NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › Official 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs Season Thread: (103-58)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Official 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs Season Thread: (103-58) - Page 24

post #691 of 3757
Thread Starter 
I rather look at Upton from Atlanta. nerd.gif
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #692 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
In October, we dwell on baseball’s unpredictability, searching for creative ways to say “crapshoot.” But few of that month’s columns mention that baseball becomes less predictable when the offseason starts. Baseball Prospectus, a company that makes its bones by forecasting player performance, team standings, and even the outcome of individual playoff games, implicitly concedes that there’s no model sophisticated enough to touch the hot stove. In its annual free-agent rankings, BP includes a predicted destination for every free agent from “Randy,” a random-number generator. Of course, free-agent signings aren’t really random: In the long run, free agents gravitate toward big-market clubs with a history of having high payrolls, just as the teams with the better regular-season records win a higher percentage of postseason series. But Randy reminds us that in any given winter, anyone can go anywhere.1

We can’t appeal to authority to improve on Randy’s predictions, because there are no authorities on the offseason. Only three of 28 team executives surveyed last month foresaw Pablo Sandoval leaving San Francisco. Only five thought the Marlins would extend Giancarlo Stanton. We’re bad at this, and the insiders aren’t any better. So it’s worth taking note when an offseason sequence unfolds the way we thought it would.

The White Sox completed a Monday trade and signing that briefly made them the leaders in the clubhouse for biggest offseason upgrade. Tuesday was the Cubs’ turn: After trading for Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero earlier in the day, they landed Jon Lester late Tuesday night, ending an almost comical sequence of reports, refutations, and uninformative updates as the lefty fielded competing offers from the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Giants. To acquire Lester, Montero, and starter Jason Hammel, a 2014 trade-deadline departure whom they brought back on Monday for two years and $20 million, the Cubs spent way more money and added more wins than the White Sox. But nothing they did took anyone in the industry by surprise.
On Monday morning, GM Jed Hoyer said, “We’re going to add multiple starting pitchers.” By Tuesday night, he’d made good on his vow. The Cubs’ path to contention has always been too clear for the team to be cagey: trade veterans for prospects and salary relief, make the most of high draft picks, spend on the international market, and supplement with trades and free agents to fill whatever needs the farm system couldn’t supply.

We knew this would be the winter when the Cubs entered that final phase, and that Lester, who turns 31 in January, would be part of their plan. Other events have also proceeded as we have foreseen: When manager Joe Maddon opted out of the final year of his contract with the Rays, Chicago was the rumored destination. It was obvious, also, that the Cubs would want a better starting catcher than Welington Castillo. Initial speculation centered on Russell Martin, the best free agent available, but as soon as Martin signed with Toronto, Montero became the best candidate. The Cubs are making every highly paid pundit and barely read blogger sound prescient. More than that, they’re making climbing out of the cellar seem as simple as a spammer’s prescription for earning a fortune from home.

It takes talent to be this predictable, though: The Cubs’ winter was easier to anticipate than the White Sox’s because the Cubs had fewer holes. There are so many ways in which a rebuild can run off the rails before it reaches this point: veterans who don’t bring back the expected return, prospects who get injured or exposed at Double-A, free agents who don’t arrive right on schedule or who refuse to sign. While it would be premature to declare their mission accomplished before they top 73 wins, the Cubs have avoided every pitfall so far. Their blueprint has been visible, yet they still haven’t been stopped.

Lester was the centerpiece of this preordained offseason: Even the terms weren’t unexpected. In a profile of Lester last month, MLB Trade Rumors’s Steve Adams came within $2 million of predicting the guaranteed total: $155 million over six seasons,2 which gives Lester the second-highest average annual salary ($25.8 million) for a pitcher, behind Clayton Kershaw’s $30.7 million. There’s nothing complicated about the contract. Lester is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and the Cubs, who’ve developed more hitting prospects than they have open positions, needed better pitching than they could promote from within. Aside from the factor that applies to every player — TV-contract-accelerated salary inflation — there are a few reasons why Lester received a record salary for a free-agent arm:

He’s Already Adjusted: When they enter the league, pitchers (as a group) are at the peak of their powers. Projecting any individual arm beyond that requires teams to estimate when the inevitable descent will start and how steep it will be. Prior to 2014, Lester’s strikeout rate had declined by more than 25 percent relative to its 2009 high. And this year, his velocity was down more than a mile and a half per hour compared to its peak in that same 2009 season. Nonetheless, Lester recorded a career-best walk rate, a big rebound in strikeout rate, and, thanks to his increased efficiency, a new high in innings pitched.

Lester recovered his former dominance by doing a better job of repeating his delivery, as measured by the spread in his release points. He also altered his pitch mix to emphasize his cutter and curve. And as Jeff Sullivan observed, he improved against righties by pitching farther inside. Those adjustments would seem to suggest that as Lester’s stuff tails off further, he can compensate with command, smarts, and a deep arsenal that makes him less reliant on the fastball than a starter with fewer options available. However, he might want to work on his pickoff move.

