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SammyStock 2004! Day Four

Monday, December 20, 2004

Hey Hey, Cubs Fans! Welcome to SammyStock 2004! Where legitimacy isn't the concern... its just rumors, free, casual rumors, with whoever happens to be in the majors.

We've got a lot of great suitors out there, so lets get Rumor mongering! Yeah!

Lets Give it up for...

... The Rockies

There may be no other team in baseball which Sammy would like to be traded to more than the Rockies. The thought of playing 81 games a year at Coors field probably gives Sammy the shivers.

Over the past three years, Sammy has hit .378 with a .425 OBP while visiting Coors. His slugging percentage is a ridiculous .865, and his OPS is 1.290. He has hit five home runs in his last 37 at-bats in Denver. If that is too small of a sample size for you, his career numbers aren't that much different.

In 186 career at-bats at Coors, Sammy is averaging .349 with a .425 OBP, a .758 SLG, and a 1.183 OPS. Sammy just loves Colorado, when you add in Sammy's 53 at-bats at Mile-High, he has hit 25 home runs in 239 AB (9.56 AB/HR, its 8.86 AB/HR in Coors).

OK, to recap, Sammy likes Coors, the Cubs don't like Sammy, so it sounds like we've got a pretty good fit. Who? Todd Helton, thats who.

Although the talent is not exactly a match, Helton is still in his prime while Sosa appears well through his, Helton's larger than enormous contract gives the Rockies plenty of reasons to send him on his way. The payment schedule?

  • 2005: $12.6 million
  • 2006: $16.6 million
  • 2007: $16.6 million
  • 2008: $16.6 million
  • 2009: $16.6 million
  • 2010: $16.6 million
  • 2011: $19.1 million
  • 2012: $4.6 million buyout, or $23 million
  • Total: $119.3 million guaranteed.

If Sammy gets traded, his contract ensures him payouts of...

  • 2005: $17 million
  • 2006: $18 million
  • Severance Package of: $3.5 million
  • Total: $38.5 million

If the Cubs don't trade him the 2006 year becomes an option of $4.5 million or the $18 million. As far as I can tell, Sammy gets the $3.5 no matter what. So, if the Cubs hold on to him, they owe him a total of $25 million, and Sammy doesn't get $13.5 million.

So, with all the numbers on the table, the deal should be this. I believe if Helton were on the market today, he would get a six year deal at $13 million per year, or $78 million. Sammy would probably earn about $9 million for the next two years, meaning the Rockies are bringing $41.3 million of excess salary to the table, while the Cubs have $20.5 million in excess salary.

The Cash flows should look like this...

  • 2005: Cubs pay Rockies $.4 M + $8 M = $8.4 million.
  • 2006: Cubs pay Rockies -$3.3 M + $9 M + $3.5 M = $9.2 million.
  • 2007: Rockies pay Cubs $3.3 M
  • 2008: Rockies pay Cubs $3.3 M
  • 2009: Rockies pay Cubs $3.3 M
  • 2010: Rockies pay Cubs $3.3 M
  • 2011: Rockies pay Cubs $9.55 M
  • 2012: Rockies pay Cubs $4.6 M
  • Total: Rockies pay Cubs $9.55 M.

This effectively leaves the team that signed the player to the bad contract to pay the excess salary the player is owed, while the team getting the player pays the player what they would be worth on the market today. In other words, the Rockies would pay Sammy $18 million over the next two years (his fair market value) and the Cubs would cover the rest ($20.5 million.) For Helton, because his deal runs longer than he would get on the market today, the Rockies pay the excess value of the contract for the first six years, and then split the seventh year equally with the Cubs.

Now, I realize that this deal would take the Cubs out of the running for Beltran, but frankly, I'd rather have Helton.

Comparison of Todd Helton (Away) with Carlos Beltran
Todd Helton (Away) .298.394.526.92020.636.5
Carlos Beltran.284.353.490.84423.75.4

Both are obviously fantastic hitters, but I would clearly select Helton. Although he has a few extra years in his prime to help his numbers, all those statistics are on the road, and most players hit better at home, even if home is not Coors field.

So the deal? Sosa for Helton as described above, which has the tradeoffs of not getting Beltran, but also not having to deal with Scott Boras. I'd take the deal in a second... if it were offered.

