What an Incredibly Exciting ex-Cub weekend

We didn't get much in the way of Cubs news over the Thanksgiving break besides the cautionary tale that the bleacher renovations may not be ready in time for Opening Day. But we got plenty of exciting ex-Cubs news.

The A's traded former 2nd round pick of the Cubs Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Brett Lawrie, pitchers Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman and shortstop Franklin Barreto. The A's get 4 years younger between Donaldson and Lawrie, pick up 2 decent mid-range potential pitchers and potential high-end shortstop. It's classic Billy Beane selling high and re-tooling and it doesn't mean they all work out or this one will, but it's kind of what you need to do to survive on their budgets. Take chances on when guys will catch their peak (as they did with Donaldson 2-3 years ago and will now with Lawrie) and rebuild the waves of prospects, many of whom went to other teams during deadline deals. The Blue Jays of course get a player with a 6+ fWAR the last 2 seasons and only a few of those around. Donaldson did have some knee problems last year and the Toronto turf isn't going to help that at all, but at just age 29, he still has a real good shot at being a top 10 player in the AL.

The other ex-Cub rumor dealt with Jeff Samardzija. There were strong hints he was being sent to the White Sox this weekend (and the weekend isn't over yet), either for Alexei Ramirez or prospect Tim Anderson. There were also rumors he'd be going to Atlanta in a deal involving Justin Upton and/or Evan Gattis, although that one was squashed last time I looked. But with just a year before hitting free agency, undoubtedly he'll get moved as Beane and the A's certainly don't want to take the risk of getting nothing for him.

There was the Pedro Strop news....involved in pretty nasty car accident, but seems the only damage to him required a few stitches on his non-throwing arm and he should be fine for next season.



What happened to the PTBNL in the Samardzija trade? Are the Cubs waiting for the Rule 5 draft to finish before finishing the transaction?

VIDEOGRAPHER: The deadline to complete the Samardzija trade (OAK to send PTBNL or cash to Cubs) is 1/5, and the deadline to complete the Doubront trade (Cubs to send PTBNL or cash to BOS) is 1/30.

Both trades will probably be completed sometime after the Rule 5 Draft, which will be held on 12/11. 

PHIL: Should an acquired player via PTBNL be dropped prior to the deadlines, does the acquiring team still need to complete the trade or can they send the player back to their original team?

E-MAN: If (for example) the Cubs were to non-tender Felix Doubront on 12/2, the Cubs would still owe the Red Sox a PTBNL or cash. The player acquired (Doubront) could not be sent back to the Red Sox as the PTBNL in that particular trade because he was on an MLB Active List (25-man roster) during the period of time starting when the trade was filed with MLB and the PTBNL deadline. 

However, if a trade is made during the off-season, a PTBNL can be a "major league player" because the MLB Active List is only used during the MLB regular season and post-season. So for example if the Cubs were to acquire Cole Hamels from PHI during the off-season and a PTBNL is owed to the Phillies as part of the deal, Travis Wood (for example) could be the PTBNL, as long as the trade is completed prior to 2015 MLB Opening Day. Once the MLB regular season starts, a PTBNL cannot be on an MLB Active List, although a PTBNL can be on an MLB disabled list, as long as the PTBNL is not reinstated to the club's MLB Active List (25-man roster) prior to being named,  

Remember, cash (typically $50,000 for players traded from an MLB 40-man roster) can ALWAYS be substituted if the two teams involved cannot agree on a PTBNL by the deadline. And $50,000 just happens to be the exact price of a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft. It's also 2-1/2 times the cost of an MLB waiver claim (which is $20,000 for most players, or $25,000 for Rule 5 and Draft-Excluded players). So if the Cubs don't want any of the players on the A's PTBNL list that was agreed to when the Samardzija trade was made, the Cubs could just ask the A's for the cash and use it to select a player from a different organization in next week's Rule 5 Draft, or use the cash to make a couple of off-season waiver claims.

So cash is often the best choice. That's why a PTBNL often ends up being a cash payment instead of a player.

I think the reason the PTBNLs in the Samardzija and Doubront trades are being held back until after the Rule 5 Draft is probably because some or all of the players on the two PTBNL lists are Rule 5 Draft eligible, and so the clubs are waiting until after the Rule 5 Draft to complete the trades so that the PTBNL won't have to be added the acquiring club's MLB 40-man roster. Also, it's possible that if the Cubs and/or Red Sox see a player to their liking when it's their turn to select in the Rule 5 Draft, that they might just take the cash option instead of the PTBNL and use the $50K to select a player from a different organization (presuming they have a slot open on the 40-man roster to be able to make a selection).


