Theo Epstein Talks Cubs, Jeff Samardzija and Spring Training with ESPN Chicago

Theo Epstein spent time Tuesday with Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Epstein discussed a variety of subjects including Jeff Samardzija, the buzz surrounding the prospects in big league camp and Kris Bryant on the eve of the first full-squad workout of the spring.

Jesse Rogers: With Team President Theo Epstein on the eve of full squad workouts, does the message to the team ever change really from year to year? Work hard and good things will come about.

Theo Epstein: Well, that is definitely part of the message. But, yeah each year, depending on the circumstances there is a little bit of a customized message. It depends. Hopefully someday we are talking to them coming off a World Series and then you have to talk about not looking back at last year and looking forward. Each year presents its own unique set of circumstances.

JR: I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but for the first time in this new facility that we are standing next to, you are going to have in that locker room what WE think, fans and probably media alike and maybe you guys as well, at least from a position player-wise, sense, the names that will hopefully turn the corner for this team and maybe even break the longest championship drought ever.

TE: That was a little bit overly dramatic. No, I think we have some talent in the minor leagues, especially with our position players, a few guys who have a chance to be impact players. But that is the cycle of baseball. When your team is not doing too well at the big league level you end up picking higher in the draft and we are very focused on building our young talent base. So we should be talented. Nothing is guaranteed from any one prospect that is why they are called prospects. Yeah we are optimistic that a lot of those guys can break in over the next several seasons and hopefully establish themselves as winning players. But it doesn’t stop. You don’t stop building for the future just because you have a few guys and then there is the important step of integrating them onto the Major League roster and actually creating a winning team going forward is the most important thing. So yeah we feel good about some of the talented guys that are here in big league camp but that in and of itself doesn’t mean too much.

JR: Let’s take a step back, you’ve talked about the perception of this team and you’ve been very transparent about your plan yet there is always going to be some negative thoughts because you finished in last the last couple of years. So my question is the message. Do you think you’ve delivered the message the best you can? Do you think even the media has filtered it the right way?

TE: What are you talking about, message to the fans?

JR: Yeah. Yeah.

TE: Yeah, I think we’ve been pretty transparent. It is not always a comfortable thing to talk about because from the day you show up in Spring Training and you are around big league players and big league team all of the time the focus has to be on winning each day and we are contending until we are NOT. That is the most important thing but as far as taking a step back in the big picture it is pretty obvious what we’ve been up to. We haven’t tried to hide the ball. I think we’ve had to adjust a little bit along the way. Initially there were some hopes, I talked about duel fronts and parallel fronts and really trying to compete at the big league level while we built up for the future. We’ve had to adjust. Some things have not gone our way in different areas that have made our path more clear. So we have probably been more single-minded about building for the future even than we intended to be initially. But we are completely committed to it. And we believe given all of the circumstances this is definitely the right path. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror or look forward to coming to work if we were trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. So, we feel like we are doing this the right way. Trying to build the organization from the ground up obviously requires a lot of patience, but we’re united in this effort and we feel it is going to pay great dividends for our fans year in and year out and that’s why we are okay with it because we feel ultimately they are going to be happy for a really long time.

JR: What I find interesting is I think that it is almost ironic if you are forced to be more single-minded it also forces you to do that much better of a job for the future. What I am getting at, things like flipping Scott Feldman early in July instead of trying to squeeze out a few more wins out of him later in the month when you probably aren’t in the pennant race at that point. All of the things that you’ve done in July really are going to pay off for this team, I know you hope, in the future. But if you are trying to win a few more games you don’t do those things. Or if you are just trying to win a few more games.

TE: It is hard to serve two masters at the same time. You have to make a realistic assessment of where you are. It is easier when you let that play itself out and you can go into July and if you are in it, you very clearly go for it and then if you’re not you look at little bit to the future. But sometimes you have to make those assessments earlier in the year too and always just be honest about where you are as an organization.

