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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cubs’ Epstein defends Ricketts

The Chicago Cubs’ thrifty offseason doesn’t mean that President Theo Epstein has lost faith in the ownership of the Ricketts’ family, which hopes to make more progress with the rooftop owners that will enable them to move forward on improvements at Wrigley Field and increase funds.

“They know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation to get this right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations,” Epstein told a group of fans Saturday morning at Cubs Convention. “I’m more proud of them for their willingness to take that heat and stick to their plan than I would be if they panicked the first time their name was dragged through the mud publicly and said, ‘we can’t do this. We need to put lipstick on this and we need to find some quick fixes just to keep the fans at immediate bay.’

“They’re dragging the Ricketts’ name through the mud. They are in this for the long haul and because of that, they’re giving us the ability to lay the foundation.

“The Ricketts’ vision is a long-term one, and our job is to implement it.”

Thanks to Edd.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:53 AM | 145 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   101. McCoy Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:11 PM (#4643822)
I'm not worried about a 54 game (240 PA) sample for a player moving up to AA for the first time. Like a ton of Cub prospects this will be the year in which we find out a lot of things about him.
   102. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4643840)
[99]The point is looking at a guy's K/BB rates from a half season at AA at the age of 20 and saying well, he may be this guy because of X, when said guy didn't even accomplish Y is silly.
   103. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4644199)
So do people still think 2015 is the year now that Tanaka is off the board? 2016? 2017?
   104. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4644205)
2112
   105. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4644211)
The good news is I would get to live a long life if that is true. I've made a deal with God where I don't die until the Cubs win the series.
   106. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4644248)
The Tanaka miss is a miserable failure
   107. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4644253)
The Tanaka miss is a miserable failure


I agree completely.
   108. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4644262)
They probably refused the opt-out or something. Hmm.

Watch the Cubs sign Matt Garza now, heh.
   109. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4644293)
Why would any team refuse a player opt out? Hell, I probably wouldn't even let them finish the sentence before agreeing to it.
   110. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4644295)
2112


And the meek shall inherit a top pick...

We've taken care of everything
The beer you drink, the song you sing
The scoreboard to block rooftop cheats from seeing
We were enticed by 24 and zero
But we got outbid for Masahiro
Still Be Patient as We Build A Dynasty

We are the Thed
Of the temple of Wrigley
Our great computers
Fill the darkened halls
We are the Thed
Of the temple of Wrigley
The only sign of life
Is growing on our walls

Look around this park we made
Mediocrity our stock in trade
Come and join the brahtherhood of fans
Oh what a wide contented world
The occasional W to be unfurled
Hold the Old Style proudly high in hand

We are the Thed
Of the temple of Wrigley
Our great computers
Fill the darkened halls
We are the Thed
Of the temples of Wrigley
The only sign of life
Is growing on our walls
   111. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4644301)
Why would any team refuse a player opt out? Hell, I probably wouldn't even let them finish the sentence before agreeing to it.


Why would any team accept it, I can't understand. I wouldn't let an agent finish the sentence before saying "no, absolutely not."

There's a strong chance Cubs fans are going to be very happy in 2019 that they did not sign Tanaka. Especially since if Theo and Jed do their jobs well that's right about when they should be ready to contend for championships.
   112. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4644305)
Dear Lord, are Cubs fans suckers.
   113. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4644315)
I would any team accept it, I can't understand. I wouldn't let an agent finish the sentence before saying "no, absolutely not."

Are you saying a team shouldn't accept it? The only way that is a good answer is if you can get the player to agree to a 4 year deal or so at roughly the same AAV of the longer term deal and no premiere player/agent is going to accept that deal. If you say no to the opt out clause and sign him to a 10 year deal you are stuck with him and his contract for the full 10 years. At least with an opt out clause you can get off the train at some point in time while still ahead. Or in otherwords you can cash your chips in and walk away. If the player crashes and burns before the opt out then you were going to be stuck with the bad contract either way. I'd rather let a 4 to 6 WAR player that 32ish walk away after 4 to 6 years that to keep on rolling the dice that he'll be healthy and productive during the backend of the deal.
   114. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4644336)
Assuming the cubs don't make any moves of consequence the rest of the way, and the only move that seems rumored even in passing is trading away shark, they will enter the season with a payroll around 80M. Depending on the remaining arb awards this would be the lowest payroll since either 03 or 02. Tom ricketts is a thief
   115. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4644348)
McCoy: Do you understand how player options work? The player is only going to exercise it if the free agent market wouldn't bring him anything close to the same value. i.e., if he's already pretty much finished as a useful player.

It's a bad idea for any player but a horrendous error to give one to a pitcher.
   116. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4644351)
I love #110 in a way that's not natural.
   117. Conor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4644365)
McCoy: Do you understand how player options work? The player is only going to exercise it if the free agent market wouldn't bring him anything close to the same value. i.e., if he's already pretty much finished as a useful player.


That's true, but it's possible the Yankee opt outs are instructive. In the case of Arod, the Yankees pretty obviously would have been better off letting Arod walk after he opted out, and with Sabbathia, you probably can't say that for sure yet, but it looks like they would have won that contract if they let him walk after he opted out.

It might be different with Tanaka because of how young he is when he signed the contract. But if you signed a 29 year old to an 8 year deal with an opt out after 4, you probably win the contract if he is so awesome after the 4 years that he can get more money on the market, because you aren't stuck paying him for 33-36, when he's likely going to decline. And if the decline comes in the first 4 years, you're screwed with or without the opt out.

I have to admit, I am kind of coming around on teams using the opt out. You need to have the discipline to avoid signing them after they opt out thgough.
   118. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4644369)
Right, the last half of long-term contracts are always the worst part of them, it's great for the team to be able to lock up a guy who normally would require a long-term deal on a 4 year contract.
   119. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4644392)
Conor: Yes, but you're looking at scenarios where the player excercises his option because he's been healthy and productive. That's fine. A 4/95 contract is going to turn out pretty well if Tanaka stays healthy and provides #2 production.

But what's just as likely is that Tanaka is the next Matsuzaka and/or blows out his arm. Then you're on the hook for an extra 3/70 of dead money. So either he's productive and you end up signing him to a massive mistake contract four years from now, or he's not and you're stuck with "only" the 3/70 of dead money.

A team would much rather sign the player to a straight-out 7/155 contract. It is very obvious why this is true, just as it's obvious why players and agents love player options so much.

I would certainly consider a vesting option for the last three years that depends on him making 30 starts in Year Four. But never a player option.
   120. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4644400)
Nobody's making you sign him to a new contract after he opts out. Those last 3 years are dead money whether he had the option to opt our or not.
   121. Conor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4644407)
Yeah, agree with 120. I specifically said you need to have the discipline to avoid signing him to the too long and too rich contract after he opts out. If you do what the Yankees did and pay the guys after they opt out, then yes, you're really screwed. They basically turned the CC contract from a 7 year deal into a 10 year deal. (I think I have the years right on that one)

But what's just as likely is that Tanaka is the next Matsuzaka and/or blows out his arm. Then you're on the hook for an extra 3/70 of dead money. So either he's productive and you end up signing him to a massive mistake contract four years from now, or he's not and you're stuck with "only" the 3/70 of dead money.


You're stuck with it either way though, option or no option. That's basically a sunk cost. He also might blow out his arm in year 5 (he's no more likely to get hurt in the first 4 years than the last 4 years, is he?) and if you let him walk then you're sitting pretty.
   122. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4644418)
McCoy: Do you understand how player options work? The player is only going to exercise it if the free agent market wouldn't bring him anything close to the same value. i.e., if he's already pretty much finished as a useful player.

It's a bad idea for any player but a horrendous error to give one to a pitcher.


Yes I understand how it works. Do you understand that a player opts out of a contract because he believes he can get a longer contract at more money? Like I said before I'd love to be able to lure a free agent to my favorite team by offering a 8 to 10 year contract and then have him leave in 5 years or so. And yes that even applies if he was great for those 5 years. I'd rather pay a great player 110 million over 5 years and then let him walk then be on the hook for another 150 to 175 million for the next 5 years.

If I sign him to a 10 year 260 million dollar no opt out deal I'm on the hook for him no matter what so the whole he's finished as a useful player angle is meaningless. I'm screwed regardless of the opt out.
   123. SteveM. Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4644439)
Its getting harder and harder to justify spending money on Extra Innings to watch every Cubs game. Do I really want to torture myself like that? Might as well remarry my ex-wife.
   124. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4644541)
With the A's signing Eric O' Flaherty today, the Cubs payroll by BR's estimator now sits at 26th in the majors for this coming season.
   125. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4644598)
Next year Soriano, Schierholz and Villanueva are off the books ($24 million in 2013 obligations). So the Cubs can repeat this offseason and really close the payroll gap with the Astros and Marlins.

EDIT: particularly if they follow through on the rumors and trade Samardzija.
   126. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4644616)
Who would have thought 5 years ago that in such a short period of time the Pirates and Cubs would switch spots not only in the standings but also in payroll?
   127. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4644632)
Well the Pirates are one of the 4 with a lower payroll right now. (If they convince Burnett to stick around for another season, they'll likely pass the Cubs) As outraged as I am with Ricketts(and I'm plenty outraged), I'd be just as annoyed if I was a Pirates or Orioles fan. These are teams with legit shots at contention this season and they've managed to add less in new contracts than the 8 million the Cubs did.
   128. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 22, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4644723)
Do you understand that a player opts out of a contract because he believes he can get a longer contract at more money?

This is the key here. The player believes he can get a longer contract, and he probably can. You just have to be smart enough for it not to be you. Which hasn't really happened yet. I guess Drew opted out and signed elsewhere.

Take the Cano contract. Let's say 10 year contract with 5 year opt out. It's been repeated a hundred times that you have to overpay on the back end to lure a free agent, right? But if Cano is great through the first 5 years, he opts out. What's often repeated is "if he's great for the first 5 years, you'll want to sign him longer anyway". That's what I don't believe a team should do. Cano opts out after 5 years and he's played great? You tell him, "thanks for the numbers, good luck" and don't sign him. Because even though he was great for those 5 years, you don't want him for the back end. You let someone else take the chance.

   129. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4644738)
Paste really has to explain all this to you? As he explained, if Tanaka is so freaking awesome that he opts out the Yankees would much rather have just had him locked up for another few years.

If I sign him to a 10 year 260 million dollar no opt out deal I'm on the hook for him no matter what so the whole he's finished as a useful player angle is meaningless. I'm screwed regardless of the opt out.


You do realize that if he opts out it's because he's freaking awesome right? There is zero upside for the Yankees. Either they lose a player (or re-up him for even more money to keep a now integral part of the team) or they end up paying a guy that isn't worth his salary, perhaps spectacularly so. As I said in the other thread, it's likely the opt out was the kicker that no other team was willing to offer.

A team would much rather sign the player to a straight-out 7/155 contract. It is very obvious why this is true, just as it's obvious why players and agents love player options so much.


There are a lot of smart posters here, I don't know why it's so hard for them to realize this. The way to approach this is to think of it as a 7/155 deal with the downside that if the Yankees scouting and FO was right, that Tanaka is FREAKING AWESOME AND WORTH EVERY PENNY AFTER 4 YEARS not only do they not get rewarded for that prescient scouting, they get ######, as they now either lose him to a higher bidder, or become the higher bidder themselves.
   130. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4644743)
if Tanaka is so freaking awesome that he opts out the Yankees would much rather have just had him locked up for another few years.


Isn't it far better to pay a player just before he become freaking awesome than right after?
   131. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4644744)
Albert Belle was another guy who opted out that his original team let walk. His wasn't a straight opt-out, it just required that he remain one of the top 3 paid players in the game. He left 2Y/20M into a 5Y/55M contract, signed for 5/65 with the Orioles and was out of the game with a degenerative hip ailment in 2 years. (Though kept on their 40 man for insurance purposes)
   132. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4644747)
You do realize that if he opts out it's because he's freaking awesome right? There is zero upside for the Yankees.


The upside is you're not paying for his past performance as he enters a time where he's likely to decline.

How do you not see how invaluable this could've been for the freakin Yankees with Alex Rodriguez or (in all likelihood) Sabathia?
   133. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4644760)
Paste really has to explain all this to you? As he explained, if Tanaka is so freaking awesome that he opts out the Yankees would much rather have just had him locked up for another few years.

IF Tanaka is so freaking awesome that he opts out then I say thank you for the four years and I hope you like the next town. A team doesn't want to sign a player to a 7 or 10 year deal but that is the price a team has to pay to get the premiere talent and in fact teams nowadays tend to view the back part of any long term contract as the part where they get to spread out all that money they would have had to pony up to get a 4 or 5 year deal.

Sure if some 29 year old opts out of the contract I'd probably resign him and give him another opt out clause in the next contract. But anyone 30 or over that wants to optout because they think they can get an 8 or more year contract at 175 million or more I'd wave goodbye to. If some 25 year old wanted an optout clause after 4 or 5 years I'd probably make him either pay for it or make him put a good chunk of the money in the back part of the contract.
   134. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:56 PM (#4644788)
How do you not see how invaluable this could've been for the freakin Yankees with Alex Rodriguez or (in all likelihood) Sabathia?


I feel like I'm in bizarro espn board land right now. Dude, you think 800 OPS AROD would have opted out of his deal? Of course not. These aren't mutual options, this is the team assuming every risk of the contract and zero of the upside. I don't know how much clearer Paste and I can try and explain it.

I'm trying to think how better to explain this you got anything Paste?

IF Tanaka is so freaking awesome that he opts out then I say thank you for the four years and I hope you like the next town.


Yea, and you just pissed away the upside of the deal, getting a player at bargain because you made a great scouting decision, Meanwhile you assumed all the risk that he sucks.

Here are the possible outcomes with the opt out clause for the yankees:

He's below his market rate in value and he opts in -- aka the straight 7/155 deal.
He's above his market rate in value and he opts out -- great, you just lost that great forward thinking deal you made.

Once again, the Yankees assume all the risk of a bad deal, and none of the upside of a good one. It would be better for them to just offer 7/155 guaranteed because for all intents in purposes, it's guaranteed anyway. I can go ahead and guarantee that Tanaka's agent, 4 years from now isn't going to tell his 80 ERA+ client with a declining fastball "hey, opt out".
   135. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:05 PM (#4644792)
These aren't mutual options, this is the team assuming every risk of the contract and zero of the upside. I don't know how much clearer Paste and I can try and explain it.



Becaause it isn't zero upside. A team that signs a premiere free agent who has that player go on to have 4 to 6 great years and then leave got tons of upside. Absolute tons of upside. They got his performance at its cheapest price. Those 4 to 6 years are in the bank and they aren't coming out. What you are now facing is 3 to 5 to years of unknown at a very high price. No matter what you do you will always be on the hook for a bust. This is just plain and simple risk management. It's almost like you've got a 16 and the dealer is showing a 10 so you stand because you're so afraid of busting and then the dealer flips a 6 and busts as well. Virtually no team in the entire history of baseball has ever had a player end his free agent long term contract well but even if that doesn't happen I'd still be happy with letting Tanaka walk after 4 years. A team should always be planning and developing and should always be getting ready to plug a hole as quickly and as efficiently as they can.
   136. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4644841)
I understand what you're saying, McCoy, but especially in the case of a pitcher the risk that the contract turns bad before Year Five is far, far greater than the possible reward of getting out of it just in time.

The only way the Yankees come out of this smelling like roses is if Tanaka is very good, exercises his option after Year Four, someone else gives him 8/250 or whatever the hell ace pitchers will be going for in 2017, and then he immediately tears up his shoulder. That or he turns out to be Roger Clemens, I guess. Good luck with that.

These are all scenarios that are much more likely that that:

(A) Tanaka turns out to be Daisuke II. You're on the hook for the full seven years.

(B) Tanaka turns out to be very good. He exercises his option. The Yankees, unwilling to let their ace walk away especially when the Red Sox might sign him, give him a megacontract that they inevitably come to regret, ultimately losing much more money for no return than they would have had they just signed him to a straight seven year contract.

(C) Tanaka is good but tears a labrum in Year Three. You're on the hook for the full seven years.

It's a bad risk. But the Yankees felt like they had to assume it because they need a top-of-the-rotation starter to have any hope of competing in 2014.
   137. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4644846)
I feel like I'm in bizarro espn board land right now. Dude, you think 800 OPS AROD would have opted out of his deal? Of course not.


Nope but 1.067 OPS A-Rod DID. And rather than the Yankees saying well you're turning 32, I guess we'll have to let somebody else pay you to decline, they stupidly signed him to a new 10 year contract.
   138. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:30 AM (#4644848)
Why does Tanaka have to tear his labrum the second he opts out in order to it to work out for the Yankees? Wouldn't a decline in performance post opt-out (see what could've been Sabathia) work out just as well?
   139. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:33 AM (#4644850)
Because if it's a gradual decline then it probably would have been worth keeping him around the last three years and then letting him walk.

A pitcher suddenly going from ace to below-average usually means an injury. Though no one knows what the hell happened to Tim Lincecum. "tear up his shoulder" was a bit of shorthand on my part. Feel free to substitute "precipitous decline" in your own head if it helps.
   140. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:43 AM (#4644853)
Well my point is an injury or a Lincecum in year 6 is still a win for a Tanaka-free Yankees even if they missed out on a CYA performance in year 5. You yourself said a pitcher's contract carries that risk of blowing up. Considering Tanaka's Japanese workload, if you can grind him up for 4 years and let attrition take place on somebody else's dime, by all means. If he blows up on you and you're stuck with him for 7 years, well if you wanted him you were going to be stuck with him for 7 years regardless.

The only way I see a clear loss for the Yankees is if Tanaka misses substantial time early, but is back in time for year 4 to be lights out, then yeah, you've paid him 4 years of ace money for 2 years of production. But beyond that, the only way you "lose" is if you "win" the first 4 years of the contract.
   141. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:43 AM (#4644854)
The only way the Yankees come out of this smelling like roses is if Tanaka is very good,

If I'm the Yankees I don't care if he pitches great the next three years with someone else. Again, it is like a person standing 16 in blackjack because they don't want to bust and then have the dealer bust when the proper call is to hit and if you bust you say oh well and move on. Once he is no longer on my team you move on.

(A) Tanaka turns out to be Daisuke II. You're on the hook for the full seven years.

No matter what route you take you will always be on the hook for the full seven years. Buying out the opt out clause will simply make the 7 years costlier.

(B) Tanaka turns out to be very good. He exercises his option. The Yankees, unwilling to let their ace walk away especially when the Red Sox might sign him, give him a megacontract that they inevitably come to regret, ultimately losing much more money for no return than they would have had they just signed him to a straight seven year contract.

If they're willing to tack on 4 more years at a much higher price after 4 years you can also say that they'd be willing to sign him to another 7 year deal after his 7 year contract ends which would be even worse. Or you extend him and he's great for another 4 years and then declines but you don't care because you got 8 great years out of him.

It's a bad risk. But the Yankees felt like they had to assume it because they need a top-of-the-rotation starter to have any hope of competing in 2014.

And if the Yankees would have had to give him 10/280 million or 4/175 million to get rid of the optout is it still a bad risk?


There is no such thing as a bargain premiere free agent. The need to get a "deal" should be the last thing on any team's mind. Every single team should know going into any discussion with one of these free agents is that they are going to lose on the deal.
   142. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:51 AM (#4644855)
And if the Yankees would have had to give him 10/280 million or 4/175 million to get rid of the optout is it still a bad risk?


There is always the neutral option of not signing him if all options that involve signing him are bad risks.

There is no such thing as a bargain premiere free agent. The need to get a "deal" should be the last thing on any team's mind. Every single team should know going into any discussion with one of these free agents is that they are going to lose on the deal.


Yes, of course. This is why the Yankees ###### up to even find themselves in this place where they *have* to sign Tanaka.
   143. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4645022)
There is always the neutral option of not signing him if all options that involve signing him are bad risks.

Your idea of a bad risk and the Yankees idea of a bad risk are likely two completely different things.


Yes, of course. This is why the Yankees ###### up to even find themselves in this place where they *have* to sign Tanaka.


They didn't have to sign Tanaka. If they had to sign him he probably would have got something like 10 years and 270 to 300 million.
   144. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4646369)
I'm not talking cubs top 10, I'm talking mlb top 10.

Bryant also went on to win the MVP in the afl, a league which usually is littered with top hitting prospects


For those who missed the thread about it, MLB (Jonathan Mayo) ranks Bryant the #9 prospect in MLB (Baez is #7; Cubs had 8 of the top 100 overall if I counted correctly).
   145. Blackadder Posted: January 25, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4646374)
I've seen some crazy things on BBTF, but the idea that being short a call option could have positive value (without taking into account the discount the Yankees must have gotten from Tanaka for including the opt out) is definitely up there.
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