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.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!