Keep Your Eye on the Crystal Ball

Pre-holiday musings while waiting for some real news about PLAYING personnel:

•Due to overcrowding in the front office the saber-squad works out of the Wrigley Field scoreboard. You know, inside the numbers.

•Prince Fielder re-ups with the Brewers and gives them a substantial hometown discount now that Sveum is finally gone.

•Sveum’s brother, Sven, joins the team as a rowing [pronounced roving] instructor.

•Alfonso Soriano finally goes to the wall on a ball and gets lost in the ivy. After the search is called off the team schedules “burn the contract night.” The first 10,000 through the turnstiles get facsimiles of Soriano’s contract and matches with which to light them during the 7th inning stretch.

•During Miami’s first visit to Wrigley Carlos Zambrano defects to the visiting clubhouse where Ozzie Guillen grants him asylum. Negotiations lead to the Marlins’ sending Andre Dawson back to the Cubs as compensation.

•Theo does away with the celebrity sing-alongs in favor of medleys performed by him, Hoyer and Wayne Messmer. Besides “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” repertoire includes old Lettermen and Kingston Trio hits like “Shangri-La,” “Greenback Dollar” and “Hang Down Your Head, Mike Quade.”

•Sandberg is hired as Sveum’s understudy and later suspended when he tests positive for HPH (Human Personality Hormone) after knocking a few jokes out of the park in meetings with the beat writers. Quade is heard somewhere saying, “&%$@#* Sandy!”

•Change the Culture Night features espresso flowing from the taps and in the dugout water coolers in twin spirits of urgency and hustle. 11 Cub base stealers thrown out, including Bryan LaHair trying to stretch a HBP into a double.

•Cubs begin selling “gull safari” packages as a new revenue stream, allowing fans the chance to shoot birds from the bleachers after daytime home games.

•Team finishes out of the money in Year One but Hoyer does win the MLB General Managers’ Fantasy League with no Cubs on his roster.

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody. Never thought I'd say this but, GO PACKERS!

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Comments

as in beat the Lions?

exactly...

I don't care about the score, so long as Rodgers, Hill and Megatron have huge games.

We'll see how Hanie does, but if I had to choose at this point I would guess the Bears and the Lions make the playoffs.

Apparently this guy was living in Kenny Williams house for a few days.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/White-Sox-...

Thanks for providing a few laughs.

fun article Mike

Rosenthal tweet.
#Rangers can't be ruled out on starters. Have shown strong interest in Garza in past. #Cubs' new regime willing to move him. #Cubs #MLB

and

Sizemore about to resign with Indians.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

"The Rays, who were lowering their payroll, eliminated a $6 million salary and received a high-energy, high-return outfielder in Sam Fuld (whom the Cubs had undervalued)"

Ah Wrongway.... .240/.313/.360 is NOT high return I hope......if so, Blake Dewitt is a star

He meant he's high when he fills out his tax returns.

hard to keep track of all the new CBA stuff, but I believe the changes are

- minimum salary raised to 480K from 414K
- Rosters can expand to 26 for some doubleheaders.
- HGH testing, this spring they will do a test on game days and non-game days to check players energy levels, results will allegedly be discarded though and future HGH testing will then be figured out.
- no tobacco products can be visible during game and cannot be used during pre or post-game interviews and team functions.
- decision by March 1, 2012 on adding wild card team for 2012 season or not until 2013.
- Astros move to AL for 2013 and the aforementioned schedule changes.
- Super 2 increases to top 22% from top 17%
- Elimination of Elias system (God bless)
- Scaled Luxury tax based on end of year salaries
- Expanded instant replay on fair/foul balls and trapped balls (yeah!)
- Draft luxury tax
If teams exceed the bonus limit set by Major League Baseball by more than 5%, they get hit with a 75% tax. If they exceed it by between 5 and 10%, they get a 75% tax and they lose a first round pick the next year. If you’re 10-15% over, it’s a 100% tax and the loss of a first and second round pick. Fifteen percent or higher a is 100% tax and the loss of two first-round picks.

There goes Theo's best play in his playbook.

- Draft signing deadline moves up to the July 12-18th range.
- Teams that don't exceed draft spending limits will have opportunity to be awarded picks by teams that did exceed the limits (based on winning percentage and revenues).
- Teams in 10 smallest markets & with 10 smallest revenues will enter a lottery for additional draft picks between 1st and 2nd round (what the hell?)
- no more major league deals for draft picks
- International draft cap as well, something in the $2.9M range this year and then ranging from 1.8 to 5M
Overall, there will be “pools” of international signing money available to each team, with better teams being able to pay out lower dollars in international signings than worse teams and, at some point in the future, the ability of teams to trade their international money to other teams if they don’t want to use it. It’s unclear yet how that will work.

(I think someone tweeted that Rangers spent $17.6M last year in international signings).

- Cuban players under 23 with less than 3 years of pro experience are considered amateurs and will count against international cap.

- working towards an international draft by 2014

- Draft pick compensation in future years will be reserved for players that are offered a guaranteed 1-year deal of $12M or more. If the player is offered that and refuses and another team signs him, the signing team will give up their top pick (with the top 15 still protected).

- Draft pick compensation for this year's Type A's only goes to Pujols, Fielder, Ortiz, Reyes, & Rollins & Papelbon with CJ Wilson, Oswalt, Cuddyer and Willingham still to be determined. The rest of the Type A's will not cost a signing team a draft pick, but the losing team should still get a supplemental pick. As far as I can tell Type B's are the same for this year.

and players required to play in All-Star game unless injured or excused by commissioner's office

in regards to the draft, I hope this now means the Cubs go sign Prince Fielder :)

Good news on the type B's for the Cubs... if Hendry were still GM it would be good news about the type A relievers. He could sign four of those guys!

more on the modified Type A's from Rosenthal

H. Bell, Willingham, Cuddyer, K. Johnson, Madson, K-Rod will not cost signing team a draft pick, but team losing player will get a draft pick the slot right before the signing team.

throw CJ Wilson, Oswalt, and Beltran into the regular Type A's for this offseason, along with the 6 mentioned earlier (Reyes, Rollins, Papelbon, Fielder, Ortiz, & Pujols) that will cost a team their first round pick (top 15 still protected). And I presume team losing will still get a supplemental pick as well.

