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Monday, March 17, 2014

Apples and Oranges, Bambinos and Billy Goats «

Although you should still read the article, if you are pressed for time, I will condense Rany’s message to Cubs fans to two words….be patient.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 17, 2014 at 06:15 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. McCoy Posted: March 17, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4673081)
Afterall, what's another 10 years?
   2. Walt Davis Posted: March 17, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4673091)
A few things ...

1. It's been ages since I've read something by Rany ... he's a MUCH better writer than he used to be.

2. I agree with his big point #1. I'm not so sure about point #2 ... at the very least it's a bit arrogant to say that it was Boston's success that forced everybody to change their game. But, fair enough, every team outside of Philly, KC, AZ are clever now.

3. It's #3 where he glides over a couple of points. First, what competent GM or GM-in-waiting wouldn't have known months in advance that these changes were coming or at least seriously in the mix? Second, these changes make the strategy of completely tearing down and rebuilding from within over several years a substantially harder and therefore less attractive and viable option for a high-revenue team. Doesn't that suggest a little re-thinking of THE PLAN was called for?

Anyway, as we all know, I was not a fan of the strategy when they came on board. Given that strategy however, I have no major problems with the job they've done implementing it. I think they should have started spending again this offseason -- the young talent is here, we've got a good pick this year, it's time to stop sucking -- but it's just one offseason and it's not like we missed out on any star I would have wanted at that price (Cano).

But of course it's far less than half the job. We now need to turn these prospects into productive MLers, one or two of them into legit stars and we need to put in good, expensive pieces around them, then we need to buy out/extend the right guys, then ... If half of these prospects end up missing (hardly unlikely) we're kinda stuck unless the Cubs do a really good job on the FA/trade markets.

And that's assuming Ricketts will pony up the dough when the time comes.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: March 17, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4673095)
I'll add that I also worry that too much of the plan involves the assumption that Castro and Rizzo will be good (not just average) players going forward. I have a lot less faith in that than I did last year. There were some Cuban SS on the market this year -- nothing brilliant probably, maybe overpriced but still cheap in the grand scheme of things. I worry that if Kris Davis can't handle 3B then 1B won't be open for him -- which is a nice problem if Rizzo is good. I worry that Castro can't really handle SS long-term but I worry that Baez can't either and now we're moving guys all over the IF, maybe blocking other prospects.

How much rope are they going to give Castro and Rizzo?
   4. base ball chick Posted: March 17, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4673114)
i am so tired of rany and KLaw and all the other ogasmers over prospect writers explaining how wonderful it is to have 100+ loss terrible teams for years and years because after all, why spend money to put a decent team on the field when they can throw slop up there and still make zillions?

i am also tired of hearing the stupid LIE about how they are suddenly gonna spend all that money as soon as all the prospeects emerge and are good 5 years+ in the fiture.

it is a LIE

they are not gonna spend all the money that wasn't spent all those other years. they are gonna put it in their pocket while the rany and klaw apologists explain that spending any money to put any less than a winner on the field is a waste.

seriously rany, as a royals fan, you should be screamng about this bullspit garbage instead of patting ownership on the back for pocketing all the money
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: March 17, 2014 at 09:29 PM (#4673124)
I'm a fan of the scorched earth plan, if they do it right. Not every franchise has to do it, and it shouldn't be something done frequently (no less than a 20 year gap between the next time) but if the owners are on board with it, and guarantee a five year comittment to the gm, and the gm is competent, then I think it might be the only way to eventually end the continual losing. One good year every 5 is not a good plan.

With the new rules in place on the CBA, the Cubs have revamped their farm system and have a real pipeline of future players. I think once that is set up, where not only are they acquiring good players, but are actually developing players, then they have a legit shot of perennial contention. As it stands, I don't know if they have proven the ability to develop players or not. You would hope that a decent farm system is capable of producing a major league regular or two on an annual basis.
   6. SteveM. Posted: March 17, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4673148)
I tend to agree with baseball chick because I have been beating the drum that the Ricketts are short on cash. As a Cubs fan, I fear they are the Wilpons 2.0.
   7. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 17, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4673153)
Look, thinking the Ricketts are having cash problems is a perfectly mainstream opinion, though one I think is severely off base. But to think they're the Wilpons? Come on, that's dumb.
   8. Sunday silence Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:28 AM (#4673159)
from the title, I thought this was going to be another debate about steroids, gambling and rape.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:40 AM (#4673161)
payroll, Cubs-Mets (per Cots except 2014 from b-r):

09 $134 $149
10 $144 $126
11 $134 $142
12 $109 $94
13 $106 $93
14 $8 $85

$14 of that $86 M is to the Yanks for Soriano so actual payroll on the field is $72. That is a bit above the Rays and the Pirates and apparently the 5th lowest payroll. The reasons might be different but the Ricketts effect looks a lot like the Wilpon/Madoff effect.

CFB, yes that's the vision. So far the plan has made appropriate steps towards that vision. But as bbc says, that saved payroll is gone and we don't know if the rest of the vision is ever going to come together.

There is no iron-clad reason why the team or the payroll has to crater while rebuilding the farm system. As your f'ing team unfortunately shows. The Cards haven't finished last in a division since 1990 and that was in-between a 3rd and a 2nd. That was their only 90-loss season of the last 35 years. They haven't lost 100 games since 1908 ... hmmm, where have I heard that date before. That was also the last time they've finished last in consecutive seasons. Thanks to Houston, the Theo Cubs haven't pulled off the double yet but they're gonna give it a try this year. The Theo Cubs have lost more games in three years than any other 3-year run in Cub history though and it's the worst run since 54-57 at least.

   10. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:47 AM (#4673162)
14 $8 $85


Wow, you guys are right, Ricketts has gone supercheap.....
   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 06:49 AM (#4673178)
I'm only casually observing the Cubs, but it seems obvious to me that no one should expect the Ricketts to increase the payroll significantly at any point in the future. Right around $105-110 million (adjust that for inflation in future years) is where their payroll is going to max out.
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4673416)
There is no iron-clad reason why the team or the payroll has to crater while rebuilding the farm system. As your f'ing team unfortunately shows. The Cards haven't finished last in a division since 1990 and that was in-between a 3rd and a 2nd. That was their only 90-loss season of the last 35 years. They haven't lost 100 games since 1908 ... hmmm, where have I heard that date before. That was also the last time they've finished last in consecutive seasons.


There is so much variance in draft results, I don't think one team can be proof of anything, even over as many as 5-10 years.

But also the Cards have had above average draft options the last decade. Not by draft position, which has been a bit below average, but by volume, which is significantly higher than most teams, and possibly top 5, due to a high volume of comp picks. They've taken advantage of free agent comp rules almost as well as Boston did under Theo/Jed.

There are at least four reasons why tear downs work better, we can argue the size of the effect of each, but in dint think it can be argued their effects aren't positive in the long run.

1) Draft position. I've argued this before, but I think people severely underestimate the value of draft position. It's not just that a top 5 pick in average has significantly higher average value than a 10-15 pick, but also that there is also significant residual value in drafting at the top each round at least the next 2-4 rounds, and maybe longer.

Ironically, compensation picks have blunted this advantage recently given the high-volume of comp pics in recent years, but just as the Cubs/Astros should start improving their team the new compensation system has started reducing the number of comp pics substantially. Last year Stros and cubs had the 40th and 41st pics at the top the second round which is not far from Waterloo first routers and some value better than picking 50 or 55th. Sure, it's a small advantage, and smaller picking 70th instead of 85th in third, but adding up all those ever small advantages from ever later rounds and it probably totals out to a similar value as to havining a free comp pick.

It's similar to discounted cash flow valuations where the value of the next few years if cash flow is very high and the present day value of future cash flows dwindles very quickly the farther you go out, but there is enough extra value owning cash flows a decade or two away that they significantly increase your present day valuation.

2) Trade value. Being able to trade players freely without concern for how it will affect this years win totals is an enormous freedom. It makes it significantly easier to get full value when trading players, because you don't have to address any urgent needs. Teams in contention often have to lose value to fill critical holes in order to best increase their playoff chances this year.

3) Comp picks. Again not having to worry about this year or next year brings you can let your expensive veterans walk and acquire comp picks if you're unable to trade them and sometimes you can acquire veterans for less than the value of the comp picks they'll yield when they enter free agency you can't pursue this strategies nearly as aggressively when you're worried about winning every year.

