View From The Bleachers

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Friday

24

January 2014

131

COMMENTS

Tanaka Tears, Prospect Love, Garza, Rooftop Battle

Written by , Posted in General

I have to admit, I’m disappointed we didn’t sign Tanaka. I knew we only had an outside shot, but it’s not often that you get a chance to sign a 25-year-old, TOR-potential pitcher—with nothing to lose but money. I do appreciate that the FO put in a good offer (I do believe that there was a real, honest effort to land Tanaka, not just a show for fans), and I’m encouraged that they had the financial resources to do so. There have been various reports as to what the offer actually was (some have said that the Cubs would have been willing to go up to the 7-year, $150 million range if that would have been required to land him), but it really seems like Tanaka was going to go to the Yankees no matter what. Really, I can’t blame him. If I were moving to Japan to play baseball, I’d probably want to go to the team with the longest winning tradition, in the biggest media market, with a chance to win now (well, maybe not me, since I’m an underdog kind of guy, but most people would probably choose that path). Anyway, we’re left to watch Tanaka from afar. Of course, Tanaka may wind up being more Igawa than Darvish, but there’s risk with any player.

In happier news, the Cubs’ farm system is rocking the charts these days. Baseball Prospectus just put out their list of the Cubs top ten prospects, and it goes as such:

1. Javier Baez
2. Kris Bryant
3. Albert Almora
4. Jorge Soler
5. C.J. Edwards
6. Arismendy Alcantara
7. Pierce Johnson
8. Dan Vogelbach
9. Christian Villanueva
10. Jeimer Candelario

If you have a subscription, you can read the scouting summaries of each prospect. I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s a teaser: the words “Miguel” and “Cabrera” are included in the Javier Baez write-up.

Speaking of Baez-induced drool, BP’s Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) said this in a chat the other day in reference to Baez:

“One front office source told me that thinks Baez has hall of fame potential. No don’t go crazy with one projection, but if you really believe in the bat–meaning you think he will reach his offensive projections–35+ home runs is possible, all from a left-side of the diamond home. This is an extreme opinion, but not all that crazy when it comes to potential. Javier Baez could have a very special bat; the hand/eye, the bat speed, the raw strength are elite. If he puts it all together, he could be one of the best players in the game. If he stays healthy and consistent once he achieves that level, the hyperbole and hype of the present won’t seem so crazy.”

In other news, the Brewers have apparently signed Matt Garza to a four-year, $52 million deal, although, as of Thursday night, the Brewers weirdly denied that a deal was completed. My guess is that they are waiting on the medicals (which, for Garza, wouldn’t just be perfunctory—he’s had well-documented elbow troubles in the past). If the Brewers do sign him, I have some advice to Renteria: bunt!

Brett Taylor (a former lawyer) over at Bleacher Nation has a nice write-up on the lawsuit the rooftops are bringing against Marc Ganis, a sports consultant who worked for the Cubs, for what amounts to defamation. If you can stomach it, give it a read. It may be the first in a long line of litigation.

On that note, have a nice weekend!

  • Noah_I

    I’d say the one question with the Yankees is if they REALLY have a chance to win now. The reports on what the Cubs’ final offer was have been all over the place, but it looks like the Cubs either weren’t willing to go higher than 6/$120 million, weren’t willing to include the opt out clause, or both.

    • Eddie Von White

      From afar, New York looks like all that. But when you take into consideration the scrutiny, the fans, the press, the taxes, the ownership, and every other undesirable New York has to offer, I believe Tanaka is in for a rude awakening. I hope he doesn’t like 32 oz soft drinks. Chicago would have been a much happier place for him.

      • Noah_I

        Didn’t the soft drink thing get rescinded by the courts? Either way, I somehow doubt that Tanaka cares very much if he can Super Size his meal. I agree, I’m not a big New York fan, but I get the appeal of it that my friends and family who live there have. But the difference between a 56% marginal tax rate and, let’s say it would be 46% here (I’m guessing on that and that’s probably an overestimate of the difference) matters less when you have more money than you could ever need. Plus, he likely has, and will continue to have, significant endorsement deals that are only subject to Japanese taxation, although I have no idea what their tax rates/structure look like.

      • PLCB3

        The soft drink ban was thrown out of the courts because they ruled Bloomberg didn’t have authority to impose such a ban, soda was limited, but sweet tea and milkshakes weren’t, and the ban was in effect for Yankees games and McDonald’s, but not at 7-11.

      • Eddie Von White

        Unlike New York City, Chicago does not impose a
        a city income tax. Had Tanaka chosen a similar contract with the Cubs, he would have saved almost 12 million in taxes over the life of his contract. But I agree, if that mattered to him, he wouldn’t have chosen to play in New York.