... The Diamondbacks

The deal that sends Sammy to the D-Backs is there for the taking. Its a three way deal with the Yanks, and Diamondbacks, and it occurs as soon as Shawn Green invokes his no-trade clause. Sammy goes to the Diamondbacks. They send "The Big-Unit" to the Yankees. The Yanks then send Javier Vasquez to the Cubs with a sack of cash. Vasquez will earn $10.5, $11.5, and $12.5 million in '05, '06, and '07 respectively. So the Cubs would probably want at least $5 million for taking Vasquez.

... The Giants

Brian Sabean wants desperately to win a World Series with Barry Bonds. He loves the old, washed up, over-paid, veterans... and having Sammy hit behind Barry might just get them over the top.

However, the problem is that the Giants are trying to win now, just like the Cubs and neither team is looking to part ways with quality veterans who can help a team win now. Still, this is Sammy we are talking about, Sammy Sosa! So, the deal is this: Sammy, Kyle Farnsworth, and Mark Prior to the Giants in return for Jason Schmidt, Matt Herges, and a Per Diem for Wendell Kim to drive Dusty's dog across country to Chicago. Oh, and a little of that flax-seed cream you have out there... Dude, that stuff really works.

... The Dodgers

Sammy for Shawn green when Green decides he doesn't want to play for the D-Backs.

Sorry for the cop-out on those last few teams. I get off work in 10 minutes, and drive home after that. I may update in a day or so when I come up with when my sources get back to me.

OK, thats the NL West. Day Four, whenever it happens, will cover Jim Hendry's talks with the NL Central teams.

SammyStock 2004! Day One - AL West.
SammyStock 2004! Day Two - AL Central.
SammyStock 2004! Day Three - AL East.

Posted by Byron at 1:39 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

SammyStock 2004! Day Three

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Hey Hey, Cubs Fans! Welcome to SammyStock 2004! Where legitimacy isn't the concern... its just rumors, free, casual rumors, with whoever happens to be in the majors.

We've got a lot of great suitors out there, so lets get Rumor mongering! Yeah!

Lets Give it up for...

... The Devil Rays

What would possess the Devil Rays to desire Sammy Sosa? You know, the Devil Rays with their $28 million dollar payroll? Well, I'll tell you: 35.5%, 29.1%, 28.9%, 36.6%. Those four numbers are the Devil Rays attendance as a percent of capacity from 2001 - 2004. Following a fairly steep decline, the club learned that a team breaking .500 might attract a few fans.

So, with the lure of Sammy possibly surpassing 600 dongs this season, he needs 26, the Rays might be willing to take on a few dollars for some extra paying customers.

Some other factors that give this deal a chance are the following: Sammy has a home in Miami. Yahoo! Maps says that 1 Tropicana Dr. St. Petersburg Fl, 33705 is approximately 264.1 miles from 'Miami, Fl.' Yahoo! also tells me this would take 4 hours and 29 minutes to drive, but I've seen Sammy's car, and I'll bet he could do it in about three hours.

I'm not suggesting Sammy would commute, but it might be nice to be close to his home. Also, the Devil Rays play their spring games in the state of Florida.

At the very least, it would make Sammy's tax filing a little easier. At the most, it could save him a few bucks. (Florida not having an income tax and all. Illinois has a 3% income tax, but I don't have any idea how much of Sam's income is taxable by the state of Illinois.)

Of course, the Devil Rays might also be interested in a big name player who will bring a few extra SportsCenter highlights, and may also be a drawing card for the large immigrant population in the state.

All in all, The Devil Rays and Sammy have some excellent reasons to pair up (You don't think Sammy would be the star of that team?). So who's coming to Chicago? Thats a pretty tricky question. I think the one name that is obvious would be Danys Baez. Not only does Baez earn over $1 million (one of seven D-Rays with that distinction in 2004, $1.75 M to be exact), but Baez is also a closer. Or, at least he has 55 saves the last two seasons, while posting a sub 4.00 era both years. Although he blew 10 in 2003 with the Indians, he cut that number to 3 last year while pitching for sweet Lou.

Now if the Devil Rays were to pay all of Sammy's salary, this would be a fair deal, but this is the Devil Rays we are talking about here, so the Cubs will have to pony up at least $7-$10 million. In return, they will ask for Carl Crawford, who fits everything the Cubs think they need.

