Trades

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SCURRY ACROSS THE FLOOR, BE CAREFUL. IT COULD BE DEXTER FOWLER.

· Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , , ,

TURNCOAT-#5

A snake. A rat. A cockroach. And anything that one might find growing in the dank corners of a gas station bathroom. These are things that should hold a higher place among men than the one, the only — the ever-lovin’ lulu of dastardly, scum-sucking, hemorrhoid-inducing jack wagons — the traitor. In this case, Dexter Fowler.

That’s right, snowballs, this morning the St. Louis Cardinals (the devil’s agents among the living) announced that they’d inked a deal with our former leadoff hitter to the tune of $82.5 million for 5 years. Chaaaaaaaaaaaa-ching. The guy is gettin’ a gargantuan payday. Does he deserve it? Well, let’s see … Did he cure cancer? Did he stop the climate from changin’? Did he bring me that human ice cream cone, Scarlett Johansson? No, no and, sadly, no. But this is baseball. Nobody deserves what they get paid. If you accept that then, yeah, Fowler should get a few years and more for each one. But that’s not the real story here.

The real headline is ripped from some stupid history book Sister Demarus made me read in 8th grade, and recounted the story of Benedict Arnold — a guy who fought heroically for the Continental Army (that’s our side, pinwheels). At some point, though, he started providin’ the British with American troop locations and, as the commander of West Point, began weakening the fort’s defenses, draining its supplies and craftin’ a surrender plot right underneath George Washington’s nose. Really … how different is Fowler than Arnold? Yeah, sure … they don’t look alike, they live in totally different times, and one was a soldier and the other a centerfielder. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like they were stamped outta the same mold. But they SMELL exactly the same, my friend. And it’s this odoriferous scent of Turn Coat No. 5 that makes Fowler the Benedict Arnold of the Chicago Cubs.

First, I gotta question the decision makin’ power of a guy who snubs a $17.2 million qualifying offer from the current World Series Champion — a team that stands to compete for the same hardware for the next few years. That one thing, all by itself, makes me think the guy had somethin’ in the works — even if it was just in his own mind — while still in the throes of last season. Either that or he needs an intravenous drip of Prevagen.

“I feel like this team has a chance to win a World Series,” Fowler said. “That was a big part in coming [to St Louis], because winning is addictive.” Is that right, Mr Cockroach? What the F do you call winning the World Series? Look, you don’t have to be Einstein to read between those lines, pal. If winning was what mattered to F (yeah, I’m gonna call him F from now on, and you can make your own mind up on what I mean by that) then why jump from the best team in baseball, run by the smartest guy (Theo) and the best field manager (Joe)? What F really means is that makin’ more money than God is addictive. If he’d been tendered an $83 million/5 year offer from the Wenatchee Valley Cherry Bombs girls softball team, he’d be gettin’ his fix in eastern Washington.

Second, and far far worse … we’re talkin’ the Cardinals. Not the Mariners, not the Mets, not the Marlins. The friggin’ Cardinals! The dead-on metaphoricalicious equivalent of the British. They even have the same ugly friggin’ color scheme uniforms, pallie. Coincidence? I think NOT! Goin’ to a team in the same division, not to mention our most hated arch rival since the beginning of baseball time, is a sure sign that Fowler is tryin’ to inflict as much damage to the Cubs as possible. He might as well have marched into Theo’s office and dropped the kids off on his desk.

To St. Louis I say this: Study your history, dirt bags. Benedict Arnold eventually began openly fighting for the British. And though they paid him well, they never really trusted him. I mean, you can’t trust someone that’s so easily willing to betray somebody else. He’s in your house now, lurking in the shadows. Good luck with that. You’re gonna need it when you do battle with the Cubs.

Joe

DARK SIDE OF THE DEXTER FOWLER MOON.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , , , ,

DEXTER-DARK-SIDE-2

Money, get back.
I’m all right, Jack, keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it’s a hit.
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
I’m in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set,
And I think I need a Lear jet.