      • Eugene Debs

        Yeah….it came down to soft drinks.

        He did not sign with the Cubs because the Cubs are horrible. We are outright disgustingly horrible.

    • the_slasher14

      They don’t. The Yankees will probably not finish fifth in their division, which is where I had them slotted until now, but they’re not a playoff team. No 2B, no 3B, a 40-year-old SS and an aging 1B coming off injury years, nothing in the farm system — how does this team compete in that division?
      They got Tanaka because they HAD to get Tanaka. If the Cubs had pushed it, the Yankees would have gone to $200MM for eight years if they had to. And you know what? They still are going to have to fight to stay over .500.
      I know you guys are impatient about the Cubs rebuild, so am I, but in 2-3 years the Yankees are going to wish they’d done what Theo and Jed have done — build from the ground up.

  • Noah_I

    I’d say the one question with the Yankees is if they REALLY have a chance to win now. The reports on what the Cubs’ final offer was have been all over the place, but it looks like the Cubs either weren’t willing to go higher than 6/$120 million, weren’t willing to include the opt out clause, or both.

    • Eddie Von White

      From afar, New York looks like all that. But when you take into consideration the scrutiny, the fans, the press, the taxes, the ownership, and every other undesirable New York has to offer, I believe Tanaka is in for a rude awakening. I hope he doesn’t like 32 oz soft drinks. Chicago would have been a much happier place for him.

      • Noah_I

        Didn’t the soft drink thing get rescinded by the courts? Either way, I somehow doubt that Tanaka cares very much if he can Super Size his meal. I agree, I’m not a big New York fan, but I get the appeal of it that my friends and family who live there have. But the difference between a 56% marginal tax rate and, let’s say it would be 46% here (I’m guessing on that and that’s probably an overestimate of the difference) matters less when you have more money than you could ever need. Plus, he likely has, and will continue to have, significant endorsement deals that are only subject to Japanese taxation, although I have no idea what their tax rates/structure look like.

      • AC0000000

        The soft drink ban was thrown out of the courts because they ruled Bloomberg didn’t have authority to impose such a ban, soda was limited, but sweet tea and milkshakes weren’t, and the ban was in effect for Yankees games and McDonald’s, but not at 7-11.

      • Eugene Debs

        Yeah….it came down to soft drinks.

        He did not sign with the Cubs because the Cubs are horrible. We are outright disgustingly horrible.

    • the_slasher14

      They don’t. The Yankees will probably not finish fifth in their division, which is where I had them slotted until now, but they’re not a playoff team. No 2B, no 3B, a 40-year-old SS and an aging 1B coming off injury years, nothing in the farm system — how does this team compete in that division?
      They got Tanaka because they HAD to get Tanaka. If the Cubs had pushed it, the Yankees would have gone to $200MM for eight years if they had to. And you know what? They still are going to have to fight to stay over .500.
      I know you guys are impatient about the Cubs rebuild, so am I, but in 2-3 years the Yankees are going to wish they’d done what Theo and Jed have done — build from the ground up.

  • Doc Raker

    The name Miguel Cabrera makes me nauseous. He was the unknown rookie in 2003 that the Cubs just couldn’t get out in the NLCS. Dusty and his pitching decisions ( leaving Shawn Estes off the play off roster, not having Matt Clement ready to pitch sometime in game 7, the Bartman fiasco and Miguel Carbera all make me nauseous.

    • Noah_I

      Miggy was anything but an unknown. He was BA’s number 12 prospect in baseball heading into 2003. Not as many people followed prospects at the time, but he was the equivalent of Javier Baez or Kris Bryant heading into 2003.

      • PLCB3

        He only got called up though because the Marlins had no choice after Mike Lowell broke his hand.

      • Doc Raker

        He was unknown to the vast majority of Cub fans in 2003. I will guess most Cub fans don’t keep track of other teams prospects. I will also guess that the vast majority of fans of the other 29 teams in the MLB don’t know much about Kris Bryant or Javier Baez right now. You Baseball America folks are vastly more informed than the average baseball fan.

  • Doc Raker

    The name Miguel Cabrera makes me nauseous. He was the unknown rookie in 2003 that the Cubs just couldn’t get out in the NLCS. Dusty and his pitching decisions ( leaving Shawn Estes off the play off roster, not having Matt Clement ready to pitch sometime in game 7, the Bartman fiasco and Miguel Carbera all make me nauseous.