Crawford is a very fast left fielder who hits lead-off with a little pop (11 dingers in '04). His OBP isn't too high, and most of that is from his average. He is a career .286 hitter with a .315 OBP, but looks to be on an upward career path. His '04 numbers included a .296 Avg, a .331 OBP, a .450 SLG, 81 strikeouts, and only 35 bases-clogging walks! The Cubs scouts have got to be licking their chops over this guy!

So the deal, when everything closes up will be Sammy and $8.5 million to the Devil Rays for Danny Baez and Carl Crawford.

... The Orioles

The Orioles are looking for more offense, and Sammy Sosa could be the one to start taking shots at the B&O warehouse in Baltimore. The dimensions down the line are 333 to left, and 318 to right. The power alleys are 364 in left center, and 373 to right center. So yes, small Sammy would probably have plenty of success playing in Camden Yards.

In a trade for Sammy, the Orioles would probably look to unload Sidney Ponson. From what I can ascertain, it looks like Ponson has two years and $19.5 million left on his contract. Provided Sammy nixes the 2006 option on his contract, this might be a straight up deal. However, the Cubs are likely to look for a little something more, and so I might suggest Larry Bigbie. Not only is his hometown, Hobart, Indiana, 25 minutes from my permahome, and an hour from Wrigley, Bigbie is a developing left fielder (15 homers) with a .280 Avg (.340 OBP) and lots of strikeouts (113 in 478 at-bats, 4.23 AB/K). In many ways, I think Bigbie could be the second coming of the 'Dandy Little Glove Man' Mickey Morandini himself!

... The Blue Jays

J.P. Riccardi, the Jays GM is one of the 'new school' GM's from the Billy Beane school of thought. So, why he would be interested in Sosa is a good question. However, the team recently purchased the SkyDome and now has an even better incentive to draw a few more fans. They will also be losing Carlos Delgado and his $19.7 million salary, so they have some payroll flexibility.

As for players to send to the Cubs, the Blue Jays are rather thin. They don't really have a closer, although both Jason Frasor and Vinnie Chaulk had at least 13 saves last season. However, both of these guys are young, cheap, and haven't attained any kind of status as a closer, so I doubt the Cubs are interested.

As for overpaid players, aside from Delgado, who is now gone, Riccardi has followed Beane's example and kept the big contracts to a minimum. Roy Halladay got $6 million in 2004, but I'm not completely crazy, so we won't be getting him. I guess that leaves the Cubs with Miguel Batista ($3.6 million in 2004) and his 4.80 ERA while posting a 10-13 record. So, my guess is any trade with the Jays would include some moneyball type prospects, Sammy, and the Cubs would get Miguel Batista. I don't think any cash would switch hands in this deal.

... The Red Sox

Um, Matt Clement felt really bad about smashing Sammy's boom box on the last day of the season. Immediately upon arriving in Boston, he asked Theo Epstein if he could show him how to use the clubhouse phone. So Theo placed the call and the Cubs switchboard operator mistakenly routed the call to Jim Hendry's cell phone, rather than Sammy's 30-30 shopping mall in the Dominican. When Epstein realized he was talking to Hendry, they started chatting about the Nomar trade. Epstein mentioned that it sure was a good thing he upgraded his defense, and Hendry saw an opening.

Manny Ramirez, and cash will come to the Cubs, while Sammy will be sent to the BoSox as a defensive upgrade for Ramirez. Matt Murton, the minor leaguer who came over with Nomar, will also be returned to Red Sox Nation.

... The Yankees

Fearing his third string DH position is weak, George Steinbrenner orders Brian Cashman to go find one. As he walks out the door, Steinbrenner mutters something about how important a third string DH is, and so Cashman decides to shoot the moon. He calls up Jim Hendry, informs him that "Mr. Steinbrenner would like that home run hitter you have", and offers Hendry his pick of the remains of the Yankee farm system.

Hendry politely declines and asks for Kevin Brown and $10 million in cash. Cashman quickly replies, "But if I give you Brown, then I can't pay my fifth starter at least $10 million."

Realizing Cashman's bind, Hendry places a conference call getting John Schuerholz on the line, with Billy Beane and says, "OK guys, here is the deal. Billy, you can take anything you want from the Yankees farm system. John, you get Barry Zito, Brian you get Sammy Sosa and Mike Hampton. Billy, you are going to give us Charles Thomas, Schuerholz, you will give us Danny Kolb. Cashman, you need to give Billy $15 million and a copy of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King extended edition DVD.

