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Don't worry Cubs fans, Theo Epstein is still smart

Don't worry Cubs fans, Theo Epstein is still smart

A sight for sore eyes, that is what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were this past week.

I kind of missed seeing them I must admit. Not because they are ivy league handsome or affable with the media. We all know that already.

It was just a nice reminder that someone is still driving this bus. It came as no surprise that Theo and Jed would reappear during this huge home stand. It wasn’t so much a big home stand baseball wise, whom are we kidding here?

However, it was a big one for the organization for many other reasons. Let us count the ways.

You had the front office executing their first draft here in Chicago, and executing well according to most experts. The Cubs then made a big yet not shocking change at hitting coach to fit their long-term philosophy. Then you sprinkle in the interleague success of the Tigers and Red Sox fans invading Wrigley Field and making the home stand a huge success for the Cubs at the gate.

Top that off with the huge signing of Jorge Soler and the Boston media reunited with their once golden boy Epstein. Finally there are the Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza rumors igniting as the summer fully begins.

There has been much written about Epstein and just how magical he is or isn’t this past week. I’ve personally learned from painful experience there are no magical GM’s or coaches in sports. There are some who have plans and have executed them with success in the past such as Epstein though. Was he perfect? Not even close, but I firmly believe he has learned from his past mistakes and successes.

One of my favs, Jon Greenberg, points out Theo made some big mistakes in Boston and shouldn’t get too comfy in a long rebuilding process in such a big market. There is a lot of truth to that, but Theo knows this isn’t Kansas City.

On the flip side I’ve heard radio shows talking about the Cubs becoming competitive at the end of Theo’s 10-year deal. Seriously people? I have to roll on the floor laughing at that ridiculous notion.

Theo and Jed may not have the secret formula anymore but they do have a proven one. They also have a weapon like Jason McLeod and Tom Rickett’s money at their disposal very soon. There is much money coming off the books soon, and there is about to be an influx of more prospects to the system after they deal Dempster and Garza.

Theo and Jed may not have much to show for in their dealings this far, but the stars are aligning for them to be holding the cards at the right time (deadline). In an expanded playoff hunt there are teams desperate to get back into the playoffs.

That isn’t to mention Garza and Dempster just might be prize #1 and #2 respectively on the pitching market. There are not many things going right on the field these days but how could Ryan Dempster ever pick a better time to have another career year so far?

I don’t doubt for a minute that Theo and Jed will get the return they are looking in return for these two pieces. It seems to be very much in vogue to try and discredit Theo for some of the success he enjoyed in Boston lately and paint him as lucky even.

I’m not buying that for a minute. Once again, I don’t believe in magical front office people.

I do however believe in smart ones.

 

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  • fb_avatar

    Totally in agreement with you Tom..Some fans haven't been as patient since that weasel Paul Sullivan put up those lame comments on Comcast a couple of weeks back but this guy has a plan, and piece by piece little by little it's coming together and it's gonna be something special...I'm dying to see who he gets for Demp and Garza

  • Yeah that is what guys like Sully need to do they are trying to create a buzz that isn't really isn't there.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    When reporters say inflammatory things, it reminds me of a line from the movie Deep Impact, when a reporter thinks she has dirt on a White House executive who is resigning, and he asks her not to report it because it would harm his family and national security. She refuses, saying reporters in her business don't bury stories like this. The politician turns to her and says, "you were a person before you were a reporter once, right?"

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Tom, I think it's worse than just trying to make a buzz. I don't think he, among others, really want success. If he did, he wouldn't be denigrating the FO for not winning enough now. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that the Cubs could never get themselves into position to compete for the division this year without some miracle from the players we have today. The people on this blog, including, of course, yourself and John, have forgotten more about the interworkings of this organization than people such as he will ever know, yet they are the ones that "tell us" what is wrong. I know the sportswriters are paid to do the second guessing, but there is a time and place and circumstance for that. This isn't one of them.

  • Most "posters" seem quite willing to trade Garza and Demp. While I am not opposed to that, consider the rotation the Cubs would have for the rest of the year. Samardijza, Maholm, Wood, Wells?, Coleman? with Volstadt next in line? That's assuming that those two trades don't bring back major league ready starters (which I wouldn't expect). Those who fear a 108 loss season might be the optimists!

