Cubs Pencil in a Closer with the Signing of Jose Veras

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have a veteran arm to pitch in the back of their bullpen to start the season. The Cubs agreed to terms on a one-year contract with RHP Jose Veras that carries $4 million in guaranteed money. And Veras’ deal is one that could benefit the Cubs beyond the 2014 season while giving Pedro Strop a little more time to develop. Veras’ contract would not prevent the Cubs from flipping him before the end of July and once again turn a short-term asset into young, controllable players moving forward.

Jose Veras’ will be paid a $3.85 million base salary for 2014. The contract includes a $150,000 buyout on a club option for 2015 that could be worth $5.5 million. Veras can also earn an additional $750,000 based on the number of significant games finished (games saved).

Veras gives the Cubs a veteran in the back of their pen and he will go into the Spring Training as the team’s closer according to multiple reports. The front office still thinks Pedro Strop has the ability to close games and the addition of Veras will give him time next year instead of just throwing him into the role.

The Mariners had an offer on the table to Veras and both the Rockies and Astros were reportedly in the mix for Jose Veras after he notched a career high 21 saves for Houston and Detroit last year. Veras recorded career lows in ERA (3.02) and WHIP (1.07) and finished 45 of the 67 games he appeared in. The Tigers declined a $3.25 million option on Veras in November and made him a free agent. Brandon Hyde should know the Cubs’ new closer rather well. Hyde and Veras were together in Florida during the 2010 season.

Rick Renteria will have multiple options for his bullpen when Spring Training begins on Feb. 13. Pedro StropHector Rondon, Justin Grimm, Blake Parker, Arodys Vizcaino and Alberto Cabrera will compete for spots in the pen from the right side while Wesley Wright, James Russell, Zac Rosscup and Brooks Raley will give Renteria options from the left side. Plus Carlos Villanueva and Chris Rusin could end up in the rotation or in the pen as long relievers with the way the roster is currently constructed. And the Cubs are hoping Kyuji Fujikawa is back by June.

The addition of Jose Veras takes the Cubs out of the mix for other right handed relievers on the market (Mitchell Boggs, Joaquin Benoit) but they are believed to still be interested in LHP Jonathan Sanchez and LHP Clayton Richard. The Cubs view both lefties as relievers and not starters, and would likely sign one of the two southpaws but not both.

The front office indicated last week they had spent a lot of time trying to improve the bullpen and the additions of Jose Veras and Wesley Wright look good on paper along with the improvements made by relievers on the roster at the end of the season.

Once the signing of Jose Veras is announced, the Cubs will have a full 40 man roster. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would like to add at least one starter this winter and the big league roster currently has four lefty relievers on it.

Jeff Samardzija

The Jeff Samardzija rumors took a little breathier Tuesday after reports on Monday indicated the Braves are no longer in the mix.

Jim Bowden posted a list of ten moves that he feels should still happen this off-season on Tuesday … and the Blue Jays trading for Jeff Samardzija was number two on Bowden’s report.


Bowden acknowledged the Cubs are asking for Aaron Sanchez to be part of any deal for Samardzija. But Toronto is not willing to include Sanchez in a Samardzija trade. Bowden thinks a package of RHP Marcus Stroman, LHP Daniel Norris and OF Anthony Gose would probably get the deal done. Baseball America recently ranked Stroman as the second best prospect in the Blue Jays’ system behind Sanchez and Norris checked in at number six. The once highly touted Gose has really struggled in the big leagues and hit just .259/.283/.408 with six doubles, five triples and two home runs in 52 games for the Jays last season.

Masahiro Tanaka

The Rakuten Golden Eagles have not officially posted Masahiro Tanaka but as The Tanaka Watch entered day two, all signs are pointing to him being posted in the very near future.

Masahiro Tanaka told the Eagles on Monday night (Central Standard Time) that he wants to pitch in the majors next season and asked to be posted. Reports indicated an official announcement on Tanaka being posted might take a couple days.

Jerry Crasnick reported on Tuesday night that he was hearing that Tanaka has picked an agent but is not ready to make it known who will represent him while he is negotiating deals with big league clubs.

Multiple reports (and speculation) on Tuesday indicated Masahiro Tanaka is looking at a contract north of $100 million, plus the $20 million posting fee. The Yankees covet Tanaka and will go all out to sign him according to ESPN New York … even if it means soaring past the self-imposed $189 million payroll for next season.