Cashman: "That sounds good to me."
Schuerholz: "Thats another 4 division titles."
Beane: "Could we get some popcorn to go with the DVD?"

OK, thats the AL East. Day Four, whenever it happens, will cover Jim Hendry's talks with the NL West teams.
SammyStock 2004! Day One - AL West.
SammyStock 2004! Day Two - AL Central.

Posted by Byron at 3:13 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

SammyStock 2004! Day Two

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Evidently, time is a relative thing at SammyStock 2004! Two final exams in one day can do that to a busy rumormonger.

Hey Hey, Cubs Fans! Welcome to SammyStock 2004! Where legitimacy isn't the concern... its just rumors, free, casual rumors, with whoever happens to be in the majors.

We've got a lot of great suitors out there, so lets get Rumor mongering! Yeah!

Lets Give it up for...

... The Twins

Trading Sammy to the Twins would be a little tricky as his 2005 salary will be about 35% of the Twins payroll, and they don't have any really really ridiculously goodlook... over paid players. However, Jim Hendry's creativity knows no bounds: so here is the scoop. It will be a three team deal. The Twins will send Johan Santana and Joe Nathan to the White Sox. Mayor Daley will get the Chicago City Council to approve public financing for a new stadium in Minnesota, and Carl Pohlad will agree to take on Sammy and Neifi Perez. In return, the Cubs will be rid of Sosa as well as receiving Augie Ojeda back. With the extra money, the Cubs will then promise both the Twins and the White Sox to sign Beltran, keeping him away from the Yankees and out of the American League. The Cubs have promised to bench Beltran during any inter-league games. The deal is being held up over Mayor Daley's insistence on another 'inspection' of Wrigley Field.

... The Indians

If Hendry decides to send send Sammy to the Indians, Cubs fans can look forward to Bob Wickman as their closer for the year. After acquiring Arthur Rhodes today, the Indians now have two players who could legitimately be called closers. However, since Wickman has a $6 million contract, to Rhodes $1.8 million, the Cubs get Wickman. My 'sources' also indicate that Kyle Farnsworth may be thrown in to even things out.

... The Tigers

Supposedly, Jim has been spending a fair amount of time talking to the Tiger's GM Dave Dombrowski, his former boss, when they both worked for the Marlins. Hendry is ready to send Sosa to the Tigers in return for Ugueth Urbina, Bobby Higginson (8.5 M), Fernando Vina, and 20 sausage Pizza-Pizzas for the office party the Cubs are planning once they get rid of Sammy.

... The Royals

The Cubs are considering Sosa and Derrek Lee to the Royals in return for Mike Sweeney and his monster contract. The deal is reportedly being held up by the Cubs insistence on receiving left handed 'Rod Beck twin' Matt Stairs as a deal sweetener.

... The White Sox

Kenny Williams, in his infinite wisdom and fine baseball judgement, has decided that the Sox need a big bat to replace the departed Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez... and Sammy Sosa is his man! So he is putting together a monster deal to ensure he gets his guy. For starters, he is offering Cubs Convention appearances by George Bell and Ken Patterson. He has offered to return both Jon Garland and the rights to Ron Santo. He will also throw in 19 Ozzie Guillen Sub sandwiches, and 1 Dusty Baker selection for the Cubs office party. Realizing that he is negotiating with 'hard bargain' Williams, Hendry is also asking for the White Sox ownership interest in Comcast Sports Chicago. At this point, my sources indicate Williams must ask the chairman, but it looks like Sammy could be a 'South-Side hit man' before New Years.

OK, thats the AL Central. Day Three, whenever it happens, will cover Jim Hendry's talks with the AL East teams.

SammyStock 2004! Day One - AL West.

Posted by Byron at 11:34 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

SammyStock 2004! Day One

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hey Hey, Cubs Fans! Welcome to SammyStock 2004! Where legitimacy isn't the concern... its just rumors, free, casual rumors, with whoever happens to be in the majors.

We've got a lot of great suitors out there, so lets get Rumor mongering! Yeah!

Lets give it up for...

...The Mariners

The Cubs would package The Farns with Sammy in return for 42 year old Jamie Moyer. He of the 7-13 record with a 5.21 ERA, making $7 million last year. The Cubs would also receive Raul Ibanez and his .353 OBP and 16 home runs in 123 games last year. The Cubs would then have the option of giving the Mariners about $5 million in cash, or taking Bret Boone and his .317 OBP, .423 SLG, and $8 million salary.

