When do the new Cubs get here?

It’s only been one game, but I'm ready for more change.

I keep reminding myself it’s a new era and it is going to take time for things to get turned around. We knew that this would be a “building” year, as this regime likes to call it.

However, after the way the Cubs dropped the opener, I had to remind myself this wasn’t still the Jim Hendry era.

It just felt that way.

It’s one thing to get on board with a rebuilding situation, like most Cubs fans surprisingly have. It’s a little more confusing when you still have the old guard Kerry Wood blowing a lead like he did Thursday.

I just want to push the fast forward button and get past this middling phase the team is in. It’s only been one game and I’m already pining for Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, and Welington Castillo to get up here.

Then we could take the losses with a fresh sense of a young team truly building towards something. I get the patience being practiced with guys like Rizzo, and maybe they aren’t in a hurry to start Jackson’s clock just yet.

I get that Theo Esptein and co. want to get as much value as possible for guys like Marlon Byrd without giving them away. Fine, just hurry up with that please.

We have all heard all offseason and spring about this team being different. I wanted to wait until the bell actually rung to see what we had here. It was hard to convince my brain this was different when you still see Wood, Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, and Ryan Dempster still running around Wrilgey Field Thursday.

They are all nice guys and have been good players for us at one time. I just can’t help but want them all gone. I know it' s irrational, you do need some vets around.

However, it was very hard not to question why Wood was in there in that eighth inning situation. Was the guy who hadn’t pitched all spring the right move?

I was against bringing back Wood for many reasons. No reason was more important than he took away a valuable opportunity for a guy like Rafael Dolis.

Please tell me the player that was an olive branch to the fans, was not getting a token appearance on opening day.

Wasn’t that what Bill Murray was for?






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  • Tom, i'm feeling the exact same way you are...especially after reading some of the kids lines @ AAA the last couple of days, i'm a little more anxious than usual..That being said, I really don't believe that Byrd, Soriano, Demp, Soto and Marmol are gonna be around very long..Hopefully Demp pitches like this for the next couple of months and Marmol gets his shit straight so he can be moved..Man I wish the Cubs would have sent him to Texas for Chris Davis and those 2 arms (as was rumored but the Cubs werent allowed to deal) they sent to Hoyer and MacLeod in San Diego for Mike Adams last July 31st..oh well.

  • One of the pleasures of reading Cubs Den is that it typically isn't representative of the stuff most Chicago media writes.

    This, unfortunately, is not one of the better entries.

    One game, and the negativity is running rampant.

    You're complaining that bringing back Wood "took away a valuable opportunity for a guy like Rafael Dolis." Funny, I thought I saw Dolis on the opening day roster, so I don't see him being blocked. Also, like all young players, Dolis must earn the opportunity to pitch in clutch situations. You're saying that you would rather have a rookie pitching with a one-run lead in the 8th inning instead of a guy who has proven that he can do the job? Part of baseball is coping with having a bad day. Wood had a bad day, but it is likely that he'll be able to shake it off and move on.

    You also mention as being ready for Dempster to move on. You're seriously going to mention someone who, at one point, retired 15 straight batters during the game? Sure, maybe he got the benefit of the wind blowing in a few times, but he is the type of veteran presence that a young, building team needs. He's a guy that can eat innings and keep the team in the game. And on Wednesday, he was nearly flawless. Maybe you'd like for him to have a lower salary, and I can agree with that, but he is one of the few known entities that this team has on the mound, and a valuable member of the team.

    We all knew coming in that this was going to be a tough season, and that patience needs to be stressed. I've already seen some signs of a changed team, particularly with the aggressiveness on the base paths. The Cubs got burned a couple of times on opening day, but a passive team on the bases is going to lose out on more opportunities than an aggressive one over the long haul.

    I'm not expecting a playoff season, but it is refreshing to see that the new attitude is taking over, and is being seen in some of those older players. It's way too early to just give up on this team.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Not to mention that the earlier you bring some of these guys up, the sooner they begin to rack up years of service. You mention yourself that maybe the regime wants to avoid starting their clocks. You gotta look at this for the long run, otherwise you are doing things exactly the same as the old regime.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Again, I stated in the piece that I get that. It only took one game to see that some things are still going to look and feel the same.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    To be fair, Tom was against the Wood signing from the beginning.

    I think there's a part of all of us that are anxious to see the young guys in there. Iowa plays more like we hope the Cubs will play 2-3 years down the road. But I agree we'll have to be patient. It'll come and we did see some good signs from the big club in spring training.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Without Wood, we've got hardly anybody with experience, except for Camp (I'm not including Marmol because of his role as closer). I get that there are finally prospects in the minors that are exciting, but the bullpen is not one of the stronger aspects of our organization. And again, he mentioned specifically the blocking of Dolis - well, Dolis is with the club, but has not yet proven that he is capable of handling those situations. The criticism just seems misguided when the young bullpen arms are not ready or consistent enough.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Personally, I was okay with the signing of Wood, it gave the Cubs some flexibility to do some of the things I mentioned, such as try Shark in the rotation and use a bullpen arm to acquire Rizzo.

