The Chicago Cubs: Just Terrible

Throughout the playoffs I had a hard time getting over the fact that the San Francisco Giants had over $40 million of their 2010 salary invested in Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria. The World Series champions invested 2/5 of their total payroll into Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria. Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria.

Even considering how great Renteria was in the World Series, is there any team in baseball that would consider these three players anything more than fringe guys? And they made superstar money last season in San Francisco.

Then after learning that Aramis Ramirez had indeed decided to exercise his $14.6 million option for the coming season (shocker), I decided to check out the top of the Cubs payroll for 2011.

Alfonso Soriano – $18 million
Carlos Zambrano – $17.875 million
Aramis Ramirez – $14.6 million
Kosuke Fukudome – $13.5 million

Yikes. Jim Hendry recently warned Cubs fans that he would not be seeking any big name free agents this offseason, but would consider names like Kerry Wood and Nick Johnson.  I guess we know why.

Looking at some of the wastes of dollars around the league, I’m curious as to why a GM would even bother with free agents.  Ever.  With the current system in place in MLB of undervaluing young talent by granting teams years of control at league minimum costs and salary arbitration, it makes no sense to invest long term in options that are almost all guaranteed to decline from the value at which they’re being initially purchased.

Comments (7)

  1. So I guess we can expect that Aaron Hill’s options won’t be picked up?

  2. I’ll still take any of the Cubs hyper inflated contracts over Vernon Wells.

  3. Hey Josh, just curious if you might in fact be retarded. You would trade Wells at 20M and 4.0 WAR for those 4 guys at almost 64M and 5.2 WAR total.
    I understand people get upset at Vernon’s contract but fuck give your head a shake.

  4. Josh that is a really stupid statement. Go to:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/year/2010/seasontype/2

    and sort by CF with atleast 200-300 PA and see where Wells ranks in terms of production. In case you are lazy, he is one of the best offensive producing CF in the MLB. Admittedly, he is average in AVG and OBP, but he is 1 and 2 respectively in SLG and OBP. His defense is a little below average, but it has improved a lot over the last two years.

    Admittedly he is over paid. I would rather have an over paid CF with Wells’ production than a player being payed ‘the correct amount’ and having average CF production. That’s just me though.

  5. “it makes no sense to invest long term in options that are almost all guaranteed to decline from the value at which they’re being initially purchased”

    Right, but a sure to decline free agent may still present itself as more of a reliable commodity than a young, cost-controlled rookie. Especially if you’re in the NL Central/West where you CAN turn a team around in 2 seasons without all cylinders firing. (Unlike the AL East where the stars basically need to align).

    I also think teams that make these deals are OK with only getting 2 years of legitimate production out of 5, as long as they can make the playoffs in this small window and maybe get a dozen gate openings/playoff tv shares/merchandise boosts from being in the post-season.

  6. I’m being a little facetious there when I say no free agents ever. I’m sure that it can make sense to fill a hole in an otherwise competitive lineup. But I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say that an FA is a more reliable commodity. If a team were to match their development and scouting budget with what they’d spend on a free agent, then we’d see which was the more reliable outcome.

  7. Everyone seems to beat on Wells because of his contract after one bad year, he deserved that contract for the way he played. Sure he had a bad season, but he bounced back, Id rather have wells producing those #’s and his $ then Soriano not producing at his $

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