Missed It By That Much

Those Jake Peavy talks will probably heat up again once the Ricketts take over the team or Rich Harden hits the disabled list, but just how close were they to completing the trade over the winter?

 They were so close, in fact, that Peavy's side had begun the process of negotiating how much of his salary would be deferred. I's were being dotted, t's were being crossed.

Buster Olney makes it sounds like they were in the middle of the press conference before the red phone rang from Sam Zell to put a stop to the deal. I guess we may never know, but Padres general manager Kevin Towers certainly thought a deal was just about in place, so there's probably more truth than fiction to that story.

The other newsworthy item is that USA Today pegs the Cubs total payroll at $134,809,000. That's the third highest in baseball behind the Mets and Yankees and well ahead of the fourth place Boston Red Sox ($121,745,999).

NL Central Payroll

 Cubs $ 134,809,000
Astros $ 102,996,414
Brewers $ 80,182,502 
Cardinals $ 77,605,109
Reds $ 73,558,500
Pirates $ 48,693,000 


By USA Today's numbers, the Cubs increased their spending by $16.5 million from last season and are outspending their closest division rival by nearly $32M. 

 Difference Rounded
NL East Mets over Phillies $36M
NL Central Cubs over Astros $32M
NL West Dodgers over Giants $18M
AL East Yankees over Red Sox $80M
AL Central Tigers over White Sox $19M
AL West Angels over Mariners $15M


Well, it's not quite the Evil Empire, but I think it's safe to retire the Cubs don't spend enough clichés. And while you still have to make the right decisions with that money, the Cubs and Jim Hendry are working at a decided advantage...a $32 million advantage.



press release w/o all the actual names....great work.

I forget; can you recap for us who was supposedly headed to SD in that deal?

I remember Marshall for sure, plus maybe Josh Vitters, but can't recall exactly. Need a refresher.

I don't think anyone knows exactly, Marshall was supposedly off the table though.

Supposedly a 3-team deal with DeRosa to the Phils (possibly) for some pitchers who would go to San Diego along with Vitters, Hart and Marquis and probably some cash. Padres would look to flip Marquis of course.


also this

Over to the right of me as I post lies Arizona Phil's updated estimated payroll and there are some glaring discrepancies , e.g. USA Today has Ryan Dempster at $9MM and AzPhil has it at $12MM.


As for the so-called spending advantage, there's spending and then there's spending. Hendry just blows money out his ass. Backloaded contracts, guaranteed contracts for chumps who get cut before the season starts, long term contracts for total busts, etcetera, etcetera..... ad infinitum.

some of those they're not counting bonus money...

some of them are higher though, so I don't know the reason for the difference. Most of it was grabbed by stories when the contracts were signed and Cot's Baseball Contracts.

The difference is because of Dempster's $4 million signing bonus he got this year. USA Today only is showing his base salary which isn't showing the whole picture.

And don't forget Hendry giving out no-trade clauses to everyone except Jose Macias...:)

I always liked the one way player options. Those were neat!

Most likely he got the signing bonus last year, to dodge some of the expected tax hikes.

Very possibly true, but it would still likely count against this years budget/payroll.

further investigation...

they have the salaries at $1M higher for Zambrano, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, and Lilly. They have $250K higher on Lee.

$3M lower on Dempster (which is weird, because it should be a $4M bonus)

they also don't seem to be counting any payments for Marquis, Bako, Blanco or Gaudin.

Cubs have been a playoff team two years in a row and look like they're headed for a third so I'm going to lay off the management team. My new whipping boy is Corey Fukudome, the Cubs' bakayaro!

Hendry sucks, spending 30% more than everyone else in a weak sister division doesn't make him Billy Beane.

Blind squirrels find acorns. Ed Wade GM'd a team to the World Series for chrissakes.

Ed Wade GM'd a team to the World Series for chrissakes.

He did? 

Hendry doesn't suck, and saying it hundreds of times doesn't make it true.

Ed Wade GM'd a team to the World Series for chrissakes.

Ooh... please do tell. What team was that?

