Source: Cubs will increase payroll by "$25-$35M" over last year

Updated 2:19 PM: An earlier editing error from a different version of this article has been corrected.  Sorry about the confusion. 

Well, now for some good news. Kind of.

A source tells me that the Cubs plan to increase their payroll by as much as $35M to what they are currently going to be paying out for next season.

Of course some of that will go to internal raises, much of that through arbitration and perhaps an extension for Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, and/or Welington Castillo.

So, let’s try and break this down.

Here are the Cubs arbitration eligible players with expected salaries via MLBTradeRumors. (Raises rounded off)

Some money already went to sign Ryan Sweeney in his new contract.  He didn’t really get a raise.  He actually made more money in 2012 — but he also wasn’t on the roster at the beginning of the year, so most of that goes to next year’s increase.

Wood stands to make the biggest raise at around $3M. Samardzija’s raise is the biggest at about $2.3M and Schierholtz and Barney would get a raise of about $1.5M. We can expect the Cubs to non-tender Darnel McDonald.

Overall, that’s about $10-11M in arb raises and some nominal raises for players who will get their contracts automatically renewed (i.e Welington Castillo, Junior Lake, Logan Watkins, etc).  The Cubs may be able to save money by non-tendering Darwin Barney as well and going with the minimum salaried Logan Watkins or a Luis Valbuena/Donnie Murphy platoon at 2B with Mike Olt at 3B.  It probably wouldn’t affect production (and might even improve it), and it would save the Cubs some money.

It may also be a good idea to sign Travis Wood to an extension in order to save some money this year and backload his raises for later in his contract when the Cubs expect to contend.

So in all, we could see about $10-20M going to new players.  A good chunk of that may go to Masahiro Tanaka if the Cubs can win the bidding, but not as much as you think.  If he signs a contract similar to Yu Darvish, it could leave the Cubs without about $15M left to spend in 2014.  (Darvish made $5.5M in 2012, his first year).

That’s a rough estimate and it could change depending on if Cubs sign Wood to a friendly extension that delays his big raise and non-tendering Barney, that could add about $2-3M or so.  Then, of course, as we were the first to mention a few days back, they could save additional money with a trade of Castro for prospects and re-allocate that money to other positions.

That’s still a lot of money to spread around to free agents and trades for veterans.

How would you spend it?



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  • fb_avatar

    Does Starlin and Rizzo's salaries go up a lot?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Good point. Only Castro's raise is significant -- goes up by $4.5M next year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I got payroll figures directly off Cots , says castro gets 5M both 13/14 seasons.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Right, so an increase of about 4.5M over last year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    cots says 2013 5 M last season and 5M 2014 next season not seeing the 4.5 M increase . He does go up to 6M in 2015 . Still a bargain as I think we get old Castro back next year, too good a hitter to go .245 again .

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You mean over his 2012 salary?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Rizzo salary 13: .75 M , 14: 1.25M 15: 5M
    Castro 13: 5M 14: 5M 15:6M

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I really like the pick up of Daniel Bard. If he can regain form, the cubs could have found a cheap set up man. He also fits the bill of a 26,27,28 year old project type that Theo seems to love

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    I'd give it to Tanaka, Saltalamacchia, and trade for CarGo.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I wouldn't do any of that. Yuck. I'd give it to Josh Johnson, Bryan Pena, and trade for Tulo.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I am with you Lou. I wouldn't overpay for a potentially "used up" arm in Tanaka. I fear he will be more like Matusuzaka than Darvish. Darvish had the benefit of a protective father, who made sure his coaches did not over use his son.

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    In reply to Adam Miller:

    tanaka is just 25. Johnson is a far bigger injury risk at this time and what in the world do you want with another RH hitting SS?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Johnson also will want a rebound contract and in this FA market, will cost a lot less than Tanaka.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Tulowitzki is a right handed shortstop. It just adds to the logjam. There's no good reason to trade viable prospects for him, especially when we would get to pay $20 million per year for the honor.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Adds to the logjam? And Starlin isn't a no 7 hitter in the lineup for years to come? Let's think through. So, you wouldn't want Tulo's .391 OBP and .931 SLG from last year. But you want the escalating salary of CarGO which would be $20 mil in 2017. And you're paying $100 mil just to negotiate with Tanaka. That's just doesn't make sense.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Tulo is a better player than Castro, but building a baseball team isn't about putting together the All Star team. It's about fielding the team of the best 25 guys possible. Not only do we have Castro at short right now, but we have one of the best prospects in baseball breathing down his neck. In addition, we potentially need to find spots for Kris Bryant and Mike Olt (third base) in the very near future. All four of those guys are right handed. What we desperately need is a lefty -- acquiring Tulo just forces us to trade more prospects for lefties -- and increases our payroll in the process. Right handed shortstops simply aren't a priority right now.

    To the specifics, you mock CarGo for being paid $20 million in 2017. Tulo is getting paid $16 million next year and $20 million every year from 2015 to 2019. Is his production worth so much more than Castros that we can pay two to four times as much? I would say no -- especially since Tulo's numbers in his early 20s look surprisingly similar to Castro's. In terms of Tulo vs. CarGo, you mention Tulo's .391 OBP -- that was last year. He has a career .367 OBP. CarGo has a career .357 OBP. Much closer than you'd think.

    Tulo is an amazing player, and if I could have any shortstop in baseball, he'd be high on my list. But the Cubs have some very specific needs right now, and Tulo just doesn't fit into that category. What we do need is a TOR starter. Tanaka could be that guy and, at 25, he could be that guy for a long time maturing with our core. We also need some lefties in the lineup -- and CarGo in left and Saltalamacchia behind the plate give us that.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    well said, well said.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Salty is not the answer. He's an overpriced platoon player who can't hit lefties. I don't know what Castro will be in the future so won't speculate on his numbers comparatively to Tulo's. While Tulo is overpriced, so is CarGo especially given both players ability to stay healthy. Both cost us players. That said I wouldn't take either, but if I'm do a trade, I'd still want Tulo. And I'd move Baez to 2nd base.

    If you want a LH power hitter, in the logjam of RH hitters, then the Cubs should pick up Granderson on a 3-4 yr deal instead of trading for CarGo. Most likely, he'll come cheaper, and won't cost you anything other than a 2nd round draft pick.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Very well said, Mr. Moody.

    So if Colorado is willing, what would the package of Cubs players consist of in order to acquire CarGo?

