What’s Next for the Cubs?

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day was quite busy in recent years under the previous regime. Due to the fact that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been playing catch-up since they took over, the final five days of 2011 could be busy for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs announced a pair of minor signings on Monday and more figure to be on the horizon.

The Cubs agreed to terms on a non-guaranteed split contract with right-hander Andy Sonnanstine. The former Ray figures to compete for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation and pen this spring and could end up being a swingman if he makes the team out of camp.

Not only did the Cubs announce the signing of Andy Sonnanstine but they also made the signing of Manny Corpas official. The Manny Corpas deal came as no surprise, the signing leaked last week. The only difference is when the news leaked the deal was thought to be a guaranteed Major League contract. Corpas ended up signing a non-guaranteed split contract and will compete for a spot in the Cubs’ pen during Spring Training.

Reed Johnson has reportedly agreed in principal on a one-year deal with the Cubs. The Cubs have not announced Johnson has re-signed and by not making the deal official it gives the team a little roster flexibility … and the same might be happening with Kerry Wood as the new regime tries to figure out their next move.

Here’s the update …

Brad Lidge
According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs “have had at least low-level contact with Brad Lidge.” Lidge is coming off another injury plagued year and seems to fit in with the recent signings and trades of the new regime.

Lidge appeared in only 25 games last season and picked up one save. He lost his closer’s job and could be looking for a way to prove he can still close out games.

If the Cubs are trying to move Carlos Marmol, as reports have suggested, and with Sean Marshall already out of the picture, a veteran like Brad Lidge could help the young relievers with their development and in turn Lidge could show the rest of baseball he can still get the job done.

Brad Lidge’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Talkin’ Baseball with Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood talked Chicago baseball on Christmas Eve morning. The team on the North Side dominated the two hour show and here are a few of the highlights:

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs have high hopes for Ronald Torreyes, the 19-year old second baseman acquired in the Travis Wood-Sean Marshall deal. Levine said the Cubs project him as their starting second baseman in the near future and pairing him with Starlin Castro for the next 8-10 years.
Levine also said that Dave Sappelt could make the Cubs’ roster out of Spring Training this year if they are able to trade Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd.
As for Matt Garza’s future with the Cubs, Levine thinks there is a 20 percent chance Matt Garza is with the Cubs on Opening Day. Levine said the Cubs are talking to Garza’s agent about a 4-5 year contract extension if they cannot find a suitable trade. The prospects the Yankees and Blue Jays are offering could be appealing to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer but they have not decided what they would like to do with Garza … trade him or build around him.
Jonathan Hood asked Levine about the compensation packages the Cubs still owe the Red Sox and Padres for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. Levine said the Epstein compensation could have already been settled. Levine explained there is no prescedent for a team to receive compensation for a general manager moving from a team and receiving a promotion to team president other than Andy MacPhail. The Twins received a minor league pitcher and $200,000 for MacPhail when he took over the Cubs. The Red Sox were being unreasonable at first due to Larry Lucchino making the situation personal. The Sox asked for the likes of Matt Garza, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro at one point because he was mad at Theo Epstein. Levine thinks the two sides may have already worked out the compensation by agreeing that Theo Epstein could not hire another Red Sox’s employee for three years. The agreement between the two teams was a big deal for Boston because they do not want to lose any more of their current front office staff and scouts.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs are still involved with talks for Prince Fielder. The Cubs insistence that they are rebuilding would seem to point to zero interest by the team in inking Fielder to a big money, long-term contract. The Cubs continue to deny interest but the national media keeps linking Fielder to the Cubs.

Jon Paul Morosi reiterated the Cubs interest in trading for Anthony Rizzo. But do the Cubs have anything to offer the Padres’ for Rizzo? Any possible deal for Rizzo that included Matt Garza likely would need a third team to be involved. The cash-strapped Padres do not have room for Garza under their payroll restrictions.

As for other possible first basemen … Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena and Casey Kotchman are available and could be options for the Cubs as Morosi pointed out. The Cubs’ new regime never closed the door on Pena returning but if the Cubs are interested in Lee or Kotchman, it would be the first time this off-season they’ve been connected to either player.

