Menu Close

Category: Transactions (page 1 of 14)

HIRE JIM ESSIAN!

MY TIME HAS COME.

MY TIME HAS COME.

Hey, Al doesn’t have the market cornered on open letters to the Cubs front office that Theo Epstein will never read. Theo, you’ve done a lot of good in Chicago to this point. You’ve improved the team. You got rid of that alpaca manager. You haven’t acknowledged the idiot fan base that pays for season tickets in the bleachers. You’ve surrounded yourself with great baseball minds, you’ve said the right things, and now you’ve fired Dale Sveum. Or should I say you’ve opened a door. And there’s one man ready to come charging through that door. His name is Robert Paulson Skip Johnson Jim Essian. Not Joe Girardi. Joe Girardi looks like Skeletor, and Skeletor is EVIL.

Now, you may not believe that a man with a mustache can do amazing things. Not only is Jim the ONLY Armenian manager to ever lead an MLB team, but his mustache has SEEN SOME SHIT. BEHOLD!

Jim Breaking Bad

Jim Bridge on the River Kwai

Jim Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Jim Inglorious Basterds

Jim Inigo Montoya

Jim There Will Be Blood

Jim This Is Spinal Tap

Jim Tombstone

Friday Roundup: The “Winter Meetings” Edition

You’re all picturing a hot nurse right now, aren’t you?

During the podcast, I think we covered everything from Fujikawa to Sveum getting shot IN THE FACE, so I won’t bore you with recapping the fact that the Cubs signed a Japanese closer and Robin Yount shot Dale Sveum IN THE FACE. Except for that recap right there. The Cubs also got Nate Schierholtz, which is almost as impossible to spell as Kyuji Fujikawa, and reportedly re-signed Ian Stewart, effectively blocking Luis Valbuena from his run at a Triple Crown. Oh, and they also got some reliever named Hector Rondon in the Rule 5 Draft. He’s no Lendy Castillo. THANK GOD.

Your tips are as appreciated as a 2013 roster of dudes I’ve never heard of.
Read more

Wrigley Field of Broken Dreams

Go the distance.

WRIGLEY FIELD OF BROKEN DREAMS

Written by
Bad Kermit

FADE IN

THEO EPSTEIN V.O.
My name’s Theo Epstein.

I was born in New York City in 1973. Dad was the head of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University, so instead of Mother Goose, I was put to bed at night to stories of Casablanca, Homicide: Life on the Street, and Tell Me You Love Me. Dad was a Yankees fan then, so of course I rooted for the Red Sox. But the Red Sox kept on losing, so we had to find other things to fight about. We did.

And when it came time to go to college, I picked the farthest Ivy League one from home I could find. Yale in the 1990s: Republicans, suicides, etc. This, of course, drove him right up the wall, which I suppose was the point. Officially my major was American Studies, but really it was the Nineties. I surfed the World Wide Web, I watched Friends, I tried to like Nirvana’s music.

On November 25, 2002, Larry Lucchino hired me to work under him. At the end of the 2002 season, Lucchino appointed me to replace interim GM Mike Port. I got guys like David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, and Curt Schilling, and in 2004, during my first tenure as Red Sox GM, the Red Sox won their first World Series Championship since 1918. Three years later, wouldn’t you know it? We won it again.

Later on I met Marie. The only thing we had in common was that she volunteered for Horizons for Homeless Children, and I had once heard of a homeless child. On January 1, 2007, we got married on Red Sox owner John Henry’s yacht in Saint Thomas.

On December 12, 2007, little Jack came along.

On October 21, 2011, I resigned from my job in Boston to become President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs.

But until I heard The Voice, I’d never done a crazy thing in my whole life.

DISSOLVE TO

WRIGLEY FIELD – DUSK

It is dusk on a spring evening. The sky is a robin’s-egg blue, and the wind is soft as a day-old chick. Theo Epstein is raking the infield when a voice — like that of a public address announcer — speaks to him.

THE VOICE
If you sign him, you are dumb.

Theo looks up and around, but sees nothing that could be the source of this sound. All around him are empty stands, and he is alone on the field but for Jed Hoyer. He stands quietly for a few moments, then goes back to work.

THE VOICE
If you sign him, you are dumb.

Theo jerks his head in all directions to see where this voice is coming from, but again, he sees nothing unusual.

THEO
Jed, what was that?

JED
What was what?

THEO
That voice.

JED
What voice?

THEO
Just now. Like an announcement.

JED
I didn’t hear anything.

THEO
Oh.

Theo thinks for a second, then shakes it off, trying to dislodge that thought from his mind, and gets back to work.

THE VOICE
If you sign him, you are dumb.

Again, Theo bolts upright and looks around. Again, he sees nothing.

THEO
Okay, you must’ve heard that.

JED
Sorry. Come on. Dinner.

Theo looks all around him, but there is no one there. He puts down his rake and walks toward the clubhouse.

INT. CLUBHOUSE

Theo enters, looks at his Jed skeptically and joins him at the buffet table.

THEO
Was there like a fire truck across the street, or something?

JED
Nope.

THEO
Kids banging on those plastic paint buckets?

JED
Nope. You really hearing voices?

THEO
Just one.

JED
Ah. God?

THEO
More like a…ballpark announcer.

JED
What’d it say?

THEO
“If you sign him, you are dumb.”

JED
If you sign whom, why are you dumb?

THEO
He didn’t say.

JED
Ooh, I hate it when that happens.

THEO
Me too.

INT. CLUBHOUSE – THE NEXT NIGHT

Theo and Jed are eating dinner. Theo seems lost in thought.

JED
Hey, you don’t suppose this could be like an acid flashback, do you?

THEO
I never took acid.

JED
Maybe you will someday, and it’s a flash forward.

THEO
Jed, there’s more.

JED
You’re subscribing to the Enquirer.

THEO
I think I know what “If you sign him, you are dumb” means.

JED
Oooh, why do I not think this is a good thing?

THEO
I think it means if I sign Adam Greenberg and give him a spot on the 40-man roster, he will get to come back and play ball again.

JED
You’re kidding.

THEO
Uh uh.

Jed whistles.

THEO
Yeah.

INT. DALE SVEUM’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Theo and Jed are putting Dale Sveum to bed.

JED
Boy, I thought my family was crazy, but this…this is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.

THEO
I know. It’s totally nuts.

JED
I mean- Adam Greenberg- His career’s-

THEO
(nods)
Died in ’05.

JED
And he’s the one that got drilled in the head, right?

THEO
Right.

JED
He still suck?

THEO
Far as I know. Did you know he copied Fred Van Dusen’s swing?

JED
If I did, I’d forgotten it.

THEO
I always felt cheated I never got to see him play. He was supposed to be so graceful, and agile, and he was supposed to be able to avoid fastballs to the back of his head. So to actually get to see him play again…to let him play again, to right an old wrong…

JED
Wait a minute, Bosco. Are you actually thinking of doing this?

THEO
No. I mean, I can’t think of one good reason why I should, but…I’m thirty-eight years old, I have a wife, a child, and a mortgage, and I’m scared to death I’m turning into my father.

JED
What’s your father got to do with this?

THEO
I never forgave him for getting old. By the time he was as old as I am now, he was ancient. He must have had dreams, but he never did anything about them. For all I know, he may have even heard voices, too, but he sure didn’t listen to them. The man never did one spontaneous thing in all the years I knew him. Jed, I’m scared that that’s what growing up means. I’m afraid of that happening to me. And something tells me this may be my last chance to do something about it. I want to sign that useless twerp. Do you think I’m crazy?

JED
Yes. I also think that if you feel you really have to do this, then you should do it.

Theo nods.

JED
But you should also probably realize that this isn’t like it used to be. We don’t have useless players on the 40-man roster. In fact, since Kerry Wood retired, we can’t afford to waste a roster spot on a feel-good story just to appeal to a bunch of dopes who don’t understand the complexities of managing a Major League roster.

THEO
Yeah, you’re right.

JED
Oh, thank God.

FIN.

SoriaNO is Not TrollDempster

THAT’S NOT THE WAY YOU PLAY THE GAME!

I love Kevin Goldstein. His Twitter feed is excellent, he’s patient with both dumb fan questions and dumber talk show host questions. The man can talk intelligently about nearly any minor league player in baseball. But he was dead wrong last night on the Score when he said fans were stupid to be mad about SoriaNO exercising his 10-and-5 rights just as we were stupid to be mad about TrollDempster doing the same. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. And not just for the reason that we can feel however the hell we damn well want to feel, because we’re human beings with emotions. No, the TrollDempster situation and the SoriaNO situation couldn’t be more different. Here’s why.

