Look, there is no way to sugar coat it, the Jason Heyward contract is about the biggest dumpster fire of a contract there may ever be. Having said that, everyone receives one mulligan.
Even 3 time World Series winning GM Brian Sabean has had a horrible Matt Cain contract to contend with the last half decade.
Theo Epstein hasn’t made too many blunders – and winning a World Series with both the Red Sox and now the Cubs has solidified a position for him in Cooperstown.
Also lucky is the brilliant signing of Anthony Rizzo of a 7 YR deal prior to 2013, and when he asserted himself as a perennial MVP contender.
Despite carrying a projected payroll in 2017 of around $171 MIL – the team has plenty of expiring contracts in the name of Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Jon Lackey, Jon Jay, Pedro Strop, Miguel Montero and Koji Uehara. to replenisg te talent again in 2018 – and going forward
There are only 4 players signed for $79.2 MIL so far.
The one factor of brilliantly drafting and then rostering a club full of guys the same age is that they are all on entry level contracts for a few years before the squad becomes increasingly expensive before Arbitration rights kick in.
2018 will see Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks and Addison Russell all hit 1st year Eligible on Arbitration, and then 2019 has Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Carl Edwards JR. hit the 1st year.
it will be at this point the team shoots up the salary page.
The biggest dilemma will be the status of Jake Arrieta. My guess is that he will want too much money and walk away from the Cubs.
More important than that even is simply signing Free Agents (not named Arrieta) by Epstein.
Epstein is creative. It is okay to figure out a Starting Pitcher in Free Agency, and also add another Closer if need be. Who knows, by 2018, Hector Rondon and Carl Edwards JR. may be able to lock down that role.
There is still money to spend in the 2017 and 2018 winter markets for sure.
Also playing in the NL Central provides them with security of being able to outspend all the other teams – with the Cardinals only being in the atmosphere.
It is not like they are fighting in the tough NL West with the Giants and high spending Dodgers. It will still mean facing off against those clubs. and contending with the aging Nationals roster, and New York Mets young staff for a few seasons.
Wrigley Field will be sold out, the revenue streams will break out to record levels, all freely flowing cash into the Ricketts family pockets.
The good news is they are not in cap hell yet The bad news is that it would only take one more bad deal/paired with Heyward, in order to prevent the club from signing all of their young superstars to extensions.
Epstein is too smart for that. Look for high value Annual Average Value’s that have expiring contracts before the 2018 and 2019 seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade for an existing ace pitcher.
Think Zack Greinke now, or a guy like Justin Verlander in 2018 or 2019, where the other club may eat some of the salary, ask for a high level prospect, and then have a legitimate Starter to lug some innings in the playoffs.
Maybe it would cost you a Javier Baez, or a combinations of Carl Edwards JR./Albert Almora JR. to do it, however with Ben Zobrist still in town, defense alignment can be configured in a lot of different ways for at least the next 2 – 3 years.
Like I stated in the Giants Payroll article, the new CBA has also reeled in the Dodgers spending $300 MIL on team payroll. The best thing that could happen for the Cubs is if Clayton Kershaw were to opt out of his deal beyond 2017.
That would either bring up the price for the Dodgers to sign him, or even give them the chance to sign the guy themselves. Yes. the Cubs have more flexibility than the Dodgers for at least a couple of offseasons.
Jason Heyward – OF (28): With a grand sum of $184 MIL from 2016 – 2023 ( 8 years) this is a brutal deal – and the club is lucky to have already won a World Series in season 1 of this pact.
Heyward will make an astonishing $28.2 MIL for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Epstein at least frontloaded the contract to erase some of the burden by the time the young talent comes up for raises.
This deal is the 13th richest in history for a guy who carried a .631 OPS. in 2016 I tend to think that Heyward will be closer to his Career OPS of .761 the next few years with the pressure somewhat off him now.
Hit him 7th or 8th and let him work out his kinks. Defense is at least not a problem here with him winning a 4th Gold Glove.
This could end bad in 2017 – with Heyward riding pine for some of the year – if the club opts to use Zobrist, Schwarber and the tandem of Jon Jay and Almora JR. as the OF.
Jon Lester – SP (33): Lester is in the 3rd year of a 7 YR/$165 MIL deal, and is set to reel in $25 MIL in 2017. The deal calls for $27.5 MIL in both 2018 and 2019, before scaling back to $20 MIL in 2020.
There is a 2021 Club Option as well. Details on that: $25M Team Option, $10M Buyout option guaranteed with 200 innings in 2020 or 400 IP in 2019-20.
With the Buyout that large, the man would have to fall from grace hard, to not get the Option. Although he would be nearly 40, $15 MIL extra will probably not be that bad.
Lester is worth every dollar the club has spent so far. It is hard to find playoff proven commodities on the open market.
Ben Zobrist – UT (36): Zobrist is the only player in the MLB who was won 2 straight World Series, as also being a member of the 2015 WS Champ KC Royals.
With the availability to play 5 defensive positions, Zobrist was the perfect compliment to the Cubs defensive roster in 2016 – although he played predominantly at 2B.
With the emergence of Baez in the playoffs, he will likely rove more around in 2017.
Zobrist earns $16.5 MIL in both 2017 and 2018 – before retreating back to $12.5 MIL in 2019. He will be in his Age 39 season at that point, and it may not look so hot at that point, but one can’t argue at his flexibility on the Roster providing so many options in the title run.
You can even say that his positional switching gives the club a better chance to hold onto Kyle Schwarber (instead of trading him in the American League).
John Lackey – SP (38): Lackey joined Lester, David Ross. and Epstein as guys who have won World Series in 2013 with Boston and the Cubs in 2016. He will make $16 MIL in 2017 before hitting Free Agency in 2018.
Lackey lugged 188.1 IP and gave the Cubs a 3.35 ERA in the process. It doesn’t even matter that he was being pulled in the early innings of the postseason.
Jake Arrieta – SP (31): Arrieta earns a tidy $15.6 MIL this year and will likely head out into Free Agency as a Scott Boras client. Unfortunately the man is going to be 32 heading into 2018.
I would not offer him higher than a 4 year deal at $20 – $21 MIL after, yet that will not get the job done when he hits the open market. Someone will pony up 5 YRs/$125 MIL for him, you watch.
Miguel Montero – C (34); Montero will make $14 MIL in 2017 – and I am not sure he will Catch more than about 60 games. Contreras at last is on an entry level contract to offset this salary. I am surprised the team has not ventured out to trade him.
Wade Davis – CL (32): It cost the club Jorge Soler and 4 years of Team Control, yet this was the way to go. $10 MIL for one year of Davis (who Closed for the 2015 wS Champion Royals) is smart business practice.
To acquire an elite Reliever such as this is a great move – when you consider the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants spent $86 MIL, $80 MIL and $62 MIL to sign Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon respectively.
Soler was going to be their 7th option as an OF. Davis, by the way, has a 0.83 ERA in 32.2 IP for his postseason career – and has carried a mid 1 ERA from 2014 – 2016 as a late inning Reliever – spanning 183 IP.
I would also think the club will extend the Qualifying Offer to him this winter ( $17.5 – $19 MIL range for one year), so they may even recover a 2nd or 3rd Draft Pick back all for just $10 MIL.
Jon Jay – OF (32): Has a 2017 contract or $8 MIL to play OF. He has a career .352 OBP, so could hit 1st or 9th for Maddon, working as an on base guy for the big boppers. Brilliant little move.
Anthony Rizzo – 1B (28): Rizzo will take him $7 MIL for 2017, coming after the heels of an ALL-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and top 4 MVP season in which he clubbed 30+ HRs and added 100 RBI for a 2nd straight season.
Rizzo also makes $7 MIL in 2018, $12 MIL in 2019, and two Team Options in a row call for $16.5 MIL and $2 MIL Buyouts for both 2020 and 2021.
It is contracts like this that setup championship caliber clubs for the organization.
Other valued deals that compare to it last decade or so. Paul Goldschmidt (5 YRs/$32.5 MIL), Madison Bumgarner (6 YRS/$35.6 MIL) and Andrew McCutchen ( 6 YRs/$51 MIL) that coincided with 4 straight top 5 NL MVP finishes.
Rizzo should challenge for an MVP every year of that remains on this deal.
Koji Uehara – RP (42): $6 MIL for one year seems like a lot or a guy of his age, but Uehara has plenty of playoff/Closer experience that is invaluable to a club like this. I would take it easy on him in the regular season and save the bullets for playoffs.
Hector Rondon – RP (29): $5.8 MIL for this former Closer is not a bad deal in 2017. Rondon has one more year left of Arbitration before hitting Free Agency in 2019. He has 77 Saves and a career ERA of 2.97.
Brian Duensing – SP/RP (33): Makes $2 MIL in 2017 and a Free Agent in 2018. A spot start here and extra Bullpen arm,
Justin Grimm – RP (29): Avoided Arbitration with a $1.8 MIL, has 2 more years left of Arbitration before he is a Free Agent.
Total Money for this Category for 2017: $157.5 MIL (13 Players)
Pedro Strop – RP (33): Is projected to to earn $5.5 MIL in Arbitration, and is a Free Agent in 2018.
Total Money for this Category for 2017: $5.5 MI: Total money is now $163 MIL
Pre-Arbitration – Entry Level Contracts:
Tommy La Stella – INF (28): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2020 and a Free Agent in 2021.
Kyle Hendricks – SP (27): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2020 and a Free Agent in 2021.
Kris Bryant – 3B Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2021 as a “Super 2” and a Free Agent in 2021. Bryant is only 25 Years old, and will have 4 years of Arbitration kick in starting next season.
Since the club opted to start his 2015 after the 10 days of service time, they wll retian his rights until the end of 2021. Bryant is on pace to end up recording Arbitration cash if he keeps his career trajectory.
The club should really look to extend him similar to the Mike Trout 6 YRs.$144 MIL deal he got.
Addison Russell – SS (23): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2018 – 2021 as a “Super 2” and a Free Agent in 2022.
Matt Szczur – UT (28): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.
Javier Baez – 2B/3B (24): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.
Mike Montgomery – SP/RP (29): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.
Kyle Schwarber – OF (24): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2019 – 2021 and a Free Agent in 2022.
Willson Contreras – C (25): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2022 – 2022 and a Free Agent in 2023.
Albert Almora JR – OF (23): Is Arbitration Eligible from 2022 – 2022 and a Free Agent in 2023.
Rob Zastryzny – RP (25) Is Arbitration Eligible from 2022 – 2022 and a Free Agent in 2023.
Total Money for this Category for 2017: $6.0 MIL MIL Toral Money Oveall – $169.0 MIL
Jason Hammel – $2 Million Buyout for 2017 that was agreed to in a gentleman’s deal. There is no dead money on he books past 2017 thus far.
Despite the Heyward mistake of a deal, Epstein has done everything right. It will be a constant maneuvering of the incoming talent – to surround the plethora of young superstars the club has.
The Cubs have the availability to sign an elite pitcher in Free Agency in the year or 2, or trade for one. Beyond that, the team can’t make another top 50 ALL – Time Salary roster mistake.
The brass should also investigate early extensions for Bryant, Ruseell and Contreras immediately while they may afford to wait for Hendricks and Schwarber yet.
Some sort of guaranteed money to the budget would be wise
As for Arrieta, he is just too old – an unorthodox in order to grant him the cash he will seek. Epstein has to find creative ways to bring in a #1 or $2 beyond this campaign.
Chicago is fantastic shape financially to spend as much as it takes to ensure a dynasty in the next half-dozen years.
If I were in charge I would try to limit any big historic contracts to their own young superstars from this point forwards.
Also don’t be afraid to trade one of the premiere young offensive players for a quality Starter (#1 or #2 Starter)like Baez, Contreras or Almora.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015. It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews
To Subscribe and listen daily to ‘Our Lead Personality’ Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here. Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!
With the news that the Cubs brought in Wade Davis in exchange for Jorge Soler, the Cubs have effectively brought in a 9th Inning Man – who won the World Series for the Royals in 2015 as their stopper.
Davis will earn $10 MIL in 2017, and can may be extended the Qualifying Offer for 2018 in the process. With another spike potentially in the top 125 salaries (this years total was $17.2 MIL) maybe Davis would take the one year deal for 2018 after this next season.
As one of the game’s premiere Late Inning arms since the 2014 season, Davis is also a perfect replacement for the departing Aroldis Chapman.
With a team that has a World Series under its belt, they just added a Pitcher with a 4 – 0 record, with a 0.84 ERA and 0.959 WHIP in 32 Innings worth of work – spanning the 2014 and 2015 World Series trip for Kansas City. He has performed at the optimal level – under the most pressure. Read the rest of this entry
Paul Francis Sullivan (please call him Sully) does a podcast 365 days a year – unless it is a leap year – then he will do another 1. He has done a show everyday since Oct.24/2012. This to date represents a streak of 1216 days consecutively!
Past the CLICK TO READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY are episodes 70 – 100 of the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
Sully starting posting his daily podcasts at the mlbreports.com on Feb.6, 2013. So we will add the dates between Oct.24, 2012 and Feb.6, 2013 in case you missed any of his awesome 1st 105 episodes.
But we will also archive all of his podcasts to date (in coming weeks) so they are easily accessible for all his fans.
Our website followers have grown larger each year for his podcast.
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Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst) Follow @chuckbooth3024
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The club also dealt Starlin Castro away for another team controllable pitcher in Adam Warren. These are significant steps in the right direction to start their run at the 2016 NL Central Division Title,
2015 was a nice breakout season – and the furthest the team has gone in 12 years however this franchise needs to spend as much money and continue to pursue an end to their century plus World Series drought.
There is no question all other 29 clubs would trade their offensive rosters for the value the young Chicago NL squad is going to put forth the next 5 years. Read the rest of this entry
Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) Follow @stokes_hunter21
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So the talks continue to mount on the Kris Bryant Opening Day watch. With each passing day he hits a HR, or shows himself ready for the big leagues, the question will become even more serious. But if he is ultimately not pulled up to Wrigley Field on Sunday Apr.5th vs Division Rival Cards, he has no one to blame by himself.
By having Scott Boras as his Agent, it has pretty much implanted in the Cubs brass, that the prize prospect will never sign an extension, and when his service time has him approaching Free Agency, he will indeed hit the open market and look for the top bidder.
I don’t even blame Boras for this. He is a phenomenal representative of his players, and always seems to get the max dollar for the highest percentage of the time compared to other agents.
Perhaps it will serve as a deterrent to future awesome young studs, that Boras has been sticking it to team owners for years. Maybe they should opt for a different agent, as this man has shown his playing cards on too many occasions. The executives all know Boras will lead his client to the open market.
Even having said this, if the man was not under the direction of the Boras Corporation, the Cubs should not start the clock on him anyway. The talk of the Cubs contending in 2015 is much over-hyped in my view. Read the rest of this entry
One of my listeners gave me a direct request…
@sullybaseball Nuff w/ the Giants & Red Sox already. Everyother fan is sick of em. More on the Cubs&Roys&Pits&Nats,ect. Love the podcast.
— Ty McCarthy (@TyMlCK) August 28, 2014
And when I responded, he got more specific.
@sullybaseball The reason I mention em is all the hype of their prospects, I’ve been waiting for your take on it.
— Ty McCarthy (@TyMlCK) August 29, 2014
Today I talk about the Cubs, expectations and I actually sing part of a song from Godspell.
Prepare ye the way of today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
The A’s and the Cubs clearly didn’t treat the 4th of July like a holiday. They pulled off a stunning blockbuster that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for some of their top young players and Dan Straily, a fan favorite of one of my dear friends.
Does this sound like a day to put on an evergreen podcast?
Hell no! Let’s record an emergency episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.!!!
How All Of The Cubs Hitters Were Acquired:
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Follow MLB Reports On Twitter Follow @mlbreports
The Chicago Cubs have plenty of young talent on the big league roster, and many more in all of their Minor League affiliates.
The Roster Tree of most of the offense are guys that signed as Free Agents – or were drafted by the organization.
Matt Garza plays prominently in several of the players leaving and coming into the franchise in 2 separate deals with the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers.
The good news is that the team looks to have done well in the mid-season trade with the Rangers last year.
The Cubs have brought Manny Ramirez in to be a player coach in their minor leagues.
It is a Cubs centric episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
Chicago Cubs: Just Let Tanaka Go
Let me start by saying this: I have never seen Masahiro Tanaka play but from the footage I’ve seen I’d love to see him in Cubbie blue.
He’s an incredible talent; So good in fact that once Yu Darvish left for America and the Major Leagues, he automatically became the best pitcher currently in Japan.
There are only 17 more days left in Tanaka’s 30-day signing period, with multiple teams anxiously awaiting a shot at the next pitching phenom.
However it would be in the Cubs best interest to pass on Tanaka at this time, no matter how incredible that argument may seem right now.
Chicago Cubs State of the Union: Mired in Mediocrity
By Robert Villarreal (MLB Reports Guest Cubs Writer): Follow @robmvillarreal
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It’s difficult to ask a Cubs fan to be patient.
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and every year we’re reminded of the enormity of a centuries worth of atrocious baseball that we must all endure year in and year out.
But in 2009, a man named Sam Zell purchased the Tribune company and decided to sell off some of its parts, namely the Chicago Cubs.
Tom Ricketts, a Chicago native, stepped up and was able to realize a boyhood dream, to own his favorite team. But owning it wasn’t enough.
Cubs fans are hoping the hometown boy can help deliver a promise of a Title in the near future.
Junior Lake Highlights – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance is Advised
Theo Epstein and the Ricketts new the job was going to be a tough one. Replenishing the young talent in the organization, after much trepidation, will continue to be the focal point of the North Chicago franchise.
The most of the Veterans have left for prospects. Gone are; Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, David DeJesus, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart, Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm.
In are a bunch of young players acquired for the services of the old guys.
The Cubs also have traded for lots of International Money limits, where they have brought in further assets to the organization.
For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013
By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): Follow @nross56
July 31, 2013 has come and gone. The non-waiver trade deadline is always one of the more interesting times of the baseball year.
Fans become obsessed with the idea of improving their team’s opportunity to win a World Series, whether it be for the upcoming October or in an attempt to rebuild for future seasons.
The question on everyone’s mind now that the deadline is over: how did your team do at the deadline? Did it get better? Did the organization “win” the transaction and will it translate now or later into more wins on the field?
This will end up invariably being a two-part article because of the depth we need to take to look at these moves. Let’s get right into it with the Winners:
1. Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox are a unique team in that they are concerned both with the current championship window for 2013, but also, a larger window they hope to keep open over the next 3 to 5 years.
In an effort to stabilize their rotation over the next 1 and 1/2 seasons, the Red Sox acquired Jake Peavy from the White Sox. Peavy has pitched very well this season.
His 8.55 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9 are both indicators of an elite level starting pitcher. Peavy is not the same ace that he was during his prime of 2004 through 2007, but his current numbers speak to an adequate No. 1 starter or a very strong No. 2 starter.
JAKE PEAVY: THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE RED SOX
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Featuring the Podcasters the Big ticket Show in the Audio Portion Follow @bigticketshow
I will be doing a stat fueled rankings list on this Thursday. These rankings will have some stats and random thoughts of what I will be talking about in today’s podcast with the Big Ticket Show (AKA, Triple Play Podcast.)
Games Prior to Sunday June.02/2013
Cardinals 2013 30/30 Preview
Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to continue… or scroll past the Triple Play Podcast. Read the rest of this entry
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024 and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website here Follow @prosportsroster
You guys are all in for a treat. Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website. He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs. We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams.
Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective. If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.
In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball. He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job. So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!
Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis. After you click on it….Bookmark it. There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page. Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!
For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Cubs Organization click here
Starlin Castro Highlights 2012 – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is advised
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Tuesday April 30th, 2013
By Bernie Olshansky (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
Over the past few years, Chicago Cubs fans have not had a lot to cheer about. Anthony Rizzo is starting to break this trend. Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs from the San Diego Padres in early 2012.
Rizzo is exactly what the Cubs need in a power-hitting first baseman, and should hold down the position in the years to come. Andrew Cashner was a prized prospect at the time of the trade, but the Cubs evidently thought Rizzo was more talented and held more value.
The Padres wound up with Yonder Alonso to man First Base, so they did not lose a significant amount in the trade.
Anthony Rizzo Highlights and the song “Go Cubs Go”
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By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent): Follow @rotodealer
I remember the grumbles and the echoes of “You’ve got to be kidding me” and “Jim Hendry did what now?” from Cubs fans when the team signed a 21-year old football star to a five-year, $10 million contract back in 2007.
I remember because I was one of the grumblers.
In 2006, the Cubs selected Jeff Samardzija – a wide receiver from Notre Dame – in the fifth round (149th overall) of the Amateur Baseball Draft, not knowing whether the All-American football player with a 97 MPH fastball would forfeit a clear path to the NFL for a hit-or-miss career in baseball.
Jeff Samardzija Tribute: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Saturday, Mar.02, 2013
By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent): Follow @akantecki
Only the Houston Astros stood between the Chicago Cubs and last place in the NL Central in 2012. The Cubs lost 101 games – their most losses since 1966, when the team went 51-103 — and finished with the second worst record in baseball. Under President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, the Cubs went backwards from the year before, losing 10 more games than in 2011.
Epstein continues to rebuild the Cubs’ farm system, and the organization boasts four top prospects – Shortstop Javier Baez, Outfielder Albert Almora, Outfielder Jorge Soler and Relief Pitcher Arodys Vizcaino — all of whom are represented in the Top 100 Prospects of Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. Over the winter, the Cubs bolstered their Starting Pitching staff, adding Starters Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker and Carlos Villanueva.
Chicago Cubs 2012 Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Thursday, February.14, 2013
By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent): Follow @Akantecki
One winter ago, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer acquired First Baseman Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres in exchange for hard-throwing Right-Hander Andrew Cashner, one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects at the time.
But this wasn’t Epstein’s and Hoyer’s first go-around with the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, who – along with Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod – drafted Rizzo while serving as Boston’s GM and Assistant GM, respectively, in 2007. The threesome reunited four years later and brought the 23-Year Old star-in-the-making over to the North Side:
“We believe Anthony has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for the Cubs for a very long time,” Hoyer said (link here). “He still has some development left. We feel what he’s done at age 20 at Double-A and Age 21 at Triple-A was remarkable.”
Anthony Rizzo Highlights From 2012: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Friday, January.18, 2013
Alex Kantecki (Guest Baseball Writer and Cubs Correspondent): Follow @Akantecki
Matt Garza was Jim Hendry’s last big addition before the Cubs general manager got the boot in 2011. The Cubs needed a dependable No. 3 to slot in the rotation behind Cubs’ mainstays Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, and Garza fit the bill. In three years with Tampa Bay, Garza compiled a 34-31 record with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP with 7.10 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9 in 592.1 Innings Pitched — not ace numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but respectable for a No. 2/No. 3 type.
Garza, 29, was an innings-eater, with two straight seasons of 200-plus innings from 2009-2010. To acquire Garza, the Cubs sent five prospects, including No. 1 prospect Chris Archer and No. 4 prospect Hak-Ju Lee to Tampa Bay. The move, considered by many as a desperation trade by a general manager looking to save his job, is still scrutinized today. But should it be?
Matt Garza Highlight: Worst Throw Ever to 1st Base?
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Sunday, January.06, 2013
Alfonso Soriano: Misunderstood, Good, But Never A Fit
Alex Kantecki (Guest Baseball Writer and Cubs Correspondent): Follow @Akantecki
It’s no secret Alfonso Soriano isn’t the most liked player among Cubs fans. Following the 2006 season when then general manager Jim Hendry signed the Outfielder to the largest contract in team history ($136 Million over eight years), fans dreaming of a World Series title pinned their hopes on the unconventional Leadoff hitter that hit 46 HR and stole 41 bases with the Washington Nationals the year before. Soriano did his part and helped lead the Cubs to two straight National League Central titles in 2007 and 2008, but the Cubs were swept away in the Division Series both years. Like his teammates, Soriano struggled to do much of anything in the postseason, collecting three hits in 29 Plate Appearances and failing to score or drive in a single run in six games.
Alfonso Soriano 2012 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised
Thursday December 13th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @bernieolshansky
Needless to say, it has been a dismal last few years for the Chicago Cubs. The last time they made the playoffs, it was 2008 and they were swept in the NLDS. They have not won a World Series since 1908 and do not look like they will be ending that drought anytime soon. The Cubs had a horrible 2012 in which they went 61-101. The record basically tells the story. The Cubs ended up trading Ryan Dempster, a fixture in the Cubs’ pitching staff for the past decade converting from a closer to a starter mid-tenure. In this feature, I will cover what’s ahead for this storied franchise.
For 2013, the Cubs really have not made any improvements. So far, their big offseason signing has been Nate Schierholtz, who was traded from the Giants to the Phillies as part of a package for Hunter Pence. Schierholtz will be joined in the outfield by Brett Jackson, a highly regarded prospect, and Alfonso Soriano. This outfield is not exactly a marquee group, but it will get the job done. Soriano should continue to provide some pop as he has hit 82 HRs in the past three years combined, and Brett Jackson should get on base and drive in runs with his gap-to-gap power. Schierholtz will fit right in with the rest of the lineup. Read the rest of this entry
ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Realignment, Ross to the Red Sox, Izturis to the Jays, Breaking Up the Rays and Remembering Matt Garza
Monday November 12th, 2012
Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Jonathan Hacohen: I will admit that this is a great time of year. I love speculating on free agency signing and the trades that are coming up. But I am getting to the point that there are three words that I no longer feel like speaking: Hamilton, Greinke and Upton. You know exactly who I am talking about. The most popular catches on the market: free agents Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and B.J. Upton (with his brother Justin Upton apparently available on the trade market). My flavor is lesser lights, like Mike Napoli, Joakim Soria, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Madson and so forth. I really think that someone will get a steal in Mike Napoli. I also think that someone will be very frustrated with Edwin Jackson. And if a team gives Anibal Sanchez anything close to the reported $90+ million that he is seeking- get ready for a Vernon Wells contract disaster to appear.
With all the talk of free agency and hot stove, remember that the WBC qualifiers are still being played. Groups 3 and 4 are set to do battle, starting in 4 short days. Panama and Taiwan are the lucky venues that will be hosting these upcoming classic games. My picks to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic? Panama in Group 3 and Thailand in Group 4. A very balanced group of countries that will be competing and in a short series, anything can happen. I like the addition of Johnny Damon to the Thailand squad, I really think that he will be a difference maker. Those are my two cents at least.
So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday October 3rd, 2012
Sam Evans: With the 2012 season winding down, a lot of MLB teams can’t wait for the season to end. Houston, Chicago, Colorado, Minnesota, and Cleveland have been the five worst teams in baseball this season. While their seasons have all been disappointing and hard to watch, these teams will possess the most valuable picks in the 2013 Amateur draft. Here’s a look at how these teams have struggled and where they are projected to pick in the draft.
5. Cleveland Indians 68-93:
Baseball in Cleveland took a huge step back in 2012. Coming off of an 80-82 season, Cleveland was let down by an underperforming pitching staff. With Detroit and Chicago leading the AL Central, Cleveland was out of the pennant race for the better part of the year. The stretch that did them in was the month of August, in which Cleveland was 5-24.
Ubaldo Jimenez was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball just two years ago. Now, the Indians will be lucky if they can manage to get the performances of a #4 starter out of him. There have been many areas in which he has been less dominant than before but they all trace back to that his previous velocity and nasty stuff just aren’t there anymore. Perhaps the problems with Ubaldo have to do with his age and the toll that throwing so many innings when he was younger took. Either way, by relying on Ubaldo Jimenez and his 5.40 ERA this season, the Indians weren’t putting themselves in a better place to contend. Read the rest of this entry
Friday September 7th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The Red Sox are in a state of disrepair. They just traded two of the key players who were supposed to carry them to several postseasons in the future, and a pitcher who had the stuff to regain his status as the ace of the staff. Not to mention the team also has a manager who does not relate well to players. The Red Sox went from first to worst in the span of about a year. Why?
It all started going wrong in September of last year. The Red Sox started a skid and then information came out that some of the pitchers were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they were not pitching during the pennant chase. The Red Sox had a horrible month and ended up falling out of playoff contention as the Orioles walked off on them in game 162 and Evan Longoria subsequently hit a walk off homer versus the Yankees to clinch a playoff spot for the Rays. Terry Francona, the manager who broke the Curse of the Bambino and won two World Series, was fired and general manager Theo Epstein was rumored to be leaving. Owners John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino promised that a collapse like this would not happen the next year. The good news: Red Sox fans will not have to worry about a collapse like last years’ now. The bad news: the Red Sox have been out of contention for almost the whole year. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto have been traded, and it looks like Boston will be rebuilding for at least the next couple of years. Chaos in Boston is an understatement.
Tuesday August 21st, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Starlin Castro is one of baseball’s best young shortstops at the ripe age of just 22 years-old. Apparently, the Cubs’ front office feels the same way. While the speculated contract extension is still impending, there’s a good chance that Castro remain a Cub for a good portion of the next decade. A wealthy Cub for that matter. The rumored deal is said to be a seven-year, $60 million contract extension. Should the deal be completed, it will take him through arbitration.
Is general manager Theo Epstein and his staff pulling the right string by signing Castro? Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday May 8, 2012
Ryan Ritchey: The Boston Red Sox since last September have been a team that has been falling apart. Ever since the report that pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse (and eating fried chicken), the team hasn’t been the same. After the season, Theo Epstein decided not to bring back Terry Francona… and then left the Red Sox himself. With this being said, the Sox had several holes to fill. First the general manager. This hole was filled by none other than Ben Cherington. Cherington had a lot of pressure placed on him to perform and to win. His first big job was to hire a manager to get the job done. He went and got Bobby Valentine. Bobby Valentine in my opinion was not a good hire for the Red Sox and judging by the Red Sox current record, most would agree.
You can put the blame on many people for the Red Sox woes this early in the season. Not only is it the fault of the manager, but it also goes on the players as they are the ones that play the game. Dustin Pedroia is one of the hardest working players in the league and doesn’t take a day off so it can’t fall on his shoulders (or Big Papi’s). But many of the Red Sox hitters need to be accountable. Mostly though, you could blame the pitching. In my opinion it is the pitching that is causing this down fall for Boston.
Josh Beckett has the best ERA from any starter in the rotation and he is 30th in the American League with a 4.45 ERA. With that number alone, you aren’t going to win many games. The Red Sox have a great offense but giving up that many runs per start you aren’t going to get many wins. Even when the starters throw a decent game, the bullpen usually ends up giving up runs on many nights and losing the game. If the Red Sox are going to do anything this season, Cherington better go find some pitching or it is going to be a long season for Red Sox Nation.
Another big reason the Red Sox are playing like they are is Adrian Gonzalez. Epstein went out and got Gonzalez from San Diego thinking he would be the best hitter in the American League. He was that player for one season but that is no longer the case. We are a little over a month into the season and Gonzalez only has 2 home runs and 16 RBI. For a power guy like Gonzalez, those numbers are subpar to say the least. His power numbers are down and he hasn’t been showing up in big games against the Rays and Yankees as he did last year. Not only are his power numbers down, his average is a “whopping” .270. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday April 1st, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
Q: My question this week in about a prospect in the Diamondbacks system. Was reading an article about Trevor Bauer and his 10 different pitches along with his unique training program. What I want to know is how MLB Reports see his future. Will he be a number one starter on their staff one day and where will he end up when he retires? Larry
MLB reports: First question this week goes to our #1 fan, Larry! Happy April Fool’s Day by the way! No tricks today from us. Just baseball talk! Watching this kid pitch, it is hard not to get excited about him. Trevor Bauer comes with a lot of hype as a top-3 pick from last year’s MLB draft. He will definitely see time in Arizona this year, with a full rotation spot in 2012 possibly happening. Will Bauer be a #1 starter? Will he retire as a Dback? Very difficult questions, because of the complexity of the circumstances. Injuries. Performance. Financial expectations. So much goes into the equation. But if you are asking me to check the crystal ball (which I think you are), here is what I see: Yes, Bauer will become a #1 starter one day. We love his mechanics too much for him not to develop. As long as he stays healthy, works hard and keeps his nose clean. Which we all hope he does! But I cannot see him retiring as a Dback. In this day and age, it is very rare for a player to stay on the same team for his whole career. The law of baseball probability says that if Bauer becomes a stud, he will go one day to a major contender, like the Yankees or Red Sox. Even if for some reason Bauer does play the majority of his career in Arizona, he will at some point make a team change. Maybe his skills will diminish. Or a conflict with the manager. The bottom line, he will be in Arizona for the next 5+ years likely at least. So let’s enjoy his time there for now. Thanks for writing! Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday February 14th, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): I was going to write a long lede, comparing Valentine’s Day and people’s love for baseball in the cheesiest way possible, but seeing as how this isn’t the movie Fever Pitch, I’ll save it. What I am going to do, though, is talk about a city that is in love with a baseball team that hasn’t done much but disappoint for the last hundred years or so. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday October 18, 2011
MLB reports – Sam Evans: Before we even begin to speculate on who will be the next Cubs manager, there is something baseball fans have to realize. The most important move made by the Cubs this offseason will be naming their General Manager. It looks like Theo Epstein will be taking over duties as the GM, if everything goes according as planned. One of Theo’s first moves will be to decide whether to keep Mike Quade and his coaching staff for next year. I think there is little to no chance that this happens considering the Cubs on-field product from the last year. My guess is that Epstein would be looking for a very intelligent manager that is behind the recent sabermetrical discoveries but at the same time, has a lot of experience in the game of baseball. Someone similar to Joe Maddon of the Rays.