JR: Isn’t that the difference between what you are trying to do and maybe some other clubs. You are not thinking .500, and I hear that from fans, ‘Hey, can they get to .500?’ I say that’s not the goal. If Scott Feldman can get you two arms that are going to be here maybe five to ten years, that’s the goal.

TE: It is not the most comfortable thing to talk about. As you said at the start of Spring Training, we’re trying to win. The way we can surprise some people and contend is by getting off to a good start. The way you get off to a good start is by being very prepared and having a good Spring Training. So that is where our focus IS and I think, obviously, every day you go to work and you make a realistic assessment of where you are as an organization. If something makes an awful lot of sense for the future you have to strongly consider it.

JR: I’ve got to ask you about Jeff Samardzija only because he’s part of the core of this group, I think you’ve said that before. And he admitted and it is obvious there is a gap in something here with the negotiations. If you lose Samardzija, whether it be to free agency or something else. Is it a step back for this building process?

TE: I’m not going to speculate about what happens if we lose Jeff Samardzija. He’s in our starting rotation and we look forward to him taking the ball every fifth day. I think our relationship with him is great. He is extremely competitive so that plays a role in negotiations. Sometimes there is just going to be a natural gap where a player values himself for what he can do and the team has to factor in a little bit more what he has done. It doesn’t mean we’re tremendously far apart. If you are apart then you just kind of table it for another day. We’ll see what happens but every day he is here helps this organization. He sets the right tone. He’s a leader of sorts off the field with his competitiveness. Obviously we will end up signing him or we will end up trading him or he will end up leaving as a free agent. One of those three outcomes is going to happen. We’ll just do what’s best for the organization.

JR: With him in particular, I’ve always said I really want to see him pitch in July, August, September for a contending team in a pennant race. He seems like that type of player that rises to the occasion. We’ve seen him in the big games. Opening Day, against the White Sox. Do you feel any player raises his game in a contending situation right?

TE: I think he’s got that ultra-competitive where I do think he kinda feeds on the adrenaline of the big spot and everything. At the same time it is also something, that if he had probably one thing to work on this year it is sort of maintaining his calm and composure when things start to escalate during the course of a game so he can just relax and execute a pitch instead of trying to overpower the hitter every time. It would be an awful lot of fun to see him starting game one of a post-season series for the Cubs.

JR: Last thing going back to the prospects and they do look good. I was at the Arizona Fall League and I just think Kris Bryant is a Major League hitter. I mean, maybe not today or tomorrow but very soon. Is it just simply it is better to be cautious? Nobody ever failed at having an extra half a year in the minor leagues.

TE: No. It is not about being cautious. It is about development. This is not the NFL. This is not the NBA where players go straight in. There is an entire process of development where players need to go from amateurs to professionals. Physically, mentally and fundamentally. And there is a whole check list of things they have to accomplish in the minor leagues. Days are gone where players jump right from college to the big leagues. There is an awful lot for these guys to learn. You look at Evan Longoria who is probably the best comp as far as career progression to this point for Bryant with what he accomplished in College and how he tore up the Fall League. He went to Double-A that next year. Spent the entire year at Double-A. It is an awful lot for these guys to learn. I would just urge you as you look at the situation and fans as they think about it. Think not in terms of timing, when is this guy going to be ready? But in terms of substance, like, what does this guy need to do to be ready? Because that is how we look at it. We don’t set a timetable for our players, but we do very clearly and in writing give them expectations of what they need to work on physically, mentally and fundamentally. And when those things get accomplished then they come up here.

JR: Thank you.

TE: Thank you.

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  • 07GreyDigger

    I have to give some props to Jesse Rogers for asking hard questions and not being terrible.

    • GaryLeeT

      Really? I was just thinking the opposite. Roger’s sets up the questions by feeding Theo the answers, which BTW, Rodgers wholeheartedly agrees with.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    Epstein wants to pay Samardzija for what he had done but when discussing free agents he talks about not paying for past performance.

    • Tony_Hall

      You always have to look at what someone has done. Samardzija is asking to be paid above his past performance. That just doesn’t happen.