    And they do need veterans, which is the main reason Camp got the job over some of the younger bullpen arms in camp. I believe in having a mix in there.

    The bullpen may be a bit of a struggle this year. What I'm looking for is to find another arm or two going forward, whether it's Dolis, Castillo, or someone the Cubs might bring up midseason.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    The point of the article was to admit my impatience towards moving forward. I realize that you need some vets but I just want the guys we have seen the last few years to disappear. Lighten up, it's just an opinion piece.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    tom, i totally get what your saying man. its just been one game, but that game makes u (and i) feel like we have watching these cubs for the past 5 years. wood walking in the game tying run, marmol losing his control and allowing the game winning run, soriano (although he caught everything hit at him thursday) making runs in the outfield that just make u assume hes gonna drop the ball. and weve been hearing great things about rizzo jackson and castillo all spring, sveum has been very high on all 3 of those guys + dolis, and we just wanna see them. we wanna get a good vision of what this team will look like 2-3 years down the road now, by bringing those guys up and getting rid of the other guys.

    some ppl arent ready to let go of the fan favorites and the guys who have had success in the past for the cubs, but its time for the guys in AAA and castro to become the new generation version of those guys.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Exactly what I was trying to express. I don't always put too much emotion into my stuff, but sometimes you have to.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Then as a critical observer, I would say that you need to lighten up as well. If you're going to publish your work, either online or in print, you need to realize that you won't always get sunshine pumping from your readers.

    My main point is that you said that Wood blocked players such as Dolis, who has been given a spot on the team. Solis has not yet earned a role as a setup guy. He'll have to pay his dues, but for now he'll have to learn in a different role.

    As for Dempster, who are the guys in the minors that are challenging for a starting job? I can agree that I'd like to see a position player such as Jackson up in the majors, but I just don't see the young pitchers that are going to come up and fill in effectively for the guys we've already got. If we had them, we wouldn't have been searching for guys like Camp at the end of spring camp.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Sorry Urge no offense meant, I like the banter anyway :) I was just thinking you read too much into it. I get all of the plan, I just sat there on Thu and thought it felt too familiar. I have no problem with Dempster, Wood, etc. I even deal with them personally, great, great guys. However, I just want to hit reboot on this ASAP. Forgive me.

  • I feel the same way. I hope Theo told Ricketts after the game that he is not going to sign a player as mascot again.

  • I hope Wood is going to be better than this. Having him around was probably part of the reason the Cubs felt okay dealing Cashner and moving Samardzija to the rotation. On a side note, I really like Rizzo but I wish we hadn't lost Cashner. Wish there was another way.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Dolis has that set-up role by midseason and maybe even closer by next year if he keeps pitching the way he has.

  • It's easy to second-guess the move to bring in Kerry Wood with two outs in the eighth, but we have no guarantee that Dempster could have got out of it. Zimmerman had smoked Dempster in two previous at-bats. Do you really want to give him another chance to square up Dempster?

    Also, like it or not, Wood is the eighth inning guy, until he proves otherwise. With the wind blowing in, all he has to do is get Zimmerman a little off balance, or hit the ball a half-inch away from the sweet spot of the bat. I still think it was the smart play. But the smart play doesn't always turn out.

  • I was in favor of bringing Wood back for a few reasons: A)He was a pretty good reliever last year. B) I don't think it's bad for the fans and younger players to see a good player and good guy off the field treated well by the organization. C)I think he will be a good and steadying influence on the younger guys. D) He will help win games and nothing is more demoralizing to a team than constantly having leads blown Thursdays fiasco not withstanding. E) He only takes up one spot in the bullpen and I think the younger guys will have plenty of opportunities.It also doesn't hurt to have guys like Dolis prove himself first at this level and have to earn those high leverage appearances imo.

    I definitely empathize with wanting to push the fast forward button though. Games like Thursday are tough to watch and there's no excitement to watching vets with no future and no upside (although capable) play. On a positive note it has motivated me to take better care of myself so I can be around to see them win it. I'm cutting back on the meatball parm subs lol.

  • In reply to draco:

    Awesome draco, those points are good on Wood. I just know that ownership wanted him back more than the FO. I'm glad you felt the same way about Thu.

  • Couldn't disagree with you more,Tom. That is the same attitude that ends up rushing prospects to the bigs too soon orutting them in situations they aren't ready for. Say he puts dolis in there instead of Wood and gets the same result. What would that do to raph's confidence. They'll be plenty of chances. It's a long season.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    Fair enough, but I had a problem with Wood not pitching in ST and Sveum should have seen he didn't have it sooner. Dolis would learn from it either way.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    I also don't want those guys rushed, I'm just in a rush to see them!

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    Tom, i actally liked reading this article, but i have to disagree with you. As Much as i am ready for the kids in AAA i think the best option is to let them stay there all year long and try to get that experience, before they get here. Granted i now that isn't going to happen. As for Kerry Wood, I love Kerry he has been a great cub. I think the was a smart guy to bring back because i think he could help the young guys. As for him taking up valuable roster spots my one argument for that is if Dolis was ready wouldn't he already have taken that spot. Everyone talks about him like he is the next K-rod.

