The Cubs traded their ace while former core players left via free agency, and attempted to add value back with a slew of one-year free agent deals.
Major League Signings
- Joc Pederson, LF: one year, $7MM
- Jake Arrieta, SP: one year, $6MM
- Andrew Chafin, RP: one year, $2.75MM
- Trevor Williams, SP: one year, $2.5MM. Could remain under control through 2022 as an arbitration eligible player
- Jake Marisnick, CF: one year, $1.5MM
- Austin Romine, C: one year, $1.5MM
- Brandon Workman, RP: one year, $1MM
- Ryan Tepera, RP: one year, $800K
- Jonathan Holder, RP: one year, $750K. Could remain under control through 2023 as an arbitration eligible player
- Kohl Stewart, P: one year, $700K. Could remain under control through 2025
- Total spend: $24.5MM
Trades and Claims
- Claimed IF Max Schrock off waivers from Cardinals; later designated for assignment and claimed by Reds
- Claimed RP Robert Stock off waivers from Red Sox; later designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A
- Selected SP Gray Fenter from Orioles in Rule 5 draft; later returned
- Claimed OF Phil Ervin off waivers from Mariners; later designated for assignment and claimed by Braves
- Acquired SP Zach Davies, SS Reginald Preciado, OF Owen Caissie, OF Ismael Mena, and SS Yeison Santana from Padres for SP Yu Darvish, C Victor Caratini, and $3MM
- Claimed IF Sergio Alcantara off waivers from Tigers; later designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A
- Acquired 1B Shendrik Apostel from Pirates for Duane Underwood Jr.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Cameron Maybin, Eric Sogard, Shelby Miller, Matt Duffy, Jose Lobaton, Pedro Strop, Adam Morgan, Joe Biagini, Rex Brothers, Robert Stock, Jake Jewell, Patrick Wisdom, Michael Hermosillo, Nick Martini, Ian Miller, Rafael Ortega
- Yu Darvish, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Jeremy Jeffress, Duane Underwood Jr., Tyler Chatwood, Victor Caratini, Jason Kipnis, Albert Almora Jr., Colin Rea, Daniel Descalso, Jose Martinez, Josh Phegley, Billy Hamilton
Theo Epstein gave his customary Cubs post-mortem on October 5th, complete with the suggestion of “warranted and necessary” change that has been a staple of those talks since 2018, particularly as it relates to the club’s offense. That day Epstein spoke of an expectation that he’d remain with the Cubs for the final year of his contract, but 43 days later he announced his resignation.
As one of the reasons for his decision, Epstein noted, “There are a lot of important decisions to be made that will have long-term consequences,” and second-in-command Jed Hoyer is ready for the top job and should make those calls. That makes sense, as the Cubs lined up the contract years of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez to coincide in 2021. Plus, the Cubs were firmly in cost-cutting mode, having recently laid off 100+ employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were, as we’d soon learn, also planning a cut in player payroll. Epstein’s abandonment of his $10MM salary could be viewed as an act of generosity of sorts, except that the Ricketts family was the beneficiary.
The last time Cubs ownership experienced “found” money, they used Ben Zobrist’s unexpected leave of absence money to cover the bulk of Craig Kimbrel’s 2019 salary. Kimbrel’s three-year, $43MM contract represents the only time the Cubs committed more than $7MM to a new player dating back to their February 2018 signing of Yu Darvish. The Ricketts family opened the checkbook in that 2017-18 offseason, and then cut off Epstein and company for the better part of the ensuing three years. It’s no wonder Epstein chose to leave a year early, especially with the likely knowledge that the Ricketts family was planning to mandate a payroll cut best accomplished by trading the team’s ace.
How badly did Cubs’ ownership want to save money? Badly enough to choose a path unprecedented in at least the last 20 years in MLB: trading a top-two Cy Young finisher coming off a winning season. Such trades have rarely been brokered at all – teams like to keep ace pitchers – but on the rare occasion they have happened, it’s been done by a losing club. In late December, the Cubs traded Yu Darvish, backup catcher Victor Caratini, and $3MM cash for one year of veteran pitcher Zach Davies plus three 17 to 18-year-old prospects and another who had just turned 20.
Part of being one of the 30 people in the world tasked with leading an MLB front office is that you have to sometimes say things that aren’t true. According to Hoyer, the $51.67MM in player salary the Cubs saved in the Darvish trade was “not the focus” of the deal. Instead, Hoyer said, “The focus of this deal was to try to move a player in the second half of his contract and try to acquire a lot of young talent. We don’t have many opportunities to do that. Look back at the last six years, when have we had the chance to replenish in any way, and this was an opportunity to do that and we took it and we’re excited about what we got back.”