-edit- as noted below, only top 10 picks are protected now.

with the new draft deadline, players selected in previous year's draft will now all be eligible to be traded in deadline deals the following year.

min salary actually increases to 480K for 2012, 490K for 2013 and 500K for 2014, not sure about 2015 and 2016 yet.

- by 2016, teams in top 15 markets are disqualified from receiving money from revenue sharing
- new players prohibited from using maple bats, appears existing players have been grandfathered in

"- new players prohibited from using maple bats, appears existing players have been grandfathered in"

The Tyler Colvin clause?

heh.

I believe the no longer allowing drafted players to sign major league deals is known as the Jeff Samardzija clause.

Remember neither Szczur or Samardadjaza signed their major league deals until after they were "farm hands", so we need some further clarification, because obviously at some point, players are going to be allowed to sign major league deals after being drafted.

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 1:24pm — The Real Neal
Re: Keep Your Eye on the Crystal Ball
Remember neither Szczur or Samardadjaza signed their major league deals until after they were "farm hands", so we need some further clarification, because obviously at some point, players are going to be allowed to sign major league deals after being drafted.

=======================

TRN: And teams shouldn't be stopped from adding a player to a 25-man roster if the club feels the player is ready to play in the big leagues.

more clarification on Free agent compensation

- only players that have been with their team all year will be subject to compensation and must be offered a deal of 1-year equal to or greater than top 125 paid players in league (I guess that's around $12M as was previously stated).

- slot bonus recommendations are tied to league revenue growth (technically they could go down as well).

That's a weird one on the compensation. It really going to put a stop on deadline deals I would think. It's been hard enough for teams to give up top prospects knowing that they're going to get a first or supplemental round pick back. Now the team that is trading away a player will lose the pick, and the team getting the player won't get the pick.

only a few players are the the types that teams are going to be willing to offer $12M or more in a now guaranteed one year deal. I think Beltran is the only one from the the last season that may not have happened.

It will certainly give a little more pause though.

Most of the other big free agents this year were on contending teams, with the notable exception of Reyes.

as I said, it'll certainly be a consideration, just don't know how many players per year it really affects.

Looking at 2010, only Oswalt and Cliff Lee seem to be the players that may not have been moved.

big name players with a 1 year plus though (like Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee in 2009) will probably become hotter commodities.

Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:39pm — Rob G.

only a few players are the the types that teams are going to be willing to offer $12M or more in a now guaranteed one year deal. I think Beltran is the only one from the the last season that may not have happened.

It will certainly give a little more pause though.

============================

ROB G: While the Cubs definitely wouldn't have offered a one-year guaranteed $12M contract to Kerry Wood or Carlos Pena, they did essentially offer Aramis Ramirez $16M (guaranteed) for 2012 by exercising the club option part of the mutual option.

So no doubt they would have offered a one-year guaranteed contract for $4M less (knowing that Ramirez was certain to decline that, too).

And next year, Ryan Dempster is a possibility to get offered, but I can't see the Cubs offering one-year $12M guaranteed to the others who are eligible to be Article XX-B FAs post-2012 (Baker, Byrd, K. Hill, Marshall, and Zambrano).

However, if Sean Marshall is moved to the starting rotation next season and excels in that role, he could see his value rise dramatically.

link on some of it

http://minors.mlblogs.com/2011/11/22/the-new-...

the tender date for free agents is now within the 5 days after the World Series and before free agency begins and players will have 7 days to accept the offer

- only top 10 picks are now protected, rather than top 15
- team losing player also gets a supplemental pick
- minor league minimum salaries increase as well: 2. Minor League will increase from $67,300 in 2011 to: $78,250 in 2012; $79,900 in 2013; and $81,500 in 2014; COLA in 2015 and 2016.
- For the purpose of calculating the Signing Bonus Pools, each pick in the first 10 rounds of the draft has been assigned a value. (These values will grow each year with the rate of growth of industry revenue.) A Club’s Signing Bonus Pool equals the sum of the values of that Club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Players selected after the 10th round do not count against a Club’s Signing Bonus Pool if they receive bonuses up to $100,000. Any amounts paid in excess of $100,000 will count against the Pool.
- 6 extra picks after 1st round and 6 extra picks after 2nd round awarded in a lottery to 10 teams with smallest revenues and smallest markets. Odds to win are based on winning percentage from previous year.
- All international amateur players must register

-All international amateur players must register.

Register for the draft or just register to be signed? If it's for the draft,

1. Holy Shit!
2. If you ever wanted to be a baseball scout, especially if you have a useful second language. Now's the time.

register just to be signed (no more discovering talent that no one else knows), plus it sets up an international draft by 2014 as they seem to want.

draft pool money to range from $4.5M to $11.5M in first year allegedly, depending on number of picks and place in draft.

I presume if you're a big market team like Cubs and intend to get better soon, they may consider going overslot this year since they have higher picks (and possibly some extra picks), and be willing to give up a draft pick in 2013 when they presumably may be drafting lower.

just a consideration...

Depends on how the penalties play out and how they're doing in June of this year too.

The way I understand it...

In order to receive a Rule 4 draft pick as compensation for losing an Article XX-B MLB free-agent, the club must (on the 6th day following the conclusion of the World Series) offer the free-agent player a one-year guaranteed contract for an amount equal to or more than whatever the average salary was the previous season for the 125 highest-paid MLB players.

The player then has seven days to decide whether to accept or decline the offer.

(This is somewhat similar to the previous system, where in order to receive a compensation draft pick for losing a Type "A" or Type "B" free-agent, the club had to offer salary arbitration to the free-agent player on November 23rd, and the player had seven days to decide whether to accept the offer or decline it).

If the player declines the contract offer and subsequently signs with a new club, the new club (the signing club) loses its own 1st round draft pick (or 2nd round pick if the 1st round pick is in the Top 10 of the 1st round, and potentially its 3rd, 4th, 5th round picks, etc, if additional free-agents are signed who were offered contracts),

The player's former club receives ONLY a supplemental "sandwich" pick immediately after the conclusion of the 1st round (slotting based upon a team's winning percentage from the previous season). The player's former team does NOT receive two draft picks. Only one. And it's the post-1st round supplemental pick, NOT the signing team's lost pick (nobody gets that one, it just goes away).