According to Jon Paul Morosi, some in baseball believe Carlos Marmol could be had for the right price.

The Cubs are among several teams with varying degrees of interest in Joe Saunders, Paul Maholm and Jeff Francis. Saunders told MLB Radio Network/XM Radio last week that he would like to sign with a contender.

According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs are not done pursuing starters and have talked with lefties Paul Maholm and Jeff Francis.

According to multiple reports from Bruce Levine, Jeff Samardzija will compete for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation this spring.

Shawon Dunston, Jr. tweeted over the holiday weekend that he will be at this year’s Cubs Convention.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • daverj

    If the Cubs drafted a pitcher that at age 22 in 2009 in double A and triple A combined went 13-5 with a 1.77 ERA, 7.2 K/9 rate, and 1.038 WHIP, we’d be talking him up like a future ace (even if he had some success and some failures in 2010 and 2011 in the majors).  Except for being drafted by the Reds instead of the Cubs, that pitcher is Travis Wood.  

    I don’t think he’s a future top of the rotation guy, but I do think that if the Cubs had drafted him and he’d had success in our system, Cub fans would be a lot more optimistic about his future.  He has a very good chance to be a solid #4 starter and a fair chance to be a quality #3 starter.

    I read a post comparing him to Casey Coleman.  Where is the evidence for that comparison?  Travis Wood has always been the better prospect and is projected to have a much better future as a major leaguer.

    • John_CC

      Agreed, daverj.  It’s part of the process of being a long suffering Cubs fan to be disgusted with every trade.

    • GaryLeeT

      Wells had great MiLB numbers too. The Cubs are well stocked with starters who can cover positions 3-5.

      • daverj

        Yes, but Wells is 4.5 years older and has proven that he’s nothing more than a #5 in the majors.  Wood has 4 more years before we can make that kind of statement about him.

        • GaryLeeT

           If Wood had potential to do anything at all, why didn’t the Reds try him as the lefty out of the pen, instead of going for Marshall? Is because team genius just pantsed that green horn Jockety?

          • daverj

            Most Reds fans seem to think the Cubs screwed Jockety on the deal.  I don’t agree with that line of thinking, but I think it was a pretty even trade.

            Marshall is much better than Wood for 2012, but Marshall only has 1 year until free agency while Wood is under team control for 5 years.  That makes a big difference in the overall values of the players.

          • ChazMulherin

            but once you factor in Torreyes and Sappelt, it favors the cubs. Now, if the Reds can sign Marshall for an extension, it’ll be worth it.

          • Dorasaga

            At what cost?

    • paulcatanese

      I agree that Cub fans would be excited over someone like that, and talking him up as a future ace.
      But   2010 and 2011 would have had him under control of JH and Quade, and for all intents and purpose Wood probably not even had a chance and would be lost in the system and at best, could have been called up and under Quade, well everyone knows the talent Quade had with pitching,,,none.
      There were several better prospects that the Cubs had and were mis used or injured under that management.
      In that sense, I think we are lucky that he was drafted by the Reds and we would get him from them now, after deleting Quade and JH from the picture.

    • cubbie fan

      Chicago Cubs need to agreed to terms with LHP Scott Kazmir of the Los Angeles ,     RHP Rich Harden from The Oakland Athletics and RHP Brandon Webb form the Texas Rangers on a Spring Training Non-Roster Inviteees Contracts        

  • Tony Spumoni

    I don’t know what exactly all of these moves and non-moves will add up to, but I’m enjoying the ride.  Spring training should be more interesting than usual this year.  I may have to schedule a trip to Arizona.

  • John_CC

    Thanks for the late night update, Neil. Been catchin up, here.

    I love to think about and theorize about the Epstein compensation soap opera.  It’s just intriguing, period.

    Lucchino is a pain in Theo’s ass. Was and Is. He knows it, Theo knows it. He wants Garza, Castro…laughable. I would give anything to be a fly on the wall in either/both offices to hear the conversations. The inside deals and talk about each other must be something to behold.

    In the end it promises to be anticlimactic. How can it be anything but? There were a lot of folks here two months ago wailing about how much the Cubs where going to lose…it will never be worth having Epstein…we’re gonna lose Jackson…

    Laughable. The tweeters and bloggers and 24/7 know-it-alls have cursed us into foaming mouthed fervor so many times.

    Let’s just what and see.  What do you say?

  • Tony_Hall

    So once again, after the dust settles, Manny Corpas is not guaranteed a spot on the 25 man roster, and they can put him in Iowa, if needed.  Now, what we don’t know, is whether he has an opt out clause, if not on the major league roster, by a certain date.  What we don’t know, can often be the difference between a good signing and a bad one.

  • Tony_Hall

    Maybe Levine is right (boy that’s hard to type, even as a hypothetical), they already worked out the compensation package for Theo coming to the Cubs, and are buying time because it is not anyone that Boston fans will like or be happy with, after thinking they might get Garza, Castro, etc.  Just like K Wood and R Johnson are done, they don’t have to announce it, for our sake.

    • Chazmulherin

      It would definitely be a low spec or something that Boston fans wouldn’t care about anyways.

      And wow. You sure love using Commas!

  • Anthony

    “According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs have high hopes for Ronald Torreyes, the 19-year old second baseman acquired in the Travis Wood-Sean Marshall deal. Levine said the Cubs project him as their starting second baseman in the near future and pairing him with Starlin Castro for the next 8-10 years.”

    WOW, if that came from the Front Office Suits.

    That would be the first revelation coming from the “close to vest” brigade, so if true, expect a 2013-14 arrival(near future), a fast track situation starting in Daytona where he will leapfrog Alcantara and several other 2B kids and with initial success, finish 2012 at AA TENN.

    Theo wants a keystone of Castro/Torryes.

    Now who really said that, Levine, or Levine?

    • GaryLeeT

      So everybody else sees Torreyes as the Red’s 20th ranked prospect, but the Cub’s brain truss sees him on a fast track to be the Cubs’ star 2nd baseman of the future? That sure is some special gift they have.

      • Chazmulherin

        Yeah, he’s got a long way to go and could easily flame out. Scouts have a hard time with him because of his size and can’t rank him too high unless he starts to fill out. If he does though, I think he has a legit chance at cracking the roster more around ’14-15.
        But anything can happen, I mean, he crushed A ball…don’t get too happy yet.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Corpas gets $1M base from #cubs while in bigs on big-league deal plus up to 700K for days on active roster, 200K incentives. if he maxes out his appearance incentives, corpas can actually hit $2M. there are also games finished bonuses additionally

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I said before That the Cubs might still end up signing FIELDER.

    • daverj

      It’s possible, but his demands are going to have to drop steeply.  It will depend on whether Boras can convince the Mariners, Jays or Nats to shell out a big dollar, long term contract.

      It would make sense for the Nats to overpay for Fielder.  Looks like they may have a window of opportunity to go for it. A line-up of Desmond, Werth, Zimmerman, Fielder, Morse, Espinosa, Ramos and Bernadina would be be very formidable.  They have a solid rotation with the addition of Gonzalez and two top tier relievers in Clippard and Storen.

  • cubtex

    “Attention WalMart Shoppers……Attention WalMart Shoppers in the Clearance section….Please be aware that Theo Epstein has entered our store and he is running to the clearance aisle! Please be cautious….He has been purchasing quite a few items from our Clearance Bargain Rack! Proceed with caution.”

    • coolpdxcubsfan

      All items are sold “as is”, some are broken and need slight repair while others are just shop worn or previously unsold items.

      • cubtex

        very good!

    • SethB

      At least he is not digging through the garbage.

  • Anthony

    Put on your scouting hats, get out your crystal balls, and lets project Prince Fielder after the 2016 season.

    The next five seasons will be at ages 28-32(born 5/84)

    He is currently listed at 5’11” and 275 pounds.

    Lets assume(or not, your choice) he will be a player that follows the old timetable of rise and decline, meaning an age 35 peak, then the decline starts rapidly from a bat speed/power standpoint.

    If he peaks at age 35, that would be 8 years into any deal.