The “second half of his contract” part is Hoyer’s kinder way of saying that he feels he sold high on Darvish, who is 34. Darvish missed almost all of 2018 due to injuries and has only pitched like an ace for the Cubs for his last 32 starts or so dating back to May 2019. Cashing the Cubs’ ace in for prospects was described by Hoyer as “the prudent thing to do,” but a more accurate phrasing would have been “the financially prudent thing to do.” There would have been financial risk in keeping Darvish’s three-year, $62MM commitment, just as there’s risk the players Hoyer acquired won’t pan out. A team with a good, veteran base of talent in baseball’s worst division would typically hold onto the ace’s contract for at least one more year, taking another shot at a championship even if they don’t get to “jump-start our farm system in a big way.” Plus, Darvish is hardly overpaid in light of Trevor Bauer’s three-year, $102MM contract.
All that said, threading the needle and trading Darvish this winter could still have been a good call. The Rays do it all the time and remain competitive, though I’m not sure why the Cubs would try to emulate the Rays. The problem is that if this was the best package of players offered, Hoyer should have held onto Darvish, and I’m not confident the Ricketts family endorsed that option. The four prospects acquired are nowhere close to impacting the Cubs, unless they’re traded again in the near future.
We’re left with Darvish being swapped out for Davies, and there’s no real argument that makes the team better in 2021. On paper, the exchange makes the Cubs 2-3 wins worse this year, in a division the Brewers are projected to take with 82.1 wins. The Cubs are at 79.6, demonstrating the weakness of the division and the parity of the Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, and Reds. If the Cubs were in the NL West, the Darvish trade would have been more defensible.
Prior to Epstein stepping down, the Cubs made the obvious choice of Jon Lester’s $10MM buyout over his $25MM mutual option. Though interest in a lower-priced reunion was mutual, Lester lingered on the market until January 20th. He turned down a last-minute offer from the Cubs and signed for the Nationals with $5MM. Lester moving on is notable for all he meant to the Cubs 2015-20, but at age 37 he wasn’t the best choice for their rotation.
Hoyer began remaking the Cubs’ rotation with the late December Davies-Darvish swap, adding Davies to incumbents Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills to form a trio that rarely cracks 90 miles per hour. In January, the Cubs attended showcases for Corey Kluber, Carlos Rodon, Mike Foltynewicz, but elected not to sign them. They wound up signing Trevor Williams, who had been non-tendered by the Pirates. Williams projects to pitch roughly as well as Lester does (an ERA near 5.00) at half the price. Williams will turn 29 in April and is under team control for 2022. It’s not an exciting move, but Williams will soak up innings at the back end of the Cubs’ rotation in a year that every team expects to go through more starters than usual.
One of the Cubs’ bigger splashes of the offseason was the signing of Jake Arrieta in mid-February. Like Lester, Arrieta was instrumental in the Cubs’ playoff success from 2015-17. The addition seems like a nostalgia signing more than anything. In 2019, the now-35-year-old Arrieta had surgery for a bone spur in his right elbow. His strikeout rate has steadily deteriorated, though his groundball rate has held strong. Like Williams, it’s hard to see much better than a high-4s ERA here. So far the Cubs have gotten exactly one MLB start out of an Epstein-drafted pitcher, and it was Rob Zastryzny in 2016.
The Cubs’ bullpen was supplemented in a similar patchwork fashion with the signings of Brandon Workman, Andrew Chafin, and Ryan Tepera for a total of $4.55MM. The ’pen will again by led by the embattled Kimbrel, who is owed $16MM this year. Given Kimbrel’s 6.00 ERA, 14.5 BB%, and 11 home runs allowed in 36 innings for the Cubs, he wouldn’t be atop their bullpen depth chart if not for his contract. The Cubs’ 2021 bullpen doesn’t look particularly good, but Kimbrel serves as a reminder that this is not a problem teams can easily solve by throwing money at it.
About a month after declining Lester’s option, the Cubs had to make a tougher decision on another World Series hero in Kyle Schwarber. Drafted fourth overall in 2014, Schwarber was long considered part of the Rizzo-Bryant-Baez core that would be up for free agency after 2021. Schwarber limped to a 91 wRC+ in 224 plate appearances in 2020, setting him up for an arbitration reward somewhere south of $9MM. The Cubs presumably found no takers in a trade, putting a sad cap on Schwarber’s Cubs career by non-tendering him. Schwarber became one of the rare players to sign in free agency for more than he would have gotten in arbitration, and Lester joined him in D.C. in January.
In late January, ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan reported that the Ricketts family had “recently increased the Cubs player payroll for 2021,” presumably because Wrigley Field was approved for 20% capacity to start the season. That same day, the Cubs had a deal with Joc Pederson, the first top 50 free agent they’ve signed since Kimbrel. Pederson decided to eschew multiyear offers for the chance to shed his platoon label, instructing his agent to reach out to the Cubs. As manager David Ross put it (according to Pederson), “I didn’t know we were going to get to talk to free agents of your caliber.”
Pederson owns a 135 wRC+ against right-handed pitching from 2016-19 – 14th best in baseball. His mark against lefties is just 42, though he’s typically received fewer than 60 plate appearances against southpaws annually in recent years. If Pederson can manage a 90 wRC+ over 129 PA against lefties, as he did in his first full season in 2015, he could be one of the better left-handed hitters in baseball.
The contract years of Bryant, Baez, and Rizzo will be a storyline looming over the Cubs all year. The Cubs have a clear goal this year of resetting under the $210MM base tax threshold instead of becoming a third-time payor, and they’ve left themselves a hefty $39MM in wiggle room under that mark. This year’s current $171MM CBT payroll drops to about $58MM in commitments for 2022. As of last week, Rizzo was “very optimistic” about getting an extension done. Perhaps a three or four-year deal in the $60-75MM range would work for both sides.
While Rizzo had an off year in 2020, Baez was the third-worst qualified hitter in the game. It was only 235 plate appearances, but you can understand the Cubs’ hesitancy in locking him up for five or six years. On the other hand, if the Baez of 2018-19 returns, the Cubs will have lost their chance at a bargain. Baez is not setting a deadline on contract talks, and may be keen on avoiding a free agent market that could boast fellow shortstops Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, among others.
Despite trade rumors all winter, Bryant stayed put and is even open to extension discussions. That seems unlikely, however, and Bryant is a prime trade candidate if the Cubs are out of the race in July. The team would have to be particularly bad to be out of contention by mid-July in the NL Central, however, which could present Hoyer with a difficult choice. The Cubs already prioritized financial savings and far-off prospects over their 2021 record in the Yu Darvish trade, so that could easily happen again this summer.
The 2021 Cubs are not all-in to win another championship, nor are they attempting anything like a rebuild. The club seems content with mediocrity, and that’s the most likely outcome.
How would you grade the Cubs’ offseason? (Poll link for app users)
“D” for Dumpster Divin’!
We’re still doing that, right?
Mr.Pun, I don’t remember if you and I were ever unkind towards each other but I’ve been enjoying your posts. =)
“Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
Please. Mr. Pun is my father. Call me Baseball.
RIP Big Pun.
I’m gonna call you BP.
Cub offseason in a word- embarrassing. One note to add. I drive by Wrigley once in a while for work and i got to say around the Ballpark is spotless. There is not even a gum wrapper or cigarette butt on the ground. Very impressive looking.
That dumpster diving is normally left for the Cardinals
You’re not Mr. Pun!
Well, that was pun… 😐
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
I have a feeling this will be a looong season for the Cubs.
I thought the Cubs were going to be a 3rd place team, but after the addition of MVP candidate Ryan Tepera, the sky’s the limit for this team.
You should Tempera your expectations.
what about tempura?
Yeah I see 2nd if Beaz & Bryant have a average year and if all Four Willie ,Beaz,Rizzo,Pederson have a good year 1st Cardinals will far to second because they never predicted for first . Respect the Brewers if there bullpen is awesome again they can win the NL
Collectively, I do not like the Cubs off season additions (starting roster) but I did like each individual move so explain that…
I love the fliers and felt the Cubs should have been rounding out their rotation with high ceiling guys coming off bad years or a bad stretch like Miller. My only problem is, that they filled 3+ with fliers. I’m curious to see how it plays out. Perhaps, the “pitch to contact” guys like Hendricks, Davis, Mills, Williams and Stewart will be good enough in a league that doesn’t play small ball.
Peterson I like over Schwarber simply because Peterson will provide the Cubs with better defense in left, easing some of the pressure off Happ in CF. I do, however, feel like the Cubs never addressed their biggest need on offense which is contact (and a RH bat in the outfield).
Overall I gave the Cubs a C because I really feel they didn’t get any better and despite trading Darvish and losing Q, Lester, Chatwood etc to free agency, didn’t get any worse either.
