Cubs Decline Blanco's Option

...and other notes

As our own Arizona Phil predicted, Henry Blanco's $3M option was declined, but the whispers are that he'll be back with the Cubs at a lower rate. The buyout did cost the Cubs $300,000.

-  Oneri Fleita expects Tyler Colvin to be ready by Opening Day from his Tommy John Surgery that I mentioned earlier this week.

- Looks like Trader Jim is ready for the offseason...

I'm looking forward to it, maybe more so than
the last couple. It'll be nice to talk to a lot of the GMs to see what
their appetites are going to be with free agency and possibly trades.
We feel like we've got some excess in areas that might help us in areas
we need to get stronger."

Happy Halloween!


I get that Hendry is saying things for public consumption, but what are the areas that "we've got some excess in".

Just askin'

I guess if somebody needs whatever the hell Ronny Cedeno is (flashes of competence between long spells of buffoonery?) we got one of those to spare.

What else?

Catchers converted to pitchers?

I'd really like to know ehere the Cubs are deep.

Starting pitching candidates--not aces, just guys who could be in a rotation. In addition to Zambrano, Harden, Lilly, and Marquis, the Cubs are likely to re-sign Dempster, have Marshall, Hill, Samardzija, Hart, and Atkins.

And second basemen. The Cubs have plenty of second basemen.

Cmon Charlie, You know Jim Hendry ain't letting go of any second basemen. He might add 2 more just in case.

Wow, just saw that Howry is a Type A FA. Good bye.

I don't know that it matters. Will the Cubs really offer arbitration to Home Run Howry?


I think that would depend largely on what Howry would get in arbitration. Any thoughts from people who know the process?

He's up for arbitration?! I thought he was a FA?

He is a FA. But you can offer a FA arbitration. If they decline you can then get your draft pick.

(i'm 99% on this one)

You're right. Obviously, the player needs to sign elsewhere for the Cubs to receive two draft picks, and if the team that inks him has its top 15 draft protected the Cubs would get an additional first round pick and a sandwich pick; also, if the FA signs before a November (arbitration) deadline, the Cubs get automatic picks without having to offer arbitration. That's the best case scenario.

If Howry accepts the arbitration offer, I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him back at 3.5-4 million. There are worse relievers out there that will get 6 million; either way, there should be a market for Howry.

I would be very surprised to see Howry on an MLB roster next year.

RH reliever, with one pitch, and that pitch is a so-so fastball that isn't going to age well.

Latroy hawkins still has a job, Bob Howry will have one next year.

I would be very surprised to see Howry on an MLB roster next year.

Wanna' make a bet on that one?

anyone have a link to the full list?

thnx....that' just the list of those who have filed so far though.

Still waiting on Kerry and I wonder if Furcal will get "A" status.

I'm so dumb.

here looks to be a list of potential FA's

In addition to Teixeira and Sabathia, the other Type A free agents according to the documents are Bobby Abreu, Doug Brocail, A.J. Burnett, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Juan Cruz, Ryan Dempster, Adam Dunn, Brian Fuentes, Brian Giles, Trevor Hoffman, Bobby Howry, Orlando Hudson, Raul Ibanez, Derek Lowe, Damaso Marte, Jamie Moyer, Mike Mussina, Darren Oliver, Oliver Perez, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Francisco Rodriguez, Ben Sheets, Russ Springer, Jason Varitek and Kerry Wood.

The Type B free agents are Jeremy Affeldt, Moises Alou, Garret Anderson, Luis Ayala, Joe Beimel, Casey Blake, Casey Blake, Milton Bradley, Paul Byrd, Mike Cameron, Alan Embree, Eric Gagne, Jon Garland, Luis Gonzalez, Ken Griffey, Mark Grudzielanek, LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen, Randy Johnson, Jeff Kent, Paul LoDuca, Braden Looper, Mark Loretta, Brandon Lyon, Greg Maddux, Brad Penny, Denny Reyes, Arthur Rhodes, Ivan Rodriguez, Rudy Seanez, Brian Shouse, John Smoltz, Frank Thomas, Salomon Torres, Juan Uribe, David Weathers, Randy Wolf and Gregg Zaun.

How the heck did Howry manage to get classified as Type A?

it's based off two years worth of stats and being in the top 20% of relief pitchers isn't that hard. Heck, Wood made it based on one season.

chicago journalism legend studs terkel has died at age 96.

I worked with Stugs back at WFMT, in the mid to late 80's. We rarely agreed politically, but he always was fun to argue with - sharp as a tack, and a good - hearted soul. Loved his books, too.

Whoops, "Studs."

you really have to start hitting reply to

"GM appetites"??

I guess that's why Jim really likes to wheel and deal. He sees it like eating.

Submitted by Charlie on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 3:56pm.

I think that would depend largely on what Howry would get in arbitration. Any thoughts from people who know the process?


CHARLIE: To get draft pick compensation, Hendry will have to decide by December 1st whether to offer arbitration to the three Cubs who are rated Type "A" or Type "B" Article XX free-agents (Dempster, Howry, and Wood).

If they aren't already signed by 12/1, the Cubs will certainly offer arbitration to Dempster and Wood (Demp and/or Woody agreeing to a one-year contract would be great for the Cubs), and ideally, another GM (Ed Wade, maybe?) will sign Bob Howry before December 1st and the Cubs won't have to offer him arbitation. They'll just get the draft picks.

But if Howry doesn't sign elsewhere by December 1st, the Cubs could offer salary arbitration, hoping that because Howry thinks he can get a multi-year deal with another club, he will will reject the offer (and this happens fairly often).