Draft-Pick Compensation Cost Not Included: Because Boston traded Lester in July, he was ineligible for a qualifying offer, unlike Max Scherzer and James Shields. As a result, his suitors knew that they wouldn’t have to sacrifice a compensation pick to sign him. Thanks to their losing seasons, the Red Sox and Cubs will pick seventh and ninth, respectively, in next year’s amateur draft. The first 10 picks are protected, so both teams were aware that they’d have to surrender only a second-round pick to sign a player carrying a compensation sentence.3 Still, teams place some value on those selections, and if Lester hadn’t been exempt from the qualifying offer, his eventual deal might have been for less money. By trading Lester away during the season, the Red Sox indirectly made it less costly for their competition to sign him this winter.

He’s Not an Obvious Health Risk: Lester has made at least 31 starts in seven straight seasons. The best indication of a pitcher’s future health is his injury history, and Lester’s isn’t long: Since his recovery from cancer, only a short 2011 DL stint and a few day-to-day injuries mar his perfect record. Yet despite his durability and frequent postseason appearances, Lester’s highest-workload seasons can’t compare to those of Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, or, more recently, Shields and Madison Bumgarner. Nor did he rack up innings at an early age, reaching 200 innings for the first time at 24. Plus, Lester’s easy motion looks less worrisome than Scherzer’s high-effort release. Unlike major league teams, which can base studies on archived scouting reports, we can’t say whether a wonky delivery is a reliable indicator of early decline, but many evaluators believe it is. And of course, it couldn’t have hurt that Lester has a slightly stronger postseason record than Scherzer and an agent given to less lofty demands.


To the extent that it’s possible for a free-agent pitcher, Lester is free of red flags. According to Baseball-Reference, the lefty with the most similar stats through age 30 is Andy Pettitte. It’s a tantalizing comparison: Not only did the two post near-identical innings totals (Lester 1,596; Pettitte 1,584.1) and career ERA+ marks (Lester 121; Pettitte 117) through age 30, they have mirror-image builds and identical five-pitch repertoires highlighted by signature cutters. Pettitte’s slow decline phase is a tough act to follow, but the Cubs can accept the risk that Lester won’t replicate the best-case outcome because they’ve minimized their exposure in other areas. By developing position players and importing proven pitchers, they’ve avoided the injury nexus, the dangerous early-twenties period when pitcher attrition rates reach their pinnacle. And with most of their roster years away from arbitration, let alone free agency — only the White Sox, Marlins, and Astros entered the winter with less cash committed to 2015 — they’ll have plenty of payroll to play with even if Lester goes south.

On top of Lester and Hammel, the Cubs added Montero for two prospects whose loss won’t be felt in a stacked farm system: 20-year-old Jefferson Mejia ranked 18th on Kiley McDaniel’s comprehensive list of Cubs prospects whom he projects to be big leaguers, while 24-year-old Zack Godley, who hasn’t advanced beyond High-A, didn’t merit a mention. Montero’s BABIP and power have dipped in the past two seasons as his stroke has produced more ground balls, and he hit only two homers during an extended post-All-Star-break slump. However, Montero’s batted-ball rates didn’t degrade further in the second half, and he walks often enough to make him at least an average offensive catcher. Although teams started calling about Castillo as soon as Montero switched teams, the younger catcher would make a perfect platoon mate if the Cubs decide to keep him: Montero, a left-handed hitter, has historically been much more productive against right-handed pitching, while the right-handed Castillo has crushed lefties. In addition, Montero is a sizable upgrade on defense. Although his caught-stealing rate has slipped some since it topped 40 percent in 2011 and 2012, he remains above average at framing, a skill that Castillo still hasn’t mastered.

The Cubs, who had the second-youngest position players of any club last season, will count on youth just as much next year, with Montero the only projected starter who’ll be more than 29 on Opening Day. The Cubs are betting that Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara will make more contact. They’re hoping there won’t be a book on Kris Bryant when last year’s minor league home run king arrives, and that Jorge Soler’s inexperience won’t be exposed in his first full season. They’ll have to build a bullpen out of lesser-known names, and the rotation is still one starter away from representing a strength. There are bound to be a few faltering first steps, but the clock counting down to contention is about to zero out.

So with the primary items on the Cubs’ wish list crossed off, what’s next for the teams that lost out on Lester? In the wake of Sandoval’s departure, watching Lester send a rose to somebody else has to hurt Giants GM Brian Sabean, who’ll now turn his attention back to other rumored objects of interest. For the Dodgers, who can console themselves with Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the pain is probably less acute. And for the runner-up Red Sox, who may regret not going higher with their extension offer last spring, losing Lester is a setback, but not a disaster.

The Sox offered Lester a six-year deal, which would have been the longest they’d ever awarded a free-agent pitcher. Given John Henry’s hard-line stance on contract length for over-30 players, that sixth year (plus the owner’s recruiting trip to Atlanta) is a testament to the team’s interest, but the $20 million gap between the winning bid and Boston’s — which the Red Sox must have had a chance to close — says the Sox weren’t desperate. Nor should they have been. Before Lester made his decision, Sox GM Ben Cherington cited “15 to 20 starting pitcher scenarios” that the team had considered as potential routes to the “good rotation” that he’s promised fans. In addition to pursuing remaining free agents Scherzer, Shields, and Brandon McCarthy, Boston could try to loosen Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s death grip on Cole Hamels or package surplus position players for one of many one-year rentals remaining on the post–Jeff Samardzija market.

