Free Agent’s Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose

The other day in the comments, the mysteriously-monikered "X" said this:
"I can't think of any STUDS (don't Todd Walker me - please) who have wanted to come to this team since [Andre] Dawson left a signed contract with the amount blank on the GM's desk. I'm sure there are some - I just can't think of them off the top of my head."
That sounded like a call for me to waste some time at work. Of course, it's next-to-impossible to determine which players might have "wanted" to cme to the Cubs -- all we can really do is examine who actually did come. So I hit Baseball Reference, and took a look at the free agents the Cubs have signed since 1987, and leaving aside the fact that he originally got Dawson's first name wrong (hey, if he's gonna post anonymously, I'm not going to feel to bad about giving him a hard time), 'X' raises an intersting point. In general, the Cubs have not sparkled on the free agent market. With all signs pointing to the Cubs having some money to throw around in what's shaping up to be a disappointing free agent market, it's instructive to look back on how the Cubs have fared in past off-seasons. Jim Hendry's tenure as G.M. only goes back to 2002, but I'm going back further because how many chances do I get to write about Danny Jackson? The pre-Hendry moves probably don't mean a whole lot these days, but they're still interesting to reminisce about. If I had only listed players who could be considered "studs" it would be a short list. So instead here's a list of significant free agents the Cubs signed between Dawson and Walker: * Danny Jackson, 1991. Two years removed from a 23-win season, he signed with the Cubs for 2Y-$5.25M back when that was a lot of money. He was the Cubs' Opening Day starter, but got hurt in his third start and missed two months. He came back, got hurt again, came back again, lost his rotation spot, and while he was a bit better in 1992, the Cubs eventually traded him for Steve Buechele. * George Bell, 1991. On the downslope of his career, but only 3 years removed from an MVP 47/134 season. His 1991 numbers were his best since '87, but the best thing he did in a Cubs uniform was get traded for Samy Sosa. * Dave Smith, 1991. Also on the downslope of his career, a fact that should have been obvious based on his age (36) but which may have been obscured by six straight 20+ save seasons. Pitched a total of 47 1/3 innings for the Cubs, and got paid $4.4M for them * Mike Morgan, 1992. Apparently undeterred by the Jackson debacle of the previous season, the Cubs gave Morgan a multi-year deal and it worked out a bit better. Morgan threw 200+ innings in both 1992 and 1993, but got hurt in '94 on his way to going 2-10, and the next year was traded for Todd Zeile. Reacquired at the 1998 trade deadline from the Twins, he did his best to keep the Cubs out of the playoffs (a 7.15 ERA in 22 2/3 innings) but they managed to sneak in anyway. * Jose Guzman, 1993. 4Y-$14.25M. Had one decent year, got hurt at the beginning of year two, and never pitched again. Nicely done. * Randy Myers, 1993. 3Y-$11.7M. Saved 112 games over three years, kept a grenade in his locker, took down a guy who rushed onto the field during a game. What's not to love? * Candy Maldonado, 1993. Only lasted 70 games (during which he hit 186/260/286) before being traded for Glenallen Hill, who hit a ball onto the roof of a building across Waveland. So this signing wasn't a *total* loss. * Jaime Navarro, 1995. The Cubs' first significant post-strike foray into the free agent market turned out pretty well. Navarro signed for less than he had been making with Milwaukee due to injury concerns, went 29-18 in his two years on the north side, and then went across town for $20M and never had another winning season. * Terry Mulholland, 1997, 1998, 1999. Mulholland's 1997 deal was for over $2M, and though he pitched OK the Cubs let him get claimed on waivers by the Giants. He was back, and effective out of the bullpen, in '98, and spent some time in the rotation in '99 before being traded for three guys who didn't amount to much. Total investment: just under $6M. * Mel Rojas, 1997. 3Y-$13.75M but by mid-season Terry Adams was doing better for less money and Rojas found his way to the Mets in a deal that send almost $9M in salary and netted The One Dog, Manny Alexander, and a surprisingly good Mark Clark. * Kevin Tapani, 1997. 3Y-$11M and worth it. The follow-up contract, not so much. * Jeff Blauser, 1998. Ouch. * Rod Beck, 1998. 1Y-$3.6M and worth it. The follow-up contract, not so much. Was later traded for Mark Guthrie, who was traded for Brant Brown, who dropped the ball. * Gary Gaetti, 1998. Got picked up in August, had a great month-and-a-half, got re-signed for 1999, and sucked. Replace "1999" with "2005" and who do you have? * Benito Santiago, 1999. Signed at a discount to prove he was healthy after a serious car accident. He was, and for once the Cubs were smart enough to not re-sign him. * Ricky Gutierrez, 2000. The Cubs paid almost $6M for the two best years of Gutierrez' career, which isn't saying a whole lot. * Tim Worrell, 2000. Easily the best in-season free-agent pickup the team has made. The Cubs paid him the league minimum, he threw 62 innings of 2.47 ERA relief, and the next year they traded him for Bil Mueller. * Julian Tavarez, 2001. Again, more useful for who he fetched in trade (Matt Clement) than what he did in a Cubs uniform (pissed me off). * Jeff Fassero, 2001. Two years for an old reliever? If it was the first time the Cubs had done it, I'd dismiss it, but looking over this list it appears to be the sixth. Two of them (Myers and Beck) panned out, the rest did not. That's not a good return. * Tom Gordon, 2001. Make it seven, and we can put him in the "win" column if we ignore the size of the contract. * Jason Bere, 2001. Wasn't as bad in 2002 as his 1-10 record would suggest. Then again, wasn't as good in 2001 as his 11-11 record would suggest, either. * Todd Hundley, 2001. I just threw up in my mouth again. * Moises Alou, 2002. The only bonafide offensive force on this list. And I mean offensive at least two different ways. * Mike Remlinger, 2003. Guess what? That was too much money to spend on a relief pitcher. * Ramon Martinez, 2003. The first of Dusty's Guys to show up, He wouldn't be the last. * Shawn Estes, 2003. The closer we get to the present, the more it hurts to type these names. * LaTroy Hawkins, 2004. See what I mean? * Todd Hollandsworth, 2004. Now we're recent enough that we can actually look at what I wrote about these moves at the time. When Holly was signed, I said: "Nice pickup for the Cubs. Getting a league-average player who can fill in at all three outfield spots and act as lefty power off the bench for a million bucks is a pretty good deal." I was right -- I just wish they hadn't re-signed him last winter. When they did that, I said, "Iíd really like to see the Cubs install DuBois or Kelton in left and keep Holly where he belongs, which is on the bench as a pinch-hitter and spot starter in right." Hey, look, I was right again! * Glendon Rusch, 2004. Turned out to be a pretty good scrap-heap pickup. I hope you enjoyed this forced march down memory lane. I left off quite a few other, more minor, signings, but I think we've seen enough. It's not a pretty picture. With the exception of Moises Alou, the Cubs haven't signed a bona fide star since, well, Dawson. And remember that Dawson only signed with the Cubs because of collusion between the MLB owners. Given this track record, I don't have high hopes for a guy like Rafael Furcal to find his way to Wrigley next year.


