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.


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.


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."

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  • crunch 13 hours 25 min ago (view)

    j.odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer (17.8m) from MIN...so did j.abreu (CWS)....everyone else is gonna play the FA market.

    w.smith (SF) immediately signed with the braves for 3/39 (13m team option/1m buyout on the backend).  braves lose a 2nd round pick...which they'll probably get back when someone signs j.donaldson.


  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)


    it's not like i think he's something special, but if he had 5mph more on his stuff he'd probably be a top prospect in the system combined with his command/control.  he's got highly repeatable junk and he's still young enough there might be a little more velocity to discover.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    CRUNCH: As long as Carrera is placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 he should be safe from selection, and I would say he is in fact close to a lock to be placed on the Iowa roster.

    Presuming he is on the Iowa reserve list going into the Rule 5 Draft, I doubt very much that he would get selected in the Major League Phase because he hasn't pitched above Lo-A. 


  • crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    nice info...

    i'm low-key keeping an eye on faustino carrera if he's not protected...which he may not be protected.

    he throws junk, but he throws it well, and with great control.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    I've talked to Player Development people over the past many years about the Rule 5 Draft and how an organization goes about deciding whether to protect or not protect a player from selection. 

    STEP 1: How many of your Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are actually legit candidates to get selected in the Major League Phase?. Usually there a dozen or more who could conceivably/realisticaly get selected. You need to identify them and then carefully evaluate them. 
    EXAMPLES: See my lists above. 


  • crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    "There are no untouchables," Epstein said.

    In truth, the Cubs boss has said the same every year, but it certainly sounds like he means it this time. "We're in the 'information collecting' stages of the process," one general manager put it on Tuesday.



  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.

    That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.


  • crunch 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...


  • Hagsag 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!


  • crunch 3 days 15 hours ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information. 


  • Cubster 4 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office,  as GM


  • Charlie 5 days 17 hours ago (view)

    For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.


  • crunch 6 days 5 hours ago (view)

    rev up those off-season rumor fryers...

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.


  • crunch 6 days 9 hours ago (view)

    former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.

    green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.


  • Arizona Phil 6 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters.