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!
Eric S 20 min 32 sec ago (view)
Dietrich ends up with the Rangers on a minor league deal and sent to their alternate training site.
Cubster 1 hour 2 min ago (view)
No new Cardinals tested negative on Sunday. They need two days in a row of neg. testing to get the OK to resume the season. Today's tests are not back.
crunch 2 hours 29 min ago (view)
STL is going to go 1/2 month without playing a game...more at this point are possible.
they've played 5 games. some teams have played 16-17 games.
Childersb3 2 hours 53 min ago (view)
Why isn't Ryan Jensen at South Bend these days?
Regardless of if he gets called up. He should be there if he's healthy and able
crunch 23 hours 4 min ago (view)
"Zach Plesac (CLE) was sent home by the Indians and will be quarantined for 72 hours going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night."
Eric S 1 day 6 min ago (view)
Cubs have reset the rotation ahead of the series against the Indians: Lester, Hendricks, Darvish, Chatwood and Mills
Mills and Hendricks no longer back to back which makes sense given their similar styles
Mornington Crescent 1 day 50 min ago (view)
They actually did a Strat-O-Matic simulation of the 1981 all star game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland when the game was cancelled due to the strike, complete with scoreboard display. Bob Feller did the ceremonial first dice roll.
Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Derek Dietrich getting released and opening up a slot on the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool roster (which was full prior to Dietrich getting released) would allow Mark Zagunis to opt back into the season (if he so chooses) and return to the Club Player Pool, if being on the Restricted List was going to prevent him from being a first-time minor league 6YFA post-2020.
Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
The path for Dietrich to the Cubs MLB Active List roster was always based on a potential injury to Rizzo, Kipnis, Schwarber, or Heyward, so I can see why Dietrich would request his release - IF - he has a for sure MLB gig with another club waiting for him, but otherwise no.
Eric S 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
Cubs released Derek Dietrich from his minor league contract - at Dietrich's request - so he can pursue other MLB opportunities. Wouldn't be surprised if he hooks on with the Braves as 2B Ozzie Albies was put on the IL last week with a wrist injury that may take considerable time to heal. In any event, the Cubs player pool back to 59 of a possible 60 players.
Cubster 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Phillip Evans suffered a broken jaw and a concussion in his ugly collision with Gregory Polanco Per Jon Heyman.
Cubster 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Pirates-Cardinals series also cancelled. Maybe they can play the games on Stratomatic with dice or All-Star baseball with spinners?
This was the Pirates only trip to StL but they do have a mid Sept series vs StL in PIT.
at least the Cardinals can't whine about losing home attendance revenue (but they do lose in Park advertising revs).
Jackstraw 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
So much for his offseason workouts with Kimbrel.
Eric S 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Never played roto baseball but enjoy listening to roto podcasts for the very same reasons you list.
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
ex-cub-for-a-minute derek holland (PIT) had a bad 1st inning today...homer, single, homer, homer, homer in his first 11 pitches.
crunch 2 days 1 min ago (view)
i played for decades in various formats. i got crazy busy 3 years ago, took a year off, and never got back into it.
it's a great way to stay engaged with all the players and introduce yourself to emerging talent other people see that may not be on your radar.