    Now lets consider the “payday” scenario. Fielder can either get one more huge payday contract, or two, the 2nd being a lesser one if it starts at age 33, that would eventually lead into the DH years forthcoming.

    Let’s consider that Borish is trying to get $1 more than the Pujols contract over the next 10 years so he can feel he won, and satisfy his EGO, which is a very real thing.

    Let’s assume(or not), that Fielder’s worth will decline in a contract starting at age 33 thru 37, and his final payday would likely be much smaller in AAV with an AL Club as a DH.

    In other words, on a 10 year contract, there has to be a frontloaded cost to make him tradeable/affordable after 5-6 years to an AL club.

    One major difference is that Pujols will be 32-41 in age versus 28-37, but, here is an option for all you Fielder fans, as signing a proven all-star does generate peripheral revenues in advertising and merchandise, so there is cost recovery in the equation to arrive at a true net cost of the player.

    You want his services for at least 6 years, then the option to deal him to the AL. Since Theo is signing cheap speculation players, and some trades may lessen the 2012 payroll, and others rolling off the books after 2013, structure a deal as follows:

    10 years, $250M

    2012 $28M(28m)………feeling queasy?
    2013 $28M(56m)………you starting to gag?
    2014 $30M(86m)………how does that bile taste?
    2015 $30M(116m)……..300 pounds yet?
    2016 $30M(146m)……….did you throw up yet?
    2017 $25M(171m), age 34 season next

    There is now $79 million dollars still owed to Fielder.

    Will an AL Club take on a 4 year, $79M DH who may look
    like a dirigible ages 34-35-36-37?

    I started feeling queasy at the first $28M

    Play the kids!

    Why pay $28M for a possible .290BA and 35 bombs when you can win with a .275BA and a possible 25 bombs for $500K, because, it still is about pitching and defense first, and a balanced and creative offense with contributions up and down the entire lineup.

    • daverj

      Anthony – The fans calling for the Cubs to sign Fielder are likely the same ones that liked the Soriano signing at the time.  If you look back in the CCO archives, you’ll see posts praising Hendry and the Cubs for such a great signing.  Just like Prince, the warning signs were there on Soriano for those that paid attention.  You can spell out the risks and projections over and over, but all they see is the instant gratification of a better 2012.

      • Anthony

        This transition has a little John Hart/Cleveland Indians flavor starting in 1989, advise some to start a read with the Wiki page for some history, and I like it.

        One huge difference is the Soriano balance remaining, but thats OK. Playing him in 2012 makes him earn some of the salary, and since his career is about done, he may get tired of the transitional losing and beg his way out to an AL contender, but the desperation would call for the player to make salary concessions, as absurd as that sounds.

        2012 is about system restructure
        2013 is about injection of Farm youth
        2014 is when you spend to plug holes

        13-14 should include some arrivals, maybe even some from the 2011 Draft crop.

        When the CCO minor league reports start to heat up, would like them to include things like:

        What the player needs to do, and if they succeed, estimated arrival date to MLB

        • daverj

          Your timeline makes sense.  Although given that there are a number of quality free agent starting pitchers after next season (Cain, Hamels, Greinke, Marcum), I think the Cubs may spend to bring one of them in next offseason.

      • paulcatanese

        I am not one of them looking for Fielder, think it would be a bigger mistake than Soriono ever was.
        Its reported Fielder weighs 275lbs, in you’re dreams, more like 300 plus. Has no upside on defense unless he falls one way or another blocking that side of the infield, actually if he falls the infield would slope towards the right field line.
        No doubt he is a good clubhouse guy, anyone that takes up more than half of the clubhouse would have to be.
        At the time Soriono was signed by the Cubs, I thought it was a good signing, but had no access to any blog, CCO or anything like that. It was what I read in the papers.
        The bottom line is their would be no protection in the Cub lineup other than Soriono and maybe LaHair but that would be it, and thats not enough to warrant a long term contract with Fielder, I completely say pass on Fielder.

        • Chadaudio

          You’re absolutely correct Paul.