    • Noah_I

      Miggy was anything but an unknown. He was BA’s number 12 prospect in baseball heading into 2003. Not as many people followed prospects at the time, but he was the equivalent of Javier Baez or Kris Bryant heading into 2003.

      • AC0000000

        He only got called up though because the Marlins had no choice after Mike Lowell broke his hand.

      • Doc Raker

        He was unknown to the vast majority of Cub fans in 2003. I will guess most Cub fans don’t keep track of other teams prospects. I will also guess that the vast majority of fans of the other 29 teams in the MLB don’t know much about Kris Bryant or Javier Baez right now. You Baseball America folks are vastly more informed than the average baseball fan.

  • Bryan

    Prospects make me nervous because of Pie, Vitters, Jackson, and a few others, but do you think these “busts” (I guess Vitters and Jackson still have a little time to make something of themselves) are a result of their talent alone or could it be part of the old regime running the Cubs system?

    • Chuck

      Prospects make me nervous too, but the quality of the prospects in the Cubs system is, pretty much, unprecedented when compared to the last couple of decades. Every team has a #1 prospect. However, some of these guys would be the #1 prospect in a lot of farm systems.

      • Noah_I

        This. Pie and Jackson were never the types of talents that, particularly, Baez and Bryant are. And by the time Vitters reached Double A, the concerns about his approach were big enough that some of the shine was already off him. While Vitters in, say 2009, was viewed fairly comparatively to Baez a year ago, Vitters never took the next step the way Baez did in 2013.

        Now, the Cubs have had two prospects this highly rated close in time to each other just over a decade ago, in Corey Patterson and Mark Prior. But the Cubs greatly rushed Corey Patterson, he was overrated as a prospect, and underrated over his first few years (aside from his awful 2005 he was actually quite valuable from 2003-2006) as a pro before injuries destroyed his legs and one of the things that made him such a big time prospect: elite defense at an up the middle position. Prior could have been the best pitcher of the 2000s, but injuries, which can happen to anyone. So having two prospects like this isn’t a guarantee of future Hall of Famers, but the fact that Corey Patterson (9.7 career fWAR, 10.2 fWAR from 2003-2006) and Felix Pie (-1.1 career fWAR) are both viewed by many as equal busts shows the difference between a Top 10 prospect failing to meet expectations and a Top 50 prospect failing to do so.

    • Sean Powell

      Every star player begins somewhere as some sort of prospect, it’s just a reality that most players don’t turn into stars – professional baseball is REALLY hard, even for these elite athletes. The way I see it, there’s no reason not to be optimistic with these guys until they prove they can’t play. I understand the fear of more heartbreak, but we’re Cubs fans, we should be numb by now.

      • PLCB3

        But have the Cubs ever had so many highly ranked prospects and a highly ranked farm system? At the convention, Ricketts and McJedEp said that 4 of the top 30 prospects are in the Cubs system, and ESPN has our system ranked #2

      • Doc Raker

        Comfortably Numb.

      • Eddie Von White

        Did you say numb…or dumb?

      • Doc Raker

        Pink Floyd said Comfortably Numb, don’t you remember that decade?

      • Eddie Von White

        It’s pretty hazy, I felt like my back was up against The Wall all the time.

      • Doc Raker

        I was on the Dark Side of the Moon.

      • Eddie Von White

        I had A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

      • Seymour Butts

        Is there anybody out there?
        Dobson still has the same aroma.

      • Doc Raker

        Give us a report on the new facility.

  • Bryan

    Prospects make me nervous because of Pie, Vitters, Jackson, and a few others, but do you think these “busts” (I guess Vitters and Jackson still have a little time to make something of themselves) are a result of their talent alone or could it be part of the old regime running the Cubs system?

    • Chuck

      Prospects make me nervous too, but the quality of the prospects in the Cubs system is, pretty much, unprecedented when compared to the last couple of decades. Every team has a #1 prospect. However, some of these guys would be the #1 prospect in a lot of farm systems.

      • Noah_I

        This. Pie and Jackson were never the types of talents that, particularly, Baez and Bryant are. And by the time Vitters reached Double A, the concerns about his approach were big enough that some of the shine was already off him. While Vitters in, say 2009, was viewed fairly comparatively to Baez a year ago, Vitters never took the next step the way Baez did in 2013.