  1. So far in August, SoriaNO hasn’t actually exercised his 10-and-5 rights. When approached yesterday by our good friend PAUL SULLIVAN and asked if he would consider a trade to the Giants in the wake of the Melky Cabrera suspension, SoriaNO said he didn’t like playing in San Francisco because of the weather. That may be hilariously misguided, but it’s not him rejecting the trade. In fact, he didn’t flat-out say “no” that he wouldn’t go to the West Coast. He said he’d talk to his family and see what they said, because ultimately the decision would be up to them. SoriaNO is having a good year, he’s expecting some trade rumors, and he’s preparing an answer to those rumors for his team in advance so he doesn’t leave them twisting in the wind. WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT. Yes, SoriaNO rejected an earlier trade to the Giants. But then turned right back into Good Guy Soriano by accepting a package deal to the Dodgers which would have gotten TrollDempster out of town.
  2. SoriaNO hasn’t tried to set himself up as a Chicago icon. When is the last time SoriaNO shoved his annoying face in front of a microphone like this? Try to read this sentence in SoriaNO’s voice, and then try to read it in TrollDempster’s. I bet the former is difficult, and the latter is simple. SoriaNO, not unlike Aramis Ramirez, never tried to make friends in Chicago. Yes, he has said he enjoys playing in Chicago, but he’s not all “Cubbie” this and “F*ck the Goat” that. He’s playing for a paycheck, not for your adoration, and I respect that. So, no, SoriaNO’s attitude toward the city and the team shouldn’t have led anyone to believe that he “owed” the Cubs something.
  3. 2007 and 2008. In case you don’t remember, Chuck, SoriaNO was pretty damn instrumental in hitting the Cubs into the 2007 and 2008 playoffs. Dempster sucked ass as a closer in 2007 so, as is the Cub Way, he got promoted to the starting rotation. Yes, both TrollDempster and SoriaNO spit the bit in the postseason both times, but SEVEN GODDAMN WALKS IN GAME ONE.
  4. Fans are dicks. SoriaNO has taken an absolute beating in Chicago from idiot sportswriters, idiot broadcasters, and idiot fans. His hitting has been booed mercilessly, even though he’s been good more often than he’s been bad. His defense has been slammed, even though he had a hose arm in 2007 that earned him 19 assists. And, oh, by the way, he hasn’t made an error this year, even though his knees are now made mostly of sandpaper. But he gets booed for not sprinting to first base on an infield fly because Bob Brenly wasn’t a good enough player to have the cred to not waste his legs on such nonsense. By all accounts, SoriaNO is a great clubhouse guy, and he took Starlin Castro under his wing when the young lad first came up. Yes, it’s annoying when SoriaNO turns the occasional double into a single. But that doesn’t happen anywhere near as often as you think it does, Dave Kaplan.
  5. He didn’t make a list. Last, and most importantly. SoriaNO didn’t give the Cubs a list of teams to which he would accept a trade. TrollDempster did. Then, the Theocracy arranged a trade to one of those listed teams. Then, TrollDempster pocket vetoed that trade, wasting everyone’s time and costing the Cubs a damn good young pitcher. Oh, and then he whined about his privacy for two weeks.

In conclusion, do what you want SoriaNO, and you’ll be safe from memes from this site, at least.

Oh, Nary!

Damn you, Smug Steve Stone!

At least that’s how I pronounce it. Theo Epstein’s Organizational Rehabilitation Project continued today with the firing of the Assistant to the Vice President of Player Personnel, Oneri Fleita. Whatever. Theo absolutely should be staffing the organization with his own guys, although he’s going to run out of friends soon if he keeps making them work for the Cubs. What I found interesting this morning, though, was connected to the braying jackass that is Bobby Valentine. Brace yourself for this tidbit, because it came from Barry Rozner’s useless gob.

