Yet again, a premature report has led to an extreme disappointment for the Chicago Cubs and their fans.
It began with the botched Ryan Dempster trade, as he reneged on the Atlanta Braves as one of his preferred landing spots. Then the Cubs failed to trade Carlos Marmol for Dan Haren, with reports surfacing that they were concerned over Haren’s health, upon further review.
Then came the Anibal Sanchez disaster last week. The Cubs thought they had a deal with Sanchez, to the tune of five years and $75 million. However, he went back and gave the Detroit Tigers an opportunity to match, signing for five and $80 million to remain in the Motor City.
Almost immediately, Cubs fans cried foul over another failure in the front office. For a team that’s already a laughing stock, these repeated attempts to bring in or ship out big names, only to fail, is not a good sign. And, somehow, that all falls onto the shoulders of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
While I’d agree that these failed transactions, which are up to three, are a total embarrassment, they are not totally the responsibility of the front office, or even really the fault of the organization. Yet, Cub fans continue to take shots at the new regime as if they are the only ones at fault.
The Dempster trade fell through due to failures on both sides. The trade was reportedly leaked on Atlanta’s end, and then Dempster went back on his promise that he would accept a trade if it helped improve the club. Everyone was at fault there. We really don’t know what happened in the failed Marmol-for-Haren swap, but if it’s health related, then it’s more understandable.
Which brings us to Anibal Sanchez. Of the three failures, this one is absolutely not the fault of the Cubs organization.
The Cubs apparently had no idea that Sanchez was going to allow the Tigers an opportunity to match. In fact, we don’t even know if Sanchez had any real intent of signing with the Cubs. It would appear that he and his agent were using the Cubs as leverage and played them like a gigantic fiddle. Should the Cubs have seen that coming? How could they have?
Instead, be impressed that the Cubs were willing to take the measures necessary to improve their ballclub. And that they forced the Tigers to spend millions more than they were hoping to. The Tigers outspent the Cubs by $2.5 million. If the Cubs felt that Sanchez was more interested in joining their club, rather than remaining in Detroit, then they would have spent the extra cash.
This rebuild is frustrating for a big market organization like the Cubs. Between the failed transactions and several of their free agent targets moving on to sign bloated contracts with other clubs, it’s understandable to see where the frustrations are coming for for many fans. But in the case of Anibal Sanchez, cut them some slack. He played them. They didn’t screw this one up.