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    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    THAT is an interesting question. Depends on how desperate they are to dump the contract. My guess is we lose Soler, though. And that would be a pretty tough loss. If we can do it for lesser pieces like Alcantara and Arrieta -- which was rumored earlier -- we'd be crazy not to jump on it.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes - Arrieta and Alcantara (and probably either Pierce Johnson or Kyle Hendricks, as well) would be very appealing.

    If Soler were involved, that would indeed be tough. Though Gonzalez essentially takes Soler's future place in the outfield, so it'd be a little easier to swallow that than losing Baez or Bryant (if we were eligible for trade).

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Rockies owner already said they're not going to trade him and he has opted against surgery this off-season, it's a risky move, so his health will be a question for the entire winter.

    All signs point to him not being moved.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Yemi:

    They'd better obtain SP then. I don't see them finishing higher than 2nd or 3rd place, even with a healthy CarGo or Tulo.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    The owner said he plans to get a middle of the rotation pitcher and a bat, he seems committed to winning soon. Trading Cargo blows up the plan.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I think Cargo was a guy the Cubs would have liked if he were available, but there was never a guarantee he would be -- in fact, I agree and I don't think he will be when all is said and done. Perhaps by midseason if the Rockies struggle.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Good point, midseason might be an option.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I don't know... Before 2013, Castro was a .300 hitter, put that in Coors Field and it's pretty much Tulo's numbers... Without the high walk rate... That doesn't look like a #7 hitter to me... When Tulo was Castro's age he hit .263/.332/.401, pretty much "#7 hitter type numbers" and he bounced back to hit 32 hr's the next season... Funny how a player can be hated one year and a hero the next...

    Besides, when you build a baseball team, you have to upgrade your weakest positions and for the Cubs, that's not SS... JMO.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Caps:

    He'll be a no 7 hitter if he doesn't get the OBP up. Tulo's OBP is much higher and somehow I just don't see that coming from Castro by the time he's Tulo's current age.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Well, in 2010 and 2011, when he was hitting .300, his obp was about .345 or so, which is above average.

    Now, no doubt Tulo is better than Castro, but he's also better than 27 other SS out there... I wouldn't set Tulo's production as the bar for Castro... It would be highly unfair.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Caps:

    But that's what is being compared here though.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I know you're not the one who suggested trading for Tulo and I also realize there's virtually no chance that happens. But lets' be honest, Tulo would be far and away our best player even though he is right handed. I don't think a log jam would be the reason not to bring him in. I'd assume Castro would be gone under those circumstances anyway. Acquiring another right handed hitting corner prospect would be a log jam. If money were not an issue (which it always is) it would be hard to ever argue against bringing in any player who would instantly become the best player on your team.

    I'm with you on bringing in Tanaka and CarGo if they can. That's a tall order.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Josh Johnson doesn't scare you? He wants a $10M dollar salary and a two-year deal. It's been awhile since he was worth that kind of cabbage.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    No. he doesn't. Despite the poor traditional stats. His BABIP was extraordinary high last year. His FIP was also solid. You got that $10 mil dollar figure, BTW, from PURE speculation just because of something a Twins exec said on didn't you?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I did not. I try not to read MLBTR. It certainly isn't my own presumption however. I think I got it from a Yankees blog. I also do not think an FIP of 4.62 is solid, though in comparison to his ERA (6.20) it just proves that he was as bad as he was unlucky. The BABIP is high but his GB rate was in line with his career norms. His home run rate was extremely elevated and his LD rate has been elevated two years running, so he is actually being hit hard. He scares me, and he's not worth that kind of money. I'd say 1/8M is fair, which is probably a Phil Hughes comp.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Sorry, I meant his XFIP. I agree with his HR going up though. It's concerning. But I see us still doing the flippable contract thing this season. So, if we'd get anything out of him, it would more than likely be through trade acquisitions. Yes, MLBTR did have an executive commenting on his cost, which may be true. But I think he'll fetch less.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    His XFIP is what I meant. Problem is we need SP. Other than Tanaka, anything we acquire will be flipped, which includes Johnson.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I don't mind signing Johnson to a friendly salary (at or less than $8M) on a one-year deal with the intent to flip him. I am saying that that is not the contract Josh Johnson wants. I still don't like his peripherals anyway regardless of his xFIP, which is only lower because his HR rate is so high, right? Sure, HR rate is unstable and volatile BUT Johnson has been getting pounded for two straight years. All xFIP does is normalize FIP by de-emphasizing home runs given up. He is getting hit way too hard and I think that trend continues. I think at this point of his career he would make a great closer-conversion candidate however.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    He scares me at 10M+ even for one year. I think they'd be better off with Baker at 5.5 or 6M again.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I will say that if JJ's not getting those kind of offers he may be worth a look.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm with you on Tanaka 100%. CarGo for the right price would be great. I don't see ANY benefit in Saltalamacchia! He's had one good offensive year, he'd be a significant downgrade defensively, and he can't hit lefties! Why?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Because we need lefties, I'm assuming he'll come relatively cheap, and the reports that the FO is interested in him make me think that they believe last year is the rule and not the exception. But, any way you cobble together a lineup, things get much easier if we have a lefty catcher.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    We need just pony up $$ for money's sake??? What about Rizzo, Sweeney, Sherholtz, Valbuena, and Bugosevich. They don't bat LH???

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So, a simple point, and deeper points.

    Simple point: as you play the who would you rather have, Castro or Tulo? game I will play this: who would you rather have: Schierholtz or CarGo?

    Deeper points: OF COURSE they're going to spend money. But the money is not unlimited, so it becomes a question of what you spend money on. When you're spending $20 million a year -- roughly 1/6 of your total payroll -- on the shortstop, that pretty significantly impacts which lefties you can go after. There is not enough money to sign the best player at every position to play for you.

    Finally, what you're ignoring here is roster construction. Let's say we trade Castro and Johnson for Tulowitzki. (Which seems fairish). Then we have Tulo at short and Baez moves over to second. Olt takes third, pushing Bryant to right field. All righties. The issue we now have is, for now, we play Bogusevic (in actuality probably Alcantara) in center and Sweeney in left to go with Rizzo, and we're fine. But then we have Almora and Soler coming hard, and both righties will take slots in center and left. We have to trade one or both for lefties -- but we won't trade them for lefty prospects, we'll trade them for lefty veterans making $15-$20 million per year, added on to Tulo, which may mean Baez and Bryant walk because we can't give them big money extensions.

