Connecting Dots

Before recently throwing in with Super Agent Scott Boras, Super Free Agent Carlos Correa was represented by the mega-agency that’s been buying up MiLB teams, including the Iowa Cubs. The former sub-rivalry with the Memphis Redbirds will now be a sib-rivalry since the teams share the same owner. Strange bedfellows. But that’s beside my primary point of interest. The I-Cubs’ ownership had been local for decades, most recently under the community-spirited auspices of a man whose resume includes a Pulitzer Prize in journalism. He’s in his 80s and plans to remain a fan who’ll be seen at the ballpark. Still, he’ll be missed. Not only did he keep the team’s staff on the payroll throughout the 2020 season that wasn’t, but he divvied the proceeds of the team’s sale amongst all of the full-timers @ $2K per year of service. One long-term, mid-level vet reaped a $70K bonus when the soon-to-be ex-boss gathered everyone for a holiday surprise party. All of which I mention while wondering if/when the latest round of CBA jousting at the MLB level will resolve. UFC is another monogram that comes to mind to describe the “negotiations” about how to carve the billionberry pie. UFC? The new I-Cub owner also owns that brand. Not quite the same cache for some of us as a Pulitzer Prize.

Comments

Thank you for sharing Mike.  Sounds like the former owner was a high character human being and should be celebrated.  Haven't had a chance to attend a game there since I moved away from Des Moines in 2007 but recall it being a great ballpark experience.  Has there been any word of the new owners making any major changes?

cubs sign 31 year old eric yardley to a minor league deal.

he's a 31 year old righty that throws sub-90mph junk.

sammy sosa off the HOF ballot after 10 years.  he finishes up with a 18.5% vote, highest in any year.

gene clines has died.

he was with the organization on/off for a notable amount of time as both a player and coach.

cubs linked to being a finalist for seiya suzuki (japan).

strong-armed, power hitting corner OF'r (suited for RF)...27 years old.

cubs removing the santo + williams statues from the corner of sheffield/addison.

it's a temporary move so they can build their 2 story betting sportsbook.

S. Sharma  in The Athletic has a piece on hot Cub prospects after Brennen Davis and the injured ones like Amaya. 
https://theathletic.com/3102675/2022/01/31/the-next-wave-of-cubs-prospec...

Baseball America ranks the Cubs minor league system 15th in baseball - an improvement from last year's 22nd.

if you only count guys that can't legally drink in the US they're probably a top-5 system.  joking/not-joking..

AAA to now have 150 game seasons (up from 146).

MLB will not make a counter-proposal to the player's latest offer and has requested a federal mediator.

yeesh.

they are extremely far apart on the economic stuff.

MLBPA rejects MLB's request for a federal mediator.

back to the bargaining table...hopefully.

early (pitchers/catchers) spring training starts in 10 days.  that will most likely not happen.

spring training delayed until march 5th at the earliest.

multiple meetings between owners/players next week.

meh.

And to think....if there was only some way the owners could end this lockout.....I don't know...maybe unlock the facilities. 

I love baseball, but I hope the MLBPA doesn't give another inch.

george altman article on mlb.com

https://www.mlb.com/news/george-altman-played-in-the-majors-negro-league...

one of many underrated cubs badasses.

My guy!!!

players/owners met for the 3rd straight day.  they're supposedly still far apart on numerous economic issues.  they're meeting again tomorrow.

if there's no agreement by Feb 28, regular season games will start to be cancelled.  players will not be paid for missed games.

spring games through march 7th cancelled.

"some progress" made friday.

if there's not an agreement by monday more spring games will be cancelled.

March 7th leaves 3 weeks and 3 days until the scheduled opener (3/31). Hmmmm. If the season opens on time, which is doubtful with any further delays, I see a lot of bullpen expanded rosters.

"Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association "backed significantly off" Super 2 and their revenue sharing asks in their latest proposal to Major League Baseball on Saturday.

The players also tweaked their offer regarding the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT). The good news, is that the two sides are now back at the table for a second session on Saturday after the owners met separately to discuss the proposal."

well, so much for that momentum...

"According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the second meeting between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball did not go well on Saturday.

The players presented a "comprehensive offer" after the first meeting of the day, which the owners contingent caucused on for two hours before sitting back down at the table with the players. MLB reacted badly to the proposal though, which in turn outraged the MLBPA."

----------

"Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association is so furious with how Saturday's negotiations with Major League Baseball went that they're considering walking away from the table."

players/owners will meet tomorrow afternoon (sunday) for the 7th day in a row.

This makes me sick.

sunday meetings over.  they will meet again tomorrow.

if they can't get an agreement tomorrow, regular season games will be cancelled.

monday meltdown as the owners inform the players they're more than willing to lose a month of playing time...