        Now, the Cubs have had two prospects this highly rated close in time to each other just over a decade ago, in Corey Patterson and Mark Prior. But the Cubs greatly rushed Corey Patterson, he was overrated as a prospect, and underrated over his first few years (aside from his awful 2005 he was actually quite valuable from 2003-2006) as a pro before injuries destroyed his legs and one of the things that made him such a big time prospect: elite defense at an up the middle position. Prior could have been the best pitcher of the 2000s, but injuries, which can happen to anyone. So having two prospects like this isn’t a guarantee of future Hall of Famers, but the fact that Corey Patterson (9.7 career fWAR, 10.2 fWAR from 2003-2006) and Felix Pie (-1.1 career fWAR) are both viewed by many as equal busts shows the difference between a Top 10 prospect failing to meet expectations and a Top 50 prospect failing to do so.

    • Sean Powell

      Every star player begins somewhere as some sort of prospect, it’s just a reality that most players don’t turn into stars – professional baseball is REALLY hard, even for these elite athletes. The way I see it, there’s no reason not to be optimistic with these guys until they prove they can’t play. I understand the fear of more heartbreak, but we’re Cubs fans, we should be numb by now.

      • AC0000000

        But have the Cubs ever had so many highly ranked prospects and a highly ranked farm system? At the convention, Ricketts and McJedEp said that 4 of the top 30 prospects are in the Cubs system, and ESPN has our system ranked #2

      • Doc Raker

        Comfortably Numb.

      • Eddie Von White

        Did you say numb…or dumb?

      • Doc Raker

        Pink Floyd said Comfortably Numb, don’t you remember that decade?

      • Eddie Von White

        It’s pretty hazy, I felt like my back was up against The Wall all the time.

      • Doc Raker

        I was on the Dark Side of the Moon.

      • Eddie Von White

        I had A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

      • Seymour Butts

        Is there anybody out there?
        Dobson still has the same aroma.

      • Doc Raker

        Give us a report on the new facility.

  • Chuck

    I would argue that the Yankees are not ready to win now based on the division they play in and the current roster.

    • Noah_I

      I agree, but I see how they could make the argument at the least. I don’t think the ability to have the mirage of competing now, though, made as much difference as wanting to be either in New York or LA and whatever the differences in the contracts offered by both clubs were.

      • Sean Powell

        The Yankees may not compete for the division title this season, but they will be competitive long term. I think it makes sense that Tanaka would want to play for the most storied franchise in baseball in the biggest/most famous city in the US (and his wife is an actress, so it makes sense from her standpoint as well). As for the taxes, I would think once you get above a certain amount of money, it’s all a blur.

      • Noah_I

        I agree they’ll be competitive long term, but I think the next couple of years are likely to be rough unless they just take all the roadblocks off all spending. I also just think it’s harder to build through free agency than the last time the Yankees did it. The players who make it to free agency all have at least one glaring flaw. Even the best of them (Pujols, Cano) are older than you’d like. If they were in any other division I’d think differently, and I do think the Rays are likely in for a couple of leaner years starting either in 2015 or 2016, but I think people have been saying that about the Rays for 3 or 4 years now. For whatever reason, I look at their roster composition and just go: man, that team is old and expensive.

      • Sean Powell

        I agree 100%. That’s why I’m so bullish on our plans to build through drafting, player development, and signing our own. We’re preaching to each other’s choirs.

      • Jedi

        “The players who make it to free agency all have at least one glaring flaw”…that’s fantastic…on so many levels. The Cubs just need to draft more guys without flaws…

      • Noah_I

        I didn’t say draft picks don’t have flaws. Draft picks all have a massive flaw beyond whatever concerns exist regarding their gameplay, in that they’ve never played against professional talent. But the least flawed MLB players (reaching free agency at the front or middle of their expected peak, best talent, your Kershaw types) almost universally do not reach free agency until they out of their peak years at this juncture. The only “elite” hitters to have reached free agency over the last several years have been 30 or over (Pujols, Cano, Hamilton, etc.) or have a body type that traditionally breaks down young (Fielder). I wasn’t comparing the free agents the Yankees could get to prospects or draft picks, but to players who will not reach free agency because of extensions who, a decade ago, were much more likely to reach free agency.

        I don’t know if you just have an issue with my writing style or you’re just trying to be contrary for the sake of being contrary, but you seem to consistently think I am saying something that I’m not saying.

      • Jedi

        You seem to have read quite a bit into 3 lines.

        Every player has flaws. FAs that hit the market, draft picks, guys that get locked up by their team…every player is flawed (except maybe Mike Trout).

        And as much as everyone fawns all over the current prospects, most of them will be lucky to make it to free agency and be a guy who only has one glaring flaw – that’d be a nice success story in most cases.

