The Cubs are still for sale

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There will probably be generations of Cubs fans who were born, lived, and will die in the time it takes for the Tribune Company to sell the team:

Sam Zell is considering a lineup change.

Tribune Co., led by Zell, is no longer negotiating only with the
Ricketts family on a deal for the Chicago Cubs. Sources confirmed
Thursday that the parent of the Chicago Tribune recently has entered
into separate discussions with a group led by New York investor and
former Chicagoan Marc Utay, whose earlier bid was trumped by the
Rickettses . . . [Tribune spokesman Gary] Weitman said the media
company is “assessing other alternatives” but would neither confirm nor
deny that it is talking again with the Utay group.

The Cubs have been for sale for over two years. While current ownership
hasn’t abandoned the team as such, the failure to find a buyer has
likely caused them to forego all manner of potential competitive moves.
Things like firing the G.M. and taking a risk on a big contract, which
is something the Cubs should otherwise be able to do. Think about it:
did you put the best oil in your car once you decided to sell it? Did
you stain your deck the summer you put your house on the market?

No matter what the ultimate price the sale of the Cubs brings, this
dilly-dallying has cost them dearly. Not so much for what has been done
to the team, but by what has not been done and what deals rejected.

Athletics sign Santiago Casilla to two-year, $11 million deal

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 10: Santiago Casilla #46 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.

Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system. Who has the worst?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06:  General manager Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks laughs on the field before the Opening Day MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on April 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.