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 hours 33 min ago (view)
pen manages to string 2 good innings together...in a row!
the cubs are 8-2.
the cards are 2-3. the marlins are 2-1.
we're 1/6th of the way into this and who knows how much longer it will last...
crunch 8 hours 49 min ago (view)
"what i wouldn't give to have a man bun and a 99mph fastball" - JD on staumont
crunch 8 hours 54 min ago (view)
Eric S 9 hours 2 min ago (view)
The Adjunct Professor was dealing tonite
crunch 9 hours 19 min ago (view)
a.mills is good for 140+ pitches, right?
*looks at pen* uh...right?
he was shakey through the first 2ip and stellar since.
Cubster 9 hours 20 min ago (view)
The Cardinals have to test negative for the next two days for the Cub-Cardinal series to happen this weekend (per Len Kasper)
crunch 11 hours 41 min ago (view)
game time delayed 30m
crunch 11 hours 50 min ago (view)
m.soroka (ATL) is having to be helped off the field unable to put weight on his right leg.
it looks like he really screwed something in his calf/foot area that's not specifically the ankle.
crunch 13 hours 40 min ago (view)
bryant(LF) / rizzo / baez / contreras / schwarber(DH) / bote(3rd) / heyward / hoerner / happ
crunch 14 hours 46 min ago (view)
"take off your mask while you eat/drink" indoor venues has been one of the stupidest missteps in this whole thing. i can safely say if i've been hearing this in covid briefings at work for months that government leaders have, too.
it's one of the most disasterous missteps we've taken during re-opening and there is little american appetite for ending it on a government or "personal responsibility" level.
crunch 14 hours 54 min ago (view)
the "field of dreams" game that absolutely no one asked for, wanted, or cared about (STL/CWS) has been cancelled.
Cubster 15 hours 48 min ago (view)
MSNBC: 13 members of the Cardinals organization are positive, 7 players, 6 staff.
Sportswriters saying that the Criteria for shutting down the season is 3-4 teams with uncontrolled spread.
Entire series between Tigers-Cards canceled.
Hanging by threads...
Charlie 15 hours 55 min ago (view)
Charlie 15 hours 58 min ago (view)
Dang. That map suggests he's right on the border of being blocked, even though MLB says he's not according to his zip. We'll see about the IP address. Thanks!
Charlie 16 hours 3 min ago (view)
They should absolutely know better BUT let's all remember that there are other authorities responsible for allowing those venues to open.
Cubster 16 hours 16 min ago (view)
Cards-Tigers tonight is cancelled and supposedly tomorrow's game is iffy.