Cubs Sign a Cuban, But Not That One

The Cubs did sign an acclaimed player out of Cuba, but it's not Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler. Rather 18-year old LHP Gerardo Concepcion. A player Kevin Goldstein called polished for his age, but with the ceiling of a #4/#5 starter and whom Goldstein would put at #6 on his Top 11 Cubs prospect list.  Standing at 6'2", he throws in the upper 80's to 90mph with a curve and a change-up (what's up Ted Lilly?). Considering his age and alleged polish, he should start in Peoria rather than hang back in Arizona and then join Boise or the Arizona Rookie League in June. Enrique Rojas says the deal is for a total of $7M and a major league deal, which means a 40-man roster move would be necessary. ESPN Chicago adds that incentives can take the deal up to around the $8M mark. All this makes the Jeff Samardzija draft deal look good.

The Cubs have also signed Ryan-Rowland Smith to a minor league deal. The 29-year old Aussie pitched in the Astros minor leagues after spending parts of 4 seasons in the majors with the Mariners, but I'll always remember him from this commercial. I presume he'll be added to the non-roster invite list for spring training.

Also, with Edwin Jackson signing with the Nationals, the Cubs at the moment own the #6, #43, #55 and #65 picks in the 2012 draft. Derek Lee and Raul Ibanez are the last two Type B free agents out there and there's no guarantee they'll sign, but if they do, they both rank higher than Carlos Pena in the Elias Rankings, so those last two picks I mentioned could drop to as low as #57 and #67 if I did my math correctly. BA put out an early top 100 prospect list for the 2012 draft for some early obsessing.

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Comments

wow 7m?

they gave the guy round 1, top-5 pick money.

and a major league deal...

and Hendry gets bashed for signing Samardzija.

With this signing, the Cubs will have the largest collection of bona fide #4 and #5 starters in baseball.

How exciting for the future!

Having an Aussie like Ryan-Roland Smith also gives the team a kick ass tough guy in the event of any bench clearing brawls. Nice!

Go Hoystein!

Actually, in my fantasy world, I am thinking it is a precursor to the signing of one of the other two Cubans.

if indeed a major league deal, I'm guessing Sonnastine or Mateo are the 40-man victim.

Needless to say I love it. Cubs sign the best possible long term players they can and cheap players like Ryan Rowland-Smith, with multiple years of quality and a single outlier year (of crap). You can only get what's available folks. Concepcion could be a badass like any other prospect. Just keep signing them . . . Just cause Goldstein thinks he's a 4/5! Big deal. I mean that's the game: Who really can play? - well nobody knows. Or I guess we could just put Goldstein computer sims out there and charge admission. Nothing against Goldstein BTW, the point is Concepcion might exceed Kevin's opinion - or bomb. Lots of options but you gotta pay to play!

well Goldstein's take is the scouting community's take, or at least the few that he surveyed and knows. There's usually not that big a disparity.

That being said, #6 prospect isn't terrible, puts him behind Rizzo, Jackson, Baez, Maples, Szczur and at 6-2", maybe there's some room for his fastball to grow.

A little expensive for his upside and I really hate giving out major league deals, but as long as there's not a NTC, not too bad.

I'm no scout but at 18 you really can't judge the UP part of upside.

Except "18" is also the percent chance that's actually how old he is, right?

you're kidding right?

i wonder if anyone has really charted or did a study comparing scouting projections at an early age and actual performance of major leaguers after say 10 years or so of playing in the bigs.

7m is a heck of a gamble...with a pro contract on it, too...and he's 18...and doesn't have a ++ pitch.

the guy in cuba supposedly had a 5-ish per 9ip K rate, too.

http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/2012/01/who-is-...

some stats at that link, 4.7 K/9

but also 18 and playing in a league that people say is close to Hi-A.

"Concepcion, 18, was named the Rookie of the Year in Cuba's Serie Nacional last season after posting a 3.36 ERA and 53/43 K/BB ratio across 101 2/3 innings."

*crickets*

:image capture of stat line in cuba:

http://i.imgur.com/NWY2h.jpg

...also he was supposedly 17, not 18, when he was doing that. then again he was allegedly born on Jan 1st, too. so...yeah.

7m is a heck of a lot of money for an 18 year old, but then again, they will not be allowed to spend that much after this year so might as well make that gamble. who can say for sure that it will NOT pay off big in the future? nobody really knows.

Exactly. Agreed on all points - especially the spending change after this year.

Well another bad move, by the shittiest GM team we've ever had. Whatever will we do? We are the geniuses - lets have a dinner in our honor. Who are these idiots? Brian Cashman studied Theo's methodology and changed the winningest and most storied franchise in history. But WE KNOW BETTER!! Theo, you baboon!! We all wanted to spend $250MM on fat/aging 1b-men but $7M for an 18 yr old LHP who was bid on by 10 teams (reportedly) is wasteful. I'm glad I don't work for you f#ckers!!!! :D

yeah, you've summed up my offseason feelings perfectly. :)

don't mind the move at all, just wish it wasn't a major league deal taking up a 40-man spot for a guy that won't see the majors for at least 3 years.

at the very least, this signing should show people that stats aren't everything even to the supposed "new school" cuz this has to be a pure-stuff/prospecting/projection sign. his numbers are ass and he just got paid like a #1-5 draft pick.

I imagine most know that the pitching line of a 17-year old in the Cuban league are about as important as spring training and high school numbers.

it's worth mentioning, but not worth making decisions over...

yeah, you just generally see that going the way of ungodly good numbers, not excusing poor numbers.

that said, he was playing against a lot of 25-35 year olds. some of those guys could easily be AA/AAA talent in any given season.

it's hard to find a single upside in his numbers besides a HR comparative stats like HR/IP...etc.

ultimately, 7m spread over 5 years isn't a big deal. the roster spot thing might suck for 2-3 years before/if he would naturally earn his way onto the 40. meh...

+1 Rob...well said.

I know - mostly blowing steam . . . But short of some magic atomizer that creates super cheap, no-risk, superstars in year one of their prime. I don't think Theo/Hoyer can do anything right now that isn't subject to idiotic criticism. It's a simple frickin concept. OVERSPEND on potential, which is cheaper and you can stock up on. Period. A "BAD" contract at this level is $7MM . . fine. cubs can afford that. And it's smart money. Yeah the ML contract looks shitty but beggars cannot be choosers and if that's what the kid wanted to sign with Chicago. Well there you have it. Also I assume fucking Theo/Hoyer really like him, and have seen some film and talked to some of Kevin Goldstein's scouts.

i don't think criticising giving a guy with these numbers a pro contract for 7m is far off base:

http://i.imgur.com/NWY2h.jpg

beyond that, he doesn't have a single ++ aspect of his play that you look for in the typical talent getting that kind of contract. this one should expect criticism.