    Now, obviously this insanely optimistic and some aren't going to make it. But looking at our strengths and weaknesses in the organization, we have lots of right handed options in the middle infield right now. It doesn't take many players to make it before we're pushing good infielders into the outfield. Corner outfield spots and catchers are much less well represented in the minors -- so if we're going to add, those are good places to do it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    So, acquire Granderson and put him in CF/LF? BTW, I'd rather have Tulo if we're purely speculating on trades.(not if we added Granderson, though). With the cost of FA and his ability to still put up solid production, that contract doesn't seem nearly as costly in the future as it would seem now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    You can't honestly be suggesting that Sweeney, Schierholtz, Valbuena, or Bogusevic are future pieces to the Cubs' core?

    Rizzo is the only LH bat that has a near-certain future in the Cubs core. Alcantara has a chance, as well, but lesser. If the NL adopts the DH, then maybe Vogelbach. But all these others you've mentioned would be nice bench pieces and that is all.

    That's why Mike Moody, myself, and others are suggesting acquiring a LH hitter via free agency or trade, because our system lacks that quality.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Not at all. What I am saying is that if we can find LH hitters this year, why can't we find them in other years? As for obtaining LH hitting, much rather get Granderson.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Philosophically I agree, a LH catcher would be great. I think, however, looking at Welly's year vs Salty's, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Welly wound up being the better offensive player, and he'll almost certainly be better defensively. LH hitting is a problem long term, but catcher is not a position I want to just throw someone into because they're lefty, unless they offer some other kind of upgrade (or at least not a downgrade).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Comparing offensive stats of Welington Castillo and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2013:

    Castillo: .274/.349./.397 ... .746 OPS ... 104 OPS+ ... .123 ISO ... 3.82 Pit/PA ... 23 doubles ... 8 homers ...

    Salty: .273/.338/.466 ... .804 OPS ... 118 OPS+ ... .193 ISO ... 4.03 Pit/PA ... 40 doubles ... 14 homers

    Looking at those stats, Saltalamacchia is the better player. Plus, he's LH

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    And most likely coming to a team near you at an overpay.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Better hitter? Yes, probably. At least for now. Better player? Not by a longshot, at least in my opinion. Castillo is already regarded as one of the game's best catchers and the position is the most important (defensively) on the field. I think whatever edge Salty might give you with the bat is more than negated by the difference defensively.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Yes, offensively Saltalamacchia had better numbers in 2013 (a career year for him). That would be the only season he's had that compares favorably to Welly's first full season in the bigs.
    Additionally, let's look at the slash lines post-AS break:
    Castillo: .288/.388/.475 (.863 OPS)
    Saltalamacchia: .284/.333/.485 (.818 OPS)
    Castillo is also two years younger and blew Salty away in just about every defensive metric I can find (at arguably the most important defensive position on the field).
    I'll take Castillo 10 out of 10 times!
    Disclaimer: Unless we are offered such a surplus of talent for Welly that we can't say no (which is true of ANY player, IMO)

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I can appreciate balance as much as the next guy, but just curious -- why do we NEED more lefties? Is that a thing? To me if a guy is a stud, he's a stud. Who cares which way he hits, if he can hit both types of pitchers?

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Was this reply for me? Ideally, I think you want to have balance in the lineup, but my argument above is to keep Castillo (the RH hitter). The idea is that if your lineup is too one-sided, then it makes bullpen decisions for the opposing manager too easy (and it's definitely a legitimate worry), but I would never go with less talent just to balance a lineup, especially at a premium defensive position.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I'm with you 100%...

    Wasn't the need for more lefties the reason why the 2008 team was blown up - trading DeRosa and bringing in a basket case.

    Balance is nice but good hitters will hit...

  • Tanaka, Tanaka, and then some more Tanaka...

    Then a LH/SH back-up/platoon catcher
    RH power hitting corner OF
    a value SP candidate (Baker, etc)
    a value LH RP to save Russell's arm for

    Did I mention Tanaka is #1?

  • Of course all of this is contingent on if we win Tanaka and whether or not Shark is extended.

  • How would a posting fee for Tanaka come into play here?

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Does not count against payroll. The money is diverted from the operations side.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Not to quibble, but payroll is part of the operations side.

    Every budget starts with a total figure, which is the expected total revenue. It is then subdivided into specific areas, one of which is payroll. By definition, if payroll goes up or down within the budget, the other areas must go up or down, unless you actually budget for a loss, which the Cubs will not do.

    Some expenses can be allocated over several years, and I would expect that the posting fee is one of them. If the posting fee is 100 million dollars, and Tanaka signs a 10 year contract for 100 million dollars, then 20 million dollars will have to come out of some portion of the budget this year. It could all come from the payroll budget, or some of it could come out of a "posting fee" budget, or more likely out of the "procurement budget". But all of it comes out of the total budget, and which part is really irrelevant, since the result is the same.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    Thanks Dave. I get that. I do not need a lesson in payroll and budget management. The short answer is the posting fee does not count against the payroll.

    If the Cubs payroll is $100 million dollars and the posting fee is $100 million dollars, where exactly would that leave the rest of the salaries? Conversely, and for luxury tax purposes, the posting fee will not increase a $100M payroll to $200M. It is a one-time fee paid to the the team (or the league) that owns Tanaka's rights.

    Team payroll and Operations payroll are not the same thing. It would be like adding the manager's salary, the clubhouse manager's salary and everybody who works in the organization to the "team payroll." That payroll is the cumulative total of the salaries on the Cubs roster, not their signing bonuses, not posting fees and not the salaries of any person that does not actually play on the field.

    Not to quibble.

  • Tanaka then make a run at Jacoby or try to trade for Cargo without giving up any of the big 4

  • the 70 million bid doesn't count towards the payroll? Where does the money come from then.

  • well if posting fee is counting toward the 25-35 M then might as well not even make a bid. gonna cost at least 65M to win the bid .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    It doesn't go toward payroll.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was hoping not , :)

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    Other than Tanaka, there isn't anyone that really stands out to me. Most of the top FA's out there are past their prime or about to be and simply not worth the money.

  • Tanaka -- step up for a freakin' change instead of posting a 'good bid' they know will lose just so they can say 'we put in a really good bid' and publicly wring their hands about how 'grossly inflated' salaries in baseball are now!

    Beyond that, I'd say Ellsbury. They need a veteran (preferably a manager with a winning history, don't they?