When Theo was hired last year he commented to someone (Rozner wants us to assume it was him, but I think it’s safe to assume that Theo is far too important to talk to Rozner) that he would still be in Boston if Terry Francona hadn’t been fired. It’s hard to argue against anything Theo has done in Chicago to this point, so I’m considering it a stroke of good fortune that (1) Josh Beckett was a petulant little child, (2) John Lackey was fat, and (3) Carl Crawford woefully under-performed in 2011.

I guess I’m also thankful that the Red Sox hired Valentine instead of Dale Sveum. I don’t mind Sveum, and it’s fun watching Valentine self-destruct in Boston.

Now, to see if Brett Jackson can hit himself into contention for the 2012 strikeout king.

Trade of a Clown

That’s my time! You’ve been a great crowd!

If you haven’t heard yet, hip hip hooray! Ryan Dempster is taking his stand-up act, his divorce papers, his stupid glove flip, and, I suppose, his pitching to Texas. I couldn’t stand Dempster when he was bad. I couldn’t stand him when he got good. I couldn’t stand him when he was bad again, and I couldn’t stand him when he got good again.

Jim Hendry pulled Dempster off the injury scrap heap nearly a decade ago, and Dempster reveled in being a “Cubbie” guy and sucking up to the fanbase by being “hilarious.” Then, as you know, last week Dempster pocket vetoed a Braves trade, costing the Cubs a damn good pitcher. He was all up in arms, saying he didn’t technically reject the trade, and that he was “blindsided” that the Cubs would have the gall to TRADE THE HOTTEST PITCHER ON THE MARKET TO THE SECOND TEAM ON HIS LIST OF TEAMS HE’D LIKE TO BE TRADED TO. It’s my understanding that he REALLY pissed off the front office by torpedoing the trade. Theo is not dumb. He wouldn’t have wasted so much time with that trade if there wasn’t a pretty reasonable assumption that Dempster was okay with it. So, seriously, if you’re still defending Ryan Dempster, you’re a fuckwit.

Good riddance, to the Dane Cook of the Cubs.

With apologies to Smokey Robinson and all the Miracles

Now if there’s a frown on my face,
It’s only because you’re a fool in public.
‘Cuz when it comes down to losing you.
Now, buddy, that’s quite a happy subject.

But don’t let my sad expression,
Give you the wrong impression.
Really I’m glad, oh gladder than glad,
You’re gone, now I’m grinning so bad.
You’re a clown whose impressions are sad.

I have to give Theo a hand,
‘Cuz ain’t too much better than,
The trade of this clown.
On whose pitch Loney pounds.

Now when we got you back in oh-three.
I thought for sure you’d be just a hot mess.
Then, when you wormed your way in, I cried.
I knew that you’d make our rookies wear a dress.

But don’t let my show convince you.
Now I’m so happy since you decided to go.
Oh, I hate you so. You suck, and I want you to know.
That stupid glove flip needed to go.

Now be sad if you’re a Rangers fan,
‘Cuz ain’t too much worse than the jokes of this clown.
When a microphone’s around.

Just like your wife, Jenny did.
I had to keep my sadness hid.
You annoy the public eye.
And you cost us a good guy.
You fucking clown.
Your wife and Peavy pound.

Now be glad if you’re a Cubs fan,
‘Cuz ain’t too much worse than the jokes of this clown.
When a microphone’s around.

Troll Dempster

Idea and picture courtesy of Slak.

I was all geared up for a fitting sendoff to one of the most annoying Cubs since Kevin Millar farted his way around Spring Training that one year. But then TrollDempster, whose last great prank occurred during the 2008 NLDS, appeared. Dempster apparently was awakened from a nap to the SHOCKING news that the Cubs were trying to trade him. How this is news to him is staggering. Anyhow, I was hoping to report good news today, but instead I just have the internet’s 154th-newest meme: TrollDempster. Infinite hanks to Slak for this idea. Oh, and if you want to create your own TrollDempster, you can go here. Or tweet about him here.

Incidentally, apparently there’s a 24-hour moratorium on trades involving 10-and-5 guys, so hopefully he’s gone tomorrow.

Soler System

Soler saying there's a chance...

Did I beat everyone to that terrible pun? Because the Cubs are building a SYSTEM, and Jorge SOLER is now a big part of it! The Cubs won the bidding war for the 20-year-old Cuban right fielder today. He’ll sign after passing a physical.

Obviously, the Cubs are taking a risk with Soler. Sort of like every team that has ever signed a player has taken a risk. Yes, he might not pan out. But probably, he’ll be pretty damn good. And consider this. The Cubs are getting nine years of service from Soler for $30M. They would have received four years of service from Kosuke Fukudome for $48M if they’d kept him. Jim Hendry was such a boob.

Back to the Future 2‘s prediction of a Cubs World Series in 2015 is looking more and more prescient, but WHITHER DAVID DEJESUS???

Commit to Sucking Now

Does this team even HAVE a "blow" switch?

Is sixteen games into the season too early to take stock? Marlon Byrd and his .070 batting average are no longer Cubs. Ryan Dempster, the (shudder) longest-continuous-tenured Cub, and Kerry Wood, the longest-tenured Cub who everyone doesn’t hate are both shelved with injuries. Alfonso Soriano has eleven hits so far, and not a one of them went for extra bases. David DeJesus and Matt Garza are wondering just what the fuck they’re doing in Cubs uniforms. The best hitter on the team is Bryan LaHair. The recently-exonerated Starlin Castro is already setting pace to prove that, yes, he can actually hit. He’s third in the NL with 23 hits so far, he’s fifth in batting average at .365, and under the aggressive Dale Sveum, he’s already nabbed seven bases. He stole 22 all last year.

Whenever there is some actual, bona fide talent waiting in the Minor Leagues, the argument against bringing them to the Major Leagues is that they can’t be rushed. I absolutely hate that argument, but for now I’ll concede the point that these fully-grown men who have been under a microscope since they were twelve years old are so fragile that they will wilt under the MLB media and forget everything they’ve ever learned about baseball if they get off to a start as bad as, oh, say, Marlon Byrd’s. But what if there’s absolutely no rush at the Major League level?

This 2012 Cubs team is bad. They have a legitimate chance to be one of the worst Cub teams in my lifetime. Less than a tenth of the way into the season, and this team is already making my 76-86 prediction look hilarious. They are already SEVEN games behind the NL-Central-leading Cardinals. If the Cubs don’t lose a game for the rest of April, and the Cardinals don’t win a game for the rest of April, the Cubs will only tie them for first place. The odds of that happening are slim, as the Cubs have to play the Cardinals and Phillies in those seven games. What I’m saying is that there is absolutely no one in the Cub organization who reasonably thinks this team can compete this year. Even Ronnie Woo-Woo is thinking about scalping some of his free tickets and, oh, say, getting a fucking job and contributing something to society like actual human beings do.

So, if the expectations are literally and honestly zero from everyone in the Cub organization. If Theo’s Think TankTM will be transparent with the fans and admit that, yes, this is a total rebuilding of the clusterfuck of an organization that Jim Hendry left behind. If the fans would be willing to watch a couple of sub-.400 winning percentage seasons. If Soriano really is toast, Geovany Soto is bad again, LaHair isn’t worse in left field than Soriano is, and DeJesus is as pointless as a Phil Rogers column. Why CAN’T Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, and Welington Castillo play this year? No, not this year. I’m sure most of them will be playing this year. Like, right now.

We all know you’re committed to fixing this thing, Theo. Just admit that you’re committed to sucking until it’s fixed.

The 2012 Nut-Punch Ends in…FIVE MONTHS AND TEN DAYS? God dammit.

Today in Ryans I Hate: Theriot, Dempster

Those girls who say your Caray impression is funny are doing it ironically, Dempster.

With “Play Ball!” Day rapidly approaching, fluff pieces about bunting tournaments and Alfonso Soriano leading off are giving way to real news. Like Ryan Dempster getting another Opening Day start despite Matt Garza being a far better pitcher, comedian, and human being.

Here is Dempster doing his shtick where he acts all soft-spoken and speaks in baseball cliches. And then, just when he lulls the reporters into a sense of bland interview, that’s when he squirts them with a flower!

In other terrible Ryan news, 100% of the Cajun Connection is looking for a job. The San Francisco Giants are looking to unload both Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot before the end of this week. Otherwise, they’ll just cut them and only pay them 1/4 of their salary. The Cubs had better act fast to move Marlon Byrd to the Braves before they land the REAL prize pig in Theriot! Maybe they can even throw in Dempster’s fake vomit gag!