Eight Cubs Eligible for 2014 Salary Arbitration

An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration. Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group.

If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration.

The MLBPA is responsible for delivering all requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department (MLB LRD) on the Tuesday immediately prior to the third Friday in January. Once salary arbitration has been requested, the player submits his desired salary to the MLBPA and the club submits its salary offer to the MLB LRD, and the MLBPA and MLB LRD exchange the two figures on the third Friday in January. The MLBPA and MLB LRD then schedule a hearing with a three-person arbitration panel. Hearings are held on various dates during the first three weeks of February.

The club's offer must be at least the MLB minimum salary and, in most cases, must be at least 80% of the player's previous year's salary and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. However, if the player received a raise in excess of 50% by a salary arbitration panel the previous season, a 20% maximum salary reduction from the previous season and a 30% maximum salary reduction from two seasons back does not apply, and the club only has to offer at least the MLB minimum salary.

After arbitration has been requested, the player and the club can continue to negotiate back & forth, and the player can withdraw from the process any time up until the hearing. And in fact this frequently happens, as the player and the club will often agree to just "split the difference" (something the panel cannot do). If the matter does go to a hearing, the arbitration panel must choose either the club's offer or the player's figure.

Win or lose, the player is awarded a standard one-year MLB contract with no "minor league split" salary or incentive/performance bonuses. Also, the contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB 40-man roster receives 100% of what remains of his salary if he is released during the regular season).

NOTE: The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player who was awarded a contract through the salary arbitration process is released during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.

CUBS ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION
Darwin Barney
, INF (1st time eligible - $562K 2013 salary) 
Justin Ruggiano, OF (1st time eligible - $494,500 2013 salary)
James Russell, LHP (2nd time eligible - agreed to $1.075M 2013 salary pre-arbitration hearing)
Jeff Samardzija, RHP (2nd time eligible - agreed to $2.625M 2013 salary pre-arbitration hearing)
Nate Schierholtz, OF (3rd time eligible - $2.75M 2013 salary including $500K performance bonus - signed as non-tendereed FA post-2012)
Pedro Strop, RHP (1st time eligible - is a "Super Two" - $502,500 2013 salary) 
Luis Valbuena, INF (2nd time eligible - agreed to $930K 2013 salary pre-arbitration hearing)
Travis Wood, LHP (1st time eligible - $527,500 2013 salary) 


Again, if the salary dispute gets to an arbitration panel, the panel must choose either the player's salary request or the club's salary offer, so it is important for the player & his agent to request a salary figure at what they estimate would be the top end salary-range of what a comparable player (based on statistics) in what is now the player's class (based on MLB Service Time) received the previous season and/or comparable to what a player in the same class as the player is being paid in 2014 if the other player signed a multi-year contract and is thus not eligible for salary arbitration. Meanwhile, the club must make sure to offer a salary at what it estimates to be the low-end of the salary range of what a player in that class received in 2013 or the salary of what a player in the player's same class will be receiving in 2014 for players signed to multi-year contracts (like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, for example).   

The player or his agent present his statistics (offense & defense for position players, and pitching stats for pitchers) in the best-light possible, and the club's representative presents the player's stats in as bad a light as possible. The player and/or the club can attempt to offer advanced metrics if it wants to go that route, but remember, Bill James and Tom Tango are not arbitrators. And then the arbitration panel makes a determination based upon the evidence presented by both sides. 

LIKELY PROJECTED 2014 SALARY ARBITRATION NUMBERS (PLAYER REQUEST v. CLUB OFFER)
Samardzija - $6M requested v. $4.5M offered
Schierholtz - $5M requested v. $4M offered
Wood - $4M requested v. $2.75M offered
Barney - $2.75M requested v. $2M offered
Russell - $2.25M requested v. $1.5M offered
Valbuena - $2M requested v. $1.25M offered
Ruggiano - $2M requested v. $1.25M offered
Strop - $1.5M requested v. $1M offered

 

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Comments

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-looking-cash-next-tv-deal

Cubs talking to Fox about TV deal...one possibility is to put a handful of games over next 5 years on local Fox affiliates and then full slate of games on a new cable channel in 2020 (Comcast has rights until 2019 non-WGN games). WGN deal ends after this year.

Gordon Wittenmeyer is stunned there is more than one channel in Chicago.

+1

the yearly p.sandoval weight drop report...before he "somehow" packs it all back on and then some by may or june...

"Pablo Sandoval told Rafael Rojas of LasMayores.com Tuesday that he's lost 42 pounds this offseason."

http://blog.sfgate.com/athletics/2014/01/14/ex-as-pitcher-dallas-braden-...

D. Braden of perfect game fame says he's retiring at age 30, says his shoulder is a shredded mess.

Braden was not an A-rod fan of course

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/04/23/a-rod-dallas-braden-and-bas...

which inspired this awesomeness

http://flipflopflyball.tumblr.com/post/543541028/i-drew-a-quick-map-of-b...

Tribune's Mark Gonzales discusses plan B options if the Cubs don't sign Tanaka and says Cubs might be looking at Paul Maholm again and "groom" Carlos Villaneueva for a starter role.

Next...Can Jose Guzman, Jose Guzman please come out of retirement to save the 2014 Cubs?

Free agency is so screwed up, the Cubs should do something crazy like offer Tanaka a 3 year deal at some completely insane number a year. I vote for 44 million a year so we can make 3/44 comments again without them being stale.

I like it.

FA pitchers still available

Tanaka, Santana, Ubaldo, Garza, Burnett (probably retiring), Arroyo

Maholm, Hammel, J. Williams, Marcum, Karstens, Roberto Hernandez aka Fausto Carmona, Harang, Marquis, Westbrook, Baker, Johan Santana

PS - How is Grady Sizemore not a Cub yet? Maybe he's holding out for guaranteed money again, but seems there's room for him and possesses the preferred skillset.

Been wondering that about Sizemore myself. Seems like an obvious buy-low for a rebuilding team with a dearth of MLB starters in the outfield, plus the points you make above.

never know how messed up his medicals are of course...hasn't played a pro game since 2011.

Bryant in 2014? Only if he embarrasses the AA and AAA pitchers all year.

"Zastrynzy not only has one of the more difficult names to spell in all of minor league baseball, but also mid-rotation stuff from the left-handed side."

First learn how to pronounce the name--Za-Strij-Ny--and then you'll realize that it can't end in ZY.

P. Johnson ahead of CJ Edwards?

bold move Cotton

(granted, #6 over #7)

also weary of someone's list that is worried about Alcantara being behind Castro and Baez at shortstop since he played 64 games at 2b in AA last year and will be at 2b in Iowa to start season

Chris Coghlan signs minor league deal with Cubs with spring training invite. $800K if he makes team plus $250K in PA bonuses, can opt out by 6/15 if not in the majors.

McLeod says Bryant will likely start season in AA, Baez at SS in Iowa, Soler and Almora TBD.

top 10 RHP's in minors

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/archie-bradley-atop-mlbcoms-list-of-...

pretty stacked list, so no Cubs, but says 39 of the top 100 will be RHP's so maybe CJ Edwards will make it there

/grain of salt alert

Jeff Passan on Chicago radio saying that talking to others "in baseball", that Cubs front office is saying they're not getting the money they expected from ownership, not just for players but other areas as well (research, scouting, player development). Says Ricketts stand is that even when TV deals and renovations are complete, money won't come for players until team starts winning.

If true, TheJedi will certainly leave when contracts are up in 3 years or work themselves into another job before then.

I have guessed this over the last year - and have also intimated this in email corresp. with ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell (also a STH).

Neither of us felt that TheoJed realized, a. how fucked up the organization was in terms of talent, and, b. that the money just wasn't gonna be there for them. In short, Theo did not know this was gonna be the deal when he signed up for the job.

Further, I happen to think he is goddamned tired of having to apologize constantly for what the fans are paying to see. He is an egoist, and hates to lose as much or more than we do.

I would not be surprised in the least if he resigns or just splits after the contract is up if things do not materially change.

The Passan "story" is nothing more than what I have been suspecting for some time.

Like all things Cubs, I "hope I'm wrong".

Is this the Florida Marlins school of driving attendance down to 400 per game?

It's more like Major League

"This guy here is dead"

Then take him off the list.

related...


"This would be a major issue if FO believed ownership wasn't providing funds that were available. Doesn't appear to be case."