      What Theo talks about with free agency is most FA’s want to be paid like their best season(s) for the length of their contract, even though they are in their early to mid 30’s and the future performance is likely to be much less.

      • Hackman23

        If Theo does not get the haul that he is asking for I think they will overpay for Shark. They have to. Pitchers contracts are ridiculous and someone will pay him what he wants or close if he keeps pitching the way he has. He has bad games but so does everyone else that plays on a crap team. Until you give guys some actual talent to play with they will never perform to the max. With as much money as they make it shouldn’t be that way and they will never admit it but that’s the way it is.

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree they will over pay if they want to keep him. I posted this about a week ago, breaking down the difference in what the Cubs are offering (range) and what Samardzija is rumored to be asking.

          ——————

          Let’s take a look at the reported numbers for Samardzija.

          5 year contracts

          Cubs offering $55M
          2014 – $5.4
          2015 – $9.6
          2016 – $12M
          2017 – $14M
          2018 – $14M

          I would sign him for this. This is a good estimate following the pay being in line with his arbitration numbers and then paying him like a solid 2/3 for his 3 free agent years.

          Now if Samarzija wants $90M, those last 3 years skyrocket when you consider 14 and 15 at his arbitration numbers.

          2014 – $5.4M
          2015 – $9.6M
          2016 – $25M
          2017 – $25M
          2018 – $25M

          I don’t think so. Still think the Cubs are not treating him fair?

          How about we just say Jeff, we will pay you equally over the 5 years? No one really does this when you have 2 arbitration years to go, but let’s see.

          2014 – $18M
          2015 – $18M
          2016 – $18M
          2017 – $18M
          2018 – $18M

          No thanks on that one either.

          Samardzija is wanting to get paid like a 1/2 in the last scenario and like a real stud ACE, when you account for his real arbitration numbers, for his 3 free agent years. He is not an ACE and not a 1/2 and we hope he will be a solid 2/3 for the next 5 years. If you think about it, the Cubs offer is just a little light of what you would think would be fair market value, which means it is just right, as teams should get a little discount when guaranteeing more years to a player, especially a pitcher, 2 years before free agency.

        • John_CC

          They may very well have to pay the price, if/when it comes to that. But they do not HAVE to, not yet. If the Cubs chose, Shark is with them through next year whether he likes it or not.

  • cubtex

    I think there is no doubt that they will trade Shark. Look at the farm system. Where are the arms? I know some are giddy about Kyle Hendricks but realistically….what is he? A right handed Chris Rusin. A #5. What are the odds that Paul Blackburn,Duane Underwood,Tyler Skulina will develop into a TOR?
    Someone asked Bowden yesterday if he would trade Shark if he were GM of the Cubs….He didn’t hesitate and said yes without a doubt.
    When will the Cubs contend? If you are an optimist 2016 but realistically 2017. How old will Shark be in 2017? They should trade him for a young arm in A ball or AA and hope that arm pans out.
    They need to draft a pitcher the next 2 drafts with the first pick. This team is still 3 years away. Draft pitching because the minor leagues have very few potential TOR starters. Very few.

    • BosephHeyden

      There’s no reason that this team shouldn’t be competitive (read: not sure-fire playoff contenders) by next season. They just need to not operate under the assumption that the farm system is going to produce every starter for their team. Sure, they most likely won’t be able to get an ace, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t have a nice lineup going for them. And trading away players on competitive teams is a surefire way to get better prospects.

      Just so long as they don’t go the Marlins route, sign every big name free agent, and then flip them that season while eating some contract.

      • cubtex

        what is your definition for competitive? Are you talking about finishing over .500 next year? Look at the pitching. Look at the FA market for starting pitching. No chance they will be playoff contenders next year.

        • BosephHeyden

          Yeah, over .500 is competitive. If this team develops in the way everyone thinks they’re going to, then next year we should have a solid offensive core. And, while we won’t have a pitching staff with an ace, they should be good enough to break .500.

          Like you said, there’s no aces available in free agency next year. For all intents and purposes, an ace isn’t even obtainable for the 2015 season. But that doesn’t mean the remainder of the team shouldn’t be able to be established through free agency and the farm system.

          2015 they’re competitive, set the pace for 2016, and for the 15-16 offseason, the Front Office should know which position they have a prospect logjam at, and, if an ace isn’t out there in free agency they make whatever move they need to make to get one. And then compete.

          Or they can keep aiming to make Single A, Double A, and Triple A juggernaut teams at the expense of the team that pays the bills.

    • cc002600

      agree, but here’s the thing that can help speed up the process that they should have in their favor in the next year or 2. If they can build up some redundancy in the farm system, they will be in a very good position to acquire good proven starting pitching that other teams might have to trade because they can’t afford them. (think DLee and ARAM trades).

      • cubtex

        agree but teams don’t trade “young controllable pitching” without getting pitching back in most cases. You can trade a Wil Myers for a James Shields but not a Wil Myers for an Archie Bradley or Jose Fernandez for example. Look at how teams lock up their young starting pitching. Kershaw,Teheran etc. They need to draft starting pitching in the 1st round the next 2 drafts and hope that one of them develop into their future ace.

        • cc002600

          yea, but I’m not talking about guys like Archie Bradley, because you’re right, teams have no incentive to trade those guys. I’m talking the James Shields types, who will command big money that smaller market teams won’t want to pay. Yes, they might be a little older, but if your lineup is ready to produce, you could put together a contender with that. Because I agree with you that waiting for pitchers to develop from the farm system is a VERY long process. I think pitchers take longer than position players, in general. Unless its a pitcher with overwhelming stuff, which is rare.

          • cubtex

            OK. but the time to make those trades are when the team is ready to win. So what you are saying is that for the next 2 years stay the course and then in 2016 you trade a top prospect for a James Shields type pitcher. Either way….It is 2016( but more realistically 2017)

          • cc002600

            yea, probably. but maybe they contend for a wild card in 2016. I wouldn’t rule it out. But yea, we’re still 2 years away, unfortunately.

          • cubtex

            Mark Prior didn’t take long(of course he got hurt) Strassburg didn’t take long. Mark Appel won’t take long. Jose Fernandez was in the same draft as Baez. Elite arms will not take long in most cases.

          • cc002600

            agree. I said that. If you have overwhelming stuff, yes. But if you are a pitcher with just decent stuff and you have to learn how to pitch to be successful, it takes a long time. guys like Scherzer, Anibel Sanchez, Sabathia, Lester, Wainwright.

          • cubtex

            That is why I think they need to draft a pitcher with the 1st pick this year and next. Tyler Beede will be on the fast track and IF they get a top 5 pick next year….that arm could be as well. The 2nd round arms and lower are the ones normally that need a lot of time in the minors.

          • cc002600

            I would rather see them draft another position player, I think its much safer. (maybe trea turner) …then you could trade Castro. If he bounces back, he could bring back a good haul. Pitchers are just too risky. You cannot miss on these picks, or you just run the risk of extending this rebuild.

          • cubtex

            Look at the Astros as the blueprint plan Theo is following. They stocked the farm system first with position players. Correa, Springer, Singleton etc. Last year they drafted Appel and this year all reports say Rodon is 1st pick. 2 pitchers back to back after drafting position players the past couple. I see Theo doing the same thing.

          • SuzyS

            Maybe. And I agree with you about drafting pitchers….but the top 3 pitchers might be gone with the fourth-rated player being a position guy. If that’s the way Theo plays it…I won’t be happy with the draft…once again.

          • cubtex

            It is a pretty deep draft for starting pitchers. 4 very good ones. One will be there. I’m with you. I will not be happy this year if they don’t take one. It is a huge need!

    • Ripsnorter1

      You are an optimist. 2017? WOW.

      Right now, you have nothing in place for a run at any thing. Castro? Totally messed up. Rizzo? A platoon 1B on the level of Gaby Sanchez. Arms? None. Baez? A head case with a weak glove. Bryant? Maybe something real good here. Almora? Nice glove. He could be a decent player. Soler? Not likely.

      2017 would be pretty quick.

      • cubtex

        That’s another 3 years. 5 top draft picks including this year and next? Some of these guys will make it. I have always said this plan will eventually work.,,,,it could take 7 years but it will eventually work.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Look at how “astute” Theo is in dealing with FAs. Not very. Can’t build by system alone. You need the FAs. The system alone is too slow and unsure. Check KC and the Pirates, and they couldn’t do it. Shoot. They can’t do it with FAs.

          Yeah, the system might work, but then again, it might not. So far it ain’t looking pretty.

        • BigJonLilJon

          will take a while.. am sick of waiting. We are drinking Theo;s kool aid at this point. Prospects are only prospects. But while they con us into the future, they are still sucking us fans dry of cash. Then it will be ” good plan but prospects didn’t work out. thanks for your time and money.. suckers”.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Homer Bailey and the Reds agreed to a six-year, $105 million deal. Contract includes a mutual option of a seventh year.

    • cubtex

      wow! that is a pretty rich deal. Shark is grinning from ear to ear after seeing this.

      • Tony_Hall

        Yes he is, but he needs to pitch like Homer has the last 2 years first.

        Bailey
        2012 – 3.68 ERA 1.24 WHIP
        2013 – 3.49 ERA 1.124 WHIP

        Samardzija
        2012 – 3.81 ERA 1.219 WHIP
        2013 – 4.34 ERA 1.348 WHIP

        • cubtex

          they are very similar pitchers in terms of stuff. The thing that Shark has to do is improve his BB total.

          Shark
          2013
          213.2 IP 210 hits 78 BB(too high) and 214 K’s(excellent)
          2012
          174.2 IP 157 hits 56BB and 180 K’s

          Bailey
          2013
          209 IP 181 hits 54BB(about 26 less than Shark) and 199K’s

          2012
          208 IP 206 hits 52BB and 168 K’s

          • Tony_Hall

            And this is why he is willing to play this out. He knows that if he has numbers like 2012 or better this year, he will get a closer to $18M/year for his free agent years.

          • cubtex

            agreed

    • triple

      Jeff Samardzija better take note of that contract… If he wants to make that kind of money, he better go out and throw a couple no-hitters!

    • Tony_Hall

      I can’t wait to see the breakdown of this one.

      He was looking around $10M for 2014, and he is getting a $5M buyout of an option year, so that leaves 5 years at $90M. $18M/year is about right for his free agent years after his last 2 seasons.

    • gary3411

      Was REALLY hoping he would be wearing a Cubs uni the next 6 years after this. Oh well.

  • cc002600

    here is a question off topic. This has always been a head scratcher for me with the Olympics. How do people actually sit for hours and watch Curling, Figure skating or the Luge ? I know everyone is different and that makes the world go round, but I just don’t get it. Watching paint dry would have to be more exciting. Oh well. I guess I’m just bored, dying for baseball to start. :-)

    • paulcatanese

      Easy to watch the Olympics and those events.
      Especially if one is a Cub fan and were watching them (Cubs) the last few years.
      The better question would be, how does one watch the Cubs when the Curling, Figure skating, and Luge offer more excitement?

      • Tony_Hall

        Sorry Paul, I will take Cubs baseball any day.

        • paulcatanese

          Sorry Tony, then you haven’t been paying close attention to the Female figure skaters. (Typed before my wife could see what I was typing) :)

          • triple

            Exactly… Tessa Virtue is very cute! And there are many cute girls on snowboards and skis as well… but besides some of the eye candy, I’ve found watching the olympics this year more exciting than I ever have in the past. Lots of good stories and cool stuff happening in the games!

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, and since I have a grandson that had a ride to Washington State (as well as academic) for snowboarding was a double pleasure for us.
            Those guys are true athletes as well as crazy for what they do.

          • paulcatanese

            And while the Luge isn’t the most catching, the surgeries that some have gone thru are.
            One of the gals had multiple knee, leg and head injuries.
            And what stuck was I believe her father was an ex player from the majors who died at a very early age, and she thinks about him at all times. Those are great, especially when tied to Baseball/

          • BillyFinT

            Always enjoy reading your insight, Paul.

