Favorite 2012 Cubs Moves, Part 2

Favorite 2012 Cubs Moves, Part 2

Yesterday we did #12  through #7 and today we'll finish it off with the top 6 of 2012.

As a side note, I thought of also doing the worst moves but here's the thing: The moves that didn't pay off (at least not yet) such as the Ian Stewart trade, didn't cost the Cubs long term core pieces.  Chris Volstad may have been an unmitigated disaster last season, but it only cost the Cubs Carlos Zambrano (and eating his salary).  Getting a 25 year old former top prospect for a guy you didn't want is a pretty good gamble in my book.

But I digress...

Here are the Cubs top 6 moves of 2012 counting down from #6.

6. Signing Edwin Jackson to a 4 yr/$52M ($8M signing bonus)

The more I think about this deal, the more I like it.  After the signing bonus, the Cubs are paying a 29 year old Jackson an average of $11M over the next 4 years.  It's as close to a front-loaded deal in baseball as you can get.

But it's not just about the contract, Jackson has been a solid mid-rotation workhorse and the Cubs needed a dependable veteran after trading Ryan Dempster away.  I don't believe Jackson was signed to be flipped.  I believe the Cubs think he can be a part of their rotation when they win.  He'll be in his low 30s when the team is ready to contend.   If he stays the course, he's a solid #3, but I get this nagging suspicion that Jackson may end up being one of those guys who gets a little better with age. Some guys are just better in their 30s and I think Jackson has a chance to be one of them.

5. The acquisition of Arodys Vizcaino

It hurts to lose a quality pitcher and person like Paul Maholm but you can't pass up an opportunity to acquire a potential top of the rotation talent when you have the chance, particularly when it's converting a short term asset into a long one.  Questions remain about Vizcaino.  Can he be healthy?  Does he have the physical frame/durability to be a frontline guy?  My answer to that is if he he didn't have those questions, there's no way he's available and certainly not for Paul Maholm.  You have to take the risks because Vizcaino gives you everything else -- command, the athleticism to repeat his delivery, and, of course, the great stuff.  Vizcaino is such a low risk that some believe that, if healthy, at worst he's a quality closer.  It's that combination of floor and ceiling that excites me and why this makes it one of my personal favorite deals.

4. The drafting of Albert Almora

What I liked about this move is that the Cubs put their money where their mouth is.  They picked the guy whom they believed was the best player available in Almora when it was clear that  SP was a bigger organizational need than CF.  In reality, what the Cubs were saying was that their biggest organizational need was impact talent and Almora is potentially that kind of player.

Almora also fits the profile of what the Cubs want in their players.  He's a player with a high floor and a high ceiling.  Perhaps most importantly, he has the mental makeup that gives him a better than average chance of actually reaching that ceiling.

The fact that he's an all-around talent that plays a premium, up-the-middle position and plays it well also fits the teams philosophy.  With Almora as part of the plan, the Cubs figure to be strong up the middle for years to come.

3. The signing of Jorge Soler

The Cubs have always been good at unearthing finds in the international market but the Soler signing showed the Cubs were willing to go toe-to-toe with the big boys to land themselves one of the biggest potential impact amateurs in recent memory. They not only got themselves a great player, but they've announced their presence in Cuba and throughout Latin America.  The Cubs are now one of the go-to places when it comes to the international market.

As for Soler, you'll have some scouts who will tell you that he is the best prospect in the Cubs system.  His power potential is enormous and he has enough tools/skills to contribute in all other phases of the game.  There are some things to clean up with his swing and his routes on defense but the ability is there for Soler to be a monster in the Cubs lineup for years to come.

2. The extension of Starlin Castro: 8 yrs/$60.75M ($16M team option in 2020 with $1M buyout)

Was tempted to put this at the top and am still not sure, perhaps we can call this 1A.  The Cubs locked up a 22 year old all-star at the most premium position in baseball until his age 30 season -- and they did it at very low risk.  If Castro improves at a normal progression the contract is a bargain.  If he doesn't improve at all it's still a fair deal.  And if he breaks out as some believe he will, it's an absolute steal.  In exchange Castro gets financial security for life and the potential to enter the FA market as a 29 year old top SS if the Cubs don't pick up his option. Win-win.