Got Dawson's name wrong? What did I type? Must have been a typo... This is a discussion I have had a lot of times about our history acquiring FAs. Between Andre and today, only Alou is close to being considered stud material, and Alou was coming off of a bad knee injury. I have talked to some friends who are "in the know" and they speculate although ability to win has been a major issue in the past, FAs don't come here largely because of the thing that many Cubs fans are most proud of - Wrigley Field. I don't know how many of you have ever been in the bowels of Wrigley field, but bowels is, in fact, a good way to describe it. Of the clubhouses I have been in, or seen pictures of (7 in total), Wrigley field is BY FAR the worst. Many speculate it is the worst in baseball. Some have gone as far to say that the conditions in the clubhouse are the worst in major professional sports. By all accounts, the Dallas Mavericks have the best facilities in all of pro sports. Cuban spared no expense, either for his home lockerroom or his visitors lockerroom. It is not reasonable to expect an ancient stadium's facilities to be at that level. But Fenway, Yankee Stadium, some of the older football stadiums, etc. all have much nicer facilities to play in. My people speculate that players wouldn't want to come to the Cubs not only because of our un-winning tradition, but also because of the poor working conditions relative to other stadiums. THOUGHTS?

(You typed Andrew. I know it was a typo, but couldn't resist.) I think the facilities might be part of it, but I doubt it's a large part. It's one of those "all other things being equal" things, but they rarely are. I still think that money and the chance to win a ring are the top two reasons a player signs where he does.