          Fielder would definitely be a bigger mistake then Soriano.  
          Soriano was apart of a win-now plan.  He was the best lead-off hitter that was going to be available for years, and he was part of an almost complete lineup.  The absurd Soriano contract was the only way to get him for those few win-now years.  
          I think most knew it was going to be a contract that was regretted by now – but if we wouldn’t have gotten swept in the playoff EVERY TIME, it still would have been worth it.  We were trying to buy our way to a WS, and a lot had to be sacrificed to do so.  Look, we wouldn’t have had that 97 win season without Soriano.

          I remember laughing when Hendry said Soriano was young for his age… yikes.  But, if it meant we could make it to the playoffs for a few years – then it was ok.

          I feel, what compounded the Soriano contract was that too many other players on the roster were also given no-trade clauses.

    • GaryLeeT

      So there is a Fielder type in the system? That’s news to me. Just because the Cubs got burned by Soriano’s contract, does not make all long term contracts bad. Soriano, made his contract bad. Not to mention it was probably started at a real age of about 32 or 33, not his Dominican age of 30. Do you think the Cards regretted their long term contract with Pujols? To compare Fielder to Soriano is beyond ridiculous. That’s like comparing Zito to Sabathia.
       I think Fielder would take a front loaded 6 year deal with an opt out. That way he could get 2 big paydays instead of one. I am hoping the Cubs are playing it coy with the FAs, and are waiting until it gets closer to Spring when the players start to get nervous, and the agents come to them, instead of the other way around. That would be smart. However if they just write off 2012 and “just play the kids” without confessing they are doing so, and/or lowering ticket prices, then I will be an even unhappier Cub’s fan.

      • Anthony

        in an effort to avoid retaliation, tongue bitten

        read the post again

        but to make things easier

        25 bombs cost you 500K, or 20k/bomb

        35 bombs cost you 25M, or say,

        the first 25 at 20K/bomb

        Then your cost for the next 10 are at $2.45M each

        That is 2,450,000 dollars for home runs 26-35

        That is not a great rate of return, and the bombs could be at meaningless times in one-sided games either way, or solo shots

        That is not how you win baseball games, and in business, allocate the budget wisely

        • GaryLeeT

           I don’t understand. What 500K player are you comparing Fielder to?

          • Anthony

            not comparing, looking for production at a fraction of a ridiculous cost

      • SuzyS

        It really does not matter what Fielder would or would not take. The Cubs just don’t need any potential one tool players…which is what Fielder is with a long term, big money contract.
        Smokey Burgess here I come!!!

        • GaryLeeT

          Who are all the five tool players in MLB? Only Granderson, or Braun (with an asterik) comes to mind.

          • Chadaudio

            She didn’t say they had to be 5 tool – just more then one tool.

          • GaryLeeT

             Depends on how over whelming the one is and how underwhelming the rest are. Fielder has VERY overwhelming batting stats. Hence, the asking price.

          • daverj

            I’d add Kemp, McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, and Ellsbury. 

          • GaryLeeT

             McCutchen is a stretch. His batting stats are a little light, and Gonzales had an off year at the plate too. I would add the other 3 though.

      • Thinker756

        Fielder is a bad risk.  He is carrying too much weight, and his body will be breaking down by the time he turns 30.  He could potentially also develope illnesses like diabetes, or heart disease.  He is also an injury risk.   If the cubs sign him, it shouldn’t be more than 3 years.  Or they could put a clause in his contract that would require him to lose weight.  Either way he is a risk.

    • cc002600

      I don’t think anyone has advocated giving Prince 10 years. That ain’t gonna happen, nor should it.  If the cubs can get him for 6 years, I would do it, but no more than that.

      you say play the kids….that’s great, but what kids ????
      They have no talent at higher levels, other than a couple guys.

      Do you understand how long it takes for guys playing in the lower levels to really start producing significantly at MLB level ?

      Look at it this way, VERY few guys come up and produce significantly as rookies or in their 2nd or 3rd years. So when you factor that in to a guy who is only 18-20 years old, you are looking at 6 to 8 years before that guy really starts producing for you at a potential all-star level in MLB. 

