A Toast to Crane Kenney, the man with the wheelbarrow.

In the absence of any significant Cubs news over the past week (we a AAA depth reliever), I instead prepared a brief tribute to an unsung hero of the Cubs rebuild: Crane Kenney, President of Business Operations. Kenney famously said his “job [wa]s to fill a wheelbarrow with money, take it to Theo’s office, and dump it.” Sometimes I think we ignore just how impressively Kenney fulfilled that goal. Only two years ago, we if the Cubs could support a $140m payroll. Yet today we take for granted that the Cubs can afford to spend to luxury cap and beyond. That is a remarkable achievement that does not get nearly enough attention.

I first began following Cub finances in 2014. In the three years since, the Cubs increased revenue from ; an astounding 63% increase. In the process, the Cubs rose to highest revenues in baseball, behind only the Dodgers and Yankees. Since then, the Cubs have added at least in revenue that I know about. If the Cubs in 2019 is as lucrative as expected, the Cubs could move past the Dodgers, and even challenge the Yankees for the #1 spot. The Cubs even managed to do it without selling away Wrigley Field’s name.

Perhaps the most impressive feet is that the Cubs were able to increase sponsorship revenue during the lean years from 2012-2014, when the on-field product stunk. Revenues actually rose, even as ticket sales went down. That is a testament to Kenney’s sales job. So the next time someone offers up a toast to Theo Epstein, make a follow-up toast to Crane Kenney; the man with the wheelbarrow.

 

The Plan by David Kaplan, chap. 4.

I got hooked by this .

The Plan by David Kaplan, chap. 4.

Comments

a pro-crane kenney article on TCR... *checks to make sure this is TCR* alright then.

Bwahahahaha.... totally. He does deserve some credit for once.

To be clear, I do not endorse Kenney's work as President of Operations from 2010-2011. But his work since 2012 on the business end has been impeccable. You need only look at the circus that is Miami baseball to realize how lack of revenue destroys a franchise. Or even look at the Brewers' apparent inability and/or unwillingness to sign Arrieta/Darvish as their high-priced equivalent to Jon Lester as the next logical step towards contention. The financial turn around of the Cubs is just as important to the current run of success as any draft pick (ok maybe not Bryant).

Is Kenney still running around in his own "Cubs jersey?" lol.....what a dork. I think the Cubs dodged a bullet with Wadebot. At 17MM AAV, he'd need to produce 2 WAR every year as a one-inning reliever just to provide fair value on the deal. And I don't know that he can do it.

that is crazy $$ for a guy who will be lucky to throw 70 innings. also, the rockies pen is unreal awesome.

Some quick math -- Wade Davis will be paid roughly $250,000 per inning for the next 3 years. A quarter-million dollars per inning. I know baseball money is crazy, but, man....that's crazy.

a starter making comparable pay for expected innings would be clearing $50m+ a year. it's crazy that "legit" top-tier closers are worth 16+m these days. chapman is getting 17m, jansen 16m, davis 17m... b.morrow going out there for the cubs at 10m a year should be nice enough if he can stay healthy.

Chatwood got 13m.

pretty sure he's going to work out of the rotation, though.

I meant a known starter got only 13mil. Comparing that to the fairly crazy 17mil a closer got. Wade deserved the payday, but that's a lot of money for about 60 to 70 innings max.

Let's say you can get Addison Reed for $7-8MM AAV. For the same money, I feel better about having Morrow + Reed than I would in having just Davis, if for no other reason than the mercurial nature of relievers and the "hot hand" theory. Your odds are twice as good at getting one good reliever, and your odds are half as small for suffering a devastating bullpen injury. 2 > 1. Plus, the Cubs have a pair of wildcard/lottery ticket options in J Wilson and D Maples as a bonus (tho Wilson ain't free).

Indeed. Cubs use 2-3 relievers per game, if not more, so more arms is better.

based on what morrow was doing last year, he could end up being one hell of a deal even if 10m for him is considered a little expensive right now. he was throwing harder than he ever has and still had great control over everything. steve cishek and pedro strop are decent enough closer backups...along with a few other guys who could emerge as even stronger candidates. unlike chatwood, though, i don't see morrow as much as a gamble as much as i see him as a solid signing.

"Cubs signed LHP Alberto Baldonado to a minor league contract." almost 25, reliever for years, no mlb experience, cruddy minor league numbers, cruddy winter league numbers this year. https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/p... meh. have fun in iowa.

