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.

 

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Comments

Cubs made a six-year, $120 million final bid for Tanaka, according to a source close to the negotiations (plus $20 million release fee).

missed it by thaaat much!

I'm going to repeat a post I made late on the previous thread, because it seems relevant here.

"A contract IS a contract -- but in commercial law, if a contract is no longer advantageous for the Cubs, they can break the contract and pay the damages. Nothing sacred about a contract or dishonorable about breaking it and paying the requisite damages. The amount of damages would be the difference between the rooftops' income (and property value) with the obstructions being put up and without the obstructions. That may be significant -- and it may be very little. That would have to be worked out between the parties involved -- or in court, if they can't agree on a figure.

A contract doesn't freeze the parties into what they agreed on at the time it was signed. Things happen and circumstances change. When they do, you break the agreement and pay fair compensation for what the parties lost out on -- and you move on. The Wrigley renovation may actually have very little commercial effect on the rooftop owners. They are going to have to prove otherwise."

Well, they are going to have to prove what their actual damages are, anyway. People may still be just as happy to pay to be on a Wrigley Field rooftop with part of the field obstructed. It's not like you are getting the world's best sight lines right now. They are far away and part of the field is already blocked.

It's not a marriage. It's a contract. Break the dang thing and pay the roofies the difference in their income for the rest of its term. The deal was going to run out in a few years anyway.

Also, once the Cubs write a check for whatever the damages are determined to be, I would imagine the property values for the roof top buildings will drop significantly.

I'm sure the rooftop owners are a little more worried about future value than the next 3 years. I'm sure the Cubs would happily compensate them for whatever would cover the length of the contract, but the owners are worried about the next 30-50 years. I believe the article I read is they will challenge the zoning permits and landmark statuses to see if they can halt it indefinitely.

With the amount of money the Cubs are planning to spend, an indefinite halt seems unlikely. IMO the roof top owners are over playing their hand, but there are a lot of unknowns.

This was in response to my comment, and it misses the point I was trying to make. My point is that Cubs' ownership is being extremely short-sighted in regards to what makes their investment special and unique. I know a lot of posters on here don't give a shit about Wrigley or the neighborhood, but IMO those are what makes the Cubs a more beloved franchise than the White Sox (or Reds or Astros or whoever).

People come from all over the world to visit historic Wrigley Field. It's the last place on the face of the earth where you can watch professional sports without being bombarded by incessant advertising, laser light shows, and Katy Perry songs. By adding the signs, jumbotron, mascot, Luna jingle, and replacing the organist with the crappy song du jour, Wrigley loses almost all of its charm. In the face of rampant commercialization and homogenization, why don't the Ricketts see their value lies in being different?

And frankly, I can't believe so many people are siding with the greedy billionaire over the small business owners who have a legally binding contract in place. If the Ricketts family over-leveraged themselves and need a quick infusion of cash, why should we all be so ready to let them have it no matter the cost? I always wanted to be able to take my son to a Cubs game and have him experience baseball the way it used to be. Now, I'll just have to tell him about it.

I completely sympathize with your sentiments about Wrigley, but, sadly, it's likely that those charmed days are over. Today's youth moves at about a hundred miles a minute. They don't mind being bombarded by all the cacophony that modern day stadiums bring, but the real problem is that you are also longing for, by extension, the days when free agents who've never pitched a game of major league baseball didn't cost $150 million. If you really want Wrigley to stay the same, are you also okay with the Cubs having a losing team until 2019, when the next opportunity for a big TV contract comes up? The best case scenario for the Cubs if they can't bring in more revenue is to be the Oakland A's, constantly outsmarting everyone else. I don't think I'd bet the ranch on that, and I doubt Theo would stay long enough to try to see that through.

Today's game is different than it used to be.

And, frankly, the charm of watching 96 loss teams play in a decaying, if pretty, ballpark, has sort of faded away for me.

I don't accept the premise that Jumbotron = World Series, or even Jumbotron = Higher Payroll. Cubs' ticket prices are astronomically high, and attendance is almost always very high (last couple horrible years excepted). My argument is that the reason the Cubs have a huge national following and high attendance despite losing records is because of the uniqueness of Wrigley Field.

If you moved the Cubs to Rosemont or wherever, I believe attendance would suffer dramatically, if not right away then definitely in the long term. I feel the same way about the "death by a thousand cuts" we've been put through with Wrigley over the last decade or so. It started with adding $250 seats behind home plate, then came extra ads along the upper decks, then the Bud Light (barf) Bleachers, then Toyota and Under Armour/Target, then Luna, then Nickelback between batters, and now the Jumbotron and added advertising.