Unless, of course, you mean when Wade traded Lidge to the Phillies, giving the Phillies the closer they needed to win the World Series...

Excuse me, Dan O'Dowd

I got my shitty GM's confused.

Beat up on Hendry if you want, but I truly believe most GMs rely on their managers to tell them what they need. It's no coincidence Lou has had better tools to work with than Dusty had. I'm also convinced Fuku is perfectly capable of being an impact player. It's too soon to write him off.

Hendry isn't some GM genius, but he's no Littlefield, either.

Yeah, I am sure Dusty told Hendry, don't spend the extra $30MM and leave the payroll at around $100MM.

No no, you can't just post a snide comment and think you made your point. Tell me how you think the coversations went between Dusty and Hendry. Or do you suppose they just never talked? I'm really confused.

This is the manager who would routinely field Neifi Perez when better (albeit not much better) options were available.

Of course another $30 mil would help, but who cares. Dusty wasn't going to get it done.

I have absolutely no clue how the conversations between Dusty and Hendry went, nor do I know how they go between Hendry and Lou. I would think it would be a collaborative effort to decide what they need and who to get. But I do think they did talk, as I am sure most managers/GM's do, most likely daily.

All you need to know is that Dusty stole ABs from TheRiot and gave them to Neifi...anyone who steals from TheRiot in a dream better wake up and appologize.

I think replacing Derek Lee's bat with Neifi Perez's was a sign that Dusty is just too stupid to manage a cub with serious aspirations.


Farnsworth time for KC with a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 8th...

I'm going to go set-up my lawn chair to watch this fire burn.

burn, burn, burn

1st/3rd with one out....

makes Carlos Quentin look silly though...2 outs with Thome up

and up in smoke it goes...

3-run HR Thome....

Farnsworth is a waste.

Beat me to it.

I came on to make fun of the Farns.

Good call Rob.

Just beautiful.

Kyle being Kyle. What a bad contract.

Farnsworth closing for the royals today?


not closing...bottom of the 8th.

yeah...I both didn't look at the posts directly above me annnnnnnd mistook an 8 for a 9 on gamecast...well done

Count me in with the Hendry is decent, not great crowd. He's done a real nice job of getting the free agents that he wants. He's used his minor league talent to engineer a lot of trades that helped the big league team. And he's relied on his scouts to resurrect several players from the scrap heap and get useful play out of them (Dempster, Barrett and Edmonds come to mind).

His biggest dings are that he is not as fiscally sharp as he should be, the Cubs big wallet covers up some sloppy decision making at times. And he has the most maddening fetish for overpaying for fringe players, I don't know that I've ever seen anything like it. $5MM deals to Neifi, Blanco and Aaron Miles, huh? A million bucks and trading a warm body for Jose Macias? Weird.

Overall, I'd rate Hendry's tenure a solid B.

Good point Jim! And when his payroll was well below $100MM, the sloppiness really showed.

Does Lou make that much more money than Dusty did?

I think they make about the same.

Concur Jim

you concur that he deserves a B, but that he sucks?


Does he suck as bad as Ed Lynch of Andy McFail? NO

Is he Billy Beane,Theo Epstein,Josh Byrnes or Walt Jocketty? NO

I suspect that even a total Dud like Dave Littlefield could have backed into a couple of 90 win seasons if Pirate management had let him outspend everyone else in the central by 30%

It's like beating a 10 year old kid in basketball, then claiming your NBA ready.

this year they're outspending the Astros by 30% or so, but it hasn't been anywhere close to that before...

2008 - 19% over Cardinals

2007 - 10% over Cardinals

2006 - 2% over Astros

2005 - Cardinals outspent Cubs by 6%

2004 - 9% over Cardinals

2003 - Cardinals outspent Cubs by 5%

but Jocketty is incredible... 

Jocketty was GM in St. Louis from 95-2007.

7 post season's
2 pennants
1 ws win
9 winning records in 12 years spending less than than the cubs almost every year.