Well I disagree completely. Contenders overpay at the trade deadline cause they need a reliever etc. Builders overpay at the foundational level to build assets. Every business does it. Startup costs, prime real estate, whatever. We need talent and a $7MM org. #6 prospect without using a draft slot is cheap.

it's going to be criticized on a number of levels.

first of all, this is a major signing of a guy who has shown nothing numbers-wise. this is a pure scouting sign with a roster spot + top draft money.

this is a pure scouting signing. this will come as weird or out-of-character to some. it's not to me, though, because a couple of years ago theo gave 20 year old, no-power, all-field jose iglesias a 4-year 8.5m pro deal.

second, the guy's stuff is missing a "woah" pitch and there's concern about both his mechanics and the quality of his off-speed stuff.

it will far from kill/sink the team, but it's not a deal that's going to impress many.

Well he's my favorite Cub! ;)

hehe...i think most people would "whatever" the deal if he didn't have to eat a roster space on the 40 for 2-3 years. even if he's overpaid, it's a million or 2...so whatever on that mark.

oh well there you go now. Theo should not sign anybody unless it impresses many, cause we all know that's why he does his job: to impress many.

i have no idea why "impressing" is the most important part of that rant.

it's obviously not why theo-corp signed him because very few are impressed and other teams aren't impressed enough to match or top the deal.

Hendry would be getting crucified for this signing. That's the real point to be made.

Only issue I really see is that he will likely be out of options right around the time he becomes a usable prospect. Still seems like a decent little gamble I suppose. He can't be any less useful than Hayden Simpson.

well, they finally caught josh hamilton drinking.

and honestly...since he supposedly got his act together when he got out of NC again and went back to FLA to work...if he's been sober that long and he feels comfortable having a drink at this point in his life...whatever.

he wasn't doing too good when he came back to NC from FLA and was defiantly drinking and not being too non-public about it. supposedly he was doing very good in FLA (a place with as much temptations, imo) before getting back in the game...and supposedly he's been doing well the years since then.

he did have to go on painkillers this season, though...and has dealt with chronic injury (baseball related) for years.

He would never had made it on the Cubs.

So true! Cause we all know now that to make it on the Cubs, a player has to have good makeup...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqQi2yQzgvg

my life is now complete.

completely flawless

Come on man, I got kids, Jesus

I just don't... I don't...

I have absolutely no way to respond to that.

What kind of art film school reject shit are you watching, man?!?

I appreciate those who take the trouble to document in film their weirdness or their vision of weirdness...except Tim and Eric...because they annoy the hell of me for some reason.

Yeah, I couldn't stand them at first, but every now and then I get sucked in.

I liked Tom Goes to The Mayor or whatever it was called better

WOW!!!!! wow

If my job was in Texas I'd never stop drinking.

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

says he'll be at camp and I guess he's 19 now. Claims a 92 mph with good curve and change, sounds optimistic.

so he was 18 in cuba...there's soooooooo much crap info about the dude from the second he came on the radar.

lot of conflicting mph data, especially until it got nailed down when teams got to really see him work out.

Think he just turned 19 this month, so he would have been 17/18 when he put up those numbers in Cuba during their 2010-2011 season.

If signing Concepcion helps bring in Soler and/or Cespedes, then maybe the overpay here makes some sense? The Cubs HAVE been speaking with both of them from what we can glean in the press. If they are more comfortable with countrymen to pal around with, maybe that plays a role here.

Just thinking out loud to rationalize the deal, because on the surface, yeah, this is definitely an overpay. I don't know how you could rate this kid over Maples and McNutt at a minimum, maybe Dolis, Beliveau or Carpenter, too. So your at-best #3 prospect pitcher surely doesn't merit 7 large in US cash.

Seems unlikely it would help bring in Cespedes at all, but Soler is around the same age, so maybe they could keep each other company--though i'm not sure how necessary that is. It's not the same kind of language barrier issue that many of the Pacific Rim players face.

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 9:56pm — Charlie

Seems unlikely it would help bring in Cespedes at all, but Soler is around the same age, so maybe they could keep each other company--though i'm not sure how necessary that is. It's not the same kind of language barrier issue that many of the Pacific Rim players face.

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

CHARLIE: I don't think any other MLB organization has been more active signing Cuban defectors than the Cubs, and that's mainly thanks to Oneri Fleita.

With the impending addition of Gerardo Concepcion, there will be 11 Cuban defectors on Cubs minor league rosters going into the 2012 season:

Yasiel Balaguert, OF
Eliecer Bonne, OF
Yaniel Cabezas, C
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
Frank Del Valle, LHP
Carlos Martinez, LHP
Yoannis Negrin, RHP
Mayke Reyes, OF
Juan Yasser Serrano, RHP
Rubi Silva, OF-2B
Rafael Valdes, INF

Also, Barbaro Garbey is a Cubs minor league hitting coach. Garbey was one of the first Cuban defectors to sign with an MLB club (he was a Mariel boatlift refugee), playing for DET in the 1980's (he was a member of the Tigers 1984 WS champion team).

So there is a significant Cuban presence in the Cubs organization, such that any player who signs with the Cubs should feel reasonably at home.

BTW, there are also five other Cuban defectors who were signed by the Cubs and played in the Cubs system in recent years but have subsequently been released:

Smaily Borges, OF
Roberto Sabates, C
Roberto Sotolongo, RHP
Yusdel Tuero, RHP
Raul Valdes, LHP

Raul Valdes has been a lefty reliever in the big leagues for the past couple of seasons, with NYM in 2010, and with STL and NYY in 2011.

Well here's to hoping that concepcion is the first good one.

The actual Gerardo Concepcion is 38, has five kids, and still lives in the hills in Cuba.

Y'know, that's who gets most of the $7m.

(we actually signed 25 y/o Juan Carlos Galvanes, who's wanted in half of Cuba for drug-running and parting out '57 Chevys to the states over eBay)

i heard he's really greg "toe" nash making a comeback as a pitcher.

Isn't he playing in the Lousiana Penal League?

i have no idea, but working the odds i'll go ahead and say "yes."

In the morning mist, an aging centaur steels himself for a new day. A day of pain...he no longer remembers any other kind. Each day it becomes harder and to perform his duties, but he drives on. He knows nothing else.

The farmer has noticed it too, but hasn't the heart to tell him that this is his last. The day the work horse is finally put down. And...is this a trick of the mist or is some unholy spirit watching...with what, malevolence? apathy? imbecility? Has it orchestrated these very events? The farmer raises his rifle; the centaur hears a loud explosion and then...nothingness.

http://flic.kr/p/bnNCaK

Pass that pipe over here

I think it's time we got you back in the States, Joe. Come on back home.

Sadly, the weed is much harder to find here and heavily stigmatized. Perhaps I'm in withdrawal? One more month till I get back...In the meantime, here's Fukudome as a dragon.

http://flic.kr/p/bob97n

Hilarious. And I thought the whole Prior thing was very well done, especially the crazy/sad faced spirit...

Thank you:)

Please start your own Cubs blog. Also, please continue to post this stuff here.

I sure probably concentrate on finding a job after I move to the US.

[edit] Actually, you're right. I'll do that.

BUT, ignoring the obviousness of a fox, when see Jake Fox I always think 'Turtle!' so here's Jake as a malformed turtle monster. It may not be the best, but I was sure the most difficult.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VaPptrmszqQ/Ty58tTi...

We are coming on to the one year anniversary of the greatest ST hitting display by an ex-Cub.

JAKE FOX!

Legendary!