It’s the same ol song and dance for the Cubs at the moment, they are anywhere between 80 and a 100 win. I don’t think they have the pitching for a deep playoff run but they could always add at the deadline.
as a fan that dislikes the cubs i will give there offseason a c+, while i think they should of doubled down and try to win one last time (they kinda owe that to the cubs faithful). i think they made some smart moves, as much as it sucks right now is a good time for the cubs to retool. it’s not like my birds or the brew are running away with it and honestly no one in the nlc is beating the lad unless we get hot at the right time (we = mil,stl,chc). what the cubs need to do imo is stay afloat and not risk to much and start rebuilding the farm theo gambled away. in the next few years if the cubs are smart they can be one of the best teams in bb (i hate saying that) they have good pieces in the farm that they can build a future around if they can keep from trading them away
D+ to C-. The Darvish trade, while I didn’t expect them to get back any sort of elite-level prospect, seems very light especially considering they got Davies back, making it a full on salary dump move. Although I do like some of the small moves they made. If they’re out of the race, I like Joc Pederson’s, Anderw Chafin’s and Brandon Workman’s chances of bouncing back and potentially bringing back something at the deadline. Cameron Maybin is another solid minor league pick up and Shelby Miller has looked great in ST. Maybe they’ll find a diamond in the rough with him, or possibly one of their other handful of minor league/one year deals. However, it still kind of felt like they didn’t do anything to get better, nor did they do anything to improve their future drastically.
Tough to know what is going on, Hoyer did build the Cubs 2021 to compete but also did not make any long term commitments, so if the Cubs are a long shot for the division but still in the WC race, expect the Cubs to be sellers at the deadline.
Kind of reminds me of the 2017 Kansas City Royals. They weren’t the team they were when they won the WS 3-4 years ago, but many of their core pieces were still there and productive. However, those same core pieces are on expiring contracts. I just wonder how many of those key pieces they’ll keep around. There’s a good chance they lose Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez in the same off season and then Willson Contreras the next off season.
I’m sure they wish they could lose Heyward too.
I mean, not many people thought the Cubs would be good last year, but they still made the playoffs. They really only lost Darvish and Schwarber, but that looks terrible for them because they just recieved a bunch of teenagers in the return, although I was a big Owen Caissie fan before he was traded. I think they’ll stay afloat until around August or early September, then they’ll fall apart.
I actually really like the prospect haul the Cubs got back for Darvish.
Lets not forget that the Padres got a no name kid when they traded Jake Peavy, a kid that was at the bottom of the top 30 international prospect list, wasn’t on anyone’s radar at the time of the trade and after one season of professional ball, exploded onto the top 100 list and the sky has been the limit for him.
I don’t expect anyone the Cubs got in the trade to be the next Tatis but all those kids have the potential to break the top 100 list after they play a season of “professional” ball.
The trade was for James Shields not Peavy. The only loss from that trade was Clayton Richard and that wasn’t a big at all. IMHO, the Shields trade was about getting the $10M cash each year for the partial payment for Shields. The Sox were acting like a small market team at that point.
Just because one person wins with a lottery ticket doesn’t make buying lottery tickets a smart decision.
I give Jed credit, he tried to sell that trade as a baseball move instead of a salary dump and kept a straight face. Some fans even believe it.
I wouldn’t really consider Billy Hamilton a notable loss to be honest.
It would have been a noticeable loss if he’d stayed.
That Yu Darvish trade… they should have and COULD of got more.
Joc, the chubby cubby
Idioms for Idiots
I’ll call it right now:
The Cubs win the division. They’ll overcome the loss of Darvish and their offensive stars will rebound. Not impressed with the rest of the division (even with the addition of Arenado for St. Louis).
Brewers gonna come out of left field and whoop everyone’s butts.
I’m also taking the Brew Crew
I wouldn’t be surprised, granted the only team that would surprise me if they won the NLC is the Pirates.
cubs to win division to fall flat in playoffs.
blind homerism says the cards win the division easily… now that my lsd has worn off would not surprise me that the brew win the div. they have a solid d good bp but just like the cards there lineup is kinda weak, chc great lineup especially healthy outside hendriks who is pitching for the cubs. i see it being a dog fight for the nlc and the winner is going to be the team that beats up on pit and cin the most. pit might be 4th in the nlc cin d looks horrendous this year
I still think the Cubs are the favorites too. We’ll see how the new starting rotation works out
“The 2021 Cubs are not all-in to win another championship, nor are they attempting anything like a rebuild. The club seems content with mediocrity, and that’s the most likely outcome.”
Thank you for calling this out and for pointing out that ownership called for payroll reduction. I wish more folks realized that it’s the Ricketts’ who have hamstrung the team the last few years.
The Rickets have not hamstrung the team the past few years, the Cubs had a top 3 payroll and gave plenty of resources, but Theo and Co. have really struggled to maintain success, they have not drafted well, bad signings and questionable trades and at the same time not addressing the offensives flaws because they did not want to move a core piece which now might lose a couple this offseason for nothing.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Building code is building code, bro.