David Robertson, the top free agent closer this winter, is said to have such a vibrant mark that he's likely to get a four-year deal despite having a draft pick attached to him by virtue of him declining the Yankees' qualifying offer.

allegedly already has a 3/39 offer


it's kinda like paying $5m a year for a manager or something crazy like that. that said, hopefully the cubs are no where near paying a 60-70 inning guy more than 10m a year...especially this one. i'm ready for the cubs to sign an impact player already. they got the money and room to sign a slew of them, but it's been made pretty clear that's not happening.

3/39* *and will cost the team a 1st round draft pick (or 2nd if protected...in other words, why would the Astros do this?) Inflation's impact wrt the Jason Schmidt signing of 12-8-06 (hopefully, Robertson will give his new team more innings than Schmidt) http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

the cubs were only jason schmidt and brian roberts away from a slew of world championships...damn missed opportunities.

"Braves president of baseball operations John Hart indicated in an interview on SiriusXM on Sunday that the team is unlikely to sign Jon Lester." cubs and rsox still likely to land him...swank.

visiting SF this week

there's always a mystery team...

When asked about what the Braves were doing this off-season regarding the Heyward trade, they needed young controllable mlb starters because they expected to lose Santana. Bravo's not in the Lester hunt essentially because of bad contracts. Q (Jim Duquette): Are you still looking at some of the high profile starting pitching out there? "We are going to examine everything that makes sense. We've always liked (Lester) for some time and were able to meet with Jon Lester in Atlanta. We were able to free up a few dollars. One of the things you guys well understand is the dynamic of some of the dollars that are not real productive for us at this stage. The money we're carrying on Dan Uggla and we're going to need to get some level of productivity from BJ Upton. It makes it difficult for us to jump into the bigger market." Hart's major quote is: "Right guy, wrong time." later on Hart said they are looking at free agent SP, "take away the big 3-4"

Jason Hammel c'mon down

Packers v. Pats I would just like to say it was interesting seeing what a professional high-quality football team looks like - for those of you who happened to catch this game on CBS today. And, how sick it makes me to know how far the Bears are from it.

Aaron Rodgers is freaking unbelievable. 38 passes, and he never put the ball in danger. I really wonder what the Bears brass are thinking on Trestman. Lovie was a defensive coach, and his defenses got the Bears to a SB and an NFC Championship game. He certainly had drawbacks as a head coach, but he usually delivered in his area of expertise. Trestman is an offensive coach, with particular expertise as a QB guru - -and the Bears' offense is a mess (one of a handful to not score 30 points in any game) and Cutler leads the NFL in turnovers. The defense and special teams are, predictably, weak (as were Lovie's offenses). The Bears are among the worst offenses in the NFL, despite talent at all the skill positions. Something is very, very wrong.

After last season I thought this offense was gonna be really good this year. I think most people who are being honest about how they saw this year play out did. Maybe not, maybe somebody else saw this coming, but anyway the league clearly has figured out Trestman. Last year everyone was saying what a wizard Aaron Kromer is, this year everyone is silent about him. It seems like Kromer designs the offense, but Trestman does the play calling. Whatever the case, you're right, Trestman didn't do what he was hired to do, and the offense has taken a serious step backwards. The thing that really sticks out about this team is that they seem so badly coached on both sides of the ball. Sloppy execution, dumb penalties, missed assignments all over the place. They're going to have a hard time replacing Trestman, though. Who wants to coach Cutler at this point in his career? The only way they can get a coach I think is to get another rookie coach or get a superstar coach and give him lots of power.

League-adjusted stats show the Bears offense to be more middle of the road than the bottom as claimed above. Being down a ton of points consistently doesn't help, nor does knowing that you have no margin of error cause your defense isn't going to ever help you out. If they can find a QB, happy if they cut Cutler, but Forte, Marshall, Bennet, Jeffery and the offensive line are a pretty solid bunch.


Fair enough -- there are some pretty crappy teams at the bottom -- Raiders, Bucs, Jets, Jags, etc. Maybe "most under-performing" offense?

Not sure who's underperforming. Cutler's numbers are up. (Obviously he should have fewer fumbles, but is that all we're talking about?) Jeffery is on pace for 1000 yards, Bennett(!) for 900+, and Marshall and Forte (just on the receiving side) for 800+. I'm not sure who else on the offense we could have expected production from, although a healthy Marquess Wilson might have added something to the mix. Before Trestman, the Bears had seven 1,000-yard receivers in 35 years, going back to the year (1978) they started playing 16 games. This includes Marshall in 2012. Before Marshall was Marty Booker in 2002. That was the Lovie Smith era plus a couple of seasons. In the 80's and early 90's--the Ditka era--the Bears had zero 1,000-yard receivers. Anyone who wants to go back to the days of defensive turnovers followed by field-goal attempts, that's fine. I'll wait here.

Not sure who's underperforming. Cutler's numbers are up. (Obviously he should have fewer fumbles, but is that all we're talking about?)

and INT's, clearly the difference was Josh McCown

the offense has definitely taken a bit of a step back from last year, but still headed in the right direction. The defense is the real disaster.