Garza avoids arb, signs for 9.5. No link, sorry, just an alert on my phone

So, if he is under contract for 2012, and 2013, the options then are: go back to Arb for 2013, trade, or signing a long-term deal - correct?

I would think keeping him under $10 in this arb year will make him more tradeable, if TheoCorp is so inclined.

wow 10 bucks is kinda cheap for a talent like Garza :)

See Theo is a genius of he can sign Garza for $10

Edit: $10,000

Still a fantastic deal!

Here's the link now:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120...

Garza actually signs for... 3/44

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Q-Ball takes exception to Sveum calling out the Cubs effort last season

Comments like these are the reason Quade couldn't even land a AAA manager job after the 2011 season much less a job in the majors. Thinking Soriano and Ramirez gave 'a pretty good effort' proves the 'Q' stands for cueless.

IIRC, the Twinkies basically said "Here, please take our AAA job" (but I'm also too lazy to look)

That article is an exercise in [messing] masturbation.

The [messing] reporter called Quade while he was [messing] fishing to ask about way-old comments from the guy who replaced him?!? And dollars to donuts (although there's no way to prove) I'll bet you that [messing] reporter had his [messing] headline already written before he called, because Quade didn't even say anything that [messing] inflammatory!!

Now, his actual comments? Yeah, there might be a reason he's still fishing in FL at this point, but meh. I didn't think he did too hot but I never quite hated on him as much as most, I don't think. Hell, Lou pulled more [messed] up [stuff] in his last days if you ask me...

The Cubs gave him a two year deal, no? I wouldn't work either.

I have Cubs at $99.3M with the Garza deal in committed payroll at the moment. Add in Samardzija at just over $2M, $5M owed Pena (which has already been paid), and then about 9 auto-renewals or possibly some split contracts to fill out the roster. Around the $105M mark ($110M if you include Pena).

Garza can earn additional $150,000 in performance bonuses based on innings: $50,000 for 210 and $100,000 for 220

that can't be right! i read doc aaron b's post that it's only $90M :D

think he had it at $70M actually at one point...

anyway, may still sign Cespedes and the Concepcion deal would count as well since it's a major league deal, although I don't know the breakdown of it.

may trade Garza though as well.

Unless they get a stud #1 prospect, Ace-in-Training (AIT), I would rather he sign a long-term deal.

Josh Hamilton may just be available.

How old is Josh Hamilton in Latin American years?

16

He's like 75 in junkie years.

so we're signing david freese now?

-snap-

..........

...I don't get it.

just rumors and innuendos...nothing to see here.

Even with the payroll at Rob's $110M figure (with Pena/Z money), this is why the Concepcion deal doesn't bother me in the least. This works out to an average of $1.4M/yr on a five year deal which is about the yearly price for a Sonnanstine/Corpas/Volstad deal on a 'pick-a-pitcher-off-the-scrap-heap-to-fill-out-depth' move.

If this is the 'Big Market' club so many posters here believe the Cubs to be, then this is a relative pocket change deal. It would be naive to believe Theo hasn't had his own scouting people thoroughly evaluate Concepcion basing 90% + of their decision to sign him based on skills, mechanics, make-up, projectability, and not Cuban stats. I believe the Cubs are a major market team, and if a major market team can't take this type of risk on an 18-19 yr old with his upside, then really what's the point.

The issue is how much upside does this finesse lefty have. $$$ isn't that big a deal to me, the 40-man spot though is unfortunate.

GEORGE A: I would think Concepcion's salary would escalate, something like:

2012: $500K
2013: $1M
2014: $1.5M
2015: $2M
2016: $2.5M

And I certainly agree with you that the Cubs are a major market team and that they should act like one, meaning they should be able and willing to take risks when acquiring players (trading prospects for established MLB players, and signing MLB free-agents, international free-agents, and players selected in the Rule 4 Draft).

Again, it should be possible for a large market team to put the best-possible team on the field every year AND build a strong farm system AT THE SAME TIME. The two missions are not (or should not be) mutually-exclusive of one another.

Thanks, Phil. I also agree with your last paragraph/points, and maybe Theo looked at Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, Beltran, Darvish, et al closer than we might think. When you sit back and look at each of these major FA signings this off-season, it seems there just wasn't the right fit in either years, $$$, or that player's preferences. Hopefully, the Cubs catch lightning in a bottle with some of these moves (T. Wood, Stewart, DeJesus, ec.).

I also meant to agree with Rob's post on Concepcion taking up a spot on the 40-man, but do you know if he will get 3 or 4 option years? If it's 4, then this shouldn't be as big a problem as he'll be ready in year 5 to make the club or be traded/released.

Nicely put George. Phil, I just have to disagree with you. In this case anyway. The two really are mutually exclusive., at least in as far as trying to be *awesome* as fast as possible. Every free agent you sign or veteran you keep effects your ability to stockpile and develop talent. You could potentially do both at once, as you say, if you have 8-15 years to work with . . . But I think Theo wants to try and stockpile prospects and peak in 3-6 years. In this case you clearly cannot keep your best major league assets AND build young talent at the same time at a fast enough rate. Plus I just think our major league talent sucked for the most part, and the free agents were too little, too late, too expensive. Another way to say this is that Theo IS putting the best team on the field he can while enacting a larger plan.

"Every free agent you sign or veteran you keep effects your ability to stockpile and develop talent. You could potentially do both at once, as you say, if you have 8-15 years to work with"

...or 140 million dollars.

Nicely put George. Phil, I just have to disagree with you. In this case anyway. The two really are mutually exclusive., at least in as far as trying to be *awesome* as fast as possible. Every free agent you sign or veteran you keep effects your ability to stockpile and develop talent. You could potentially do both at once, as you say, if you have 8-15 years to work with . . . But I think Theo wants to try and stockpile prospects and peak in 3-6 years. In this case you clearly cannot keep your best major league assets AND build young talent at the same time at a fast enough rate. Plus I just think our major league talent sucked for the most part, and the free agents were too little, too late, too expensive. Another way to say this is that Theo IS putting the best team on the field he can while enacting a larger plan.

Superjimmer -- I've been hearing you (and others) say this most of this off-season, but I just can't agree with you.

You say:

Every free agent you sign or veteran you keep effects your ability to stockpile and develop talent.

Why does signing a free agent prevent you from stockpiling and developing talent? What would have changed this off-season as far as prospects go if Theo & Co. had signed Pujols or Fielder? Nothing. The trade for Rizzo still could have occurred. Nothing would have changed.

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating that the Cubs should have signed Pujols or Fielder. Both players were signed for too many years IMO. My only point is if the Cubs had signed one or the other, nothing else would have changed.

You also said:

But I think Theo wants to try and stockpile prospects and peak in 3-6 years.

3-6 years? As a lifelong Cubs fan, I'm not okay with that. I'm chomping at the bit already with the idea that the Cubs are essentially throwing in the towel on the 2012 season. There's no way I want to face the prospect that the team is going to suck for 3-6 years before they will be competitive. If that's the plan, I don't want any part of it. In my opinion, tearing down the big league team for 3-6 years is completely unnecessary.

Finally you said:

Another way to say this is that Theo IS putting the best team on the field he can while enacting a larger plan.

Again, this presupposes that the only way you can build a minor league system is to tear down the major league team. I'm not buying it. Other teams are consistent competitors while they build their minor league systems while some teams are consistent competitors but almost never have a minor league system in the top 5-10. The goal is to win at the big league level, not have the strongest minor league system. That doesn't mean the minor league system should be ignored. It just means that the focus should be on the big league team.

You don't get it. The idea is to stockpile the minor league system and then use the prospects we develop to trade for players like GARZA and then trade GARZA for prospects or sign him long term and do this over and over for three to six years until something good happens.

I'm not sure that's the plan, exactly.

But to respond to AZ Phil, I think the reason the Cubs didn't make any big free agent splashes this offseason are about 50% for the reasons he's identified (too many years to some of the guys), and also because they aren't in a position where a couple of splashes make them serious contenders, so there is no reason to limit future resources (by signing post-peak guys to long term contracts). I think the idea is to have as many resources (pre-peak and mid-peak major leaguers, prospects, and payroll flexibility) available when the Cubs do need some mid-peak players and vets to push them into a several year period of serious contention, which they would hopefully be able to continuously roll over due to a healthy farm system and big market revenues.

Concur, well summed-up.

"You don't get it. The idea is to stockpile the minor league system and then use the prospects we develop to trade for players like GARZA and then trade GARZA for prospects or sign him long term and do this over and over for three to six years until something good happens."

Well if you somehow think that Hendry and Theo were working together then your ridiculously simplistic sarcastic comment would indeed be funny and perhaps enlightening. But in a weird way your comment proves my point - in that Hendry mistakenly thought the Cubs were one good pitcher from contending and they lost 91 games... and pretty much sold the farm.

1.) this is what is happening so I am not sure what to tell you if it is not okay with you. The Cubs organization has sucked for so long that we are undergoing a full overhaul.

2.) it is going to take time to change the system, philosophy, and work ethic. But I did not mean to imply that they are throwing in the towel. But they are not going to spend ridiculous money on players who could block future developing players from reaching ML roster, who may cost us a draft pick, who will bog down the payroll in a few years and who are past their prime. Again I think Theo is trying to win in 2012 but just not in the way we are used to. If a couple of these retreads hit big this year they will be dealt for better assets. It may look goofy now but it is the best plan. Again I ask ANYONE to doll out an example of what Theo could have done to-date to make this team awesome. Free Agency is by nature where you overpay for players. You cannot build a whole roster that way.

I've been a lifelong fan too. Started watching in 1969 at age 5 and have lived and mostly died with the team. To each his own. But this is the one thing I have never seen the Cubs do. I want smart, talented baseball from head to toe and this mngmt team seems dedicated to doing it.

Exactly. I'm tired of blowing the whole wad on free agency then having it come back to bite the team in the ass for years and years to come. if we have to do it slowly piece by piece then by all means do it. this way we will develop an organization that can contend yearly and consistently be in the playoffs. we have all observed what kind of a crap shoot the playoffs are so the best chance we have is to somehow put a team in the playoffs yearly and hope that we get hot at the end to go all the way.

i think you're giving a whole lot of credit to a front office that picked up a cheap-ish low-power 32yo RF'r, a mlb 3rd base gamble, a slew of 3-5 slot mlb-ready pitchers, an 18 year old with a roster spot who's 3+ years away, and a AAA 1st baseman with 2012/2013 upside. there's not much shakeup to the system going on so far aside from the addition of rizzo at AAA giving the cubs a "close" power bat. all the investment seems to be going to short-time-turnover guys so far aside from the latest cuban addition.

i like the gambles, but running the team like the orioles isn't revolutionary or shaking up the farm system, even for the cubs. they're not going to be TB any time soon, either, unless the minor leagues produce some 2012 breakouts.

that said, i don't expect some longterm downtime thing. they have a ton of loot to work with in 2013 and if they do plan to potentially punt in 2013 it's crazy we're not hearing more about how they're trying to save 17m the next 2 years by moving c.marmol and picking up some new talent.

They probably just haven't had a good enough deal presented to them for Marmol. That, and they are still getting all their ducks in order -- the stats software in place, a good feel for their scouts, etc.

These things take time. Just for fun you should answer jimmer's challenge on what exactly you would do different, given the horrible and wretched team TheoCorp has been handed.

Would you have signed Prince or Pujols for ten years? What other free agents whetted your whistle that we missed out so terribly?

I think crunch makes a good point. What has Jedstein done this off-season that is setting the Cubs up to become a constant contender. Acquiring Rizzo was a good move, but I don't think any of the other moves are really going to make the team that much better in the years to come.

This is a long running argument, so I don't think taking jimmer's challenge really would prove anything. The original argument was weather or not you could improve the minor league system while also improving the major league team. What Theo & Co. did or didn't do really doesn't have a bearing on that question. I'm a big believer in it not being necessary to sacrifice a season (or 3-6 seasons) in order to build up the minor league system. Jimmer feels otherwise.

I don't think TheoCorp is finished making moves. I suspect they will be wheeling and dealing for a while. A Garza trade is likely coming in the next 7 months, and Byrd, Marmol, Soto, even DeJesus trades might be on their way eventually as well. Let's talk about what TheoCorp has done to change the franchise in August, or, better yet, next February. Until then, we're all speculating anyway.

Are you kidding? The Cubs haven't even lost a game since Epstein took over!

When the foundation of a building is being built, you don't see anything happening past that fence they put up around the lot, but I can assure you that positive and essential things are being done to put up that structure.

I think this is the best analogy for what is happening now: they are laying down foundation.

69 was my first year, too. I think it was Brickhouse as much as anything. As I got older I found him pretty ridiculous and when Harry started broadcasting the Sox I'd sneak over to watch a few games with my dad, who was a Sox fan. I loved it when he said, "That wouldn't be a home run in a phone booth." He didn't say that when he moved over to the Cubs for some reason.

1987 was my first year. The summer of "awesome Dawson"!

Geez, we're all the same age. I'm the same, born in 64, lifelong Cub fan. I'd like to say I remember things from the 69 season, but I really don't. Memories seem to start staying solid beginning with the 71 season. I remember Holtzman's no-hitter and such.

Regarding Theo's moves, I wish he had moved Marmol and Soto for prospects. Closers are over-rated, and Marmol screws the pooch too often to make up for the other times when he's unhittable. As for Soto, I like him, but the Cubs have a ready replacement in Castillo. Deal from strength, trade Soto while he's still cheap.

Ha! Got most of y'all beat as I remember going to my first game at Wrigley in 1958 vs Willie Mays and the Giants. Cubs probably lost but the sights, sounds and smells (including incredible cigars!) had me hooked. I also got straight A's on my report card so I went to Comisky as well and although I liked Aparicio, the whole Sox thing didn't cut it - I LOVED sunshine ball!

FWIW, I like the changes the College of GM's are making, because they do not seem to be changes for changes' sake. The real gem, I think, will turn out to be Svuem...I feared him when he interim'd in Milwaukee. See y'all in Houston later! Any other Texans want to go?

I was born in '80...suckers!

My earliest memory is Steve Beuchele handing a foul ball to an old lady.