MLBPA is setting up a fully staffed temporary player training/practice facility in AZ.  there might be one set up in FL.

also, jeff passan wrote a thing that everyone should read if they have 5-10 minutes to spare: https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/33362477/inside-self-inflicted-crisi...

also also, bryce harper has an instagram gem: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FMte1zqX0AA0jQw?format=jpg

they're working into the night with back/forth visits between camps...that's something.

still at it...it's been an 11 hour day so far.

deadline to avoid game cancellation moved to 5pm tuesday.

they put in over 15 hours on monday.  there is positive movement and even some things agreed to...

playoffs to be 12 teams and some luxury tax issues agreed upon.

very postive tuesday (so far) with an agreement possible tuesday night or wednesday.

yeesh...

so, MLB announced their "best offer" would be made before 5pm today...MLBPA has already unanimously said "naw."

the MLBPA hasn't come out and said it, but the earlier "good news" seems to be a leak from owners to the press and the 2 sides are not anywhere near close as it was assumed to be.  MLBPA has pointed to how far apart (very) they are on both pre-arb bonus pools and CBT thresholds.

looks like we're in for a shortened season.

everyone is going home.  all that's left for today is press conferences/statements from both sides telling us how the other side sucks.

MLB announces the "first 2 series" of the regular season are *poof* gone.

they're going to try again on thursday.

This translates to a cancellation of the opening road series and the home series vs Cardinals. Opening game moves to a 4-7 opening Thursday night vs Brewers at Wrigley.

Losing a few cold-weather games out of a long season isn't too big a deal. But it is a bummer to push the opening of the season. I guess I'll have to find some other way to note the passage of time. I hope the union manages to spite a few billionaires, if nothing else.

reminder, minor league games will continue as normal.

if you live in an area with minor league baseball, it's generally cheap fun and if you haven't been in a while a lot of newer minor league stadiums are rather comfortable (tall crew reporting in).

Is everyone keeping in shape at their own alternate training sites? I've been slacking, myself. Maybe I will add a bratwurst and beer to my shopping list this weekend.

I dropped the set of keys my coworker pitched back to me yesterday even though the feed was perfect, and had a can of soup slip through my hands at the grocery over the weekend, so I'm in midseason form already.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/cubs/ct-chicago-cubs-prospects-hit...

Tribune article on adjustments being worked on for 5 Cub prospects: Hernandez, Alcantara, Howard, PCA and Caissie.

this is a damn nice deep-digging piece.  it's not extrodinary, but it's thorough enough to be high quality.

mlbpa and mlb met for 90m today.

this was an expected "pre-game" to set up a timeline for future negotiations.  looks like we're in for extended time off from baseball.

"Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the MLBPA has approached MLB with an offer to re-open talks about a 14-team postseason."

this is f'n trash.

why even play a season?  let's just play a playoff and let everyone in.

this isn't football.  they play enough games to separate those who deserve it from those who don't.

And in a short series, teams that don't deserve it can get lucky and knock off good teams.   Quality hardly matters with a 14 game playoff.

the absolute brutality of the 1-game wildcard playoff i didn't mind.  it made it a sudden-death playoff "series" and the teams had to choose what pitcher they're going to burn for an all-or-nothing knowing he wouldn't be ready to pitch game 1 of the next round.  that was a playoff expansion i didn't see coming, but was acceptable how it worked out.

this seems to be something different that's going to be hard to be seen as anything other than a money grab.

Nor is it basketball, where it has always seemed to me that the NBA plays a grueling 81-game schedule just to determine seeding for the "real" season, the playoffs. But in the NBA, the really good teams are far superior to the mediocre ones, and it's rare for a high seed to get knocked out in an early round. (Not a serious NBA follower, but that's my impression.) In baseball, the teams are more evenly matched, and, as Craig said above, it's no shock when a lower seed can win a playoff round against a higher one. Which of course makes spending salary money to get incrementally better is nearly pointless with expanded playoffs. The whole point of the owners' position, as anybody with a lick of sense knows...

Don't the small market teams understand that the solution to competitive imbalance is revenue sharing?  With a really punishing CBT, no teams pay it, and nobody gets any revenue shared.  The status quo that the owners seem to be protecting is  bad for both small market teams and players.

MLB Spring Training games will not begin until at least March 18, per the mlb website. Exhibition play had previously been scrapped through March 11. Clearly the season start is unlikely for the current date of April 7th and another week should get nixed soon.

Trust The Plan ™

nice about the exit velocity.  that's the scary knock on nick madrigal...really low exit velocity for a guy that relies on his bat to get on base.  part of that low exit velocity average is that he'll swing (and make contact) on pretty much anything you throw him.  also, happy 25th birthday madrigal.

meeting today was short, sweet, and non-productive.

MLB has declared the matter 'deadlocked' after today's proposal from the MLBPA and even said things are going backwards.

no follow-up meetings have been scheduled.

starting to look more and more like a may opening day (at best).

in cubs related news, they've blocked off the sidewalks to start construction on the multi-story betting sportsbook attached to wrigley field.

the extra income it generates should lead to some great cubs-related things, like a few more digital ad scoreboards or maybe a second TV sports network.

"Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report that MLB presented multiple CBA proposals for the MLBPA to consider on Monday.

Drellich adds that it was relayed from MLB to the MLBPA that the league views Tuesday as a deadline for an agreement if there is to be a 162-game season and players receive full pay and full service time"

Yeah.....I don't think the CBA works the way the Owners think it does. Stroman has a contract for $25M in 2022. Pretty sure that's what the NLRB would rule he gets paid whether it's 30 starts or 10.starts.

codi heuer had surgery recently on his right elbow.  he may not pitch in 2022.  neat.

it was TJ...totally out for the year.

sorry, i mean Advocate Health Care and DraftKings presents Tommie Copper John surgery, sponsored by Sloan Valve Company, the official toilet of the Chicago Cubs and Hotel Zachary.

It oughta be called Frank Jobe surgery!

Matt Szczur announced his retirement. Making way for the next generation of scrappy 5th outfielders.

To hell with Aaron Rodgers. That is all!

real compromise with both sides leaking to the press parts of discussions and agreements (without anger/backlash) have been flowing the past day and a half.

they could get this done this week, maybe even before the weekend.

we are still in the window to have a 162 game season happen (with a slight extension of playing days in the season), but things have to come together in the next few days.

they seem to be rather far apart on pre-arb bonus pool loot and draft pick compensation as major sticking points, but not the only sticking points.

a lot of stuff is close, but not this.

the owners are really hung up on the international draft, but that's been a non-starter for the players.  some owners want to die on that hill, but the players seem to be ready to hand them a knife if that's their wish.  you can't bargain for something 1 side doesn't even want to consider...

they're pushing either/or options to the players and some involve the international draft.

it's not happening tonight (wednesday).

games have been cancelled and opening day is April 14th at the earliest.

Therefore, they open on the road in Colorado. These cancellations translate to the Wrigley home opener vs Rays, Monday 6:40pm on 4-18. That 3 game series is followed by 4 with the Pirates at Wrigley through the weekend.

big movement on the international draft stuff...they seem to be pushing that part aside with an agreement to have active discussions until july.

draft pick compensation removal (player ask) in exchange for an international draft (owner ask) seems to be the tradeoff that's in scope of the discussions going through july.

if they can sort it all out a deal could get done soon.  these 2 major sticking points are most of what's holding everything up...the rest of the stuff is believed to be close to settled.

we may have an agreement in principle by the end of today or the weekend.

also, MLB has said yesterday's game "cancelation" statement was misunderstood and they could still get 162 games in if an agreement is made very soon.  i dunno how that math works out, but that's the updated statement.

MLB and MLBPA agree to new CBA pending ratification. Regular season to begin on April 7. I believe it will be the entire 162 games

https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-mlbpa-agree-to-cba

Agreement!

Season supposedly will start April 7th and should be a full 162 games. Also the DH comes to the National league making sense of the Cubs signing Yan Gomes and keeping Willson Contreras. Unless they go crazy and bring back Schwarbs!!!

i already forgot about yan gomes.  neat.

here's to hoping marcus stroman can last a full season with creating a "social media incident"

Is the return of AZ Phil coming soon?

No mention of AZ Phil in the new CBA, which is a gross oversight!

he was traded to a Major League Lacrosse blog for one of those cool cups-on-a-stick flingy things and a case of Junior Mints.

That's a better return than the Bears are getting for Khalil Mack who is going to the Chargers.

no rule 5 draft in 2022 because of lockout weirdness.

it should return in 2023 (unchanged rules).

Looking forward to reading posts from Arizona Phil again.

9-inning double headers and no ghost runners on 2nd in extra innings is back on the menu.

nice.

"Travis Sawchik of The Score reports that the new Wild-Card format will feature best-of-three rounds before the League Divisional Series.

In the case of MLB and the MLBPA: They are, in fact, afraid of ghosts. With 12 teams now making the postseason -- up from 10 under the old format -- the Wild-card round will see the top two teams getting a bye, and the four teams that play will see a best-of-three format to advance to the LDS. Because of the new format, there will be no more tie-breaking games. If two teams tie with the same record, the berth will be determined by formulas similar to the NFL or NBA."

owners vote 30-0 to ratify.  IT'S ON.

put the cold ass stove under a blast furnace.

a few minutes from now (7pm EST) we're back to 100% open for business.

I still think the owners gave the players the ol' screwjob in all of this and blame the owners for the lockout, but on the other hand...WHEEEEE baseball is back, let's do this!  I'm just excited to see Cubs baseball again.

Carlos Rodon signs with the Giants at 2/44. Somewhere, Jason Schmidt is smiling.

still waiting on brian roberts over here...

When I heard the total contract amount was 44 million, I said to myself "Please let it be for three years!"