There is a Twilight Zone episode from 1963 called "The Parallel." The story goes something like this...
An astronaut (Steve Forrest) blasts-off from Cape Canaveral, and once he is in orbit, his ship disappears from radar. Next scene, the astronaut wakes up in a hospital, and he appears to be OK. Except he notices certain aspects of his life are slightly different. For instance, his best friend (who was a USAF major when he took off) is now a colonel. His house has a white picket fence that it did not have before. And nobody has ever heard of a "President Kennedy." He locates an encyclopedia and finds that certain facts are different from the history that he remembers. And Jim Hendry did not get fired.
In this alternate universe, the 2011 World Series ends with the Texas Rangers victorious (David Frese strikes out swinging in the bottom of the 9th of Game 6), and operating with a 2012 $130M payroll budget, JH goes into the 2011-12 off-season with a plan that is consistent with past off-seasons.
The first thing he does is exercise the $16M 2012 club option on Aramis Ramirez. but A-Ram declines his player option part and is a free-agent. Knowing there are no other viable 3B FA options out there (or in-house waiting in the wings), Hendry offers Ramirez essentially the same deal he eventually got from Milwaukee in the parallel universe: 4/$50M or 3/$36M - $6M (2012), $12M (2013), $14M (2014), and $14M or $4M buy-out (2015). And with the promise that he will sign a FA 1B and RF to upgrade the lineup, Ramirez accepts. Therefore, there is no reason to acquire another third-baseman, so D. J. LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin remain with the Cubs, and Ian Stewart gets non-tendered by COL.
Believing that compensation draft picks are not worth the chance that the player might accept salary arbitration, Carlos Pena is allowed to leave without being offered salary arbitration, so the Cubs will receive no compensation draft picks in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
But that doesn't matter, because JH knows that Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are available. and he will sign one of them. Pujols (somewhat surprisingly) decides to go to the Angels, but JH meets Fielder's asking price, giving the slugger a 10/$205M contract that bests the one Pujols got from LAA by $1M.
While JH has a $130M budget in 2012, he knows he will get about $50M in payroll back post-2012 when Zambrano, Dempster, Byrd, Marshall, and Baker are free-agents, and Pena's $5M salary deferred from 2011 and Carlos Silva's $2M 2012 buy-out are off the books, so all FA contracts are back-loaded. Therefore, the Fielder contract is paid this way: $12M (2012) and $27M (2013-21), with player opt-out options (naturally) after the 4th, 6th, and 8th seasons.
Additionally, JH offers Carlos Beltran a year more than he got from the Cardinals in the alternate universe, signing Beltran to a three-year 3/$39M back-loaded deal that somewhat mirrors the Ramirez contract: $6M (2012), $15M (2013), $15M (2014), and $15M or $3M buy-out (2015).
Because Beltran has been signed to play RF, JH has no interest in David DeJesus.
At this point, the Cubs 2012 payroll (including signed players and projected salaries for arbitration-eligibles and auto-renewal players) is about $127M.
The Cubs still need a starting pitcher, so Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt are non-tendered, saving another $2M in 2012 payroll, as Baker and DeWitt are replaced on the 25-man roster by LeMahieu and either Ryan Flaherty or Marwin Gonzalez (who are added to the 40-man roster on 11/18).
With $5M left to spend, JH signs Paul Maholm to a three-year $21M contract ($5M in 2012 and $8M in 2013-14), without having to trade Sean Marshall.
Looking ahead, salary increases in 2013 would include Fielder (+$15M), Ramirez (+$6M), Beltran (+$9M), and Maholm (+$3M), plus arbitration driven increases for Matt Garza (+$3M), Geovany Soto (+$2M), and Starlin Castro (+$2M).