My earliest memory was from 1984 or 1985, almost getting a foul ball from Ron Cey in a weekday afternoon game vs the Pirates on a school day. I was really excited because he was one of my favorite players, probably because he was about as tall as I was at the time. I was 6 7.

I think one of the fallacies of your argument is that the Cubs have sucked for so long that the team needs to undergo a complete overhaul. Why does it matter that the Cubs have sucked for so long? How does what happened 50 years ago matter? Or 20 years ago? Or even 10? There are plenty of examples of teams who miss the playoffs for a few years, but they don't blow up everything in order to be competitive again.

Another fallacy is that you should not spend ridiculous money to sign players now who could block future developing players from reaching the ML roster. Again, I ask why?

Suppose the Cubs could have signed Fielder for 5 years and $25 million per year. Why not do that? You know you are getting a power hitting, MVP caliber player to play first base. Sure, he'll block Rizzo from reaching the majors as a first baseman, but who knows if Rizzo will ever become the player Fielder already is. If he's ready for the big leagues and he's blocked, then he becomes trade bait. The problem happens when you don't have any options. Again, the goal is to win at the big league level, not to build the best minor league system.

My only point in all of this is that I disagree with the premise that the only way to build a good minor league system is to sacrifice the big league team, especially if that sacrifice takes 3-6 years.

Isn't that the approach the Cubs have taken for a long time? Sign FA to attempt to win it now. That has gotten us 0 championships, 0 trips to the WS, and a small handful of playoff wins. Who knows what type of player Fielder or Pujols will be in 2 to 3 years. And, as has been said on this site time and time again, this team was not one or even two players away from being a championship caliber team. I look at what has been done this off season and I see a plan. I feel like there is finally an organized approach to what type of team we are going to be. Will it work? It may not, but then again nothing else has worked since 1908. I am willing to try something new. Maybe I will eat these words in a few years, or maybe just maybe, we will be talking about what we were doing when the Cubs won it all.

Ok, let’s look at this in a different way. What other large market team has completely overhauled their organization, built from within, and achieved consistent success? I can’t think of any. There are plenty of teams that have used a combination of home-grown talent and free agents to win consistently, but I can’t think of any that had to go through a complete rebuild.

Let’s even look at small market clubs. I don’t think the Cubs should ever have to act like a small market team, but let’s take a look anyway. What small market team has gone through a total rebuild, relied exclusively (or almost exclusively) on home-grown talent, and have gone on to have consistent success? The only one that comes to mind is the Tampa Bay Rays. Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and San Diego (and to a lesser extent Toronto) have all gone the route of foregoing free agency and instead building from within, but what do they have to show for it? Good or very good minor league systems and no recent trips to the post season.

Even the Rays are a bit of an outlier. They have drafted well, but they have had an unusual amount of success out of their prospects. I think many pundits believe that the Rays’ window is closing as their players become more expensive and they are forced to trade them away and start over. That doesn’t sound to me like a recipe for consistent, sustainable success.

Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to building a strong minor league system. I just don’t believe that it is the panacea that many are touting it to be. In the end, the Cubs (and every other team) will be judged by the success or failure of their big league club, not by how good their minor league system is.

"What other large market team has completely overhauled their organization, built from within, and achieved consistent success?"

The Yankees.

"The poor showings in the 1980s and 1990s would soon change. Steinbrenner hired Howard Spira to uncover damaging information on Winfield and was subsequently suspended from day-to-day team operations by Commissioner Fay Vincent when the plot was revealed. This turn of events allowed management to implement a coherent acquisition/development program without owner interference. General Manager Gene Michael, along with manager Buck Showalter, shifted the club's emphasis from high-priced acquisitions to developing talent through the farm system."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NY_Yankees

You gotta be joking. NYY is full of free-agent bingo champions.

Brian Cashman admits to looking at the way Epstein was running Boston and making significant changes to the way the Yankees ran their organization.

Here is a list of the free agents and player acquired via trades in the 90's for the Yankees.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers...

For 1999: Roger Clemens (trade)
For 1998: Orlando Hernandez (4-6.6), Chuck Knoblauch (trade)
For 1997: Hideki Irabu (4-12.8 -- signed in May), David Wells (3-13.5)
For 1996: Tino Martinez (trade), Kenny Rogers (4-19.5)
For 1995: John Wetteland (trade), Tony Fernandez (2-3)
For 1994: Jack McDowell (trade)
For 1993: Wade Boggs (3-11), Jimmy Key (4-17), Paul O'Neill (trade), Jim Abbott (trade)
For 1992: Danny Tartabull (5-25.5), Mike Gallego (3-5.1)
For 1991 Scott Sanderson (2-4.5), Mike Witt (3-6)
For 1990: Pascual Perez (3-5.7), Tim Leary (trade)

The signing of big name free agents didn't start again until 2001.

Ok..they did hit on Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera....later on Robinson Cano, and Brett Gardner. Those are some big hits in the draft.,

But didn't the Yankees do a lot of work in the FA/ trade market? Burnett..Sabathia..Clemens...Johnson..Mussina..
Paul O'Neill, Giarardi..Sheffield...Matsui, Kevin Brown..Tino Martinez/...A-Rod.. all free agents or trades...just off the top of my head.

The point isn't that the Cubs should never sign big name free agents or trade prospects for veteran talent. Of course they should, but now is not the time.

Given where they are in the success cycle, the Cubs should be very careful when signing high priced free agents or trading prospects.

I'd' agree, that the Cubs....should ALWAYS be careful signing high priced free agents, or trading prospects.

Flags fly forever, so there are certainly times when you should throw caution to the win. The trick is knowing when those times are.

If the Cubs ever get to that point again, a la Joe Carter and Mel Hall for Sutcliffe....let me know.

No team is more closely associated with big free agent signings than the Yankees. Granted, they have had some tremendous players come up through the organization, but their success has been due in large part to their free agent signings.

You may be correct that at some point, the Yankees shifted their emphasis to growing from within, but I don't believe they experienced any real, lasting success until they started signing high priced free agents again.

"You may be correct that at some point, the Yankees shifted their emphasis to growing from within, but I don't believe they experienced any real, lasting success until they started signing high priced free agents again."

It seems that history does not agree with you.

Recent Yankee WS titles are 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Other than 2009, those teams were based around a core of home grown players. While they did make some good trades, there were no big name free agents on those teams.

1996 Yankees Lineup
C Girardi
1B Tino Martinez
2BMariano Duncan
SS Derek Jeter- Homegrown
3B Wade Boggs
LF Gerald Williams- traded to Mil.
CF Bernie Williams- homegrown
RF Paul O'Neill
DH Ruben Sierra
Rotation
Pettitte- homegrown
Rogers
Gooden
Cone
Mendoza
Closer Wetteland

1998 Yankees:
C- Posada Homegrown
1B Tino Martinez
2B Chuck Knoblauch
SS Derek Jeter homegrown
3B Scott Brosius
LF Chad Curtis
CF Bernie Williams homegrown
RF Paul O'Neill
DH Darryl Strawberry

Rotation
Pettitte homegrown
Wells
Cone
Irabu
El Duque

So excluding Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettite....The Yankees traded for or signed as a FA
Tino Martinez
Wade Boggs
Paul O'Neill
Joe Girardi
Mariano Duncan
Chuck Knoblauch
Scott Brosius
Chad Curtis
David Cone
David Wells
Hideki Irabu
Orlando Hernandez
John Wetteland
Darryl Strawberry

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the Yankee roster was made up of only cheap home grown players, but I think the point stands.