When the Red Sox drafted Lester in 2002, they were still two seasons away from ending their 86-year stretch without a title. Since then, they’ve won two with Lester on the staff. While the lefty was tempted to return to his roots, winning another World Series in Boston must have seemed passé compared to the prospect of breaking a second curse with the Cubs. By accepting Chicago’s offer, Lester brought Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, his old/new employers, significantly closer to completing a mission much like the one they undertook more than a decade ago in Boston. Whatever the sequel’s outcome, they’ll all be better paid.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #693 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
SAN DIEGO – It was "dig me" day for the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday at the winter meetings in Southern California. The phrase was coined by pitching great Greg Maddux, in reference to the day after a stellar start: Everyone digs the pitcher who just threw a masterpiece.

That was the feeling around the Cubs after they signed pitchers Jon Lester and Jason Hammel and traded for catcher Miguel Montero, formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks. That buzz led to plenty of speculation Wednesday. Just hours after getting the good news about Lester, the Cubs were suddenly linked -- mostly via Twitter -- to big bats, such as the Atlanta Braves' Justin Upton, and more pitching, such as free-agent right-hander James Shields.

However, having used up a good portion of their budget -- how much, the Cubs aren't saying -- and with reluctance to trade young assets, their offseason might be slowing down.

“People ask if we're all-in for '15, and the best response is, 'We're all-in for the future,'” team president Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “And the future starts in 2015.”

“We haven’t given up any of our most significant prospects in these deals," he continued. "We haven’t given up a draft pick in these deals. We preserved our future. We’re trying to build toward a long run. We won’t sacrifice that, even if we maximize our 2015 roster.”


Then Epstein said there’s no room for two $100 million pitchers -- at least not this offseason. That would mean Shields is out. So too would be Max Scherzer, much to the dismay -- presumably -- of agent Scott Boras. Boras held court Wednesday with a throng of reporters, as he does once every meetings, and he commended the Cubs, as well as the White Sox, for spending money. But he thinks the Cubs should do more.

“Much like swimming pools, when there’s too many kids in the pool, it changes the color of the water,” Boras joked. “So you’ve got to make sure that that combination is appropriate to win."

In other words, he wants the Cubs to spend more money on veterans, which they will try to do, according to the front office. Those veterans might not be the ones Boras wants, as David Ross and Jonny Gomes remain in play, or at least more so than Upton or another expensive infielder or outfielder. Adding another starting pitcher doesn’t seem to make much sense, unless the Cubs move one out in a deal.

“We have a ton of starting pitching depth,” Epstein said. “You need it. Some of those guys can end up in the bullpen.”

Lester, Hammel, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront, Dallas Beeler, Dan Straily and Eric Jokisch are all contenders for a spot in the rotation. Then there’s the underperforming Edwin Jackson. The Cubs haven’t reached the point of dealing with his status just yet, but they will need to before April.

Back to the offense: Epstein didn’t rule out anything, but if keeping assets is important and budgetary concerns start to play a part, then read between the lines. Both assets and money would likely be needed to get a hitter, considering there are no great ones left in free agency. Even if there were, the much-reported notion that the Cubs need time for their young offense to develop is still true.

At least they can’t be called cheap anymore. But can they be called contenders? That remains to be seen, even after a great start to memorable winter meetings.


As we have said in this thread from day 1. Long haul. Not just a one year run, or a quick fix. Build the team the RIGHT way. pimp.gif

We'll be better next year, surely, but 2016....that's when the real fun begins. Then, we really get to have a good time.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #694 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
SAN DIEGO – They came. They negotiated. They conquered.

OK, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic for the Chicago Cubs, but the 2014 winter meetings might someday be looked back upon as the start of something special.

“We have a plan and we hope this week was a big step in executing that plan,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday as the meetings came to a close. “If we’re looking back having won, then a lot of memories -- not just these winter meetings, but a lot of things -- will be enjoyable.”

In all honesty, The Plan started a long time ago, probably before Hoyer and his boss, Theo Epstein, even agreed to take the helm of the franchise that’s gone the longest in professional sports without winning a championship. The two discussed it before signing on: A rebuild was the only way to go.

Hoyer indicated that the Cubs were in the “fourth or fifth inning” of this offseason, and that might apply to their rebuilding efforts overall. After all, they know they haven’t won anything yet, and no one gets a prize for winning the offseason.

“We don’t get anything out of people talking about us in the winter,” Hoyer said.

There is one thing the Cubs have accomplished. In the span of a couple of days this week they have destroyed the narrative that they’re cheap. Dead. And buried. Actually, that started to die the day they hired Joe Maddon for $5 million a year while still paying Rick Renteria to not manage.

And as much as ownership didn’t have the funds for Epstein & Co. when he first arrived, it didn’t much matter once the Cubs' plan was implemented. Epstein has repeated the notion -- maybe not in so many words -- that tanking is still a valuable strategy, and it's possible that not having that money a couple of years ago was the best thing for him. Yes, he has said that on a number of occasions. Finishing in the middle of the pack doesn’t net you a Kris Bryant.

Here’s the bottom line moving forward: Anything the Cubs do the rest of this offseason is gravy. They have their No. 1 pitcher in Jon Lester. They have a pitch-framing catcher in Miguel Montero, who will help the staff with that ability alone. And they added three veterans -- those two and Jason Hammel -- who can set the tone for the young team. One or two more “clubhouse dudes,” as Maddon put it this week, and the offseason is a grand success.

“We leave here with some irons in the fire both trade-wise and free-agent-wise,” Hoyer said. “We’re in the fourth to fifth inning of the offseason now. ... If you stay active and stay involved, sometimes things might happen later in the offseason you might not have even expected.”

Hoyer didn’t mean it this way, but for those of you holding out hope for a big bat to come to Chicago, or another surprise on the mound, the Cubs GM just left the door open. Anything seems possible with this team now. And that, more than anything, might be the best takeaway with the Cubs right now. Small-market thinking is on its way out.

“There’s a lot more work to be done on our roster,” Hoyer said. “We’re far from a finished product right now.”

Remember those words come spring and summer, because they will apply then, too. The Cubs aren’t done building their team, but they’re entering a much more interesting stage after setting the foundation. That’s when the memories are made.

“No memory is good unless we’re looking back having won,” Hoyer said.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #695 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Chicago Cubs -- Grade: A+

The Cubs have had the best offseason of any club so far, starting with the hiring of manager Joe Maddon away from the Rays. They then re-signed pitcher Jason Hammel after trading him in July and solved the catching position with the acquisition of Miguel Montero from the Diamondbacks. However, their biggest acquisition, of course, was the signing of their new ace Jon Lester, winning a bidding war over the Giants, Red Sox and Dodgers. The Cubs' timetable to contend was 2016, but with one or two moves they could be a surprise team by the second half of 2015 if the prospects were to develop ahead of schedule.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #696 of 3757
Jason Hammel deal was made official today.

Also ABC 7 has just signed a new TV deal with the Cubs for 25 games....Not sure how I feel about this, since WGN been broadcasting Cubs games since I was a kid.
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
post #697 of 3757
Thread Starter 
http://www.minorleagueball.com/2014/12/7/7351045/chicago-cubs-top-20-prospects-for-2015

And now 2015 Minor League Rankings are coming out, and we shine brightly in this department. pimp.gif


Quote:
Bottom line: the Cubs have a stellar offensive group at the top and lots of depth behind them. The pitching situation is improving steadily, and the front office has shown the ability to find talent in the draft, the trade market, and the international scene. They don’t just dump money on problems: they allocate well too.

pimp.gif
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #698 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The Cubs have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent reliever Jason Motte, pending a physical, a team source told ESPN.com.

The deal is for $4.5 million, a source said.

Motte has spent his whole career with the Cardinals and was their closer in 2011 when they won the World Series. He later had elbow trouble and missed the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery.

Last season, Motte struggled through back injuries, posting a 4.68 ERA in 29 appearances.

Before missing 2013, Motte had a career year in 2012. He made 67 appearances, pitched 72 innings, racked up 42 saves and had a 2.75 ERA.

Low risk-high reward type signing. If he fails, shrug it off like nothin.

If he flourishes, under Bosio ( nerd.gif ) then we get a steal.

2010, 11, and 12, he posted 2.24, 2.25, 2.75 ERA's with WHIP around 1. If he rebounds from TJS, he's a solid add.


Bosio. pimp.gif
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #699 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Marco Hernandez going to Boston as the PTBNL for Felix Doubront.

Middle infielder (we can afford to let one of those go) Light hitting, decent glove. Only 22.

So, we moved a young middle infielder where we have a ton of depth, for a mid 20's lefty arm. Fair deal any way you look at it.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #700 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Among the many comments yesterday by and about new Chicago Cubs lefty Jon Lester, one in particular stuck out at me as worth an extra glance, even if just for fun. Well, in addition to the deer urine comment, that is.

Jon Greenberg has a very healthy write-up on all things Lester press conference at ESPN, and you should give it a read. The thrust of the piece is about the obvious risk attached to a $155 million investment in a pitcher’s arm, and about how a pitcher like Lester could and may maintain a high level of performance on into his 30s. The Cubs did their homework, which can never eliminate the risk of a breakdown or injury, but it helps. It’s a good read.

The comment, though, at which I wanted to take an extra look is this one:

“He’s left-handed, and left-handed pitchers tend to perform better throughout their contracts than right-handed pitchers,” Epstein said, according to Greenberg. “He’s got the right kind of pitch mix that will allow him to age gracefully. He doesn’t get hitters out just one way, especially now that his curveball is back in the mix, where he’s working both sides of the plate. The cutter is a weapon that ages very well. If you look at Andy Pettitte, he aged extremely well through his 30s. He’s a reasonable [comparison]. The second half of Jon Lester’s career you want to look like Andy Pettitte.”

Setting aside the data points that suggest Lester is among the better bets to stay healthy and effective into his 30s (Lester’s healthy arm so far in his career is another one), I want to linger on that Pettitte comp. If things play out that way for the Cubs, I think they’ll be exceedingly happy with this signing.