... The Athletics

Dealing with Billy Beane could be a little tricky, so the Cubs would ship Sammy and Carlos Zambrano, and $15 million, to the A's for Tim Hudson, and Mark Kotsay ($6.5 million in '04, with an .829 OPS.) The Cubs may need to throw in a top pitching prospect as well.

... The Rangers

Sammy, Derrek Lee, and $5 million for Chan Ho Park, and Alfonso Soriano. Park is coming off a year in which he earned $13.9 million while compiling a 4-7 record with a 5.46 ERA, while Soriano is toting a $7.4 million salary with one more year of arbitration. He had an .807 OPS last season with 28 dingers, 18 steals, and a .324 OBP.

... The Angels

The Angels have informed the Cubs they will take Sammy if the Cubs will write a check for $36 million. The Angels would also like a throw-in, such as Trenidad Hubbard.

Thats the AL West. Day Two will cover the AL Central.

Posted by Byron at 12:58 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

break forth ye rushing waters

Friday, December 10, 2004

When I was growing up, we had an old gas stove. Sometimes you would turn it on, and the burner wouldn't catch for a few seconds. All of a sudden, the gas fumes would mosey past the pilot light and... poof. A ball of exploding gas.

I give you the 2004 hot (gas) stove.

Following the Garciaparra signing, Todd Walker and ex-twin backup catcher Henry Blanco were brought on board for the Cubs Tuesday night. Also, the Cubs offered arbitration to Matt Clement and Todd Hollandsworth.

With the arbitration deadline out of the way, teams started signing free-agents willy-nilly:

Now that the winter meetings are starting in Anaheim, Jim Hendry went out of his way to tell the media that he won't be shopping Sosa.

This may just be Hendry's normal method of lowering expectations, or he may have come to the same conclusion I reached a while ago.

You aren't going to get even close to fair value in a trade for Sosa, so unless you are simply unloading him for a bag of sunflower seeds, keeping Sammy around for the final year of his contract is the right move.

So, when you are getting impatient, Just Remember:

Larry Himes made moves to make moves.
Ed Lynch made moves to make moves.
Jim Hendry makes moves to reach a goal.

Posted by Byron at 9:47 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!


Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Al Yellon reports: "The Cubs signed Nomar Garciaparra to a one-year contract today, reported by Bruce Levine of ESPN Radio to be for $8 million with $3 million in incentives."

Update: 6:21 p.m. EST: Cubs.com has a press release.

Update: 10:08 p.m. EST: The Cubs also got a deal done with Todd Walker, returning a heckuva strong offensive infield. I am very happy, and both deals are quite reasonable. Nomar is in at a guaranteed $8 with up to $3 in incentives. Walker is back for the Mark Grudzielanek special of $2.5 M, with options for 2006 at either $2.5 or $2.75 M depending on his performance. (ChicagoSports.com has an article).

Posted by Byron at 6:05 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

A $19,000,040 mistake

Denny Neagle... tisk, tisk, tisk.

It seems the Rockies overpaid lefty got himself in quite a pickle the other night when he made what appears to be a $19,000,040 mistake. You see, Denny got pulled over for speeding, and an inquisitive officer of the law ascertained that Mr. Neagle's female companion had been paid $40 for a service that is prohibited by Colorado state law.

I am only writing about this because the consequences of Neagle's actions may have a tremendous impact on the game of baseball, maybe even more signficant than the steroid story.

You see, aside from spending $40 on something he should not have, Denny stands to lose $19,000,000 in wages if his employer, the Colorado Rockies have their way.

Excerpt From: "Union wants to 'discuss' Rockies decision"
By: The Associated Press, ESPN.com, Mon. Dec 6, 2004

The Rockies terminated the oft-injured pitcher's contract Monday, three days after he was cited for solicitation.

"This decision is about an organization and the fans that support it," Rockies chairman Charles Monfort said. "Denny's pattern of behavior has not been consistent with what our organization represents."


Colorado cited section 7 (b) (1) of the Uniform Player Contract, which states the team can terminate the contract if a player shall "fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition."

I guarantee you the players association will fight this with all their strength, because the precedent could permit owners to get out of contractual 'mistakes' whenever a player does something boneheaded.