"...FO & ownership appear to be on the same page. Now one is thrilled with the lack of revenue streams, but they're working with it"

"a. how fucked up the organization was in terms of talent"

So one of the brightest and analytical minds in baseball with unlimited access to reports and studies via internet, numerous mlb contacts did not know the Cubs were "fucked up" in talent when he signed?

Then yes we are all fucked.

Some of us have been talking about Ricketts this off season with this general theme, and it's related to the short thread Joe Pepitone started in another post, about the whole Zell shenanigans. Things really started going south the moment Zell got the team as part of his disgustingly leveraged Tribune purchase, and in selling the team to the Ricketts clan he was able to get MLB to gloss over really crappy terms. MLB really screwed Cubs fans by letting Zell push them around the way he did. I don't quite understand why the Ricketts were okay with buying an MLB team under those conditions - I know ego obviously plays a big role but they let themselves get handcuffed financially, and they're going to take a lot of heat for not pouring money into the team in a way that other big market teams do. The thing about sports is that the owners aren't the only losers when the crowds start to look like Marlins crowds. There's a lot of Cubs fans out there in the world, many of whom have probably moved on already. And as for getting young kids, building that fan base of the future, it's not happening. Kids don't give a shit about mascots. They want their heroes, even when those heroes are juiced.

So the story makes sense in light of the financials. I'm sure that Theo went through the motions on Tanaka, but I doubt his heart was in it. He knows that at the end of the day, the Ricketts will not pull the trigger on a deal that can come close to matching the Yankees and Dodgers. I'm not even sure that's a bad thing in this case. A 7 year $100 million+ contract (my guess) for a guy who has never pitched a game in the MLB seems idiotic no matter how good he was in Japan.

I'm stunned by all of this Zell 5% interest leveraging talk. That said a.) is this irrefutable fact at this point? b.) more importantly has anyone calculated what a maximum salary number for the cubs might be under the Zell restrictions? If this is all true, it's majorly fucked.

I don't know if it's really true or not. I just don't like the guy because of the way he finances all his deals. Then there's this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

7/215 M for Kershaw, opt out after 5 years

tim buss (cubs strength coach) has evidently been working with s.castro adding bulk this winter.

Maybe it's just a reflex (bad Sammy flashbacks?), but I get nervous whenever I hear that a player from the Dominican Republic is "adding bulk".

an already sketchy-D SS adding bulk...what could go wrong?

It's all a part of the clever scheme to move Starlin over to 2nd base as his range diminishes, making room for Baez at short, just as AZ Phil recommended.

It's not a bad plan if Castro starts to hit again. If he hits like last year it won't much matter what position he plays.

"Pitcher C.J. Edwards would like to add at least 20 pounds to his 6-2, 155-pound frame. At Tuesday's Blackhawks' game, Edwards said he ate "an Italian sausage, cheese fries, Sprite, Coke and a hot dog with cheese on it.""

diabetes vs coronary heart disease...awesome.

As a young guy with a high metabolism, I also struggled to put on bulk even when I was lifting weights intensely and eating like it was work. Junk food didn't really help anything. I finally managed to put on a little bit of weight when I learned to rest more between workouts and get more sleep, in addition to eating a lot of lean proteins. But some guys are just going to have a very hard time putting on weight. That said, Edwards weighs what I weigh when I'm in good condition, and I'm 5'9" if I stand up straight. Naps and yams, Edwards, and learn to love the standard squat.

@Ken_Rosenthal Sources: pushing hard for Tanaka. remain involved, along with others previously mentioned - , , etc. 

8 days still to go...

3/44 should do it. 44 per year, that is.

replay approved

"HR, gr rule double, fan interference, boundary calls, force play (minus neighborhood), tag, fair/foul, trap, HBP, timing play, touching a base, passing runners, and record keeping"

"Nuts and bolts of replay: Mgr. gets one challenge. If he wins, gets a second. Max of two. Umpires can replay anything 7th inning or later."

I'm sure a decent article on it is forthcoming...

That system is weird. So umpires cannot initiate a replay before the 7th inning? It's gonna be bedlam when a manager loses a challenge and then they blow a HR call.

don't think that'll be an issue...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/mlb-approves-expanded-instant-replay...

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10305223/mlb-owners-ok-expanded-replay...

https://twitter.com/MLB_PR/status/423905980225572864/photo/1

In the ESPN article it says, if a manager has used up his challenges, umpires can initiate their own replay if they wish and it's before the 7th inning. On home runs, they can still request a review regardless of # of challenges left or inning (and what was it? like a dozen for the whole season last year).  Replays will be done NHL style at a central office at MLBAM headquarters in NY though, rather than having it in the stadium.

