Free Agent’s Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose
"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.
crunch 16 hours 27 min ago (view)
kolten wong rumors heating up for the cubs, too. i could live with that. giving nico hoerner 600 ab's a year sounds absolutely terrible after what little he did last year.
Cubster 18 hours 43 min ago (view)
WSCR online reporting that the Cubs are going to watch lefty Carlos Rondon pitch. They desperately need another lefty that breaks down with the regularity of my Comcast service.
crunch 18 hours 56 min ago (view)
imagine being so toxic that you go from a no-doubt 1st or 2nd year HOF'r to having to try for it in your 10th year...and then imagine doubling down on the toxicity every chance you get a chance to redeem yourself.
every time he's called out, even for minor stuff, he piles on more and then complains that people that have an issue with him are "cancelling" him for no good reason.
he deleted a slew of "those people that stormed the capital are great people" posts pre-election so he has some kind of self-awareness in that skull of his somewhere.
Cubster 19 hours 31 min ago (view)
I'm all for removing him from the ballot. His bloody sock already made it. That was enuf.
Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 2 min ago (view)
Ranting about how the elections (both his and the other clown's) were stolen.
I hope he ends up one vote short next year, just to really rub it in.
crunch 22 hours 2 min ago (view)
currently he's throwing a tantrum and demanding to be removed from the HOF ballot for 2022.
Hagsag 1 day 4 min ago (view)
Will Schilling storm the HOF with a mob?
crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
schilling denied (71.1%, 16 votes short).
some people did nazi that coming.
no one inducted this year...aram got 1% of the vote so he found more than 1 vote out there (4 votes). latroy hawkins got 2 votes for being a solid dude to other people (very friendly with the press and pretty much everyone)...sosa got 17% of the vote...
schilling/bonds/clemens are going in their last eligible class in 2022...could be a hell of a "controversial" class...but bonds/clemens need to find 50+ votes.
Sonicwind75 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
Arizona is allowing fans in the stands for indoor NHL hockey games but it's too dangerous to let players following protocals; at least more so than hockey fans, to practice outside in a controlled environment. Wonder how much of that is coming from MLB ownership trying to get a late start and pro-rating player salaries. Stall and save some money until more fans are allowed to attend later in the year.
crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
few hours away from HOF announcements (6pm EST, unless leaked early).
schilling seems to be the only guy with a legit shot this year and i wouldn't be surprised to see no one get elected...
big up aramis rarmirez getting at least 1 known vote on publically shared ballots.
crunch 2 days 15 hours ago (view)
"MLB will hold its first-ever pre-draft combine from June 20-28 in Cary, North Carolina.
The combine will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, with top draft-eligible college and high school players invited. As part of the combine, the top-88 prep players will take part in a tournament through June 26th consisting of eight games."
crunch 2 days 16 hours ago (view)
cactus league officials are requesting MLB delay spring training because of elevated COVID cases + deaths.
their summer peak was 70-80 deaths a week and they're currently at 140-160 deaths a week.
things should be trending down now that most of people that wanted to kill relatives in order to have turkey dinners in NOV/DEC seems to have peaked.
Hagsag 3 days 13 hours ago (view)
$$$$ for trump's defense fund.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 13 hours ago (view)
But they got $600 a few months back. Each! That was an unexpected windfall.
Can't wait to see us acquire a 17 year old, 16 year old, 11 year old (all in the 15-30 range of Blue Jays prospects) and one of the shitty Jays surplus OFs. Randal Grichuk jerseys will be the new hot item among Cubs fans.
crunch 3 days 14 hours ago (view)
things are a little tight, we have to be patient with the ricketts family finances.
when TD Ameritrade was fully/completely sold in october they expected to get 26 billion dollars of value on the transaction, but it only got 22 billion dollars. the massive slew of millions that didn't fully come to realization on the ricketts side of that sale stings.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 14 hours ago (view)
Trade Hendricks? Cant be true. We're "going to be competitive this year."
Sell the team, Ricketts family.