Edit: 2021 Opening Series Thread + Goodbye Darvish, belated Goodbye Theo / "Hot" Stove Thread

I'm taking a roundabout approach on this one, editing an old thread since I am currently unable to add a new story to the site. Here is your belated post for the 2021 opening series.

The Cubs lost a battle of the bullpens in game 1, with each team's starting pitcher going only 3 innings. The Pirates bullpen essentially shut down the Cubs' offense for the remaining 6 innings and the Cubs collected only 2 hits in the game. Meanwhile, Cubs pitchers allowed 11 walks and a HBP.

The cold temperatures we saw in game 1 have given way to unseasonably not horrible weather for the remainder of the series. Highs in the 60s and the wind blowing out to RF greet ballplayers and fans for game 2. Jake Arrieta makes his season debut in his return to the Cubs, going up against briefly-a-Cub lefty Brett Anderson. The heavily used bullpens both got a day of rest between games 1 and 2, so presumably everyone is available.

Game 3 will be a Sunday matinee between hard-throwing Pirates righty Mitch Keller and the new addition and Kyle Hendricks impersonator, Zach Davies.

The Cubs will continue their homestand with a series against the Brewers beginning on Monday, April 5, at 6:40 pm central, the first night game of the season.


If the departure of Theo Epstein in mid November was not a clear sign of things to come, today's trade of Yu Darvish certainly heralds the arrival of a rebuilding phase for the Chicago Cubs. It has been widely reported that the Cubs and Padres agreed on a deal sending Darvish and Caratini to sunny San Diego, former Brewer Zach Davies to the Cubs rotation, and two pairs of young shortstops and outfielders to Cubs' minor league facilities for years to come.

Davies is coming off of a promising year and the 4 young prospects have some upside. However, as of now many regard this deal as a salary dump for the Ricketts family. Darvish is owed just under $60 million for the 3 years remaining on his contract. That is a significant chunk of payroll, but an absolute bargain at his most recent level of performance. For approximately two years, fans and writers have speculated that a partial or full rebuild would begin with the trade of a Cubs star position player: Bryant, Contreras, or Baez. Bryant's health and performance seems to have hampered his trade market, however, and the Cubs have instead tread water the past two seasons. Now, Jed Hoyer's first big move as man at the helm has the team dealing from an area of weakness (the starting rotation) for a package of prospects far from the majors. It is unlikely that this will be the first domino to fall.

So, here's a thread for us all to discuss the so-called "hot" stove--more tepid than ever with the 2021 outlook uncertain for all of MLB. Who will go next? Is Hoyer looking at a full rebuild or some hybrid option? Did David Ross get the rug yanked out from under him? Will the Ricketts family cling to any of the remaining good will from 2016? How many Kyle Hendricks-lites does it take to fill out a starting rotation? Discuss amongst ourselves.


It's back to watching the Cubs just to hear the sound of the typewriter go clickety-clack in the background. 

Oh wait. 

I wonder if Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk are in the market to buy a team. 

They could introduce cyborg players. Cubs already have Rizzo. It's worked out pretty well. A few more would be awesome. 

O&B, the typewriter days, yeah...👍

Cubs are apparently "extensively shopping" Willson Contreras.

Hopefully we can acquire one year of a mediocre starter and some more total lottery tickets for him, too!

*checks 29 team rosters of 18-20 year olds fresh out of dominican ball*

i mean...is hoyer trying to build his legacy by playing the numbers or does he truly believe this is the best path forward for the cubs?  the kids that were picked up in that darvish trade are so far down the pipeline i'm questioning 2022 before 2021 has begun.

without making a single move, this is still the team that won the division last year and went 8 games over .500 while only losing  reliever jeremy jeffress as a talent loss.

jon lester's 3 wins with a 5.16era and 10 innings of jose quintana won't be missed.

He was pretty obviously told "you want the job? Cut payroll for a few years. We'll give you a couple years to get things going in the right direction"

 Of course the subtext was "we don't care about the fans or about winning."

I wouldn't be opposed to getting Quintana for a year if he'd be willing to do so -- maybe he could do well to build up his value and potentially be sufficient to give him a qualifying offer :)

I'm a hater of Marquee Network from the moment they teamed up with Sinclair.