One that should be on your list: Ryan Dempster, another scrap-heap signing. We'll be seeing a lot of him in the next couple years.

"Andrew" Ahhhh ok - definitely a typo. "I still think that money and the chance to win a ring are the top two reasons a player signs where he does." I agree. That's the problem though...if all things are equal today, and we spend enough to pay top tier talent, AND we are potentially competitive (both of which are true) then we have to deal with overcoming the worst facility in baseball to actually play in. The grass drains poorly. The clubhouse is terrible. etc. Fans love the place - but I don't think that players have the same sense of nostolgia. If the Trib could tear the entire thing down and rebuild a new park on the same spot with all the luxuries of a modern park, that would go a long way. Imagine a 45,000 person stadium with luxury suites (we have boxes, but if you have ever been in them, you wouldn't use the term "luxury" to describe them) with a retractable roof, with parking (although the 2006/7 plan will help with this) and with better facilities for the players and the fans??? Keep the entryway look, the marquee, the scoreboard feel, the ivy, etc. Dump the crumbling concrete, urinetroughs, poor sight lines, etc. The problem - Tribune lacks the spine to do it. They do not want to pay rent to ISFA to play in USCF for a year. They don't want to beg Reinsdorf and pay him off to permit it. They don't want us to go see games at USCF for 2 years during the construction. They have marketed Wrigley Field so hard for so long, that they are trapped in a spot where they can't change now.

Dempster was signed after Walker, as was Maddux. "I don't think that players have the same sense of nostolgia" I don't know, it seems like Wrigley regularly appears at or near the top of the list when players are asked about their favorite places to play.

"I don't know, it seems like Wrigley regularly appears at or near the top of the list when players are asked about their favorite places to play." Yet none of them ever come here to play. Chicago is a great town to be at on the road. It has lots to offer. But coming here to visit for a 3 game series is very different than signing a 5 year contract to play 81 games here.

The list of reasons why I would stop being a Cubs fan is very, very short, but ripping down Wrigley to build yet another retractable roof stadium would be right at the top.

Yet none of them ever come here to play. This is probably because almost none of them are pursued. It's not like the Cubs keep going after FAs and keep getting turned down. When was the last time the Cubs pursued a mid-profile FA and got turned down? It's kind of tough to sign a contract to play for a particular team when the team never even talks to you about it in the first place.

Thanks, you had to remind me of the Great Larry Himes and his "quantity over quality" signings of Jose Guzman-Jose Guzman, Candy Maldonado, Randy Myers, and some 4th player I can't remember in place of Greg Maddux-Greg Maddux.

The renovation of the bleacher concourse seems to be pretty substantial. They're basically leaving the scoreboard and the outfield wall, and chucking the rest. New bathrooms, new concession areas - new everything. Just speculating, but I'll bet that there are some double-top-secret plans to overhaul the main grandstand concourse, too. I just don't think that the Cubs would allow the box seat amenities to look so shabby in comparison to the cheap seats.

Thanks, you had to remind me of the Great Larry Himes and his "quantity over quality" signings of Jose Guzman-Jose Guzman, Candy Maldonado, Randy Myers, and some 4th player I can't remember in place of Greg Maddux-Greg Maddux.

"Just speculating, but I'll bet that there are some double-top-secret plans to overhaul the main grandstand concourse, too. I just don't think that the Cubs would allow the box seat amenities to look so shabby in comparison to the cheap seats. " The 2006/2007 plan is to tear down the media lot, the players lot, the car wash, Tastee Yum, etc. and build a garage, restaurant, clubhouse, etc. facility. That will help. The problem is that the core seating area and the Skyboxes are pretty hard to "fix" without tearing down more foundation - a risky proposition given the lack of stability of the foundation. "The list of reasons why I would stop being a Cubs fan is very, very short, but ripping down Wrigley to build yet another retractable roof stadium would be right at the top." So are you more a Wrigely Field fan than a Chicago Cubs fan? That's your perrogative. "This is probably because almost none of them are pursued. It's not like the Cubs keep going after FAs and keep getting turned down. When was the last time the Cubs pursued a mid-profile FA and got turned down? It's kind of tough to sign a contract to play for a particular team when the team never even talks to you about it in the first place." A) We don't know who they pursue and who they don't. Most of that is not public. B) That would be a major indictment on the franchise, management and ownership if what you are saying is true - that the best FA we ever pursued was Moises Alou. For some reason I don't buy into that.