It’s difficult for me to grasp what goes on inside some people’s heads when it comes to money. After the best season of his career, playin’ a key role in the Cubs march to the cherry on top of the 2016 baseball season sundae, Dexter Fowler has declined his mutual option with the Cubs and will re-enter the free-agent market for next season. TRANSLATION: Show me the friggin’ money, baby.

Fowler’s option would gild his 2017 pockets with $17.2 million. Just to put it in perspective, let’s look at how that number breaks down, based on this year’s stats.

1) Fowler had 551 plate appearances in 2016. If he matched that next season, he’d be gettin’ $31,215.97 every time he stepped into the batter’s box. Hit, walk, pop out, weak ground ball to the pitcher, gettin’ beaned … whatever. $31,215.97 for just steppin’ up to the plate. Cha-ching. Just not enough ching for Fowler.

2) Dexter played in 125 regular season games this year. If he did that next season with the Cubs he’d get the following: 1) 37 days of hangin’ out at the ballpark and shootin’ the pies of cows with his buddies, in addition to regular off days. 2) $137,600 every single time he actually had to do somethin’ more than spittin’ sun flower seeds to help the team. 3) A real good chance at repeating this year’s championship. Is that good enough for Dexter? No, it is not.

3) Let’s say Fowler amassed another 126 hits next season like he did in 2016. His $17.2 mil would parse out to $136,507.94 for each and every one of ’em. Can you imagine that? I mean the crisp sound of your base hit being matched by 136,500 and almost 8 crisp one dollar bills! And that would not just be any sound, that would be a friggin’ 100 piece orchestra playin’ the 1812 Overture, my friend. Apparently not to Dexter’s ears, though.

4) In 2016, the big D recorded 216 put outs and had 6 assists. If the numbers were the same next year, that would be $76,444.44 for every out he had a hand in. I grant you, some of his catches were awesome … but $76 grand for every one? Even the cans of corn and the ones that come right to you and you don’t have to move even 1 inch? How do you turn that down?

You can slice this 17 million ways from Sunday, but no matter what, it always adds up to a number with 20 syllables. And yeah … the money is for all this stuff together, so you can’t really do a 1-to-1 compensation on a single stat. That said, I’m just tryin’ to paint a picture here that illustrates how friggin’ ridiculous this is.

Money, get away.
Get a good job with more pay and you’re O.K.
Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team.

I love Fowler, or at least I did until he started actin’ like Roger Clemens — a guy who would jump teams for an extra 50 cents and a couple vials of HGH without battin’ even one eyelash. Yeah … I totally get that baseball is big business these days, guys have short careers and need — a really, really subjective word — to make as much as possible while they can. But how much is enough? At some point, greed rears its Kardashian head and kinda craps all over whatever humanity was there before.

I understand that Dexter has probably earned a multi-year deal from somebody. It would be nice if it were the Cubs, who I’m sure aren’t gonna just let Fowler jump ship without first makin’ a serious offer. Based on what he said yesterday, though, I’m not sure we’re even in the running. “I’m definitely going to be a free agent, but hopefully it happens a little bit quicker than last year,” said the Cubs’ 30-year-old switch-hitting leadoff hitter. “You can’t control what goes on, but I loved my time in Chicago and I’m definitely not counting them out, but we’ll see what God has planned for us now.”

“Loved my time in Chicago” … past tense? What God has planned for you? KEY-RYST! When Custer was greeted by 11,000 Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Big Horn, THAT’S what you call findin’ out what God has in store for you. But purposely walkin’ away from a team that could very well compete for the Series over the next 4-5 years, just so you can make more than $17.2 million a year? Give me a friggin’ break. Dexter might as well just change his name to Gordon Gekko right now. The champagne smell isn’t even outta the locker room yet and Fowler is talkin’ about money. That’s one of those things that puts a red-hot, acid-coated burr in my hiney. Fowler is makin’ a choice. He’s not leavin’ it up to God or Buddha or the Magic 8 Ball as if there’s some divine power involved in the outcome. The only power, besides Dexter, involved in this decision is his agent, and those guys all work for Satan Incorporated.