In addition, six "Competitive Balance" draft picks are awarded (by lottery) between the 1st and 2nd rounds (slotted immediately after the post-1st round free-agent compensation picks). Clubs eligible for this lottery are the 10 lowest revenue clubs and 10 smallest-market clubs.

Six more "Competitive Balance" draft picks are awarded (also by lottery) between the 2nd & 3rd rounds. Teams eligible to receive these picks are any team that was eligible for the "Competitive Balance" lottery after the 1st round but did not receive a pick, plus any team (regardless of revenue or market size) that received revenue sharing money the previous season.

These 12 "Competitive Balance" draft picks can supposedly be "assigned" (traded) UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES(?) not yet explained...

Also, each MLB Club will be given an aggregate signing bonus budget limit for players selected in the first 10 rounds of the Rule 4 Draft. (Bonuses paid to players selected in other rounds are included only if a particular bonus exceeds $100K).

The budget amount will vary from team-to-team, and is based upon where the club selects in the draft (which is based upon where the club finished in the standings the previous season) and the pre-assigned bonus "value" of each of the club's picks.

Any team that exceeds its assigned Rule 4 Draft signing bonus budget by 0-5% pays a 75% tax, any team that exceeds its bonus budget by 5-10% pays a 75% tax AND loses its 1st round draft pick in the next Rule 4 Draft, any club that exceeds its bonus budget by 10-15% pays a 100% tax AND loses its 1st & 2nd round picks in the next draft, and any team that exceeds its bonus budget by more than 15% pays a 100% tax AND loses 1st round picks in the next two drafts.

Any Rule 4 draft pick lost by a club as the result of exceeding the bonus budget limit will be awarded (by lottery) to another club. Only clubs that did not exceed their assigned bonus budget limit will be eligible to participate in the lottery for these picks. Unlike the "Competitive Balance" lottery draft picks, these draft picks CANNOT be traded.

There also will be a signing bonus budget limit for international players (who are not subject to selection in the Rule 4 Draft). The budget will be the same for all MLB clubs for the first year (the budget is expected to be about $3M for each club the first year), and then will vary from club-to-club starting with the second year of the agreement.

Any team that exceeds the international signing bonus budget by 0-5% in a given year pays a 75% tax, any team that exceeds the bonus budget by 5-10% pays a 75% tax AND can sign only one player for more than a $500K bonus the next season, any team that exceeds the international signing bonus budget by 10-15% pays a 100% tax AND can sign no players for more than a $500K bonus the next season, and any team that exceeds the international signing bonus budget by more than 15% pays a 100% tax AND can sign no players for more than a $250K bonus the following season.

A club will be permitted to "trade" to another club (or clubs) any of its unspent international bonus budget.

Six more "Competitive Balance" draft picks are awarded (also by lottery) between the 1st and 2nd rounds. Teams eligible to receive these picks are any team that was eligible for the "Competitive Balance" lottery after the 1st round but did not receive a pick, plus any team (regardless of revenue or market size) that received revenue sharing money the previous season.

I think you meant 2nd and 3rd round on this one.

you seem to be right that the losing team doesn't actually get the signing teams pick anymore, everyone seemed to miss that. Good catch.

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 11:30am — Rob G.
Re: Keep Your Eye on the Crystal Ball
"Six more "Competitive Balance" draft picks are awarded (also by lottery) between the 1st and 2nd rounds. Teams eligible to receive these picks are any team that was eligible for the "Competitive Balance" lottery after the 1st round but did not receive a pick, plus any team (regardless of revenue or market size) that received revenue sharing money the previous season."

I think you meant 2nd and 3rd round on this one.

=============================

ROB G: Thanks for catching that.

I have fixed it.

to Ryan Braun...

Castro got 1 10th place vote.

Wow, I really thought Kemp had that one locked up.

http://bbwaa.com/

the vote

20 1st place for Braun, 10 for Kemp, 1 each for Fielder and Upton

Halladay finished higher than Kershaw in MVP voting, but 2nd in Cy Young

I think Braun had a few of those highlight September plays in the middle of a race to swing it his way. Not sure how I would have voted, but not terribly upsetting to me, Braun was certainly worthy.

Seems like for the MVP the many voters still like "Best player on a winning team" but for the Cy Young they just like "Best Pitcher".

Well that may be true...I guess the wording of most valuable kicks in ever couple of times they choose it? Braun's team made the playoffs, and Kemp's finished 11 1/2 back....
Cy Young is meant for the best pitcher..maybe they should change the MVP Award to Most Outstanding Player.

voters occasionally lose their f'n minds...the 1984 AL vote still blows people away.

Free article over there about the Golden Era Committee, or whetever it's called this year.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

A little bit down on him, though they still think he's the best hitter not in, and the standards for 3rd basemen are still higher than any position other than CF.
Our play-by-play fielding system has cost Santo about 50 runs relative to our previous system, with the result that he now falls below the career standard for third basemen, a consequence of retiring after his age-34 season following a crosstown trade and an ill-considered move to second base.

Edit* The conclusion at the bottom is that he and Minoso should be in, though if I understand the purpose of JAWS as outlined in the article, technically neither should make it.

Jeimer Candelario finished 4th in OPS (.921) and 6th in OBP in the DSL. Overall the DSL Cubs #2 team had a .722 OPS, so it wasn't just the park.

The Cubs#2 team finished 47-25 (25-42 for the Cubs#1 team) with a 3.44 ERA (4.30 for #1).

apparently the draft picks lost by teams for going overslot and assigned to new teams can be traded as well as the lottery picks

I think.

standard draft picks still can't be traded.

fun wrinkle if I read that right.

wtf does this mean?

"Kevin_Goldstein Remember Theo's press conference with the Cubs? Remember about the big investment in scouting and development? Bye-bye."

that they won't be able to invest as much as they did in Boston?

seemed like a pretty cut and dry statement to me

The portion of scouting and development money allocated to signing bonuses.

Though I would bet that in actual "scouting" and "development" parts of that budget increases for the big market teams.

It also makes you think that the clubs will be even more cloak and dagger about the players they have at their own academies.

oh, it's goldy over-exagerating again over a rule change and throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

cute. stupid twitter.

You should see if you could get him going on abolishing the draft. He still hasn't thought that one all the way through, but he's got very strong opinions on it.

i need a translator for him sometimes...he seems to do okay if an interviewer is guiding his thought process, but some of his stuff he writes/talks about on his own loses meaning from head-to-paper. i fall victim to this, myself, but i'm not trying to write/talk to 100s of thousands of people who care what i have to say.

I rank this comment somewhere between + and ++.

for what Goldstein writes or crunch realizing he's difficult to understand :)

- also some improvements on pension and health benefits
- and a new helmet by 2013 to protect from 100 mph fastballs, not as bulky as the current ones. Hope no one gets hit by a 99mph fastball.

think this is 3/44

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Jamarillo to stay, Dernier and DeJesus out

No decision yet on Riggins, Strode or Listach (the last 2 still have a year left on their deals).

Chris Bosio mentioned again and Sveum wanting to bring in a bench coach he's familiar with, mentions Brewers first base coach Ed Sedar.

Any coach with any ties to Sandberg most go.

I thought Riggins did a pretty good job this year.

i didn't know jam was so reasonably priced...i thought he was making more than 1m a year...not 800K in his final year.

it's not cheap for a pitching coach, but it's not highly unreasonable...especially for a guy with his history/cred.

not surprised to see the base coaches go, though i wouldn't have been surprised to see dernier sticking around...dejesus was lou's guy and quade liked him after the fact.

I think we can all agree that the happiest people today are college baseball coaches.

Kyle Orton released by Broncos.

The circle is complete

The circle is complete

Nah... won't be complete until the Cubs pick him up to back up Hanie.

that would be a trick

Already talk that the Texans may want him. I wouldn't be totally shocked if either team put a claim on him.

I would think that the Texans, the Chiefs, and the Bears would all be interested. Chiefs would get waiver priority, and then I think that the Texans would get priority over the Bears because of a harder strength of schedule.

latest is Chiefs and Bears will put a claim in, Chiefs have the priority. Word was Texans would pass.

https://twitter.com/vxmcclure23/status/139109...

https://twitter.com/skjensen/status/139111323...

Bears could use a backup to Hanie, Orton doesn't know the system unfortunately to make this anymore interesting than a Hail Mary or an onside kick.

the "trick" would be the Cubs pulling it off :)

would the Cubs have to keep Orton on the 25 man roster for a whole year to keep him? ;)

http://insidethepadres.blogspot.com/2011/11/h...

quotes from Hoyer about not trading Bell because the draft picks were worth more than they were being offered and how they checked with the office to make sure that wouldn't change.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/201...

MLB won't get to unilaterally decide the worth of draft picks going forward, though. It negotiated the values with the MLBPA, and they reportedly (and not surprisingly) will be much higher. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman and CBS Sports' Danny Knobler Tweeted that the aggregate pools would range from $4.5 million to $11.5 million, depending on how many picks a team had and where they fell. Yahoo's Jeff Passan Tweeted that the total pool for all 30 teams would be around $200 million.

Based on MLB's 2011 slot values, 20 of the 30 teams would have paid a 100 percent tax on their overage as well as forfeited two first-round picks. If the total for the first 10 rounds rises from last year's $133 million to Passan's $200 million, that's a 50 percent increase. Extrapolating the 2011 numbers, only six clubs would have received the maximum penalty.

surprise, Boras doesn't like it

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/daily...

"Try to find a GM who's for this. I know of no GM who's in favor of these changes. Try to find a scouting director. No one is in favor of this but Bud [Selig]. This was a mandate by the commissioner to get the deal done.

"Now, if you're Tampa Bay, and if you win, you get to spend half as much as the Chicago Cubs do in the draft. It makes no sense."

I agree with him. I think this is Bud just getting back at all the teams that openly ignored his requests to sign for slot.

Further, I think Goldstein said on CTL that it's a terrible idea for baseball overall. Two sport athletes will be less likely to choose baseball, team's international scouting will lose its edge by the registering process, and the loss of picks is going to further inflate the perceived value of prospects. The fact that the MBLPA could agree to these rules that don't affect them is galling.

The registration process clearly favors the players. There's no reasonable argument otherwise. More teams that know about a player, the more demand, so the more money he'll get. It protects, to some degree, million dollar kids going for $35K and a loose promise of a visa.

I agree it's probably good overall for the latin american players. I think the strict limits on draft spending are ridiculous, though. There's a payroll cap. Within that, teams should be permitted to spend money as they see fit.

I think it's just as much designed to punish clubs who outspend others in international scouting and signings. Your point is valid, that a phenom found by a scout that's ready to sign, once registered, would have the opportunity to be known by all clubs and hence get more attention and a bigger offer down the line. The teams that do not scout internationally benefit from this. Selig's motivation wasn't to help the international kids, it was to punish teams that outspend the field. The Yankees "model" has the luxury tax, the Red Sox model has the draft tax. It's all horseshit.

This rant is mainly based on having an owner who wants to spend big on draft/international.

I think that the motivation was there to help the international kids, but clearly also, the overall capping of amateur signing budgets is to help the teams.

It's a more fair system. As a fan of a team that had intended to take advantages of a less fair system, it sort of sucks.

Looks like we'll just have to do it the old fashioned way - being smarter than the other teams.

It was never fair that the top 10 domestic kids got 3 times as much as the top 10 international kids, strictly because they the teams were only allowed to offer a contract to one American/Canadian. Now, because of the total budget, the teams will be able to play prospects off one-another " We are down to our last $500K, do you want it or not?"

If they had eliminated the draft, the kids wouldn't suddenly have gotten more money, it would just be redistributed. The capping of the aquisition budgets though will, in the long term, slow spending.

Oh, Oh. Wrongway Phil Rogers agrees with Arizona Phil.
...gotta run, just saw a pig fly by:

Don’t be shocked if the Cubs decide to shift Marshall from the bullpen into the rotation. There’s not much value in having a good eighth-inning guy if you don’t have the starting pitching to get leads into the eighth inning. His agent, Barry Meister, is among those who think that Marshall has a collection of pitches to succeed in a starter’s role if he’s given a chance.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

I'm all for Marshall, Samardzija not so much.

You can try Samardzija, just think he was more lucky than good last year.

So I started DVR'ing "Clubhouse Confidential" in case I get a few minutes to drag my eyeballs over it at some point.

My wife saw it in the queue and actually checked to make sure it wasn't some new late-nite show on Cinemax.

/unsubtle husband'd

Owners coming off a very succesful World Series, have an extra playoff team pending, just signed a CBA that includes cost certainty on the amateur budgets...

They're going to spend a shit load of money this off-season. I'll be totally floored if Fielder doesn't get a $200 million contract.

Sizemore 1/5M with 4M in incentives

today must be tender day for free agents, see what they do about Pena and Ramirez, well more Pena.

MLBtraderumors status tracker:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011freeagentar...

Nothing for "our guys" yet.

surprised to see Beltran not offered, then saw that it was part of his contract.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2011/11/23/1123-win...

appears LaHair tailed off after his hot start (naturally) and has now gone home, Ridling is playing 1b now for the same team.
batted .264 in 24 games with seven home runs, six doubles, and 14 RBIs. He also struck out 29 times. LaHair hit six of his homers in his first seven games

91 AB's, 7 HR's is second in the league, .951 OPS with a .394 OBP.

Rusin put up nice numbers in the Dominican leagues, 2.84 ERA in six starts with Leones del Escogido, giving up eight earned runs on 24 hits and eight walks over 25 1/3 innings. He’s struck out 21.

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/...

- Cubs in on Cespedes, expected to be around $30-$40M
- in on Darvish as well
- speculation of Colvin being comp for Epstein (yeah right)
- expects Cubs to be big players on Fielder
- new guys asked what trade options were available at deadline, Pirates liked Soto
- looking to develop a solution for 3B (someone in the organization likes LeMahieu's defense there)

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 2:02pm — Rob G.

- Cubs in on Cespedes, expected to be around $30-$40M
- in on Darvish as well
- speculation of Colvin being comp for Epstein (yeah right)
- expects Cubs to be big players on Fielder
- new guys asked what trade options were available at deadline, Pirates liked Soto
- looking to develop a solution for 3B (someone in the organization likes LeMahieu's defense there)

===========================

ROB G: As I understand it, Japanese (NPB) big leaguers and Cuban players over the age of 23 are not covered under the new international bonus limits.

But the new international bonus limits should put a crimp into the Cubs Dominican operation, where they operate two DSL teams each with a 35-man roster (70 players total) and now sign about 25 DR and VZ players per year.

I can't see the Cubs (or any MLB club) operating two DSL teams anymore, and it should be the death-knell for the Venezuelan Summer League for the same reason (everybody has a DSL team, four--CUBS, NYY, NYM, and TEX--have two, and another six teams have one DSL and one VSL team).

Orton claimed by KC Chiefs

next week's headline:

Orton waived by Chiefs.

http://minors.mlblogs.com/2011/11/23/the-new-...

look at the slot money of top 10 picks under new system, about 1.5x current slot

So the sky isn't falling?

Ramirez and Pena offered arbitration according to Sullivan tweet. Wood wasn't, but expected to resign.

3 days thru the 7 day Bosio window (according to the Milw Sentinel, math courtesy of Cubster, window closes after sunday)

Chicago is a little less than halfway into a seven-day window within which it can negotiate with Bosio, according to Melvin.

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/13442805...

So if Pena accepts arbitration...what are the possibilities of him getting traded?

Zilch? Doubt anyone would want to pay him that much for a year. I'd say more likely if he accepts, the Cubs just release him in March.

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 9:01pm — Rob G.
Zilch? Doubt anyone would want to pay him that much for a year. I'd say more likely if he accepts, the Cubs just release him in March.

===========================

ROB G: Clubs can't just offer salary arbitration to a free-agent and then summarily release him in Spring Training without the MLBPA filing a grievance.

The Padres tried that in 2007 with Todd Walker after they offered him salary arbitration and he accepted, releasing him at the end of Spring Training to save about $3M in unwanted payroll.

The Padres won the grievance only because they were able to show the hearing officer that Walker was clearly outplayed in Cactus League games by other candidates for the job, but there is no guarantee that would happen with Pena.

If the Padres had lost the grievance they would have had to pay Walker the entire $3.9M.

So a trade would probably be the best bet with Pena if he accepts the salary arbitration offer (and of course there is no guarantee that he will), presuming the Cubs don't want him back in 2012. Pena on a one-year contract (even if it's in the $10M range) is not necessarily an unattractive proposition for a team in need of a 1B.

It would be a big risk to plan in advance to release Pena in Spring Training. You would have to count on somebody clearly outplaying him for the 1B job. Otherwise the Cubs would be stuck having to pay his entire 2012 salary (whatever that might be), minus the prorated MLB minimum salary if he signs with another club.

Any idea if the 20% pay cut limit is in the new CBA?

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 10:53pm — QuietMan

Any idea if the 20% pay cut limit is in the new CBA?

==============================

Q-MAN: It would be significant if it wasn't. The max 20% salary cut rule is something the MLBPA holds dear.

One thing about offering salary arbitration to Type "A" and Type "B" free-agents, though, is that the maximum 20% cut rule doesn't apply. But of course that won't matter after this year.

Now that Type "A" and Type "B" free-agents Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez have (apparently) been offered salary arbitration, they have until next Wednesday (11/30) to accept or decline.

Ramirez will almost certainly decline salary arbitration, because otherwise he wouldn't have declined the player option part of his $16M mutual option for 2012, but I could envision Pena accepting the offer. Pena really seemed to enjoy playing for the Cubs in 2011, and he very well could be happy playing for the Cubs again in 2012 on a one-year non-guaranteed contract in the $10M range.

BTW, if Pena and/or Ramirez accept the offer of salary arbitration, they would no longer be considered Article XX-B free-agents, and thus would NOT receive the automatic "no trade" rights through 6/15 they get if they decline salary arbitration and remain a free-agent and then sign a contract. That wouldn't matter with regard to Ramirez because he is a 10/5 player and so he already would have "no trade" rights if he returns to the Cubs in 2012, but it would matter with regard to Pena, because the Cubs could trade him at any time if they (for example) end up signing Prince Fielder.