      • Noah_I

        Ok, but that’s not what I was talking about at all. I merely stated that I don’t think the Yankees are going to be very good over the next couple of years unless they just put essentially no limit on spending because I don’t think the players who reach free agency now are as good as the players who reached free agency 10 years ago. What does that have to do with the Cubs’ prospects? Of course if any of them become top of the line free agents 7-10 years down the line that would mean they were huge successes. But it doesn’t mean that they: (a) will be better than the players who received extensions and won’t reach free agency due to those extension; and (b) won’t be viewed as significant risks after reaching free agency. Now, things could change and the elite players who are going top reach free agency at 27 or 28 could decide to starting testing free agency instead of taking the guarantee of being millionaires a couple of dozen times over independent of health, but I don’t think anyone finds that likely.

        I also didn’t make a comparison of the Cubs’ rebuild to the Yankees organizational strategy, and have never said the Cubs’ prospects aren’t flawed. I think the Yankees strategy is flawed because I don’t think they can just spend them way to the playoffs in that division considering how much money they will have tied up in declining players over the next few seasons. You seem to believe because I write about the prospects I think they’re all amazing and all MLB players are terrible. I write about prospects because I think they’re interesting. And one of the big reasons I think they’re interesting is precisely because they have a high failure rate.

      • Sean Powell

        Three factors that make relying on FA signings more difficult than in the past. 1) New CBA, 2) Natural trend of more teams trying to lock up young talent for the long-term (influenced by 1), and 3) the clamp down by MLB on the “pharmaceutical prolongation” of players’ careers. You just aren’t going to see many 35+ year-old players playing as if they were in their primes (see Pujols, Hamilton, etc.). As Theo has said many times, you’d rather pay for a player’s first seven years on a team-friendly deal than the last seven on a player-friendly deal. It’s not about what a 32-year-old player did in the last five years, it’s about what he’ll do in the next five. That’s one reason that advanced stats are useful: counting stats tell us what a player did on the field, advanced metrics better help us predict what he will do in the future. No one is saying that FA signings aren’t important – of course they are..but FA talent should be infused into a team with a solid foundation. It’s getting harder and harder to buy a championship (of course, if you have unlimited funds, all bets are off – you can afford to sign a million players for a billion dollars, and if 80% flame-out, you don’t care…but most teams have to allocate resources more carefully than that).

      • Noah_I

        100% agree with everything here.

      • Noah_I

        100% agree with everything here.

      • Noah_I

        Ok, but that’s not what I was talking about at all. I merely stated that I don’t think the Yankees are going to be very good over the next couple of years unless they just put essentially no limit on spending because I don’t think the players who reach free agency now are as good as the players who reached free agency 10 years ago. What does that have to do with the Cubs’ prospects? Of course if any of them become top of the line free agents 7-10 years down the line that would mean they were huge successes. But it doesn’t mean that they: (a) will be better than the players who received extensions and won’t reach free agency due to those extension; and (b) won’t be viewed as significant risks after reaching free agency. Now, things could change and the elite players who are going top reach free agency at 27 or 28 could decide to starting testing free agency instead of taking the guarantee of being millionaires a couple of dozen times over independent of health, but I don’t think anyone finds that likely.

        I also didn’t make a comparison of the Cubs’ rebuild to the Yankees organizational strategy, and have never said the Cubs’ prospects aren’t flawed. I think the Yankees strategy is flawed because I don’t think they can just spend them way to the playoffs in that division considering how much money they will have tied up in declining players over the next few seasons. You seem to believe because I write about the prospects I think they’re all amazing and all MLB players are terrible. I write about prospects because I think they’re interesting. And one of the big reasons I think they’re interesting is precisely because they have a high failure rate.

      • At least call it what it is, Jedi. You don’t comment on anyone’s stuff other than Noah’s* and you’re argumentative, sarcastic, and sometimes mean. It makes me sad to see you have such an axe to grind. All. The. Time.
        *Admittedly there’s often nothing much else to comment on. But we do engage in witty, humorous banter now and then – great for anger management!!! Love you. But it’s just not worth getting so worked up all the time. Life’s too short to spend it on Noah! (No offense Noah. Love you too.)

      • Sean Powell

        Lizzie, to be fair to Jedi, he’s also ripped several of my posts/comments!

      • Good point. Jedi, no need to waste your time with Sean either. Heh heh. 😉

      • PLCB3

        He’s been on my ass quite a bit too

      • Noah_I

        Thanks, and I honestly welcome actual disagreements with the argument. I find that interesting. I’m well aware of the fact that Jedi and I disagree on the value of prospects as compared to how the market views them, and I’ll leave it at that.

      • I blame Norm.

      • Still not Dave

        What ever happened to Dave? He would crap on anyine’s cornflakes.