The whole offense is underperforming -- They rank 21st in yards, 20th in points, and have the 6th most turnovers (i.e they rank 26th in turnovers). Your point is the key one -- they have a lot of talented players, but the production is in the bottom half of the league in almost every meaningful category. Nobody can seem to explain why, other than Cutler's bad decisions and inaccurate throws and an utter lack of imagination on offense.

Football Outsiders has them ranked at #14 in offense before this week fwiw. Takes into account schedule, strength of opponent, # of plays and other such things...doubt it'll change much this week as Lions were their #1 ranked defense.

Ah, well -- I still think everyone expected better than "middle of the pack". How to fix it? I think they need a better O-Line -- give Forte some room to run, which then makes play action a bigger threat, which opens uo the passing game, etc. Just feels like the Bears are stuck in mediocre hell -- miss the playoffs 7 of last 8 years, but not bad enough to restock with a few good drafts.

I agree offense has been a disappointment. Forte is avergaing 4.1 Yds per carry which is his lowest since 2009. That's still a pretty good number in my opinion, 4.6 last year though. And yeah, offensive line isn't other-wordly for sure.

Still, the defense is a far bigger problem. It lacks talent, preparation, organization and any idea of what-the-fuck-to-do on any given play.

I don't want to go back to 3 and outs like the old days. What I do want is a team that doesn't play two kinds of cover defenses during the same play, offensive linemen who don't miss their assignments, receivers who know what routes they are supposed to be running. In other words, better coaching. Thanks for stopping by.

I guess the comment about the offense being near the bottom was the one above mine but I would stand by anyone who says this offense is pretty horrible. You're pointing to individual players but football is a team sport and this offense plays sloppy football up and down. Even Marshall has blown some routes. The good news is that Forte has been used so little rushing - he's been more used in the passing game - that he may have another full year in his tank. Honestly I'd shut the guy down for the rest of the year to save him for next year but I know they won't do that. Marshall has had just a bit of an off year but I love the guy. Jeffery is good, Long is good. Bennet is good. The team has the weapons. It doesn't have the coaching. Has there been a game where you haven't seen missed assignments or stupid penalties? It's hard to say how much better the offense would be with a better defense. Could be a lot. Having a defense that allows teams to march up and down the field. On. Every. Series. Cannot be an easy thing for an offense to deal with. At a bare minimum, if they don't fire Tucker and find a real defensive coach I'm not watching one game next year.

Speaking of stupid penalties (and awful use of timeouts), anyone see the Bucs game Sunday? I know there are some who lament Lovie's leaving, but after seeing what's going on in Tampa I'm thrilled he's gone.

for the record, Lovie needed to go, it just seemed like they shuffled the deck chairs and solved one problem (the offense) while creating another (Defense)

Perhaps. It seems that the aging/injuries/overrating of defensive players didn't help any either, in 2013 and 2014. I for one, am interested in seeing Vereen, Christian Jones, and a couple of other young players get some more time the last 4 games.

Nelson Cruz and Mariners agree to multi-year deal...4/57M

Cruz is 34 years old.

Some Yankees/Andrew Miller talk as well.

I'd rather overpay Lester or Shields than overpay someone like Nelson Cruz for "right-handed power," even if the overall contract is proportionally smaller. So very grateful that the Cubs' front office recognized this a few years ago and started stockpiling the bats.

the best part of this bad signing: http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2014/10/10/6957...
The Mariners had a deal in place last winter with Cruz, then a free agent, for roughly $7.5 million in 2014 with a club option of about $9 million for 2105...before ownership backed away. The primary concern, which all clubs shared, was how Cruz, then 33, would respond after being caught and suspended as part of the Biogenesis drug scandal.


it's an awful deal imo, I don't think Cruz has much left, but I've been wrong before.

That being said, I actually like the Mariners chances a lot over the next few seasons, good mix of young and vets and probably a decent move for them right now.

Pirates end up getting Sean Rodriguez, guess they think Josh Harrison will remain good.

Dodgers in "serious" pursuit of Andrew Miller, Padres shopping Yasmani Grandal

think he'd make a nice platoon with Welington.

Wouldn't mind the Cubs picking up a young catcher with enough offensive ability to take a bigger chunk of playing time at C than Baker, Whiteside, or (potentially) Raphael Lopez. Grandal and the Red Sox DFA guy could both potentially fit that bill. Wonder what it'd take to get Grandal, though.

Luis Valbuena and a minor league arm?

Although I'm guessing they're looking for something a little sexier than that.

on that note, Padres looking for bats that will help them win now according to Olney.

How about Rizzo for Cashner?