Specs & plans & inspections are the same whether you are independent or union.
I realize that you probably want to defend the union. Just take five minutes. Google my assertion. This is nothing everybody doesn’t know. For real.
Idioms for Idiots
@Ducky Buckin Fent
Did I miss something?
I’m not arguing what you’re saying, I’m just not following the line of thinking with your response to either of the two above of you.
Idioms for Idiots
@Ducky Buckin Fent
Never mind. I just noticed where you meant the post to go.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Yeah, don’t know exactly what happened. The edited version showed up where I was replying & the unedited one here somehow?
This is the part that really annoys me. You can complain about the Ricketts for things, but acting like they have been cheap the last few years is just stupid. The same people that were complaining about Darvish and still complain about Heyward and Kimbrel now want to complain about Ricketts not giving Theo Epstein even more money to spend on free agents…
i have made the same complaints about the dewitts in stl but at the end of the day the cards spend money just not how i wanted them too. i think with the cubs now there wanting to spend there money more wisely and build something that the cards, nny, and lad have built. teams that fight for oct year in and out even if there not ws teams that year. imo i think to many teams buy into the philosophy we have a great core for only 2~4 years then trade away sustainability for a lotto ticket for a ws.
the Ricketts’ who have hamstrung the team the last few years.
It’s been almost a century since the Cubs have had as good a 6-year streak. They’ve averaged about 94 wins, and have made the playoffs 5 out of the 6 years.
That’s a heck of a hamstringing.
It is still insane that they were the best team in the central, are one of the richest teams in baseball, and decided to trade their Cy Young Caliber pitcher for salary relief.
That’s because the Ricketts only care about profits at this point. They won their championship and now they are only worried about the bottom line. Never mind their equity in the club and assets alone are enough to cover years of losses (which won’t happen because the world WILL return to normal soon enough). The are losers worshiping the almighty dollar.
They’ve made the playoffs 5 of the last 6 years. The Cubs fans are becoming like the RS fans, who became like the Yankee fans. You cannot win a WS every year.
So you want them to sell off the equity to pay for the losses? Otherwise, I don’t understand how you get to where those two things cancel each other out.
The world has NEVER been normal…and never will be.
I know this is boring stuff, but……
Both commercial real estate and financial services are being turned upside down by a combination of COVID and crypto networks. Commercial real estate is crashing due to people not going out to shop as much (ordering via the Internet and having goods delivered to their residences); and businesses need less and less space for employees as more are work from home. As far as financial services (and insurance) – the crypto networks can handle large transaction volume for a fraction of past costs.
From what I understand, the Ricketts family has a large portion of their wealth in these areas. If true, they are going to have to do far more then cut payroll. They may well have to find a buyer for the Cubs and Wrigley Field.
This is sort of funny as the previous owner of the Cubs were The Tribune Company. They got cut to the bone by Internet and Cable Services. Now Cable is being cut to the bone by yet newer technologies, along with commercial real estate, financial services, and other legacy sectors of the economy.
It appears that being a Cubs fan is similar to a spoiled rich kid, whining: “How come the other kids have fancy sports cars and an endless supply of top free agents” to their rich daddy. Perhaps the Cubs-centric media can suck up to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Chamath Palihapitiya, Mark Zuckerburg, Michael Saylor, and other tech billionaires that will be able to keep the team through economic dislocations (many of which they orchestrate). Then again, they didn’t get where they are by running businesses that lose money.
@Samuel – You make excellent points here. Commercial Real Estate = Yikes right now. Crytpo’s are absolutely in the process of completely reshaping the insurance and financial industries. The Decentralized Finance (DeFi) movement is real! Banks truly are “on the clock” this time. I highly recommend Ethereum. It is currently trading in the $1800 range. It will be $100,000+ in less than 3 years. Ethereum is Bitcoin on steroids. Ethereum is the fuel behind NFT’s and the Digital Collectable explosion. The entire world will be on a blockchain. Yes, the Ricketts family has exposure here. Marquee Network will also be very interesting to see how that plays out. Ricketts family has made it clear that they intend to monetize anything Cub related or affiliated in every way possible.
@barry & samuel i’ve been hit hard thanks to covid and the shift from com. to red. i’m a com. carpenter and my livelihood depends on big companies and stores either wanting stores/offices or them being remodeled. also yu might be a salary dump but i think it was a smart move cubs are mediocre with a bloated payroll, yes it sucks nlc is weak but it isn’t getting any stronger so right now is the best time to get payroll under control and rebuild the farm theo gave away. the nyy did this a few years ago and got railed by a lot of fans but within 2 years they were back in it
I don’t think you can skip out completely on office space, but my organization hasn’t missed a beat working remotely. Not only are companies going to re-think midtown office space, they will start to wonder how all the work got done with everyone being basically unsupervised.
That said, money saved still gets plowed back into the economy in different ways.
And yes, Cubs fans have been spoiled by Ricketts.
The Cubs lack of spending has nothing to do with Tom, Joe or any other member of the Ricketts family wealth.
The lack of spending comes down to Wrigley Renovations.
Wrigley renovations cost 500 million dollar more than anticipated and during 2020 they were completed which means the bill was due. The Cubs have financed the renovation project BUT upon completion they owed a $200 million cash payment.
Add that to the loss in revenue tied with attendance and that is why the Cubs had to cut spending.
Everyone thinks that the Cubs print money but the Ricketts have not turned a profit from the Cubs yet. They have invested heavily in the team and the infrastructure. Wrigley renovations came directly out of pocket, the city of Chicago didn’t pay one red cent to the Cubs and that price tag was massive! Not to mention their TV deals all came to an end and instead of re-upping at first, they created the Cubs network. It will make money eventually but right now it is another loss of revenue.
Look at how many people were screaming about Darvish being an albatross and an awful signing as recently as last winter. They got out of the contract when they could and they face unique circumstances with the renovations going over budget. I don’t really get how this is all that surprising to anyone who puts thought into the situation.
Flat out calling Hoyer a liar is truly disgusting, they call you a misleading reporter
Hoyer has absolutely been telling lies to the Cub fan base. This team is already in a rebuild. They just haven’t told the fan base that yet. Since winning the World Series the Cubs have been among the worst run organizations in baseball. Yes, the final years of Theo Epstein were ugly! Who has been worse for the city of Chicago the past 5 years….. Theo Epstein signing free agents or Ryan Pace finding a quarterback for the Bears?
From the looks of the trades, claims and signings, the cubs have a whole new 24 man roster.
If they grow the infield grass high and raise the fences 10 feet, the cubs pitchers should do just fine.
With fly ball pitchers like Davies the Cubs should be figuring out a way to route the wind into the stadium so it is always blowing towards the infield.
Ducky Buckin Fent
The Cubs show the potential pitfalls of leveraging your baseball franchise against construction projects.
They got hit with some really bad timing with all the renovation they were working on around the ballpark. That project was already over budget & behind schedule. I see this as a direct reflection on the fact that projects like that require the use of union labor.
Say what you want, but it’s common knowledge in construction that this is pretty much the deal when forced to use those guys for your contracts. Well over budget & lagging behind. SOP.
Once construction evens back out – that’s going to take a minute fellas – we’ll see the Cubs ownership spending again.
lol, yeah gigantic infrastructure projects should be done only by people who don’t have to prove they have the proper experience and training credentials because it takes less time, When you have millions of dollars and literal lives at stake I for one appreciate that there are standards to ensure safety as much as possible so my rooftop seat doesn’t plunge through the roof of the building.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Building code is building code, bro.
Specs, blueprints, & inspections are the same no matter whom is building the project.
I’m guessing you feel some kind of obligation to defend the union. For real. Take 5 minutes & Google my assertion. This is nothing that everybody doesn’t know.
Matter of fact, I could cite numerous examples of kickbacks & corruption that are endemic to union projects – thus actually lowering their project’s safety. Again, just take a couple minutes to Google it.
i will say this about the unions and i’m one of those union guys that being said, we gave ourselves a black eye with our bickering and some trades taking advantage of there perks. still you need em, i’ve worked on a lot of jobs in right to work states and they are the worst jobs i ever been on. only skilled guys there where the ones that came down with me. i’m not saying non-union guys can’t hang but guys like ducky who care about there work and product are few and far between.
it isn’t really important seeing as we do both actually have a right to our opinions, because my family is solidly built on being part of some unions and some of these ideas unions promote, and you’re right, nothing is perfect. But private industry has no more claim to greatness than union work does. I did want to let you know though that telling me to google something doesn’t make sense. I can also tell you to “google it” and you could find many websites supporting my viewpoint. That’s why the internet has caused so many problems.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I figured I’d have to answer to you on this, @brodie-bruce.
I owned my bias. & – to be clear – I’m not disparaging your work. My guess is that you’re the guy on the crew that; Busts His Ass.
But I actually think that there is more pressure – at least up here – on independents to do a better job. For the most part, the union isn’t all that interested in the stuff I build, anyway.
Side note: But there’ve been two occasions when we had a smaller commercial project that they figured should be theirs. Things got…thuggish.
