Spraying to all fields

My heart and mind have departed the shell of my body as the longing for warmer weather and batted ball became too much for them to bear. Rumor season has its perks, but I prefer the substance of games played over the theory of how those games will play out. That’s just me though, and there are some fun loose ends to tie up.

Masahiro Tanaka

There are reports of reports out there indicating that Tanaka will not be allowed to leave the Rakuten Eagles for Major League Baseball. I’m fairly skeptical of all that noise and will continue to treat reports with a healthy dose of skepticism until actual news is broken by Rakuten’s management. The Eagles are poised to make Tanaka the highest paid Japanese player in history (8MM AAV) but this feels like a story that’s just hitting the slow climb to the apex.

Grant Balfour

Balfour was signed by the Orioles but a medical issue arose and the deal is at an impasse. It’s likely that even with the failed medical the Orioles will offer another more team friendly contract ala what the Boston Red Sox did with Mike Napoli but…he’s an interesting name for the Cubs to consider. The Cubs have retooled their bullpen a bit and while the have a capital C Closer in Jose Veras a few more security blankets wouldn’t hurt. Odds are good that a few of the ‘pen arms will be flipped at the deadline so why not take a stab at getting another commodity?

On the Hall of Fame

I have a funny relationship with baseball. I find the historical landscape of the game fascinating beyond measure. Before I fell in love with anything the game had to offer I fell in love with its history. I still care about the Hall of Fame. I haven’t been yet but I do want to make my journey when Frank Thomas gets in (as an aside, Thomas was my first baseball hero. I grew up in the southwest side during the 90’s, it was inevitable). Logic and statistical output states that he should be in, but the context runs counter of both stats and logic here. There are a lot of terrific ideas on how to fix the Hall. One guy is even turning in a ballot with 11 votes because he thinks 11 guys deserve to get in. I wish baseball would listen to us on this one. As a guy with a fetish for baseball history I desperately want to see this get fixed.

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  • I tend to agree. Frank Thomas should make the HOF. The problem is that he primarily was a DH which hurts him because he was not viewed as a position player. His numbers in his peak years were dominant which is one of the criteria for players who don't have the magic qualifiers of 3K hits or now 600 HR and the HR mark has been blurred a bit because of the steroid era. However it has been widely assumed that Thomas wasn't part of that steroid group because his career path takes that normal bell curve unlike Barry Bonds who somehow had his best statistical seasons after age 37. Then again we all know why even though Bonds won't man up and admit it. I believe the Hall only lets in 2 so if Maddux and Glavine are up this year, they will probably get the call over Thomas because they have the 300 win magical qualifiers. That would leave Frank to go in next year.

  • In reply to joparks:

    Frank needs to be in the HOF - despite his defensive/position player deficiency - he's a guy who hit a ton for a very long time and was in many ways the 'face' of a set of good team for the Sox. Don't know if he needs to be a first time ballot elegible selection, but it would NOT be a bad thing either.

    A lot of runs, a lot of rbi, 500+ HR and career ~0.300 BA and OBP >0.400,.... Frank needs to be in.

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    In reply to joparks:

    I thought anyone who got enough votes was inducted...

  • In reply to joparks:

    If they don't let a DH in because he doesn't play a field position, why do they let in a pitcher, who sits out 4 out of every 5 games?

    And I didn't follow the Sox back then, but weren't his best seasons when he was playing first base?

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    In reply to joparks:

    There is no cap on the number that can go in. Anyone receiving the requisite 75% gets in that year.

  • Ah the HOF. I am not a ChiSox hater and I had great fondness for those Thomas-McDowell-Ventura teams. (And Ventura should have been drafted a Cub!). In my opinion Frank Thomas ultimately was the Dale Murphy of his era but playing an easier position and with the added benefit of the DH. It'll also be interesting if he suffers the Bagwell/Piazza voting effect of never testing positive but sportswriters quietly believing he still did use, at least during his stereotypical late career resurgence as he tried to amass a few more Hall-worthy milestones. At least this is what one hears quietly from a few sportswriters (and despite what they call Thomas' loud evangelical minister-like protestations against all such sins and sinners). My guess is he's voted in.