4) Better aligning team payroll with team needs. Every team especially every bad team already has expensive veterans who are poor fits for the team's future but difficult or impossible to move. Dumping those players can cost payroll in the short run but hope to acquire more young talent and went in the long run.

This doesn't mean you turn around the very next off-season and spend that money on the best available free agents either. It's hard to spend large amounts of free-agent payroll if you don't know your greatest needs yet. It's far easier if you wait until your next crop of star players emerges from your farm system. For example signing Robbie Cano and trading Barney for more young talent might work well if Cano is good for the next 6+ years. But if Cano tanks in a couple of years, you've then locked up a significant amount of your payroll in an unproductive asset just when your young players are emerging and you're ready to build strong contender.

It's pretty damning the cubs still had a $106 million payroll last year after unloading a bunch of guys already, it showed how much work they had to do to unload deadweight which they are just finishing now. But it's also pretty damning to spend only $70m this year, they need to start using that freed payroll in creative ways.

The one new thing I got from the article (though that was a great article) was how unaware of competitive balance picks I was, they are bad for the Cubs, and unfair and a generally stupid idea. But the world is changed, they can't build team the way that worked five years ago and they need to adapt to that. They should be more aggressive about signing mid tier free agents they can flip, or get compensation picks for. They been aggressive in the international market but it seems like they should be even more aggressive as they are constrained almost everywhere else.

And they probably should be more aggressive about using their young talent to pick up other teams overpaid stars. It may be too early for Josh Hamilton but if the Mariners have a change of heart the next few years and become willing to eat the right amount of Canos contract to move him, those are the kind of deals I should be looking for giving the paucity of options in the free-agent market nowadays.
   13. base ball chick Posted: March 18, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4673549)
KT

what if DOES mean, and you keep ignoring this, is that the astros put AAA teams on the field, charging major league prices, and with the owner KEEPING 30+ mill a year and they do it for many many years. they have not and are not gonna get any comp picks because they have not had anyone valuable since they dumped lance berkman and roy oswalt.
   14. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 18, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4673608)
I think Ricketts-McCourt is a more apt comparison than Ricketts-Wilpon. Unfortunately, Tom (and Papa Joe, where the real money originated from) doesn't appear headed for a messy divorce anytime soon
   15. SteveM. Posted: March 18, 2014 at 09:00 PM (#4673663)
Look, thinking the Ricketts are having cash problems is a perfectly mainstream opinion, though one I think is severely off base. But to think they're the Wilpons? Come on, that's dumb.


Well you're right in the sense the Ricketts are probably not aiding and abetting in fraud. Perhaps Ryan had it right and the more apt compariosn is to McCourt. Boy, I hope it doesn't get that ugly in Chicago. But if that ended up with the Dodgers being owned in part by Magic Johnson, does that mean Michael Jordan will buy the Cubs?
   16. madvillain Posted: March 18, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4673669)
Perhaps Ryan had it right and the more apt compariosn is to McCourt.


That's the burn right on Ricketts, that he's just using the Cubs as a revenue (and more importantly profit) stream to prop up his other unprofitable businesses/assets?

Rebuilding and cutting payroll aren't necessarily linked for a big budget club and having chopped almost 50% of the payroll from a few years ago, it seems something is going on other than just "rebuilding". It would have helped them rebuild quite a bit if they signed Cano, or McCann or _____________.
   17. SteveM. Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4673708)

That's the burn right on Ricketts, that he's just using the Cubs as a revenue (and more importantly profit) stream to prop up his other unprofitable businesses/assets?


The profits are going somewhere. You can no longer claim your are diverting money from the MLB roster to the draft or international signings, and the Wrigley renovations haven't begun yet.They are aggressively bringing in more cash with things like the Captain Morgan's club outside of Wrigley. I would have to imagine the profits are going to pay the Ricketts debt load.
   18. McCoy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4673713)
Well, that is not exactly a bad thing. I'm on record as saying I don't agree with the path the Cubs have chosen in that I believe the Cubs could have fielded a competitive and rebuilt the system at the same time. It appears the Cubs chose instead to rebuild the system and pay down the debt. If it all works as planned that should set the Cubs up nicely for a very long time. Now of course it rarely works out as planned and I would much rather have a shot at the title now instead of a rich billionaire being able to buy another Monet but since I don't have the billions I don't really get to make that call.
   19. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4673719)
payroll, Cubs-Mets (per Cots except 2014 from b-r):

09 $134 $149
10 $144 $126
11 $134 $142
12 $109 $94
13 $106 $93
14 $8 $85

$14 of that $86 M is to the Yanks for Soriano so actual payroll on the field is $72. That is a bit above the Rays and the Pirates and apparently the 5th lowest payroll. The reasons might be different but the Ricketts effect looks a lot like the Wilpon/Madoff effect.