Between 2003 and 2008 – the six seasons starting with his age 31 season (Lester will be 31 next year) – Andy Pettitte posted a 3.83 ERA, 3.61 FIP, and 3.58 xFIP over 1147.1 innings (just shy of 200 per year). In that span, which you should remember was a very different offensive era, he struck out 18.7% of the batters he faced, and walked just 6.5%. He accumulated 23.8 WAR in those six seasons. That’s all rather fantastic for a guy aged 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36.

Pettitte, 6’5″ and 225 lbs, was a big, strong lefty, not unlike Lester, who is listed at 6’4″ and 240 lbs. Like Lester, Pettitte never leaned too hard on any one pitch, instead working a five-pitch mix, including a four-seamer, a sinker, a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup. Incidentally, Lester also generally mixes five pitches: a four-seamer, a sinker, a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup. And Lester does it in roughly the same proportions as Pettitte did (see Pettitte at Brooks, see Lester at Brooks). We don’t have accurate velocity data on Pettitte before 2007, but he was still finding success then without a fastball that topped 90mph very frequently. Lester’s four-seamer sat around 93mph in 2014. So that’s nice.

Prior to that age 31 season, by the way, Pettitte had a 3.78 career FIP and a 3.68 career xFIP. Lester currently stands at 3.58, and 3.67.

Every player is a unique individual, subject to latent things that will impact his aging and performance in ways that will always be obscured to outside perspective. But, superficially, Pettitte’s age 31 to 36 seasons look not only like a fantastic outcome for Lester’s age 31 to 36 seasons, they also look like a reasonable outcome for which to hope based on everything we know at this point.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #701 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
UPDATE 3: And, sure enough, it’s done. The Cubs have sent Ruggiano to the Mariners for minor league righty Matt Brazis. The deal opens up a 40-man spot (presumably for Jason Motte), and saves the Cubs upwards of $2.5 to $3 million in salary. Brazis, 25, was the Mariners’ 28th round pick in 2012, and he’s been a dominant minor league reliever ever since. Keep in mind, pure minor league relievers usually have very limited ceilings, but Brazis has compiled an impressive 2.89 ERA and 10.9 K/9 (2.8 BB/9) over his minor league career. He spent 2014 split between High-A and AA. He’s an interesting minor league piece, and about what you’d expect to get for Ruggiano.

And now we see if, for example, a Jonny Gomes signing is around the corner, or if the Cubs will continue to explore other outfield options.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #702 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
At long last, the annual salary breakdown in Jon Lester’s $155 million deal with the Chicago Cubs is now available, courtesy of Jon Heyman. That means we can put the whole financial package together.

As reported, Lester gets a $30 million signing bonus, $15 million of which is payable before the 2015 season begins (which I suspect is a financial benefit not only for Lester, but also for the Cubs, as discussed previously). From there, $2.5 million is paid in 2018, $2.5 million is paid in 2019, and $10 million is paid in 2020.

For salary, Lester gets:

$15 million in 2015
$20 million in 2016
$20 million in 2017
$22.5 million in 2018
$22.5 million in 2019
$15 million in 2020
Then there’s the $25 million option for 2021, which will vest as a player option if Lester pitches 200 innings in 2020 or 400 innings in 2019 and 2020, combined. That option comes with a $10 million buyout, which adds up to the $155 million guarantee.

Including the bonus payments, each of the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons will effectively be the most expensive, with $25 million paid out each year* (which you’d expect in a back-loaded contract, as these kinds of deals always tend to be).

The average annual value of the deal (AAV) is $25.833 million, and is simply $155 million divided by six years. This matters only to the extent the luxury tax cap ($189 million) comes into play for the Cubs during the course of Lester’s deal – for luxury tax purposes, a team’s payroll is the AAV of all of its contracts, not the actual amount it is paying in a given year.

Because the 2021 option is for $25 million with a $10 million buyout, it’ll actually be a mere $15 million decision for the Cubs. If Lester ages as well as Andy Pettitte did – which we discussed yesterday as a reasonable comp – the Cubs will be all too happy to pay that $15 million to get Lester back in 2021. Here’s hoping that’s what happens.

*(The answer to your question is, no, I don’t quite understand why the “signing bonus” is partly paid out much later than when Lester signs. I assume there are accounting and/or tax implications.)

One final point of discussion I forgot to add initially: the 2021 option is technically a mutual option, which is not likely to make a big difference down the road, but could. The way mutual options generally work for teams is something like this: the club decides if they want to pick up the option (here, it would be $25 million or a $10 million buyout). If they decide they do, then it’s up to the player if they want to agree, as well. If the player says yes, he gets the option rate – here, $25 million – but if he says no, then he doesn’t get the buyout.

So, in this situation, it’s hard to see the Cubs wanting Lester back for $25 million in 2021 in a situation where Lester is going to want to leave no matter what (even if he didn’t want to play one year for $25 million, the two sides could always work out a short extension). But, because it’s not inconceivable – maybe he’s been such a stud that he can get another huge contract, even at age 37 – it’s worth noting that the Cubs could wind up paying $10 million less on this deal if they pick up the option but Lester declines.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #703 of 3757
Well it's a bargain those first 3 years laugh.gif
Kinda intrigued at the Jonny Gomes mention.
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
post #704 of 3757
Jonny Gomes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
post #705 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Looking ahead a lil bit, with the Cubs clearly wanting to look at adding OF depth either this year or next, I'm starting to think that the 9th pick we have in June will be a college outfielder.

