Top prospect Javier Baez suffered a thumb injury in the Arizona Fall League while allegedly high-fiving a teammate, ending his season prematurely.
Then, to top it off, closer Carlos Marmol almost was traded to the Angels for Dan Haren, only to watch the Cubs pull out of the deal shortly after Marmol announced it to the Dominican media, creating a Twitter tsunami that even Matt Garza joined.
For President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, the good news is Baez will be fine by spring training, they didn't need Arizona State as a partner and Marmol was laughing about the botched trade while talking to Cubs' management Saturday night.
But the embarrassing episode of another trade-that-wasn't-a-trade is one the new regime will have to wear. They watched a Ryan Dempster-for-Randall Delgado deal fall through in late July, also after it was leaked to the media before completion.
Epstein declined comment about the botched deal Saturday.
Speculation is the Cubs backed out because of Haren's back problems in 2012, a snag in the financial considerations or both. The Angels would have picked up Haren's $15.5 million option and dealt him for Marmol, who is due $9.8 million in 2013.
How much money the Cubs would have had to pay on Marmol's salary is unknown. The fact the Angels opted to exercise the $3.5 million buyout suggests no other team was seriously interested in acquiring Haren.
Haren told mlb.com he and his wife "really sold ourselves on how much fun it would be (on the Cubs) for a year." But now the Cubs are unlikely to pursue Haren as a free agent, leaving him as a footnote in Cubs' history.
Actually, Haren was already a footnote. He once ignited a profanity-laced shouting match from the dugouts between managers Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa, after plunking pitcher Matt Clement during a heated Cubs-Cardinals series at Wrigley Field in September 2003.
As for Marmol, he will prepare to save games once more for a rebuilding team, and deal with rumors until the July trade deadline.
"He wasn't crazy about leaving," said Marmol's agent, Paul Kinzer. "He loves it in Chicago, but felt whatever is best for the team."
The Cubs thought asking Marmol to go from a 101-loss team to the star-studded Angels was a "no-brainer" for the closer.
They were wrong.
Marmol initially said "no," just as Dempster said "no" to the Braves.
But Marmol eventually changed him mind just in time for the deal to fall apart. Kinzer said Marmol's reluctance was based on geography, but the idea of playing for the Angels grew on him.
"If it wasn't one of the better teams, he wouldn't have agreed," he said.
So the Cubs still are looking for at least two starting pitchers, whether through trade or free agency. They have some financial flexibility, but won't go crazy.
After the trade missteps of Dempster and Marmol, maybe the safest bet on the Cubs offseason is they won't be handing out any no-trade clauses.