Filed: Nov. 19, 2008
I take a few days to take care of business, and all sorts of hell break loose. The good news I guess is that my work blitz has finally passed, the school quarter is over, and there is plenty going on in Cubbie Nation to make things interesting. Let's get to it.
Had to start there. With insider trading charges brought by the SEC Monday, I'd say that his bid to purchase the Cubs has unofficially officially come to an end. Now, I completely understand the nature of the charges, having worked in finance for some time.
So, I understand that there likely won't be perp walks, scandal-ridden snippets, or major headlines with this outside of regional coverage, and business journals. However, this guy just can't stay out of the news, which must drive the owners of the NBA and MLB crazy.
With a new owner to be voted on as soon as December, this is terrible timing, and his announcement that he'll fight the charges—over what amounts to a few million in fines and confiscation of gains—is nuts.
No, the charges won't do him in. But the fresh reminder to owners that in a group who not only handles their marketing and media relations poorly, but seems to have a genuine disdain for it, that this guy can't keep out the press, will.
I actually did an in-depth interview with the local ABC affiliate for reaction to the charges Monday. Piece of advice for bloggers: it's a whole other world doing TV. Playing pundit in front of a video camera will make you rethink why the hell you're doing this, especially if you're not getting paid.
Meanwhile though, Ryan Dempster was completing his rags-to-riches story, inking a $52 million—not including incentives—deal to remain with the Cubs. Weird. As recently as a year ago, I talked to fans who would have traded him for a decent middle infielder and a used rake.
Now, we're sighing in relief that we've the right to pay him $15 million per. You know my feelings; it's more cash than I would have liked to commit to him. But the Cubs stayed away from a fifth year, and some of the amateur sabermetricians that I've chatted with think that with inflation, and the assumption of slightly above-average performance, that this looks like a good deal for the Cubs in a year or two.
I'll take their word for it—for now—but I can't help feeling like spending that money on offers to Randy Johnson and Bobby Abreu would have been a better bet. Just saying.
And, this has to be my quote of the year:
''Maybe we underestimated how prepared you have to be, how ready you have to be, especially in a five-game series.
Game One pitcher Ryan Dempster said Tuesday after signing a four-year contract to return to the Cubs.
Really, you think those bush league lineups that you were going with for the last 10 days of the season may have softened you a bit? I'm shocked. Shocked.
Mark Teahen? Really? I generally give Jim Hendry a pass on evaluating talent at the major-league level. He does a real nice job there in finding diamonds in the rough, but Teahen? Let me make a suggestion. The next time that Hendry has Drayton Moore in a room talking trade—like he reportedly did at the GM meetings—turn out the lights, and beat Moore silly until he agrees to trade David DeJesus.
Leaving a platoon in right instead of center, and letting DeJesus take that job full-time wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Of course, I have to ask why we're considering trading for him at all, given that he's at the top of the non-tender candidate list, now that the Royals have brought Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs into the fold.
That's quite a bit of money to absorb for a small-market team. I hope we find a better option, but if not let's at least wait till the non-tender deadline passes to see if the Royals blink.
One thing that hasn't changed though are the Peavy rumors. I honestly can't stop laughing. I can't think of anyone who has handled negotiations worse in recent memory that Kevin Towers. Atlanta is out and reportedly looking at Lowe. How you let them walk away from the table, I've no idea.
The Cubs look set with starters, making Peavy a very rich luxury. You don't want to deal with the Dodgers, and they're reported looking elsewhere anyway. What happens now?
Any place that you send Peavy has that team likely having to open the purse strings to redo his deal; at least picking up his option, and maybe taking on years. And that reduces what those teams offer back to you in value. The Padres would do well to get the Braves back on the phone before they do a deal that makes the Santana trade look like a massive haul.
Although, with Dempster in the fold, I would not be opposed to dangling Rich Harden, and flipping the prospects for Peavy. I keep looking at Aaron Heilman and Ryan Church in New York, and wondering if he might be that young pitcher the Padres are looking for.
Bigger parks out west, less pressure, and a legitimate chance to start. And it's not like Harden isn't a massive upgrade for the Mets. Just a thought.
Kerry Wood says that he would have considered coming back to the Cubs on a one-year deal. Me thinks Kerry is spinning his butt off, but now I'm REALLY curious to see whether they offer him arbitration.
Any chance at all that he put that out there to spook the Cubs into not? Sure would make him alot more attractive on the free agent market if teams didn't have to worry about giving up a draft pick.
Oh, and the Cubs will be opening the New Yankee Stadium. Consider me very, very excited. I'm working on getting tickets as we speak.