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!
Craig A. 6 hours 22 min ago (view)
I'll bet the analytics guys told him to.
Eric S 8 hours 36 min ago (view)
Bote's single accounts for RBI #26 on the year. Happ leads the team with 28 RBI - Bote got his in 72 fewer at bats than Happ.
crunch 9 hours 20 min ago (view)
pinch hitting j.martinez for v.caratini is another "why we doing this" batting substitution to add to the pile.
so far i'm a bit perplexed by some of the guys d.ross is having pinch hit in certain situations more than anything he's doing. almost everything else seems mostly sane.
crunch 9 hours 28 min ago (view)
lester with a "comeback" appearance... it's PIT, though...who could easily end up not even winning 20 games this season (15 as of now). still looked decent, even if not overpowering.
6ip 4h 1bb 1k, 0r/er
crunch 9 hours 32 min ago (view)
yeah, the oblique is one of those "few days, few weeks, months?" injuries. trying to come back too soon puts guys back to starting over.
Dolorous Jon Lester 9 hours 44 min ago (view)
Depending the severity, that may be how his Cub tenure ends. Hopefully not, he deserves better than that
crunch 10 hours 10 min ago (view)
bryant down with "right oblique" pain...
Charlie 10 hours 53 min ago (view)
The Troy Glaus comp has held up pretty well.
I don't know whether to think he's playing through an injury or going through similar small-sample frustrations as Baez, Rizzo, Schwarber, and to a lesser extent Contreras.
Dolorous Jon Lester 11 hours 1 min ago (view)
Shockingly by virtue of that HR he has been infinitely more productive than Jose Martinez
crunch 11 hours 13 min ago (view)
baez just bunted for a RBI single. that's both impressive and sad.
honestly, there's more than a few power hitters out there that can't bunt worth a damn and he pulled it off with enough ease you know he's put some work in. it's nice to see it done well even if you don't wanna see him do it a lot.
Eric S 11 hours 14 min ago (view)
Anyone else remember how Andre Dawson and his creaky knees looked in the 1989 NLCS against the Giants? That's the vibe I'm getting with KB. Not sure what is up with Bote but I hope he gets some consideration for starting at third.
crunch 11 hours 54 min ago (view)
cubs put i.vargas on the 10-day IL...later dude...thanks for that homer.
crunch 12 hours 13 min ago (view)
happ / rizzo / contreras / schwarber / bryant / heyward / baez / kipnis / caratini(DH)
Q will start tomorrow night.
Arizona Phil 15 hours 4 min ago (view)
If spotty command and inconsistency wasn't a concern, Rex Brothers would be Josh Hader. Right? I mean, a LHRP with a 95-97 FB and an 89 SL and he strikes out the side (which also happened to be the heart of the Twins order) 1-2-3 (all three swinging).
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
K...cubs lose. meh.
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
we really gonna leave this game to nico hoerner with 2 out and the bases loaded in the 9th? a'ite then. c'mon dude.