It's a departure from the old regime that would let their players go through the arbitration process and approach free agency, then attempt to negotiate deals when players were at their peak (and sometimes past it), and at a time when they had the leverage of the free market looming.  It's led to some expensive extensions, such as the ones for Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez.  Both were good players, but the Cubs could have been more efficient.  The result was that they hamstrung their payroll for good, but not elite players.

Hopefully the Castro extension is a sign of things to come with other players whom the Cubs consider core guys.

1. The acquisition of Anthony Rizzo

This just snuck in as it occurred on January 6th of 2012.  It made me nervous at the time.  I was having lunch with a friend when it came across the screen.  The Cubs acquire 1B Anthony Rizzo (yay!) for RHP Andrew Cashner (gulp).  This was a team that lacked front line pitching talent and Cashner certainly had that kind of potential.  It wasn't a slam dunk in the Cubs front office.  They didn't want to lose Cashner.  But they did want Anthony Rizzo.  A lot.

Rizzo gave the Cubs a second core player to go with Castro.  He's a middle-of-the-order bat who is also a good defender.  He also possesses the type of character and mental makeup that the team wants to build around.  As always, it's not been about the individual talent, it was a statement on the big picture.  The Cubs want players who will represent them well on and off the field and by making Rizzo their first major acquisition, the Cubs sent a message to the entire organization.  This is what we are going to be.  Perhaps it's a lot of pressure to put on a kid, but Rizzo has already handled a lot more in his young life.

 

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  • Really like Rizzo @ 1.

  • In reply to GZUS:

    I'm sure many would agree on that (myself included, of course!) He'll probably be the team's most popular player this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Watch his jersey sales skyrocket if he has a 30/100 year.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Just got mine! I haven't bought one since Sandberg...pumped!

  • In reply to GZUS:

    I'll be convinced that getting Rizzo was a better deal than extending on Castro's contract if/when the management manages to do a similar thing with Rizzo in a season or so.

    I would list them as 1a/1b though.

    However,... as much as I used to like the guy a few years ago,... I think that the best thing for team progression and changing the team mental makeup that happened was jettisoning Carlos Zambrano & his tantrums. That and chosing not to try and resign Ramirez or Pena or make an over-reach play for Fielder/Pujols set the stage for everything to follow.

    I guess what I am trying to say the best thing that happened for last season was actually getting started on an honest, painful, rebuild.

  • DeRosa signs with Jays for $775,000...and will get a WS ring.

    Our friend Chris Carptener was let go by t e Red Sox....(Sign him now Theo)

    Delmon Young will play for the Phillies and meet with local Rabbi's.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Carpenter was touching high-90s on his FB before we traded him......I am not sure of the nature of his arm trouble, but he probably needs a big FB to make it, as he has poor command

    May as well give him a minor-league deal if he's game

  • In reply to Zonk:

    yes, minor league deal.....and it would make Theo grin to see Chris make it with us again as Chris was the guy the Red Sox took for Theo coming here.

  • Great lists the last two days John - cant wait for ST - hoping some of these young kids make big jumps this yr!

  • In reply to mditka:

    Thanks coach. I hope that's the case as well. Would like to see an unexpected kid step up, someone like Jackson or Castillo...or both.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm intrigued by what they're doing with Baez. It really does seem like they expect explosive growth out of him this year -- or they're building him up for a big trade in the near future.

    Really excited to see him. Hopefully he's in Knoxville soon so I can road trip out to watch him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Right now, Id rather keep Baez, except if Im getting someone like David Price in return. I wouldn't take even someone like Cliff Lee or Halladay for him.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    No, if Baez goes anywhere it's Price (or equivalent -- Hernandez, Stanton, etc.) on the other side of the coin. I'm certainly not advocating moving him for an aging veteran.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He's the kind of guy who can move quickly. The Cubs seem to already acknowledge he'll move as performance dictates, no specific timeline.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd feel a lot better about Baez once he shows he can hit pitching at Daytona.

  • In reply to mditka:

    I will be watching Kane County. That offense looks to be potentially explosive with Soler, Vogelbach, Almora, and Candelario starting there. If they live up to form, a lot of 6-7 run games from that O, even in the pitching-dominated MWL.

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    The Padres would probably like a re-do on Rizzo.

    They traded Mat Latos for Grandal and Yonder Alonso, and obviously preferred Alonso to Rizzo, as they immediately flipped Rizzo for Cashner.

    Now, I bet they would prefer Rizzo over Yonder, no pun intended....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That bad showing by Rizzo in San Diego was the best thing that could have happened to the Cubs. Rationale wasn't he wasn't a good fit but they underestimated his ability to adapt his game. Reds did a good job of selling high on Alonso. I think he'll be a good, but not great player at 1B.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My question with Alonso, will he ever hit for power in Petco? That place is death to LH pull hitters. They knew who there opponents were when they built that place(Bonds, CarGo, Ethier)

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I think they may be hoping he ends up being more of a Mark Grace type player. He's a good defender with gap power and a good batting eye.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Havent seen Alonso at IB yet, but I remember how Tony Campana has Alonso to thank for his only ML HR. He was a terrible outfielder, worse than Adam Dumb on his worse days. ComPadres had better hope hes anything near Mark Grace at first.

  • I was expecting the Koyie HIll trade to be at the top of the list.....NOT.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    maybe letting Hill go might be 1a.

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    Question: Who would you rather have at this point, Vizcaino, or Randall Delgado?

    Not sure what we would have gottten elsewhere for Maholm, but just wondering

    I personally prefer Delgado; lower ceiling, but he's already an established starter.

    I still like the trade with Atlanta though regardless

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'd take the higher ceiling guy in Vizcaino and I talked to one other non-Cubs source who wholeheartedly agreed with me on that.

    One guy I talked to thought Delgado was a #4 and while there is less risk I don't know if I'd call him an established starter yet. I would agree if you meant he was more likely to remain a starter. It's a trade-off and it comes down to preference but I like Vizcaino in terms of floor and ceiling. I think Delgado's floor is a bottom of the rotation guy or non-closing reliever.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Delgados best pitch is a circle change. Doesn't really have a pitch that stands out, his biggest asset so far has been his control. Id rather have Vizciano, a big time power arm (I see him as a lot like Spellcheck) if he can stay healthy and develop some degree of durability.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I'm an upside guy too. I see the argument for Delgado, but for me it's Vizcaino.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Building him back up -- and helping him tweak his delivery to protect his arm -- will be the first big challenge for Derek Johnson.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Indeed-Vizciano, Maples , and Underwood will likely be the 3 biggest projects for Johnson this year. Maples mechanics are a mess.

  • I agree getting Rizzo was one of the biggest initial moves this Cubs FO made. I paused too when Cashner was going to the Padres however, he is a young power pitcher who already has some arm issues. The last thing the Cubs need it another Prior and to some extent Wood. Also, you have to give up talent to get talent.

    As far as Ian Stewart goes, I'm definitely not impressed and we did give up two quality players yet, I can't help but think those players needed the change and probably may have never had the season they did in a Cubs uniform. Especially Colvin - he really needed a fresh start and maybe a little kick in the ass too. I hope he does well in Colorado - except when they play the Cubs!!

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    In reply to jaxx51:

    We clearly lost on the Stewart trade. I think Colvin, though, isn't really a great hitter away from Coors, and had a very high BABIP last year. As far as Lemahieu, he is a 'tweener: Not enough glove for 2B, not enough power for 3B.

    LeMahieu would have been a useful stopgap for us at 3B, though, because he is a good fielder there and can make contact

    We lost on this one for sure

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Short-term.... I'll agree that we totally lost the Stewart/Colvin trade,... hands down.