Lol. Nice O&B Cashner's 4+ ERA on the road and durability concerns have eased my suffering on that trade. :)

Grandal with a .260/.358/.443 line away from that San Diego ballpark, granted in only 385 PAs. Pretty solid hitter throughout MiLB career. Guess that deal would depend on what the Padres think of Valbuena. But I'd probably pull the trigger on that if the young pitcher could be someone further down the lists than Johnson or Underwood. Or maybe they'd like a La Stella to replace Gyorko's poor OBP production at 2B.

crappy knees (especially one of them) and can't block a ball for crap...meh. besides, he's good enough to be a starter at C/1st/DH rather than a part time catcher. he's one of those guys that the DH league will probably be in better position to over-pay for...or at least a team in need of a 1st/C type.

They gave Gyorko a pretty big extension, think they're expecting a rebound there. He may move to 3b though.

I'd peg Grandal as a platoon guy, so not too worried about his knee. He came up the prospect ranks with a good defensive reputation, hasn't translated though. Forgot he was suspended 50 games for PED's, that's probably someone Cubs will avoid I'm guessing.

expect Travis Wood to get tendered


then expect him or Wada to get traded at some point

 Catchers Welington Castillo and John Baker are among the 10 players who need to be tendered, along with pitchers Wesley Wright, Pedro Strop and Felix Doubront. Outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Chris Coughlan, as well as infielder Luis Valbuena, join Wood and Arrieta on the arbitration-eligible list as well.

@JonHeymanCBS SF tries for lester (w/ buddy tim hudson's help). cubs thought to bid 138M, sox 130M, braves less. http://cbsprt.co/1FJqLws

Thinks it'll easily go north of $150M with multiple suitors, possibly 7th year

Does anyone remember Mike Hampton?

thin air my friend...

Zito would be the cautionary tale i would use, although in both cases, both pitchers were younger than Lester. The current trend of extensions though has made free agency even more of a cash grab for those that make it there.

Lester's peripherals are a lot better than either of those two though. I imagine Cubs would be counting on 4 years of solid performance and the rest just hope and prayer. With 10/5 rights and the Cubs current crop of cheap bats, they'd be wise to load the money up front and hopefully not give out an NTC so they could possibly move him in that year 4-5 window. When the bats start getting expensive it'll give them some room to manuever.

Sabathia and Lee worked out pretty well albeit not perfectly.

Free agency sucks.



Cubs asked and received permission to talk to Dave Martinez, no compensation

"CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have offered Jon Lester a six-year, $138 million contract." 23m a year, btw.

I was told there would be no math.

it's not math, it's money...SPENDIN' MONEY!!! YEEEE-HAW! *dancing a jig in his ratty straw hat* warning: by getting happy about the cubs having the edge on signing a guy this expensive you are forever barred from being an intelligent person with viewpoints worth listening to.

Seems like a reasonable point of view. Particularly given the Cubs' surplus of TOR-type starting pitching prospects. Because, well, there's....ahhmmm....

No one at TCR bitches more about the Cubs not spending money than crunch. Now that they've made a 9-figure offer, you're quick to change your tune.

Exactly. And, what the hell, it's not my money. Well, it is if I want to go to a game in a couple years maybe but what? A buck? If they're gonna play this stupid ass free agent game, go all in, dammit.

Notice there was a "$5 million manager" comment mixed in there somewhere. Can't get enough of that one.

if i didn't like it when they gave a ton of loot to dusty or lou it's highly unlikely i'm going to be pleased about giving $5m to anyone else.

but this time it's different

obviously. i get the reasons someone might want to overspend for a guy who has a history of managing a constantly turning influx of youth, but it's still hard to get over the price tag + years. i just don't buy into the "mega-manager" thing. i was happy when the cubs didn't get girardi and i wasn't happy when the cubs signed maddon 5/25. i'd rather this loot go to players. that's something i've been about for a long time, right or wrong.

"that's something i've been about for a long time, right or wrong." You don't say.

Why do you care how much money the Cubs or any team pays their manager. Team management has consistently said it has nothing to do with player payroll. Can you prove, definitively, that it does or has? I get your points about being time to spend/trade (e.g. Lester, Hamels)but who gives a shit what they pay Maddon.

It seems pretty reasonable to assume that money not spent on a manager could be spent on players regardless what the team says.

While this is reasonable, I doubt the difference between Maddon's salary and whatever they were paying Renteria is going to cost them any player worth acquiring.

That is of course a different point, but also likely correct.

Maybe I didn't express my point properly or understand yours, but it seemed to me you were saying that money not spent on a manager could be spent on players. Which is obviously true. I was saying that I doubt it makes any real difference. If Maddon makes $5 million and Renteria made, what, $1 million (I didn't look it up), I don't think the team is not going to pursue, say, Jon Lester or anyone else good because they're now $4 million short. (Of course, this doesn't take into account they're paying both managers right now.) I also don't work in the front office, so what do I know.