      Do you really want to watch them win 70 games for the next 6 years ??  Because that’s what you are looking at if you are going to sit here and wait for guys in A ball or rookie ball to be your next saviors.  It’s a VERY LONG process.

      so when you say “play the kids” be careful what you wish for. I’m all for it, but they don’t have the talent right now.

      • Anthony

        many of the “kids”are now 25-26

        you want Prince for 6 years, at 25-30M per year?

        you missed my point, sorry

        you want to pay a guy 28M for one season?

        Not me, you missed my point, sorry

        • cc002600

          yes, I would do 25M for 6 years for Prince, but not 28M or 30M / yr….and definitely NOT more than 6 years.  That is max.

          and which kids are 25 – 26 ? Other than BJax, what impact guy in the minors is coming next year or 2013?  To me, their best prospects are 3 to 5 years away. Are they not ?

          Ok, if I missed your point, sorry, fill me in.
          I’m slow :-)

          • Anthony

            you can’t be impact without a shot in the show, and when you prove yourself at the highest level, and get stalled, it is then on the front office and their fright

          • cc002600

            ok, what players in the Cub farm system at the higher levels are you ready to give a shot to ?  Bjax, yes. LaHair ? ok. gimme some other names.

            remember, just because a guy is young doesn’t guarantee he will be good.

          • Coachdon

            Also, just because he’s young doesn’t mean he’s bad…

  • daverj

    There are four ways to acquire star players:

    (1) Develop them in your farm system;

    (2) Take fliers on skilled players that have failed (or been injured) for other teams and hope they turn things around;

    (3) Trade young homegrown talent for an established star; and

    (4) Free agency.

    I can’t think of any team that has won a World Series relying primarily on Option 4.  The Cubs would have been pretty foolish to think they could have signed Darvish, Fielder, Jackson, etc and win a title.  It doesn’t happen that way.

    • Anthony

      Agree, and one issue is WHEN to take a chance and insert your developed Farm guys

      We have a guy, hit .309 with 20 bombs, how long does he have to wait?

      Oh, sorry, those are Rebel Ridling’s 2011 stats, not Brett Jackson, so I guess that as he turns age 26, he can be added to the AAAA group?

      That’s part of my point. Each season not inserted, they fall into the LaHair syndrome, meaning a maybe break into MLB nearing age 30?

      It seemed every season, “back in the day”, a new kid made his MLB debut in the age 22-24 range.

      How refreshing it would be when a GM would play multiple youngters at the same time versus $10M retreads who bat .215 because they have ML experience.

      paul might appreciate, but you have to give these guys credit for continuing to play when each year they get leapfrogged or trumped by a FA.

      Each season is probably a lost year of a normal career, for around $5500 dollars, less than the Federal Minimum Wage.

      The RULE 5 is a joke, a mere compliance formality, as for every Flaherty, there are 50 afterthoughts.

      Make the Rule 5 after 2 full seasons for college players and 5 seasons for high school players, and you would put a huge scare in all 30 GM’s, and slowly eliminate over-priced free agent retread signings. Call it the “sheet or get off the Pot rule”, if you wish.

      • Calicub

        I agree that the Cubs system has been awful at promoting And giving the youth a shot. Its sad every year to see deserving guys fall by the wayside.

        However, can we really call Ridling a AAAA? He hasn’t even hit AAA yet.. but as Tom stated yesterday, besides being 26 Rebel, lost a year in development due to illness and is actually closer to on track than his age suggests…

        • Anthony

          Cali, not calling him AAAA

          I understand the injury, but as for timetable, are prospects meant to debut at age 27?

          • Calicub

            fair enough and definetly not. But what can you expect when your brought up in a syste that favors retreads and FA at a premium over young unproven hitters for mere pennies on the dollar. However, we cannot change that fact and the fact of the matter is is tht these guys are past their target date, but as say better late than never..