    However - it will be interesting to see how (or if) Stewart is able to play now that he is allegedly healthy again. A good season with regular 3B starts,... followed by a maybe a midseason flip to a contender needed a solid (if not spectacular) 3B/2B guy for a decent prospect or two,... and maybe that trade won't look quite so one-sided this time next year.

    Or,... Stewart could hit 0.200 again,... and we wish him well on his next team & contract.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    A bit of a disagreement from me on whether or not the Stewart trade was a clear loss. granted what we were looking for from him hasn't transpired YET. But looking through my blue koolaid colored glasses I have a gut feeling he's going to have a HUGE breakout year. But and I say again but if that doesn't happen then yep it's a loss and we'll cut our losses with the guy.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I agree that the Stewart trade is an extreme all-or-nothing trade. If he remains injured, he will be absolutely worthless. On the other hand, if his problems WERE because of a bad wrist, and he DOES return to his early form, the deal will be a steal for the Cubs.

    The Vizcaino trade is similar, in that it is quite possible that he never returns to his pre-surgery form. But the upside is substantial.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Unfortunately, I think that your last statement will be most accurate for Stewart in 2013. He just seems like a .200 hitter. Hard to see him making a huge jump even if his wrist is better.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    How can you judge a trade just one year after it took place?
    Fergie Jenkins was a 6-win, 8-loss pitcher his first year here. Should they have ripped him up and down like a la Stewart, and rip the trade too?
    It's too early to call this a "win" or a "loss", which misses the point anyway. The best trades help both teams.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    Colvin hit really well in Coors so that helped too. I'd like to see them both succeed but I don't think either are core type players. It's a potential loss for the Cubs but I don't think it'll be a big loss.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If you look at their career stats their numbers are very similar.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    Didn't Colo DFA Colvin late last year or early this year?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    No...they're going to keep him on the 25 man and certainly the 40.

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    In reply to jaxx51:

    This was a low risk high reward move in my opinion. Colvin was a 4th OFer and was anyone comfortable handing 3b to Lemahieu? He would have been a solid contact (but no power), good defensive backup.

    Stewart was a plus defender and a potential RBI guy and the the Cubs had (still have) a huge need for a bar like that. Stewart started slow, that happens at Wrigley. Then he had a few games that the ball was flying off his bat, then the wrist problems were too much to overcome.

    If he can stay healthy most of this year I wouldn't be surprised to see .260 with good obp, 25 hr 85 RBI with very good D.

    That has to be a win for the Cubs.

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    In reply to Redrocket:

    bar = bat

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    John, what is your evaluation of the Sean Marshall trade?

    I think jury is still out, and who knows if we could have signed Marshall to the 3-year, $16.5mil extension that Cincy did. Even if we did, we'd probably be looking to trade him anyway.

    The pieces we got (Dave Sappelt, Ronald Torreyes, Travis Wood), iI like Torreyes upside. Wood and Sappelt, we'll see, I suspect they were mostly filler.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I agree the jury is out. The deal works for the Reds because of where they are and they didn't give up impact guys. They did,however, give up potential value, which is what rebuilding teams like the Cubs need in addition to impact guys.

    If Wood sticks in the rotation then it's good for the Cubs even if he's the 4th or 5th guy. If Sappelt becomes a good part time player he adds value as well.

    We were likely talking one year of Marshall here with no comp if he walked. Possible the Cubs could have resigned him, but it's hard to imagine that a contending team wouldn't have been willing to outbid the Cubs on the open market.