Go watch a replay of Kerry Wood's 20K game. You won't see any of that nonsense. A lot of my argument is about nostalgia and wishing things would stay the same, but I really truly believe the Cubs' brand has an enormous amount of equity built into the historic charm of Wrigley Field, yet they seem so intent on eroding it in the name of a quick buck.

When Wrigley Field is nothing more than an old, crappy version of US Cellular Field and the Cubs are still a losing team, how are they going to attract new fans? Once word gets out that Wrigley isn't anything special except for the ivy on the wall, how many tourists are going to make it a summer destination? I think in the very near future, the Cubs are going to need the neighborhood even more than the neighborhood needs the Cubs because that's the only special thing going for them anymore.

/TL:DR Ricketts is cutting off his nose to spite his face.

if/when (probably when) the cubs leave WGN that will not help the national exposure, either...especially to future generations.

WGN is the main reason i'm a cubs fan...along with a lot of cubs/cubs-related things that came with the exposure of so many games.

Absolutely. This probably isn't as important now in the era of ESPN and cable packages with 5000 channels, but WGN was a huge reason for the Cubs' growth nationally.

I think the day games also played a huge role in developing younger, lifelong fans. I became a Cubs fan when I moved to IL as a 7 year old in the summer of '87 and didn't know anybody in town. My friends that summer were Harry Caray, Ryne Sandberg, and Andre Dawson. I could probably count on one hand the number of 7 year olds who give a crap about the Cubs these days.

Edited - double post

capacity is one problem with Wrigley, only so much you can add, although according to wikipedia it's up to 41K+, which still puts it at the bottom 1/3 of the league. But I think luxury boxes and corporate events is where teams make the big bucks on admissions these days and Wrigley has less of that than most places as far as I understand it.

Fenway seems to still be a great place to watch a game despite the renovations, that seems to be the plan for Wrigley and it certainly hasn't hurt their fan base. In the end, winning trumps all and if TheJedi build their consistent winner, the people will come.

Fenway and the entire pink hat brigade can take a leap into Boston Harbor. The Red Sox didn't even break 3MM in attendance until 2008, 4 years after their World Series win. If there's a more bandwagon town than Boston I've yet to find it. Maybe it's the overexposure on ESPN, but I wish that city nothing but the worst of sports luck.

Seeing Fenway on TV, it doesn't really look like that great of a place. It looks like what would happen if Disneyland made a Fenway ride and sold every square inch to sponsors. And "Sweet Caroline" is the worst "tradition" in all of sports. I'd rather listen to Ozzy Osbourne as guest conductor forever than hear Neil Diamond one more time. OK, maybe that's too far...

I almost wish you were right but I just totally disagree with you on this. Cozy pure Wrigley Field was a wasteland regarding attendance for the better part of the decade prior to the 1984 team. Attendance was a disaster. Sure I enjoyed going to the games then in the way I enjoy seeing a great movie alone in the theater, but the environment sure as hell doesn't sell itself. It was the 1984 Cubs winning and with charisma - that's the wave we have ridden until recently.

Since that time the neighborhood has been revitalized and now the environment does sell itself. 2,500,000 tickets were sold last year at sky high high prices despite a last place team. Of course there have been down stretches, but that doesn't lessen the brand equity the Cubs have built, largely due to their unique ballpark.

So lovable losers for you. Got it. Next.

The pitching isn't as good, but I think one could make a reasonable comp between the projected 2014-16 Cubs and the 1966-68 Kansas City/Oakland A's position players.  

The A's were a hapless last-place team for several years until Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday, Sal Bando, and Joe Rudi arrived and established themselves as big leaguers (with Bert Campaneris the A's version of Starlin Castro, a young player already in place with the big league club just waiting for the arrival of the "Big Four"), with the likes of Darrell Evans, George Hendrick, and Manny Trillo further down the pipeline to be used as trade bait once the A's became serious contenders 1969-70 and a perennial playoff team 1971-75. 

As it turned out, the A's eventually traded one of their "core guys" for an established MLB starting pitcher (Rick Monday to the Cubs for Ken Holtzman), but they still had a formidable lineup without Monday. The Cubs might ultimately have to do something similar with one of their projected Big Four, too, if the need for pitching remains an issue. 

If the 1960's is too long ago to be relevant, the Atlanta Braves developed Chipper Jones, Javy Lopez, and Ryan Klesko at the same time about 20 years ago (plus Vinny Castilla, Melvin Nieves, Tony Tarrasco, and Mike Kelly, too), and Chipper, Lopez, and Klesko formed the core of the really good Braves teams of the 1990's. The 90's Braves had outstanding starting pitching, though.  

So if the Cubs can collect (draft/sign/develop and/or acquire via free-agency or trade) a few decent arms (starters & relievers) to go along with the position player prospects they already have in the system, they could evolve into a 2017-23 version of the 1969-75 A's or the more-recent Atlanta Braves. 