      • Joe Aiello

        Dave’s not here

      • , man.

      • Dusty Baylor

        LMAO…nice!!

      • At least call it what it is, Jedi. You don’t comment on anyone’s stuff other than Noah’s* and you’re argumentative, sarcastic, and sometimes mean. It makes me sad to see you have such an axe to grind. All. The. Time.
        *Admittedly there’s often nothing much else to comment on. But we do engage in witty, humorous banter now and then – great for anger management!!! Love you. But it’s just not worth getting so worked up all the time. Life’s too short to spend it on Noah! (No offense Noah. Love you too.)

      • Sean Powell

        Lizzie, to be fair to Jedi, he’s also ripped several of my posts/comments!

      • Good point. Jedi, no need to waste your time with Sean either. Heh heh. 😉

      • AC0000000

        He’s been on my ass quite a bit too

      • Noah_I

        Thanks, and I honestly welcome actual disagreements with the argument. I find that interesting. I’m well aware of the fact that Jedi and I disagree on the value of prospects as compared to how the market views them, and I’ll leave it at that.

      • I blame Norm.

      • Still not Dave

        What ever happened to Dave? He would crap on anyine’s cornflakes.

      • Joe Aiello

        Dave’s not here

      • , man.

      • Dusty Baylor

        LMAO…nice!!

      • the_slasher14

        I don’t see how the Yankees become competitive over the long term. Their farm system is empty. Their 1B, SS, and LF are very old already. They have no 2B or 3B to speak of. Tanaka, even if he turns out to be a #1 starter (many have him at #2 at best), isn’t enough to make up for their threadbare rotation. Sabathia just had his worst season and their closer retired. And their big pickups this winter are over 30 as well, and will begin to decline in 3-4 or at most 5 years.
        None of this matters if the cavalry is coming, as the Cubs cavalry is, but it’s not.
        The Cubs will win more games from 2016-2020 than the Yankees will.

      • Back up. Vagaries are in play.

      • PLCB3

        Line drives or Japanese contracts? Or the vagaries of jorts?

      • There is nothing vague about jorts. That is a definitive wardrobe statement.

      • PLCB3

        The kind that Cardinals fans make?

      • PLCB3

        Well if Armageddon occurs as you predict and Tanaka is still pitching good in 4 years, he can opt out of his contract and go to a win-now team that wants to give him the dough. There’s a concept known as CREAM that runs throughout sports. Mmmmmmmmmm…cream

      • Noah_I

        Two reasons I think the Yankees will compete in the long term: first, their farm system probably isn’t as bad as it looked in 2013. Essentially every big time prospect they have got injured or underperformed compared to expectations. Expect regression to the mean. The second reason is that, even with the money the Yankees have tied up in their newly signed free agents, the Yankees just have a ton of money coming off the books over the next several years, so they’ll be able to bring in the free agents they need.

        I don’t think the Yankees compete in 2014 or 2015 without significant roster changes, but by 2016 I expect them to just blow all the doors off any reasonable budgetary limitations and go crazy.

      • the_slasher14

        Actually the Yankees performed much better in 2013 than their Pythagorean numbers would indicate. If they regress to the mean, they’re going to be WORSE in 2014. They’ve added three solid players in Ellsbury, McCann, and Tanaka but they also let their best player walk.
        The days when you could expect a Teixeira, a Sheffield, a Giambi, etc., to be available in the free agent market every year are pretty much over. I don’t see how they can be winning 90 games for several years in that division.

      • Pythagoras just puked in his grave. In Greece.

      • PLCB3

        The Yankees were competitive last season and likely make the playoffs if they’re healthy. Really all you can ask for in baseball is to make the playoffs/be in playoff contention. Because the playoffs in baseball are a crapshoot. Anyone can win once the playoffs start.

      • Noah_I

        The Yankees also got off to a very hot start on the back of a crazy good performance by Vernon Wells types in April, players who reverted back into pumpkins after that point. They were 16-10 when April ended, and only went 2 over .500 for the rest of the season. The Yankees finished 6 games back of the Rays and Indians. Considering how many of their injuries were to players steeply in their decline phase (A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira), I’m not positive they would have made that big a difference over a full season, or that any of them should be counted on to be healthy anymore. With that said, we should have some answers on that front depending on how Jeter and Teixeira perform in 2014, if they’re healthy.

