aren't assembled in one off season. Its years of development and FA signings or trades.

    I like the core of Castro, Rizzo, Shark, Barney and think the minors have some nice talent. I liked the Jackson signing. But at some point, you have to make trades / sign impact talent. Price / Ellsburry would do just that. If Ellsburry puts up good numbers and plays 140 games, I think he is worth a 2nd round pick.

  • I'm not sure what it'd take to lure Price, but if they found a way to get him, the rotation next year becomes:


    With Villanueva in a swing role. And if we get Appel in the draft, bump Wood or Vizcaino to the pen. Uh... not bad at all.

    Now we just have to figure out a way to get some offense. Maybe drafting Appel and dealing Wood for a bat would be an option.

  • I know that the front office is claiming that they are only 'rumors',... but seriously,.... why would they even consider bringing Zambrano back onto a team where they are trying to build a sane team chemistry?

  • It seems to me that the key FA for the rebuild is David Price. More and more with the new CBA and other restrictions, you have to take advantage of small market teams free agent's proven talent. And we are obviously filling a huge need in the system. By the end of the year, Theo and Co. will know a hell of a lot more where we have surplus and be able to put together a package. Throwing in some international signings is the other key.

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    Price is not a FA.

  • Your right RBK, my bad. Other then that I insinuated putting together a package, knowing he is not a FA.

  • It seems to me that the key signing to put the rebuild on track is David Price. He fills a huge need and is one of the type of players a Big Market team with a top ten minor league system targets. By the end of this season the FO will have a much better idea of where there strengths and weaknesses are throughout the organization to put together a win win package. Other then that it's also about International signing's while the window is still open.

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