I was responding to George's post: "Why do you [Crunch] care how much money the Cubs or any team pays their manager. Team management has consistently said it has nothing to do with player payroll. Can you prove, definitively, that it does or has?" It seems we both agree that money not spent on a manager could be spent on player, no matter what team management has consistently said. I also agree that money spent on Maddon is not large enough to preclude the Cubs from signing any free agents they wish too. So in the end, while I agree with Crunch that hiring a big name manager is not a great move, because I don't think baseball managers matter very much, the money spent is not really worth worrying about.

No one at TCR has a more distorted view of what they actually say versus what they actually think they're saying than crunch.

the burden's on the writer to be clear and convincing, not on the reader to be clearly convinced

i'm not changing my tune. i love the offer. that commentary i made is so opposite of what i've been going on about...and what a few others love to pile on about, that i thought it was a bit clear that dems jokes. i have a couple rants about why it's time to spend, especially with a protected 1st round pick and tons of payroll flexibility (not to mention legit need), in another recent rant that was summarily dismissed as me being an idiot who only cares that the cubs spend money...that's what that's about. that's the "set up" for that joke post.

I got it. *Purrs and waits for pat on head.*

*hands you a ratty straw hat*

i have a couple rants about why it's time to spend, especially with a protected 1st round pick and tons of payroll flexibility

so you're saying that this is the first offseason since TheJedi took over that you think it's a good idea that they max out their payroll or at the very least spend on FA's that they have the money for?

FAs, trade, whatever...yeah, i think what happened the past few seasons is pathetic. we are talking about a billionaire-owned team in the 3rd largest US market that has practically intentionally tanked games by fielding a bullshit roster. at least one of those seasons is excusable from my viewpoint, but this ownership group has been asking me to "keep the faith" while the season is over before spring training ends. ...but that's in the past. it's done. put a fork in it, etc... moving on...this offseason is what they told us to wait for. the shit they put the fans through is supposed to lead up to an offseason like this and from the looks of it, it's happening. aside from that, you've been totally shitting on my points of spending this offseason. i don't know if you want another year of forced poverty or only signing the extremely rare "good deal" multi-season FAs or what... getting to the postseason with a 200m payroll or a 70m payroll doesn't matter as far as i'm concerned.

There's only one problem with spending a lot. Free agency sucks. There. I said it.


OK, I needed that context.

I'm conflicted on this. I mean I get that the Cubs need to bring in a starting pitcher, but how often do the top pitching free agents bomb big time?

I think Rob posted some numbers not long ago. I can't remember for sure but I think about half of the bigger contracts on the list he posted panned out. I'm not conflicted. Free agency in this current decade is just bloody awful stuff. But I also feel that if the Cubs are gonna play that game they should go all in and not torture fans with half-assed attempts. They seem to be doing that with Lester. So, yeah, they may end up getting Mike Hamptoned, but maybe, instead, they have two aces for the playoffs if both Arietta and Lester have kick ass seasons. That's enough to go all the way with a team that hits like this one *might*. So, what the hell, go for it.

Agreed. 83-79, wild card, and 2 aces seems to be a pretty good recipe for a World Series these days. It's a shame the first 162 games don't mean anything anymore, but I'll take a Cubs World Series any way we can get it.

I'm not sure Theo has made any half-assed attempts. Best I recall the fallout was the Cubs made a good offer to Tanaka last year and got swamped by the Yankees lunatic offer. It seems to me that TheJedi have made it known that since both this season and next season are fairly rich in high end pitching they will make solid and appropriate offers for quality players. My thinking is that they've been vocal about not necessarily adding this offseason so they aren't seen by agents as being in "have-to" mode. I do think TheJedi will think they've failed if they don't get a #1 by the start of 2016. They're not going to overpay crazy this offseason, but they might next. I think if they make an eye-opening offer this year it will be because it is someone they really, really, really want. As I've said before, I think I'm clued in to what they want in hitters/position players (control the strike zone, makeup), I don't know what they value so highly in pitchers. If they make a nutso offer and get one of Lester/Scherzer/Shields, they will make some comment about why they went so high and then I'll know. Or at least I'll think I know.

Alderman Sticky Buns one of five alderman to vote against minimum wage raise in Chicago. Passes 44-5 Way to think about the community Tom

Why should he? He has no agenda [all bars/tavern owners that contribute to his "up the butt" campaign]. Or business interests [like the restaurant his family owns]. He is ONLY interested in the community!


Baseball America named Iowa Cubs President/General Manager Sam Bernabe as their Minor League Executive of the Year today.

non-tender deadline today...and we wait.

Medlen and Beach non-tendered by Braves...both are rehabbing from their 2nd TJ surgeries.

e.young jr non-tendered...dunno if the cubs are looking for e.boni-lite, though. wonder what the cubs could be looking for...besides pen (maybe) and injury stashes.

"wonder what the cubs could be looking for" Think Lester, Martin, La Stella: Starter, upgrade at catcher, on-base guy to hit one or two.

there's always a mystery team

Laugh @"mystery teams," surprise but 3 GMs think there is a serious new entrant on Lester. Must work with Pediatric Cancer Foundation


dodgers really could use another 10-20 slots on a team's roster space...and a new position invented for bats. 4 OF'rs and a DH in the NL coming up soon.

4th OF only permitted to hit or play D when their team is down by 2 or more runs.

or during multi-ball.

Twins sign Torii Hunter 1/10.5M

They sign Hrbek and Puckett too?

Too soon...

Jacque Jones has been killing worms in preparation for his return.

I... should I even make a joke? This is the same Torii Hunter who was basically a replacement player this year and who will turn 40 during the 2015 season, right?

If Torii Hunter had signed with the Cubs....and hit .286/.319/.446 with 17 HR and 82 RBI's...and was remotely passable in CF......it'd be a steal.

He hasn't played CF since 2010 and his numbers haven't been too great in RF lately either, granted Detroit and Anaheim are big outfields and probably look a bit better in Chicago. Offense is still quite decent though.

Correction...plays a decent RF or LF....and hits that. Thanks Rob!

j.baker non-tendered. also, the cubs are down a lefty pen arm by non-tendering w.wright. it's worth mentioning that he played for TB for a short stint before becoming a cub last season. it seems his role/job is now f.doubront's to lose unless he's starting in AAA (or even the bigs this early in the off-season)...he was tendered a contract offer.

I'm hardly in love with Wright, but the non-tender seems like an odd move.

Yeah, I thought that was an odd move too. Decently effective, cheap, left-handed, and seemed to be a bit of a veteran presence in a very young bullpen. But certainly not a huge loss.

The Chicago Cubs are heading back to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to change its plan for outfield signs in the renovated Wrigley Field in hopes of winning a federal tax credit said to be worth $75 million. In an unexpected development, the Cubs are scheduled to appear before the commission on Thursday, Dec. 4, where they will present a revised proposal that includes six outfield signs above the Wrigley Field bleachers instead of the seven the panel approved in July, according to a source familiar with the plan. http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/201412...

"in hopes of winning a federal tax credit said to be worth $75 million" there's a joe ricketts joke in here somewhere.

Joe Ricketts is the joke. Bam! Take that, really rich guy.

Atlas shrugged. I also shrugged.

It looks like they open up some views for the rooftops with this change.

I'm gonna miss John Baker. It was the right move, but he really stood out as a pretty spirited and funny guy and I appreciated his efforts.

R. Lopez can fill his shoes. Lefty swinger, on-base guy, hit pretty well in the minors, threw out some runners. Maybe not the pie-throwing goofball that Baker was, if that's what they think they need. There must be a plan B for starting catcher, though. I guess we'll see what comes out of San Diego next week.

very rare for a team to carry 2 young catchers...not that I'm against trying it though.

but as you said, maybe the vet will be the starter.

Castillo and Lopez will each turn 28 next year. Lopez obviously is inexperienced, but Castillo has over 1000PAs. I would hate to give up significant talent (money is fine) for an over-30 catcher who will be breaking down just as the Cubs get good. Alternatively, maybe the Cubs think Schwarber will be able to catch, so they're okay with going with the old guy for a couple of years with one of the 28-year-olds as the backup. After all, they're on record to be trying to win in 2015.

Nothing would prevent the Cubs from re-signing John Baker and/or Wesley Wright to a 2015 minor league contact (with an NRI to Spring Training), or to a 2015 major league contract with more than a 20% pay cut from what the player was paid in 2014 (something the club could not do if the player had been tendered). Non-tendering the players also removes the possibility that Baker or Wright could elect to file for salary arbitration. 

December 2nd is also the only day when a club can remove a player from the 40-man roster and still retain the player, because a non-tendered player is not placed on waivers when he is removed from the 40-man roster. Of course the club and the non-tendered player must have a mutual interest in the player returning to the organization the next season in order for the club to have a chance to retain the non-tendered player, which is why the club and the player will sometimes agree in advance to a contract for the next season (usually either a minor league contract for "big league money" and an NRI to Spring Training, or a major league contract with a salary more than 20% below what the player was paid the previous season) prior to the player getting non-tendered.  

Has there been any news on Baez's off season activities?

Last I heard he grew dreadlocks. I'm serious and frankly I'm kinda bummed.

We at least that is something.

I thought that was a Manram Halloween costume?

Oh god I hope so! Was I punked? (YES!! If so I'm gonna buy me a milkshake).

Trade his ass.

i thought he was gonna play winter ball. he hasn't shown up yet if he is playing winter ball...though that's not too uncommon. http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=chc

I have heard elsewhere that he is going to join a team on December 11th, and will only play a partial season to give him a chance to test his adjustments against live competition.