Weeks- Good point. Also the ones they do/would go after, Hendry will not offer 5 guarenteed years for, so any other team (lets say ATL, NYY, BOST, LAD) that offers a deal of let's say 6 years $60 million, and the Cubs offer 4 years $40 million. Where would you go? Take the more guarenteed money, no doubt. The Cubs need to offer $12-13 million per year just to get serious consideration from the player. It is a good policy overall, but it keeps us from getting the big time free agents. it is Hendry's rule that he stands by. he didn't even give ARam a 5 year guarenteed deal.

Closingtime- The Cubs will also be building a large parking garage over where the players park their cars. They are making big additions to Wrigley Field and have stated many times that the Cusb will not be moving out of it, nor should they.

A) We don't know who they pursue and who they don't. Most of that is not public. It absolutely is. As incompetent as I think most of the Chicago papers' beat writers are, they are very good about getting out information about what the Cubs are planning on doing, especially in the trade/FA market. Only rarely does a Cubs move fly under the papers' radar (Choi/Lee is the only one I can remember and that one flew under everyone's radar - ESPN's, Florida's, Baltimore's, etc.). Look at all the FAs that were signed by the Cubs in the past, say, 4 years. We had advance knowledge that the Cubs were going after each and every one of them. The Cubs are very public about who they are pursuing in the free agent market. Under Hendry, they have not been quite as public about trades, but again, the Chicago newspapers are very good about rooting out that information. B) That would be a major indictment on the franchise, management and ownership if what you are saying is true - that the best FA we ever pursued was Moises Alou. For some reason I don't buy into that. He's not the best FA we've ever pursued, but in the past 15 years, he most certainly is. And yes, that is a major indictment on the franchise.

I don't think it's a big factor in players coming over, but I do think the Cubs need to push for more home night games. They will be up to 24 this year (a quick look at the 2006 schedule) and I think they should eventually get get to 30 under the existing oridnance. 50% of the games in the dark should be the immediate goal, while eventually getting to the 50 range is probably a good place to end up. While a majority-home day game schedule is not THE reason why the Cubs have been regular non-winners, at some point it must be a problem.

"So are you more a Wrigely Field fan than a Chicago Cubs fan? That's your perrogative." Nice strawman. No, I'm a fan of the Chicago Cubs as a team and as an institution, and everything that goes with that -- the history, the traditions, the relationship to the city, and yes, the stadium. Believe it or not, you can have nicer luxury boxes and modern clubhouses without knocking down a stadium that's been a part of the team's (and the city's) history for so long.

Tribe- Absolutely the day games is a problem. The Cubs have made good progrees with getting more night games, but teh city and Wrigleyville doesn't want more. It took Alou a full year to get used to playing day games till he started really producing and look at how good Lee did in his 2nd year here. There is clearly an adaptation that needs to take place and I am sure the players talk about it to other players.

I know all about the plans for the new building on the Clark/Waveland/Addison triangle. But there are changes that can be made to the grandstand, which could go a long way. For instance, much of the main grandstand exterior is currently comprised of prefab concrete and chain-link fencing. It wouldn't be difficult to replace all of that with white brick and brass railings. Call it a hunch. Obviously, they can't alter the footprint of the main grandstand, but look at, for instance, what Notre Dame was able to do with their old concourse during the stadium renovation (admittedly, the footprint was expanded.) But even in the previously existing structure, bathrooms and concession areas were moved, gutted, and rebuilt. All I'm saying is, the outfield concourse is being completely overhauled, and by default, will feature amenities which will be light-years better than the main concourse. It's almost certain that minor improvements will continously be made, but a major re-thinking of the main grandstand is possible, and could yield some impressive results.

Actually, I heard rumors in the 2003-2004 off-season that guys like Ivan Rodriguez and ARod and such were interested in playing for the Cubs (though i doubt ARod would have come to Chicago; I would not even want him here). I dont know... I think that the rennovations, of which there are pictures of at BCB, will be great... However, I think that tearing down the "Cathedral of Baseball" is out of the question! There is no greater atmosphere in all of Baseball than the one found at Wrigley. I also think that the tall infield grass is only good for Power and speed guys. Look at Nomar, his batting average has suffered from loss of velocity. On the other hand, the grass is very good for ground-ball pitchers like Maddux. After all, pitching and defence win! What the Cubs need is a good defensive infield (Lee is a Bright spot, but Aram's errors were horrific this year). If the Cubs can sign Furcal, they will have one hell of arm at short!