            Your obviously way more knowledgabe on the system than me. But if LaHair absolutely bombs as a full timer come the all star break, and Rebel is tearing up AAA, assuming he gets that slot, do you see him making an appearance in July? 2012 seems like a perfect year to introduce a whole new wav of prospects into the system. 1B, 2B, Catcher, Bullpen, starting rotation, maybe even 3B if this Stewart business goes belly up, and eventually CF; hopefully BJAX hits the ground running…

    • GaryLeeT

      They would not be signing free agents to win today. They would sign them to compete today, and keep the turnstiles moving, so the revenues are there when they want to win tomorrow. Besides, for now, there is nobody in the farm system to develop, therefore your options 1 and 3 are out.
       Unless you over pay them, what free agent in their right mind would ever come to the Cubs, even 3 years from now? That’s about the time the talent will be headed into AA. However, if they see a team trying to build both ways, they might get on board.

      • daverj

        It all depends on how many years the Cubs would need to give a free agent.  If we’re talking 5 or 6, then your point makes some sense … have a big bat on the team as we’re building up a farm system.  But if it takes a 7-10 year contract, you would be placing a huge burden on future payrolls (like Soriano) that could prevent the team from having payroll flexibility down the road when one last piece is needed.

        You said in an earlier post that you wouldn’t give Prince $250 mil over 10 years … so maybe you and I just differ on what we think it would actually take to sign a guy like that.  I think the Cubs have already made a big 5 or 6 year offer to Prince (maybe 6 years at $150 mil), but don’t want to go further in years.  I just think another team that is closer to contending like the Nats or the Jays will eventually cave in to Boras and give a much more lucrative contract to Fielder.

      • Anthony

        as I bite my tongue to avoid retaliation, suggest you attend at least one game for every minor league level of the Cubs, then get back to us


        • GaryLeeT

          Yes, I have seen your comments before that suggest unless they see minor league games in person, then they are not allowed to judge.
          Tell you what, If you can run my company, and pay my bills for a couple of weeks, while I play scout, it’s deal. Otherwise, why can’t I use the recent history of the what the farm system has produced for the big club, as my barometer? And if the farm system is so great, why does everybody say it needs to be rebuilt?

          • daverj

            I usually don’t agree with Gary, but I’m with him here.  One can get a decent account of what we have in the farm system based on stats and other reviews without actually watching each player on a daily basis.

          • Anthony

            running your business sight-unseen is a no-no, and daverj, keep trusting nerds working for money driven magazines like BA, and the rest.

            Internally, they are looked upon as a nuisance

          • daverj

            I generally rely on Sickels.  You lump him in with the BA guys?

          • John_CC

            The way I understand Anthony’s argument, he is not claiming that the farm system is great but there are players that have earned a chance, players that management should be moving up in order to find out if they could compete. That is how the system is supposed to work.

            Rather when guys in the mid-20s have impressive years in AA or AAA they are passed over for a FA retread (LaHair vs. Pena) or are blocked.

            If you continue to ignore hitters that are hitting in the lower levels, then what the hell is the point?

            At least that is how I read Anthony’s comments, maybe I’m wrong.

          • Anthony


          • GaryLeeT

             Not only have the Cubs passed over (blocked) their own talent, so have, the 29 other teams in baseball? Don’t you think if the Cubs had some diamonds in the rough, somebody would be asking for them?

          • John_CC


          • paulcatanese

            I happen to agree with Anthony here, but on one little different slice.
            I think Theo and staff have had their mind made up about the Cubs minor league system before they ever came over here.
            They strongly believe it should be blown up and re-stocked as they have not seen any impact players come forth,before they got here.
            I just dont buy looking at recent history as looking at the prior management team and what they have done with the players in the system, that has been the problem.
            The idea that they are using to replace players from the lower levels is one that I could agree with if they were to observe and evaluate on a personal level.
            Players in the Cub system have been blocked, passed over or at best given a very short leash to succeed.
            Gary, I dont think its everyone that says the system has to be rebuilt but its Theo and group that say it( not that they do not have the best intentions) but that more of their time has been spent looking outside the system instead of in it, with the short amount of time they have been here.

          • GaryLeeT

            I think it’s pretty rare that talent is “blocked”. Cream always rises to the top, and real stars won’t be denied their shot…..eventually. The Cubs jettisoned (the now W.S. ring wearing) Theriot, in a hurry, to make room for Castro.