Also, stadiums can now show real-time replays up to two times on close plays (no slo-mos), which is nice for the fans.

Managers can have a line of communication with their own clubhouse as well to see if they should challenge.

There will be issues and they will get hammered out at the glacial pace that MLB works at. The only abuse I can see is a manager without challenges left, delaying the game in hopes that a stadium replay or clubhouse replay will get umpires to call for a review on their own.

But if it's anything like the NFL, there will be times you're wondering why managers are wasting a challenge and times when you'll be wondering why they aren't using one. Unlike football there's no timeouts to lose, so I imagine managers will use it on the first questionable call in a game, no reason to maybe keep them if there's little consequence beyond possibly not having one. Maybe in September and October they may get a little more frugal with them. All part of the fun I suppose...

Aha!!! Ok that makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

In non-replay news, amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal.

Let's do this!!!

I have a long standing bias against mega contracts for free agent pitchers but what the hell. We need some news, and it would sort of put to bed the idea that the Ricketts won't spend. At this point, I'd be all for it. Luckily, it's not my money. Based on all the wacky finances, I'm not sure whose money it is, but I do know it's not mine.

Tanaka easily worth +20 wins I think :)

contract structure will be fascinating on this, agent is absolutely gonna demand some sort of opt-out after 4-5 years or ability to renegotiate with player being in control of terms. Cubs would ideally want to backload contract to take advantage of future potential revenue streams, but also understand that means it would be harder to move contract later.

I'm guessing average 5/120 deal, not including $20M posting fee...a #3 pitcher wrapped in ace clothing (maybe a #2).

It would be interesting though because if you backload the contract that might be insurance against him opting out ...?

maybe, but if he's going good, every player/agent will opt out and go for the long term dollars on a new 4-6 year deal rather than take the 2 years left or so. If he's not going good, he'll get $25M+ for being a 10-15M pitcher (or worse).

Hard to know until you start seeing some specifics...

This would cheer me up after the deaths of the Professor and Reuben Kincaid today.

I got a CNN alert about the Professor on my iphone today. It was pretty devastating news, especially since he was only 89.

We lost Reuben too???

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-sitting-table-heavyweights-tanaka

A highly-placed MLB source told me this morning the Cubs “are sitting at the table with the game’s heavyweights” and are prepared to spend an insane amount of money for Tanaka.

At this point I think I would be okay with 8/200 for Tanaka. Signing him to be the staff ace will result in the team paying up for a Samardzija extension. Going into 2015 the team would be:
Rizzo/Baez/Castro/Bryant/Castillo
??/Sweeney/??
Tanaka/Samardzija/Wood/Jackson/Arrieta or Hendricks
With Almora/Soler and whoever else knocking on the door

Provided we can sign a strong LF and platoon mate for Ruggiano or other stop gap OF that team is in the thick of it next season.

If we don't get Tanaka I think it puts the nail in the coffin on a Samardzija deadline trade, potentially moving any kind of relevancy to 2016 at earliest.

At this point I think I would be okay with 8/200 for Tanaka. Signing him to be the staff ace will result in the team paying up for a Samardzija extension.

I don't see what one has to do with the other. They'll continue to offer Samardzija what they think is fair and no more than 5 years. Doubt they'll go over 5 years on Tanaka either (okay maybe 6), that's always been their motto. Any longer will have to be a mutual or club option, although Tanka is going to want some sort of opt out anyway.

To me, landing Tanaka would create a bit more urgency to fill out the rotation and, though I didn't say so before, make Samardzija give a little on his demands since he sees the commitment to win showing up now instead of years from now.
You're probably right, though. Theo and Jed have likely set a value and will not vary from it. Though I think they'll eventually have to decide if they would pay "just money" for a Samardzija type in free agency and realize they can do so now.

i think all the talk of retaining ninja if tanaka comes on isn't going to happen, myself.

i kinda think tanaka is where ninja's loot would be going if this deal with tanaka got done.

it seems ninja/cubs can't get close to a deal. i don't expect to see him around after june/july (if not sooner) if tanaka signs.

just speculation on my part...i got nothing pointing in any direction.

I tend to see the reasoning behind the if Tanaka then Samardija formula.

If the Cubs are going to be a losing team in 2014, 2015, and maybe 2016, then they are definitely sellers when it comes to Samardzija. But if they might be in contention in 2015 and 2016, then selling on Samardzija to get players who won't even see the majors until 2016 or 2017 makes a whole lot less sense. Tanaka, should he prove a #1 or #2 pitcher, puts the Cubs a good bit closer to being a decent team.

That still doesn't mean the Cubs would be willing to pay Samardzija ace money if that's what he's holding out for, but then I'm not sure anyone will.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/25025810-419/samardzija-says-tanaka-outco...

you may be on something, Ninja hinting that he's more willing to sign if Cubs get Tanaka. See how his agent feels about that....

My theory is that if the Cubs don't sign him, he will be the Ichiro of pitchers. If the Cubs do sign him, he will be the Fukudome of pitchers. That is just what I have come to expect as a fan.

AKA, Cubbery

Well, the Cubs wisely took a pass on Jason Schmidt and Barry Zito. Yep, that year they, instead, opted to spend big on Alfonso Soriano.

Don't forget, Fukudome himself was billed as a combination of Ichiro (power) and Hideki Matsui (speed).

And he was... for the first month of the season.

yeah, Fukudome 3 run HR in the 9th. His first game vs Brewers and the Cubs still lost, 4-3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDp5sJWeF7c

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080331&c...

It was every April and I think VA Phil got the comps backwards, although it certainly played out more like he wrote them.

Regardless, he brought much needed OBP skills to those lineups and he always started off well. Didnt live up to the hype or contract, but better than Jacque or Bradley.

Jacque had a decent offensive first year with the Cubs, and turned out to be a serviceable defensive CF in his second year. I always remember him being way worse than he was. I think years 1 & 2 of both him and Fukudome give each other a pretty good run for their money. The problem with both is that they were vastly overpaid for what they actually produced. On Schierholtz deals, they'd have been acceptable.

If we're going with better than Bradley, I mean, who doesn't come out smelling like roses?

Jacque Jones doubled off base 3x in two weeks on fly balls.

My recollection of JJones of him losing the ball throwing it back to the infield with one of his dribblers.

The stats show that in Jones' two years he had 24 assists and 22 errors.

Dome in his first two years had 22 assists and 14 errors, by comparison.

I liked Jacque Jones, sort of, but I always remember him killing worms... and the start of his Cubs career where he went something like 1-for-24.

until we saw the Fukudome "helicopter" at bats

what is the pitching equivalent of the helicopter at bat?

Helicopter wind-up?

Actually, several clever TCR posters looked at Fukudome's age and Japan numbers and correctly projected him to comp to Kaz Matsui, sans the fucked-up anus.

Cubs and Schierholtz agree to $5M deal

for what little it's worth, Kosukue bWAR as a Cub starting in 2008

0.5, 2.1, 1.1, 1.2

Jacque's starting in 2006

1.2, 0.4

okay, both just really sucked

so beyond Kosuke's 2009, they both were barely useful and Kosuke was far more expensive

think Fangraphs estimates about $6M on the open market for a win (2013 prices, so even cheaper back then) so yeah, ugh...

wasn't Jacques Jones paid 3/15? or was that Howry...or was that just the Hendry contract seemingly blurring at this point. I know Bradley was 3/30 because of the I feel like $30 million bucks quote.

close, 3/16M

1.7M for Russell

Ricketts and his damn capitalist ways!

Seriously this is a large global city with a corn pone media

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-16/spor...

Thank God for Bruce Levine-

Cubs have "of money" with tons more "coming in future"
Says Giants dark horse for Tanaka.

what's "corn pone media" and "of money" mean btw? I imagine they're typos of some sort, but I can't figure them out.

Corn pone=hillbilly

As in who gives a shit about Peoria regarding the Cubs. They should vote to fund schools rather than have Cubs caravan come to town.

"Tons of money "

The funding for schools isn't the issue. The Cubs Booster's of Central IL raise money through the cravan every year, donating to local little leagues, and giving scholarships money for Bradley, and Illinoic Central College.

Thanks for the clarification

Hope I didn't come off as "douchetastic" Jacos
I grew up in Peoria, and it was tough being a Cubs fan. Lol.. Probably 70%-30% Cardinals to Cubs ratio.

nope, I didn't read it well enough.

Happy BDay Pete LaCock

Bob Gibson never forgets

http://www.gammonsdaily.com/happy-birthday-pete-la...

$1.325M for Strop

2m

Four arb Cubs left: Smarj (filed $6.2m; club filed at $4.4m), Wood ($4.25m-$$3.5m), Barney ($2.8m-$1.8m), Ruggiano ($2.45m-$1.6m).

Schierholtz got $5M, Russell 1.775M, Strop 1.35M, Valbuena 1.71M

Sahadev Sharma‏@sahadevsharma
Talked to Mike Olt for a while, said his eye issues are a thing of the past and 2013 was an aberration. "You don't just forget how to hit."

But...he DID forget how to hit, unless his eyes were still messed up last year. Still, he was a very highly touted prospect before the eye thing, so it would be a nice Bizarro world thing to the world of Cubbery if he turned into something with the Cubs.

Levine saying Cubs have made offer to Tanaka and that Japanese population important factor to him and his wife..

Well, from Cap Anson to the LaTroy Hawkins death-threat society, the Cubs do have a long history of racism. Let him know he'll fit right in. ;)

Tanaka suitors seem to think 6/120 is the new 3/44

"According to Nikkan Sports in Japan, five teams made formal offers -- nearly all of them worth more than $100 million over six years -- to Masahiro Tanaka on January 16."

damn.

cubs, wsox, dodgers, yanks, arizona the expected front-runners...could be a "surprise" team in there...

and this from an hour ago...

"Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub
Beware reports suggesting Cubs have high offer on table for Tanaka or that he's favoring Cubs. Multiple sources say Cubs remain long shots."

Wittenmyer sources would say that.

Wittenmyer still thinks Epstein is going to stick with the Red Sox.

Theo puts to bed any issues with the ownership (at least publicly)

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/while-waiting-tanaka-decision-theo-defend...

“This is the best thing about the Ricketts and their commitment to the Cubs: They know that they’re going to own this club for generations and generations,” Epstein said. “So they are willing to take the hit now and take some of the heat now and be on the back page of the Sun-Times. Because they know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation, to get things right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations.

 “I am more proud of them for their willingness to take that heat and stick to their plan than if they panicked the first time their name was dragged through the mud publicly and said: ‘We can’t do this. We need to put lipstick on this. We need to find some quick fixes just to keep the fans and media at bay. They’re dragging the Ricketts name through the mud.’

“They’re in this for the long haul. And because of that, they’re allowing us to lay the foundation.”

~snip~

“The last couple years we’ve spent every single dollar available to us by this point in the offseason,” Epstein said. “We’ve kept a little bit of our powder dry. We’re always looking for opportunities to add impact players who are the right age. So you want to put yourself in a position to have a chance to do that.

“Our strategy this offseason has been, in part, to allow us to deliver an impact young player if he happens to be out there. And if not, maybe this is the year where we don’t spend all the money that we have and we look forward to spending it on the baseball team — on major league players — down the line when it makes sense.

“We’re not going to spend just to spend. But we want to put ourselves in a position to make the right decisions to help build this young core we have developed.”

Muskat has some interesting quotes too...

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2014/01/18/118-cubs-conv...

Kenney stuff:

Kenney said he did not regret the way the contract was set up with the rooftop owners, in which they give a percentage of their earnings to the team.

“You have to go back to the landmarking — that’s what I regret,” Kenney said. “This situation was created by the landmarking of the bleachers. We fought it to the end and we lost.”

He said the landmark status meant they could not put any signs in the outfield ever. What changed this summer was that the landmarking was amended. Now, the landmark commission recognizes that the outfield is not a historic feature and the team can add signage.

“That was the big win last summer, among many, and that’s what the rooftops would contest,” Kenney said. “Essentially their contest is, can you un-landmark a building. We think you can, and in fact, the city council did this summer. That’s what we want to make sure doesn’t delay the project.”

and Muskat cites Theo...

Epstein said the team made a mistake in promoting Brett Jackson to the big leagues when the Cubs did. Jackson was called up because Dale Sveum wanted to prioritize his swing development, but Epstein said the outfielder may have been better served staying in the Minor Leagues. Epstein said they promoted Josh Vitters at the same time because they wanted to learn more about him as a player. Both will be in Spring Training camp.