    It's why I don't understand why they keep considering Renteria and Hinch. What record do the Padres have of success that creates instant respect in the clubhouse?

  • In reply to Deacon:

    If they want a manager with a winning record, why don't they interview Baylor, Baker and Piniella?

    And they stepped up for Soriano. I wish instead they had made a realistic bid and "wrung their hands" about inflated salaries.

  • "last year's beginning budget, which was $88M"

    I thought last years payroll started at about $105M and then went down from there because of salary relief thru trades...

    The only way I see payroll rising past what it started at the last 2years ($105M-ish) is if 'phase 1' of the renovations start (players facilities & Jumbotron/signage).

    And since we don't have enough open payroll space to pay for Tanaka's posting fee, I don't see us being in on him seriously. Ricketts would have to loosen his own purse strings for that OR give Theo&Co the extra $25M that comes from the MLB TV deal.

    Every team was already receiving $25M a year and starting in 2014 every team will start receiving $50M a year, so maybe that's where this news came from.

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    In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Good points. Very likely could be where the news came from. And as every team will start receiving big $$ per year, the posting fee for Tanaka will be outrageous and unfortunately to some (not me), the Cubs won't acquire him.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    It'd be a good point if the article was about total payroll. But it isn't.

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    In reply to John Arguello:


  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    It just mean the article was not about the overall payroll, it's about the increase in payroll minus the expected internal raises.

    I made an error including those total payroll numbers when they didn't add to the article. They only added to the confusion. It turned out to be a distraction, so I edited it out. My mistake on that, not sure why I added that in since it didn't add to the main point of the article.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    No problem, John.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    I edited out because everyone missed the main point and focused on those extraneous two sentences. My fault for adding them because they were irrelevant and only added to the confusion.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But what about the $88M? Where did you get that number. That's the confusion.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    That number doesn't matter. That's my point.

    Cubs will increase payroll by $25-$35M from whatever it is you want it to be. This is not about total payroll..

    The article is about $25-$35M increase, how much of it will go to internal raises and how much will be left to spend. If you have a comment on that, I'd like to hear that -- but I couldn't care less about the total payroll figure for the purposes of this article.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    One word: Wow.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Not difficult to see why it's irrelevant to the article. Sorry if it made your whole post irrelevant too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well when you're writing about payroll but saying you're not writing/talking about payroll, it is very difficult to see why it's irrelevant.

    But I'll let it go because you obviously don't like me or like that I post here. I can do without the tone and subtle jabs from you.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I guess I don't understand. The difference between the Cubs' starting payroll last year and the one they ended with was very different. They traded a bunch of guys who were making significant salaries. So is the $25-35m increase and increase over last year's starting salary or over where they finished the year? That seems to me a very relevant point.

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    In reply to hartmtown:

    Think of it as a budget increase. Whatever the Cubs budget was last year (the number is irrelevant and whether they used all or some of that budget is irrelevant too), add $25M-$35 on top of that number and that is what the Cubs have to work with for 2014.

    The point of the article is not where it was, what it is or what it will be. The point is that they have increased this year's budget by a significant amount over last year's budget. Where they get the money (TV contracts, revenue sharing, yada yada yada) is also irrelevant.

  • In reply to hartmtown:

    I completely agree with cubFanPaul here and others.

    This is an article about a supposed $35 million increase in payroll for next year, correct? You subtract the arbitration money, that's fine, but the payroll is not the same as it was in the beginning of last year.

    Yet you (John) say that we can pick whatever number we want, it doesn't matter. How so?

    What number are you adding the $35 million to? The only way to do this exercise is to state exactly what number your source is basing the $35 million increase from. Otherwise this whole article is pointless.

  • In reply to hartmtown:

    I think the confusion comes from the use of the word "payroll" when presumably John meant "budget." Payroll started at $X last year (whatever it was) and went down from there throughout the year. Presumably the Cubs have added $25-35m to the paryoll budget, such that they will look to have starting payroll at $X+25 or $X+35.

  • John, how much of the above total next year is in 'dead weight' like the amount they owe the Yankees to have Sori hit more homers for them?

  • David Haugh says that Epstein has now contributed to three World Series titles offering as evidence the Bosox roster—calling that his finger prints.

    I must seriously question anyone doing the hiring at the Chicago Tribune for such logic and gargantuan assumptions. If anything, it is proof of the absence of Epstein's influence.

    Having had some 1st hand experience with Larry Lucchino, anyone would know he is hands-on and does NOT relegate such key decisions to anyone. His people march to his drum and answer to his query—plain and simple.

    Yet, Chicagoans are to believe Epstein is the man?

    Having gone from last to first is clear evidence that Epstein really had little to contribute in Boston except what Lucchino required or demanded.

    He may have learned a few things from Lucchino but how can a Chicago Sports writer keep his job and spew such nonsense?

    Fry some bacon on Sheffield.

  • In reply to Lawscout:

    National writers were giving Theo credit for the 11 players on the WS roster he was involved with bringing to the redsox as well so what's your point ?

    Championships or not sounds like Lucchino is a douche.

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    Lucchino is an owner/boss who came from the Padres where Epstein and Hoyer were interns. They learned from Lucchino and my point is simply--Lucchino makes the call.

  • In reply to Lawscout:

    The only thing you need to know about Luccino is he insisted on Valentine. Once he got out of the way and let Cherrington make the decisions things got much better. Red Sox won in spite of Luccino not because of him.

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    In reply to kansascub:

    I love how Lucchino seemingly gets the blame for things that go wrong and Theo gets the praise for the things that go right, though.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Haha. Agreed.

    As I've said, the Red Sox would have still won with none of those moves. They created room by trading Crawford and A-Gon (two Theo mistakes) and tried to trade another in John Lackey, who turned out to be one of the heroes and basically replaced AGon and Crawford with Napoli, Victorino. The numbers show they would have won had they never made those moves. It was just re-arranging furniture more than adding talent.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I know Theo has made some mistakes but they all pale in comparison to hiring Bobby Valentine.

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    In reply to kansascub:

    No, not when you learn from it and go to the WS winning it the next year.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    A little off point but one more thought, please!
    John Lester didn’t get as much recognition as Ortiz who was sure fun to watch, but for me Lester is the Series MVP because there is NO ring without him. He pitched 15 1/3 innings with a ERA of 0.59. In short, no single player can be said to have been more essential to getting the Bosox another ring. He was a beast in two close games which proved the difference.