Unfortunately 2014-15 could be bleak, but with maybe some light beginning to shine through (.500?) in 2016...  

 

"with Bert Campaneris the A's version of Starlin Castro"

so Castro is really 35 years old?
:-)

JACOS: Ha ha! Very good. 

While I'm sure there will always be some dispute about the true age of certain Latin American players, Bert Campaneris made his MLB debut at age 22 and played until he was 41, so I don't think he is one of the ones whose age would be questioned. 

Anyway, of course my point was that Campaneris was (supposedly) 24 in 1966, 25 in '67, and 26 in '68, while Starlin Castro will (supposedly) be 24 in 2014, 25 in 2015, and 26 in 2016, and Campaneris already had about three years of MLB experience when the A's "Big Four" arrived (very similar to Castro).

BTW, I mentioned  the 1966-68 A's and the Atlanta Braves of 20 years ago in response to the Jim Callis tweet posted on the TCR left sidebar yesterday, where Callis wondered about the last time an MLB club had four premier position player prospects developing at the same time like the Cubs have now with Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler.   

I neglected to mention the San Francisco Giants of about 40 years ago, when Dave Kingman, George Foster, Gary Matthews Sr, Garry Maddux, Steve Ontiveros, Ed Goodson, and Chris Speier all came up at about the same time, and the L. A. Dodgers of the same period, when Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bobby Valentine, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Tom Paciorek, Steve Yeager, Joe Ferguson, and Von Joshua all arrived together. (Now that is what I call player development!). 

 

 

Thanks for the comps, AZ. Between that and Kaplan's callis tweets about the Cubs prospects, it's something to look forward to.

Phil- great as always.

I was kid in 70's and it seem there were jokes on Campaneris' age.

Great write up, holy cow that Dodger team they built in 70's at all those positions, I remember that.

How does anything I've written imply I'm cool with the Cubs losing? New TV deal plus massive stadium revenues from attendance and high ticket prices should be enough money to field a winning team. The revenue from a Jumbotron is pocket change.

They won't get massive revenues from TV until 2019, when the Comcast deal runs out. Right now, I'm not seeing any evidence of teams knocking down the door to replace WGN. Also, I like Jumbotrons.

I have to agree with you that Rosemont isn't a great option, but there must be some sandbar on the lake front they could build on. AT&T Park in SF is a great park. That would be pretty awesome, with that skyline, especially if they could get the wind angles to favor Bryant, Baez, Soler, and Rizzo.

I became a fan during the Brickhouse era, and I have struggled with the whole Wrigley nostalgia thing myself, but I honestly feel that Wrigley has become a burden. The neighbors are dicks, the team's sleep schedule is all messed up and I think that it affects their play on the field so they've lost their home field advantage. All in all, I think Wrigley is just done. Spend some of that $500 million in renovation money greasing the palms of some lake shore aldermen and just build Wrigley LakeFront, and it will be a go to place.

@ Doug Dascenzo--you have summarized my exact feelings. Grew up in the Midwest watching Cubs games during summer break on WGN, played 2nd base in little league and Ryno was my favorite player of all time. Went to several Cubs games as a kid on family vacation. Once I was in my 20's, my buddies and I would make the trip from Iowa City to Wrigley a couple times a summer. In my 30's I moved to Texas. Went back to Wrigley last summer for the first time since 2006 and it was nothing like I remembered. Guess I experienced all the "death by a thousand cuts" at once. Instead of feeling like a portal to the past, a chance to escape the constant barrage of modern marketing, it just felt like a half-assed attempt to be modern. Sort of like a minor league ball game experience created by a bad marketing director.

I would like to add, in the past 5 years I have been to multiple Rangers, Astros and Red Sox games (girlfriend is from Boston and family are die hard Sox fans) and if you are going to go modern use the Texas Rangers as an example. They make great use of their jumbo tron, even having a message encouraging people in a humorous manner to not engage in the ridiculous wave. Plus showing the video of Nolan beating Robin Ventura is always entertaining and fires up the crowd. They also show other clips of memorable Rangers moments which helps builds a tradition (something the Rangers need). Unlike the overly bombastic ADHD Astros experience, the Rangers have found a way to provide the modern conveniences in a way that enhances the game and the overall ballpark experience. At Red Sox games the entire stadium is doing the wave in the 6th inning of a 2-2 ballgame and getting pumped up to sing Sweet Caroline. I roll my eyes every time I hear someone talk about how "wicked hawd core" Red Sox fans are.

Thank God someone agrees with me.