          • paulcatanese

            Gary, I agree that it is rare that talent is blocked, but it does happen, especialy in the last two years. Even when brought up players were not given a sufficient opportunity to succeed.
            Agree with the making of room for Castro, but he is still learning and will improve.
            Theriot was not a shortstop and would have been moved regardless.

          • Dorasaga

            Paul, (and Anthony, I guess) Epstein, Hoyer & Company had scouted those Cubs players on a personal level. In fact, they probably scouted A LOT MORE THAN all us fans combined before they came to the rescue of Tom Ricketts.

            Why? They were GMs. They tried to get our undervalued players. They laid out different sets of plan if they can unload their own Soriano for a Cashner. Especially Hoyer, with the Padres, he needed to see what’s coming in his league in two or even five years.

            I’m pretty sure Epstein, while with the Redsox and before reading all those blame of him for the late collapse, was going through the Cubs system with his regional scouts et al., after Tom gave him that call: Sir, you know we just fired Jim Hendry, and we are looking for a newer management and some trade assets to get closer to the World Series in five years…

            Bingo, he gets it.

            I rest my case.

  • paulcatanese

    According to Morosi, the Cubs are still interested in Fielder and now throw in Derrick Lee and Pena, wow what a mess. If Lee and Pena come back together they could always platoon, can anyone envision that?
    Keep all three moving , but not to the Cubs,(although the defense would be pretty good with Lee and Pena) Ah, but no, dont do it Theo.

    • John_CC

      Ignore that stuff, Paul.  The stove has settled to a simmer and these guys have to TWEET something! 

      Undoubtedly there are a lot irons in the fire, they have to keep as many options open as possible and they are on a big board ranked in order of preference. D Lee is most likely so low on that board that his name isn’t even written down. I do not believe for one second that Lee would be given a contract to start over LaHair. 

  • Anthony

    There are many ways to skin a Cat.

    Baseball is still about winning 50, losing 50, and settle the difference of the remaining 62 games thru talent, luck, breaks, baseball gods, and every little way the ball can bounce, starting with pitching and defense(see 85 Cards).

    Free Agency changes the equation of win 60/lose 60, the numbers are now 50/50(Astros 2011).

    The other factor that should keep progressing is the elimination of the Cream, the Clear, Steroids, PEDS, whatever you want to call them. Phony artificial power has been on the decline since the “jig was up” 7 to 8 years ago, and with the CBA, eventually flush out the remaining cheaters, most on the way out anyway once they cycled off.

    Now, we may get back to playing baseball the right way. Older free agents will be much less desirable with eroded skills and Clubs will be forced to either play the Farm or trade the farm, but not for some 34 year old journeyman.

    Watching games as a kid in the mid-60’s before all-out expansion and free-agency were factors, watching it evolve in the 70’s and 80’s where an all-star was really a star, into a transitional 90’s where the Juice was introduced, and to where it is these days, weening off and reverting back.

    The older fellas on CCO know what I’m talkin about. The ones who grew up in the Roid Age, sorry, you haven’t seen real baseball yet, you became fans through broadcast media, ESPN, and the Money Age.

    Where’s the Tylenol!

    • Aaron

      Don’t mean to correct but it’s actually 60 and 60 and the other 42 is what determines the outcome of a team’s season

      • Anthony

        Houston, they have a problem

  • paulcatanese

    What if Boras threw a party and no one showed up?

    • Anthony

      he pays posse to pretend

    • Anthony

      paul, I like these debates because fans are from various generations

      not many here have been around as a youngster to catch a pop foul off the bat of the greatest RF arm in history, Roberto Clemente

      and you remember the game before the reserve clause and expansion, like I do

      the game has changed

      but the worst thing was the steroids

      • paulcatanese

        Steroids, wow. Being around the College game (football and baseball) gave me a first hand look.
        Who is to blame? The kids who take or took them or the programs that put so much pressure on athletes to succeed that they turn to the steroids to get an edge?
        Twelve years around the game and it was pretty rampant.
        The sad part of it is that everyone pretended they knew nothing about it or were surprised when someone they knew was found out with the drug in
        thier system.
        I only hope those days are gone from Baseball, but it will be harder for football and now even has ventured into golf.