  • So that Concepcion signing has become a "Bust" already?....the guy is young and still can be part of this team or a trade package down the road.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I wouldn't say he's a bust but he has to show something this year. As far as trade package, he's not worth anything right now.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Give him a break. 20yo Cuban kid, never been to the West, Give him a chance with some decent coaching. A bust is Hayden Simpson, who never should have been a #1 pick to start with, then contracts mono and cant regain his strength. Concepion so far has only costed $, a risk you take in any business.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Most will likely agree that Simpson was a bust as the 16th overall selection in 2010. A few notables that have been mentioned recently on this blog, and were all selected after Simpson:

    28) Zach Lee
    38) Noah Syndergaard
    44) Nick Castellanos
    49) Mike Olt
    68) Drew Smyly
    70) Andrelton Simmons

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    None of those guys have done anything yet in the major leagues. They're still prospects with paper value only.
    Mono isn't so easy to kick. Give Simpson some time.

  • John, nice end-of-year type series. Thanks to you and to whomever suggested it.

    Now, are you going to put yourself out there with a bold predictions post?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Bold predictions. Sure, why not. Sounds like a good one for the start of spring training.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, hope you're feeling better! If you do the bold predictions post, make sure Nate Schierholtz is on it.I liken him to a more athletic Dwight Evans with less power, and I think it was quietly a great move by this FO. Mark it down... 500+ AB, 15-20 HR, 70+ RBI, .275/.375/.460 plus excellent RF defense.

  • In reply to Getmonty2:

    I live in the SF bay area, my wife is a huge Giants fan, so as a result I watch a lot of their games. Schierholz has a lot of fans, and I think he might surprise a lot of people in Chicago with his overall play.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I made the suggestion and John did a great job with it. Probably a good uplifting bid of "medicine" during his hospital stay. Are you home now John? Thanks for the list. I agree on the top five for sure, though for me, I would have slid the Jackson signing down. I still hope to be wrong about that one though.

  • Hard to argue with that list. (Except 12! :) Everything about the Rizzo situation screams #1. Besides landing him, smart move sending him down to work on his swing and extend his years of control, and when they finally brought him up amidst all the fanfare, the FO set a good tone that kept him level headed and reduced the pressure. (You're here to stay. You're gonna have your ups and downs, don't worry about it.)

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I'm going to start calling all you guys Bourn-agains :)

    The Rizzo move was important to the Cubs on so many levels that it's hard to even quantify it and it's easy to see now why the Cubs were willing to risk dealing Cashner. It looks like it's paid off, but it could have burned them too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lol. We'll walk door-to-door preaching "Michael has risen... from second, and is taking third on the errant throw by the catcher."

    Time will tell. I see his WAR at least staying above 3 the next three to four years and with him being only 8 months older than Edwin Jackson, can see a four-year deal being justified if the price is right. Even you non-believers have to admit his market has seemingly tanked. - Book of Bourn 6:4-3

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Haha! This floored me :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hope you're feeling better. :)

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    Jim Hendry had to go because we really failed to develop a good farm system, and some of his FA contracts were head scratchers.

    But if you look at Hendry's trading record, it was excellent. We sold high on alot of prospecs for good talent (Choi for D-Lee, Bobby Hill for A-Ram,), and the Nomar trade was a very good one, even if Nomar didn't quite work out. Only the Pierre trade was a bad one.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    To me, Hendrys problem was simple. The front office was never adequately staffed when Hendry was there, Some of that might have been the Trib trying to keep costs down in light of there Chapter 11 filing. Hendry also never was into sabermetrics, he went the old-fashioned scout route to drafting. Ask yourself, how many of the Cubs first draft picks under Hendry even made it to the big leagues? Prior?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Agreed. That was a huge part of it. I also think GM didn't play to Hendry's strengths. He's a good baseball man, not sure he had all the skills you like in a GM though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hen dry is an excellent scout , John, especially when you consider hes considered around the game to be one of its real gentleman, popular to a large degree with players and other executives. But hes not a GM.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Agreed.

  • The Phillies must have talked with Alfonso Soriano about coming to the Phillies, before signing Delmon Young.........Delmon Young is better than Soraino? or Vernon Wells?.....Young is a "Cancer"......Phillies are not going anywhere........by July, the team will trading off Lee, Halladay, Rollins.....Phillies were desperate on this Young deal.