One last thing - my argument was never that Tom Ricketts shouldn't make money. My argument is that the Cubs are worth more money precisely because they're the only team that doesn't do all the advertising and modern stuff that's annoying to many fans. It's pretty much the only thing that makes them unique. I lived within shouting distance of Wrigley for 10 years, and hearing the organ and crowd through my open window are really happy memories for me. Hearing that goddawful Luna jingle over and over again made me feel like Kramer in the Kenny Rogers Roasters episode.

I have to agree on the organ thing. Keep the organ, ditch the recorded music. Maybe organs and jumbotrons aren't compatible, though.

What's better than roses on a piano?

Mr. Marbles?!??!

That Jumbotron's gonna to screw up a lot of rods and cones.

been rather odd how quick folks have jumped on the Cubs side on this, as if corporate entities aren't known for being dubious or anything.

But I think most people around here care about the Cubs winning, the rest be damned.

fuckin a rught

Step 1: Add Jumbotron
Step 2: ?????
Step 3: World Series?

Isn't it pretty clear that Ricketts' credit cards are maxed out and he would sell Harry Caray's bones as relics if he could? This isn't about putting money back into the team - it's a cash grab.

I believe all sports franchises should be public trusts. There'd be no risk of the team skipping town and profits would be poured back into the team. The job of an owner should primarily be to act as a good steward for the franchise. For close to a hundred years, Wrigley has been a haven for baseball purists, and over the last few years ownership is simply erasing that as though no other owner ever had the idea that they could wring more money out of the stadium. Did the other owners really never consider they could make more money by selling advertising, or did they simply respect the culture and tradition of Wrigley Field?

I don't think it's clear at all. I think the strategy has been sound and they've been putting lots of money in the right places. Your version of reality is extremely skewed. Especially if you became a fan in the late 80's and are talking about purity in the era after the lights were installed and the rooftops got stands and sponsors. Like, man, life was so simple and perfect when we lived off the land, except for the plague and incest, reduced lifespans, and the fact that urban areas like Chicago were built on brutal work practices. But whatever. The most insulting thing is responding to Rob's post as if people here are so stupid we are trying to draw a line from a jumbotron to a World Series. Are you kidding me? I think most people think the line to the WS begins with the foundation of a strong minor league organization and extends to a lot of other factors which include a partial nod to updating the ballpark so the modern fan can enjoy a few perks, while trying to add a few bucks, and maybe even have a structure that treats the players like they were born in the 20th century. Nobody I know wants Wrigley to turn into Disney Land but I'm not sure that's what's being proprosed here.

You're right, I guess I'm not qualified to be a real Cubs fan because I wasn't born in the 60's. I just don't want Wrigley to turn into Miller Park. That place is absolutely miserable to watch a game unless you have ADHD. Maybe I'm overreacting, but it feels like it's going in that direction.

I believe all sports franchises should be public trusts.

Good luck with that...

As for the rest, I would prefer for Wrigley to stay advertising free, but it's not my $900M investment. You can always choose not to give them your money if it's that upsetting to you.

 

Giving up something I enjoy immensely isn't really a great option. Unfortunately, if it continues down this path my enjoyment will be significantly diminished and I won't go to many games. That's the worst possible outcome, but also the likeliest.

And as for the public trust idea, I know it's not possible. It works really well for the Packers though.

Are the Ricketts not to make money?

Take a look back at Ebbets Field and Crosley Field, hell any field today and they have every inch of space covered in advertising.

Sure they can make money, I just wish they'd be more creative about it than gratuitous advertising. Also, IMO sports teams are like yachts. If you can't afford to buy ten, you shouldn't own one. The Ricketts are over-leveraged and they're making short-sighted decisions because they need the money now.

The Yankees and Chicago Cubs were believed to have outbid the Dodgers by "a decent amount," according to one person familiar with the Tanaka sweepstakes. Another said the Dodgers were "not anywhere close."

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79001991/

This might cheer you up on losing out on Tanaka-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2UCuh3Hb8E&feature...

Thank you, jacos. That felt good.

Rob, your thoughts sum up my feelings exactly. I mentioned in a previous comment that a 96-loss team doesn't stand pat. And I totally get the undesirability of most of the free agents out there, but Theo was brought in to be a savior, so expectations are appropriately high for a bit of creativity. So far, the creativity has been "let's hope the Yankees don't outbid us for Tanaka." Ooops.

There is a direct correlation to the Cubs' revenues here, I hope they realize. I really can't imagine them packing in Wrigley for BarneyBall. And I'm not going to bother renewing my MLB.TV subscription until they start moving forward in a quantifiable way that goes beyond the talk of prospects. Lots of teams have prospects. The Cubs are hardly alone there.

"So far, the creativity has been "let's hope the Yankees don't outbid us for Tanaka"

No credit for building a desolate farm system into # 2 farm system in 3 years?
No credit for building better interational scouting system when the older one was putrid at best.
No credit for having a plan rather then throwing money at Marlon Byrd type players and hoping for the best?