Example? The Yankees could decide to void Kevin Brown's contract after he punches a wall breaking his hand. After all, that is not very Sportsmanlike. (Trust me, my parents made me write essays on sportsmanship when I was in 4th grade because I got angry with my teacher for changing the rules of a game on 'grandparents' day.)

How about the Farns? Kicking that fan (the wind generating kind) wasn't so sportsmanly. Then of course there was Frankie Francisco of the Rangers who broke a fan's (the paying, cheering, and jeering kind) nose in Oakland this year, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Now if you are like me, you are saying... 'hey these are times when guys deserve to have their contracts voided, why are you defending them?' I'm not. I think baseball players should deal with the economics of life the way most of us do. If you lose your head at work and hit the customer over the head with A folding chair, you'd probably get fired, and never see another penny. The same should hold true in baseball.

However, only in rare instances have teams been able to void a player's contract, even if the player did something stupid. But, with the voiding of Aaron Boone's contract for playing basketball last off-season (and getting injured), and now the Rockies moving to cut ties with Neagle, it looks like Pandora's box is opening. Of course, George Steinbrenner of the Yankees is jumping on the bandwagon and looking to void Jason Giambi's contract after he admitted to using steroids.

For the owners, any step toward a system like football where contracts are much less guaranteed than they are currently in baseball, is a good step. If the owners have their way this offseason, the winter of 2004-2005 may be remembered more for the blow the player's association took, than the steroid scandal.

Posted by Byron at 5:52 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Rather Random Remarks

Monday, December 6, 2004

Its Monday, its December, and its raining, and I wish I was laying on a beach somewhere warm. SoCal would work... think my brother would get ticked if I went to visit 'him' at USC? (Hi Myles, I know you read this). Anyhow, its gray and overcast, and I am pretty grumpy.

So that leads in quite well to today's rather random remarks.

I found a new blog that I like and that I think fans of this blog would like. Its called The Sports Economist and it covers a lot of the kinds of things I like to talk about here. He's got a discussion about the New England Patriots owner who is eyeing an English soccer team, and another about the effects of building stadiums in downtown Cleveland. Sure, he's often off the Cubs/baseball topic, but most of his posts hit on Sports Business... a subject which you might understand, fascinates me.

On ESPN.com, I ran across a story by the AP saying that the city of New York believes the Yankees owe the city another $3.59 million in taxes following an audit of the team for the years 2001-2002. See, its not just Chicago who likes to ask their teams for more money when they need it.

Last week, MLB voted to allow the Expos to move to Washington D.C. Of course, Peter Angelos of the Orioles voted against the move, and I agree with him. With the Nationals in the National League, Angelos gets three games a year to work up a rivalry. Of course, if the Nationals and the Devil Rays were to switch leagues, it would solve a number of problems for MLB.

Also, the owners made the move contingent upon a new stadium being built in Washington D.C. which the city council approved, but capped at $630 million. Geez! Its just a ballpark isn't it? According to BallParksofBaseball.com SBC (Pac-Bell) Park only cost $255 million. I would say Pac-Bell turned out well. Anyhow, this situation in Washington is just another example of why I don't like public financing for ballparks. Are there any publicly financed ball parks that are excellent? (I should find out about PNC). Uninformed Opinion: Publicly financed parks come out worse and cost much more than their private brothers.

And finally, Bud Selig's bid to sell the Brewers hit a snag last month, but you can expect it will go through eventually.

Lastly, the next two weeks are going to be busy for the Cubs, and for me. I have projects due, and final exams to take... so things might get a little slow around here.

P.S. I'm sure you have already read it, but if you haven't, you MUST go read Derek Smart's (at The Cub Reporter) Assuming the Position: Third Base. It is excellent.

Posted by Byron at 2:42 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!


Saturday, December 4, 2004

Posted by Byron at 4:00 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

The Search for Revenue

Friday, December 3, 2004

For the un-initiated fan, you may be asking yourself why the Tribune company is always searching for new revenue streams. To this I reply: The Cubs must keep up with the Joneses to remain a viable franchise. Player salaries tend to keep pace with revenue growth, leaving a fairly constant profit margin for the teams who can grow revenue at the league average.

So, the Cubs must keep increasing their revenues to stay ahead of the league average, thus preserving their profitability and franchise value. Also, they must keep up their revenue growth so that they can continue to field competitive teams... enabling them to grow their revenues.

In the last weeks, the Cubs have made three public moves to increase revenues. They increased ticket prices, and announced that they will be adding a rotating advertisement board behind home plate. They have also announced a desire to begin hosting concerts.

Excerpt from: Cubs have bit more in mind than just baseball
By: Gary Washburn, Chicago Tribune Dec. 1, 2004

The Cubs are exploring the possibility of hosting a concert at Wrigley Field for two days over next year's Labor Day weekend, officials said Tuesday.

Team executives have broached the subject with Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th) and, though no artists have been signed, they have floated the name of musician Jimmy Buffett as a possible choice.

"If the Cubs are not in town, Labor Day weekend is normally a quiet weekend" in the Wrigley area, Tunney said. "On the positive side, there would be some economic [benefits] to the community. On the negative side, quality of life issues would be compromised."

Any accord would have to include "significant give-backs to the community," Tunney said.

As part of any agreement, some of the proceeds from the concerts could go to local schools or parks, sources said.

"If we did anything, and it's a big `if,' there are a lot of questions we need to answer first," said Michael Lufrano, Cubs vice president of community affairs. "We would need to make sure we did it in cooperation with our community. We would need to make sure we did it in a way that doesn't harm the field for baseball."


Gregg Kiriazes, chairman of the Neighborhood Protections Committee of the Lake View Citizens Council, said he has an open mind about limited use of Wrigley for concerts as long as community concerns about crowd and congestion control and other potential problems are addressed.

A concert next year would set a precedent, Kiriazes said. "Any of us would be foolish to say it doesn't. [But] it is a great venue, a great neighborhood and it's a natural. I am surprised something like this hasn't come up before."


On another front, Cubs officials are studying the possible use of trolleys or shuttle buses to help reduce congestion on game days, Tunney and Lufrano said.

Under consideration is possible service between a nearby Metra station and the ballpark and between Michigan Avenue-area hotels and Wrigley.

You think the trolley's gonna be free? Yeah, Sure. Now, it looks like the Cubs are gonna tick off cab drivers.

Excerpt from: Cubs propose placing ads behind home plate
By: Gary Washburn, Chicago Tribune Nov. 29, 2004

The Cubs would install an electronic advertising sign behind home plate at Wrigley Field and add 32 seats to a temporary seating area that would become permanent under a proposal that will be considered by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, officials said Monday.

The 10-by-3-foot sign would be in the frame of the typical television camera shot that takes in the pitcher, catcher and batter.

A total of 80 permanent seats would be installed in an area adjacent to the dugout on the right field side of the park where there have been 48 folding chairs, said Peter Scales, a spokesman for the city's Planning Department. A chain-link fence around the area would be replaced by a brick wall, he said.

"These plans balance the historic preservation of the park with the operating needs of the Chicago Cubs," Scales said. "Therefore, the Planning Department is recommending that the Landmarks Commission approve it."

Because the ballpark is an official city landmark, all proposed changes must undergo commission review. Wrigley Field and the Cubs are owned by Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune.

The sign would produce $3 million to $5 million in ad revenues annually. For at least the 2005 season, team officials won't accept any advertising for tobacco products or hard liquor, said Michael Lufrano, Cubs vice president of community affairs.

Between the concert and the ad board, the Cubs could recognize probably about $6 million in revenues.

If the Cubs add 80 seats to Wrigley, the new seating capacity would be 39,638 (it is currently 39,558, but this number does not include the 48 folding chairs.)

Assuming the Cubs charge the same price for the new seats as the 213 dugout seats they added last year, the Cubs would have an extra $1,104,000 in revenue from ticket sales.

  • 6 value dates x 80 seats x $50/seat = $24,000
  • 35 regular dates x 80 seats x $100/seat = $280,000
  • 40 prime dates x 80 seats x $250/seat = $800,000

$6 million from concerts & ad-board + $1.1 million from new seats + $2 million from XM radio contract + $3.5 million from expected gain on sale of expos = $12.6 million in new revenues.

In other news, the Astros started the Carlos Beltran bidding at $13.5 million per year... only $.9 million to go.

Moreover, the Cubs ticket sale revenue was about $90 million last year. They raised ticket prices 17.5%, so thats another $15.75 million.

So, please do not tell me that we cannot afford Carlos Beltran. We can. The question is, how bad do we want him?

Posted by Byron at 1:25 AM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

For the Record...