    Soriano wants to end his career with the Cubs.....guy passed on the Giants last year....talking about the cold weather in the Bay area...I don't want to hear any "lip" later on by Soriano how Theo did not trade him.......I believe that Soriano is asking for "moving" fee extension ......

    side note, anyone see Barry Bonds California mansion?.....it is up for sale.....i believe it is listed for $28 million.....should sell for what it has.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Not a fan of Young. Maybe they figure they'd rather have Young than Soriano minus Brown. I think they would have taken Soriano if he Cubs were willing to sell low but that was never going to happen.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    wonder how many different types of PEDs Barry can hide there?

  • I still can't believe the Cubs got Rizzo for Cashner. I am pretty sure that most thought Cashner was at best a closer when that trade went down. He is clearly not durable enough to be a starter. Even though he was one of the top young arms in the Cubs system, it was a no brainer in my opinion. We need to trade with the Pads more:)

  • In reply to Justin:

    The Cubs did have the Padres in a tough position, so I don't think it will always be that favorable. The Padres were forced to try and create value by taking a gamble on a high ceiling/high risk guy and it hasn't worked out for them.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cashner will be fine if the Padres keep his workload & innings down. He could blossom into a top power reliever however, we all know how that story ends - usually arm trouble &/or a steep decline right after signing a huge contract! Good kid - wish him the best.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    I think it's possible for him to be a starter but limiting his innings will always prevent him from being a front line guy. That makes him similar perhaps to guys like Rich Harden and Erik Bedard. You can entrust him to give you some dominant innings, just not consistently. Padres will have to decide if they want that or a closer.

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    In reply to Justin:

    I agree, closers are a luxury on a rebuilding team and generally don't make a lot of sense. If a guy who pitches in 40-60 games can bring you a very good position player that's almost a no-brainer in my book. And I am also skeptical Cashner can ever be a SP and stay healthy. Remember he was a closer in college. He doesn't have a track record of pitching 100+ innings in a year.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Cashner is 6'6" 200 lbs. Tall, lanky power pitchers tend not to have long careers as starters in the bigs, if they are good(Jack McDowell is one example) they tend to flame out as soon as there velocity drops or they have arm problems(John Smoltz) and have to rebuild arm strength before they start again. Im one who believes Adam Wainwright, for example, with 2 TJ surgeries and throwing 50% breaking balls, will develop more arm troubles 2-3 years down the road. Wainwright is built in the McDowell/Smoltz mold.

  • Excellent top 6, John. I personally see Soler in the Sammy Sosa mold, but Soler at 6'3" and 220, already has imposing size Sosa didn't reach until mid-career. Rizzo for Cashner might end up as ourt version of Broglio for Brock if Cashner continues to battle physical ailments. Vizciano to me is the key to the rotation in the next 2-3 years going forward. If he develops into a TOR starter, the staff takes a huge jump forward.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Thanks MB! Soler is a big kid and we can see that he hits it a mile when he connects. If he can correct some minor hitches, the sky is the limit.

    Really hoping Vizcaino sets himself up well for 2014 this season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know he will be on a pitch limit this season. Does this mean he won't be called up this sept?

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    Cubs will likely start Vizciano in relief at first, or maybe your right, 7-8 big league starts in the second half of the year. Biggest issue will likely be command. By 2014, his velocity is likely to be what it was pre-surgery.

  • This is an encouraging list for the Cubs' future. Could all six players could form the core of a contending team? All signs point to yes.

    Adding to the list of 12, I also like the addition of Sveum, the front office hires, the progressive defensive alignments, and the improved defense of Starlin/Darwin.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Good additions. I limited this to 2012 so FO and Sveum hires don't qualify but really like the defensive alignments and Castro improvement. I should have made an honorable mention list.

  • John, Great article. In terms of long term impact, I would definitely slot the groundbreaking of the Dominican facility in the Top 5.

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    I think you're right. Maybe I could have incorporated that in with the Paniagua and Soler signings.