Now, that piece may not be ready for a year or two, still, but it would become essentially a trade piece. I "think" they like the idea of Alcantara and Soler, and then someday either Almora or Bryant become the 3rd OFer. But adding yet another to the mix via the draft gives them a piece they could use in trade later, for a more polished outfielder, maybe move Alcantara back into the infield.


If I'm right, that has me looking towards guys like DJ Stewart, left handed hitter out of Florida St, or Skye Bolt, switch hitter out of North Carolina, or Steven Duggar left handed out of Clemson. Also, Joe McCarthy a big left handed guy out of Virginia.


For years we've kept expecting pitching, but with Lester now, and a 2015 signing likely as well, I think Theo stays adding quality bats, and one of these may be the guy at 9.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #706 of 3757
Thread Starter 


Was hoping to get this in my mailbox yesterday, I got the regional cover with Kap on the cover. indifferent.gif
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #707 of 3757
mean.gifroll.gif
I'd be upset too if I had to see Kap on the cover of any publication.

Cubs still making moves......minor ones but still moving.
Claimed:
C - Ryan Lavarnway
OF - Shane Pertterson

And completed the Jason Motte deal.
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
post #708 of 3757
David Ross to Cubs, two years, $5M.
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
post #709 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Sounds like Castillo is gonna get dealt then. No way we keep 3 catchers, not to mention they claimed that kid today too. (insurance I'm sure)

So we could see a trade at some point, not sure what he could net us tho. Maybe another outfielder?
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #710 of 3757
Quote:
Originally Posted by CP1708 View Post

Sounds like Castillo is gonna get dealt then. No way we keep 3 catchers, not to mention they claimed that kid today too. (insurance I'm sure)

So we could see a trade at some point, not sure what he could net us tho. Maybe another outfielder?


i think Castillo gets traded for a minor league Pitcher, maybe an outfielder.
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
post #711 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Borrowed from Pro in the MLB thread, Top 10 2015 Storylines

Quote:
2. The Chicago Cubs

Wrigley Field is being renovated, and so is the team that inhabits it. The Cubs improved last season behind Anthony Rizzo and the first contributions from the wave of star prospects, but in 2015 the franchise appears poised to take a big step forward with new manager Joe Maddon, new ace Jon Lester and a player who is thought to be capable of monstrous offensive production in Kris Bryant, a 6-foot-5 slugger who mashed 78 extra-base hits in 138 games last season in the minors, with 86 walks and 162 strikeouts. Bryant probably will reach the big leagues sometime in mid-April, and later in the summer, shortstop Addison Russell will probably follow, although it’s unclear exactly what position he’ll play initially.

Maddon and president Theo Epstein have spoken openly of increased expectations for next season, and it’s not out of the question that the Cubs could play meaningful games in September, or vie for a playoff spot. If any of that materializes, well, prepare yourself for Cubs mania. The fan base, long starved for hope, is ready to emerge from its slumber.

#1 was the new commish.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #712 of 3757
Fellas, Spring training is around the corner. Let's Go
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
post #713 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Did the Cubs play a 2014 season? Did that happen?

With all that has happened during the offseason, forgive Cubs fans if they have flushed away thoughts of the team’s 73-89 season, their fifth straight fifth-place finish in the National League Central. It was a bridge year to the future, and in the offseason, the Cubs built a brand new bridge (and started rebuilding Wrigley Field).

Entering 2014, the Cubs believed they had building blocks for the lineup, starting with 24-year-old regulars Anthony Rizzo at first base and shortstop Starlin Castro. Both had struggled in 2013 but bounced back with strong seasons, as Rizzo hit 32 homers while Castro posted the highest OPS of his career (.777) and made his third all-star team.

The Cubs also saw the debuts of three key rookies. Last year’s No. 1, Javier Baez, swatted nine home runs as a second baseman but found out his all-or-nothing approach won’t work against big league pitchers, striking out 95 times in 213 at-bats while batting .169. Versatile Arismendy Alcantara had his moments but also struggled while settling in as the team’s new center fielder. Meanwhile righty Kyle Hendricks had the best rookie debut on the team and looks like a back-of-the-rotation option for when the team becomes competitive.

Now that looks like it could be in 2015, with two huge moves that sped up the organization’s timetable. They swooped in when Rays manager Joe Maddon had a two-week window to opt out of his contract, firing Rick Renteria after one season as Cubs manager to strike while Maddon was available. Second, team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod tapped into their Red Sox roots to sign Jon Lester to the largest contract in franchise history, a six-year, $155 million deal that gave the Cubs a new ace.

Lester ended 2014 playing for the Athletics with Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs’ ace the last two seasons who will be contributing indirectly on the North Side for years. Chicago traded him to the Athletics and got consecutive first-round picks in return, with hard-hitting shortstop Addison Russell (2012) and smooth-swinging outfielder Billy McKinney (2013).

Russell joins 2014 Minor League Player of the Year Kris Bryant, who hit 43 homers while reaching Triple-A, plus Baez in giving the Cubs an enviable group of athletic infielders with pop. The organization then added more impact talent through the draft, executing its plan perfectly. Chicago got perhaps the draft’s best hitter, catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber at No. 4 overall, for a below-slot bonus, then used the savings to sign three million-dollar high school pitchers, adding much-needed organizational pitching depth.