  • I am not sure I disagreed (strongly, at least) with how the bullpen was put together, including Wood, and I think it has been clear from day 1 that Wood was the eight inning guy (at one point Sveum said he was the only set-up man).

    But when I heard the recap (I was out of touch during the game) I felt, I think, exactly like you, Tom. I think one of those typically negative headlines that TheUrge mentions was about deja vu, and I felt that too. Yep, it is one game, and one of the great things about baseball is the long season in which a lot can change. But the way the Cubs lost it was hard to not have a passing feeling that nothing has changed yet. Suddenly it was last year and I was drowning again.

    The article caught my mood exactly. Now it is a new day, go Cubs!

  • In reply to bruno14:

    Thanks, that was the point. To confess my feeling about that one game.

  • I know that it can affect "years of service", but I actually like in Lou Pinella's first couple years, he and upper management were not hesitant to reach down to the minor leagues, and provide an opportunity to AAA & AA players to come to the show. It provided a window of opportunity to the kids down there, where work ethic likely increased because the players all "knew" there was opportunity to go to the next level with hard work and desire to make the big team was evident. When that rookie came up, they either lasted, or they didn't. That's when you see if you can catch lightening in a bottle or not. The rookie knows, perform, or go back. I thought it worked well, and that was what (in the day) I was impressed by Lou Pinella, and the way he chose to handle a 25 man roster. I like that style of accountability, in hopes all our promising minor leaguers catch that same feeling...Its time to lessen the load of veterans, and let the kids play! Just my two cents...

  • It's true that the back end of the pen is the one part of the team that really dodged the bullet in terms of what could have been a big time renovation project. We're in a very uncomfortable position there, with Wood being guaranteed a role that, in all reality, he's too fragile to fulfill, and Marmol guaranteed too much money and being too much of an "all or nothing"-type guy for him of much value, now that his days as a top closer are behind him. Marmol is the kind of guy that if he gets off track and/or gets demoted to middle relief, is likely to totally go off the deep end and post quadruple digit ERAs.

    IMO, the best thing would have been to give Samardzija the closer role, and let Marmol and Wood share set up duties, at least temporarily. That way, Marmol and Wood's shortcomings would be slightly less painful, Samardzija would have a key role where he has a chance to be a star and make big money (what he seems to want), and Wells could stay in the rotation and build his trade value after his injury plagued season last year.

    Samardzija seems more mentally able to handle the role than Marmol. Marmol and Wood are not really tradeable and their best days are behind them. It IS frustrating, and there's nothing more demoralizing for a team than to lose a bunch of close games in the 8th and 9th innings.

  • Let me just say how cool it is to have this type of great banter among intelligent, passionate Cubs fans. It is truly a pleasure to deal with all of you!

  • I went to the opener ( section 209, row 1, awesome seats, but freeeeezing!). Two things I came away with. One, the team on the field reminds me of the Bears when Cutler went down. Don't expect much scoring, and if there is any miscue( Barber running out of bounds, then fumbling vs Broncos), game over.

    Two, the miscue that no one discussed on Thursday..., what the hell was Baker doing on that slow grounder to him in the 8th? I never saw a replay, they called it a H, but I was waiting for the scoreboard to change to an E. That was the play that took Dempster out, and led to the implosion. This team as it stands will scrap to get 2-3 runs and I doubt they'll hit 85 dingers this year. I agree with Tom, I like the future but wish it was just a bit sooner!

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    I'm not worried. Did you really think the Cubs were going to contend this year? I'm more worried about the way Sveum managed the first game. Why take Dempster out when he was dominating? Piss on pitch counts! And who gave Soriano permission to try and steal 3rd? Stupid!!

  • Day 2 update: 2 games, 2 great starting pitching performances, 2 blown leads by the bullpen, Marmol and Wood with identical 27.00 ERAs!!! Ouch.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    That bullpen has been awful...at a loss there. Could be 2-0. Instead, likely 0-2 with two demoralizing losses.

  • The bullpen hasn't been awful -- just Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol. But these have been two completely demoralizing losses, for sure.

    This year, we'll have to keep reminding ourselves we're in buildican mode. From that standpoint, Castro had a couple hits. Dolis looked good. So did Garza. This is a patch-work team that would be 2-0 if not for atrocious performances from two relievers who aren't part of the long-term plan.

    We're probably not going to have a miracle year, but there's no reason to think that this team isn't at least on the right track, long term.

  • What I'd like to see:

    closer: Samardzija
    RH setup: Dolis
    LH setup: Russell
    RH middle: Camp
    LH middle: Maine
    low pressure situations: Castillo
    long/swing: Lopez

    DL: Kerry Wood with some minor league rehab assignments, since he was too hurt during spring to get enough innings to be ready. Let him replace Camp when he returns.

    Rotation: Dempster/Garza/Maholm/Volstad/Wells

    I don't think Marmol is going to regain his form as a Cub, if ever. I don't think he'd do well on this team in a middle-relief type role, either. I think they need to give him away for a very minor prospect and eat half his contract, if that's possible.

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