Thursday, December 2, 2004

I wrote at length about how I wanted the Cubs to sign Dave O'Brien as their play-by-play man, but failed to say anything when the Cubs hired Len Kasper last week. One of the reasons I didn't write anything is that I don't think I have ever heard Kasper call a game. I am going to enter the season with an open mind on the whole situation, and try to remember that Chip Caray wasn't all that good, so if Kasper makes some rookie mistakes, I won't start harping about the 'good ole days' of Chip and Stoney.

The Cubs signed Neifi Perez. It was a horrible decision as far as I am concerned.

The Cubs signed Glendon Rusch to a 2 year $5 million contract. I doubt that we'll be as pleased with Rusch in the next two years as we were this year, but a winning team needs someone to take the role that Rusch pitched in this past year. I am opposed to Rusch being the fifth starter, but would like to see another lefty starter if the Cubs don't bring back Clement.

I was inspecting my site statistics the other day and found a new blog that has linked to me, called Baseball News Blog it looks like its updated pretty frequently, but doesn't have a lot of original material. On the other hand, its a good starting point to find some interesting blogs for other teams. Also, I am now officially jealous of the 'random blog' button and will probably be asking if I can copy the code.

Posted by Byron at 11:48 PM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

Mergers and Acquisitions

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

For readers of the various 'Cubs Blog Army' sites this winter, there has been more activity among the writers than for the Cubs. Most notably Derek Smart moved from 'The Big Red C' to The Cub Reporter. In our little cottage industry, thats about on par with a hypothetical Coca-Cola/Pepsi merger... frankly I'm wondering why the SEC wasn't out here enforcing anti-trust laws :)

In another acquisition, Transplanted Cubs Fan was acquired by the Most Valuable Network. We have also had a few retirements, such as Brian Gunn from Red-Bird Nation. Although he wasn't an official member of the CBA, he was a tremendous help to me. At one point in October, Brian's site sent me more traffic than TCR... and I'm not exactly a Cardinals blog... that goes to show you the kind of traffic and influence Brian had... and rightly so, his posts were excellent.

Well, TheCubdom.com has its own M&A news to announce as well. Starting today, I have begun posting on "The Goat Riders of the Apocalypse." I am not leaving TheCubdom I am just adding some extra work on the side.

Joining me at goatriders.org will be Kurt Evans of "Cub Fan Nation," Bill Kelly of "Rooftop Report," and Rob Letterly formerly of "The Uncouth Sloth."

To my knowledge, Rob is the only one leaving his current blog, and that decision was made before he came on board for goat riders.

A brief history: On October 15, Kurt posted his idea for the Goat Riders on his site. I read the idea and really liked it, and told him I was in. We kicked around some names for people within the Cubs Blog Army we wanted to join us... and a month later the final roster was set.

After some discussion, we chose a URL: http://www.goatriders.org, and figured out the hosting packages. The design was drawn up by yours truly... and we are set to work. I for one am pretty excited about this great opportunity.

A Mission Statement: We don't have anything too formal, but the main goal is to provide thoughtful, impassioned, and funny insights and analysis of the Cubs. We are by no means the second coming of baseball prospectus... but we've all read Moneyball... and taken the Sabermetric principals to heart.

A Methodology for Byron: A significant amount of thought on my behalf has gone into deciding what 'my voice' will be on each blog. Lots has been written about writers developing 'their own voice,' and I pretty much think thats hogwash (then again... I'm hardly a writer.) So, anyhow, I have analyzed my previous posts and they fall roughly into four categories.

  • Baseball Business research, news, and analysis.
  • Statistical analysis, conventional, and unconventional.
  • Journalizing... posts which essentially mirror the news of the day.
  • Mindless Drivel

My new plan is to keep the Business and Mindless Drivel pieces here at TheCubdom, and sprinkle in some journalizing (the win/loss flags are staying.) Then, I will try to keep most of my posts at Goat Riders as the Statistical analysis pieces, with the requisite journalizing that will need to be written.

Well, thats pretty much what I have to say for now. I just wanted to get in a good plug for "The Goat Riders of the Apocalypse," and to let you know what I am doing.

Briefly in site news: TheCubdom.com is nearly at the 10,000 visit mark since it began in March! Wow and Thanks!

Posted by Byron at 7:05 AM | Bookmark and Share | | BallHype: hype it up!

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