  • Some Venezuelan sources are saying the Cubs signed Ronald Belisario for 1 year and 3 mil... Maybe someone can confirm.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I think they got confused and it was the White Sox.

  • In reply to Caps:

    It was the White Sox

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Yep... In the tweet they said "Chicago" and then used #Cubs... Confused me there.

  • In reply to Caps:

    No worries, I've done that before.

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    I was thinking the opposite on Balfour - ie, Balt May still need a closer, and the minute Veras is eligible to be traded (May?) we should give them a buzz.

  • Doubt we go after Balfour, bullpen looks pretty full as it is. I realize that depth is a good thing, but I think we have to balance that with giving a couple of guys a shot to see if they can stick (Rondon, Parker, Rusin, Grimm, Rosscup).

    If the Cubs are looking to trade Russell, that may open up a spot, but I'd rather see what one of the 5 guys above can do than sign Balfour. All that being said, if Balfour is going to sign somewhere for 1 year at $2M, yeah, I'd do that. Just think someone will give him more on a 1 year deal, even with bad medicals.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Unless they put him in Iowa to stretch out to become a starter, I can't imagine a healthy Rondon wouldn't make the pen. He did exactly what you would want a pitcher with his health history to do. He got stronger as the season wore on.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Lets see if hes the Rondon who was clocking 97-98 last September. If he is, him and a healthy Vizciano would be huge additions. My personal faves for the pen are Rondon, Veras, Viz, Mustache Villanueva, Rosscup and Wright. Let them trade Russell, Svuem basically ruined him.

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    Giants DFA Eric surkamp: 26 yr old lefty, ugly numbers in tiny major league sample, but pretty good in AAA, wouldn't mind the cubs trying to pick him up,

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Fastball only averaged 86-87 mph... I don't think he's really worth picking up right now, but maybe trying him in the bullpen can help him pickup a couple of ticks on that fastball.

  • Saw this article the other day about how Rakuten is trying to get around the 20 million post limit....


    Kind of makes sense and would totally help explain some of the "He's posted/ He's not posted...." malaise that everyone's stuck in.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I read that too. There could be all kinds of negotiations going on behind the scenes here. \

    Like of all of Bud's poorly-conceived attempts to aid small markets, this posting cap seem to be doing quite the opposite. Seems small markets will be able to match the post, but they have no hope of winning the negotiations. Both the new CBA and the posting system will drive up the cost of free agency. And as far as his restrictions, big markets will probably find a way around it anyway.

    There are better ways to aid small market teams. For one, the NFL seems to be doing a great job at it.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Article says "might" not "is". At one point somewhere it was mentioned that some of the other Japanese teams might chip in to off set the Golden Eagles lose, presumable just to get Tanaka out of town. Maybe that is what they are waiting for.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I also read that article. It even mentioned that the Eagles would make whoever won the bidding rights to Tanaka would have to take along an extra player with Tanaka, making another posting fee of $20 Million for the extra player as well.

  • In reply to felzz:

    If Tanaka wanted to leave but the Eagles wanted at least $35 mil in order to post, couldn't Tanaka just sign a binding contract with the Eagles to pay them 15 million (or an X%) if he is posted and signed to an MLB deal? Seems like that would be above board and that MLB couldn't do anything to stop that since it would be a straight business transaction between Tanaka and eagles on the side.

    seems pretty win/win.

    John is dead on about MLB continually trying to "fix" everything it doesn't like about the business side of the game in terms of egalitarianism. If you arent going to put salary caps in place, then you have to accept that their will be rich and poor teams. Hell, it's not like the highest payroll team wins every year. Far from it.

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    Just read that Michael Bowden and Cody Ransom have signed with the Seibu Lions. Good luck to them overseas.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    A couple of ex-Cubs! Good to see them find work.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And probably securing their future and their family's future... It's almost sure that they got better money to play in Japan, good for them.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I knew about Bowden but not Ransom, good luck to both of them.

  • I don't think writers should denigrate the DH. Afterall, there are not a lot of guys who can do it effectively. Darwin Barney will most likely never DH. You can insert thousands upon thousands of other names who never will as well.