CRUNCH: It happened about three weeks ago, prior to the Rule 5 Draft.

link

missed it...popped up on rotoworld's feed today. looks like they were referencing a story by baseball america about signings happening earlier this month.

Happy New Year to all. And, don’t let that door hit you on the way out, John Fox...

Yes! and yes! Fox never had much talent work with, and losing Gase as OC clearly hurt him, but there were too many odd coaching decisions to justify his return.

As we enter the new year -- I really hope the Cubs buy some pitching rather than trade for it. Schwarber, Happ, JHey, Almora and Zobrist give them a very flexible outfield in terms of dealing with tough lefties or late-inning defensive replacement or double-switches. Gotta remember how young some of them are -- Happ was an effective MLB player at 22, having had only one month (116 PAs) at AAA before being called up. He struck out a lot last year -- not a big surprise, given the jump in pitching quality he was dealing with. HIs .360 OBP in the minors is encouraging.

mark prior new dodgers bullpen coach.

Just saw him at Best Buy purchasing loads of towels.

tom house at the checkout line screaming at the cashier how they're ringing up his purchases incorrectly

"According to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago, "the two clubs showing the most interest" in Jake Arrieta are the Cubs and Cardinals."

Recent comments

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  • erich081 3 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Brach in during a one run game where the ball seems to be flying out of the park? I too like to live dangerously.

     

  • Eric S 3 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Robel’s 454 foot splashdown - 6th longest homer by a Cub this season

    https://twitter.com/cubs/status/1153486434659119104?s=21

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 4 min ago (view)

    RHP Aneuris Rosario (2014 IFA - Dominican Republic) has been reinstated from the Disqualified List. Now 24, Rosario spent four seasons in the DSL (2014-17) and was the one-time closer for DSL Cubs #1. He hasn't pitched since 2017.  

     

  • Charlie 5 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Last hurrah as a starter before the Cubs trade for an outfielder who gets on base?

     

  • crunch 6 hours 23 min ago (view)

    i wonder why almora's started almost every game the past week+, especially since he's sucked at it...and he even got to hit leadoff for a game or 2.

     

  • Charlie 6 hours 51 min ago (view)

    Oof. Almora and Maldonado as starters is going to be rough on the offense. Better hope for at least a Garcia triple.

     

  • crunch 7 hours 37 min ago (view)

    schwarber / baez / bryant / rizzo / garcia(2nd) / heyward / almora / maldo / a.mills

    ham gets a AAA rehab start tomorrow.  also, i could do with less almora.

     

  • QuietMan 13 hours 53 min ago (view)

    Edwards optioned to Iowa per Jesse Rogers,

     

  • George Altman 14 hours 8 min ago (view)

    Yeah.....yeah. I think I'm good too. Put him and Strop in the Shawn Greene deal.

     

  • Mike Wellman 16 hours 16 min ago (view)

    I feel like I've already waited & seen enough of CEJ...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Not as much as it makes his stomach tighten!

    i dont think we should trade him. We would get nothing of value back. But I don’t think he should be a bullpen piece on a playoff contender either. He should be in Iowa. Reassess where he’s at for September and next year. If they don’t like what they see, non-tender.

     

  • Charlie 17 hours 10 min ago (view)

    Cheap may not be the right word, but has put up reasonable value per dollar compared to other relievers prior to this ear.

    He accrued 2.9 bWAR 2017-2018. Strop put up 3.2 bWAR during the same period. Edwards is making $1.5M this year. Strop is making $6.25M. He'll get a bump again this offseason even if he doesn't rebound in the second half, of course. I just don't see a need to trade him unless the Cubs are being offered value in return.

    That said, it does make my stomach knot up a bit when I see they are bringing him into a close game.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 47 min ago (view)

    Carl Edwards Jr will be out of minor league options next season (2020), and he will (once again) be arbitration-eligible post-2019 (he was "Super Two" arb eligible post-2018) and he will be a FA post-2022. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    cubs lose, cards win, brews win.

    boo.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    I think this is his last option year. And he’s not as cheap as you’d think, he’s a super two qualified player this year.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Edwards is frustrating at times. Some of that frustration comes from thinking he could be much better than he currently is. But prior to this year (in which he has pitched very few innings), he's overall been an OK relief pitcher in the majors. I'm happy to wait and see on him for quite a while. Still has an option and is cheap, right?