In today's Tribune...Paul Sullivan:

Darvish deal starts undoing of Cubs

...They could stop watching Marquee Sports Network, but would anyone notice? The only thing on these days besides Cubs reruns and Ryan Dempster are shows about betting, surfing, bass fishing and other activities with a limited audience.

On Tuesday morning I turned on Marquee to see if there was any discussion of the Darvish deal. Appropriately, a show called “Follow the Money” was airing. Alas, it had nothing to do with the Cubs.

It seems like eons ago, but it was only last January that Ricketts was booed at the Cubs Convention when he mentioned Marquee, which had yet to come to an agreement with Comcast, the largest local cable provider.

Ricketts appeared quite shocked.

“What do you have against the Marquee Network?” he asked the crowd.

The booing only grew louder.

“Believe me, you won’t be booing (about Marquee) in a year,” he said.

He was partially correct. Almost one year later, they’re booing ownership more than the network. Fortunately for Tom and his brother Todd, who oversaw fundraising for President Donald Trump’s FAILED reelection campaign, the 2021 Cubs Convention has been canceled because of COVID-19, so the siblings won’t be booed in public.

Who would’ve guessed last January that their world would turn upside down, the Cubs’ wheelbarrow would be bare, Wrigley would be fan-free, more than 100 Cubs employees would be laid off, Epstein would resign, announcer Len Kasper would bolt for the White Sox and Darvish would be dumped after a Cy Young Award-caliber season?

Oh, what a year it has been.

But hope springs eternal. There’s always next year, and at least the Cubs have a ready-made slogan for 2021:

“Follow the money.”

Let's Go, Follow the Money.

"Cubs president Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that the rumors about Willson Contreras being shopped are "fictional.""

"Hoyer also told reporters during Wednesday's press conference that he thinks "we're going to have a really competitive team next year""

...awaiting further moves over here, jed...c'mon...

Competitive in what way? Competitive for a top five draft pick?

Last I checked, actual competitive teams have more than 1 proven above average SP

On that topic, I've begun the process of emotionally detaching from Kyle Hendricks.

Add a few scrap heap starters and a bounce back from Javy or Bryant and the team could be competitive versus the NL Central.  Not competitive versus Dodger, Braves, Padres and other elite team but they would have a chance at being the fastest turtle in the NL Central. 

Can someone tell Jed Hoyer to please stop talking.  The  words that come out of his mouth justifying  his dumpster dive trading tactics are an assualt on fans ears..

DJL: The way I read that is with the Pirates in a full rebuild, the Cubs and Reds shedding payroll, and the Brewers and Cards basically staying pat, the N. L. Central is now the weakest division in MLB, maybe like the NFC East. 

Ahhh now I see! First to 75 wins is the victor!

Report that Schwarber gets $10 million from Nats. Good for him, wish him well.  Seems like Jed didn't do a very good job trying to trade him if his free agent value was higher then his expected arbitration salary.

that is a huge wtf fail if it's not incentive driven.  was the desire to cut payroll so high that they didn't want to risk being "stuck" with him?  did they improperly gauge the market (by being off by mulitple millions)?

seeing as the cubs seem to be looking for 12 year olds who won all-star on their little league teams in trade, it's not like they wouldn't be able to find a taker for a long-off "maybe" prospect in return.

I'm always confused by this. They also could have tendered him and then boosted his value by trading him with a million or two in cash considerations. Obviously, that's a million or two more expensive than simply non-tendering--but couldn't you at least get an interesting prospect in return from one of these teams? They obviosuly thought it was worth their return to toss in a few million in the Darvish trade.

The 2021 amount is 7.

The buyout is 3.


The 2021 guaranteed amount is $7 + $3 million mutual option buyout. 10>8.  Most media reports summarizes it as a $10 million deal. 

PHIL: Did the Cubs release Saul Vazquez?

(Not Phil) - Last I saw, he was on the restricted list.

Yeah, to my calculation that suspension should be over by now unless he got caught again...

Thanks Phil!

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  • Hagsag 13 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Phil, is the 3 weeks camp going on now?


  • Arizona Phil 15 hours 49 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed free-agent LHP Stephen Gonsalves to a 2022 minor league contract.

    If he were to be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2022, he has no minor league options left and he has Article XX-D rights (he can elect free-agency if outrighted).