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    Great article John! They're going in the right direction. They're making all the right moves. Not all of them will pan out, but that's the way it always is, and if they make enough right moves, the Cubs are likely going to be very good for a very long time.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Really like this direction and it didn't occur to me how much they've done until I put this together -- especially since I left a lot of stuff out.

    It's easy to look at this team and say it's another 90-100 loss season, but when you step back and look at the big picture, you can see this thing coming together -- and probably a whole lot quicker than we think.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For folks like me, a Cub fan since age 9 (1958), I have been resigned to the prospect of croaking without ever seeing a WS appearance, let alone a championship. That still may be but, despite all the patience I have had to show, I am more comfortable with waiting a bit longer based upon the current direction.

    BTW, I DO believe there has been a curse. The curse of really lousy ownership.

    I also have heard a lot of praise for Dallas Green of late. I like that. I truly appreciated his efforts and was extrememly disappointed when he was forced out.

    Hope you are feeling better with each day John. Just don't read StillMissKennyHubbs's puns if you're feeling queasy.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Haha! I'll be careful with those puns.

    The curse of lousy ownership nails it. Says it all.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Kudos to Dallas Green for trying to do it the right way. What a contrast from the College of Coaches / Wrigley legacy.
    But the current Cubs' building plan will soon have the NL Central "Green with envy".

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I couldn't agree more. I don't expect the Cubs to be in the running for a wild card this year, but significant improvement has already been made. This plan seems to be coming together much faster and much stronger than any of us would have thought a year ago.

    John, excellent list, reading it in a list form like this really helps you gain a stronger appreciation for just how far this organization has come in the past 12+ months.

    If you were to make a similar list of the 10 most important goals/objectives for the upcoming season, what ideas would you include?
    Obviously, development and draft would be at the top, of the list, but what other areas do you see as a "make or break" this year?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Thank you. This article has spun off quite a few good ideas from all you guys. I'll have to figure out how to use them all.

    I think getting pitchers healthy is a big step. Improving on OBP skills particularly with impact guys like Almora and Baez is another goal.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, you should do an outside the top 12 moves....Great articles John...glad your seeling good enough to get back in the swing'

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Thanks Luigi. I've had another request like that so maybe. Had something different in mind so I'll have to think about it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    great list, lots of progress so far, need to keep it going with a few more trades and the draft. Hope you're feeling better, doesn't really sound like the flu, some guys will do anything to keep from going to the cubs convention!

    As far as list of additional moves or future articles ideas, alot of the other moves and changes are things that build over time by accretion, those where did that guy come from moves that lift an organization at all levels over time. I don't think this is just due to adding a cubs way manual, or a carmen type computer system, but it includes those things with having a team in the from office that is familiar with each other and how to work to put something together at an organizational level as well as a 25 man and a 40 man level. I don't think Hendry ever did this, not just a matter of big picture but more like seeing patterns in a mosaic and in motion. Hendry was more of a downhill linear thinker, he was good at finding righthanded hitters and second basemen and did this routinely. If you could win a world series with all rightie second baggers the last decade would have went much better for the cubbies, actually the last twenty years if you count the Mcphail years. To me this is the greatest change so far. Some of the major changes will over shadow all the little moves going on, and getting to the top will probably be more due to those big moves and jumps in the players and team, but you want your base organization to be strong enough to provide the basic building blocks, like right handed bats, and second basemen, so you can trade for the key pieces or players like the ones on your list. Anyway it is so nice to see after all these years.

  • Can't wait to see the bitchy column that professional troll Dan Shaughnessy pens now that Carpenter is on his way out of Boston.

    Enjoyed this two parter, John. How about a sequel: Top ten 2012 deals that fell apart on the Cubs through no fault of their own.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    They should have stuck with Castro or Garza!

    I'll have to see. Actually thought about something like that. Lots of good list ideas.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We could have sen t them Koyie Hill.