If the Cubs offer Pena arbitration, why would they want to cut him, unless either A.) they have Fielder (and in that case Fielder would hopefully put up good numbers in ST in order to prove that the Cubs had a good reason to cut Pena) or B.) the Cubs go with LaHair or another minor leaguer, which is only likely to happen if that player performs well in spring training?

I don't see the Cubs on the hook for Pena's whole 2012, nor do I think they are likely to be stuck with him even for the beginning of the season if they don't want to be.

sorry, I should have clarified. I think the plan is they're fairly certain that he won't accept it. I believe he has the same agent as Fielder (Boras), presuming they are showing somewhat sincere interest in Fielder, then I'm sure Boras will smartly advise his client that accepting the Cubs offer means you may not have a job next year and certainly not a starting one with the Cubs. And that it's in his best interest to shop his services and be able to pick the best opportunity for him. Because there's the chance they release you in spring training and would certainly have just cause in this scenario. On top of that, I have a hard time believing Boras would advise Pena to accept arbitration from a club that I'm sure he's trying to sell Fielder too. Because if the Cubs do sign Fielder and Pena did accept arbitration, he's going to have a lot of explaining to do to his client Pena.

Plan B for the Cubs is that he does accept it, they don't sign Fielder or Pujols, and if Pena outplays LaHair in spring training, they keep him around. If he doesn't, they may have just cause to release him.

A calculated risk by the Cubs, but one that I've always believed the odds are in management's favor on this one.

Wouldn't Pena also have to be beat out as the #1 LH bat off the bench?

Thu, 11/24/2011 - 7:53am — The Real Neal

Wouldn't Pena also have to be beat out as the #1 LH bat off the bench?

===============================

TRN: Yes, probably.

The MLBPA is constantly watching for any shenanigans involving a Type "A" or Type "B" Article XX-B MLB free-agent who is offered salary arbitration and accepts and then gets released in Spring Training. The player better have a VERY bad Grapefruit or Cactus League (like Todd Walker did with SD in 2007), or the club will lose the grievance that is sure to be filed.

The thing is, there are teams that might find Carlos Pena even more attractive playing on a one-year contract than they would if he were signed to a multi-year deal, should it get to the point where the Cubs have to trade him (like if they somehow are able to sign Prince Fielder). He is not going to have "no trade" rights, so moving him shouldn't be overly difficult if it becomes necessary to do so.

I think offering Carlos Pena arbitration was probably worth the risk if it means the Cubs get a Supplemental 1st round draft pick if he signs elsewhere. And even if he does choose to accept the offer and return to the Cubs, he could very well end up being the Cubs' best option at 1B (by default) in 2012, if they are unable to sign Fielder. We all know that Pena is an above-average defender at 1B, he has plus-HR power, and he draws a lot of walks.

Question for Arizona Phil. You have mentioned that deadline for the players to accept arbitration is November 30th. On the MLB website they say December 7th. Can you clarify this timeline.

Thu, 11/24/2011 - 12:34pm — Cliffy

Question for Arizona Phil. You have mentioned that deadline for the players to accept arbitration is November 30th. On the MLB website they say December 7th. Can you clarify this timeline.

=============================

CLIFFY: The former deadline (prior to 2010) for a club to offer salary arbitration to an Article XX-B MLB free-agent was December 1st, with the player having until December 7th to decide whether to accept or decline the offer. With approval of the MLBPA, the dates were moved-up to November 23rd (the date a club must decide whether to offer arbitration) & November 30th (the date a player accepts or declines the offer) last year. So December 7th is the old deadline for an Article XX-B FA to decide whether to accept or decline salary arbitration, and apparently the mlb.com web-site never updated it.

With salary arbitration no longer part of the free-agent process in the new CBA, starting next off-season clubs will have to decide by the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series whether to offer their Article XX-B MLB free-agents a one-year guaranteed contract equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid MLB players the previous season, in order to get a compensation draft pick if the player signs with a new club. And then the player will have seven days to decide whether to accept or decline the offer.

BTW, with approval of the MLBPA, the date to tender contracts to auto-renewal players and players eligible for salary arbitration was also moved up last year, from December 12th to December 2nd. And December 2nd will remain the tender date in the new CBA.

There was also talk about moving-up the Rule 5 Draft this year, but nothing has been done about that yet. At least for now it will remain the last order of business at the MLB Winter Meetings, although don't be surprised if it is eventually moved to a date closer to the 11/20 deadline for filing MLB and minor league reserve lists with the MLB office.

//The first pick in that '07 draft has been the starting pitcher in a World Series game, and the 10th has won one. The fifth has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The 14th has been National League Rookie of the Year. The 27th was the starting pitcher in an AL Central tiebreaker game.

If the evaluators are losing patience, Vitters says he is not......... //

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/vitters-32...

He didn't have a Moustakas style breakout, but he decreased his K rate and set a career high for PA's. I think the original perfect world plan was to have him push Aram-Ram to first this last year, but he still looks like he's going to make it to the majors next year.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Five-Star Prospects
1. Brett Jackson, OF
Four-Star Prospects
2. Javier Baez, SS
Three-Star Prospects
3. Welington Castillo, C
4. Dillon Maples, RHP
5. Matt Szczur, OF
6. Josh Vitters, 3B
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
8. Trey McNutt, RHP
9. Marco Hernandez, SS
Two-Star Prospects
10. Junior Lake, SS/3B
11. Rafael Dolis, RHP

Vogelbach, Ha, Carpenter, Zych, Flaherty, LeMahieu, DeVoss, Golden, M. Gonzalez are the next 9.

The new collective bargaining agreement adds some challenges to the existing Theo Epstein system of scouting and player development. While there are plenty of future big-leaguers in the organization, most of the players who are going to turn things around are not here yet.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/86 or later)
1. Starlin Castro, SS
2. Brett Jackson, OF
3. Javier Baez, SS
4. Andrew Cashner, RHP
5. Welington Castillo, C
6. Dillon Maples, RHP
7. Matt Szczur, OF
8. Josh Vitters, 3B
9. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
10. Trey McNutt, RHP

believe the article is free for everyone...