  • In reply to JayPea:

    The Cubs have the worst record in baseball with Dempster and Garza in the rotation so it can't get much worse than it already is. If they can trade them and get a few building blocks to next year and beyond then they should do it.

    Tom/John, any chance they package the 2 of them together for a mega deal?

  • In reply to Larry H:

    That would be tough. I'm not sure anyone has or would want to give up the prospects necessary for that to go down.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    To me it doesn't matter if they end with 80 losses, 90 losses or 120 losses. If they don't make the playoffs then they might as well get the #1 pick next year (even though there is no Harper / Strausberg). Rodrigo Lopez is in the minors just waiting to get the call back to Wrigley!

  • In less than a year, our system has gone from having one blue chip prospect (Baez), to having four (Baez, Soler, Almora, Rizzo). That's pretty good. (I don't include B. Jackson in that group because I think he's a notch below them, being a bit old for an elite guy and having the strikeouts, etc.)

    It'll be real interesting to see what we bring back in trades: do we go for the most talent we can get, or do we go for guys who are in the higher tiers of the minors who can help soon?

    It'll also be interesting to see what we do next winter--more scrap heap projects, like Ian Stewart and David Dejesus, or do we begin to go after greater quality? My guess is that next year will be more scrapheap than big names--still looking for a piece here and a piece there. Possibly 2013 could be another year like this year, but with a few more young guys contributing.

    High end young starting pitching is what we need. Where do we get that?

    I believe that Theo and Jed are enjoying the challenge of trying to build this organization, the challenge of finding guys on the scrapheap, trading for Rizzos, etc. The challenge of choosing the best strategy and excecuting it.

    Thus far, I'd give them a grade of B+. To me, the most disappointing thing has been the hiring of Sveum. He has a lot of good qualities, but he's also lacking some important ones, and I think he's managed us out of a handful of wins.

    Other than that, the Stewart trade is looking like a bust, and obviously Volstad hasn't pitched well. But all their other moves have been great, and overall, they've done an excellent job.

    One of the things I've been most impressed with is the coaching at both the MLB and the MiLB levels.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I think I'd have to agree some about Sveum. As far as in game management, handling bullpen, lineups, allowing young players to develop goes, I'm not sure he's been better than Quade. I'm not sure I understand the rationale behind our left handed lineup. How do players like Campana and LaHair develop against lefthanders if they never face them. It's not like our lefthanded lineup is doing any better. I'm also not sure I understand his use of the few good arms he has in the bullpen and when he decides to use them. I think sometimes he overmanages. He tries to be Joe Maddon but he's not quite there. Maybe this is his year to develop too, but I hate seeing Baker, Johnson, Mather starting all the time.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    So far I hear they are happy with Sveum. I am too, now has he made some tactical mistakes, yes. However, he is a rookie manager but he seems to have the respect of the clubhouse and I think Jed and Theo know it.

  • fb_avatar

    Anyone else stuck watching Buck and McCarver??? For an ex player, and someone whose been around the game since they were liitle, they are friggin ignorant...McCarver says its gonna take the Cubs longer than 5 years to get it together..I think the two of them will be right in line behind the Brenamman a holes in jumping off the biggest cliff they could find when the Cubs do get good again and win...

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    The national broadcast guys are generally pretty sketchy on the details. McCarver is one of the worst because instead of just sticking to what he knows he tries to fake it.

    Same as TBS / ESPN guys for Bulls games....no idea what they are talking about.

  • fb_avatar

    Unacceptable for an ex player whose been announcing sinc eI was in grade school

  • Buck and McCarver are Cardinals homers.
    Of course they hate the Cubs!

  • As a forever Cubs fan, I would not be bothered, no matter how many games they lose this year (without Dempster and Garza). But I would be concerned about the psychological impact on some of the guys we will carry into the future (always losing) and also whether it might impact some free agents who might otherwise consider signing.

  • Yeah Jay I hear you though I don't think the Cubs will pursue any real FA until they feel they are turning the corner.

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