Closingtime- I hope your hunch is right as long as it doesn't come at the expense of my season ticket prices going through the roof. I (and all season ticket holders) have much more financial interest in the Cubs that most fans don't. Most fans will go to a couple games a year (some who live out of town go to NONE) and the ticket price isn't a big deal, but when you have 50 games, a $5 increase adds up very quickly. So yes it would be very nice to upgrade the main concourse and bathrooms and such, but if it comes down to raising ticket prices, I would like to see the plans and how much it is going to cost me before I support it.

I'll stand by the fact that Hendry has carefully executed a plan to give the Cubs financial flexibility over the years and is finally out of the cloud of horrible contracts that McPhail/Lynch put this organization under. This is the first year in a reasonably long time, I can think of that the Cubs have any real money and flexibility to pursue free agents. In recent years past, it seems they've never had more than $10 to $20 million to spend, which can either get one top tier free agent or used to fill a bunch of holes that the Cubs usually had. This is finally the year that Hendry should have somewhere between $40 to $50 mil by my estimates to spend and if there are players available that Hendry covets, I think he'll be very aggressive in going after them. I expect him to go hard after Furcal and whichever outfielders come available. I wouldn't be surprised for him to give a call to Burnett but I think he'd only look to sign him at a discount due to his friendship with Ryan Dempster. I really expect/hope that Hendry is very aggressive in free agency and via trade this year, as the room exists in the budget this season. In my dream world, on the first day that free agents could sign with other teams, the Cubs call a press conference announcing the signings of Furcal, Ryan and Giles(okay I'm not sold on Giles, but if he did sign, I wouldn't complain). That would certainly get the attention back on the Cubs making the suits happy up in Tribland and avoid another off-season of, what the hell are the Cubbies doing this year? I know, I'm dreaming

CUBSFAN65: When Greg Maddux & Scott Boras did not respond quickly enough to Larry Himes "final offer" (five years, $28 mil) after after the 1992 season, Himes spent the money instead on free-agents Jose Guzman (four years, $14.5 mil), Randy Myers (three years, $11.5 mil), Willie Wilson (two years, $1.5 mil), and Steve Lake (one year, $500,000). And the rest (as they say) is history.

Wow, I forgot we had Steve Lake twice. Manny, I am hopeful that the continued commercialization of the area around the park will ease the fears of the impact of more night games. If there are more commercial property owners replacing residential (as has been the case with many of the rooftop buildings), perhaps the push to get 50 night games won't be as difficult a struggle. I sure hope that it isn't a factor in big time players coming here and I guess it is something that probably can't be quantified. Perhaps we've brought some players here and they failed to perform in large part because of the off schedule (in addition to not being particularly good).

Tribe and Manny, I have said it many times. 28 year old millionaires don't want to report to Wrigley at 9:00 AM. (Please refer to Kyle Farnsworth) We need more night games. At a minimum we NEED 40 night games. Screw you Wrigleyville people who keep that from happening. Its like people who move in next to O'Hare and complain about the noise.

X- how dare you say they get rid of the urine troughs! they are the most efficient urine system known to man. ever tried to take a piss at the cell? sox fans sit down to pee. lines are outrageous. i'll gladly stand shoulder to shoulder and pee into a common drain if it means that i can get back to my seat before the next inning starts.

One place the Cubs could get increased seating and improve sight lines is to curve the ends of the upper decks in toward the field ending at the foul poles. I'm no structural engineer, and the necessary supports might ruin the view of too many seats in the lower deck, but it's about the only other place I can see a substantial increase in seating without putting seats on the roof like at Fenway. They should absolutely get rid of the cement panels outside the park. I have a picture of my grandparents in front of Wrigley in the late 30s and the facade was natural brick with a nicer roof over the ticket windows. Whenever I bring people to Wrigley for their first time they're a little disappointed outside the park and then happily stunned when they walk up the stairs and get their first look inside.