    • Jedi

      I’d bet heavily on the Yankees making the playoffs quicker than the Cubs. NY actually has a reasonable chance to get there this year – the Cubs don’t have a reasonable chance for at least two more years, and beyond that for the Cubs depends entirely on how prospects develop. For the Yankees, next year depends on how much cash they’re willing to dump on the market. Tomorrow isn’t promised – I don’t blame Tanaka at all for not seeing the Cubs’ long-term rebuild as a positive thing in his situation.

      • the_slasher14

        I’d take that bet. The Yankees are in a much tougher division than the Cubs, have an empty farm system, have severe problems with aging key players, and a rotation that Tanaka helps but doesn’t make solid. The Cubs farm system may not pan out until 2016 but if they can land any decent pitching, they’ll be playing in October before the Yankees will.

  • Chuck

    I would argue that the Yankees are not ready to win now based on the division they play in and the current roster.

    • Noah_I

      I agree, but I see how they could make the argument at the least. I don’t think the ability to have the mirage of competing now, though, made as much difference as wanting to be either in New York or LA and whatever the differences in the contracts offered by both clubs were.

      • Sean Powell

        The Yankees may not compete for the division title this season, but they will be competitive long term. I think it makes sense that Tanaka would want to play for the most storied franchise in baseball in the biggest/most famous city in the US (and his wife is an actress, so it makes sense from her standpoint as well). As for the taxes, I would think once you get above a certain amount of money, it’s all a blur.

      • Noah_I

        I agree they’ll be competitive long term, but I think the next couple of years are likely to be rough unless they just take all the roadblocks off all spending. I also just think it’s harder to build through free agency than the last time the Yankees did it. The players who make it to free agency all have at least one glaring flaw. Even the best of them (Pujols, Cano) are older than you’d like. If they were in any other division I’d think differently, and I do think the Rays are likely in for a couple of leaner years starting either in 2015 or 2016, but I think people have been saying that about the Rays for 3 or 4 years now. For whatever reason, I look at their roster composition and just go: man, that team is old and expensive.

      • Sean Powell

        I agree 100%. That’s why I’m so bullish on our plans to build through drafting, player development, and signing our own. We’re preaching to each other’s choirs.

      • Jedi

        “The players who make it to free agency all have at least one glaring flaw”…that’s fantastic…on so many levels. The Cubs just need to draft more guys without flaws…

      • Noah_I

        I didn’t say draft picks don’t have flaws. Draft picks all have a massive flaw beyond whatever concerns exist regarding their gameplay, in that they’ve never played against professional talent. But the least flawed MLB players (reaching free agency at the front or middle of their expected peak, best talent, your Kershaw types) almost universally do not reach free agency until they out of their peak years at this juncture. The only “elite” hitters to have reached free agency over the last several years have been 30 or over (Pujols, Cano, Hamilton, etc.) or have a body type that traditionally breaks down young (Fielder). I wasn’t comparing the free agents the Yankees could get to prospects or draft picks, but to players who will not reach free agency because of extensions who, a decade ago, were much more likely to reach free agency.

        I don’t know if you just have an issue with my writing style or you’re just trying to be contrary for the sake of being contrary, but you seem to consistently think I am saying something that I’m not saying.

      • the_slasher14

        I don’t see how the Yankees become competitive over the long term. Their farm system is empty. Their 1B, SS, and LF are very old already. They have no 2B or 3B to speak of. Tanaka, even if he turns out to be a #1 starter (many have him at #2 at best), isn’t enough to make up for their threadbare rotation. Sabathia just had his worst season and their closer retired. And their big pickups this winter are over 30 as well, and will begin to decline in 3-4 or at most 5 years.
        None of this matters if the cavalry is coming, as the Cubs cavalry is, but it’s not.
        The Cubs will win more games from 2016-2020 than the Yankees will.

      • Back up. Vagaries are in play.

      • AC0000000

        Line drives or Japanese contracts? Or the vagaries of jorts?

      • There is nothing vague about jorts. That is a definitive wardrobe statement.

      • AC0000000

        The kind that Cardinals fans make?

      • AC0000000

        Well if Armageddon occurs as you predict and Tanaka is still pitching good in 4 years, he can opt out of his contract and go to a win-now team that wants to give him the dough. There’s a concept known as CREAM that runs throughout sports. Mmmmmmmmmm…cream

      • Noah_I

        Two reasons I think the Yankees will compete in the long term: first, their farm system probably isn’t as bad as it looked in 2013. Essentially every big time prospect they have got injured or underperformed compared to expectations. Expect regression to the mean. The second reason is that, even with the money the Yankees have tied up in their newly signed free agents, the Yankees just have a ton of money coming off the books over the next several years, so they’ll be able to bring in the free agents they need.

