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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  • bradsbeard 3 hours 8 sec ago (view)

    Great info. Thanks! 


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 19 sec ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: What happens on 12/2 is each club submits what's called a "Central Tender Letter" to the MLB LRD listing which unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) are being tendered a contract and which unsigned players are not being tendered a contract. 

    The CTL is sufficient as far as providing proof of contract tender.  

    For players being tendered contracts, the CTL must list the club's MLB salary offer, a minor league split salary offer (if the club so chooses), and performance bonuses (if any) the club is offering to the player.


  • crunch 11 hours 36 min ago (view)

    theo walked away from a big payday for an executive in his last season as a cub without having another job scoped out...and according to him he's not even looking one.

    something tells me this isn't going to be a fun off-season for cubs fans.

    the state of the cubs household aside, i wouldn't exactly be shocked to see theo with the mets, though he's supposedly not on their radar at the moment.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 13 sec ago (view)

    The Cubs have been at the forefront of tone-deaf owners in terms of financial hardship during the pandemic. "The game isn't as profitable as most people think"


  • tim815 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    The decision on the amount comes later.


  • bradsbeard 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    At the point when the team makes the initial contract tender, do they have to offer a specific salary, and if so is that the same number the team takes into arbitration? Or does the specific number the teams files at for arbitration happen at a later date?


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: A player who is signed to a contract that does not include a minor league split salary is paid his full MLB salary while optioned or after being outrighted to a minor league club.

    So if a player goes to arbitration and is awarded (let's say) a $2.5M salary by the arb panel, the contract will not include a minor league split salary or performance bonuses, and if the player is sent to the minors he is paid the full $2.5M while in the minors.


  • Hagsag 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    Maybe Trump can give them a loan.


  • crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    it's not exactly looking good when the cubs brass is complaining about "losing 100m in revenue" when a huge chunk of that seems to include Hotel Zachary.  it looks like the entire "entertainment complex" is the cubs as far as the Ricketts are concerned...and the team might have to suffer a bit because they couldn't fully realize profits last year.  they've publically stated that the big incoming tax credits from the city they're going to realize for stadium work won't help the cubs payroll.


  • jdrnym 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    If a player doesn't have a split salary in his contract, how much is he making when in the minors (or how is that salary determined)?


  • crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    we want kyle schwarber to not be mark trumbo so badly...

    either way, the NL having or not having the DH needs to be figured out pretty quickly for a lot of off-season sanity.


  • crunch 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    minor league hitting coordinator chris valaika moves up assistant hitting instructor for the big league team.

    looks like a.iapoce's job is safe.


  • Cubster 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Jed Hoyer gets a new 5 yr contract that runs through 2025 season. 


  • Cubster 3 days 15 hours ago (view)


    BA's list of 19 prospects who impressed at Instructs. One Cub:

    Chase Strumpf, 2B, Cubs


  • Jackstraw 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Waiting for Ryan Pace to be available.  He should be a week from tomorrow.


  • crunch 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    i haven't even heard a rumor...which is interesting since "virtual" winter meetings start in a couple weeks.

    surprised dan kantrovitz hasn't been named "interim GM" or something...which makes me wonder how wide of a net they're casting to fill the position.  he was snagged from the A's and was an assistant GM there (and director of scouting for STL).