You're one tough customer, Old and Blue. :-)

not to speak for O&B, but my issue is just with this offseason and trust me I get it and I'm a huge believer in TheJedi. And it's not that they're doing anything that I particularly disagree with this offseason, it's just fucking boring.

I agree its boring, but I do have high hopes for the kiddie brigade to come up and second half and watching that develop.

I'll give them credit for the prospects after a few of them actually contribute at the MLB level. Overall, I'm encouraged by their fixing the overall infrastructure. It was a mess, no doubt, and they seem to be on track to fixing it.

But I'm not thrilled with the idea of keeping the roster essentially the same in the wake of 96 losses, so I was hoping, as Rob said in his post, for something a bit more creative than what we've seen.

And, really? There isn't one major league second baseman out there that is available and can play better than Darwin Barney?

I don't even know who's in the outfield. I have to look that up. Nate Something, that kid from the Dominican with a possible Angel Pagan upside, and ... it's just awful.

I understand the overall plan, but they should still be fielding a better team than this while we watch the Cardinals roll over the division for another year.

Barney wont' be around long, Baez will be up playing by June whenever like they did to Rizzo.

The Cardinals? You know how they roll over the division? The players they developed!!!!

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be crabby at you Old and Blue, but I'm listening to the radio here in Chicago and that's all everyone is complaing about.

I guess they could sign Michael Young to play second.

it'll be nice when one of these players they're developing actually contributes something other than hope and prospect rankings. the closest guy so far and all the kids up now except for rizzo are part of the old regime.

the true litmus test of this front office will come when they're not tanking seasons to get top-10 draft picks, not trading the team off mid-season for prospects, and actually have to make high draft picks work (like the cardinals do).

this is a good point...but how quickly do draft picks get to the majors in baseball? They've had 2 drafts right?
It will be a nice change of pace when trades are being made to improve the team, not pick up prospects.

you should never expect anything significant from a prospect for at least 5-6 years from when they are drafted (maybe 4 if out of college), longer for the 16 year olds out of the Dominican and such.

I think Baez will be roy in 2015, possible MVP.

/drinking it by the gallon!

Eloy Jimenez? Bring him up!!

That's generally true, but sometimes the real studs go flying through a lot quicker. Bryce Harper, Burt Hooton, Mark Prior come to mind. Bll Madlock also came up quickly but I don't think it was as fast as those guys. So it's not beyond the realm of possibility for Baez and/or Bryant to get here quickly if they are completely dominating their leagues.

They coulda had Brian Roberts. Ducks.

As for the Cards, yes, that's how they do it. Time will tell if that's gonna work for the Cubs. Like I said, I like the approach, but I color my comments with years of observing Cubbery. The Cardinals succeed because they have great scouting and player development. They're obviously not relying on great top 5 draft picks. These kids they come up with come from all levels of their system. It's a testament to their scouting and development and whether or not Theo has built that kind of system can only be proven over time. I hope he has or is close, but Cubbery says it's about a 50/50 chance at best that he has.

You don't need to apologize. It's not like you're a pain in the ass or anything. I'm not in much disagreement with you here, anyway.

Regarding the rooftop owners, I don't know much about the details either, but I do think the rooftop owners are freeloaders, and always have been. I remember when they just had a few folding chairs up there, then some greedy SOBs decided to freeload off MLB by putting in bleachers (bleachers!) on top of their roofs, and somehow managed to cut a deal to actually get it "legal". I like Pepitone's post. Just ditch the contract, and pay the restitution that results from it.

Not Surprised.

In. The. Least.

Obviously the plateaus for Tanaka's decision could have come to, "all bids being equal", then location/comfort factor of the City/Wife's opportunities, chance at a ring.

Item 1 - the Cubs got blown away with an offer.

The Yankees are the Yankees, and the brand name in Japan is bigger than all MLB teams. They have more Playoff appearances in their history than the Cubs had wins last year. Chicago, while a big deal in the midwest, has terrible weather, and a Cubs team that will be mired in/near the cellar three straight years. New York also has a solid features production business going on, large Japanese population, and...well, is New York. If I were Tanaka I would have wanted to go there too.

I just thought it was a long, long, shot. The fact is there is no #1 starter in the entire system and they will need one to get to the next level when all the "kids" are finally clicking together. What FA fits this bill in 2015?

Rumor is the Tanaka gets "out clause" after year four with Yanks. Cubs would not give it.

well if that's the case, they weren't trying then because it was obvious he was going to demand it and someone was going to give it to him.

Still, less money, and the Yankees. Cubs still would've lost this one.