  • Deacon... Not John... but Cot's has 'dead weight' as $13/14 million for Sori and $1.2mm for Gerardo Concepcion for 2014.

  • The Cubs have an odd situation where they need rh power for 2014, but a lefty or two for 2015 and beyond. Olt could really help out help for 14 with that, but I look for a major trade or two. The most valued trade chips are Castllo, Castro, and Samardzija so we will see what happens. Tanaka works either way.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Great points about the righty/lefty situation between this offseason & next!

    With Baez still at SS, does this lend any of you to believe that Castro would be the piece of the core most likely to be dealt?

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    I believe Baez will be playing 2B by the end of July. I wouldn't mind keeping Barney as a slick fielding utility man who won't hurt you at short or 3rd. But if those presumed salaries/arbitration bumps are accurate, then he is indeed a non-tender candidate. Personally, I think the estimate above is a bit high considering the big raises usually come the second or third time through the process and not only is this Barney's first dip in the arbitration pool, he's also coming off a horrible year.

  • Justin, I'm sure if the Cubs felt the return was great they'd trade Castro, but I think it would very risky. First, do we really know if the FO thinks Baez can stay at short? Second, do we really know if Baez will be ready to come up next year? Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Baez fan, but I could see something like what happened to Rizzo being Baez's path. He comes up July-ish, struggles, spends half of 2015 in AAA, then comes back up after he reaches super two status.
    That is a long way for me to say I don't think now is the time to trade Castro, unless we are absolutely blown away.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I think all the handwringing over righties vs lefties is REALLY silly considering we're one of the worst offensive teams in baseball.

    A good right/left split is a problem for a GOOD team. Let's get our BA and OBP into at least the top 12, befoe we start worrying about if e have enough lefties.

    Right now, I din't care if Rizzo suddenly started batting righy too, as long as some one was actually hitting the ball.

  • I am glad to,see we may spend some money and up grade some spots the need improving with quality guys. That makes me happy and that what I have been trying to convey all along. But some people were getting upset with that.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Nobody is against adding to the payroll. But the point about Napoli you tried to make was completely off base. That's what "some people" were disputing.

    EVERYBODY wants to see the Cubs add players and payroll in a way that makes sense for the long term, but not everybody agreed with your original point, which was a logically flawed connection between the Red Sox so-called success in free agency and the Cubs so-called failures.

    This is the last time I'm going to address that. Let it go. We all agree the Cubs should add talent and add to payroll. Some may disagree on how that should be done, but there isn't a single fan here who is against improving the team for years to come.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I used that as a single example among the other FA they also signed. U took Napoli and just hammered it but it was a nice pick up They thought that would fullfill a weakness and it helped along with other pick ups.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    All I said was redsox found holes and they found guys to fill them. We have needs and u talk about young And Gutierrez. Those r not ways of improving. That is where you are flawed. Then you need to let it go. If you don't want me to reply.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I've also written about Tanaka, Ellsbury, Choo, and quite a few others. Gutierrez and Young are other options. You can't always get what you want and if the price isn't right they may have to look for alternatives through trades or lesser known free agents with potential upside. We have to cover all bases.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like the possibility on choo, ellsbury and tanaka and when you wrote about those I gave u props. I agree me mite not get what we want other factors come into play. Just because we can't get what we want doesn't mean we have to settle for those that u mention. Those guys in my eyes don't make us better at all.

  • How about spending it on a Ryne Sandberg statue outside Wrigley, and unveiling it when the Phillies come to town?

  • In reply to WSorBust:


  • Should we take into consideration the real possibility that Shark or Castro's salary could be coming off the books via trade?

    Also, back of the napkin, shouldn't the payroll -including arb raises & lots of min salary guys in the pen- be closer to 80 mil? I think we might have more new $ -based on John's info- than you guys are counting on.

  • Hey John! This was good news to read this morning. I tried saying this on twitter but I think the character limit led to some confusion.

    Let's use your numbers that the Cubs' Opening Day payroll was 88M in 2013 and that it's increasing to 120M. I personally think the Opening Day payroll was closer to 100M but that's not relevant if 88M was the basis for your info.

    The team will have raises due to some players like you outlined in this post, and increases to Castro, Rizzo, etc. that will take up additional salary. However, the team also has departing salary from Opening Day 2013, and it's a lot. Garza, Marmol, Baker, DeJesus, Hairston, and part of Soriano's salary are part of that 88M number but will not be part of the 120M number unless spent elsewhere. Depending on how you do the math with signing bonuses and AAVs, it's roughly 35 million. That means the "money to spend" number would be 50 million instead of 15.

    So unless the info you got was relative to the money committed to players at this exact moment(which would be an odd way of couching an increase total payroll), the news is even better than you're letting on here. Even including money owed to Soriano and Fujikawa not to play for the team this year, the Cubs have ~70 million committed to players that could make up a full roster. That gives them a ton of room to play with to get to 110-120 million.

  • In reply to TransmogrifiedTiger:

    Thanks, but I'm not focused on total payroll. I'm just working with the reported increase amount of 25-35M and subtracting projected raises from current roster. I'm not trying to calculate total payroll other than just a reference point. I've since deleted that part because everyone zeroed in on those two sentences.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the clarification. That does make the statement a bit hard to understand though, as it's relative to last year's salary for those still on the roster, but apparently already taking into account departed salaries from last year. Only you know the context for those statements, and I understand why you can't/won't want to elaborate further, it's just very different from most every way you hear that sort of statement phrased.

  • In reply to TransmogrifiedTiger:

    Thanks. It was a mistake for me to talk about total payroll because it wasn't something I wanted to focus on (and thus didn't spend much time with). I'm trying to look at it in a much more simplified format. I am no accountant and should be doing nobody's payroll :)

  • John-

    Continuing our discussion on twitter. If we're agreed that cubs total player payroll is 120 MM, then they have at least 30 MM to spend on new players and here is why (rounding for simplicity):

    Already committed:
    Edwin: 11
    Castro: 6
    Villanueva: 5
    Fuji: 5
    Jorge: 3
    Rizzo: 1.5
    Sweeney: 1.5

    Arb raises from above:
    Samard: 5
    Nate: 4
    Travis: 4
    Darwin: 2
    Russell: 2
    Valbuena: 1.5
    Pedro: 1
    Murphy: 1

    Soriano: 14
    Concepcion: 1

    These numbers add up to a little under 70 million. Add about 10 for nominal salaries, and you still have 40MM of free payroll, no?