Ok so we can all agree:
The Yankees drafts produced Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettite, a couple of seasons of Chien Mien Wang, and Mariano Rivera.

They then made good trades/FA signings for a ton of other players.

Right. Of course to bring it back to the Cubs. The Cubs should try and develop a young core otherwise it is likely that the good trades/FA signings will not be enough.

I believe this because even the Yankees couldn't buy a WS ring (and they tried) before they developed their core.

So the key...is to draft well....keep those players long term, then sign key free agents while trading minimal impact players for key veterans?

Got it.

Well when you put it that way it sounds so simple.

So, you are forgetting Paul O'Neal? Was Soriano home-grown, or FA?

Paul O'Neil was traded for Roberto Kelly. Soriano was playing pro ball in Japan.

Soriano at 22 was signed by the Yanks in 1998 after one year with the Hiroshima Carp. Sori was barely out of the Japanese Baseball Academy.

For all intents and purposes, he was "home-grown".

O'Neill was traded by the Reds, but his best years were with the Yankees.

Ok. But O'Neill plyed 5 full seasons with the Reds, and was traded for yes? Ok.

Rob -- I believe you are reading your history wrong. The World Series winning Yankees teams of the mid to late 1990s and into the early 2000s were chock full of free agents.

You pointed to an article that talked about the decline of the Yankees from the mid 80's to the early 90's. I pointed out that the Yankees continued to struggle until they started signing bigger name free agents again in 1993. These signings eventually led to WS appearances and titles.

For instance, this is how the starters from the 1996 WS team were acquired:

C- Joe Girardi (traded from Col and then signed as a FA)
1B -- Tino Martinez (traded from Seattle)
2B - Mariano Duncan (signed as a FA)
SS - Derek Jeter (Home Grown)
3B - Wade Boggs (signed as a free agent)
LF - Gerald Williams (Home grown, but was traded during the season to Milwaukee)
CF - Bernie Williams (Home Grown)
RF - Paul O'Neill (traded from Cincinnati)
DH - Reuben Sierra (traded from Oakland, but traded to Detroit during 1996 season for Cecil Fielder)
P- Andy Petitte (Home Grown)
P - David Cone (traded from Toronto)
P - Kenny Rogers (signed as a free agent)
P - Jimmy Key (signed as a free agent)
P - Steve Howe (signed as a free agent)
P - Dwight Gooden (signed as a free agent)
P - Mariano Rivera (Home Grown)
P - John Wettland (traded from Montreal)
P - Dave Polley (signed as a free agent)
P - Jeff Nelson (traded from Seattle)

Other Yankees of note that year were:

Tim Raines (Traded from White Sox)
Darryl Strawberry (signed as a FA)
Jim Leyritz (Home grown, but traded during the season to Anaheim)
Andy Fox -- (Home grown)

Then in 1997 they signed Hideki Arabu and David Wells as FAs. In 1998 they signed Orlando Hernandez as a FA and got Chuck Knoblauch in a trade with Minnesota. And in 1999 they traded with Toronto for Roger Clemens.

During the late 1990's, some of the names changed. Jorge Posada (home grown) emerged as the everyday catcher and Scott Brosius (traded from Oakland) took over at 3B. But I think the point is that the Yankees were primarily built through trades and free agency. Not through home grown talent.

It's true that they didn't sign as many free agents for a five year stretch from 1996-2000, but they really didn't have to. They were already stocked with free agents and high priced players they obtained via trade. They had a few home grown starters (Most notably Jeter and Posada in the field, Petitte and Rivera as pitchers), but I originally asked someone to name a big market team that went through a complete rebuild, grew from within, and had lasting success. I don't think the Yankees are a very good example of this method of building a team.

I think you are right. The Yankees did have a number of high priced free agents. It is just that the prices weren't has high back then.

I never said the Cubs should act like a small market team. BUT, when the team was as bad as it was last year, and was moving in the wrong direction why would you try to patch together a winner by signing big name FA? Why not build a strong nucleus and then use the FA market to fill the holes? I believe this is the approach that the Cubs are now using. It would have been a blast to watch Fielder hit bombs, but without a strong supporting cast around him that is all we would have been watching. I would have loved to see Pujols in a Cub's jersey if no other reason to see Cardinal fans get sick. But, I would much rather see a team built that can compete for more than one year. A team built around FA signings only will never have sustained success.

Because it will take 8 years to build that strong nucleus with this current farm system.

Successful teams are almost always a combination of home grown talent, players acquired through trade, and free agent signings. No one is suggesting that the Cubs should forget about developing players in-house and rely exclusively on free agents.

I'll say it again, my only point in all of this is that I don't agree with those that believe that the big league team should be forsaken in order to build a strong minor league system. Other organizations are perfectly capable of improving their big league team while simultaneously improving their minor league system. If they can do it, so can the Cubs.

Well I agree with you on all that except for when you say that the big league team is being "forsaken". it is NOT. what you should realize is that building a strong core of cheap young players that you can control for a long time IS TAKING CARE of the big league team. In fact what it does is ensure that your big league team will be competitive for a longer period of time than a team that is cobbled together from free agency.

It's pretty clear that the Cubs were in on Fielder but for the amount of years you are suggesting. Turns out he signed for 9 years, not the five TheoCorp wanted him for.

Do you really see Prince playing a viable first base for nine years on a national league team?

I agree that the Cubs should spend money. I just don't see where to spend it right now. Since it's not my money, I wouldn't mind taking the risk on Cespedes, and, hell, Soler, too, but other than that, where are these great free agents? And even these guys haven't done a thing against MLB-caliber competition.

Again, my argument is not with the specifics of what JedStein has or has not done. It is with the philosophy that says that you can not improve the major league team and the minor league system at the same time.

"It is with the philosophy that says that you can not improve the major league team and the minor league system at the same time."

I don't think anyone is saying that. I believe the point is that where the Cubs are now, the short term should take a backseat to the long term.

Rob --

I'm not sure if you've been reading the last several threads, but a lot of people have been claiming that you can't build the minor league system without sacrificing (my word) the big league team. One writer even said it could be a 3-6 year process.

When you say the short term should take a backseat to the long term, what do you mean? I don't want to read into what you are saying, but it sounds like you are saying that the big league team should suffer in the short term (while the minor league system is bolstered) in order to realize long term success.

If that's what you mean, it isn't much different from saying the big league team needs to be sacrificed (in the short term) in favor of the minor league system. I just don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

I have been reading it, but I certainly could be missing something.

Not to split hairs, but I think that part of the problem both sides are having is with degree. For example.

"it sounds like you are saying that the big league team should suffer in the short term (while the minor league system is bolstered) in order to realize long term success."

I would change word 'should' with 'could', or even better 'will likely'. I am not against the Cubs doing things to improve the major league roster, I am for it. However, given how poor the team is they need to be very careful if they are committing significant money or prospects when doing so.

In the end, I think what we disagree on is the level of risk the Cubs should take when trying to improve the major league roster.

Not to single you out, but I'm just replying to all the back and forth above.

1. Anyone who says it's an absolute either/or is wrong.
2. In Theo's introductory press conference, he said something to the effect of, if there's a decision on the short term versus long term, he will tend to err on the side of long term.
3. Signing Fielder to a five year deal would have been great, but it wasn't going to happen. Same with Pujols. They're not coming back.
4. Signing an older player on the decline was never going to happen. Re: Aramis. See point 2 for reference.

Come on spring training. I need something to read about other that why or why not Theo is or is not sacrificing the big league team.

Also, fuck the Yankees.

Obviously you don't HAVE to trash a team to compete and build, the Cubs just happen to suck on all levels. When Theo took over Boston they had a nucleus of value and he built on it. We have a foundation of shit. Also sucking for 100 plus years does not dictate a complete rebuild necessarily - the *roster* does. However, the culture of the Cubs is a rare bird don't you think? If the entire system, from scouting reports up to ML roster batting styles; from valuing defense to computerized player value ratings; from clubhouse amenities to organizational ethics are completely contrary to all you believe in and you are the new man or men in charge - then screw it - why waste time finessing your shitpile. Take out the garbage and let's get to work. And remember a lot if these current gambles are bargaining chips, all former blue chips who, if they deliver, can be doubled in worth at the trade deadline to contenders ... And again I am not saying what should be done. I am saying what is happening so deal with it... Cause it's smart and it is underway.

nothing's been done to address anything except at the MLB level, though.

his offseason focus has been getting cheap MLB talent, not building the system. even rizzo is viewed as a 2012/2013 player.

i see people talking about overhauls, but it doesn't seem to be happening...just a bunch of "i like this support level player better than this support level player" stuff.

there's not much to deal with when people are seeing something other than what you're seeing.

Rizzo, Concepcion, Weathers, Torreyes, Sappelt

and Volstad, Wood, Stewart

2 guys to their top 10 list and guys they'll have for 3-6 years. I guess if you're looking for sexy prospect list guys, then yeah, not much.

The only guy they have besides Castro that'll bring anything is Garza, we'll see if anything happens there. Marmol and Soto need not suck for a few months before they're worth trading.

Byrd and Soriano aren't gonna get anything except maybe some salary relief.

weathers is useless and sapp is bench fodder, neither are looking at starting for anyone.

i forgot about torreyes. torreyes and concepcion, 3+ years away.

that said, most all the focus seems to be on the MLB level. they weren't trading for 2014+ ready stuff in the main focus of their major trades.

if their focus is truly 2014+ they should shift marmol if for nothing else than savings because there's no use in paying a premium closer that much money. i think they're in it for a short-term turn around, myself. i don't buy into the organizational upheaval thing yet. if that is the focus, they're doing it in a wheel spinning manner rather than a system building manner.

Ok sweetlou is saying that nothing is being done for the MLB club and you are saying that nothing is being done for the long term. maybe you two should get in bed together and figure that out.

either way, i still put my money on epstein's track record and that he knows better than both of you combined on how to balance short/long term moves and building a strong baseball organization.

and other people are saying other stuff...including you...so we gotta have an orgy now? where the hell is this coming from?

epstein's track record includes spending a crapload of loot, btw. BOS got it done, but they got it done with money as well as their system. right now the impact on the system has been 2 18-year olds that have a long way to go and a AAA 1st baseman with legit power we're all hoping can learn to hit lefties. there's been a lot more focus on picking up guys who are mlb-ready now and they will not be cheap 3 years from now if they're good. i don't see them laying low for 2-3 years and not spending unless ricketts won't give them the money to spend. hell, they got $50m (potentially) next year to spend. i also don't see them playing beane-ball developing talent to trade away rather than adding to the talent roster via available loot.

if anything, epstein's screwup (or maybe owner screwup) of underspending on pitching for an otherwise awesome team probably nagged him after 03...quickly forgotten 1 year and nearly 30m later, though. they knew they had a good core after 02, but coasted on youth projections and actually chopped 10m off the payroll.

the hybrid approach is very much on the table without people getting all bro-mantic over theo-corp pretending this isn't a team that has money to spend and pretending this is a front office allergic to spending money given to them.

You can nitpick about details and right/wrong personnel moves all you want, but the fact remains:

World series record for an Epstein-led team = 2 in the last 9 seasons

World series record for the Cubs before Epstein = 0 in the last 103 seasons

details are what support arguments and views.

for instance, the details of what you used to support your argument is based upon what he did in BOS with a $130m team in 04 and a $145m team in 07 (not counting matsuzaka's posting fee).

But another point also is that you have no evidence at all to prove that Ricketts would not be willing to spend on another big contract or so provided that the player will be a good fit at the right number of dollars and years. You don't spend money just for the sake of spending. It has to be for the right players and none of the big money players this off-season were a fit.

http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm
Reported Payroll numbers fluctuate so I'll stick to one source

(Boston win totals since 1998): 78, 92, 94, 85, 82

2002: $108M (2nd highest) - 93 wins
Theo takes over
2003: $99M (6th highest) - 95 wins
2004: $125M (2nd highest) - 98 wins
2005: $121M (2nd highest) - 95 wins
2006: $120M (2nd highest) - 86 wins
2007: $143M (2nd highest) - 96 wins
2008: $133M (4th highest) - 95 wins
2009: $122M (4th highest) - 95 wins
2010: $162M (2nd highest) - 89 wins
2011: $161M (3rd highest) - 90 wins

now let's see if everyone can follow along here

Cubs in 2011: 71 wins

Cubs since 1998: 90, 67, 65, 88, 67, 88, 89, 79, 66, 85, 97, 83, 75

I can produce a chart if the reasons aren't obvious on why maybe we should trust the new guys for more than a few months or why they're not spending like crazy to build on top of the current team or follow Hendry's try to win it every year mentality.

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 9:53pm — George AltmanNew
Re: Cubs Sign a Cuban, But Not That One

Thanks, Phil. I also agree with your last paragraph/points, and maybe Theo looked at Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, Beltran, Darvish, et al closer than we might think. When you sit back and look at each of these major FA signings this off-season, it seems there just wasn't the right fit in either years, $$$, or that player's preferences. Hopefully, the Cubs catch lightning in a bottle with some of these moves (T. Wood, Stewart, DeJesus, ec.).

I also meant to agree with Rob's post on Concepcion taking up a spot on the 40-man, but do you know if he will get 3 or 4 option years? If it's 4, then this shouldn't be as big a problem as he'll be ready in year 5 to make the club or be traded/released.

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

GEORGE A: If Gerardo Concepcion indeed signed a major league contract, he would have to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster immediately, and if he is added to the 40, he would (ordinarily) be eligible for a 4th option year as long as the 4th option is used prior to the 2017 season.

However, there supposedly was a change in the 4th option rule that coincided with the new CBA, but the change has yet to be explained.

Just to review the 4th option rule, players normally get only three minor league options, but a player gets a 4th minor league option year if the player used up his three minor league options prior to completing five "full seasons."

