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!
Charlie 4 hours 46 min ago (view)
He didn't walk anybody! Woohoo!
crunch 5 hours 19 min ago (view)
phew...wow. cubs win.
Eric S 5 hours 27 min ago (view)
Hopefully Ryan is more 88-87 tonite instead of 86-85
crunch 5 hours 29 min ago (view)
wow, kimbrel out with 1 out, men on 2nd/3rd.
0.1 ip 2h 0bb 1k
k.ryan coming in.
Wrigley Rat 5 hours 52 min ago (view)
So MLB has changed the rules again. Instead of going from 30 to 28 to 26 players this year, teams will only go from 30 to 28 this Thursday and stay at 28 through the post-season.
Thinking about the Cubs potential moves, I would imagine that Jose Quintana and Brad Weick will be added at some point before the post-season and Rex Brothers, Colin Rea, Justin Steele, and one of Josh Phegley or Daniel Winkler would be sent down to South Bend (or released).
crunch 5 hours 54 min ago (view)
jeffress used in the 8th...easy one for him. looks like kimbrell is still the 9th inning guy.
crunch 6 hours 57 min ago (view)
he's done nothing extordinary out there, but he's looked a lot more comfortable out there this year.
he was especially bad at anything near the line the last few seasons, not making the play or getting over there so late somewhat ordinary popouts looked like great effort. small sample size and all, but it looks like he has a bit more of a clue. if he can be at least average-ish out there, his arm gives him a nice plus on top of it.
Childersb3 7 hours 32 min ago (view)
Anyone else think Souza isn't any better than Almora?
Should Souza's PAs go to Almora?
Eric S 7 hours 33 min ago (view)
Schwarbs looks more comfortable defensively in left field than Souza
Eric S 7 hours 37 min ago (view)
JHey joins the HR crowd - woot woot!!!
Eric S 7 hours 51 min ago (view)
Ideally would prefer Hendricks not pitch right after Mills given their similar profiles
crunch 8 hours 35 min ago (view)
bryant / rizzo / baez / schwarber(DH) / contreras / heyward / souza(LF) / kipnis / happ
Eric S 9 hours 3 min ago (view)
Nick Castellanos with HR number 6 tonight against the Indians. He's just killing it to start the season
crunch 11 hours 25 min ago (view)
i haven't heard anything beyond speculation. i don't even know if it was even addressed in the mlbpa/owners agreement, but i imagine it is in some way.
Sonicwind75 11 hours 29 min ago (view)
Has there been any indication on how much effort will be made to make up the games lost to a team Covid shutdown?
crunch 11 hours 35 min ago (view)
cubs gave d.bote a highlight reel tweet from his 3 notable plays last night.