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!
Hagsag 22 min 29 sec ago (view)
Make the Deadbirds forfeit all three games.
crunch 2 hours 42 min ago (view)
Arizona Phil 3 hours 39 min ago (view)
Based upon the way MLB handled the Marlins positive tests and the Phillies only potential exposure, I wouldn't be surprised if all three of the Cubs-Cards games this weekend will ultimately be canceled.
Arizona Phil 4 hours 15 sec ago (view)
Tonight's Cubs-Cardinals game postponed due to an additional Cards positive CoViD-19 test.
The additional STL player who tested positive had apparently been out in public with the others who tested positive earlier this week when they were infected, so while the new positive test is not a surprise, the lag/delay in the player testing positive is probably a bit concerning/disappointing.
crunch 10 hours 53 sec ago (view)
...only because ESPN no longer shows australian rules football.
Charlie 18 hours 7 min ago (view)
This is baseball.
This is the sport we like.
crunch 20 hours 3 min ago (view)
top 9th, 1 out, men on 1st/2nd...alec mills steps to the plate.
they're down by 13 runs. i want to end this, too.
Wrigley Rat 21 hours 10 min ago (view)
Really good stuff here from Marty Pevey (Iowa Cubs Manager, Acting Manager of South Bend): https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/bas...
Eric S 22 hours 3 sec ago (view)
If Chatwood can provide two excellent starts for each turkey I can live with that
crunch 22 hours 5 min ago (view)
i dont like august 6th, 2020 chatwood.
i've liked other recent versions, though.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 11 min ago (view)
Without an actual minor league season to use for evaluation purposes, I think the likely Cubs 40-man roster adds on 11/20 will be from this group and probably in this order (and no more than seven, possibly eight):
crunch 22 hours 25 min ago (view)
this digital crowd is creepy as hell. at least it's not for the whole game.
Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
The Cubs have signed veteran RHRP Kelvin Herrera to a minor league contract and he has been added to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool and has been assigned to the Cubs Practice Squad in South Bend.
Herrera was released by the White Sox last Sunday, so he should be ready to roll right away if he is needed.
bradsbeard 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Tommy Birch with the Des Moines Register just interviewed Martin Peavy about what's going on at South Bend. Some intriguing updates on some of the prospects down there as well as details about what they are doing. They could really use Short for scrimmage purposes
Eric S 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Thanks, AZ Phil!
Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: I doubt that any club will go below 14 pitchers (with at least nine relievers), and the Cubs could go up to 15 (or 16) pitchers once Jose Quintana (and Brad Wieck) return, especially if the Cubs eventually go with a six-man rotation (as I suspect they will, given the heavy work-load the SP will need to provide what with the questionable bullpen).