Adding Lester doesn’t mean the Cubs are contenders yet. But it does mean they don’t have to wait for a homegrown ace. When their young hitters are ready, Chicago will be ready, and if that happens in 2015, don’t be surprised.

Quote:
TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Kris Bryant, 3b
2. Addison Russell, ss
3. Jorge Soler, of
4. Kyle Schwarber, c/of
5. C.J. Edwards, rhp
6. Billy McKinney, of
7. Albert Almora, of
8. Gleyber Torres, ss
9. Pierce Johnson, rhp
10. Duane Underwood, rhp

laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif This is AFTER you pull off Baez, Alcantara, and Hendricks, and we still have the 9th pick in the draft coming in on top of these guys. laugh.gifpimp.gif

List also doesn't include Eloy Jimenez. nerd.gif
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #714 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Dear Cubs fans,

It’s time to discuss this Billy Goat Curse like adults. Let’s no longer let it lurk in the corner of our brains. Let’s discuss it. I am a 36-year-old man. I am not afraid of the dark. I am not afraid of a bogeyman living under my bed. I no longer believe in Santa Claus. I have also accepted the fact that I will never play professional sports, and I’ll never be as good as an actor as Robert De Niro was in The Deer Hunter. It was fun to believe in all of these fantasies, but I have simply outgrown them.

This brings us to the Billy Goat Curse …

Legend has it that a curse was placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945, preventing them from winning a World Series. Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field, because his goat, which he brought to the game, smelled like a goat, and it was bothering other fans. Now before we go any further, I need to say I agree with Cubs management. If I owned a business and someone brought a goat to that establishment and it was bothering other customers, I, too, would ask them to leave.

To make it even more personal, if someone brought a goat to the New Girl set — say, our sound guy, or our set PA — I can guarantee, with 100 percent certainty, that they would be turned around and asked to leave long before Zooey Deschanel ever caught sight of it.

But back to 1945. After his goat was banned from entering the stadium, Sianis was furious and declared, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” Was his English great? No. Does it matter? Probably not. On that day — October 7, 1945 — Sianis tied his pet goat to a stake in the parking lot and entered the stadium.

After the game, Sianis dispatched a telegram to team owner Philip K. Wrigley that read, “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat.” The Cubs lost that series against the Tigers. Sure, they were up two games in a seven-game series, but hell, things happen. It’s baseball. To say the Cubs lost that series because of a disgruntled bar owner seems far-fetched, no? Maybe it was the curse, or maybe it was Hal Newhouser’s pitching. Who am I to say? I am not God. I am just a man.

Cut to 1969. Late in the season, the Cubs had a record of 84-52. Pretty good, right? It was September 2 and they were in first place. To this day, the ’69 Cubs were my father’s favorite team, featuring the likes of Ernie Banks (you might remember him from his cameo in the great Windy City Heat), Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins, and Billy Williams. The Cubs went on to lose 18 of their last 26 games, while the Mets went 23-7. It was one of the most astounding late-season collapses in history. The Mets won the National League East and would go on to win the World Series. That’s baseball, right? Wrong.

Some people, my father among them, believe that the reason the Cubs lost that year was the Billy Goat Curse. On September 9, 1969, the Cubs played the Mets at Shea Stadium. A big game. At one point, a black cat walked onto the field and approached Santo, who was standing in the on-deck circle. Yes, a black cat. I watch a ton of sports. I have never seen any cat on a baseball field, let alone a black one. But there it was. On the field.

Some say that cat was part of Sianis’s curse. It was there to jinx the Cubs. It worked. The Cubs started losing almost immediately after that damned black cat showed up.

Others believe that the Cubs blew their late-season lead because of more logical reasons. They said the players simply burned out because manager Leo Durocher didn’t believe in resting his best players — kind of like Tom Thibodeau. Either way, the Cubs lost, and their World Series drought continued.

If the ’69 team was my father’s Cubs team, the 2003 team were mine. I was 25 that year. Broke. I had bottomed out of NYC after getting dumped by a long-term girlfriend, and I decided to move in with my father. Quick backstory: My father wasn’t around when I was growing up. He was gone when I was 2 and rarely present until my early twenties. When I decided to move in with him, it was a strange decision. We were not close, but there we were — two Cubs fans, living in his condo in Lincoln Park, preparing for the start of the 2003 season. My father and I watched every game, and through that season grew close.

We were very superstitious. If Kerry Wood was pitching well and I was sitting on the left side of the couch, I didn’t move. If my father was near the fridge and we were rallying, then he stayed by that damn fridge until the half-inning was complete. We both believed, in our hearts, that this was the year the Cubs would finally win a World Series. We got into the playoffs, beat the Atlanta Braves, and went up against the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series.

Enter poor old Steve Bartman. God have mercy on his soul.

Steve, if you’re reading this, I sincerely apologize, for all Cubs fans and for myself. You see, Steve, I was drunk, in an apartment across the street from Wrigley during Game 6, and I too cursed at you. I opened the window and screamed horrible things at you. I blamed you for losing. This was my magical year. I had rekindled my relationship with my father watching the Cubs, and we were on the verge of winning it all. I thought you took that from me. I was wrong. We were all wrong. You did nothing wrong.