    So 78 Cubs minor leaguers are now eligible for selection in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.

    Also, the Cubs off-season minor league Domestic Reserve List now stands at 173 (17 slots are open).


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: That's correct.

    Under the new rules, the 38-man AAA reserve list is now only used beginning on the date reserve lists are filed in November and extending up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. Then after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, everybody goes back into the off-season 190-man Domestic Reserve List hopper. 


  • jdrnym 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    Phil, can you settle a Twitter discussion? A team can only select players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft until its 38-man Triple-A reserve list is full, correct? Don't believe this changed with the latest Major League Rules that introduced the Domestic Reserve List and eliminated individual level reserve lists during the offseason.


  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    "Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reports that Carlos Correa's agent has been contacted by the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Braves.

    It's not clear when the contact took place or what level of interest each club has."

    ...with the yanks and dodgers both with piles of cash and a bit of need, i wouldn't get too stoked...but at least there seems to be some interest in what his market is.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    Stroman's salary escalators apply to 2024, so if Stroman reaches 160 IP in either 2022 or 2023 (but not both) it adds $2M to his 2024 salary, and if he reaches 160 IP in both 2022 and 2023 it would add $4M to his to 2024 salary.

    So he gets $25M in both 2022 and 2023 (that's locked-in), and then either $21M, $23M , or $25M in 2024, depending upon whether he reaches his salary escalators in 2022 and/or 2023. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    W-RAT: I should also mention that the Cubs cannot outright David Bote while he is injured or rehabbing from an injury, except during a window starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until the day that off-season reserve lists must be filed (normaly 11/20, but it was 11/19 in 2021 because 11/20 fell on a Saturday, and it will be 11/18 in 2022 because 11/20 will fall on a Sunday). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    W-RAT: The Cubs can outright David Bote (if he is not claimed off waivers) once the transaction freeze is lifted. That's not a problem. 

    If he is outrighted and then elects free-agency, he would forfeit what remains of his contract - AS LONG AS - the contract is not fully guaranteed. 

    If the contract is fully guaranteed he would likely elect free-agency and the Cubs would be on the hook for what remains of his salary, offset by the MLB minimum salary if he were to sign an MLB deal with another club.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    kristin call has been named GM of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.  she's been the assistant/associate GM for a few years and was formally a marketing director for the team.

    she's been involved in baseball for a living for 16+ years.


  • Wrigley Rat 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Hey Phil - Could David Bote be outrighted at any point before the start of the season (obviously not now while players are being locked out). I wonder because if someone claimed him, oh well. If he elected free agency, wouldn't that void his contract? These are the thoughts going through my head as I look to open up another 40-man spot, and Bote will be out until at least May.

    I've read your 40-man tag for him, but I'm not quite smart enough to figure this out! :) Thanks!


  • crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    Marcus Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that includes an opt out after the second season, sources tell ESPN. He’ll make $25 million in 2022, $25 million in 2023 and $21 million in 2024. It includes $2M escalators for 160 IP in ‘22 and ‘23.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have re-signed RHRP Jonathan Holder and C-INF P.J. Higgins to 2022 minor league contracts, presumably with an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

    They will be Rule 5 Draft-eligible, if and when there is a Rule 5 Draft. 


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

    Owners' stooge Bobby Manfred coming out swinging at the players with his statement about the owners instituting a lockout.


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs re-signed OF Michael Hermosillo to a 2022 Major League contract just prior to the midnight Wednesday MLB transaction freeze. 

    Hermosillo was non-tendered on Tuesday because he was a Rule 5 Draft-Excluded Player, and if he had remained on the 40 the Cubs would not have been able to outright him to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB opening Day. 


  • crunch 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    we shouldn't, especially with how much payroll room for 2024+ this top-costing-for-fans team with a heavily monitized ballpark in a major media market has.

    backloaded contracts aren't exactly groundbreaking new things...neither are cheap-ass owners.  i don't expect them to compete every year, but i expect them to try after a punt season where they traded away the core.  NYY, NYM, LAD, LAA, BOS, etc. don't seem to have trouble doing this even if it means throwing a bit of money around...


  • Sonicwind75 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Stroman, a pleasant surprise.  Good to know we aren't completely punting until 2025.