Cubs Reportedly Sign Jason Motte

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After the Cubs signed Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, the prevailing opinion is that the Cubs would look for a veteran outfielder and someone to help in the bullpen. It’s being reported that the Cubs have signed Jason Motte to a 1-year deal rumored to be worth $4.5 million.


Most Cubs fans are surely familiar with Motte from his years with the Cardinals. When he’s been healthy, he’s been effective. Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2013, Motte’s fastball averaged almost 97mph and he led the league in saves with 43 in 2012. Motte returned from the Tommy John surgery in 2014 and pitched in 29 games, also missing some time with a back injury.

This deal is pending a physical. We know the history this front office has with Tommy John reclamation projects. At 26, he is still young and if the Cubs and Bosio are able to get the most out of him, he could be a player the Cubs flip mid-season, especially if the Cubs are not in contention.

Highlights of Jon Lester Press Conference

Photo from @Cubs Twitter

Photo from @Cubs Twitter

In a televised press conference today, the Cubs introduce fans to their new ace, Jon Lester. The press conference was held Spiaggia restaurant on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Here are some of the highlights of the press conference:

  • Theo Epstein mentions Lester makes the Cubs better on the field, better in the clubhouse and better in the community.   This signing marks a transition, the start of a period where they are very serious about bringing a world series to the Cubs and their fans.
  • Lester is presented a jersey, he will wear #34.
  • Lester consulted with Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija (among others) about the city of Chicago and the Cubs organization.
  • The fact the Cubs have not one in so long was enticing for Lester to sign with the Cubs.
  • When asked about difficulty of decision to come to Cubs, “I believe in the plan these guys have.”
  • On challenges of pitching at Wrigley – “There are advantages and disadvantages and you just gotta roll with it as you go.”
  • On the free agency process, being courted by several teams – “That’s the fun, exciting time. You get to hear different philosophies.”  Says the decision was made hours before it was announced.
  • On filling role as leader on young team – “I’m never going to say ‘Hey look at me, I’m your leader’, I am going to put my head down and go to work and try to do everything to succeed.  I want to lead this team the best I can, in the way that I know how.”
  • Bruce Levine asked how much of his decision was based on “blind faith” in Jed and Theo.  “I think these guys did a good job of presenting me with all of the information and the information that was left out, I have people that filled those holes.”  “I believe in these guys.”
  • On extra scrutiny over size of contract – “I played in Boston for eight years.  I think I’m pretty prepared for a lot of things.”
  • Lester invites his son to sit on his lap for remainder of the press conference.
  • On transition to the NL – “It’ll take me some while to get used to.”  “We’ll figure it out as we go.”
  • According to Theo, if Cubs hadn’t finished on a good note in 2014 and did not have some of the prospects they have,  Lester may not have chosen the Cubs.
  • Lester, more on the decision to come to the Cubs”It’s not very often someone like me would come to a last place team.  Our belief is they won’t be in last place for very much longer and we’re excited for that.”  “I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t believe we’re going to win in 2015 – that’s the division, that’s the World Series”.
  • Lester says that it would have been tougher for him to leave Boston if they hadn’t traded him to the A’s in 2014.  “That broke that barrier of wondering if I can play for another team.”

Lil’ Chub’s – Episode 6.49

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IyvEnvy_Color_blogpodcastOn this, the 286th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast, we spend a good amount of time talking about the changes in the television broadcast of Cubs games that will start with the 2015 season. A lot of Cubs fans have some confusion about these changes. We attempt to explain why these changes are happening and simply, how will we watch the Cubs next year.

There are quite a few players from the Cubs system that are playing in the winter leagues. Andy runs through some of the more notable names and then we discuss the purpose of their involvement in the leagues and what we’d like to see as far as development goes from these players.

We talk about the changes in the Wrigley renovations. One of the seven signs has been removed from the plans and there have been adjustments to other signs. The reason for these changes is to preserve federal tax credits through a National Register of Historic Places designation through the National Park Services.

We answer several listener questions and read some internet muscle flexes.

Thanks to Danny Rockett for letting us play “Lesterday” at the end of the episode.

If you’d like to help support our podcast, check out our Patreon campaign.

We are giving away two passes to Cubs Convention.  You can enter to win these passes by answering this question “Who would you bring with you to Cubs Convention and why?”  Email your answer to corey@ivyenvy.com

How will you watch Cubs games in 2015?

I’ll start by pointing out that if you live in the Chicago broadcast area much of this won’t apply to you. Where you watch games on TV will likely change, but your ability to watch games will not.

As for Cubs fans outside of Chicago, your ability to watch games from 2015 through 2019 will definitely be more limited. This week the Cubs announcedWLS broadcast area a five year deal with WLS-TV/ABC-7 to broadcast 25 games per year. Those games will only be available if you live within the over-the-air reception area of WLS or if WLS is offered on your cable or satellite provider as a local channel. This image from tvfool.com will give you a pretty good idea if you will be able to get WLS over-the-air and how big your antenna might need to be.

Comcast SportsNet will continue to air 80 regular season games. That leaves 57 games still on the table. The speculation is that the Cubs will work out a deal with WGN-9 (not Superstation) to air them locally. Those games would also be unavailable to people living outside the WGN-9 local viewing area.

And the elephant in the room, MLB.tv. We’ve discussed on multiple occasions the absurdity of blocking content from people who have paid for that content, but it’s the world we live in with streaming rights controlled by MLB Advanced Media and mega TV contracts requiring exclusivity. The Cubs cannot just decide to make streaming available to those fans outside the local viewing area. It’s not their call.

There are ways around the blackout. I won’t detail them here as I’m not really clear on the legality of it all. You can Google it and explore them at your own risk. But that illustrates the point pretty well. Fans are so interested in watching games they are willing to enter into questionable legal territory to get around the blackout because it is the only option available to see these games. Assign a dollar value to that, MLB. Let the market decide what you’re worth rather than an inflated cost based on artificial scarcity.

So, here are your options if you live outside of the Chicagoland area, but within the MLB.tv blackout area. Assuming you’re not willing to just listen to the radio broadcast. I can’t think of any others. Leave comments if you know of more.

  1. Move to Chicago.
  2. Get MLB.tv and find away around the blackout.
  3. Wait for the dust to settle on these deals and the details come out. Then call or email your local ABC and/or WGN/CW affiliate and ask them if they are able or plan to air these games. Let them know how much you want to see them. I don’t know if this will even be an option for them, but it’s worth a shot.

My overall assessment is that these issues will get resolved sooner or later. This is all part of the growing pains of a traditional medium being overhauled because of pressure from new media. MLB teams are not “local” brands that fit nicely into “markets”. They are billion dollar, internationally recognized brands. Delivering your content like it’s 1985 is not going to sustain an aging fan base or grow that base with the next generation. It’s just unfortunate for Cubs fans outside of Chicago that these growing pains have to happen during what could be the most exciting five year stretch in Cubs history.

Win Two Passes to Cubs Convention

Cubs Convention

With the off-season moves the Cubs have made and the declaration made by the front office that the 2015 Cubs intend to be competitive for the division, this upcoming Cubs Convention will be the most interesting one in a number of years.

One of the outcomes of the first ever Cubs bloggers forum (which you can hear about on Episode 6.47 of our podcast) is that we have two passes to Cubs Convention 2015 to give away.

To enter the contest for these passes, email your answer to the following question to corey@ivyenvy.com

Who would you bring with you to Cubs Convention and why?

The deadline to submit your entry is Saturday, December 20th at 12 midnight (CST). We will read a few of our favorites and the winner on the Sunday, December 21th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast.

“Is that a dad joke or a Vicodin joke?”- Episode 6.48

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Welcome to the 285th episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast. Holy cow, the Cubs gave us a ton to talk about this week. First off…Jon Lester! The Cubs were able to sign the free agent to the largest contract in organization history. We talk about Lester and what his signing means for this off-season and the 2015 season. What it boils down to is that the Cubs are now interesting at the major league level.

The Cubs also signed Jason Hammel, after trading him to A’s with Jeff Samardzija in July. The Cubs and Hammel must have liked what they saw in each other as they worked out a 2-year deal.

The Cubs added an All-Star catcher in Miguel Montero. After missing out on Russell Martin, they went out and got the catcher that is arguably the best pitch framer in baseball. What does this mean for Welington Castillo? And how bad is he, really?

Kurt runs through the players whose contracts were tendered and non-tendered by the Cubs. Corey reads some internet muscle flexes that left Andy and Kurt speechless.