If you’re in Puerto Rico later this month, you could see Cubs infielder Javier Baez in a game. Baez will start playing winter league ball on Dec. 11 for Santurce, according to Cubs officials. The infielder, who turned 22 on Monday, finished the season with the Cubs, and batted .169 in 52 games with nine home runs and 95 strikeouts. He began the year at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .260 in 104 games with 23 home runs, 24 doubles, and 80 RBIs. – Carrie Muskat http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2014/12/03/123-baez...

Hey! Everybody! I just remembered that Darwin Barney will get 0 PAs for the Cubs this year and I feel wonderful. Everything is great.

 Yankees in on Lester with a late and large offer...

Whatever the opposite of "surprise, surprise" is....

Wondering if Lester's agent innocently let someone overhear this.


Yankees are pretty good at sniping in at the end of auctions, aren't they though? They're like the worst Ebay'ers.

It's good to be king.

If he goes to New York I am going to print out all the articles about his 'quality of life' and 'not just money' intentions and build a paper mâché Lester. And eat it.

Rotoworld's first 3 notes say the Dodgers have interest in 1) Lester; 2) Shields; 3) Scherzer #4 has to be... the Dodgers have an interest in collecting all mlb players including Darwin Barney http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseb...

the Dodgers have an interest in collecting all mlb players including and Darwin Barney

Markakis rumor of 4/45 offer from Braves...

a team that just traded Heyward and possibly Upton soon...

If the Cubs do have to roll into 2015 with Chris Coghlan as the primary left fielder, they could do a lot worse on a platoon than Kyle Blanks. For example: Junior Lake.

I like Blanks as a good short side platoon, but I like Ruggiano too. Not sure if Blanks gives you much on defense, probably a better fit for an AL team as a DH platoon. I guess Gomes is a guy they're looking at.

a lot is riding on alcantara in CF...but i love ruggs as a backup there...though i wouldn't mind (or be surprised) to see ruggs playing a lot of LF and sweeney/lake being the main CF backups. it would be nice to see something more stable in LF, but some of the cubs youth (especially the excess IF'rs) might make filling out LF kinda moot rather soon.

I personally think Alcantara would be exciting at 2B/SS for most teams. I am HIGHLY skeptical of him as a center fielder though. I don't think he is a terribly good OF defender, his arm is a disaster (wrong angle - epically so), and his surprising pop at the plate (for a 2B/SS) isn't quite as novel in OF.

Not in the OF per se, but CF power is still pretty rare. Just as a rough look, Alcantara had 10 HR in 278 ABs. That ranks him 11th among CFers in the majors last year: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/positi... And everyone ahead (except Rasmus) had 200-300 more ABs. So lots of assumptions here, but let's say he hits 20 in a full season and plays decent CF, then he'd be one of the top 5-6 CFers with power--Trout, Jones, McCutchen, Gomez, Azuna. If Alcantara adjusts, then he would be a nice Drew Stubbs (in one of his good years) type player. 15-20 HR, 20ish SBs, BA in the 265-280 range, OPS in the high 700s. BUT, if he doesn't adjust, then we essentially have BJ Upton. Here were their numbers last year: Upton: 208/287/333 (620 OPS) with 173 SO in 519 ABs Alcantara: 205/254/367 (621 OPS) with 93 SO in 278 ABs Given his minor league track record and his young age, I am confident that Alcantara will adjust, and I think we will be happy enough with him in CF if he stays here, and I think we will be happy that they brought him up last year when it didn't matter and let him start the adjustment process then.

I think Alcantara is their most underrated prospect. He hit twenty HRs last year at age 22, not ten. Ten were at Iowa. He also hit doubles (36) and triples (13). His 69 XBHs last season were just nine fewer than the fabulous Kris Bryant, who was the same age one level down (AA/AAA versus AAA/Majors). I don't recall his throws from the OF but he was considered a strong-armed SS. It's probably just a different throw that takes practice. (Soriano threw sidearm and still got OF assists.)

I recall him butchering a lot of easy flyballs myself :)

he was rushed into the OF service, hopefully he's working on it dilligently this offseason, certainly has the speed.

Cubs interested in C David Ross (Lester's favorite) and signed INF Jonathan Herrera to a minor league deal.

Marc Topkin @TBTimes_Rays Hearing former #Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is joining #Cubs staff

Levine's on top of it... Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine · 1m 1 minute ago Source confirms Cubs adding Davey Lopes as bench coach . First reported @JonHeymanCBS . Oops.

well I'm sure Twitter will be very understanding of his brain fart


Twitter is on fire with a rumor that the Cubs offered Headley 4/65. No one's confirmed it, though.

for a long time we heard that Headley would get a huge deal if only he could stay healthy and hit like he did in 2012; turns out he didn't need to do either of those things

saw something about a 4/65 offer, but thought it was Marlins. You happen to have a link?