It is.

A little more fuel for the "Lake was protected for trade bait" fire.
, but there is so much work to be done that several teams who want to turn him into a power reliever have approached the Cubs.

Spit-take moment: BP apparently unironically describing Castillo as a "base-clogger"...?!?!

it's a very commonly used phrase that some cubs fans fixated on as if dusty invented a phrase that's been around for decades. it's also commonly misunderstood...or worse...intentionally misunderstood in order to advance a belief vs. a person. i think harold reynolds uses the phrase more than anyone i've heard...probably cuz he's on TV more than most ex-ballplayers.

it's as simple as having a guy on base who doesn't know how to read a pitcher or is totally slow as hell yet hits a bunch of singles...there's plenty of guys, both slow as hell and faster than normal that can't pick up a pitcher properly or they run the bases like they have a couple of toddlers hanging onto their legs.

in this case, welly is slow...very very slow. that said, he isn't just hitting a bunch of singles so it shouldn't be a huge issue to his game. plus, he's not a lower-lineup type hitter that's going to set up anything for more steady hitters.

the phrase has such a negative meaning at this point hopefully it'll work it's way out of baseball lexicon.

bbl, towel drills.

I agree with crunch. I have heard scouts use the term before.

A "base clogger" is basically a "station-to-station" base-runner (doesn't necessarily have to be slow, but usually is) who keeps fast runners on base behind him from taking more than one base at a time, so that the faster runner can't go from 1st to 3rd or score from 2nd base on a single to the outfield, or score from 1st base on a double.

A "base-clogger" also can't be trusted to be on the front end of a hit & run, so having him on 1st base restricts a manager's options.

And although I rate Welington Castillo among the Cubs Top 5 Prospects and believe he will be a front-line catcher in the big leagues, he is indeed a VERY slow runner.

Didn't mean to re-start any old Dusty Baker debates. I just thought it was a very un-BP phrase to use. I understand that it is often applied to slow or inept baserunners, and that slow or inept baserunning can be extremely annoying inning-ending phenomena (see Theriot, Ryan). There's still something that gets under my skin about the phrase, though. Even if it wasn't invented just to jab smugly at stat nerds, it sounds like it was.

Just to follow up a bit with that, the "clogging" bit means that the guy on base behind Castillo won't be able to advance either, so if he's on second and an average or better runner is on first and your batter hits a longish single to right, you wind up with the bases loaded instead of 1st and 3rd with a run in.

So in terms of player value it can have a very negative impact on a game. It is about the only offensive skill that one player has which could actually lower the value of another batter on his team. Sort of like (but not nearly as bad as) bringing in a groundball pitcher, when you have a defensively challenged middle infield.

When Dusty used the term, however, he said it in reference to walking, implying that he would rather have a 1st and 3rd with one out situation, than a bases loaded with no out situation (to follow out with the example above, if Castillo were to make an out instead of walking, so he didn't clog the bases) which is a very ignorant thing to say.

dusty is very aware of the term and it's use. he's used it plenty of times.

like towel drills...the cubs didn't invent it...nor is it useless/rare...nor is it something dusty decided to do to piss off cubs fans.

“What you do is run the pitcher’s count up, that helps,” Baker said. “You put him in the stretch, that helps. But your job in the middle is to either score them or drive them in. The name of the game is scoring runs. Sometimes, you get so caught up in on-base percentage that you’re clogging up the bases.”

...that's the one that started the whole thing the last go-around...from a CIN beat writer.

the phrase "ob%" and "clogging" being so close destroyed some people's minds for some reason. the arm-chair SABRs used to be so protective over a perceived war toward their "side" this got hype up through the roof for no reason.

found one of the cubs instances...from late-06...a hypothetical from a reporter asking him what he needed next season and if they'll target an ob% guy...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address more than anything is the home run problem."

fwiw...the cubs had good ob% options in 06 if everyone stayed healthy (ha), but severely lacked power and didn't have full season players. DLee was injured most of the year, m.barrett for a little while...t.walker got traded...murton played 3/4 of a season... aram put in a full season...jock jones put in his last power season before he became useless. it really sucked having dlee go down that season.

the bench + replacement players almost universally sucked ass and brought the team ob% down a ton...except for theriot's 150-ish ABs.

the pitching was...my god...06 was hard to sit through. only 1 guy put in more than 150ip...Z. ugg.

I thought 2006 would be the worst recent year to be a Cubs fan until 2011 happened.

Yeah. At least in 2006 there appeared to be some young pictures that might be worth a damn (Hill, Marshall, Marmol, Guzman), even if it was immediately obvious they were taking their lumps. Murton and Pagan were both young players looking like they might someday be OK-to-good, too. Starlin Castro is fun and a good player (more valuable than any one player listed above), but there were no other signs this year that the organization might be moving in a better direction.

Don't know what you're seeing there crunch. It's pretty obvious that Dusty doesn't realize the strength of the correlation between OBP and scoring runs.

"But your job in the middle is to either score them or drive them in."

The best way to score a run, is to be on base. No one has ever scored a run without being on base. It's a little alarming that a manager would think there are batters with other jobs than scoring or driving in runs, but Dusty is clearly one of them, hence doing things like replacing Lee with Neifi in the lineup.

it's more obvious he wants middle-lineup hitters to smack homers whether they're taking 20 extra walks a year or not.

just because one of the best 2nd baseman ever believes ob% is overblown doesn't mean he doesn't know what it is...and that still drives some people nuts...then again 1/2 of what comes out of joe morgan's mouth drives people nuts.

"The best way to score a run is to be on base. No one has ever scored a run without being on base."

People have been on base without scoring a run, though.

Fukudome's OBP with the Cubs last season was .374. If you take his runs scored (33 with the Cubs) and divide by the total of PAs where he got on base (128), the result is a .258 average. I'll call it an On Base Run Percentage for lack of a better term.

