The Chicago Cubs of the National League Central Division recently let it be known that they've had enough. They're through with Major League Baseball for at least the next two or three years and they just want to be left alone.
Apparently the club has let various Major League Baseball media know that every player on the current roster except shortstop Starlin Castro is for sale at any price.
To begin their, what, 18th rebuilding project in the last 14 years the Cubs are conducting what is traditionally called a "fire sale" to celebrate their 18-36 record-- second worst in Major League Baseball. "Fire sale" implies something terrible happened (see the team's current 25 man roster) and formally valuable property may now be purchased at bargain rate prices by one and all.
If you're smart you'll want to be the first one in line with the Cubs sales coupon from last Sunday's Chicago Tribune. Present your coupon to team President Theo Epstein to receive your valuable Cub player discounts.
Otherwise you might miss out on:
1) Alfonso Soriano who no longer bothers to even pay attention during actual games since signing an 8 year $136 million contract in 2007. He routinely dogs plays in the outfield; at the plate Soriano favors swinging at inside pitches in the dirt. And that's the good news.
The bad news is that the Cubs owe Soriano $18 million this year, $18 million in 2013, and $18 million in 2014.
The Chicago front office has been trying for the last three years to dump Soriano, offering to pay virtually all of his remaining salary to any team willing to take him. But there are currently no teams in the market for a sulking, overpaid slacker who also brings a radioactive presence to the clubhouse.
That means Alfonso Soriano's unselfish commitment and pure joy for the game will be on display in Wrigley Field for years to come. How sweet is that?
2) Carlos Marmol who was the closer for a while, then lost the job, then got it back, then lost it again. He needs to GPS that puppy. Marmol will get $7 million in closer money this season as he attempts to knock down that 0-2 record, 5.40 ERA, and 2.00 WHIP.
3) This one kind of doesn't count, because the Chicago Cubs aren't able to trade the following three players to whom they still owe about $26 million dollars. Because these players are no longer actual members of the team:
-- Carlos Zambrano will get $16.45 million from the Cubs this year even though he is now with the Miami Marlins. Zambrano was an angry, disruptive horse's ass who was so disrespectful to his teammates, the fans, and the Cub organization that the team decided it was better to pay him sixteen and a half million dollars than have him in a Cub's uniform even one more day.
-- Marlon Byrd will receive checks amounting to $6,500,000 from the Cub's bank account in 2012, to be mailed to his new address with the Boston Red Sox. The Cubs cut Byrd loose in April after 13 games in which he hit .070 with a .219 OPS. Prior to that he had achieved tremendous success as a marginal player.
-- Retired pitcher Kerry Wood will still be busy in 2012, deciding how to spend the $3 million the Chicago Cubs will be paying him not to pitch. After an 0-3 8.31 ERA start to the 2012 season Wood retired. To be fair, Kerry Wood is actually a real gamer who had tremendous promise when he came up with the Cubs in 1998. But Tommy John surgery and a host of other medical issues plagued him throughout his career.
4) Starting pitcher Ryan Dempster who has shown value at times in his fifteen year career, winning 17 games once, and 15 games twice. But he is making $14 million in 2012 from the Cubs and has an 0-3 record to start the season.
Most amazingly, Dempster could have an additional $4.55 million coming to him if he meets a series of incentives, like the $200,000 extra he'll make if he finishes 3rd in Cy Young Award voting.
If he finishes 4th in Cy Young balloting Dempster gets a set of steak knives. If he finishes 5th, he's fired. (Thank you David Mamet.)
The rest of the Cubs roster is chock full of guys making $500,000-$1m in salary. Which means they're either new or not so hot. Which is why the Cubs are about to announce a "buy two you get one free"-sale, followed by a "please just take them off our hands"-sale.
This kind of MLB team fire sale opportunity comes along maybe once every ten or twenty years. That is unless you're the Chicago Cubs baseball club of the National League Central Division.