          • Tony_Hall

            I haven’t watched any of the Winter Olympics. Not even for a second on the way by just clicking channels.

          • paulcatanese

            Have to agree on a lot of it. But what I have watched was spectacular, if nothing else, the scenery, beautiful.

          • Bryan

            Absolutely Paul. Lot’s of great events, competitions and athlete story lines. So far, a great Olympics.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I haven’t wasted even 1 nano second on the Olympics.

            Give me baseball!

          • cc002600

            If I wanted to watch beautiful women, there are lots of other avenues to do that than the olympics. and by the way, what sporting event is more corrupt than the olympics ?

          • paulcatanese

            Just look to A-Rod and the year of the needle’s with others.
            Corruption abounds, and add the problems with the rooftops.

          • cc002600

            LOL
            Comparing the Olympics to baseball in terms of corruption is like comparing murder to jaywalking. From biased judges, the politically corrupt IOC, professional athletes playing what was supposed to be for amateurs, and way more athletes who have been using steroids going back decades (Hello Marion Jones), the Olympics are the gold standard for corruption. come on.

          • SuzyS

            Paul, “typed before my wife could see what I was typing)…my, my…you’re getting risque, Paul.:-}

      • cc002600

        To each his own, my friend. But I see that the ratings are way down and there is widespread criticism of the amount of commercials. If watching two guys with brooms sweep the ice in front of a rock is exciting to you, then God Bless. But sorry, I’d rather watch grass grow.

        • paulcatanese

          That’s really funny. Then again as a former resident of Chicago,
          I have watched many sweep the ice in front of their homes. And as far as watching the grass grow, none there this time of year:)

          • cc002600

            yea, think about that. Would you sit for hours and be entertained by my snow shoveling ? :-)

          • paulcatanese

            Did it for years, had a big picture window in the front. I had decided long ago that whoever put the snow there was obligated to take it away. The only guy on the block that neighbors chipped in to pay half the asking price when I sold the house:)

    • BillyFinT

      Maybe not curling, unless it’s Women’s Great Britain v.s. Russia. Tell me about the BOMB!, then here’s why:

      1. Appreciate the top athletes of the world.
      2. Excitement built up for a one-try, win or lose EXTREMELY high-tension single event.
      3. Diversity with style.
      4. European ski babes (yea, all my effort finding the best pics of Fenninger, Marsaglia, Tina Maze, and Lara Gut to create this collage):

      • J Daniel

        aahhhhh!!!!!!!!!

      • paulcatanese

        Not too shabby:)

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    Samardzija needs to lower his (supposed) asking price. 13.75 to 14 million per seems about right.

    • paulcatanese

      The Shark is at a dis-advantage here. He is thinking like a player and Theo is waiting for the computer to spit out the right figures.
      Not making this up, as previous comments were made by many that Theo is not a great eye test evaluator. I doubt this will ever come together for a deal.
      And if other teams look at the Shark the same way as Theo does and not the eyeball test, the Shark may never be traded.
      Comments were made (bunting contest) as to Theo and his evaluation prowess and his strength being in the Saber methods.(have no problem with that) but my point is that that’s why he and the Shark are so far apart.

      • Tony_Hall

        This FO used the eye ball test just like all the other teams still do. Just because you try to use stats to get every last detail out of them, doesn’t mean they don’t actually watch the players.

        The reason their is a gap, is the Cubs are offering a deal based on 2 years of arbitration and 3 years of free agency and doing so based on what Samardzija is worth today. Samardzija wants to be paid like a TOR pitcher for all 5 years.

        • DWalker

          I think the no trade clause is the real hold up. I bet they could meet at 14.5, which is on the high end but doable.

    • Ripsnorter1

      For crying out loud, Edwin Jackson–Edwin Jackson!–get $13 million per. If I were Samardzija, I would not want to be placed in his category.

      • SuzyS

        $11 mill. per (at this point), Actually, if Edwin just pitches to .500 he might be tradeable….and that is the value of a front-loaded contract….it’s easier to deal witrh if it doesn’t work out.