#2 system in baseball according to BP

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22641

  1. Javier Baez
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. Albert Almora
  4. Jorge Soler
  5. C.J. Edwards
  6. Arismendy Alcantara
  7. Pierce Johnson
  8. Dan "Hurry up with the NL DH" Vogelbach
  9. Christian Villanueva
  10. Jeimar Candelario

No Aroldys is a bit of a surprise...

premium article but if you click on the comments, Jason Parks answers a lot of questions

He's no Matt Murton...

The Japanese Softbank Hawks released Bryan LaHair.

The 31-year-old former big-leaguer is now a free agent and could elect to return stateside. LaHair was an MLB All-Star only two years ago, slashing .259/.334/.450 in 2012 while manning first base for the Cubs. Of course, he rode a blazing hot first half onto the roster and fell apart after the All-Star break, causing the Cubs to give up on him last winter. He'll have to settle for a minor league pact.

Ball Four ends up signing with the Rays

Brewers sign Garza for 4/52, that's a surprise (same price as Edwin Jackson).

Looking forward to more twitter fights with Cubs fans.

His medicals must look like shit.

Edwin signed at age 29, Garza at age 30

Their last 4 years of WAR heading into contract

Edwin starting from 2009: 4.2, 2.1 2.9, 2 (average 2.8 bWAR and 203 IP per season)

Garza starting from 2010: 1.7, 2.8, 1.2, 1.4 (average 1.8 bWAR and 165 IP per season)

Interesting to look at the WAR Rob!
It looks like Garza was still better in K/9, H/9, BB/9, K/BB, WHIP...
I dunno...Jackson geting to pitch for some pretty good teams 2009-2012 probably didn't hurt any...except the terrible Diamondbacks team.

let's see...

Garza vs Edwin last 4 years before getting contracts

ERA+: 107 vs 106

WHIP: 1.238 vs 1.329

H/9: 8.4 vs 9.0

HR/9: 1.0 vs 1.0

BB/9: 2.7 vs 3.0

K/9: 7.9 vs 7.3

SO/BB: 2.90 vs 2.46

Fielding their position: uh, nevermind

Peripherals show a Garza advantage for sure...Not that it was an either/or thing for the Cubs and the point of the comp for me was to show that Jackson deal was a good deal.  Garza has more upside but Jackson more durable and a year younger. Pretty much the same results at the end.

2013 was just a disaster for Jackson, I think there should be little doubt he'll bounce back.

Lol... Fielding Jackson > Garza< Anyone
Agree on Jackson in 2014.... I'd settle for a more Jackson-esque
12-10, 3.90, 200IP

There's a lot of money flying around this offseason. I thought he'd get a few more million per season.

medicals (shoulder and elbow) scared off a lot of teams. LAA (amongst others) probably would have already signed him if it wasn't the case.

that said, he's maintained his stuff coming back from every injury instance so far. if he stays healthy he's looking to be a hell of a good deal.

Maddux going in with no logo on his plaque, says he wants to honor both fan bases. Classy move...

also weak by Hall of Fame to allow it.

He was a good player as a Cub, he was one of the top 5 pitchers of all-time as a Brave.

Classy indeed. He deserves something special, like a double headed plaque so he can wear both caps.

Yeah, Greg Maddux had much more value and far more accolades with the Braves than the Cubs: WAR of 66, 3 Cy Youngs, 6 All-Star games, and 10 gold gloves vs. 33 WAR, 1 CY, 3 AS, 6 GG.

But, 11 years and 363 games with the Braves, 10 years and 302 games with the Cubs, which is more of a dual-team career than most hall of famers. Thinking about Hall of Fame elections for the past 30-ish years, the vast majority were players who played most of their career with one team. Or they were players who played for multiple teams but played a clear majority with one of them. Rickey Henderson, for example, only played about half of his games with the A's, but the other half were split between 8 teams. Same with Gaylord Perry and the Giants.

There have only been a few players with careers that were split and where the cap choice was at all in question:

- Carlton Fisk played 13 seasons with the White Sox and only 11 with the Red Sox, and went in with a Red Sox cap.

- Bruce Sutter played 5 seasons with the Cubs and only 4 with the Cardinals, and went in with a Cardinals cap.

- Dave Winfield played 9 seasons with the Yankees and only 8 with the Padres, and went in with a Padres cap.

- Jim Bunning played 9 years and 304 games with the Tigers, and 6 years and 226 games with the Phillies. His WAR per team was virtually equally (29 and 31). Two of those Phillies years were at the end of his career, but the 4 there in his prime were 4 excellent seasons. 30.2 WAR of his career 60.3 WAR came in those 4 seasons alone. He went in with a Phillies' cap.

- And Nolan Ryan has a Ranger's cap, despite playing just 5 season with them and more seasons (during the prime of his career) with the Astros (9 years) and Angels (8 years).