    Hitting 25 or 30+ homers is a gift, even if you can't play the field.

  • I wish all these Cubs fans give up on the Tanaka dream.

    Not going to happen.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:


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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Based on what? I would argue that the Cubs have been one of, if not the most active teams on the International market since Theo took over. It's definitely not a lock that they get him, but all of they the evidence says they will be heavily involved.

  • I have to admit - I've never watched Frank Thomas play a Sox game that I can recall. I was dragged to a couple of Sox games over the years while he was playing but it seemed he wasn't in the lineup for those few games. I did see him play a few times in an A's uniform.

    I do remember my friends who were Sox fans referring to Thomas as the Big Skirt.

  • I'm not a huge fan of the HoF because I believe it is too exclusive. To me, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Keith Hernandez, Mark Grace, Tim Raines, etc., had distinguished careers & deserve a plaque. Just my opinion!

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    One could probably make an argument for all those players you mentioned, except for Grace. I can't see that one, even when the veteran's committee gets a hold of him.

  • In reply to Ray A:

    He doesn't deserve the HOF but Grace was the hit's leader of the 80's

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    90's obviously

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Hits and doubles, actually. Second in both categories was the Rafael Palmeiro. Still, I don't think Grace deserves a bust in the HOF. He had just 2445 hits, 300+fewer than Bill Buckner. Grace's 173 homers and 1146 RBI aren't special either. His WAR of just 18.8 falls far behind his contemporaries like Wally Joyner (36.2) and Jon Olerud (57.7).

    If you look back therough the Cubs Den archives, you'll find an article I wrote about what I call The Hall of The Vary Good. It profiles players like Grace who were very good, but still on the outside, looking in.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    "The Hall of the Vary Good"... I like that.... and I agree, Gracie' was one of my favorites going to the ballpark, and I still have up a poster/billboard I took off the L as a teenager. He had a very good, long solid career that ended with a world series ring. Just not HOF worthy, in my opinion.

  • Hey John, I know you wrote a great piece on Ruggiano with a chart and good stat analysis... Mark Simon from ESPN wrote another nice piece about him with another good analysis and advanced stats.

    Check it out if you have the time: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/43097/cubs-could-have-gem-in-ruggiano

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks for the link Caps. I think looking at Ruggiano's WHAV is telling of what we are truly getting in that guy. When you factor in his platoon splits (which this article didn't) he looks even better for us. I was a fan of Bogusevic and wish him well. But I think looking at Ruggiano from these different angles, this FO found a small inefficiency and potential impact; thus making us a better team than we were before the trade.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You combine John's chart about all those warning track fly balls that died in the deep 387 ft 422 ft alleys of Marlins park, the Home/Away splits, RH/LH splits and Simon's analysis with his WHAV and the 0 for 42 aberration, we could indeed be looking at another Nate Schierholtz... Hopefully that's how it turns out.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks Caps, enjoyed the article and it gave us some good hope from a different perspective. I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of production the Cubs get out of that RF platoon.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No problem, looking forward to the platoon... Even better, hope he does well enough to deserve to play everyday, then it would give the Cubs a good problem to have... Ruggiano could also be insurance in case Schierholtz can't repeat the numbers he put last season.