We have two Cubs Convention passes to give away, courtesy of the Chicago Cubs. For a chance to win these two convention passes, email corey@ivyenvy.com with your answer to this question – Who would you bring with you to Cubs Convention and why?

We didn’t have time to read the captions for this week’s caption contest. You can click on the image below and tell us which caption you liked most.

Recap of 1st Ever Cubs Bloggers Forum – Episode 6.47

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On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to participate in the first ever Cubs Bloggers Forum with Crane Kenney. On this week’s episode, we talk about the event. We start off by commenting on the fact the Cubs held this event. The media landscape is changing and the Cubs fully understand the role bloggers, podcasters and other “alternative media” people fill. The beat reporters often inform us of news, but the conversation continues with us.
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Photo Nov 25, 2 06 47 PM

There were several business-related topics covered in the 70 minutes we had with Crane Kenney. On this episode of the podcast, we cover many of these topics. The Cubs told us that it’s likely the bleacher renovations will not be completed for Opening Day (Night). There are a few reasons for this and we discuss those reasons. We talk about the triangle lot and how it will be used. Rooftops were discussed, from the last deal Kenney made with the rooftops to the Ricketts family potentially buying rooftops.

Media Rights were brought up. We talk about what may happen with the games that would have been (and still might be) broadcast on WGN America. We also share some encouraging news about streaming MLB content and the frustrating blackouts. We also share what Kenney described are three potiential options for the Cubs and media rights after 2020.

Kenny also addressed the idea of the Ricketts family being cheap and not spending money with the Cubs. He also shared his opinion of Theo, Jed and the rest of the baseball side of the front office.

Here’s a link to the Jamberry flash sale.
We have t-shirts for sale. Use the coupon code “Monday” at http://ivyenvy.com/store to purchase this beautiful shirt:

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“It’s Worth Noting I’ve Been Playing With a Go-Bot” – Podcast Episode 6.46

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On this, the 283rd episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast, we answer listener questions. Other than bringing Henry Blanco back to the organization, the Cubs didn’t give us much to discuss this week.

There are still lots of “big picture” discussions to have though. Is this team a contender in 2015 like the front office says it can be? Would we rather see the Cubs trade Castro or prospects? How important is it for the Cubs to get a top-of-the-rotation starter this offseason? How great is Rizzo’s contract for the Cubs? Would the Cubs re-consider a bad-deal swap with the Braves – Edwin Jackson for BJ Upton? Is posting photos of mice carcasses on Instagram in bad taste? Why would someone ask 21 questions on a message board?

Ivy_Envy_beer_raiser

Are you unsure of what Christmas gifts to get for the females in your life? We’ve got the answer for you…it’s reasonably priced, the ladies will love them and by ordering them, you’ll buy us Ivy Envy guys a beer at Spring Training. Check out the Jamberry Ivy Envy Beer Money Flash Sale.

“Dat LaStella Doh” – Podcast Episode 6.45

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A few hours before we recorded this episode, the Cubs traded Arodys Vizcaino back to the Braves for 2nd baseman, Tommy LaStella. We discuss why the Cubs may have made this trade and what it may (or may not) signal as far as bigger deals the Cubs are setting up.

Baseball Prospectus released their Top 10 Cubs prospects list this week. We were a little surprised that Addison Russell was ranked #1 over Kris Bryant and talk about why Russell earned the top spot. In this discussion, I mentioned an episode of Effectively Wild. You can find that episode here.

We talk about the general hype that the Cubs have started to get and talk about how that may expand in the future. This conversation comes up because the Cubs/Cardinals Opening Day game has been moved to primetime, the night before.

We also answer a bunch of listener questions, some focusing on Russell Martin and the free agent pitchers the Cubs are rumored to be leaders on.

Saving it up for Saturday Night – Podcast Episode 6.44

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On this, the 281st episode of The Ivy Envy Podcast, we talk about a few of the main off-season rumors flying around about the Cubs. The Cubs are being accused of tampering with Joe Maddon by the Rays. Russell Martin is on the Cubs radar. For some reason, the Cubs are involved in David Robertson rumors. We talk about these things and talk about the impact of potential deals with the Cubs.

Andy checks in on the Cubs prospects that are playing in the Arizona Fall League. Kurt talks about the transactions the Cubs have made since the 2014 season ended.

We answer a good group of listener questions and read a few internet muscle flexes…folks?!