View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



November 2011



MLB is Going to Get a Deal Done On Time

Written by , Posted in General

Good morning everyone. Some interesting things being reported lately.


The big story has to be the fact that it was reported on that the players and owners were close to signing a new collective bargaining agreement for MLB. According to the story:

This deal, however, figures to be especially historic, as baseball positions itself for the 21st century. Among other things, it will pave the way for realignment of the sport into two 15-team leagues, adding a second wild-card team in each league, spreading interleague play throughout all six months of the regular season and making significant changes to the draft, free agency and the so-called “Competitive Balance Tax.” –

The team that would be moved from the NL to the AL is rumored to be the Houston Astros, who would obviously be moving to the AL West. There are a lot of people that can’t stand the inter-league play concept, and I understand their point of view, but I’m all for it. The second wild-card idea is exciting because it makes it just a little bit easier to get to the playoffs, and we know all it takes is getting there and you have a chance to go all the way. The changes I’m curious to read more about are the changes to the things like the draft, free agency, salary structure, etc. I’m curious to see if any changes are made to the salary plan as it currently is where players do not hit arbitration until they have amassed three years of service time and free agency with six.

In the end, it’s such a huge announcement to make as fans have been bombarded with the NFL lockout this summer and now the NBA lockout which is turning out to be quite hopeless. MLB is doing the right thing by getting the deal done and getting it done on time.


  • Aramis Ramirez and his agent are not happy with the comments that Bob Brenly made early in the off-season when he called Ramirez a “Number’s grabber”. Gordon Wittenmeyer reported “For a broadcaster to come out and say that, I think it was very low class,” agent Paul Kinzer said Monday as the annual general managers meetings opened in Milwaukee. “Especially when a guy’s a free agent, to try to damage his [value]. … That bothered Aramis and bothered me a lot.” I like Brenly for always speaking his mind, but eventually he’s going to get in trouble similar to what happened with Steve Stone when he was critical of the players from the booth.
  • The Cubs announced that Shiraz Rehman joined their front office as an assistant to GM Jed Hoyer. I’ve never heard of him, but in Theo I trust.
  • Jerry Crasnick reports that the Cubs are one of eight teams interested in the services of Grady Sizemore. We wrote about Sizemore earlier in October, but I can’t see a use for him.
  • Jon Morosi is reporting on Twitter that “Cubs have had multiple discussions with the agent for Mark Buehrle, source says.” I had someone ask me on Twitter what I think and I explained that I like Buehrle if the price is right. His velocity is not high and if it were to go any lower as he ages, that seems like it would make him very hittable. He’s a winner, though.
  • Hard to argue against that move…

  • Buddy

    Buehrle many “know how to win,” but he’s no Frank Crosetti!

  • Norm

    adding in draft spending caps is ridiculous. Cubs one of teams it will affect a lot.
    Also might be removing Type B free agents which may mean the Cubs won’t get that draft pick for Ramirez.

  • Eddie Von White

    Brenly and Stone’s role in the booth is that of a “color commentator” as they say. So they’re not allowed to criticize the players? As for Brenly’s comments, Ramirez should ask himself: “Is there any truth in what he said?” And if there is, then he should rectify the weakness, instead of getting his poor feelings hurt. I seriously, seriously doubt that any club interested in Ramirez doesn’t already know pretty much everything about his history. An announcer is not going to damage a players reputation.

  • Buddy

    If any GM makes roster decisions based on a broadcaster’s comments, he should be fired immediately.

  • Eddie Von White

    Buddy – Amen!

  • All for adding Sizemore, and there’s a shift that can be made. Either Colvin or Soriano could move to 1B, further down the defensive spectrum, and open a spot for Sizemore. Also adds more depth to a very thin roster. Don’t know what the discussions have been here for the big two, but from the little I’ve read, it sure seems Pujols/Fielder are not in Theo’s mind.

    Buehrle also would not be a bad add. He knows how to pitch and could become a Moyer type that doesn’t need velocity to survive. At least we’re looking at the right kind of players to bring in from free-agency.

    And kudos to MLB and the PA for getting the CBA almost done (enough acronyms?). Over interleague play at this point, but want to hear how this extended wild card works and what other tweaks will be done. The compensation system for free agents will be the most interesting part, to see how they tweak Type A/B. Wait, did Hendry ever give up a pick for one of his awful middle-reliever three-year deals?


    Having 2 15 team leagues isn’t an issue. You’ll still play the same # of interleague games every year. This makes it more balanced. I’m not a fan of the extra wild card, bc it will put them at a disadvantage. They fought to make the playoffs, and if they advance, they can’t line up their pitching.