  • Off topic. Missed the discussion from John's piece yesterday, which I enjoyed.
    I really enjoyed the back and forth in the comments section with "Charlieboy". I like reading different opinions within cordial conversations. Michael Canter had a great post as well, I thought.
    Question for anyone interested: I wonder if there is possibly a new market inefficiency developing for those free agents that received qualifying offers. I tend to agree with "Charlieboy" that a pitcher like Jiminez may very well bring back a better package than the 2nd round pick would amount to. Hindsight bias can be used to argue points for either side, of course. And, of course, the strategy of signing Jiminez is going to cost more money. However, if the Cubs are a big market team this could be a decent strategy.
    Here's my question: Is it possible that free agents like Jiminez (who is probably better than Garza) would cost less money to a ball club than a deal for those free agents that did not receive a QO (like Garza)? Then you keep or trade them for a better return.
    We can wait and see what kind of return the Brewers get from Lohse if he stays healthy. Although that deal was questionable, maybe they were one step ahead. Is that possible?
    The reason I would be interested in Jiminez (other than what was written above) is that he becomes another piece of the rotation. If, somehow, the Cubs can land Kershaw, Sherzer, or even Homer Bailey that rotation could be really good next year.
    I would much rather the Cubs sign Jiminez (5 years-plus or minus $65M) than Tanaka for oodles of cash. Just one guys point of view though.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    The problem is you are essentially buying prospects with a 4 to 5 year deal in the 60M or more range. It's inefficient to me because you likely have to trade the player right away to get players that can help you in the near future, but the big FA money detracts from the value unless you pay some of it down, perhaps a lot of it down if the pitcher doesn't perform up to expectations. We saw that first hand with Edwin Jackson. Jackson was about a 3+ win pitcher for the most part before he came to the Cubs, which is what Jimenez is now. Jackson was a 2 win pitcher last year, that provides little to no surplus value for a team. If Jimenez makes $15M/yr, the same applies if he remains a 3 win player, not a ton of surplus value for teams. It's the nature of free agency. If he gets hurt or begins to regress and are unable to retain good value, then you've pretty much thrown that money away.

    It's why we see teams trade for pitchers like Garza (the first trade from Tampa) or Shields or perhaps Price or Samardzija -- before they become free agents and start making big money as 30+ year old pitchers, because at this point they provide tremendous surplus value for a team.

    So even if a 30 year old Jimenez remains a 3 WAR pitcher making $15M he is not going to be worth the same as a 29 year old 3 WAR pitcher like Samardzija who may not make that much money in the next two years combined.

    Yet, most people will tell you that teams will only yield a #4 type cost-controlled SP and a couple of good, but raw Class A lottery tickets for Samardzija. We should expect it to be less for an equally productive 30 year old pitcher making more money per year over a longer period of time.

    Do you invest 60M or more in Jimenez to get something that would likely be even less than that since he doesn't have the same surplus value? Assuming performance remains constant, in order for you get the same surplus value as you do with Samardzija, you'd have to pay almost half of that contract to get a similar AAV to what Samardzija will get over the next two years, so what you wind doing is paying that to obtain a guy similar to what you have in your system plus what amounts to two lottery tickets.

    Is that better than passing up a chance to buy one lottery ticket for a about a $1M bonus for a 40-50 pick which, for the Cubs has already yielded 2 top prospects in J0hnson and Blackburn?

    Most teams would say no and that's why you don't see it done...by any team.

    The closest I can think of to this being done is recently with the Marlins when they traded two big recent free agents signings (along with Josh Johnson, John Buck, and Emiliio Bonafacio) and did not get a single player that projects as a top of the rotation starter or an above average regular. Had Johnson and the other 2 players not been included, they would have gotten even less for their 2 recently signed FAs.

    I think most would have considered what the Marlins did to be a huge mistake when they signed Buehrle and Reyes to big contracts, then tried to flip them the next season. It set their organization back even further than where they'd started.

    That's why no rebuilding team does what Charlieboy suggests -- the cost is too great, the risk is significant, and the payoff just isn't going to offset all of that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nice job of breaking it down John. I think some get so upset that this FO isn't in on guys who "could" be good in 2-3 years that they forget to look at the downside. That's what helps fuel the "Ricketts is tight" sentiment, etc. Sort of a can't see the forest for the trees type thing.

    Using Jiminez as an example, he's proven what he is... A decent #3 that will chew up 170+ innings. Since his peak in 2010, he has steadily declined each year... Puts up a 3 WAR season in his career year. Steamer has him at 2.9 WAR and Oliver has him as a 1.8 WAR player next year (sounds like E Jax) and then declining each year afterwards. Granted, he could be better... but we would literally need all the stars to align to be able to pull off what CharlieBoy suggest successfully... He's going to want a multi-year contract and be paid for 3+ WAR each year. The downside is, we lose out on the NEXT P Johnson and have another bad contract limiting us from pursuing better FA's in 2015... It's just not worth it. We can find value off the scrap bin ala FELDMAN! ort Maholm, etc... and it won't really effect our w/l record any.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks. And even if Jimenez's production remains constant over the next two years, which isn't unreasonable, there is still the problem of surplus value when you compare it to guys like Samardzija (not to mention the next two years which may provide no value or even negative value relative to his AAV). It just isn't there -- or at least not enough to get as good a prospect as he would had he been had he not been making big FA dollars.

    I think this is the kind of thing you can do with players you sign on a one, maybe two year deal because the risk comes way down for both teams involved. The problem is, guys like Jimenez aren't going to sign for one or two years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That was my point with Charlieboy, but he was proposing that Jimenez would be even better and line-up as a legit #2. Which isn't impossible, but not a gamble I'd be willing to make. Like I said, too much downside.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Would it be possible for the Cubs to sign one or two compensation free agents and massively front load the contracts?
    The Cubs presumably have a bunch of money they cannot spend on pieces that will help two or three years from now.
    If they instead spent that money on Jiminez types with deals that pay big in the first year (or even better a signing bonus), they could provide other teams the surplus value of an underpaid possible #2 starter.
    That would have to be worth a Garza type haul, right?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Great post John!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's a great post John. I agree with you. I really do.

    One of the things I enjoyed most about your back and forth with "Charlieboy" was your response to another poster. I'm paraphrasing...but they said something like; "he doesn't get it". You replied. "He does get it. He just sees it differently".

    I get everything you're saying. I agree with what the front office is doing. I'm just throwing ideas out, much like you do. You were entirely on board with signing Choo or Ellsbury about 3-4 months ago. It seems, now, that you don't feel the same way. You look at what the front office is doing. You see that it makes sense and you're cool with it.

    Me too. I am too.

    Here's my thing. Maybe it sounded as if I wanted to sign Jiminez just to flip him. If so, I didn't get my point across well enough. I'd much rather he stay with the team for the remainder of the deal. Bring in another guy like Sherzer next year. Kershaw would be even better than Sherzer. Homer Bailey would even be all right.
    I understand that idea opens up the flood gates for the world to say; "no way the Cubs sign Sherzer/Kershaw".

    That's too bad. Why not? Is it because of money?

    In my opinion, if the Cubs want a top of the rotation guy, they're going to have to buy him. Kershaw and Sherzer are two solid choices.

    I can see Jiminez as a guy that is going to be good for a while. We've seen a lot of pitchers with elite stuff get a whole lot better after 30. They're different than hitters in that way sometimes. Sherzer, Samardzija, Jiminez, Wood, Jackson. That's a solid staff. If the kids come up to push someone out of the way, great. Maybe you can really afford to trade Samardzija in that case.

    You'll get something valuable for any one of those pitchers in a trade unless they get injured. If Jiminez' medicals suggest injury, that's a different story.

    I wasn't saying to sign Jiminez with the intention to trade him. I was simply saying; if it doesn't work out you will most likely get something of value for him, and you may be able to get him on a better deal than you should because of the QO. Maybe you actually save some money by forfeiting your draft pick and you pick up a solid free agent who could help you for multiple years.

    I absolutely understand that you don't save money in the long run if that second round pick happens to be the "next whatever" and you get him for blah years for only blah money.

    Answer me this, though. If the Cubs did sign Jiminez tonight (on a decent deal), would your report tomorrow be a negative one, or would you see the rainbow like I would? Wouldn't it give you hope that they're going to be players again. Sure, you'd have to write that they'll have to forfeit that pick and that could come back to bite them, but wouldn't you also think something like; "wow, now sign a true ace and this rotation could be special". That's all I'm saying.

    I wouldn't have suggested this kind of move last year or the year before. I would have three years ago, before management decided that they were going to tear it down and rebuild it.

    In my opinion, I think it's time for the Cubs to start piecing this together with some quality veterans. Maybe they did a bit of that last year, but Jiminez is better than Jackson, isn't he?

    I understand if the Cubs don't try to sign Jiminez. I'll be behind that scenario, but I'd prefer that they did. He and Cano were the ones that I was most interested in, other than Price, this offseason.