One of the top managerial candidates for the Cubs position, and for other open coaching spots around the league, is Hall of Fame Second Basemen Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg was born in 1959 in Spokane,WA. He was drafted in the 20th round of the 1978 Rule 4 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, and he shot through the minors and made his major league debut in 1981. After the 1981 season, Sandberg was shipped along with Larry Bowa to the Cubs for shortstop Ivan DeJesus. This turned out to be one of the best trades in the history of the Chicago Cubs organization. The Phillies made this trade due to a middle infield logjam, and it will forever haunt Phillies fans.
In his career, Ryne Sandberg hit .285 with 282 home runs and 344 stolen bases. From 1989 to 1992, Sandberg hit 122 home runs. He was MVP in 1984, he was named to ten all-star teams and was a nine-time gold glove award recipient. Cubs fans will remember “Ryno” for his amazing defensive plays and his ability to hit home runs. Sandberg was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Once the 2006 season had come to a close, Ryne Sandberg met with Cubs GM Jim Hendry and told him that he was wanted to manage the team. Smartly, Hendry decided that Sandberg needed experience managing so he gave him a job managing way down the Cubs depth charts. In 2007, Sandberg began his managing career with the Class-A Peoria Chiefs, and he led the Chiefs to 71-68 finish. With the Chiefs again in 2008, the Chiefs went 60-78. In 2009, the Sandberg was promoted to manager of the Cubs AA team, where in one year he went 71-69. In 2010, he was the Cubs AAA manager and he finished 82-62, and earned the honor of being named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year. As you may remember, in 2010 Lou Piniella stepped down from his position as interim Cubs manager. Mike Quade was the interim manager and he led the team to a 24-13 record for the rest of the season. However, after the season, the Cubs organization didn’t make it clear that Quade was their man until October 19. Most baseball people thought that Ryne Sandberg would be named manager and that he deserved to be the Cubs manager. The Cubs decided to remove the interim tag from Quade’s position and promote him to the full-time manager. Unfortunately, Quade and the Cubs had a rough year, finishing 2011 with a 71-91 record.
I almost feel sorry for Sandberg. He worked so hard managing in the minors and when his opportunity finally arose when Piniella retired, Jim Hendry turned him down. I definitely think he deserves a chance at managing the Cubs. He not only has playing experience but successful managing experience in the minors.
After an awkward offseason for Sandberg, he took up an offer to manage the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A team, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He was also, according to sources, offered by Theo Epstein to be the manager for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Despite a very minor league baseball-esque name, the Iron Pigs are actually considered to be in the upper echelon of the minors. They average a higher attendance (over 10,000 per game) than any other MiLB team. Ryne Sandberg put together another winning season leading the Iron Pigs to an 80-64 record. His career managerial record is 364-341, which is good for a .556 winning percentage.
Who knows what the Cubs relationship is like with Sandberg? Their relationship appeared to be very stalwart but after the Cubs denied Sandberg the chance to manage at the major league level last year, you have to wonder why they would want him this year. Even if Theo Epstein does end up getting the job, just because he wanted Sandberg to manage the PawSox, there is no guarantee that he would want to work with Sandberg at the major league level.
The X-factor in this situation is Terry Francona. Epstein and Francona got along beautifully in Boston, and maybe Theo wants to keep Terry as his manager. This would not surprise me because the two are so comfortable with each other, and they have proven that their methods work with two World Series rings. Although their relations were apparently strained at times, the bottom line is that they were able to get the job done together.
There is one thing that I am sure of from this Sandberg debacle. Ryan Sandberg will have a major-league coaching job come April. The Phillies might have an assistant coaching position open, or the Red Sox could be interested in Sandberg as their manager. Options will be available to him. The most likely option is that Sandberg will return to where he already spent fifteen years of his baesball life: Wrigley Field.
Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter.
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