Jim Hendry GM from 2002- now

1 90 win season
4 winning records in 7 years

You can't even compare the track records

if the USA today numbers are correct and Jocketty was the GM from 1995-2007 (not bothering to look it up): Cards outspent the Cubs from 1996-1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005. (a few of these season the 2 teams were only a million or two off either way).

so by spending less than the Cubs almost every year you must have meant spending more than the Cubs more than half the time....it's opposite day. 

And Hendry was named GM half-way through the 2002 season....

Is he Billy Beane,Theo Epstein,Josh Byrnes or Walt Jocketty? NO

Is someone actually making this claim? What frustrates me about the Hendry hate is the presumption of Hendry love. Who is claiming him to be the best GM in baseball? I mean, did we all see the cock-up that was his 40-man roster management this year? That said, he's gotten more big things right than wrong.

I agree that B- is about right on JH.

Big wins on a few obvious big trades. Successfully re-signing players like Wood and ARam to home-town discounts. Scrapheap recovery for Dempster/Borowski. Getting his free agent targets once the purse strings were unleashed by McDonough

As mentioned, goofy roster management. Trading prospects and players at their lowest value. VERY frustrating reliance on marginally useful stats for evaluating hitters, like hitting with RISP. The Juan Pierre trade. Awful team OBP until Lou showed up.

Division champs for 2 years in a row and 3 of the last 6 is still pretty good. I will dance in the aisles when the Cubs take it all, but I've always maintained that I can be happy if this team is consistently and highly competitive. Jim Hendry has given me that. I give Lou a lot of credit too, but Jim's the boss. He deserves credit with his blame.

is it worth mentioning that beane is overrated vs. his results...especially when you look at them longer than just a few years past his projects being drafted or hitting the bigs?

last season's team was beyond an embarrassment full of 1-dimensional players...$300 million team or $30 team.

they were 49-41 before they traded Harden, 3.5 behind the wild card with a payroll in the bottom 5. They're almost always in the bottom half of the payroll and had a run of 8 straight winning season from 1999-2006. Probably would have been over .500 last year before the fire sale.

I would have pegged them to contend with the Angels this year before the pitching injuries.

harden couldn't help the pile of crap they've had there the past 2 years. the bats last year were inexcusable.

this year is looking just as pathetic, imo.

he had a great run, but things are looking stagnant and the once strong pitching is looking trashy.

harden couldn't help the pile of crap they've had there the past 2 years. the bats last year were inexcusable.

What the hell are you are talking about? Sometimes you say some really strange shit.

Lets repeat what Rob said. When Harden was traded, they were 49-41.

That is the best smelling pile of crap that I have ever smelled.

maybe you should look at the pile of bats they called a team there...it was on par with the 06 cubs.

harden getting traded didn't cause the team to tank..the team caused it, itself.

Very simply question... how is a team that is 49-41 a pile of shit?

Oakland's offense was bad last year. There is no question. But that doesn't mean that Beane didn't still put together a team that could win.

And, btw, if you think this year's Oakland team's offense is similarly a "pile of shit," then I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you somewhere in Alaska.

You don't need a bridge up there. I heard the Gov. can see Russia from her house!

"Very simply question... how is a team that is 49-41 a pile of shit?"

1- because they play 162...they lost 12 games out of 1 pitcher and they go toilet?

2- http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/2008.s...

they also traded Blanton...

Duchscherer and Gallagher also went to the DL...

they did have a very poor offense though....

(stifles laughter)

somehow this is his 4th Opening Day start...maybe there's another Jeff Suppan I don't know of...

I find it really funny that some of the same people who complained a couple years ago that Hendry never signed big name free agents and only kept people if he got a hometown discount are now complaining that he sucks because he spends too much money and/or spends it wastefully.

If you have a veteran team like the Cubs, and you've got a quality roster like the Cubs, you're going to have to spend money. The Cubs don't let people go or trade them near the end of their contract because they get too expensive, and the payroll numbers show it.

I think you can say that Hendry probably paid more than he needed to this past offseason for Dempster and Bradley, but that's only because he was agressive and went after the players he wanted before it was quite so clear that the market for player salaries had fallen off so dramatically.