    I was led to believe that the reason the Cubs stripped it down was to build depth from the ground up. Haven't they done that? Isn't it time to do something more.

    I understand that the Cubs will still be bad if they bring in Jiminez, but a move like that does provide some hope for 2015. I think it provides more hope than signing Ellsbury or Choo would. The Cubs have the bats on the way.

    I do think they'll still need to add one huge free agent bat. I would have been good with Cano, but he did end up getting more money than I would have been in on.

    I don't see Tanaka as a possibility. My hope is that once that plays out, management shifts gears and goes and gets Jiminez.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Thanks...but I have to say I would have liked Ellsbury and Choo before the market went insane :) and I did want them for the short to long term, not to trade.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know you wanted them before the market went insane. I get that. I also give you that you probably figured the market would go insane. So did I. In fact, so do I. I think these huge contracts are here to stay. That's why I'm thinking that a deal for Jiminez could be a good idea. Your best bargain may come now, with him attached to a QO. I'm trying to point out that there could be a way to get a guy on a lesser contract and avoid the insane market as much as possible.

    I never considered that you wanted to trade Choo or Ellsbury. Nor do I want to trade Jiminez or Samardzija or Jackson (for that matter).

    I'm ready for the Cubs to add more, not trade more.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    What good is Jimenez when his best two years are coming when the Cubs won't contend? Then by the time the Cubs are good the contract could possibly make him of negative value. What are you trying to accomplish by signing him? 3 more wins in 2014 and 2015?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't see it like that. I think he could be better in year five of the contract than he will be in year one. You say; "not all progress is linear". Well, not every free agent gets horribly worse at age 35. Some of them (mainly pitchers with really good stuff) get better. I could see that with Jiminez. I think a pitching coach could work wonders with him. I think a 5 for $60M +/- would be a nice deal.
    Also, you say what good is he in year one and two when you're not going to win (paraphrasing). Are you already giving up on 2015 John? I'm not. A lot of salaries are coming off the books from the last few years. If Jiminez is the only big free agent they sign this offseason, they should be able to sign one of the aces next year and maybe trade for a guy like Kemp, etc. That way they have some big bats to take the stress off of the kids. I'm not giving up on 2015 yet. I hope management sees it that way too. Btw, I know I've left the possibility open for someone to say that management hasn't given up on 2014 yet; they could go for it if their in it at the deadline.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Yes, Ubaldo could still be good at 35. And you have every right to believe that he could. But the numbers strongly say the odds aren't good. And since even Theo can't predict the future, he and the rest of us have go on best evidence. If the Cubs scouts like Jimenez's chances of beating the odds for some reason, then they could extend an offer like you suggest.

    I'm not privy to such information, so to me it doesn't sound like a good allocation of resources. We will know a lot more about 2015 as this next season progresses. Signing someone like Ubaldo at this point in time wouldn't be a terrible thing, but going after someone of his ilk at a point in time when we have a clearer picture what the future holds for guys like Castro, Castillo, Shark, Baez, Bryant, Alcantara, Pierce Johnson, Edwards, heck even Tanaka would be a far more prudent thing to do.

    2014 is going to tell us a lot. If players progress, I think you'll see the Cubs be a lot more aggressive. Until then, the risk factor is high.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    To Quedub below: Can't really argue with you. Like John and Hoosier, you know what you'e talking about. Props.
    What I worry about is that these salaries are escalating. Isn't it possible that someone "of Jiminez' ilk" will cost $5 M more per season next year? To me that is very possible. I wonder if the Cubs can get in on the ground floor (to quote my favorite movie of all time).

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Maybe, but you're not basing that off of anything but a gut feeling. When teams have to give FA contract they need to side with statistical data and historical trends. They have to play the odds, so to speak. Based on data from countless other players, Jimenez will probably pitch 2 more years with similar numbers, then start to decline. If you buy Jimenez, you have to understand that his greatest value will likely come in the next two years. That is what you are paying for because the back end isn't likely to provide value. For a team like the Cubs, those back end years are more important than those first two. In the 3rd year and beyond, they may be paying a premium for what by then could be a league average starting pitcher. It doesn't make good baseball business sense because a) at that point you could use the money more efficiently elsewhere -- and it takes future payroll space away from signing a pitcher who can be productive when you actually need it and b) you've traded a prospect (which is what most 2nd round picks become) for a few meaningless wins in the short term and what may well be an overpaid pitcher in the long term. That's a bad trade for a rebuilding team. That only makes sense if you are a team that stands to benefit from the signing in the next two years. If you are an 82-92 win team for example, it may make it worth that cost. The Cubs are not that team right now.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Indeed, John. It's simply a matter of timing and windows aligning. Add in the fact that the Cubs would have to give up their 2nd round pick and the decision becomes that much easier.