I am getting off track. I am getting emotional. Bottom line is this: The Cubs were five outs away from the World Series. The Cubs lost that game and then lost Game 7. I was in the bleachers for Game 7 with my brother and watched the Marlins storm the field. It broke my heart. I believed the Billy Goat Curse was real.

Now, its 2014. Times have changed. We have new owners, the Ricketts family, who are doing everything they can to win. They hired Theo Epstein, who brought a championship to Boston. They have established an incredible farm system and are attracting big-name free agents. Jon Lester! They are putting together a team that can soon contend for a World Series. It is not guaranteed we will win. This is, after all, baseball. Anything can happen.

This is where this piece becomes a letter to the fans.

Soon, we will be back contending for a World Series in Chicago. The magical summers in Wrigley Field will return. Eventually, sooner rather than later, we will be back in the playoffs. Playoff baseball is tense. The game turns into chess. Everything matters. We need to ready ourselves for those games. We can not be little children scared of a curse. We can not gasp when a player makes an error. I just heard Ryan Dempster say in an interview that players feel the anxiety from the fans, which means we are the curse. Not the players. Not the black cat or the billy goat. We are all Steve Bartman. We are the reason the players get tense. Like an overprotective parent who makes their children nervous, we, as fans, need to relax. We need to have faith that these Cubs, our Cubs, can and will win, if we let them.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #715 of 3757
^
roll.gifnthat.gif

Been kinda pissed lately after seeing these clown HOF voters give Sammy 6%.
I just gotta come to terms with the fact that Sosa will never get in, hopefully the club retires his number soon.
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
TEAM CHICAGO
BULLS - BEARS - CUBS - BLACKHAWKS
Reply
post #716 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I don't like it either, but it is what it is. He's attached to all the PED stuff, so until they start letting all of those guys in, he's gonna be stuck on the outside lookin in.

I want him to repair his relationship with the Cubs too, hang his 21 out in Right someday.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #717 of 3757
Thread Starter 
It begins....

Quote:
The Cubs finished last in the National League Central last year, losing 89 games. They have not had a .500 record since 2009, have not been to the playoffs since 2008, have not won a playoff series (or even game) since 2003, have not won the pennant since 1945, and have not won the World Series since 1908.

And, yes, Sporting News is picking them to win it all in 2015.

It’s not just because of "Back to the Future 2," when the Cubs were a 100-1 shot, and Marty McFly got the idea to go back in time and bet on sports results for which he already knew the outcome. In reality, the Cubs are much better than a 100-1 shot. At 12-1, they are tied with the Tigers as the bettors’ fifth choice behind the Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels and Nationals.

The addition of Jon Lester to the top of the rotation is huge for Chicago, as it means that Jake Arrieta slides into the No. 2 spot, followed by returning free agent Jason Hammel, and then some kind of mix of Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner and Felix Doubront. The depth at the back end of the rotation should allow Chicago to put together a formidable starting five coming out of spring training. Competition is healthy, and you can never have too much pitching.

Likewise, the Cubs have some good things going on in the bullpen, led by Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop, with other intriguing arms like Neil Ramirez and a potentially rebounding Jason Motte.

The real reason to be excited, though, is the Cubs’ bountiful farm system, coupled with savvy trades, is starting to bear fruit for the lineup. First baseman Anthony Rizzo (acquired from the Padres when he was 22) and home-grown shortstop Starlin Castro are the cornerstones of the lineup, both legitimate stars entering their age-25 seasons. The fact that the Cubs were able to get significant action in the major leagues last year for Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez will help those players settle into their first full big-league campaigns. Eventually, Kris Bryant will be along as well.

Bryant is a slugging third baseman. The new manager of the Cubs, Joe Maddon, had a rookie third baseman join his team in April 2008. Evan Longoria was the Rookie of the Year and one of the big reasons that the Rays went from 96 losses the year before to 97 wins and the American League pennant.

Maddon does well with young teams because he does not put pressure on the players. He allows them to be themselves. There will be a lot of opportunities for the Cubs to feel pressure, including being picked by certain national outlets to win the World Series. Having a manager who is as cool, calm, and collected as there is in the game should make a difference.

The Cubs have the talent in place to make a quick jump in the standings. Once playoff time comes, it’s just about making the right plays at the right times and getting good pitching performances. Several teams are capable of winning the World Series this year — as the Giants and Royals both showed last year, if you get into the playoffs, you can make some noise. The Cubs are the pick to win the 2015 World Series because, after 107 years, they’re good enough to get there and, honestly, aren’t they due a couple of breaks?
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
post #718 of 3757
I don' think watching games on ABC will ever feel right laugh.gif
post #719 of 3757
so in 2015 the cubs fans need to relax and have some fun.
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Cubs

Detroit Pistons

Duke Basketball

Chicago Blackhawks
Reply
post #720 of 3757
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 2m2 minutes ago
Starlin Castro: “I started my career here. I don’t want to leave here (without) getting a ring. I want to win a championship here.” #Cubs

pimp.gif
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sports & Training
NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › Official 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs Season Thread: (103-58)