Darwin Barney

Even with Brian Roberts heading to the Bronx and Jim Hendry finally having Roberts in an organization he works for, Jim Bowden still thinks Darwin Barney ends up with the Yankees by Opening Day.

Brian Cashman is interested in trading for Darwin Barney or the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa according to Bowden. The Yankees do not have many tradable pieces in their system and Cashman is not going to be pressured into making a bad deal for either Barney or Espinosa by either the Cubs’ front office or Mike Rizzo.

The Cubs are looking for young players, and more than likely pitching in return for Darwin Barney, according to Jim Bowden, and Cashman is not willing to deal one of their better starting pitching prospects for Darwin Barney.

News and Notes

The Red Sox released RHP Chris Carpenter on Tuesday so he could sign with the Yakult Swallows. Carpenter was sent to Boston as part of the compensation for the Red Sox letting Theo Epstein out of his contract.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

  • Ripsnorter1

    I heard Jim Callis of MLB.com being interviewed on 670 the Score around 11 am. on 17 Dec 2013.
    Callis was asked, (And I paraphrase) “The Cubs pitching prospects are thin in the MiL. I believe that they may have to trade
    one of the four top prospects for pitching. Which of the four would you trade: Bryant, Almora, Soler, Baez?”

    Callis replied as I would have: “I don’t believe the Cubs will have to trade one of the four for pitching. But if I did,Baez and Bryant are likely 35-40 HR players in MLB. I think the Cubs would
    be insane to deal either one of them off. Players with that kind of power and potential are so exceedingly rare,
    I would not trade the for anything. Almora hasn’t the ceiling as the first two, but his floor is so high already. I see him
    as a Gold Glove winning CF. I’d want to keep him. If I have to trade one, it would be Soler. While I believe the first three
    are “can’t miss” prospects, Soler is a hit or miss prospect. He has cultural adjustment issues. He has holes in his game
    that need development. He is by no means a sure thing.”

    He went on: “Having said that, other GMs see what I am seeing, so he has less value. And he may very well
    be untradable with that contract. He certainly has less value on the basis of talent/development alone, and that
    contract diminishes further value.”

    • Tony_Hall

      That is not hard to figure out. Every player is worth their value to a team (usually figured in an estimated WAR) minus the cost of the player. Of the 4 guys, Soler is the only one with a contract that takes anything away from his value and of the 4 is the only one that you don’t know will play in the majors. He is more of a normal prospect that could miss. With that said, I don’t think he will, he just needs time in the minors and (as long as he is healthy) this will be telling season for him.

      I don’t think they will trade any of them or others for pitching. This year will also see how fast a few of the pitchers will be moving to the majors.

      • Eugene Debs

        I agree. We’ll keep all 4 of those guys barring injury etc. There are other tradable prospects in the Cubs system with more to come. Don’t mess with the farm to build the farm…Use the farm to build prospects and trade for MLB players when the time is right.

    • J Daniel

      So, what I would say to that, is GREAT!!! 3 CAN”T MISS prospects with 2 having power and the other a gold glove centerfielder!

      AWESOME as three everyday star players will soon be wearing Cubbie Blue!

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’m smart! I’ve been saying what Jim Callis said for months. Toot toot!

      • cubtex

        You’ve said that Soler is a hit or miss prospect and has holes in his game? I must have missed that.

        • Tony_Hall

          There has been only 1 can’t miss prospect in all of baseball, and he had the best fastball every.

          Sidd Finch

          I believe he was talking about not trading these 4 hitters for pitching.

          • cubtex

            I was replying to Digger who said that he echoed the same sentiments as Callis.
            You know I have been record as saying that I am not sold on Soler. I don’t think he will do anything close to what Cespedes and Puig have done in the mlb.

          • J Daniel

            you may be correct but worth the gamble.

          • cubtex

            From what I witnessed at the Arizona League…I think Callis’s assessment is accurate. He has a lot of holes in his game. Can they be corrected…we can only hope. It looks like he will have trouble with the low outside slider from the few times I saw him.

          • J Daniel

            So did Sammy, Fonzie, and a lot of other players. There is still a place if he can hit mistakes and does not have any other holes.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I was saying that of the 4, they’d most likely trade Soler.

        • mutantbeast

          Kieth Law rates Soler as being better than Puig. Law also has said if he were the Cubs GM he doesnt trade ANY of the BIg 4.

