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 9 min 23 sec ago (view)
i played for decades in various formats. i got crazy busy 3 years ago, took a year off, and never got back into it.
it's a great way to stay engaged with all the players and introduce yourself to emerging talent other people see that may not be on your radar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 7 hours 36 min ago (view)
It feels like you have no time to let players you know are good figure out how to get out of slumps. It's not ideal, and feels very much like it's not baseball.
crunch 17 hours 18 min ago (view)
at least this HOU/OAK game has been great since the DET/PIT game has ended. sigh.
crunch 17 hours 56 min ago (view)
at least this DET/PIT game has been great. no cubs til tuesday at the earliest...boo.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 31 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player being on the Restricted List for a full season makes that season not a qualified season toward minor league free-agency, so will Mark Zagunis (who otherwise would be eligible to be a minor league 6YFA for the first time post-2020) being on the Restricted List as the result of opting-out of the 2020 season (he was assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool in July) keep him from being a minor league 6YFA post-2020? If not, then Zagunis needs to opt back in even if he is no longer assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool.
jdrnym 19 hours 50 min ago (view)
Baseball America confirms that 2020 will be considered a "qualified season" for the purposes of determining minor league free agency.
crunch 19 hours 51 min ago (view)
"Cardinals' president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced Friday that Ryan Helsley and Austin Dean are the two players that tested positive for COVID-19."
Cubster 20 hours 51 min ago (view)
I presume they come back to Chicago for the weekend and travel to Cleveland on Tuesday.
Saved from an August weekend in Stl. Plus, it might eliminate any road games vs Stl. They might do makeups during the 3 game series at Wrigley Mon 8-17 to Wed 8-19 (Thursday 8-20 is a scheduled off day for the Cubs but StL plays the Reds in StL at night) or the 4 game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Friday 9-4 through Mon 9-7.
crunch 21 hours 28 min ago (view)
i can't even imagine what it's like playing fantasy baseball this season.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 43 min ago (view)
So the Cubs are off until Tuesday.
Hagsag 23 hours 20 min ago (view)
Make the Deadbirds forfeit all three games.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours 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 1 day 2 hours 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 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
...only because ESPN no longer shows australian rules football.
Charlie 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
This is baseball.
This is the sport we like.