  • In reply to NUcat:

    Forget the total payroll. I'm not sure why I put that in to begin with because it wasn't relevant to my article and caused more confusion than anything.

    I'm talking about the Cubs adding $25-$35M including arb increases, automatic renewals, contract raises (Castro the only significant one), and possible extensions.

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    In reply to NUcat:

    I doesn't say the payroll will be $120M.. It says the Cubs will increase payroll by "$25-$35M" over last year

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    That's the point though isn't it? What number are you adding the "$25-$35M" increase to?

    Last years starting payroll? Fine. What is that number so that we can add the "$25-$35M" increase to it, otherwise what the hell are we talking about.

    A 25-25 million dollar increase is MEANINGLESS unless you know what the starting point is!

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    that should be "$25-35 million increase"

  • I'm probably in the minority here but I think it's worth kicking the tires on Cano. Talk about getting instant credibility. Also, I would try to trade for CarGo or Stanton. I want a stud in the middle of our lineup! Can't take another century of losing.

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    In reply to BarryB:

    Kick the tires? Absolutely. Spend anything close to what he's asking? No thanks.

  • Last two posts do the actual math for me: we're gonna have tons of guys making at or near min.

    If 120 is the number it could an interesting offseason.

  • Doesn't take long to fill up a comment section here dies it? Wow! Lol! In the off season no less. Well Tanaka is a chance they have to take. He's the only one on the market young enough and talented enough to make that kind of commitment to. Every pitcher you sign is a risk.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    We have a great board here. Lots of knowledgeable fans.

    I like Tanaka even though I understand the concerns about cost and overuse from some.

    I think they can get Tanaka and still make a another couple of solid additions.

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    Tanaka went 160 pitches the other night in Game 6 of the Japan series:

    Then he came in to close out game 7... Beastmode!

  • In reply to Phil James:


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    In reply to Phil James:

    That posting fee is dropping by the hour.

  • I just wanna throw this out there but I was all about throwing the bank at Tanaka. But upon seeing the report that he threw 160 pitches in his last start of the year, I did some research and basically I now no longer would make that high of a post for Tanaka. He maybe 24 or 25 next year but he started his career young has thrown a ton of innings and as what seems to be normal in Japan has thrown way way to many pitches. His age is young but his arm is much much older I think he is a huge injury risk. He won't be worth the money I am now in the pass category.

  • Dream offseason.
    Cano - 10 years $250
    Beltran - 2 years $30
    Price - 10 years $300 after two years of $13 per. Trade - Soler, Castillo, Alcantara, Johnson, Maples.
    Salty - 5 years $50
    Backup catcher and reliever on low cost deals.
    With all the prospects coming, a large market can make these moves. Won't but can.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    That's not my dream offseason. We'd be regretting those massive contracts for both Cano and Price very quickly.

    $200m+ contracts are not the answer, imo.

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    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Agreed. and I don't see Price getting a deal like that at all. You think a pitcher will get 10 years at age 30? Kershaw will probably get that but he'd me starting the contract way earlier in his career.

    Cano would just block Baez (or at least block the best spot for Baez) and Cano will be older when he signs than Soriano was when he signed.

    No thanks. Doesn't make sense. Rather have Choo, if we're spending money.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I was saying worst case. Baez would be good at third, Bryant in the outfield.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    that would be the worst trade i have ever seen , strip the system and then give a 10 year / 300 M contract that would end with Price near 40 years old . 10 mill a year for Salty? pay Cano 25 M till He is 41? Is this really the ghost of George Stienbrenner on acid that I am replying too?

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Check back with me after those free agents sign their deals. They'll get what I wrote. Salaries and payrolls are going up. I know what I wrote wont happen. Seems you're ripping on Steinbrenner (& me)...maybe the most successful owner of all time. I'd love it if the Cubs signed big time guys like he did to supplement a great group of kids coming up. You can say that Cashman was the key to success, but Epstein can play that role. The 90' Yanks had a lot of homegrowns...Jeter, Williams, Posada, Rivera, Wettland, traded Roberto Kelly for O'Neil, traded for Tino Martinez, signed Scott Brosius on the cheap. Then signed big time free agents around that. We should be so lucky to have an owner like Steinbrenner. I'll happily take the ribbing from you because my post was unrealistic and, therefore, pointless. But, IMO, you used a poor example to make a joke of my post. The Cubs would win if they made some of the moves I mentioned. I believe the guys I want to add to the team will age well. They'll obviously decline but they'll still add a lot of leadership and talent to a budding farm system.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    I think I just woke up in a cold sweat - 2006 again... We just blew up the farm and mortgaged the future rendering the struggles of the last 2 years pointless... John where is your scotch - I need at least 2 bottles to clear this nightmare...

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    Why would signing and trading for "big time" guys make the last two years pointless.
    My point was pointless, because it ain't gonna happen, but you could say that about a lot of the posts on here. I just wrote what I would like. Watching the Cubs would be fun again. I understand everyone will say, just wait, Baez and Bryant will make it fun. That's fair, but if we don't put some good veteran bats around those kids, I really worry that they'll struggle like Castro and Rizzo have. I know people say, Ellsbury and Choo could be that guy, but I don't see it that way. They're good, but they're not line-up protection. Cano is. I'd be fine with Ellsbury. I just worry that he won't stay healthy. Cano seems like he could transition to third if he needs to, but right now he's got some good years left.

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    I can't remember how the Soriano deal was structured and where the Cubs will save the $7 million. Does that figure in here?

  • I don't think we have the slightest chance of getting Tanaka, no matter how much we want him.

    Fix the glaring offensive hole over the next several years, while complementing our righty power prospects and bringing in veteran leadership.

    Sign Ellsbury or Choo.

    We NEED this!

    Grab Josh Johnson if he doesn't get a QO.

    Add minor pieces, righty platoon partner in right, and a backup catcher.

    Then we still hold Samardzija as a big trading piece.

  • I don't think we can get Tanaka with the Dodgers and Yankees bidding, but I would certainly invest there...

    This would be a perfect scenario for me... Trade Samardzija for CarGo, sign Tanaka and Scott Kazmir... Sign Kelly Johnson as well.. Maybe also Jose Veras to be a setup man.

    And you've got C Welly Castillo, 1B Rizzo, 2B Barney/Kelly Johnson, 3B Mike Olt/Kelly Johnson, SS Castro, LF CarGo, CF Jr Lake or Sweeney, RF Schierholtz.

    Rotation: Tr Wood, Tanaka, Kazmir, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta... Bullpen Strop, Veras, Rondon, Russell, Rusin, Villanueva and Blake Parker.

    Kelly Johnson would play 2B or 3B, depending on what kind of Spring Mike Olt has and if Lake struggles in CF, Sweeney should be a solid backup option.

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    I firmly believe that the Cubs can't just wait around another two or three years to see who pans out among the Big Four (or is it now the Big Three?). Or to see if there are any surprises that emerge from the minors.

    It could be three years before we know what impact about a half dozen or more prospects are going to have. If the Cubs wait around for that, and just keep "adding assets," they're going to end up like the Royals. And being a Top 3 farm system and winning Florida State League titles doesn't mean a whole lot until results are seen at the MLB level.

    At some point, the FO is going to have to take a risk (way bigger than Edwin Jackson) and not go into a season with the nothing-to-lose idea that if the team surprises they'll go for it but otherwise do a selloff at the trade deadline.

    To me, however, all of the current free agent crop seems to be flawed in one way or another, whether it be age, asking price or a career marred by inconsistency.

    Tanaka seems like the best risk, but I don't think you can bid more than $55 million, and one of the Dodgers, Yankees or Rangers are sure to beat that.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    That is the nature of free agency now. Teams lock up the younger players past their arb years and initial walk years to long term, discounted contracts that take those players past their age 30 seasons, and then let them explore the open market. It is the same philosophy as the Cubs, which is to say, not reward players for past performance. It will be the same every year very soon,more risk than reward in free agency, though I wouldn't mind seeing Clayton Kershaw pitch for the Cubs in 2015.

  • Hack is best/most realistic plan for offseason, IMO.

    Josh Johnson is only SP , outside of Tanaka, in this FA class with any significant upside. The fact that he had a minor cleanout is actually good news , if you ask me. His peripherals were much better than headline #s . He had an insane HR/FB rate.

  • May have been reported already but Jim Bowden said on XM Radio this morning that Torey Lovullo was interviewing at Wrigley today.

  • What about Ubaldo Jimenez? He just declined his option with Cleveland. He has had issues but finished well last year. 29 years old, could he be signed at a reasonable salary?

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    In reply to All W Days:

    He declined the option likely to get paid big.

  • In reply to All W Days:

    Probably not, he declined his 8mil option quickly, and is one of the top SP in this FA class. Also, he is under 30 so he will probably be looking for Garza money or more.

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    David Waldstein ‏@DavidWaldstein 3h

    Wow, 176 pitches in 2 days! 1 day after throwing 160 pitches Masahiro Tanaka threw 16 more to close out Game 7 which Rakuten won 3-0. uh oh.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Do you remember hearing about the Juan Marichal/Warren Spahn 16 inning duel from 1963? Marichal threw 227 pitches, Spahn 201. The game ended on a Willie Mays home run. Now that's some crazy pitch counts.

  • Jimenez will get a 4-5 yr deal for 8-figure $. He could be beneficiary of crappy state of NYY SP. He and Garza are entering mkt @ the right time. SP always gets overpaid in FA but these guys might shock us when they sign their deals.

  • Good to hear about the salary increases. Now I really hope they don't get to Tanaka so we can focus the money elsewhere.

    Darvish signed in mid-Jan.
    Dice-K signed at the end of February.

    I just hope the Cubs don't try to go all in for Tanaka, lose the bidding and are left with nothing good from free agency because they decided to go after Tanaka to use their money instead of signing other free agents that signed in December.

    I don't get why the Cargo rumors are still out there, the Rockies owner said no. Obviously people can change their mind but when the owner comes out and says they're not going to trade him I think that should put the rumors to sleep.

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    At first I thought 35M in new contracts seemed like a lot, but looking at last year, we added 36-37 Million in new contracts, so this will probably be in like with what they have been doing.

    I hope they get Tanaka and some short term pieces to flip, and I wouldn'y be surprised if that came out to more than 40Million.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    But it's NOT $35 Million in new contracts, it's a $35 Million increase in payroll over last year.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    it's irrelevant because of the clarification, but I was saying that if we spent over 35 last year, and we might pay out more than 11 in arbitration raises, that would probably add up close to what we were talking about.

    But the update does make things clear. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs spent more than 35 between one-year flyers, a couple low priced 2-3 year additions, and Tanaka.

    I still think it would be tough to compete with Dodgers and Yanks but more and more I'm hoping for a really strong push for him. He's the right age to go great with the rebuild.

  • Michael Morse-6.5 Mil
    Mark Ellis-4.5 Mil
    Phil Hughes-7 Mil
    Bryan Pena-3 Mil
    Eric O'Flaherty-3 Mil

    I don't see and big splashes. This is very consistent with what the FO has done in the past.

  • Sunday spitballing here: wouldn't a 3-way deal surrounding Shark, Trumbo, and PIT prospects make tons of sense for all sides. Shark to LAA, Trumbo to PIT, and us getting PIT prospects, fill in around that.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    As long as we get Taillon, Glasnow I would be happy to see Shark moved .

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    I see no way the Cubs win the bidding for Tanaka. Everyone is projecting $75-100 mil. posting fee and the Yankees are willing to throw everything at him, according to the NY papers. The Dodgers are also expected to be in the bidding. Between the Dodgers new TV deal and their other income they are bringing in $550-600 mil per year. The Cubs cannot compete at this stage with the Yankees or Dodgers on money.

    Tulo, no way in hell I trade for him.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    why cant the cubs compete with the dodgers or yankees

    we have a billionare owner dont we?

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    In reply to deport soriano com:

    The Yankees get approximately $120 mil per year from local TV revenue, which seemed insane when they signed the deal but now teams like the Dodgers, Rangers, Phillies, Angels, etc. are all right with them or surpassing them, in smaller markets. The Dodgers get $330 mil per year from local TV revenue. That's 175% of the salary cap, just from TV money, no radio, to ticket sales, no national TV shared revenue, no merchandise, food, etc. The Cubs are thought to get around $30-50 mil per year from local TV revenue at most, with WGN wanting to renegade their share for less.

