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 45 min 18 sec ago (view)
I dub this, "The Billy Hamilton Game."
crunch 51 min 58 sec ago (view)
hamilton HR...add that to the "odd stuff in 2020" list...first since 2018.
crunch 55 min 55 sec ago (view)
it's important to remember that tommy h is both young and in great shape with no pre-existing conditions and got smacked down really hard with Covid according to his own account.
we had an outbreak at our lab, 3 out of 14 people (all symptomatic), and 1 has been out 5 weeks now because she can't shake extreme fatigue and brain fog...took her 3 weeks to stop the hacking cough and chest congestion. she's in her early 50s with no pre-exisiting conditions, non-smoker, not overweight...
crunch 1 hour 2 min ago (view)
same...especially after the first few weeks...
and in perfect 2020 manner, we also had cancelled games thanks to wildfire smoke and social justice protests to go with the pandemic cancellations.
Jackstraw 1 hour 2 min ago (view)
Sandbagging all season long. Very sly.
Cubster 1 hour 15 min ago (view)
Is it true that the Cubs are the only mlb team that did not have one test positive for COVID? Pitching coach Tommy H had it in the spring but no players.
Charlie 1 hour 40 min ago (view)
Kris Bryant is covering that inside corner the last two games. Love to see it.
champsummers 2 hours 2 min ago (view)
Honestly, the reasoning you outline is a bit beyond my limited cognitve wherewithal. But nevertheless, I am pleased to learn that we wont be squandering an option on him.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 23 min ago (view)
I dont believe it uses an option because he will be active on the seasons last day and won't ever end up getting technically optioned. If memory serves, the playoffs don't count as being "optioned" if you're not on the active roster
champsummers 2 hours 25 min ago (view)
Hmmm. Bringing up Marquez?
Doesn't that use up an option year?
Why would you want to waste an option year for one meaningless appearance in a meaningless game?
Cubster 2 hours 34 min ago (view)
honestly, I didn't think Mlb would make it through the 60 game schedule. 2020, scariest and weirdest year ever.
Cubster 2 hours 36 min ago (view)
Pregame radio: Marquez will see some action in today's game
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 20 min ago (view)
Brailyn Marquez replaces Patrick "Good Luck Charm" Wisdom on the roster!
Cubster 6 hours 35 min ago (view)
The opening two series for the Cubs will be in Houston. If they get farther next would in Arlington Including the WS.
Jackstraw 10 hours 21 min ago (view)
Thanks, AZ Phil
Craig A. 15 hours 5 min ago (view)
If the cardinals loose and the giants win, the cardinals will have to play and win on Monday to make the playoffs.