Catfish Hunter I believe, is the only other recent inductee with no logo on their plaque. Just a very inconsistent method by the Hall.

Ervin Santana was allegedly seeking 4/60 about a week ago...

how low can you go?

Hoyer on Tanaka: We were aggressive, we felt given where we were, it was the right thing to do with a 25 year old pitcher.


Hoyer: For us, an opt out clause would have been a tough thing to give. Never got to the point if it would have been a deal breaker

Hoyer tells the still need pitching, will still be active on the free agent market, exploring over next couple weeks.

can't find the original source, but comes from Cubs Den article, presume it's legit...other than misspelling "Too" to begin with.

Too add injury to insult, Buster Olney went on air with info that the Ricketts ownership was blindsided and overwhelmed by the cost and obstacles of running the franchise.

Legit that Olney said this or legit that that the Ricketts were "blindsided and overwhelmed"? The latter would suggest that the accountants and lawyers they had advising them were absolutely terrible.

that Olney said it or how it was actually said, some things can be lost in translation.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Ricketts thought they'd ride in on a white horse and everyone would defer to their business interests in the name of a World Series title. They seem that naive at times.

Not so sure about the financial stuff, that seems a little far-fetched.

Statement from Brewers: "Despite media reports, negotiations between the Brewers and Matt Garza are ongoing, but there is no deal yet."

"Is that duct tape I see on that X-ray?"

MLB.com putting out their top 100 prospects with a fancy countdown show

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlbcom-unveils-its-top-100-prospects?ymd...

#7 Javier Baez, #9 Kris Bryant, #18 Albert Almora, #42 C. J. Edwards, #49 Jorge Soler, #89 Arismeny Alcantara, #100 Pierce Johnson

Bryant ahead of Gray and Appel btw, not that it means much now, but amusing to see.

Callis thinks Baez, Castro, Alcantara, Rizzo infield with Bryant moving to outfield (Bryant, Almora, Soler)

be kind of awesome if it happened and they were average to great, albeit unrealistic

And a lineup that seems obvious including the order:
Alcantara
Almora
Baez
Rizzo
Bryant
Soler
Castro
Castillo

Lou says we need to get more left handed.

One distinct advantage of that much home grown talent is that it makes rooting for them a little easier than if you're the Yankees and just buying everyone. I found myself not cursing Castro so much last year as rooting for him to turn it around. "Come on, kid!!" instead of "you barf bag!".

"The Chicago Cubs and pitcher Travis Wood avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal Friday. The contract is worth $3.9 million, a source told ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers."

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/10344029...

Per mlbtr...

Cuban catcher Yenier Bello has been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and is now free to sign with a Major League club, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

The 28-year-old Bello was cleared to sign by Major League Baseball back on Oct. 1 and has been scouted by as many as 15-20 Major League teams. Sanchez lists the Dodgers, Cubs and Blue Jays as teams that have been connected to Bello, who is said to offer some pop from behind the dish. He batted .274 with 13 homers in Cuba's Serie Nacional in 2011 -- a league in which the regular season is just 90 games long.

28 yr old catcher with some power. Minimal catching depth in the system. Hmmm.

back to that MLB Top 100 and I haven't double checked the work here, but someone on twitter was saying that between Theo and Jed's current and past regimes, (and their scouts, etc, etc) they were responsible for 16 of the top 100 (I think it was 8 Red Sox, 5 Cubs, 3 Padres).

Not bad, not bad at all

Credit toJedstein and Jason MacLeod, not necessarily in that order.

we moved servers over the weekend, should be up and running now. Let me know if you have issues.

BP Top 101

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22670

#4 Baez, #17 Bryant, #25 Almora, #45 Soler, #81 Edwards, #83 Alcantara, #91 P. Johnson

Cubs getting tough
http://t.co/LWoWeNfwt8

It seems to me that all we are really talking about is large of a check (if any) the Cubs will need to write to the roof top owners. It seems unlikely that injuntive relief will be granted, and what better way to see how much damage is none to the roof top's business than to let the Cubs make the changes they want.

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/exclusive-look-inside-cubs-rooftop-contract

pretty thorough look at actual contract between Cubs and rooftops, deal goes through end of 2023

"From the Cubs perspective, they believe that they have lived up to the contract and that the written agreement says that with governmental approval, any expansion of Wrigley Field shall NOT be a violation of this agreement. The Cubs also believe the eight-year period for returning royalties has expired, which means there is no avenue for damages. The Rooftops would proceed at their own risk, so to speak. The Cubs also have been careful to phrase everything that they have done to the park over the past several years as an expansion rather than as a renovation or remodeling of the park and the surrounding area.

Apparently it's written in there that it has to go to an arbitration panel and not a lawsuit

I'm wondering how Kaplan got to his "Wow" moment the other day.