I-rod wanted to play for the Cubs. In fact Pudge was scheduled to sit down with Cubs management to talk about working out a contract. A few days before he was scheduled to visit the Cubs traded for Michael Barrett. Effectively ending any discussion of him playing for the Cubs. I can't remember exactly what Pudge said about that but I can do the best off the top of my head. He said he knew the Cubs were not serious about signing him as soon as he heard they traded for Barrett. He was little miffed he didn't even get his foot in the door.

"most efficient urine system known to man" So is peeing on the floor. But I find that distasteful as well. "ever tried to take a piss at the cell? sox fans sit down to pee. lines are outrageous" Plenty of urinals - where I can have my own pee space. I'm just not a fan of peeing like a barnyard animal.

So Chad, you say to be a cub fan in the last post cause that "If you don't like the popular, soccer mom, yuppie, celebrity, higher ratings better ratings better neighborhood, better hangouts image we have, then you should find yourself a new team bub. Cause that IS was being a Cub fan is all about. That is what the Cubs are all about. If you change that, then they aren't the Cubs anymore. If that changes, I want no part, cause that is not the team I know" but day games are not a part of that? Aren't day games, bleacher bums, etc just as much a part of the Cub mystique?

Absolutely Rob. No question. That is why I advocate 40 night games and 41 day games. We would still have the most day games of any team in baseball (I believe the Giants are historically second due to shitty weather in San Fran). I do no advocate as many night games as any other team. Day games is part of what it means to be a Cub fan.

you hafta pee into a trough????? how absolutely disGUSting. now wonder all the cob fans stared at our beautiful clean bathrooms when they come here. it's a wonder you got any fans at all. i don't think there's anything wrong with sitting to pee. i do it all the time

I have to say 1991 counts as major. At the time the Cubs were considered the overwhelming favorites to win the division, and Don Zimmer got fired when they started out 18-18. In retrospect yeah you got an old reliever, a pitcher 2 years removed from a career year, and a player that can't field but at the time it was considered a huge splash. Otherwise even Moises Alou was upper-mid-level at that point in his career.

I'm with whoever said they like the trough. It's really no more disgusting than a standard urinal. Furthermore, the trough is much cleaner than a standard urinal due to the pitch of the trough. Where a standard urinal would cause embarrassing splash-back, the trough's design eliminates this. The only reason to dislike the trough is the relative lack of privacy. To me, this is a small price to pay for a quick, dry urination. Privacy is really not that much of an issue anyway, after all you're just going - there's not a party going on in there. I know I'll never not go to Wrigley or not take an in game leak because of a silly trough urine-handling system.

The 4th guy Himes signed was left handed Ace Greg Hibbard...Poor facilites or not the Cubs didn't sign star free agents because they were cheap. They didn't develop talent and they didn't sign expensive free agents. That equates to a high number of below .500 seasons...This thing is a cash cow now, so they'll have to spend money to make money. Ironically, they're in the same situation (business wise) as GMAC. The profitable entity the corp needs sell to keep their primary product afloat. I betting they sell. Stockholders drive corporate America...By the way, I'd take Arod in a heartbeat and I'd move him back to short...

if we play most of our games during the day, shouldn't our minor league teams do the same?

* Gary Gaetti, 1998. Got picked up in August, had a great month-and-a-half, got re-signed for 1999, and sucked. Replace ì1999î with ì2005î and who do you have? Okay, I give up. Who? Or, was this a multiple choice test?

Kane, I think it's Nomar. As far as free agent signings go, I don't know if you can look at those as an indictment of the organization. I've heard many times that the only teams who have the payroll to win consistently using the free agent market are the yankees and red sox. Personally, I would love to see the Cubs be as creative as the White Sox in crafting their winners: use mostly home-grown, young talent and compliment it with trades. Who did the White Sox get last offseason that anyone cared about?

with fear of being branded blasphemer or worse, i had kept silent on my musing that perhaps a new stadium would help out the cubs woes. but since we're throwing around renovation talks as well as trough vs. urinals (1 vote for "the opposing team's bullpen) what would be the major drawback, other than a farewell to the nostalgic bricks that hold the place together? build the new one with a brick wall in center (an idea which sounds ridiculous when said like that) and re-plant new ivy (i love that ivy) and yadda yadda yadda, but hook up the sweet layout in the clubhouses and voila! another idea; think of the extra cash theyd have for FAs if we started allowing ads in the park?