    The Cubs billionaire owner said up front (Joe Ricketts) that buying the team was a business move because his son told him they sell out the park everyday win or lose, and that's a "great business to invest in." The Cubs have to increase their own revenues, not expect TD Ameritrade to pay for their payroll. The ballpark renovations will help and fielding a winning team will increase TV ratings and allow them to get a larger deal, but that's years away. Their TV contract is up I believe in 1 year, I think they'll be looking to sign a short term deal if the money is still so low. Their other option is to partner with a media company to create a Cubs only channel, which would likely cost a monthly fee to subscribe to, whether it's the cable companies paying that to carry the channel and passing it indirectly to consumers in rate hikes or just outright being a premium subscription channel. None of those options sound like sure fire ways right now to significantly increase revenue in the short term. The first thing they need to do is put a more exciting team on the field, the rest will take care of itself. As the kids start to arrive, likely the next wave is the end of 2014, they'll be much more interesting to watch. We shouldn't expect them to contend in 2015 but the foundation should be mostly in place then - Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Castro, Alcantara, etc., with Almora and Soler knocking at the door, I hope. By 2015 they need to be more aggressive adding some quality pitching.

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    Id go for Tanaka

    Give up 4 players for david price (Byrant and J Baez - excluded / off the table)

    trade shark - for trumbo

    resign - Feldman or Maholm

  • "A source tells me that the Cubs plan to increase their payroll by as much as $35M next year on top of the current payroll."

    Ok, Now it all makes sense. That "current" part is key. Thanks John.

  • So, if the $35m is in addition to what they are currently obligated to pay for next season, then they're actually slashing payroll.

    Wendy Thurm over at Fangraphs had a pretty good article a few days ago on how the additional payouts from TV contracts was going to give teams some extra cash. As part of the article, she calculated what each team's already committed to paying for next year. According to her calculations, the Cubs have about $58m in current commitments. Add 35 to that, and we arrive at $93m, or a good $13m or so less than what most people guess was the starting payroll last year.

    So this isn't an increase at all...

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    In reply to hartmtown:

    who says that's bad?

    Spending money does not, itself, produce wins. Just ask the Angels, and the Phillies.

    I think slashing payroll is great. The A's finished 1 game short of the best record in the league and had a much lower payroll than us last year and a comparable commitment right now.

    I'm not saying a major market like us should STAY at this level of payroll, but we should wait to spend it wisely.

    Tanaka, I'm all for.
    If the Dodgers can't get Kershaw re-signed, I hope Theo grabs Ricketts' checkbook and throws it at Kershaw.

    Financial flexibility is good even for major markets. Hence why Boston was willing to give up Adrian Gonzalez for LA to lieve them of his, Beckett and Crawford's contracts.

    I'm THRILLED to see out current 58M in commitments.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yeah, I'm not saying they should raise payroll just to do it. Spending money unwisely is counter-productive. But one would hope that eventually the goal would be for a major market team to act like it, not keep moving in the other direction. The fear is that the debt the Ricketts have is structured in such a way that they will keep needing to cut back on operations in order to save money for the bank notes.

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    In reply to hartmtown:

    I agree. Just wanted to point out that a payroll decrease isn't a negative.

    Especially when you consider the run they made at Sanchez, it's clear they aren't afraid to spend on key talent.


  • My FA wish list:

    Tanaka and Choo or ellsbury are who i want most. I think Dan Haren would be a great addition as would Chris Young. Personally I dont have the saltalamachia love, I'm definitely happier sticking with the status quo at catcher as it was a genuinely very good position for us last year, but of course that will depend on what navarro wants but im ok losing him. I actually think this years OF FA class is a bit underrated and id be disappointed if the cubs dont make a good addition from the outfield

  • Now I'm even more confused, John... Is it 35 MM over what they have right now? wouldn't that mean that the payroll next year will be about 90-100 mil? If so, then that's disappointing.

  • Free agent predictions...

    Interesting to see 3 of the 6 guys think the Astros get Choo.

  • In reply to Yemi:

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Thank God nobody predicts him to go to the Cubs. The Astros make little sense to me (from Choo's standpoint). I'd pick Detroit or the Yankees.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    These guys have no bearing on the call, even if they did pick the Cubs. No need to thank god.

  • Is it just a coincidence that "sources" start saying Cubs will increase payroll by $25-$35M right after Epstein pisses off a lot of fans by giving that speech saying don't expect much in Free Agency this winter?

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    In reply to Nondorf:


  • Tanaka is the only SP under age 28 available in free agency and is therefore the only guy I'd shoot for who wasn't a one year, sign em and flip em type deal.

  • John, you allude to a lot of back loading of contracts, but I'd actually like to see them do the opposite. If they get an Ellsbury, Choo, Tanaka, etc, take it on the chin in the first year like they did with EJax (gave him an $8M signing bonus last year). Does that mean we won't be able to invest in a couple of flier guys this year? Does it mean we won't have as many wins next year? Yes. But it also means we'll have more financial flexibility when the team gets good.

  • Extremely misleading headline. Last year's payroll was over $100MM. A $25MM - $35MM increase next year would leave the Cubs with much more than $20MM even with the raises due to arbitration eligible players. By saying the Cubs will only have $25MM or $35MM to spend on raises and new players, John is actually reporting another decrease in the overall payroll and that the payroll will be less than the $104MM it was last year.

  • John, I'm confused. You've said they're going to increase payroll by $25-$35M over last year. Even subtracting that $10-$11M for arb increases, that means increasing payroll by about $14-$24M.

    Wendy Thurm at fan graphs shows the 2013 payroll at $106M and the 2014 payroll obligations at $58M. Assuming the arb raises aren't factored into that number, that's still only around $70M. So $106M + $25-$35M= $131-$141M payroll, which means they're going to spend an additional $61-$71M more than their current 2014 payroll obligations and projected arb increases?

    I just don't believe this for a second. Either Wendy's numbers are messed up, I'm missing something here, or this is a lie...or a fourth option I'm unable to think of.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I now see this line: "A source tells me that the Cubs plan to increase their payroll by as much as $35M to what they are currently going to be paying out for next season." which seems to completely contradict the headline: "Source: Cubs will increase payroll by "$25-$35M OVER LAST YEAR".

    I went off of the headline, but if I go by the contradictory quote, the Cubs are actually cutting payroll to top out at about $95M? In other words, they're not increasing payroll by $25-$35M over last year, but trimming it by about $11-$21M?

    I'd love real clarity on this issue. There's a big difference of a payroll of $85-$95M and $131-$141M.

  • It seems to me we don't yet know the amount the increase is compared to. Is it the September payroll or the April payroll?
    A 25% increase of the September payroll would be much less.

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