If the payroll budget stays the same in 2013 ($130M), JH would have $10M to spend next off-season. With Dempster and Zambrano free-agents, JH signs Garza to a long-term back-loaded contract extension and a front-line FA starting pitcher (perhaps Zack Greinke) to a back-loaded contract, as JH knows he will pick-up payroll post-2013 (after Soto has left as a FA) and post-2014 (after Soriano, Ramirez, and Beltran are off the books).
"Submitted to you without any recommendations as to belief or disbelief. You can accept or reject. You pays your money and you takes your chances. But credulous or incredulous, don't bother to ask anyone for proof that it could happen. The obligation is reverse challenge. Prove that it couldn't. This happens to be... The Twilight Zone."
Ho! Ho ! Ho! Merry Christmas, everybody!
crunch 31 min 49 sec ago (view)
sahadev sharma (the atlantic) says w.contreras is all but gone via trade if jed can't get an extension worked out.
unless you're a yan gomes fan, the catcher market is nearly non-existent this off-season.
if this gets a bit more dire looking for the cubs i'll try to compile a list of 18-21 year old below-top-10 team tallent and guys with serious injuries missing all of next season as potential cubs trade targets.
Cubster 11 hours 6 min ago (view)
Heartwarming Trent Giambrone story in Tribune...
"Dad, that's yours." (...gets misty eyed)
Hagsag 13 hours 13 min ago (view)
crunch 23 hours 11 min ago (view)
It seems to be up to individual country origin promoters at this point, many not english translated. coverage from mlb/milb was limited in 2018 and they seem to have given up in 2019. last year was the same thing even though they were operating a nearly post-covid type structure.
we start tomorrow and nothing seems to be in place for casual english-speaking fans (that i know of).
Hagsag 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
How do I find the site for Caribbean winter baseball? Looking for rosters, box scores and etc.
azbobbop 2 days 17 min ago (view)
I'm not a frequent poster but I am a daily reader who really appreciates this site
SheffieldCornelia 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
I echo this!
Cubster 2 days 9 hours ago (view)
btw, gotta love the banner photo showing white cleats with Wrigley mud stuck to them. Great choice (and very 3D).
Hagsag 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
Cant picture not having AZ Phil as a infomation source.
Mike Wellman 3 days 1 hour ago (view)
On top of what everyone else sez, TCR is my passport to the I-Cubs every year. Plz keep up the good work!
First.Pitch.120 3 days 6 hours ago (view)
I echo what everyone else has said. I am in no way an expert (or even novice) at the nuts & bolts of website construction; however, I have dabbled in some website maintenance for various entities. If there is a need for another set of hands, I would be willing to see if I could help ( or at least pull a Jonathan Herrera & cheer from the bench with an awesome helmet).
Wrigley Rat 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
This site is great! It's pretty much the only Cubs site I visit daily, other than a Google search for Cubs news. 90% of the information I get on Cubs prospects is from here. Commenters are usually very respectful and it seems that most are well-informed or want to be. I'm hoping the site can continue. Thanks to everyone who contributes to its content! :)
George Altman 4 days 8 min ago (view)
I'd like to add, without meaning to take a superior attitude, that ALL the content and commentators on TCR are a step above every other Cubs Blog I've seen. I'm better informed, better briefed about not only what's happening but what's likely to happen.
You all have made me a better Cubs fan. Whatever happens, thank you.
Charlie 4 days 4 hours ago (view)
I will be happy to continue to do gameday posts for another season and would like to keep the site active. Thanks for your labor!
Sorry for all the delayed and abbreviated posts at season's end, by the way.
fullykräusened 4 days 5 hours ago (view)
Like the other posters, I don't post often, but have enjoyed Arizona Phil and crunch (who was right about Jason Heyward :) ). I am grateful for all the work that has gone into maintaining the site, and whatever you want to do to make it work is okay with me!
Cubster 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
Chiming in that TCR is still a major part of my daily Cub routine and has always been my browser homepage. The site contains much love for AZ Phil and his subtle sense of humor as the war correspondent for the Arizona Scoring Service.
"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen"