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 8 min 19 sec ago (view)
at least they gave up a chunk of nothing for him (clayton daniel, no power (not even doubles power), no speed, middle IF/OFr).
it would probably be better appreciated by fans if the entire offseason wasn't stuff like this.
it's obvious the front office is trying to work with what they have...which is little to nothing from the ownership.
cubbies.4ever 20 min 29 sec ago (view)
Cubs acquire Casey Sadler from LA....another Tommy John Surgery pitcher. Theo does it again.
crunch 1 hour 1 sec ago (view)
it gets better...
"Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Cubs have "considered/discussed" Jacoby Ellsbury."
sigh. dude hasn't played in 2 seasons and is 36.5 years old.
crunch 2 hours 16 min ago (view)
cubs sign tyler olsen to a minor league contract, 650K if he makes the majors.
evidently the cubs are sourcing 2020 players out of that trash can houston was banging on.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
carlos beltran "steps down" from the mets manager job
Jackstraw 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Both piggy-backing off of CubbyBlue. Or at least I was.
Hagsag 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
You have done your homework Phil.
Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
Some possible price tags for Kris Bryant (but only if he loses his grievance and has two years of club control left):
QuietMan 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Someone's stolen your idea,
Sonicwind75 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
His punishment is having to manage the mets.
Eric S 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
Well done! 👏 Astro-isks beats TrashCanGate in my mind.
Eric S 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
Wouldn't be shocked if they did punt this season. Someone is getting moved - it would shock me more if they stay status quo with respect to KB and/or Contreras. Still can't picture them trading Javy
Arizona Phil 2 days 52 min ago (view)
I would think the starting point in the discussion of a return package for Kris Bryant would be a young MLB (or near MLB-ready) SP who is both more MLB-ready than Brailyn Marquez and with a higher upside than Adbert Alzolay or Alec Mills, meaning Ian Anderson or Kyle Wright (ATL), Zac Gallen (AZ), Spencer Howard (PHI), or Luis Patino (SD), presuming those teams would have interest in acquiring KB in a trade.
Eric S 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
Acuna, Albies and maybe one or two of their high end pitching prospects should seal the deal -- and that's if KB wins his grievance case!
crunch 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
"Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes that the Braves' trade negotiations for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant are "expected to be revisited." "
Charlie 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
I'm most curious what happens with Beltran as new Mets managerial hire.