I don't see what that really has to do with much, besides the fact both teams could/should be spending more. Of course, only one of those teams is privately funding their own stadium remodel...

The profits are going somewhere. You can no longer claim your are diverting money from the MLB roster to the draft or international signings, and the Wrigley renovations haven't begun yet.

Are you implying the renovations aren't going to happen?

Look, I'm not saying anything in either of these points about the relationship between payroll/funding money (it's not 1 to 1, but it's also not completely unrelated*). I just don't see how we make the jump from the assumption they're short on cash (even if it's right, it's still just at best an educated guess) to they're crooked/broke and using the team as a piggy bank (both of which are quite unusual and somewhat unlikely scenarios).

It would have helped them rebuild quite a bit if they signed Cano, or McCann or _____________.

One can point out quite easily with both those examples (or damn near any example this side of Tanaka) why the Cubs would have been incredibly stupid to pay the deal those guys got (or outbid the winning deals, which both of those examples were pretty roundly criticized round these parts as is). I get the desire to spend money, but I personally can't get behind the spend money just to spend money/prove a point part of the argument (which admittedly isn't the whole argument, though in plenty of cases any move is going to be nit-picked for not being exactly what was hoped for). And quite frankly, I can't really look at any big FA signing made the last few years that I wish the Cubs had made instead (there's been plenty of specifics argued already and I am not trying to rehash them yet again). I'm sure we can find mid-tier or smaller moves around the fringes that either look better in retrospect or could have been done instead. I'm damn glad we're not repeating the Hendry era or anything else during my lifetime of ad hoc signings and just-one-more-move sort of deals; there's a plan, I understand it, I believe in it, and I think it's on track. Sure, maybe everything breaks right and they catch lightning in a bottle, back into the playoffs, and make a run - considering I've been a fan of this plan from the start I never thought they were ever close to being competitive during this period. Even those against the plan have to see the odds weren't great, and I like the potential odds of the upcoming run more anyway (and yes, it could all still go very wrong). And there's a lot of good stuff in KT's post (and no offense, bbc, but the Astros are a different story and none of my concern so I can't speak to how those points are different for them).

*OTOH, there is something to the delays and the rooftop stuff, what with the Cubs being so deathly afraid of lawsuits. The Cubs could easily make this problem go away with more money if they really were motivated to do so; dragging it out would seem to suggest some sort of money concern.
   20. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 19, 2014 at 07:58 AM (#4673750)
You can point out why every free agent contract over 2 years of the last 10 seasons may not have been the right fit. And if you keep doing that you'll be in a position where you set a futility record for ML record over 2 seasons. The issue with the hendry era cubs was NEVER signing free agents. KT points out how bad it must have been of the cubs payroll was sure it was last year being so bad. Soriano was literally the only holdover contract left, and he wasn't exactly a black hole.(The bigger issue, ironically was frittering away cash on the fringes like 6.5m for 4 starts from Scott baker, 2.5 for Ian Stewart to be bad and complain about it, 5m for Carlos Villanueva to be a long man in the pen)

The issue with the hendry era cubs was a hilarious run of 1st round picks that have done nothing. He was actually quite good at playing FA/trades, which is funny considering his past was as farm director.

Going back to KTs post:

2) comes back to this either try to win 95 games or try to win 55 games false dichotomy. For decades teams have traded their impending free agents for prospects whether they were trying to win or not at the beginning of the season. If the cubs actually tried the last 2 seasons and found themselves 9 games out at the deadline, there's nothing stopping them from trading than Ryan dempster and Matt garza.

3) comp picks: the cubs have received one comp pick(pierce Johnson) in return for letting inherited asset Aramis Ramirez walk in their first offseason. The acquiring gets with the thought you'll get picks down the road just isn't viable anymore due to the changes in the CBA(qualifying offer rather than arb offer and players being I eligible for QOs when acquired midseason)
   21. Russ Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4673871)
from the title, I thought this was going to be another debate about steroids, gambling and rape.