I recall Theo did say Vitters is now a LF and will be in the spring camp to compete for a job.

Looking at the 40man, he's got to make it as an extra right handed bat, so his main competition is Justin Ruggiano. Junior Lake should make it based on his 2013 performance.

From the TCR sidebar, we probably should re-categorize Vitters from one of the ten infielders and put him with 7, now 8 OF's. Lake, Ruggiano, Schierholtz and Sweeney will make the club barring trades. Is there room for 5? Add the NRI's to that mix with small chances for lefty bats, Coghlan and Kalish and righty bats, McDonald and Wells leading that group.

I'm sure this won't dictate the 25th man, but who are the potential backup 1B right now? Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena are both a bit small for that spot, at 5'10". Vitters could maybe do that, and if Olt makes the roster, he would make some sense to get a little time over there. Does anyone else fit that bill? As far as I can tell, Sweeney's never done it, but he's listed at 6'4", so if he goes into a backup role, I'd think they'd try him there. If they're trying to make Lake a full-time outfielder instead of a super utility player, it's probably not the best idea to have him try to learn 1B too.

CHARLIE: Agreed experience playing 1B won't dictate the 25th man, although being able to play 1B against a tough LHSP would be an advantage for players competing for the 25th slot in Spring Training. 

Among position players not named "Rizzo" who will likely be at Big League Camp in Mesa, Josh Vitters has the most experience playing 1B, and while he is a natural 3B, his best defensive position is 1B (which isn't saying much, because he is a below-average defender no matter where he plays). Vitters can probably play a passable LF (since LF is just a really deep 3B), but if he hits enough to be an MLB regular or at least an MLB RH platoon (and I think he will), 1B would be his best defensive fit long-term.

If he hits enough but is blocked in LF, I could see Vitters eventually getting traded and playing 1B (either every-day or in a platoon) with a club like maybe Miami, Oakland, or Pittsburgh. What value the Cubs could get back in such a trade is a good question.   

Vitters has only one minor league option left and he really needs to stay healthy and have a big year at the plate in AAA in 2014 (if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster), but with a good Spring Training at the plate he certainly could make the Opening Day MLB roster as a RH platoon LF who can give Rizzo an occasional day off at 1B against a tough LHSP, 

Mike Olt has the next-most experience at 1B behind Vitters, and if he proves in Spring Training that he can see and that he can hit, he could either win the starting 3B job outright or else platoon with Luis Valbuena, and he could also play some 1B when the Cubs want to give Rizzo a day off or if something happens to Rizzo.  

Welington Castillo has played a smattering of games at 1B in his career, and he could get some PT at 1B, too (but probably not much) 

But if Rizzo were to go on the DL for an extended period of time in 2014, I think Vitters would probably get an opportunity to play 1B most every-day until Rizzo returns (and it would be sink or swim for Vitters, because other than Olt, the Cubs won't have any other viable in-house options at 1B in 2014).

Again, Vitters will be out of minor league options in 2015 if he uses up his last one in 2014, so he is very likely in the autumn of his career as a prospect. BTW, I still rate Vitters as one of the Cubs Top 15 prospects. I believe IF he can stay healthy and IF he can get regular playing thime (both big "ifs"), that he has the potential to hit 280/330/470 with 15-20 HR and 30+ doubles in the big leagues, It's just that it ultimately probably won't be with the Cubs. 

 

I found this interesting considering how much fan hate Kenney receives.

Bruce Levine‏@MLBBruceLevine Jan 18
Kenney signed a new 5 year deal with Cubs last season according to source

i don't think he's known to the average fan

Maybe they can unlandmark the center-field scoreboard, one of those things that probably "seemed like a good idea at the time," but whose ultimate result will be to gunk up the ballpark with two big scoreboards.

A new electronic scoreboard in center field could have a default mode where it looks like--and acts like--the old scoreboard.

Does anyone think that should Tanaka not work out, which I am expecting, they might sign Ervin Santana? He's talented and only 23.

Gives up some HR's but...

EDIT: Whoa. really off on age. He's 31 - Nevermind. Too old for TheoJed

From Boston's Nick Cafardo Sunday notes...

Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, free agent — Yes, the Cubs are making their best push for Tanaka, but can what the Dodgers offer trump the Cubs? Then it becomes a question of where does Tanaka really want to play? Chicago is enticing — and Theo Epstein can be very convincing — and Tanaka could certainly be a building block, which could be important given Tanaka’s ego. We’re hearing the terms could get as high as six years, $120 million, and it could be decided ahead of the Jan. 24 deadline.

From Bruce Levine, Tanaka update with a hint of optimism...

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/01/19/levine-cubs...

We have Levine on one side of the reporting optimism meter, and Wittenmeyer on the other. If the truth is somewhere in between, we're out of luck. Also, this bit infuriated me: "A source for this story said the Cubs will use every ethical strategy they can to get Tanaka to say yes to their offer."

Why stop at ethical strategies?

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

That doesn't stop the banks :)

I get my own professional inspiration from the Kevin Spacey character in House of Cards.

My problem with 'the Cubs have no budget" theorists is that I can't see that Jed/Theo would have done a thing different if they had 200 million to spend. What they've done has fit their plan to a tee. It would upset me greatly if they had no money to spend when big contracts are needed. We'll see.

If the Cubs are going as hard after Tanaka as most are saying they are, then the Ricketts have no money theorists (I'm kind of in that group depending on my mood) are wrong. If they sign him, they're even more wrong. One of the things I've been saying this winter is that there really hasn't been much on the free agent market to get excited about, and so it's been hard to criticize TheoCorp for not getting players. If they hadn't been so stacked with infield prospects, the argument for Cano could have been made, but I don't blame them at all for not gunning for him.

The fact that TheoCorp hasn't gotten anything in trade for Samardzija just tells me they're being smart about that, too, and holding out for what they think they should get in return. If they get Tanaka, and he's as good as a lot of people think he is, that instantly turns the team into a considerably better team. I can think of worse rotations than Tanaka, Samardzija, Wood, and Jackson, who is probably bound to have a better year.

Bruce Levine, hard hitting as always: "Cubs may be in the lead for Tanaka". Of course, the article is entirely speculative after that.

In other news, sources tell me that the Marlins, Blue Jays, Royals, Twins and Astros also may be in the lead for Tanaka.

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/01/19/levine-cubs...

Wittenmyer stirs up the pot again

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/25063550-419/gap-between-cubs-resources-s...

"But based on what was said by team officials during the convention, the team’s actions in recent years and conversations with more than a dozen major-league sources, a picture emerges of a wealthy team pinching baseball pennies to compete even within its rebuilding plan."

I find his reporting ridiculously vague, speculative and unconvincing.

" dozen major-league sources"- Paul Sullivan and Beth Muprhy.

Newspaper guys are the buggy whip makers from a century ago shaking their fists at cars driving by.

I don't how that sentence could be more poorly written.

The last clause is so confusing as to render it meaningless if you don't have a fairly enormous amount of context.

He's only a journalist, what do you expect?

Twitterverse:
sahadevsharma: I believe Cubs have offered a ton of $. Also believe Yanks are dead set on Tanaka & will offer whatever it takes.
sahadevsharma: After hearing what other teams were willing to offer, if Yanks & Cubs really are finalists, I'm not surprised in the least.

Take this article with a grain of salt...

http://yanksgoyard.com/2014/01/20/yankees-official...

for a team that whiffed on Irabu and Igawa, you'd think they'd be a little more gunshy, but I imagine A-Rod's 2014 salary coming off the books leaves money burning in their pockets.

In the end, I think other clubs(Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, even Giants) will be more motivated  than the Cubs to take it the extra money mile to get Tanaka, but we'll soon find out. Four more days...

This is all setting up for us to be terribly disappointed by an erroneous Twitter report.

I'm finding all of these reports ridiculous. I'm hearing that no one knows who is bidding what while also hearing that TWO teams will not be outbid. The three-way contradiction is making my head splode.

This is what happens when an agent is doing a pretty good job of treating the whole thing professionally. Everything is close to the vest, nothing that matters really is getting leaked. So we're left with these dinosaur-age journalists grasping at straws.

Journalists used to actually write stuff rather than concerning themselves solely with props from a scoop, right?...right?

http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/masahiro-tanakas-pitches/

Great Tanaka scouting report that you should read now before Tanaka signs with another team and you don't care.

Feeling Tanaka going to Cubs

/don't know why

#thenewsportsjournalism, #industrysources, #hearingwhispers

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