  • If Derek Johnson works out to be another Leo Mazzone, I think his signing could end up being the #1 on this list, but we won't know for a good long while, most likely. BTW, pretty dorky picture of him in part 1 of this article. Here's a link to a site where DJ discusses how to throw a 4 seam fastball:

    http://www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/p/Baseball/Developing-Your-Pitching-Arsenal-and-Game-Plan_LD-04036B.html?crm=a-2792

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I was a bit conservative with that ranking because there are too many parts and too many variables right now. Like you said, that could change in a couple years as one of the FOs best under the radar moves.

  • John
    Get well soon, John, and do you have any idea how Michael Jordan scored 38 points in the 1997 NBA semi-finals while suffering from the flu?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Have no idea. He's not human.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Heck DTP I know the answer to that...It all comes down to the fact that he went to CAROLINA.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    SI had a very inspiring story about that.

  • SI also had inspiring stories about Te'o, and Lance Armstrong.
    Lesson: Triple-check your sources and facts, and then do it again.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    The thing is, as a former Chicagoan and still a fan of the Bulls as well the Cubs, I always liked Jordan. I couldn't care less about Te'o or Armstrong.

  • I'm glad you ranked Alberto Cabrero as one of your top moves. Reminds me of another power pitcher the Cubs moved from the the BP to the rotation - his name was Ferguson Jenkins and that worked out pretty well.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I like the creativity in trying to find impact arms from wherever they can. Jenkins is a great example and if memory serves, Pedro Martinez spent some time in the bullpen before dominating as a starter. Sometimes it works. Doesn't hurt to try.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John this reminded me of the Cubs trying Shark in the rotation. That seems to have worked out so far. I would consider him a core player as of now.

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    John, another article idea here. You should do an article on the top minor league players who could have an outbreak season. I think that would be really interesting to see who we should be watching in the minors this upcoming year.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Thanks for the idea, Demarrer. I'm going to have to write these down!

  • Red Sox DFA'd Chris Carpenter to make room for Napoli. Cubs are interested in bringing back. They have 40 man roster issues themselves as they have not yet officially added Villanueva... Is Carpenter worth dropping one of the guys on our current 40 man roster?

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    They don't necessarily need to add him to the 40 man roster. Could sign him to a minor league contract if Carpenter is open to that.

  • Regarding Nate Schierholz, I am one year removed from Sacramento, and I always listened to the "Kruk and Kuip Show" (Mike Krukow/Duane Kuiper, Giants broadcast team) on my way to work. One day they would have Krukow on, the next Kuiper. Not only are they the best broadcast team I've ever heard, but I really regard their baseball player analysis as excellent. They were always positive about Schierholz from various points of view, so I am pretty excited to see this kid here with the Cubs. I think he is the prototypical "change of scenery" type player, who won't be an all-star, but will definitely be a contributor in various ways. Having come from the Giants system, he knows how to play the game the right way already, and if we can bring him along with some tweaking, etc., we have ourselves a really solid player.

  • Top Ten Unreported Cubs Related Stories in 2012

    10 - Wayne Messmer lips sings the National Anthem at Cubs games.

    9 - Theo & Jed each has a bucket of Popeye's chicken wings and a case of Budweiser beer before each Cubs home game.

    8 - Opposing team players must pay a dollar to use the visiting clubhouse toilet stalls to help Alfonso Soriano's contract..

    7 - Wrigley Field night time security guards report seeing the ghosts of Harry Caray & Ron Santo running the bases at night.

    6 - DEA Agents spotted Marijuana being grown in between the ivy walls at Wrigley.

    5 - There is no beef in those burgers sold at Wrigley.

    4 - Ex- Cubs batting coach Rudy Jaramilo made his hitters spend their off days playing wiffle ball.

    3 - Cars with Missouri license plates at Cubs - Cardinals games at Wrigley , receive a free flat tire by Ronnie Woo Woo.

    2 - When not in the game, Tony Campana runs a $500 min. dice game out in the players parking lot.

    1- Real reason Bob left the Cubs tv booth was that Len had an uncontrollable gas problem.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    And here I thought Shecky Greene had passed on....

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