    • mutantbeast

      Agreed Rip. I wouldnt trade Vogelbomb either, unless Im getting back say, the next 2001 Pedro Martinez. Power like that is hard to replace, and Bryant also appears to be a probable high OBP type, his OPS could be north of .900 if he continues like he has been.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The player Jose Veras is most like at his current age:
    Turk Wendell.

    Former Cub pitcher who was dealt to the Braves.
    And #5 on the list is Michael Wertz, former Cub pitcher than JHendry inexplicably released.
    #2 is Jason Fraser, a career setup man.

    A decent reliever, but by no means a stud closer.

    John Axford, career WHIP=1.326
    Jose Veras, career WHIP=1.344

    • Tony_Hall

      I always like Wuertz and wanted Fraser.

      Veras WHIP by year

      2013 – 1.069
      2012 – 1.507
      2011 – 1.239
      2010 – 1.271
      2009 – 1.391
      2008 – 1.405

      I will take any of the last 3 out of 4 years, not so much 2012 though.

    • Sonate

      Wendell….the guy who always jumped over (never ON) the foul lines on his way to or from the mound. Also heard that he only took showers after bad outings (ugh!), and that he once shot a deer in a north suburban car wash! (Wonder if that stuff is true.)

      • Ripsnorter1

        I remember him as being eccentric. And I remember him jumping over
        the foul lines, and as being very superstitious.

        I can believe the shower story. Didn’t want to wash off the good karma.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Don’t forget brushing his teeth between innings.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think the bullpen is starting to look, not so bad. Veras is not a stud closer, but he is a good arm and can fill the role if no one else wins it in ST. We actually will have some tough decisions if no one is traded.

    We could have 2 lefties in the pen this year, about time. Russell and Wright as of now, but if Russell goes, Rosscup or Raley could take a spot. We also know that Strop is in the pen and the way they talk about Rondon, he is as well. I am not expecting Villanueva to make the rotation, at least I hope not (I’d still rather have Feldman than Villanueva in the rotation).

    Options in ()
    1 Veras
    2 Strop
    3 Rondon (1 option, but can refuse assignment)
    4 Russell
    5 Wright
    6 Villanueva
    7 ??

    That only leaves one spot in the pen.

    Parker (2, but can refuse assignment) – how could he not be in the pen.

    Vizcaino (3) – Has options, but if he is healthy and throwing 98, they may want to control his innings at Wrigley, versus the corn fields of Iowa.

    Cabrera (0) – Out of options

    Rosscup and Raley both have options and even if Russell is traded, could stay in Iowa to open up another spot.

    So ultimately, the best bullpen could be if both Villanueva and Russell get traded and if Vizcaino, Parker and Cabrera make it.

    1 Veras
    2 Strop
    3 Rondon
    4 Parker
    5 Vizcaino
    6 Wright
    7 Cabrera

    The real fun in ST could be following Strop, Rondon and Vizcaino auditioning for the closer role. We could see a closer by committee this year until one of them wins it in real games.

    All in all, I expect this bullpen to be much better than last year.

    • Ripsnorter1

      2014 Pen on Opening Day

      Vizcaino–not expecting him to make the team out of ST.
      Rondon–will land in AAA Iowa, imo.
      Parker–I think he’s on somebodies hit list, and if that list isn’t owned by Sveum, he’s in AAA Iowa or dealt away.
      Russell–nobody wants him. He stays in Chicago, giving up line drives and leads.
      Wright–Shawn Camp, take 2, ie, decent in his first year.
      Veras–Kevin Gregg 2013.
      Strop–if he has control, YEAH. If not, boo!
      Villanueva–he stays in the pen and spot starts.
      Cabrera–makes the team by default, like Samardzija did when he was out of options.
      #7 reliever? Some ST released veteran that Team Theo picks up off the scrap heap.

      • Tony_Hall

        Vizcaino I can see in Iowa, especially over losing someone else.

        Rondon and Parker would get picked up by a team if they ask to be a free agent, at worst in AAA. So there would be no risk in them not accepting the assignment.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Your optimism is just overwhelming.

    • cubtex

      You forgot Grimm.

      • Tony_Hall

        Yeah, I wasn’t thinking of Grimm for the bullpen this year anymore. Thinking they will keep in starting in Iowa as a starter. But he very well could end up in the bullpen.

        • mutantbeast

          Grimms stuff translates better as a relief pitcher. He doesnt hold his velo more than about 35-40 pitches.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree that his ultimate place in the majors is bullpen, but they usually like to keep them starting as long as possible and he has options left.

    • mutantbeast

      I personally like Rosscup better than Russell. Misses more bats. Svuem overused Russell, and his velo dropped late in the year. Russell has also never dev eloped an offspeed pitch, something Rosscup already has.

  • J Daniel

    The great Chris Carpenter that many were so upset that he was the player the Cubs gave up for Theo. Another perfect example of most prospects … they are prospects.

  • cubtex

    One GM tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) that he doesn’t think there’s any doubt that Masahiro Tanaka will get more than $100MM.

    Let’s stop talking about Tanaka. He is not coming here.

    • Tony_Hall

      How many years?

      Not sure why that would keep the Cubs from signing him. They don’t want to sign a 30 something for $100M contract, but a 25 year old, not a problem.

      • cubtex

        20 mil posting fee plus 120 mil for 6 years. Would that be a smart baseball decision for where the Cubs are at right now? They are basically wasting the 1st 3 years of that contract because they won’t be a WS contender.

        • Tony_Hall

          Do you want them to add better players or not? Are they to wait until they are a WS contender before adding a TOR arm?

          You don’t know the contract will be 5 years.

          Who would you rather bring in Garza at 4 years $75M or Tanaka at even your 5 years numbers.

          I will take Tanaka. They have the payroll flexibility to add him now and even at 5 years, I would worry about 6 and 7 years from now later.

          • cubtex

            Of course I want to add better players. It is like adding Cano to play 2nd base for the Cubs with Valbuena at 3rd and the outfield as it looks today.

          • Tony_Hall

            So you are fine waiting until the Baez’s and Bryant’s of the world come up to then fill in the roster?

            Or would you rather they bought everyone all at once?

          • cubtex

            You know my answer. Bourn would be playing CF. Rizzo would be traded and I would have signed a Loney or comparable dime a dozen 1st baseman. Barney would be out. I would have tried to pry a Nick Franklin for 2B. Schierholtz would be gone. Sweeney would be a 4th or 5th OF at best. I would resign Garza and would try and put a roster together to compete. I don’t wait for prospects. They will force the issue when they are ready.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t get why you would be against adding anyone good then.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Ugh. James Loney.

          • J Daniel

            Ugh would be the appropriate response! Rizzo is young, let’s see how he does this year. Cashner is good for sure and maybe another injury from being done? Time will tell.

          • mutantbeast

            Cashner is an arm injury waiting to happen. Im betting he will be disabled sometime this year with a shoulder injury. Hes an armspeed pitcher, and those guys almost always get hurt.

          • cubtex

            Armspeed pitcher? He is not a max effort guy if that is what you mean by armspeed. I think he has a low effort delivery and the ball jumps out of his hand. He is the type of guy the Cubs should have never traded.

          • cubtex

            You really should look at Loney’s numbers.

            RISP .310 .376 OBP with 62 RBI

            vs RHP .299 with a .352 OBP
            vs LHP .299 with a .339 OBP

            Pretty great numbers and very consistent vs LHP and RHP

            I don’t want to keep putting Rizzo’s numbers up there but go compare the 2. It is ugly!

          • cubtex

            pretty comparible to Rizzo. Less HR’s but better clutch hitter and a higher average. Similar RBI production. My point is guys like Rizzo and Loney are a dime a dozen. Nothing special and it is an easy position to fill.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You know, I am not sold on Bourn. I just think Ruggisanno is going to
            out homer him, out SB him, and out BA him in 2014.

            Whadayathink?

          • cubtex

            Bourn played with a torn hammy for most of season. He had surgery on it this offseason and should be good to go. Are you really comparing Ruggiano to Bourn? Ruggiano is a platoon player. He could out homer Bourn. He does have some pop…,but Bourn is an everyday lead off hitter who wreaks havoc on the base path and is a gold glove cf. It isn’t much of a comparison.

          • Tony_Hall
          • cubtex

            Ok thanks. I heard the Cleveland guy on the radio and he said he was playing hurt most of the season.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Bourn doesn’t have power. Usually hits just 1 per year.
            SB–that’s behind him now. He’s gained weight, and that “behind” is slowing him down.
            He wasn’t gold glove in 2013. -1Rtot/yr

            You are betting on a bounce back year. He could. I am betting his big contract,
            his age, and his weight are slowing him down.