Let's remember that free agents do not guarantee success. The last top-notch free agent I remember the cubs seriously bidding for was mike hampton --- and although now he is a quality starter in atlanta, he was grossly overpaid by colorado and is part of the reason why that organization is in so much trouble. Florida in 1997 and Arizona in 2001 are teams who aggressively pursued top-notch free agents and succeeded -- but both owners broke the bank to do it and are still paying for that excess today -- especially arizona.... I would guess that for every team who succeeds by signing high-end free agents, there are at least 5 who don't, and the price of failure is high. Also, people need to remember that the tribune and the chicago cubs are a business --- they exist to MAKE money.....if anything they should be applauded for turning around an organization - which was bottom of the barrel when thay bought it - into one of the most popular in all of sports. Before the tribune, all this talk about free agents would have been a joke, because the cubs were in no position financially to spend money. And even though the sox won the world series, it will be the cubs who will have a five block line of people in februrary waiting in the cold for a chance to buy tickets. All of this with their own, and NOT the taxpayers money ---- so give the tribune a break, please. Funny how the tribune is labeled cheap when it is about the only organization in all sports without a taxpayer-financed stadium....they spend their own money to make wrigley field attractive, which brings in fans and allows their payroll to approach 200 million --- and after all this people criticize wrigley field and call the tribune cheap --- nonsense......

"Let's remember that free agents do not guarantee success. " Nothing does - nobody said it did "Also, people need to remember that the tribune and the chicago cubs are a business --- they exist to MAKE money....." And that's the problem. I just wish more folks would recognize that making money is more important to this franchise than winning. "it will be the cubs who will have a five block line of people in februrary waiting in the cold for a chance to buy tickets" Who Cares? "allows their payroll to approach 200 million " It's approaching 500million also - as long as you want to distort numbers. "and after all this people criticize wrigley field and call the tribune cheap" As long as they are spending significantly less than they are making, and using that profit to fund their unprofitable Newspaper business, they will be cheap in my eyes.

X - Whatever it is that is lighting your fire Cubs fans sure could use a lot more of it. Instead of bashing every mangerial source known to man for our recent failings you have decided to try to find the source. More important to you than a stadium is a desire to create a Championship winning tradition. This has to be admired and I wish more Cubs fans would see that winning is way more important than a money making disaster that produces ivy and good times.

Jacob I love baseball - more than anything. I'm a baseball fan first and foremost. Then, once it comes to teams, I'm a Cubs fan. But I don't dislike other teams, stadiums, etc. just because. I don't hate the Sox, the Stros, the Cards, the Reds, the Mets, etc. There are some players I completely dislike, but not beacuse of what team they are on, or what they do to the Cubs - rather for how they play the game. (Bonds is the player who most disgusts me, followed closely by Sammy [and I've hated him since before the Cubs acquired him, back to his rum-bottle days]) I go to about 20 games per year at USCF, and had a partial season ticket there (in addition to sharing a season ticket for the Cubs) this year because half the days during the season, they are home and the Cubs are not. I love good baseball, and winning baseball. It was neat seeing a World Champion calibre team on the South Side that I could get my arms around, after so many unlikable teams on both sides of town the past 10 years. Now I want to see the Cubs do it. You can tear down Wrigley Field, build a new one with all the charms of the old one, but that is safer, holds more people, and has more ammenities. Fans who are Wrigley Field fans would still have ivy, the marquee, the scoreboard, etc. Fans who like urinals would have those. Heck, they could even save the pee-buckets for trough-lovers. But they could make a place that is better for the team to play in, where more players will want to play, and where revenue models can escalate even more than they are today. I'll go to Cubs games and Sox games no matter what. I love the game. There are a lot of fans who are bandwaggon jumpers who will, next year, use their earmarked baseball dollars for Sox games instead of Cubs games. We will still sell out, no doubt) but I bet we will see a drop in the secondary ticket market - just a guess.

#37 Maybe Neifi! I had Furcal pegged as a future Cub back in Jan when the Braves pissed him off by extneding Huddy's contract before Furcal's. Now the media is into it, and I'm worried they'll jinx it. Great range, great arm, leads off, speed. He's what the Cubs need. I'd go up to 4yrs/$35M. Then think about picking up Dunn, Jearns, Juan Pierre or Tori Hunter via trade ( their teams are all looking to shed payroll). Then look for a defensive second baseman. Orlando Hudson or Castillo come to mind. If not, keep Nomar around and slide him over to second, or left. Jim Hendry has $30M to play with. He'll Git R Dun.