      • raymondrobertkoenig

        WAR says Jackson’s a better pitcher than Samardzija.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Don’t believe WAR. : )

          • Tony_Hall

            WAR doesn’t say that Jackson was better than Samardzija. Only if you look at career total can you say WAR shows EJAX as a better pitcher. Comparing 7 years of starting to 2 though.

          • raymondrobertkoenig

            Jackson, 1444 career IP, WAR 11.7. Samardzija 2 years as starter, 388 IP, WAR 2.8.

          • Tony_Hall

            “Only if you look at career totals can you say WAR shows EJAX as a better pitcher.”

            2013
            E Jackson -1.3 Negative
            Samardzija 1.0

            2012
            E Jackson 2.0
            Samardzija 1.8

            In the year they both pitched well, they were about the same. Last year when they both had down years, Samardzija was 2.3 WAR higher.

            If you look at career totals, or try to compare a career covering 11 seasons, almost exclusively as a starter versus a pitcher with a career of 6 seasons with only the last 2 being as a starter, the long term starter should win that comparison. But if you look at the 2 most recent seasons, in which they both pitched as starters, Samardzija is the better pitcher and WAR shows it.

          • raymondrobertkoenig

            Per 200 IP as starters, Jackson 1.62 WAR, Samardzija 1.44. If you want to compare Shark’s 2 years vs. only Jackson’s last 2, I’m not interested.

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL, yeah let’s not compare recent history.

  • Tony_Hall

    Bailey’s yearly breakdown.

    The total amount is first, the in-season salary is in () with the difference paid out in November to move it to the next seasons payroll.

    2014 – $9M ($3M)
    2015 – $10M ($4M)
    2016 – $18M ($11M)
    2017 – $19M ($12M)
    2018 – $21M ($14M)
    2019 – $23M ($15M)
    2020 – Mutual Option $25M – $5M buyout

  • Bryan

    Rickett’s article on the online Tribune. Truly makes you laugh. While I know the owner truly needs to optimistic, two things really stood out. First, when questioned about contending this year, he states ” The fact is, if these guys step up and play to our potential, we’re going to be fine.’’ Duh. Unfortunately, so far, not a single person on the current major league roster has played up to their potential. Second, he claims we “have a great new manager”. Doesn’t that have to be a bit earned before gaining the “great” title (before even Game 1). Gosh, I love Cubbie Kool-Aid. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-owner-tom-ricketts-playoffs-20140219,0,6263894.story

  • Tony_Hall

    An unbiased look at the Cashner/Rizzo trade.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/a/22848

    “Everyone on the outside loves rip-off deals, where we can teeth-gnash and snark. But when general managers agree to a trade, the optimal outcome is a win-win deal. Byrnes and Hoyer valued Rizzo differently, yet two years later it appears to be a fair deal. Montero-Pineda gets all the press, but Cashner-Rizzo might be the perfect baseball trade.”

    • cubtex

      Cubs need a Cashner a lot more than a Rizzo. Here’s the true test Tony. Would SD reverse that trade today??? No chance. Would Theo? I think he would in a heartbeat.

      • Tony_Hall

        This is why I like reading an “unbiased view” of the trade. We ALL know your view.

        And I say no and no to your questions.

        • cubtex

          Then I am even more concerned about our future if Theo would not.

          • Tony_Hall

            It is so noted….again and again and again.

    • SuzyS

      Tony, did you really need to bait cubtex into that old argument again? I blame you for this one.

      • Tony_Hall

        LOL. It is a worthwhile read and I really doubt anyone on here needs Ray to revisit his view on this….again. We all know his view.

        The article shows that if you ask actual baseball people, it will be split as to which player they would rather have from the deal. That is called a fair deal or as the article concludes, “….the perfect baseball trade.”

        • SuzyS

          Arrrggghhhh. Good night, boys.

        • cubtex

          If the Cubs had a bunch of arms in the system and needed position players….fine. But that wasn’t the case

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