Independents have less room for screwups. For example, the siders messed up the cladding for US Bank Stadium. They just kinda finagled some more money out of the deal. My partner & I would have probably gone out of business. I actually think that leads to a much higher level of quality control. In the above example, I’d’ve stopped them after a couple panels. I can’t eat $2MM of siding, bro.
Lord. Who can?
Ducky Buckin Fent
I normally don’t resort to “google it”. In this instance I was trying to remove as much of my personal bias as I could by doing that.
Perhaps wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped.
@ducky i was having that talk with my pops and why don’t more union contractors get into remodels or insurance jobs. he told me for them it’s not worth the headache for them, but that’s where guys like you and me come in (i’m still union but i’ll do charity work for cash donations *side note i have to call it charity work because i “can’t do side work”) we do top notch work for a good price. tbh the bigger problem is not if it union built or not it’s quality and pride in your own work and that has fallen off a cliff. what ever happened to pride in your work i mean you bided the job do the job 100% not 50% because you think you should of got more.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Not taking pride in one’s work is – I think anyway – an enormous problem.
I know every trick there is up there because I’ve done them all! Didn’t think the roof was big enough? Well, toss the extra bundles in the bottom of the dumpster.
Don’t want to re-flash that chimney? Grab the spray paint.
Always say you’re out of nails so you have them for side jobs.
Skip nailing, panning, silicone with granules…bro I know ’em all.
Not everyone does. Tradesman are tradesman. They’ll cut corners. Love my guys but if they can get away with something they will. Again. I did all the same stuff.
I’ve never understood why some jobs aren’t “good enough”. It’s not like I’m out here building free jobs. Ya know? & up here there are a bunch of union guys on the bench waiting for it to come back around.
On a pretty ominous note, I’ve never seen problems with getting building materials as we’re currently experiencing. This is not good, man. I’m not talking about custom skylights or special order siding either.
I’m talking about real basic stuff: plywood, studs, shingles…man…*nails* for God’s sake.
My siding schedule is a disaster & the season hasn’t even started yet. I’m told there are products that may be available *next year*. & I’m a “Platinum” customer for my building supplier. So I’m not being given the run around. It’s bad.
This is a problem, man.
You have a really naïve idea about unions. To add to DBF’s post, you also have to consider that being in a union brings no guarantee that the workers, “prove they have the proper experience and training credentials”, as he mentioned you have issues with kickbacks and corruption, but you also have Union politics, nepotism, etc etc. You really sound like someone who has no actual experience with what you’re talking about and are just regurgitating talking points you’ve heard.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Well, the union (at least in building) does an excellent job of advertising themselves. They do really try to sell “quality of craftsmanship”. & – to be fair – I believe that at one point that was a very real attribute.
Obviously, as a builder I have skin in the game. So I’ll have my own bias. But that’s also exactly why I encouraged a couple Google searches. Don’t take my word for it, uh? In the end, the union disinsensitivizes (made up word?) production.
I’ll spend some time in the U.P. most years. Ask those folks how they feel about the union. Good heavens, they make my take sound damn right tame, serious.
@1984 i will say at least in the stl area all union trades do go through training even if it’s crap and you learn more from working with the 30 year journeyman (was the same also when i was in the usaf on the flightline my real school was out there not the year i spent in a classroom)
postal work bro, unions aint perfect but theyre better than nothing, or perhaps you look forward to paying our future corporate gods even larger sums of money for medication to be shipped to your front door.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I’m actually for privatization across the board. Ideally, this should lead to further competition & therefore lower the price of the medicine in your example.
Agreed! The Rickets are good owners, just had the worst luck in the past year, I have no doubt they took a major financlal hit in 2020 and likely more than any owners. They also started their new TV network that lost a 102 games to televise last season which is also more loss revenue especially when you really don’t see a return on a investment like that for a couple of seasons.
Long term The Cubs will be fine and The Rickets will allow the spending again, but in the meantime Cubs fans need to show some patients, the Rickets have earned the benefit of the doubt as they did not get in the way of Theo and Co, when they wanted to add to payroll to add the final touches to contend from 2015-2019 so I don’t expect that to change long term.
Ricketts can lick my balls
More like Ricketts ate my balls. (Remember that meme from the infancy of the World Wide Web).
I like what Jed has done after the lousy Darvish trade, though. So, C for mediocrity.
They’ll do that willingly – but you’ll have to coat your balls in peanut butter and pay them handsomely….
“The focus of this deal was to try to move a player in the second half of his contract and try to acquire a lot of young talent. ”
I looked at this once. Trading someone acquired thru free agency is almost always a good move. Not everyone likes it, since the player is often coming off of his better seasons, but age almost always catches up.