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  • crunch 24 min 11 sec ago (view)

    Yeah, I've made myself familiar with a lot of the changes, but AZP's posts have both added more information and cleared up stuff I didn't fully grasp.  I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thanks Phil, thanks TCR.


  • bradsbeard 2 hours 6 min ago (view)

    Looks like Savant has his breaking pitch classified as a curve while Fangraphs calls it a slider. Suppose by ST he could have made everything over in the pitching lab, so who knows!


  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Again, none of these rules (including the one that requires a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters or else record the final out of the inning) have been officially approved.  

    I think one possible caveat that might be added to the three-batter minimum rule would be that the pitcher can be replaced prior to facing three batters or recording the final out of the inning if the other team puts up a pinch-hitter. 


  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 27 min ago (view)

    Ptchers would also be treated differently under the new rules as far as the Injured list and Optional Assignment to the minors is concerned, with pitchers having to spend at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on the Injured List before being eligible to be reinstated and at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on Optional Assignment before being eligible to be recalled (inless the pitcher is being recalled to replace a pitcher on the 26-man roster who has been placed on an MLB inactive list).  


  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 27 min ago (view)

    SONICWIND: As the rule is proposed, prior to the start of each MLB regular season a club must designate all players on its Opening Day 26-man roster as either a "pitcher" or a "position player." A maximum of 13 can be designated as pitchers (14 pitchers max when rosters expand from 26 to 28 beginning on 9/1). 

    For players who come up during the season, the club must designate the player as either a pitcher or a position player when the player is placed on the MLB active list roster. 


  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 40 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Fangraphs shows the CT as his primary pitch in 2018 with the SL & FB (and an occasional CH) as his secondary pitches, with no CV at all. I guess I'll find out for sure in Spring Training. 


  • Sonicwind75 3 hours 56 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, thank you as always for the detailed information.  How is the "cannot be a pitcher" part of the rule to be enforced?  With a few two way players and the increasing amount of mop up innings being handled by position players it seems like there could be a gray area there.  What is preventing a team from stashing an athletic relief pitcher as a "5th outfielder" that could be a pinch runner and play a passable OF when needed but could also provide them with extra relief pitcher.  Anytime I hear of a new rule I always think of how Bill Billichek would circumvent it t


  • bradsbeard 3 hours 56 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, looking around Baseball Savant, it looks like Winkler now primarily throws a low 90s cutter, a 4-seamer that he throws a little harder (but is less effective), a curve and a sinker. The slider and change haven't been a major part of his repertoir the last two years. The cutter has been really effective the last two years but it looks like he lost command/effectiveness of his 4-seemer and curve last year For whatever reason  


  • bradsbeard 7 hours 16 min ago (view)

    They just signed this guy:


  • Hagsag 8 hours 33 min ago (view)

    There seems to be a lot of player movement so far. Too bad the Cubs aren't involved.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 31 min ago (view)

    Beginning in 2019, a club must wait a minimum of seven days before it can place a player who was claimed off Outtright Assignment Waivers during the off-season back onto waivers, so because he was claimed off waivers on Wednesday 11/27, yesterday (Wednesday 12/4) was the first day the Cubs could place LHRP C. D. Pelham back onto Outright Assignment Waivers, and so tomorrow (Friday 12/6) is the first day the Cubs can send Pelham outright to the minors (if he was placed back onto waivers yesterday).


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    A Competitive Balance draft slot can be traded only during a period of time starting on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft), so don't be surpised if these draft picks are traded during the off-season.

    Keep in mind that the slot cannot be traded for cash unless it is a financial adjustment made to offset the salary of one or more of the players involved in the trade.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    The active list roster limit changes scheduled to go in effect in 2020 have not yet been officially approved. Same goes for the three-batter minimum (or else record the third out in the inning) for relief pitchers. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    And then the active list roster limit will expand from 26 to 28 on September 1st (max 14 pitchers in September). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    The "26th man" who was added for doubleheaders will now be the "27th man" and he can be a pitcher. 


  • crunch 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    ATL signs cole hamels 1/18m...a'ite then.

    also, z.wheeler 5/100+ to the phillies.