MLB Approves Cubs Sale
The major league baseball owners have unanimously approved the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family. According to the Sporting News article, there are still a few hoops to jump through before the Ricketts officially take over day-to-day control of the team, which should hopefully happen before the end of the month.
The franchise still has to go through a 24-hour "pre-packaged
bankruptcy," which the Tribune reports will take place next Monday or
Tuesday. When that step is finalized, the banks financing the deal will
have a "10 day cooling off period" before they have to fund the deal.
When they do take over, Ricketts and Hendry will get to have this conversation (the following brilliance is from Andy Dolan at Desipio):
Jim Hendry: Mr. Ricketts, I need to talk to you about what we’re going to do with Milton Bradley.
Tom Ricketts: Sure, I knew this was coming.
JH: We owe him $21 million the next two years, but
we have to move him. We can’t possibly try to put him back in that
clubhouse with those players. They hate him.
TR: Fine. What are we looking at in return?
JH: Honestly, not much. There are only a few teams
that have any interest at all, and they don’t want to pay much of his
salary, and they don’t want to give up any real prospects. The best we
could do would be to trade for a player with a bigger contract, like
Aaron Rowand or Chris Young, and even then we’ll have to eat some of
TR: So we’re in a position where we’re going to pay a guy to not play for us?
JH: I think we have to. It’s better to pay him to not play here, than have him here poisoning the team and not producing.
TR: So it’s your opinion, that the best solution to
this is to not try to make something that’s not working, work, but
instead to cut the cord and eat the money and bring in somebody better
equipped to do the job?
JH: Exactly. Sometimes it’s the best thing.
TR: For example, you have three years and $9 million left on your deal, right?
TR: So how about this? How about I eat that nine
million bucks, and pay you to not screw up our roster and our payroll
anymore, and bring in somebody else to do the job, instead of having
you try…again…to find somebody to bat lefthanded and not poison the
clubhouse and underperform? Because, as you read in the papers for
months, I need to decide what to do with Kenney. He thinks he’s going
to stay on to handle the Wrigley Field renovations and be your boss.
But I could bring in a baseball guy like John Schuerholz or Sandy
Alderson to be the president, and instead of having them be your boss,
they could just do your job.
JH: Uh…I guess.
TR: Great. Now why don’t you and Crane leak that
to your little toadies, Levine and Kaplan? I’ve got a completely
fucked up payroll to worry about.
Speaking of the payroll, Arizona Phil has updated the right sidebar with the latest estimates. The Cubs are on the hook for $118M in guaranteed contracts and an estimated $18 million if they auto-renew and sign all their arbitration eligible players (which they probably won't). That puts the grand total at around $136M before any dealmaking gets under way.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.