David Kaplan‏@thekapman Jan 24
I just reviewed the entire rooftop contract. It was sent to me and after reading all I can say is Wow.

David Kaplan‏@thekapman Jan 24
The wow is because it looks pretty good for the rooftops.

The City Council's wording is "Specifically, but without limitation, Applicant shall have the right to expand the Wrigley Field bleachers to install (i) a new video board in left field, which may include an LED sign, a neon illuminated sign above it and two light towers to assist in outfield lighting; and (ii) a neon sign in right field". The whole thing seems to be centered around the word "expansion".

I'm sorry, but anybody who thinks they can sustain a long term business by putting bleachers on the roof a building next to an outdoor stadium and charging for people to sit up there doesn't really deserve any sympathy, because that's a stupid business plan. I look forward to the day when all I see sitting on those things are pigeons.

In the long run, it seems more likely that the Cubs will simply buy the buildings (which is what they should have done years ago), and if they don't agree their views will be blocked until they do.

I hope you're right and they demolish them for high-rise parking garages.

Hopefully Illinois will legalize weed soon and they can turn them into pot emporiums.

Hopefully the federal government legalizes it and you can just purchase it at Walgreens.

probably cause he's not a lawyer and at first glance some of the wording would favor the rooftops. As noted by others, it's whether all the signage and jumbotron are considered government approved expansion or is that interpreted as just seating and square footage expansion.

Or Maybe he just skimmed over that last sentence in clause 6.6 :)

Arbitration clauses are fairly typical in commercial contracts for a wide variety of reasons. Typically you see each side select an arbitrator and then those two arbitrators mutually agree on a 3rd one. Back when I litigated I had a few bigger arbitration cases (not the kind they force you to in Cook County Municipal Court) and they all came back with a 2-1 decision with each arbitrator ruling on behalf of the side that selected them and the 3rd arbitrator making the real decision. These tend to get resolved a little more quickly than state court litigation but the rooftops have a lot of incentives to delay this as much as possible which I imagine they will do so.

If the building permits are approved by the Chicago, do you think the roof top owners have a reasonable chance of delaying the construction?

They can try. They'd likely go for a preliminary injunction to stop the sign from being built while the arbitration is pending. Whether or not they'd have success is another matter. Without getting into a more detailed legal discussion the Cubs would seem to have a decent argument against it.

Preliminary injunction is pretty hard to get. Have to show irreparable harm that money damages would not adequately address, high likelihood of winning (and a few other requirements I'm too lazy to look up right now). It's all about money in this case.

Garza's five-year pact is worth between $50-$67 million. The 30-year-old will earn $12.5 million annually between 2014-'17, with $2 million deferred each year without interest. Garza will net $500,000 each year he reaches 30 starts and 190 innings. Garza's $13 million option in the fifth season vests if all of the following are achieved: 1.) Starts 110 games during the first four years, 2.) Is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2017 season, and, 3.) Pitches at least 115 innings in 2017. The Brewers can exercise the option for $5 million if Garza misses those plateaus, and the option drops to $1 million if he is on the disabled list for 130 days in any 183-day period. This complicated language is why it took several days for the deal to be publicly announced.

Brewers were unable to sneak in a $1M fine for every bunt he misplays.

will the cubs suk in 2014?

per Roto...

Naver Sports in Korea reports that right-hander Suk-Min Yoon is in negotiations with two major league teams and could sign with one of them soon.
The 27-year-old has received four offers but has narrowed the field to two. It's not clear which two clubs they are, but the Cubs, Twins and Red Sox have all been connected to Yoon. The right-hander could potentially be used as a back-end starter or reliever in the big leagues.

cubs key offseason pickups:

john coleman (senior lawyer)
tim barrett (senior lawyer)
jd sulivan (advertising executive)
charles goode (junior lawyer)
jose veras (relief pitcher)

And Justin Ruggiano cries himself to sleep.

i do like that trade with b.bog being expendable and rugg coming with 3 years of club control, but like a lot of additions the past few years it's good support with a missing core.

he can make #6 on the list...just beating out dan slavoski (advertising assistant)

Pitchers' protective caps approved
http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/10363291/pi...

Their use is optional.

The company says the caps are a little more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides -- near the temples -- than standard caps, and afford protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph. The soft padding, isoBlox says, is made of "plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate" and is designed to diffuse energy upon impact through a combination of dispersion and absorption techniques.

how the hell did rugg get settled for $2m in his 1st year arb?

a lot like $1.7m for valbuena last year it's high vs the market.

at least we're talking about a few 100K and not a few million, i guess.

Ernie Banks. Happy 83rd Birthday Mr. Cub

and many more!

Bring him up!!

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