Otherwise known as the Hal Chase hat trick.
   22. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4673890)
Otherwise known as the Hal Chase hat trick.


Dump "rape' and replace it with "contract jumping" and I'll sign off.
   23. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4673929)
I just think it's funny that we had a thread yesterday where everyone tried to figure a team's best free agent signing and the vast majority of the names that folks came up with were not the most inspiring names.

And they probably should be more aggressive about using their young talent to pick up other teams overpaid stars. It may be too early for Josh Hamilton but if the Mariners have a change of heart the next few years and become willing to eat the right amount of Canos contract to move him, those are the kind of deals I should be looking for giving the paucity of options in the free-agent market nowadays.


This was kind of the Dodgers model the last couple of years. Grab talented players that are way overpaid (the Red Sox trade) or have under performed (Hanley) for good but not great prospects. Nate Eovaldi, Allen Webster, and De La Rosa were all really nice pieces but not necessarily Pedro Martinez types.

On another note, I know it's only spring training but Mike Olt and Baez hit the snot out of the ball last night. It looks like the Cubs have some really damned good talent that is close to making an impact.
   24. villageidiom Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4673995)
what if DOES mean, and you keep ignoring this, is that the astros put AAA teams on the field, charging major league prices, and with the owner KEEPING 30+ mill a year and they do it for many many years. they have not and are not gonna get any comp picks because they have not had anyone valuable since they dumped lance berkman and roy oswalt.

Compensation picks only help teams that acquire players who will improve, and/or improving the players they acquire. The Astros have been out of this business for a long time now, whether the players are acquired by signing, trade, or draft.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: March 19, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4674232)
I just think it's funny that we had a thread yesterday where everyone tried to figure a team's best free agent signing and the vast majority of the names that folks came up with were not the most inspiring names.

But in the Cubs case this is because they almost always stay out of the FA market. They are rather generous (and sometimes smart) about extending the stars they have developed/acquired (Sosa, Sandberg, Grace, DLee) but they have never been a real player for a superstar FA and only once dabbled in "best available" when they signed Soriano. Tejada for 2004 would have been perfect, Randy Johnson might have been a nice get.

So the good Cub deals have been of the 3-year good not great vet variety -- Alou and Lilly probably being the best 2. On the bright side, Soriano is the only massive FA flop.

The recent/current Cubs were in a position where, even if the FA deals weren't good bargains, they had so much payroll room that the mistakes wouldn't matter very much. This was particularly true this offseason. No, Cano at 10/240 wasn't a good deal and wouldn't have done much for the Cubs. But Ellsbury at 7/$150 -- we just might have a player to cheer for now who'll still be an average or better OF 4 years from now when the kids are entering their prime ... and we'll need one of those. Garza at 4/$52 or whatever -- why the hell not?

It's hard to achieve the success of Oakland and Tampa ... but, more relevantly, for a team with the revenues of the Cubs, it's downright stupid to follow that model. They need to start spending money sometime.

Cuz it's not just the Cards you know. The Red Sox haven't had a losing season since 1997. They haven't lost 90 games since 1966 and that was the end of a run that was Theo Cubs-ish (280 losses over 3 seasons, including 100 in 65). Of course they followed up that last 90-loss season by going to the WS. The Angels have never lost 100 games and have only 3 times failed to win 70 -- they've never been all that dominant either but did have a run of 6 playoffs in 8 years with a WS. The Dodgers haven't lost 100 since 1908 (there it is again) and have lost 90 just twice since moving to LA. They were in the playoffs the year before and after their last 90-loss season; they won 93 games (missing the playoffs) the year before and were 500 the year after their other one. That 99-loss season seems to be the only time they've finished last since 1905. Even the historically hapless Phils haven't lost 100 since 1961 and, although plenty of 90-loss seasons, also plenty of playoffs and some WS.

Revenue is supposed to help you win. Revenue should mean that you never have to scorch the earth.

But to take it away from the Cubs somewhat -- don't the new rules make this sort of strategy less appealing. You can't stock up on supplemental picks anymore. You can't get draft picks as comp for your FA reliever. You can't spend wildly in the draft or internationally. If you're a high-revenue team, you won't be getting comp balance picks. If you're the Cubs or any other scorched earth team, you won't have a departing FA you would make a QO on for another, what, 6+ years?