Money, it’s a crime.
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say,
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away.

The bottom line — which is a term that Fowler seems like he’s intimately familiar with — is winning. If that mattered as much as money, who knows? Maybe Fowler woulda still done the same thing, but at least it wouldn’t have been while the remaining echo of Go Cubs Go was still in the air. Doin’ it now is just selfish and, quite frankly, maybe we don’t want a guy on the team that has that green streak runnin’ through him. You didn’t see that in Derek Jeter, arguably the greatest shortstop in Yankee history, who found a way to stay with the Bombers his entire career. Sure, they paid him plenty, but who knows what he coulda got on the open market. Posada? Same. Rivera? Ditto.

I’d like to see Fowler wearin’ the Cubs pinstripes next year, and part of that depends on what Theo is willing to do for him. I can tell you this, though, Theo is lookin’ out for the team, and since Dexter has now demonstrated that “team” isn’t really his priority, I think there’s a pretty good chance that Chicago has seen the last of Dexter Fowler.

Joe

WHAT’S THE TRUE COST OF THE AROLDIS CHAPMAN DEAL?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , , ,

AROLDIS-CHAPMAN-TO-CUBS-2

Did you hear that, Cubs fans? That heavy metallic clunk was the last piece of the championship puzzle being lowered into position — the 99.999% pure steel arm of Aroldis Chapman. The first thing I did when I heard the news was call my mother. I wanted to find out how old I was the last time I wet my pants. Yeah … I’m jacked … sorta … and I think this is a kind of a good move. Why? Cuz it’s about FRIGGIN’ time that Binny’s Beverage Depot had an actual reason to be the official champagne supplier of the Chicago Cubs.

You gotta admit, the Cubs appear to be teeterin’ on the edge of a Championship. We’ve led or been tied for the best record in baseball the entire season. Even without Schwarber, and with various injuries plaguing a variety of players, not to mention our coin-toss bullpen, the Cubs are still wearin’ the yellow jersey as the race to the World Series is comin’ outta the back stretch. (How’s that for mixin’ metaphors?! That’s like a metaphor salad, my friend.) Adding Chapman and movin’ Rondon to a set-up position means that Theo is pretty serious about roastin’ some billy goat in October.

Naturally, there’s a Mount Everest sized pile of second guessing goin’ on — everything from Chapman’s domestic violence history to what the Cubbies gave up to get the Usane Bolt of pitchers.

That’s fair. I mean personally, I have zero tolerance for guys with OJ tendencies, so tradin’ for one who was suspended for that very thing, AND it involved a gun … well … that’s a pond I don’t wanna fish in, pallie. Full disclosure — I’m uncomfortable about it. My hope is that Ricketts made it crystal-friggin-clear that crap like that won’t be tolerated. Of course if it happens again it’s already too friggin’ late. There will forever be a link between the Cubs desire to win takin’ precedence over steerin’ clear of a guy who smacks women around. 108 years is a long drought, but is this a gamble you wanna take to put an end to it? Except for the bullpen, we’ve got all the signs of waltzin’ into the Series and maybe winnin’ the damn thing … without Chapman. Besides, the Cubs have never been a “win at all costs” kinda franchise. (No shit.) Does this move forever change their soul; makin’ it as evil and black as the Yankees’ is? Can’t say I like havin’ to even contemplate that. Justification comes in the form of Chapman’s clean record since being reinstated, and sits defiantly under the flag of second chances Ricketts has hoisted. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Chapman improves the pen, thus the team as a whole. But at what cost to their reputation?

There’s also that whole “we kept him from goin’ to a team we might have to face in the playoffs” distorted mindset. That’s pretty Hillary Clintonesque logic. Doin’ somethin’ you don’t believe in, cuz if you don’t somebody else will, is the worst kinda political acrobatics there is. The last thing I want is for the Cubs to turn into the New England friggin’ Patriots.