In hindsight I think it was probably McFail who put the handcuffs on Hendry spending.

Why can't we have some sort of happy medium?

Sitting at a poker table with McFail and Hendry would be like sitting between a guy who folds each and every hand and a guy who pushes "all in" every hand.

That being said, we have a good team and I am really optimistic.

"In hindsight I think it was probably McFail who put the handcuffs on Hendry spending"

I have no proof of McFail handcuffing Hendry, but I believe he did also.

From the stories of Mark Grace annual resigning being seen as a free agent signing to McFail wetting his pants when he offered Mike Hampton the biggest contract in Cubs history I could see it being true.

Personally, I applaud Hendry for not sitting on his ass in the offseason. We won 97 games last year, so it would have been easy to just phone it in and say that we were good enough to win again this season, but he made some moves to try and make us better. Not every free agent signing and trade gets a gold star, but Hendry helped to perpetrate rapes on both the Pirates and Marlins to get Ramirez and DLee, and Soriano was far and away the best offensive free agent on the market when he was signed, and he is by no means a bust.

I know some of the moves made this past offseason were questionable, like trading DeRosa and signing Miles, but I've said it before and I'll say it again (and it was reiterated in this article) - my belief is that those moves were made (along with obtaining Garrett Olson) in anticipation that the Peavy deal was going to get done. Something obviously changed, and I'm guessing either Hendry changed his mind about not wanting to pay the ridiculous price Towers was asking, or Towers wanted to up the ante a bit more. I guess we'll never really know, but my point is that Hendry is always looking to try and make the team better. It doesn't always work out, but hindsight is 20/20 and I'll take back to back playoff appearances any day...

Following up on our Olympics discussion from last night...


no offense, but can you remove the 6mb image at the top left of the page?

I was wondering wth was going on... thought it was my computer.

Other than Dallas Green he is the best Cubs GM of our/my lifetime. He isn't terrible. He's just a middle of the road GM with a top 5 payroll.

Brian Cashman with less foresight.

At least he isn't Larry Himes or Ed Lynch.

At least Himes got us Sosa.

and cost us Greg Maddux

Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Bradley , Ramirez, Johnson, Soto, Fontenot, Dempster


Matsui, Rodriguez, Berkman, Lee, Tejada, Blum, Pence,  Bourne, Wandy

Very pleased to see Fontenot in there against the lefty. If he can be marginally productive against LHP early in the season, we may not see much of Miles beyond a strictly utility IF role--a role for him that I can certainly live with.

250 PAs for Miles: OK. 400 PAs for Miles: not OK.

Submitted by navigator on Tue, 04/07/2009 - 1:08pm.
Over to the right of me as I post lies Arizona Phil's updated estimated payroll and there are some glaring discrepancies , e.g. USA Today has Ryan Dempster at $9MM and AzPhil has it at $12MM.


NAVIGATOR: This comes up every year.

USA Today prorates (averages) signing bonuses over the lenghth of a player's contract when determining players salaries & club payroll even if the signing bonus is paid in a lump sum when the player signs a contract (as is usually the case), while the numbers I provided on the right tab here at TCR are what the Cubs are actually paying out in payroll in 2009 (which commences with the end of the 2008 World Series), including lump sum signing bonuses, buy-outs, termination pay, and other pay-outs (like the Cubs paying a portion of Jason Marquis' salary), and also includes guaranteed salaries or minor league split salaries for players on the 40-man roster who are optioned to the minors.

Allowing clubs to calculate payroll by prorating signing bonuses is part of the CBA and it's done to reduce club payroll when determining revenue sharing & luxury tax.

Clubs consider post-season contract buy-outs, lump-sum signing bonuses for players signed after the conclusion of the World Series, termination pay for released players, and any agreement to pay a portion of a traded player's salary (as is the case with Jason Marquis), as a part of the next season's payroll, although that type of accounting is not reflected in the USA Today payroll numbers.

The only post-season payments that clubs consider to be a part of the previous year's payroll are performance bonuses that are earned by players who have incentives in their contracts.  

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:


    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).

  • I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.