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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Friday, December 20, 2019

Being cheap is not a plan

I think, after the way this offseason has gone and reading this and this that I think I’m ready to state that I believe the Cubs main - and maybe only - goal this offseason is to get under the luxury tax.  They will, and are already trying to, spin it as a reset or restocking so they don’t fall off a cliff after 2021 and all the FAs.  They are using this past season’s failure as an excuse to not seriously invest any more into this version of the team, and an excuse for why they’ll end up trading someone like Bryant or Contreras. 

The Cubs have spent a lot of money the last few years, that’s true.  They also saved a lot during the rebuild - which I was fine with at the time, and still am - but they’ve always used the carrot of even more future spending (more money from the remodel, more endorsements, more money from their own network, etc) and every single time they walk it back later on.  I realize that the Ricketts - like virtually every other owner in every sport - are trying to make as much money as possible from the team even though they’re absolutely swimming in money already and even the more excessive luxury tax penalties wouldn’t dent their net worth.  So I don’t think I feel like they “owe” me to spend more on the team, but I absolutely reserve the right to be absolutely furious when this will likely be the second year in a row that the team refuses to address obvious holes with just cash. 

Of course, Theo and the FO deserve plenty of blame for the Cubs being in this situation.  They absolutely nailed the first part of their plan, and have slowly been undermining the continued excellence part of it.  I don’t really feel the need to rehash any individual move*, but in total they’ve done more good than bad although it appears they’ve been trying to even that out the last few years.  I don’t know if they hamstrung themselves with their poor moves and had the rug pulled out from under them on expected ability to spend (either to keep adding or to correct prior mistakes).  I was pretty strongly against making any sort of FO change when we were going through the end of season collapse, but if the Ricketts don’t trust them to spend their money maybe that’s a vote of no confidence and the Cubs would be better off long term with a new direction. 

I hope everyone enjoys super utility guy Hernan Perez, who’s really just another version of Descalso, and that’s just more bad money after bad. 

*Even though the most obvious and painful one is the Torres/Chapman one that I am still on some level ok with because of the 2016 title.  YMMV

Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: December 20, 2019 at 11:45 AM | 106 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:02 AM (#5924852)
ZIPS top 100 prospects:

14. Amaya!
38. Davis
53. Nico
58. Cory Abbott

FG's top prospects (non--ZIPS division)

46. Nico
50. Davis
65. Amaya
114. Marquez

Farm system has seemed to have made some strides the last year.
   102. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: March 31, 2020 at 09:20 AM (#5935178)
Since I imagine everyone is really sad about missing....

How I provide free tutorials on how Theo and Jed should fix the Cubs using my OOTP canvas...

I am extending this special invite to follow along as I wheel and deal the Cubs to a dynasty restart! This is your chance to get in on the ground floor of genius... you can see how I effectively swapped out Yu Darvish and his bloated contract for Chris Archer... how I foisted the rotting carcass of Descalso onto the Giants (for the cheaper rotting carcass of Alex Dickerson)... Watch as I ponder trading Willy to the DBacks for Robbie Ray + Daulton Varsho... Gaze in wonder as I pocket spare change from every team for minor league chaff... Gape in amazement as I sign 100s of minor league FAs for trade chits....
   103. Ron J Posted: March 31, 2020 at 09:35 AM (#5935182)
#102 I kinda miss the days when you could just add one more piece of garbage until the AI agreed to the deal.

You did need a lot of players though.
   104. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: March 31, 2020 at 10:09 AM (#5935192)
#102 I kinda miss the days when you could just add one more piece of garbage until the AI agreed to the deal.


The trade AI is much better now, I think.... The AI also no longer gifts away prospects on waivers. Still some black holes, though - for example, the Archer trade to the Pirates? The only way I could make it work was by agreeing to take on Colin Moran... Now, Moran is on the slow train to one-time-3B-prospect irrelevance, but he's making the MLB minimum and even has an option year left. Maybe he ran over Nutting's dog or something.

FWIW, I've also been doing a sort of stream of consciousness review of the new version - ordinarily, I just autobuy for the new roster packs... but for folks who like the GM angle, I think this is the first version in a while that has some nifty new toys. Substantial enhancements to the "Scouting" mechanism - individual players now have "scouting accuracy" metrics, which presumably, get better if you task your scout to look at individual players. Draft classes are now made available in advance, years out (so - I can see the potential 2023 draft class, but right now - it's just got a couple 15 yo wunderkinds... 2022 is fuller, and so on). There is also this "scout focus" list that I'm still figuring out. Finally, while the UI is the same - I think they've also made some significant upgrades for those who do a lot of "player search" and "shortlists". Many of the ones I had to manually create are now out of the box available with filters integrated.... and other nice things - like - the top 20/50/100/200 prospects now have a player profile expansion inline, so it's no longer a click to new page.

Anyway... just something to pass the lockdown time. I'm secretly hoping Walt will jaunt over and do deep analyses of my trades :-)... The link above is to the misfit toys Discord - and due to the value of this endeavor/threats to spam the main OTP thread, the channel is... well... fairly easy to spot!
   105. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: March 31, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5935215)
you can see how I effectively swapped out Yu Darvish and his bloated contract for Chris Archer.

So there's a luxury tax you're also trying to save in your virtual world?
   106. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: March 31, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5935225)
you can see how I effectively swapped out Yu Darvish and his bloated contract for Chris Archer.

So there's a luxury tax you're also trying to save in your virtual world?


Heh, no.... but I like to max out both my Player Development budget and my scouting budget.... which does kind of function as a de facto salary cap - at least, in year 1. OOTPers debate diminishing returns on actually maxing them out (the CW is that 2X the league baseline is sufficient... max is 3X)- but I'm a believer in both because I make a point to target professional service time.

The 2020 edition has the Cubs with about 5m to spare in budget room... but - I need to find 31m in space in order to max out both player development and scouting budgets, plus stay over my draft slot allocation and max out INTL FA budgeting.

That said, there is a luxury tax in the game's financial engine... but it gets applied on revenue side, not payroll side...
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