          • J Daniel

            I don’t believe they will land him but it is time to start adding players. If he were here on a 5 year deal and they are not ready for 2 years … so what? Not going to suddenly wave a magic wand and be good.

          • cubtex

            If it was a 25 year old position player who will go straight to the big leagues…of course. A Japanese pitcher who has been overworked on a last place team doesn’t make sense.

          • J Daniel

            Agree and a worthless debate … he will be with the Yankees or Rangers.

          • cubtex

            Yep. I wish he would sign so we can all move on about him coming here. Garza will sign with the Angels and Tanaka with the Yankees or Rangers.

          • J Daniel

            And then maybe Smarj offers heat up?

          • cubtex

            If he isn’t going to sign an extension…they need to deal him this winter. Let’s not risk an injury.

          • J Daniel

            He is not going to sign an extension.

          • Tony_Hall

            Then you don’t like the player.

        • GaryLeeT

          I had the Cubs offering 5 years at 22 million.

          • Tony_Hall

            I can see that, but not sure why everyone thinks 5 years. Tanaka might want a much longer contract or even a shorter one at a higher rate.

          • cubtex

            It will be like the Cano situation imo. For Tanaka to go to the Cubs…they have to blow the contending teams out of the water.

          • GaryLeeT

            I know. That’s why I put ‘offering”, and not “getting him at”.

      • cubtex

        Here is my scenario if the Cubs sign him.
        Year 1 10-10 with a 3.85 ERA and Cubs lose 90 games
        Year 2 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA Cubs threaten for a .500 record but collapse the last month and finish 76-86
        Year 3 Tanaka has a great 1st half but blows out his arm and has TJ surgery.
        Year 4- Out recovering from TJ surgery
        Year 5- Back end rotation guy because he can’t handle a 200IP workload. Cubs go 85-77 and miss the playoffs again.
        Year 6- Back end rotation guy but the Cubs finally make the playoffs. Tanaka is the 4th starter and doesn’t start any games in the playoffs. Cubs eliminated in the NLCS.

        • Tony_Hall

          Your optimism is overwhelming.

          Is it the money or the player you don’t like?

          I like the player, of course there is risk, he pitches a baseball. I have no idea if he will be an ACE, a solid 1/2 or a 2/3, 3/4, but he only costs money, no prospects or draft picks.

          I don’t think the money is an issue at all, as they have so little payroll commitments and the players they call up will be very affordable.

          • cubtex

            It is the Cubs current state. They aren’t close and I don’t see them being close next year or the year after. That is the reason.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Good pitching accelerates the timeline. I think if they signed him that Samardzija would be more likely to sign an extension. Theo has been on record saying there is no free agency for younger players and he wishes there was, this sounds like the kind of place they’d spend.

          • cubtex

            Of course it does and that is why I am so disappointed with what the FO has done so far. Traded Cashner,Garza,Marshall,Maholm,
            Feldman,Zambrano,Dempster

            And replaced them with Wood and Arrieta. It is about pitching. Teams do not trade pitching unless they get pitching back or in the case of Tampa if the pitcher is getting too expensive and they cannot afford them.

        • mutantbeast

          Tex, Ill agree with you in one sense. Even the sucessfull Japanese pitchers dont last long. Matsuzaka, Nomo and Sasake all has short term big league succ ess, but could not sustain it due to injuries. DiceK last year had a FB velo around 87-88, 5-7 off where he was during his best years in Boston. Considering Tanakas workload, I can easily see him dropping off in 3-4 years.I

          • Ripsnorter1

            Now you are talking good sense.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Sounds pretty accurate, except that I don’t think Tananka will win 10
          games with this offense, and his ERA will be above 4.00 with this defense.

          Shoot, Jr. Lake is good to add 0.50 to any pitcher’s ERA if he plays in CF everyday.

  • 07GreyDigger

    I’m sure Cubtex, Rip and others won’t be surprised, but I like the move. He’s a low cost guy who has similar numbers to Axford and a little more success than him lately. Granted the bullpen has a lot of question marks, but as long as Strop and Parker perform like last season, that’s not a bad few guys to anchor it. I do think adding an injured guy with closing experience like Andrew Bailey, Ryan Madson or Joel Hanrahan could make sense.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Don’t forget Bard. He can close.

      LOL

      I don’t mind the Jose Veras signing. He’s not a stud, but he’s exactly what Theo is looking for:
      CHEAP.