That was by far the worst among Cub starters. Here is the same calculation for other Cubs:

Campana .375
Barney .371
Castro .370
Ramirez .340
Soriano .331
Pena .323
Soto .307
Fukudome (overall) .284
Fukudome (with Cubs) .258

Fukudome didn't raise his run-scoring number with Cleveland by walking more and hitting more singles. He walked only 15 times in 59 Cleveland games, compared to 46 walks in 87 Cub games. But his XBH rate was higher with Cleveland (31% to 25%). I would say that he had a hard time getting from first to home: not very fast, not a good baserunner.

Note that the list is fairly consistent with a pure speed ranking. Of course, the faster guys tend to bat higher in the batting order, but I don't know how to disentangle all that, and the excuse doesn't work for Fukudome in any case.

I'll still take Fukudome over Barney at the plate.

That one might claim that OBP is more important than baserunning ability does not mean that one is saying they will go for a point or two of OBP regardless of any other factors.

(Also, did you subtract any runs that these players scored after being put in as pinch runners? If not, that seems like it might mess up your formula a bit, especially for players like Campana.)

Do we really think that Fukudome is a worse baserunner than Pena, Soto, and Ramirez?

"did you subtract any runs that these players scored after being put in as pinch runners?"

The tone of that question reminds of the urge among Friends-of-OBP to subtract caught-stealings from SBs.

I did ADD Campana's pinch-running opportunities to the usual list of on-base items like hits, walks, hbp's, ibb's.

(There's no way that I can think of to count the times a batter reaches on an error or fielder's choice.)

I would add that nothing prevented Fukudome or Soto or anyone else from being used as pinch runners, other than their lack of baserunning tools.

nothing would prevent Campana from having more PA's than his lack of hitting tools.

Comment of the day!

Did you take into account the base he was placed on when pinch running? If not, then we're crediting him with somebody else's ability to reach that particular bag (which could be either a boon or a detriment to his overall percentage). I just think your measurement works better if we are only looking at the instances in which the batter is also responsible for the base that he's on.

I believe that the presence of Soto and Fukudome in the starting lineup would prevent them from being pinch runners, but you are right that neither one is going to get picked to pinch run when Campana (or Colvin, or Barney, etc.) is available.

I would absolutely recommend tempering appreciation of SBs with attention to CSs, by the way.

But I don't think we disagree all that strongly. If we're questioning whether Campana with a .303 OBP is more or less valuable than Fukudome, I would say less. If we're talking about Campana with a .340 OBP, I think there is at least a debate to have, and I'm not positive which side I'd come down on.

If we are really being serious here, you obviously discard every pinch running attempt for every player. You the go on to neutralize situtational context, like # of outs when the runner is on base and the batting numbers for the gys who wereup behind them.

But if you don't wat to do all the study and math, look up these two players and figure it out. Vince Coleman and Wade Boggs.

"I would absolutely recommend tempering appreciation of SBs with attention to CSs, by the way."

Player X hits a double in his first at-bat. In his second at-bat, he hits a long single and is thrown out sliding into second.

Player Y hits a single and steals second. He singles again in his second at-bat and is thrown out stealing.

X has three total bases so far, while Y has only two, since the "stolen" base is not considered a base when calculating total bases. Total bases feed directly into OPS, an all-purpose measure of offensive production, so I guess we're saying that a stolen base is not an offensive statistical datum. It's something separate, something less real, less important.

I realize that you don't steal a base with your bat, but you don't walk with your bat either, and walks certainly find their way into OPS.

Most people are fine with this. I'm sure you're fine with this.

But now you want to go a step farther, and somehow disallow or cheapen Y's stolen base because he was caught stealing the next time he tried. Yet when X is slow getting to second on what should have been a double, you're happy to give him a single as consolation, even though he's back in the dugout rather than on first.

For a while there last year, I could swear that Soto got thrown out at second, third or home about once a week. I'm not sure how often that really happened. Do you know where I can look it up?

What, you mean there isn't a handy statistical column in Baseball Reference? If I want to know how many times Soto was caught stealing--well, I'm pretty sure it's zero. But if I didn't know already, I could find it easily.

By no means am I saying that I am opposed to also recording the times when a player is caught trying to take an extra base.

I think that any smart analyst ought to recognize that OPS does not take into account base stealing ability--and I think that most do, even if they do not value base stealing ability in the same ways that you or I do. I don't think there are many knowledgeable analysts out there saying that OPS is an all-purpose measurement of offensive production, even though they may look at it as the most telling measurement of offensive production for most players.

If you are arguing that stolen bases ought to be valued more highly, then I am all ears. I'm also all ears for anyone who has a rigorous analysis of the value of those players who try to stretch for the extra base that take into account both the risks and the awards.

In my own prospect lists, I concoct an OPS-like value by adding up total bases, walks and SBs and dividing by something (games, PAs), with the result that I was neither surprised nor troubled by Campana's call-up to the majors in his third full pro season. I just try to stay one step ahead of the SABR police.

I wasn't really criticizing Soto's "stretching for the extra base." He's just trying to do what you're supposed to do: score from second on a single to the OF or go from first to third on a single to center or right. But he can't get there in time.

I'm not really talking about Soto, anyway. From now on I'll just refer to an imaginary but typical slow runner named Slomo.

I'm sure you've seen this one. A batter hits a smash off the third baseman's chest, and the ball rolls a few feet away. With no chance for a play at first, the third baseman has enough awareness to whip a throw over to second to get a force on Slomo. Talk about clogging the bases! The game narrative and the stats that flow from it merely record an out by fielder's choice for the hitter. But the fielder didn't really have a choice, he had to go for the slow guy.

baseball, meet real life...

Yu Darvish unlikely to be posted because of on-going divorce proceedings and how that $$ would most likely be applied to the settlement.

Ouch. Also, that seems like some unusual divorce law. The proceedings have been initiated already, but money that makes after that point still applies to the case?

there's probably a japanese divorce law expert somewhere on TCR...we got everything else.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/...

Article says that in 2007 women could get at their husbands' pension in a divorce, so there may be some precedent for future earnings.

Damn, I think a lot of people were hoping he'd bring her to the US.

She's a five tool prospect for sure.

Using what her momma gave her, and now trying to chisel in on Yu's big American payday... gotta love it.

http://umpbump.com/press/2009/03/30/hot-baseb...

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