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    Here is my HOF rant. I know everyone has their own so I'll keep it relatively in check. If you have HOF numbers you should get in. I don't care if you were on steroids or gambled or whatever else. I always thought the Hall was about numbers, not what kind of person you are. If you want to add to peoples plaques that they were tied to something bad go ahead. Ty Cobb gambled on baseball. You hear sportswriters now talk about players in the hall now that admitted to steroids. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and every other MLB player before 1947 didn't have to face some of elite baseball talent just cause those players had the wrong skin color. Modern players have more games, but more travel. Everything is so subjective, just let the greats of the game in the Hall of Fame and let us judge them in history.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Well, there is a character clause. I think that it is pretty fair. Of those players on the margin, some will get in some will not. Sorry, but if I had a vote, known cheaters would not get my vote. HOF should be like the real world messy and unfair sometimes.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    And I think that is a fair position to take. I just feel it isn't my place or writers place to determine what exactly is cheating and what isn't. Steroids, speed, doctoring baseballs, corking bats, throwing games. At one time curveballs were illegal. There are hall of famers right now that have done all the things I mentioned. Now if someone is on the border or the fringe of the Hall character might be a factor like with Mark McGuire. But Barry Bonds and Pete Rose are not borderline. What if tomorrow a paper came out and said Willie Mays, Micky Mantle, and Billy Williams used steroids in the mid 60's? Would we revoke their hall cards? Hank Aaron admitted he took amphetamines during his career. Things are rarely cut and dry.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Pete Rose knew betting on baseball was wrong. Barry Bonds would have been a 1st ballot Hall-of-famer ex cept he got jealous McGwire and Sosa were getting more attention and turned into another roid abuser. These folks know what the rules are, and chose to ignore them. Pete Rose and Bonds thought they were bigger than the game itself, and now are finding out differently.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    More travel? A plane ride from NY to LA is no worse than a train trip from NY to St Louis was back in the day.

  • The hall of fame lost its last shred of credibility when it voted Larussa in(thanks to his pal reinsdorf). Officially just a museum in new York.

  • Which pitchers still out there would require a draft pick if signed?
    Is it worth it?

  • Awesome article, Man! Love the idea of Balfour at 5M or so for one year.

  • Per MLBTR:
    The Orioles will not sign Grant Balfour, executive vice president Dan Duquette told reporters, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly quotes Duquette (via Twitter) as saying: "We would never say never or close the door, but we're going to turn our attention elsewhere."

    Maybe their is an opportunity for the Cubs to swoop in here and pitch a "make good" value offer to Balfour... with the added promise that if he's looking to go to a contender, they promise to send him to one at the trade deadline as log as he holds up his end of the bargain and pitches well.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Per MLBTR:
    4:13pm: Balfour spoke with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and told her that he is baffled that the Orioles backed off because he is "100 percent fine." He went on to tell Slusser that his MRIs -- including the MRI taken of his right shoulder -- look exactly the same as they did three years ago. Slusser quotes Balfour:

    "I'm the All-Star pitcher I was last season. My shoulder is fine, everything is fine. I'm ready to come out there in the ninth inning, do what I do."

  • According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker the reigning Champion Rakuten Eagles (Tanaka's Team) have signed Kevin Youklis who now joins former MLBer's Kazuo Matsui, Takashi Saito , Andruw Jones and Darrell Rasner on Rakuten's roster.

    Looks like they are trying to show Masahiro Tanaka that they are serious about putting together a team to repeat as Champions this year in order to convince him to stay for another year (along with more money)

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