I think Darvish is every bit as good as Trevor Bauer and not to tender Schwarber was a mistake.. Just the whole cost cutting thing and then to go out and sign a bunch of marginal players like 6mil for Arrieta.. I think the Cubs deserve a D or a F mostly because of the BS line the ownership has fed everyone.
I’d rather have Joc than Schwarber, i think.
Matt Stairsway to Heaven
I give it a C….still think they have a legit chance to win the division. I forsee 87-75
Hard to predict where they go from here. It’ll be interesting to see if they try to retain Baez, Bryant, or Rizzo, or do they trade them before the deadline. They could get some major pieces for a rebuild if they trade them and they’d have plenty of money available moving forward. They really need pitching, but everything looks pretty depleted at this point.
I will always have that 2016 season to look back upon, but man, they sure did ruin a potential dynasty. The Quintana deal was the beginning of the end.
Watching like guys like Bryant and Baez in 2020. It’s like season 30 of the simpsons. Sure, the characters are the same but it’s almost like a completely different show.
Status of the Cubs can be explained thusly……
I knew Andrew Friedman.
Andrew Friedman was a friend of mine.
Theo, you’re no Andrew Friedman.”
Gosh, Lloyd, you’ve been dead how many years now?
Pretty uninspiring. My gut instinct was to check C but after reading the comments, I think D is warranted.
I think Davies will be perfectly fine in the Central. He’s pretty good and the division is pretty bad.
The Cubs didn’t get better in any tangible way. The one big market team in that division and they took a step back. Sucks.
Ok… let’s all say it together…. the Cubs suck
The Cubs suck
The Cubs don’t look like a championship team. They don’t look like a breakout team. They don’t look like they can pitch or hit with the big clubs.
No wonder why Theo resigned.
Pick up Jeffries Cubs he was your best last year what’s wrong with you Hoyer ?
I think this was a sneaky good offseason for Hoyer and the cubs. They got out of the salary cap penalty and they juiced their farm system with some high quality teenage lottery tickets. Let’s be honest, even with Darvish and a bounce back from their core this team wasn’t gonna challenge for a ring. Now they have about the same chance of winning the central and outside of the Giants they might have the most payroll flexibility of any high revenue franchise heading into next year.
This could turnout to be the next blueprint for retooling, replacing the tanking which is horrible for the game.
I don’t think the Cubs are as bad as many here think. Its OK to NOT win the off-season. The OF defense is stellar which will help the pitching. They reduced the age of the SPs and did not sacrifice the future. I don’t see any bad losses or bad acquisitions. Kris Bryant was on the trading block but not on the block.
Subtractions that weakened the team: Darvish and Caratini. Darvish was the best pitcher in NL last year that was not a cheater. Caratini an excellent back up and a starter on some teams.
Think I would have wanted to see Schwarber retained if there was a DH. Jeffers comes to mind, however there must be an untold story about him. He was not invited back according to his Twitter account.
The rest of the subtractions were of players that either performed badly or at the end of their careers. No real loss of free agents leaving other than Quintana.
Money was the sole reason Darvish was dumped. It’s seemed like after the ownership realized there would be fans that they spent a little.
The additions were all team friendly and Pederson will out perform Schwarber. Williams, Arrieta, Davies all better than Lester. Workman if healthy will be much better than Jeffress. I agree with those that pick the Cubs to be in the hunt all season and then not win a playoff game if they see action in October. Given that Boras is Bryant’s agent I would have kept Darvish and Caratini. Also sent Bryant down the road with Schwarber.
Tim, I believe Duane Underwood was another Theo draft pick from 2012 that made a start for them in 2018.
blah blah blah….. cut it down to 3-4 paragraphs please.
blah blah blah… cut down your comment to zero characters, please.
Losing Schwarber sucks.
Hard to justify a higher grade than an F. Gave Darvish away, let Q go, didn’t upgrade Scwarber’s position, didn’t gain anyone of note, all while being in the biggest market in baseball’s weakest division. They could be the runaway favorites if they’d been smart and aggressive. Or they could’ve rebuilt, but they didn’t really do that, either. Making it to the playoffs, which is no sure thing for them, does not make a team a true contender. Throw in the lies to the fans and this is just a terrible offseason. Only the Reds and Rockies have had worse ones.
cars I am not surprised the Cubs have chosen this route. Go back and listen to the Joe Ricketts YouTube, that was a precursor that this was evidentiary going to happen.
The Cubs payroll from 2016 to 2017 only went up $1MM. From 2018 until 2020 the Cubs were barely spending in FA.
Joc Pederson looks like the steal of the winter.