When You Had a Bad Day...
You've heard the news by now, that Theo's white whale got away, snatched up from the open sea by his old nemesis the S.S. Yankees. The contract numbers are absurd (7 years/$155M, opt out after 4 years), but we knew that eyeball popping was going to be required once the dust settled. There's been no confirmation that the Cubs were willing to be as absurd, although the whispers from Peter Gammons and Jeff Passan seem to indicate that no one was all that close to the Yankees offer. That being said, we're not sure how much back and forth there were in these negotiations either or what the final push was for Tanaka to pick New York over the other clubs. It may have been simply the money, maybe the glory of Yankee pinstripes, maybe the city of New York, maybe a combination of all three. What we do know is that the consolation prize (most likely) is either Paul Maholm or Jason Hammel and you kind of hope that the Cubs just don't even bother going back to pick either one up.
Regardless, I'm not to worked up about losing out on Tanaka. A $22M a year salary is nothing to scoff at and maybe Tanaka will be worth it or nearly worth it, or maybe he'll blow out his arm and miss a few seasons and be less effective after that. You don't want those things to happen to a player, but it's the risk involved and it seems more times than not, teams are grateful they didn't land the big free agent signing than did. And while I'm probably just trying to convince myself that this doesn't suck, I think there are some truth behind those thoughts, even if filled with just a bit of sour grapes.
Right after the Tanaka news hit, there was the blurb that negotiations have broken down with the rooftop owners and lawsuits are most likely forthcoming. As the Cubs spokesman said, this will certainly force delays on the renovations, i.e revenue, i.e did Theo sign a 15 year contract by any chance? I don't wish to take sides in a dispute I know little about. What I seem to have pieced together is that the Cubs and the rooftop owners made a deal a few years back where the Cubs would get some kickback from the rooftops. I don't know if anything formally was agreed upon, but at least informally I'm sure the rooftop owners thought maybe the Cubs won't FUCKING BLOCK THEIR VIEW. But that seems to be exactly what the Cubs intend to do, although they are P.R'ing it in a way that any hindrance to views will be minimal. I'm not sure how a 95 foot sign won't block views, but maybe there's some new space age translucent video board material I'm unaware of. That being said, Cubs rooftop owners have been making a lot of money doing a lot of nothing over the years, so 'eff them as well. There are no winners here.1
As for the offseason, I don't think an 'F' would do it justice. It's not that I was expecting a ton of signings, but I was hoping for a little creativity. At least a little more than Jose Veras and a trade for Justin Ruggiano. I'm short on solutions, but overflowing with apathy at this point. I know the plan is to wait for the prospects and by all signs, these kids are about as a good as you can hope to get. But in the meantime I'm going to have watch Darwin Barney and Donnie Murphy take at-bats and that's just not okay. I'll wait, and I understand the process, but I just can't get too worked up about anything until that process turns into something resembling a winning team.
1 - There's your Cubs 2015 slogan.
I think while I get you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.