  • Chuck

    I don’t understand how being a “numbers grabber” is a bad thing. I am confused. I want players who “grab numbers”. Isn’t that how you win?
    I can’t stand interleague and this just adds more fuel to the fire. If you are going to play the other league all the time what is the use of having leagues? Why not just standardize the DH and throw all 32 teams into a playoff mixer? Just take the top 8, 10 or 16 teams into the playoffs. Am I missing something? The scarcity of an item adds to it’s value, not the other way around.
    Do we really need to play baseball until Thanksgiving? Why do we need to add playoff teams? Making the playoffs in the NBA and NHL is meaningless because everybody does. We don’t need this in baseball.
    I am now going to yell at some kids about loud music and getting off my lawn.

  • Buddy

    Excellent point Chuck. Last time I checked, stats measure performance.

  • flyslinger2

    Unlike the NBA I think the players will embrace the CBA offered by the owners without hesitation. What an embarrassment that will be to the NBA.
    Inter-league play is stoooopid. I don’t watch it. I won’t by tickets to see it-even if the Nats play Baltimore. I agree that they might as well make it all one league and then if they do that why have a 160 game season. Just start with playoffs in April and wrap everything up in May.
    I think Theo is stuck with crap for a while. Remember, a pile of poo has to be broken down by external forces until it can be removed or absorbed into the ground. He had a dump truck full of it piled on him.

  • Norm

    From MLB Trade Rumors:

    The Cubs are telling teams they’ll listen to trade offers on everyone this winter while trying to rebuild the team to be competitive in the future, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted something very similar around the same time, so perhaps the Cubs are trying to get the word out. ESPN’s Buster Olney also joined in, saying Sean Marshall and Matt Garza figure to draw the most interest between now and July 31st.

    The concept of listening to offers for any player is not unexpected for new Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, and marks a change from Jim Hendry’s reported summer stance of not listening on players he thought could help him in 2012. Still, a team drawing three million fans a year doesn’t often embark on a full-on offseason rebuilding effort. The Cubs certainly haven’t done that anytime recently. Hoyer isn’t afraid to make an unpopular decision, though, having traded Adrian Gonzalez for prospects months after his Padres nearly won the NL West. And even after trading Gonzalez, Hoyer made a series of moves designed to keep the team competitive in 2011. The Cubs aren’t ruling out anything at this point, Hoyer told’s Carrie Muskat.

    Garza, 27, could be one of the best available starters this offseason. He’s made 30 starts each of the last four years, has AL East experience, and struck out a career-best 197 this year with the move to the NL. He’s under team control for two more years, though his salary could approach $9MM in 2012 and will likely enter eight figures in ’13. Marshall is under contract for $3.1MM in 2012 and eligible for free agency after that. With a 2.45 ERA, 10.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9 over the last two years, he’s become an elite reliever capable of a Mike Adams-like bounty.

  • Chuck

    If the NBA players were offered the baseball CBA they would take it and rejoyce. The main differences between the baseball CBA and basketball CBA are minor things such as:
    No salary cap in baseball
    No max contracts in baseball
    No salary based on draft position in baseball
    No player salaries tied to league revenue in baseball
    I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

  • Chuck

    A team announcing that any player is available via trade is tantamount to announcing that the GM woke up this morning. We all love Starlin and would like to see him in a Cubs uniform for the next 15 years. However if Seattle offered us Pineada, Felix and Smoak for him, so long Starlin. Of course everyone is available. But the price for some may be prohibitively high.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Unrelated: Terry Francona has taken his name out of the running for the Cubs’ managerial position.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    As for Joe’s talking points above, I think Brenly calling Ramirez a “numbers grabber” was his way of saying that those numbers don’t always translate to helping he Cubs–that he’s able to pad his stats in garbage time. I’d have to go back to exactly when the interview took place and what had happened in the days prior, but I think Brenly was miffed about Ramirez not coming through in a clutch situation or that his effort wasn’t what you’d expect from a team leader. Something along those lines.

    Whatever the situation was, I don’t think Brenly’s headed for the kind of trouble that lead to Stone’s departure. I always got the sense Stone’s firing had more to do with his ego, and that he started acting like he was irreplaceable. I don’t think that’s true of Brenly–at least, not yet.

  • Buddy

    Every GM in baseball should always listen to trade offers for anyone on the roster. It never hurts to listen.

  • Jedi
  • Doc Raker

    Any mention of a more balanced schedule? I like the 15 team leagues. Francona doesn’t think the Cubs job is a good fit for him. Translation, “The Cubs have no chance to win any time soon. I would like to manage them when they have a chance to contend, like maybe 2015.”