      • cubtex

        Why spend 10 mil for a closer on a last place team? If he pitches well you can flip him( unlike Gregg) I like this signing

  • Tony_Hall

    As I posted awhile back, there are ways to get around the $20M posting fee if Rakuten decides that is not enough.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/how-rakuten-can-get-around-the-20-million-posting-cap-for-masahiro-tanaka/

  • CubbyDenCritic

    10 million hits on CCO……5 million of those was on Tanaka or Samardzija rumor trade it seems.

  • Dave_in_STL

    I had no idea Jim Hendry worked for the Yankees. Does anyone else wonder if it is coincidence that the Yankees roster avg age is like 80? At least we do know he is/was good at one thing, convincing players who get the Senior Discount at Denny’s to sign w/ his club!

    • Eugene Debs

      Let’s be fair, Hendry put together some very good rosters. Only when they began to “go for it” every winter did they make bad decisions, Ownership had a lot to do with that. To me, Hendry’s overall body of work (by Cubs standards) was pretty good.

      Theo had a similar (but he was obviously more successful) experience in that he kinda started “swinging for the fences” and made some rash moves. That also seemed ownership driven.

      Think about it, Theo actually kinda stinks at signing big-name players. Lots of failures. His best results have come from the farm and under-the-radar pickups (Ortiz). He’s been a decent trader as well.

      I think Hoyer and Epstein are doing some great things, but I’d like to see a transition towards some MLB roster improvement. That being said, based on track record, Theo does need to limit huge contracts. He is simply not good at it. Hoyer seems to be in sync with the boss.

  • jtrain23

    I like Veras as a reliever out of the pen. He is a reliable guy who is going to give you 40-50+ appearances and a 3. ERA. He has no seasons that scare you really.

    The only concern I could see is that, although he has finished many games, he has only truly been a closer during the 2013 season. Also, in 2013 he only closed games for Houston before being dealt to Detroit.

    This is probably no problem, because he seemed to thrive while being the closer last season, just something to think about.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The fact is that anybody can close a game who has average to above
      average stuff. Veras has borderline above average stuff.

      • jtrain23

        Don’t get me wrong, he is light years better than anything else that we’ve got. I was simply observing that he has been a very reliable reliever for a long time, but he is limited in closer experience.

  • cubtex

    Dave Sappelt signed a minor league contract with the Phillies :)

    • John_CC

      ??

    • 07GreyDigger

      In the words of Mr. Bill, OH NOOOOOOOO!

      • CubbyDenCritic

        great SNL skit…..

  • brent carmona

    Can anybody locate the Cubs run differential for the first half of the season? I can find it for the entire 2013 season (Scored 602 runs, gave up 689 for minus 87 runs).

    If I remember correctly, it was positive for the Cubs in the first half, then after the sell off it was all downhill from there.

    Just wanted to point out, I don’t think we should talk about ‘tanking’ or not contending this year just because we are not spending a lot of money this offseason or making a trades just to make them.

    Remember how much the bullpen killed us in the first half of 2013? A few of you guys did mention around that time, if our bullpen was better we could have been a .500 team (the run differential was positive and we had a lot of one run/close ballgames).

    Now, would you look at that, the bullpen is actually improved! good job front office…however I know we have not added a big bat and our RISP/OBP problem has not really been addressed. But hey, our pitching should be solid, rizzo/castro (and hopefully barney) should improve this year, new manager with a fresh message, maybe Olt and or Lake take a step forward, the platoon system in the outfield works well..and possibly a prospect or two breaks out and gets a call up to help the team.

    Not saying this roster is taking us to the world series in 2014, but I expect the team to be bearable to watch on tv at the very least.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Just because the team isn’t spending money means nothing. The A’s and the Rays made the playoffs this season with payrolls of 68 and 57 million. It’s how you spend it. That’s what kills me when people complain.

      • brent carmona

        I got ya…those are impressive numbers you posted!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Pre-All-Star–Cubs scored 384 runs, enough to be 15th in MLB. Hey Horace, that’s middle of the pack.
      Pre-All-Start–Cubs allowed 394, good for 14th in MLB.

      Post All Star–284 runs, good for 29th in MLB.
      Hey, trading Soriano helped us lose, didn’t it?

      Post All Star pitching–295 good for 11th in MLB.

      Decent pitching wasn’t enough to overcome the lousy offense.

      Where’s the bats, Theo?