Back to the Cubs -- you've got your young talent in the system. Isn't it time to start building the winner? Isn't it obvious that once you start winning, your draft position will deteriorate (and you won't be getting anybody else's picks), you might even be giving up your own. The only other option is to continue to suck and hope enough prospects hit at the right time -- the Tampa model which means you're not spending money and not leveraging your revenue advantage.

The revenue advantage has to kick in at some point or it's wasted. That means veteran FAs or extending your own guys through 35-36. (Anybody done a study on whether extensions do better than FAs? I would tend to think not but maybe there's enough advantage from knowing the player.) And virtually every current young star is already signed through age 35 or soon will be, so it's not clear what FAs you're going to be spending on.

These challenges were all known 3 years ago. How are the Cubs going to make that step from successful farm system to WS winner? Isn't that step bigger from a 65-win baseline than it is from a 74- or (god forbid!) 83 win baseline?

I see no advantage in having your star kids step into a team that sucks relative to having them step into a team that's decent. If you're Tampa circa 2005 you have no choice but if you're a high-revenue team you have a choice. Or had. And it's Chicago -- those kids are going to be under immediate pressure to produce.
   26. McCoy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4674257)
A high revenue team has the luxury of signing a Milton Bradley to a two or three year contract and move him around or cut him once it is known whether the kids are going to produce or not. The Cubs should have had an Aramis and a CJ and a Willingham on the team while the teams were coming up. The Cubs didn't have to sign every single 7/200+ million dollar player out there over the last three years but they certainly could have signed numerous veterans to 3 to 4 year contracts and that would certainly put the Cubs into better position to win it all than a high 3 round draft pick would and hell, signing those vets and letting them leave is also how you get those comp picks.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4674271)
signing those vets and letting them leave is also how you get those comp picks.


I think you missed the point of most of the thread. That advantage is no longer there. The likelihood of getting a comp pick from letting a player walk is pretty minimal nowadays. They have to be pretty elite players to be worth the risk of offering them the qualifying offer.


Not that I disagree that the team should have been buying a few free agents just to have a few legit major leaguers on the roster, but it wasn't going to make a difference in their chances at the post season, just a 5-10 swing in the number of wins.
   28. Dan Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4674280)
(Anybody done a study on whether extensions do better than FAs? I would tend to think not but maybe there's enough advantage from knowing the player.)


I seem to recall reading at least one study on this, and it agreed with your guess that re-signings were better deals than free agents from other teams. I want to say I read it on Fangraphs a few years ago but I'm really not positive.
   29. McCoy Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4674289)
Except nobody has accepted arbitration and signing a two to three WAR player to a qualifying offer sum isn't a bad thing. Hell, the Cubs can afford to offer someone like Aramis arbitration, have him accept it, put up 1 or no WAR and still not have it affect their decision making for the next year and long term. That's the point you might very well be missing. The Cubs are a large revenue team that can drop 150 to 200 million a year on their baseball operations. They can make mistakes with their money.


Not that I disagree that the team should have been buying a few free agents just to have a few legit major leaguers on the roster, but it wasn't going to make a difference in their chances at the post season, just a 5-10 swing in the number of wins.


The Cubs had a shot at the postseason in 2012 that they punted and in doing so they also punted 2013, 2014, 2015, and probably even 2016. That isn't an "oh well".
   30. SteveM. Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4674300)

Not that I disagree that the team should have been buying a few free agents just to have a few legit major leaguers on the roster, but it wasn't going to make a difference in their chances at the post season, just a 5-10 swing in the number of wins.


But how much money are you walking away from when you put a putrid product on the field? Cub attendance has been falling during this stretch. Do you want to bottom out like the Astros and end with 0.0 TV ratings?
   31. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4674394)
Sometimes the simple explanation is the correct one. Assume incompetence and greed rather than a master plan.
   32. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4674410)
But in the Cubs case this is because they almost always stay out of the FA market. They are rather generous (and sometimes smart) about extending the stars they have developed/acquired (Sosa, Sandberg, Grace, DLee) but they have never been a real player for a superstar FA and only once dabbled in "best available" when they signed Soriano. Tejada for 2004 would have been perfect, Randy Johnson might have been a nice get.


You guys know the Cubs better than I do. Though I won't complain about the outcome, I think they should have gone hard after Grienke last year.

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