As far as the option rules are concerned, a "full season" is accrued when a player spends at least 90 days on the active list of an MLB and/or minor league team or teams in a given season, or at least 60 days on the active list of an MLB and/or minor league team or teams followed by time spent on the disabled list that (combined) equals at least 90 days.

So the guys who get 4th options are the players who sign major league contracts after being drafted (which will be prohibited in the new CBA), players who are added to a 40-man roster early in their career (like Jeff Samardzija, D. J. LeMahieu, and Matt Szczur), and players who played mainly in short season leagues (which play only about a 60-game schedule) and/or logged extensive DL time in their career prior to getting added to the 40 (like Rafael Dolis).

I suspect the change in the 4th option rule PROBABLY relates only to players who are added to the 40-man roster before they need to be (that is, before they are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft), but not to players who are eligible for a 4th option because of injury (extensive DL time) and/or because they spent several seasons in short-season ball. If that is the case, it would mean that (in the future) guys like Samardzija, LeMahieu, and Szczur would not be eligible for a 4th minor league option, but somebody like Dolis would still be eligible.

And how that might affect Concepcion (or maybe even Szczur) getting a 4th option would depend on when the change is officially implemented (again, presuming that is how the rule is being changed).

Thanks, Phil.........obviously Theo is racing the clock before the new draft/international signing rules become effective even if it means a MLB contract in this case.

Levine pimping for his old pal Hendry

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

Caridad added to the NRI list

Geez, he's been planting his lips on Hendry's ass for years. Has nothing better to write about.

Looks like Levine just recycled an article he wrote last August. Changed "very thankful" to "very grateful" and hit submit.

Refreshed was a typo...

Meant 'Re-animated'

Do all these Cubanos come with their own translators? Obviously they are being taught capitalism...

Ya, these guys are really quick learners.

Yes. He is now able to help us bail out the massive banks the next time they shit the bed.

No, actually, they will be making addl. $ on Cohibas.

it's painful watching josh hamilton expose his life to the press explaining away his 3-or-4 drinks.

it's very helpful to the kids and adults who look up to him for recovery, though.

looooooong press conference and it wasn't a prepared statement written by an agent.

defensive stat research takes a painful, yet fruitful step forward

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/dispatch_ar...

now there's a few million puzzle pieces to put together.

what does that have to do with defense?

I see an article about cleaning up pitch f/x data.

yeah, pitching stat research...brain fart.

inb4 Joe. -fart-

...flatus.

jose reyes is about to shave his dreds off live on MLB Network.

sigh...modern baseball.

For charity, CRUNCH?

on ebay right now...make a wish foundation

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Marlins-Shortstop-Jos...

Hey, free shipping!

"According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, Manny Ramirez is deciding whether to pursue a contract with the Blue Jays, Orioles or Athletics."

don't use PEDs, kids. it's not worth it and the game will not support a cheater.

"According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, Manny Ramirez is deciding whether to pursue a contract with the Blue Jays or Athletics."

Fixed.

"According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, Manny Ramirez is using the Blue Jays to attempt to coerce a ML deal out of Billy Beane and the Athletics."

Shamelessly altered.

Since maybe you missed them, Al had all the renderings up yesterday.

Pix
http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2012/2/2/27665...

for the theologists in the audience...his full trade history, though it's missing some PTBNL and all money-exchanges in trades.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0...

13 days until pitchers/catchers report. :D

yeah, operation other-team's-spare-parts (and introducting rizzo) is what seems to be on tap for 2012, but whatever...miracles and etc.

hopefully 2012 will produce at least a couple of soild choices for 2013 out of volstad/t.wood/stewart/lahair...and rizzo will figure out how to hit lefties in AAA...and m.byrd remembers he's not supposed to suck vs lefties whether it helps the cubs or his mid-season trade value...etc.

i wonder which version of soto the hitter will show up. how many heart attacks will a 8/9 tandum of k.wood + c.marmol cause? 2nd base, that's gonna be fun.

hopefully 2012 will produce at least a couple of soild choices for 2013 out of volstad/t.wood/stewart/lahair
---------

I've been segmenting the team into smaller bits like this when thinking about the upcoming season. The group you've described above is one of them. If half of them turn out right it will be a miracle/happy accident. Funny thing is there's a bunch of guys already on the team that need to do the same thing. I guess that's a long way of saying there's not many sure things on this team. Never listed them for the 40 man, but here is how I look at the roster

1. Predictable Outcomes: Dempster, Garza, Maholm, KWood, Castro, Russell
2. Buy-low Guys: DeJesus, Voldstat, Stewart, TWood
3. Bounce back guys: Soriano, Marmol, Byrd, Soto,
4. On the team, see what happens: Wells, Samardzija, Baker, Johnson, DeWitt, Barney, LaHair,
5. Some might make the team, most will not: Mateo, Beliveau, Campana, Carpenter, LCastillo, WCastillo, Clevenger, Dolis, Gaub, Maine,
6. Minors, but on 40man: Sonnestine, Cabrera, Coleman, Lake, Rizzo, Sappelt, Szczur, Vitters, Weathers

"couple of soild choices for 2013"

Nice Freudian typo, crunch.

and nice catch Jacos.

LOFL

I'm confused how it was a typo. Wasn't he saying that hopefully some of these players will have a decent 2012 and we'll be more confident that they'll then be decent in 2013?

he typed soild, which I took as soiled rather than solid.

Ah...didn't even catch that when you quoted it.

One trib writer thinks the Cubs made best RF fa signing this offseason-

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

I keep reading where Cub fans shuold be excited that out new RF has "15 HR and 70 RBI" capability...the RF.... I'm excited about that out of 2B maybe....but RF? Sheesh. (and he's never hit 15 HR's in a season) I just hope DeJesus bounces back from last year's injury laden wreck.

If he plays plus defense, gets on base 36% or more of the time, and slugs say .420 or more, then he's a bargain. If they can platoon him with a productive Reed Johnson type, that'd be gravy. He'll also be totally dealable at the deadline or next season if he manages those numbers (which are close to his career averages) and stays healthy.

If that were the move Theo made when the Cubs were, say, a slugger away from dominance, I'd be pissed. As it is I think Theo just bought low in a year where that seems to be game plan--buy low over and over.

What I am seeing this offseason from many teams is getting in on former productive, even all-star players, and signing them to Minor league deals,or one year ones. Aaron Cook, for example, was one of the top NL pitchers like 3 years ago.

So, the new world order in baseball is dictating smarter choices, and signing dudes in down years with chips on their shoulders, as we are seeing, the international market is perceived to be a "value leader".

Having Fuke signed to a $48MM 4 yr deal was a pretty big Hendry miss. If Cespedes is signed, it will be another interesting ride. I think that year one would be a throw-away. Just culturally, and weather-wise, I can envision myriad problems.

With respect to DeJesus, rf has been a big fucking hole for a long time since Sammy. It would be nice at the very least to watch a solid defender who can score some runs - one thing Fuke could not do after May.

Gravy is if he's platooned? Really? Looking at his numbers, if he hits anything less than .285/.355/.420, it would be a disappointment, not a bargain. Exactly what do we think a 32 year old RF with little power will be worth at the deadline? I'd have been even happier moving Byrd to RF, and seeing if Brett Jackson is ready, rather than signing stopgap veteran OF X.

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