The other thing that’s gettin’ batted around — and not in a nice way — is that we gave up Adam Warren, minor league outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, and the jewel of the bunch, minor league shortstop Gleyber Torres (the top prospect in the Cubs organization) in exchange for a 2 month rent-a-closer. A lotta experts out there are treatin’ that like the Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan deal. Now that was a bad trade, pallie. But talent-wise, the Cubs are like Pacific Ocean deep across the board, so givin’ up prospects — even one with Torres’s potential — doesn’t leave me scratchin’ my head. Or anywhere else for that matter. It woulda been different had we made the deal with someone in our division, but we didn’t.

The main argument against this move (besides Chapman’s violent pinheadedness) is over aggregate value. A conservative estimate for a talent like Torres is that he’s worth 15 or 20 WAR in his first 6 seasons in the Show, while Chapman may be worth just 1 through the rest of this season. Before you even get to Warren, McKinney and Crawford, that makes this deal look pretty bad for the Cubs. But that’s a pretty stupid debate: 1) Torres is 19 and ain’t even in the big leagues yet, 2) WAR is a stupid way to measure closers, and 3) If Chapman can do his 105 mile and hour blind-the-hitters thing, and we win the Series partly because of it, who gives a flying Wallenda if we traded away the farm? The Chicago Cubs will have achieved the be-all end-all of baseball existence for the first time in 108 years!

So … was this a good trade? Was it money and players and conscience well spent? After last night’s bullpen-induced loss against the White Sox, I’m leanin’ in the “yes” direction.

Joe

CHRIS COGHLAN RETURNS TO CHICAGO. WHY?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , ,

CHRIS-COGHLAN-RETURNS

Hey there, flap jacks. I freely admit that I’m not ever 100% sure what Theo is doin’. Hell, I’m not even 27% sure. But then that’s why he’s runnin’ the best baseball team in an 800 light year radius and I work in a sausage factory. I’m not complaining. Me and sausage are like Bert and Ernie, milk and cookies, Rogers and Hammerstein. But I think we can all agree that runnin’ the Cubs is a better gig, and definitely comes with the kinda fringe that puts my annual Christmas bonus case of red hots on the top of the shame pile. And hey, kudos to Theo. The Cubbies are treating the rest of baseball like a baby treats a diaper. Love it.

But this Shalamar trade with the A’s for Chris Coghlan? I don’t get it.

Why trade for a .260 hitter? (Only a .146 hitter if you’re talkin’ just this year in Oakland.) Does the name Mendoza ring any bells? Yeah, I know … the Cubs have a few banged up guys, and a little backup will help get us over the aches and pains. But c’mon. Coghlan … that’s it? Mmm-kay, he knows the system. I’ll give you that one. He can play a few different positions. Especially the 7 and 9 spots where, with Schwarber gone for the duration, Soler hurt and Heyward outta the lineup occasionally cuz of his Ironman imitations, he can band-aid things for us. Versatility is good. But if he’s SO friggin’ good why the hell did we broom him in the first place? Riddle me that, Batman. (Hey, me and sausage are like Batman and Robin, too.) It’s got a bit of odoriferous desperation to it, which I hate smelling … not because it’s questionalble … but because Theo made the move even though it seems that way.

This is where me not being even 27% sure what the hell Theo is doin’ sandpapers my hiney. Cuz either I gotta just bow to the altar of Theo’s brain, and trust that he knows somethin’ about Coghlan that ain’t very apparent in his numbers, or there’s somethin’ happening around the corner that no one but Theo can see, and he’s layin’ the ground work for it. I hate friggin’ uncertainty. For the first 54 years of my life I could count on the Cubs being 20 games out by the mid-season classic. This year and last, I’m surprised if we lose. I like that. I don’t like wonderin’ what the Cubs see in a .146 hitter that they traded less than a year ago. Now there’s something magically delicious about him?

Is it gonna be better the second time? We’ll see. I love the taste of crow (or pigeon, in this case) when it comes to this kinda thing.

Joe