        I don’t think the Yankees compete in 2014 or 2015 without significant roster changes, but by 2016 I expect them to just blow all the doors off any reasonable budgetary limitations and go crazy.

      • the_slasher14

        Actually the Yankees performed much better in 2013 than their Pythagorean numbers would indicate. If they regress to the mean, they’re going to be WORSE in 2014. They’ve added three solid players in Ellsbury, McCann, and Tanaka but they also let their best player walk.
        The days when you could expect a Teixeira, a Sheffield, a Giambi, etc., to be available in the free agent market every year are pretty much over. I don’t see how they can be winning 90 games for several years in that division.

      • Pythagoras just puked in his grave. In Greece.

      • AC0000000

        The Yankees were competitive last season and likely make the playoffs if they’re healthy. Really all you can ask for in baseball is to make the playoffs/be in playoff contention. Because the playoffs in baseball are a crapshoot. Anyone can win once the playoffs start.

      • Noah_I

        The Yankees also got off to a very hot start on the back of a crazy good performance by Vernon Wells types in April, players who reverted back into pumpkins after that point. They were 16-10 when April ended, and only went 2 over .500 for the rest of the season. The Yankees finished 6 games back of the Rays and Indians. Considering how many of their injuries were to players steeply in their decline phase (A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira), I’m not positive they would have made that big a difference over a full season, or that any of them should be counted on to be healthy anymore. With that said, we should have some answers on that front depending on how Jeter and Teixeira perform in 2014, if they’re healthy.

    • Jedi

      I’d bet heavily on the Yankees making the playoffs quicker than the Cubs. NY actually has a reasonable chance to get there this year – the Cubs don’t have a reasonable chance for at least two more years, and beyond that for the Cubs depends entirely on how prospects develop. For the Yankees, next year depends on how much cash they’re willing to dump on the market. Tomorrow isn’t promised – I don’t blame Tanaka at all for not seeing the Cubs’ long-term rebuild as a positive thing in his situation.

      • the_slasher14

        I’d take that bet. The Yankees are in a much tougher division than the Cubs, have an empty farm system, have severe problems with aging key players, and a rotation that Tanaka helps but doesn’t make solid. The Cubs farm system may not pan out until 2016 but if they can land any decent pitching, they’ll be playing in October before the Yankees will.

  • PLCB3

    Ricketts should just let the rooftops sue. That will put an end to their threats once and for all. They lose, the Cubs can start renovations. They win, you may have won the battle little dude, but you lost the war. Because we’re going to block your views when the contract expires in 2023 and that’s final.

  • AC0000000

    Ricketts should just let the rooftops sue. That will put an end to their threats once and for all. They lose, the Cubs can start renovations. They win, you may have won the battle little dude, but you lost the war. Because we’re going to block your views when the contract expires in 2023 and that’s final.

  • Eugene Debs

    Sure am glad that Hendry drafted Baez.

  • Eugene Debs

    Sure am glad that Hendry drafted Baez.

  • PLCB3
    • The only thing that would have made that Z clip better would have been seeing a winter-ball-playing Michael Barrett on the business end of another one of those haymakers.

      • PLCB3

        You spelled Ryan Braun wrong

  • AC0000000
    • The only thing that would have made that Z clip better would have been seeing a winter-ball-playing Michael Barrett on the business end of another one of those haymakers.

      • AC0000000

        You spelled Ryan Braun wrong

  • Hats off to Chris De Luca, whoever he may be, for re-Tweeting some shit about Billy Joel tickets. #awesomeatsocialmediastuff

    • PLCB3

      He’s an idiot sportswriter for the Sun-Times. He’s a White Sox fan and he shows his hatred for the Cubs in the crap he writes. If I got the paper version of the Sun-Times, I’d never need to buy toilet paper again.

      • Chuck

        Newspapers still print things these days?!

      • PLCB3

        Very much so. My dad gets not 1 but 2 newspapers delivered to him everyday. And like the old man he is, after getting home from work, he kicks back with a cup of tea and reads the paper.

  • Hats off to Chris De Luca, whoever he may be, for re-Tweeting some shit about Billy Joel tickets. #awesomeatsocialmediastuff

    • AC0000000

      He’s an idiot sportswriter for the Sun-Times. He’s a White Sox fan and he shows his hatred for the Cubs in the crap he writes. If I got the paper version of the Sun-Times, I’d never need to buy toilet paper again.

      • Chuck

        Newspapers still print things these days?!

      • AC0000000

        Very much so. My dad gets not 1 but 2 newspapers delivered to him everyday. And like the old man he is, after getting home from work, he kicks back with a cup of tea and reads the paper.