Just a rumor that people are commenting on. https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=headl... The source of the report, some guy named Mario Pepen, is being debunked by some, but no one has been able to confirm/deny the report.

Senor Pepen is who I was looking for...thanks. Seems to do Spanish language Boston Red Sox coverage on the radio.

@Marino_Pepen ·  FUENTE: Los #Cubs le ofertan 4 años y 65 MM a Chase Headley. #MLB

I don't see anything else about this out there. And they only source for the 4/65 offer refers to an "unknown" team and comes from Jeff Passan at Yahoo. I'm thinking this is all mularky.

these are always fun...MLB Trade Value Rankings by Jonah Keri



Would you trade this guy for that guy? More than simply listing the best current players with the best current stats, this ranking seeks to account for multiple other factors. Talent and track record matter, but so do age, health, and contract status.

Soler #44, Bryant at #18, Rizzo at #7 (think that's all of them)

Harper, Bumgarner, Sale, Goldschmidt, McCutchen and Trout the only ones ahead of Rizzo


Baez and Russell were also honorable mentions, 2 of 23 players mentioned in that section that were considered but ended up outside the top 50.

Davey Lopes will be a great addition. Should give Javier Baez a run for his money for the 2nd base job.

Top 50 2015 prospect watch by MLB.com


Callis guesses on Kolby Allard (LHP HS) - possibly top prep pitcher in draft

Mayo "reaches" for Kyle Cody (RHP Kentucky), ranked #19 on the board but thinks can pop with a strong senior season.

n.markakis 4/44m to ATL...that's a pretty damn good deal. it'll be interesting to see if heyward moves to CF or markakis plays LF when/if they get rid of gatis. this may be another type of "undervalued" market...guys who's advanced stats make them look worse than they really are (especially his weird defense #s). when everyone's looking at the advanced stats, it's going to help to know who the * (both over and under valued) guys might be.

it'll be interesting to see if heyward moves to CF or markakis plays LF when/if they get rid of gatis.


i keep forgetting there's 2 uptons in ATL... bj and gatis are assumed good as gone based on how many package rumors they've been linked to. someone has to play CF that wasn't playing CF last year, though.

not all you're forgetting...

Something about Heyward. Simple oversight. It happens.

awesome...i forgot to mention in the reply that i meant to lump bj/gatis together in the intial post...and i probably shouldn't have even brought up gatis to begin with, numerous package offers or not. i'm gonna go try to make some food without burning down my house.

Keith you have said you would try to trade for valbuena (Cubs) if you needed a serviceable 3rd or 2nd baseman. If your theo what would it take to trade him? Klaw (1:48 PM) A decent young starter/starter prospect.

What kind of adjustments at the plate would you like to see Javy Baez make for 2015? Klaw (1:58 PM) That's not an easy question to answer, because you don't want to take away what makes him special - the huge raw power, the insane bat speed that means he can turn on any fastball. But he needs to work on understanding what he can pull and what he can't, and he needs to stop walking up to the plate already thinking about which pitches he's going to swing at.

What are reasonable expectations for Jorge Soler's first full season in the big leagues? Klaw (2:03 PM) I'll be disappointed with under 25 HR if he gets 500+ AB. But I'll also be happy if he gets 500 AB without getting hurt again.


Hoping the Lester saga ends soon. Feeling like the Brian Roberts saga, part deux.

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  • JustSayin' 4 hours 23 min ago (view)

    I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports.  The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers.  The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits.  If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt.  At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.


  • crunch 5 hours 24 min ago (view)

    rizzo took BP and did some field work today.  also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.


  • Cubster 12 hours 42 min ago (view)

    Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    the COVID-Division should be fun.

    teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other...  CO is all "wtf, really?"


  • Cubster 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    ...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts. 

    Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?


  • Charlie 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.


  • Cubster 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S 


  • crunch 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.


  • Cubster 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 1 hour ago (view)

    The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).  


  • crunch 4 days 5 hours ago (view)

    rizzo takes another day off (lower back).  ross says the club is "exercising caution."

    klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.


  • Ryno 4 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Has anyone seen Darvish's pitch "The Supreme"?  Isn't it just a sinker?


  • Ryno 4 days 5 hours ago (view)

    In other words:  This lineup sucks.


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Jason Kipnis was released on June 29th and then he was re-signed to a new (different) 2020 minor league contract that does not require a $100K retention bonus if he is not added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 2020 MLB Opening Day (7/23).  

    Brandon Morrow remains on his original 2020 minor league contract which pays him a $100K retention bonus if he is not released by 7/18 or added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 7/23. 


  • Eric S 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    There is that re Kimbrel - at worst, just another year on the books.

     July 1st is Bobby Bonilla Day - the day that check is cut and paid annually.