But even if the Cubs offer Howry arbitration and even if he accepts, the Cubs could still release him in Spring Training, and if that happens, they would only have to pay 1/6 or 1/4 of his 2009 salary (1/6 if they place him on Release Waivers at least 18 days prior to Opening day, or 1/4 of his salary if they place him on Release Waivers anytime between 17 and four days prior to Opening Day), but to avoid losing a near-certain grievance that will be filed if he were to get released prior to Opening Day, the Cubs would have to make sure that other pitchers have outperforned Howry statistically in Spring Training and that the pitchers who outperformed Howry make the Cubs 2009 Opening Day roster.

You might remember that happened with Todd Walker a couple of years ago. Walker was an Article XX FA post-2006, and was offered arbitration by the Padres. Walk accepted, and won his case, getting $3.95M from the arbitration panel (the Padres offered $2.75M). But then Walker was released during Spring Training (March 2007) because the Padres claimed he had been outplayed by other infield candidates (and that was actually fairly obvious, at least statistically), and the Padres in fact did win the subsequent grievance and had to pay "only" 1/4 of Walker's 2007 salary (about $970K). So it cost the Padres almost a million dollars to offer Walker arbitration, and they didn't even get a draft pick out of it because Walker accepted the arbitration offer!

Usually about two or maybe three Article XX free-agents accept arbitration offers every year. Hopefully Howry has delusions of grandeur and will consider an offer of salary arbitration to be an insult.

If I had to guess, I would say the Cubs will NOT offer Howry arbitration. The cost of paying him if he were to accept the offer just isn't worth the financial risk, even if the Cubs could get a couple of draft picks if they offer arbitration and Howry declines.

The "best case scenario" for the the Cubs is that Howry will sign with a new club by 12/1 and the Cubs will get the draft picks without having to risk offering Howry salary arbitration. The Cubs lucked-out with Type "B" FA Juan Pierre that way a couple of years ago, when Dodgers GM Ned Colletti signed Pierre prior to December 1st and the Cubs never had to offer Pierre arbitration in order to get a compensation draft pick (who turned out to be Josh Donaldson).  

"The Cubs lucked-out with Type 'B' FA Juan Pierre that way a couple of years ago"

Happened with Kendall last year, too, no?

I don't see any time signing Howry until after the Arb. deadline, given that they could lose a first round draft pick. But those top 15 draft picks are protected, right? So if a team in that first 15 were to sign him they wouldn't actually lose any draft picks, the Cubs would just gain a 1st round pick and a sandwich pick?

mmmmmmmmmm sandwich pick!


You stole my tagline

Submitted by Charlie on Sat, 11/01/2008 - 10:55am.

"The Cubs lucked-out with Type 'B' FA Juan Pierre that way a couple of years ago" Happened with Kendall last year, too, no?

I don't see any time signing Howry until after the Arb. deadline, given that they could lose a first round draft pick. But those top 15 draft picks are protected, right? So if a team in that first 15 were to sign him they wouldn't actually lose any draft picks, the Cubs would just gain a 1st round pick and a sandwich pick?


CHARLIE: Yes, Jason Kendall also signed with a new club before 12/1, so the Cubs got a supplemental (sandwich) 1st round pick (who turned out to be Ryan Flaherty, one of the Cubs Top 10 prospects IMO) without having to offer arbitration to Kendall. A club is more likely to sign a Type "B" FA than a Type "A" FA prior to 12/1, though,because while the player's former club does get a compensation draft pick for losing a Type "B," it's just one draft pick, and it's a supplemental pick between the 1st and 2nd round and doesn't cost the player's new club a draft pick. Signing a Type "A" FA prior to 12/1 would cost the new club one of it'own draft picks (either 1st or 2nd round). Of course, that didn't stop the Cubs from signing free-agents like Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones, Scott Eyre, and Bob Howry (and losing draft picks as a result) prior to 12/1!  

If a club picking in the Top 15 of the 1st Round of next June's Rule 4 Draft signs Howry (or any other Type "A" Article XX FA) prior to 12/1 (or after 12/1 if the player's former club offers salary arbitration), that team would lose their 2nd Round pick to the player's former team and the former team would also get a pick in the Supplememntal 1st Round (between the 1st and 2nd round).

One other thing to remember is that if a team signs more than one Type "A" FA where compensation is required, that team would lose multiple draft picks, but not all of the teams receiving the compensation draft picks would be able to get the signing team's 1st (or even 2nd) round pick.

For instance, if the Yankees were to sign three Type "A" free-agents this off-season, and all three players require compensation, and one of them is Howry, if the other two Type "A" free-agents they sign have higher statistical ratings than Howry, the Cubs would end up getting the Yankees' 2009 3rd round pick instead of the Yankees' 1st or 2nd round pick.

Again, I would expect the Cubs to offer arbitration to Dempster and Wood (and the Cubs would be thrilled if Demp and Woody would accept the offer), but they will not offer arbitration to Howry. And I would be shocked if Howry signs with a new club prior to 12/1. 

Recent comments

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  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer

  • Hahahahaha

  • -0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...

    -3 WAR projected over the course of a season.

    the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.


  • Rockies sign Brian Schlitter to a minor league contract. Good luck in Coors Field. Enough said.

  • i'll take him over frandy since it's unlikely he'll progress as a SS (and 2nd isn't looking much better).

    i hope patton's delivery deception skills play well in the bigs over time. cubs need pitching options that are MLB-ready and dude fits the bill for a MLB/AAA mix...both needed.

  • I'm not saying he's great, but can we agree on the word "decent"? Became a pro at 23, called up at 26; nothing wrong with that trajectory, he hasn't been knocking around. Even in the majors his SO9 is 9.7. In the minors it's 12.2, so he's always missed bats, and without being a wild man: his walks are low. He cost the Cubs an unheralded A-ball middle infielder and a roster spot.