Money Poorly Spent
The Cub Reporter's latest post addresses the point that the Cubs don't have a skimpy payroll and for people to stop blaming money for the reasons why Beltran can't be signed by the Cubs.
While it is true the Cubs have one of the top payrolls in the league they blow money on bad contracts which bloat the over all payroll of this team.
For example these are players on the team that could be easily replaced with minor league talent and get just as good if not better production from the minor league guys. ..
Glendon Rusch - $2.0 Million
Ryan Dempster - $2.0 Million
Mike Remlinger - $3.8 Million
Todd Hollandsworth - $900,000
Jose Macias - $825,000
Neifi Perez - $1.0 Million
Total - $10.525 Million
Replaced with minor league talent cost at $325k per season - $1.95 Million.
Factor in Maddux's un-needed $9 million dollars this season and the Cubs have $17.575 million to fix needed holes in the team. Again, I will say Maddux is a nice luxury but was never a piece we needed. Zambrano, Wood, and Prior are more than enough to contend with. That is a lot of money on over-priced contracts. Go even farther, after this season the Cubs wipe Sosa's $18 million off the books. Now your looking at $35.825 million in cash to work with. The signing of a Beltran, regardless of Sosa's contract, at $16 million per season deal doesn't break the team. And when Sosa is gone after next season the Cubs have an additional $18 million to do what they please with.
The Cubs try and act like a big market team in the wrong damn place. All those million dollar contracts for basically worthless players adds up. For every 1 Neifi Perez signed the Cubs can field 3 minor leaguers. I want the Cubs to spend the money, but it just seems the Cubs get far less bang for their buck for a payroll approaching $100 million dollars a season than other teams do with far less.
I don't like all the $2 million and $3 million dollar contracts in the bullpen. The Cubs are dishing out money in the wrong spot. Find a freaking closer, then fill your bullpen out around him. Hawkins makes $3.75 million, Borowski $2.3 million, and Farnsworth $1.5 million could all be thrown away and replaced by 1 dominate closer who will do more good than all three of those guys combined. But the Cubs seem hell bent on spreading the wealth in the bullpen.
Basically give me Carlos Beltran, Armando Benitez, Hawkins and everyone else I mentioned from the minors and I will have the Cubs in the playoffs with around the same payroll as last years team with Sosa still remaining a Chicago Cub. The Cubs can build a much better team by just spending their money more wisely. It is idiocy to be handing out $2 million dollar deals to Rusch and Dempster and another $2 million combined for Holly and Neifi who have never been good players. Guess what? That is Armando Benitez's contract right there. Who is going to be more helpful to the team during the season? Rusch, Dempster, Holly and Neifi or Armando Benitez? And for $1.0 million I replace Rusch with Brownlie/Meat tray (Mitre), Holly with Kelton, and Neifi with Richard Lewis. Now I am sure that looks like pure heresy to the Cubs fans who loved the contributions and heroics that Rusch and Hollandsworth displayed last season, but I have two names for you...Gary Gaetti and Jeff Fassero. Mediocrity does not go away because of one good season mired in between many bad ones.
I guess my ideal way of running the Cubs would be like the way the Oakland A's are run, except we can afford to keep our Tejada's, Giambi's, Mulder's and Hudson's and fill out the rest of the team through the minor leagues.
To go along with that, I don't see injuries as a problem for a team. Injuries in my mind should open up opportunities for our minor league talent. A team learns nothing by trotting out Rey Ordonez, Lenny Harris or Jose Macias to stink up the joint when starters go down. Everyone says the Cubs have no one ready, position wise, to play in the majors. Really? How do we know that if none are actually given a chance? I bring Oakland up again, but I will mention the D'backs, Angels, and Marlins as teams who use their minor league talent to replace injured starters instead of just using a veteran bench player to replace the guy. Sometimes you find someone useful sometimes you don't. But one thing is for certain, you never find anything useful by not allowing your minor league guys the chance.
What did the organization learn by signing Rey Ordonez? Or by allowing Hollandsworth to start for Sosa? They both suck. Oh wow, didn't we know that before? Sure would of been nice to find out, for example, if Dubois hot season in AAA was a sign he was ready for the majors or not. In my mind Sosa's injury was a golden chance to find out if Kelton or Dubois was the real deal or not. I don't give a damn about Holly's future. In the end the Cubs learned very little last off-season. They might have found some reliable bullpen arms in Weurtz and Leicester, but ohhhh the horror! They were only pitching because our high priced veteran bullpen arms were all coming up injured. Otherwise the organization and fans would of passed them over as not ready.
Sometimes players just need that one chance to shine.