There has been a lot of tension surrounding the Cubs lately.
The two story lines on the usually happy, happy, fun Opening Day were Ricketts vs. the rooftop owners, and the local media repeatedly reminding the front office about impatience. Let’s not even get into the goat head or Jorge Soler and his bat wielding.
On Monday, it seemed every radio interview with Cubs brass I heard or every article I read seemed to focus on when this rebuilding thing gets kicked into the next gear. Could it get worse? How about the Cubs debt crisis?
Gordon Wittenmyer has been banging the drum quite loudly of late that Tom Ricketts hasn’t given his golden boy front office all the resources to fulfill their vision. Is there some unrest within the front office regarding the lack of resources? Could it be the plan we have been sold is by necessity due to a lack of funding?
It seems like everyone is pointing to 2015 for more than just baseball reasons. Many of us are on board with a rebuild and it truly is the right way to build a perennial winner. No argument there. However, if money is stopping the front office from making moves within that plan, then we have a problem.
Theo Epstein already let us know he was surprised at the inability to capitalize on big market resources thus far, and he has been talking about stadium and television deals more than baseball lately. That scares me. It almost sounds as if Epstein is doing some sort of public funding infomercial.
Jed Hoyer meanwhile, was sounding slightly embarrassed himself on air while he acknowledged another 90+losses was likely in store instead of what they were used to in the past (Boston).
Theo has also been trying to temper expectations surrounding the farm system darlings.
"You can't over-leverage your organization on the hopes of two or three prospects. That doesn't work out. You have to look at every day, every player, every draft, every waiver wire, every game-on-the-line situation in the ninth inning as a way to get better as an organization and win some games."
I'm hearing there indeed have been some rumblings regarding the front office being restless. However, when it comes to money I'm told Theo and Jed have been assured "They will have it when they need it".
Ok great, but are we sure they haven’t needed it yet? Wittenmyer's sources suggests the front office wanted to make stronger bids on Asian free agents Yu Darvish and Hyun-jin Ryu.
Lastly, I hear Theo wanted no part of a last place finish again this year but will “take it”. When it comes to next year, all bets are off. Like most of us, he wants to see some progress soon.
At the end of the day, if the Cubs get their renovation and television deals in order all of this unrest will dissipate.
I just felt easier about this when I thought we were emulating Tampa Bay by design and out of necessity.
In the news
UPDATE on Soler (1:26 PM):
- 5 game suspension for Soler.
- Soler is "tremendously remorseful" and understands that what he did was wrong.
- Last straw was when opposing player insulted Soler's family. That is when Soler grabbed the bat.
- Theo supports Soler but condemns actions. Said he has seen the video and Soler did not swing the bat.
- Both Theo and Soler have accepted the punishment announced by the FSL.
- Cubs major league players appear to be supporting Jorge Soler. Bruce Miles tweets that Alfonso Soriano plans to talk to Soler. Jeff Samardzija also noted that Soler's big name and signing bonus will make him an occasional target and he's going to have to learn to manage that. Megan Montemurro of the Northwest Herald tweets that Theo Epstein will address the incident later.
- According to Carrie Muskat, Darwin Barney will get his stitches removed tomorrow and will then start a rehab assignment at AAA Iowa. He is expected to stay there through Monday.
- DeJesus CF
- Castro SS
- Rizzo 1B
- Soriano LF
- Schierholtz RF
- Castillo C
- Valbuena 3B
- Lillibridge 2B
- Feldman SP
What to watch for:
John: I'm watching Brent Lillibridge. He made the team early on and Alberto Gonzalez was the last minute addition, but Gonzalez has outplayed him, is the better defender, and may end up stealing his spot on the 25 man roster. Who'd have thought that Lillibridge's biggest contribution so far was to make us all appreciate Darwin Barney a lot more?
Tom: I want to see Scott Feldman get deeper in the game and show more command than in his Cubs debut.
Felzz: Carlos Marmol- He had a good 8th. They might turn around and see if he can get right. Granted, it might not even get to 8 innings today. But if it does. We might see Carlos in there. Here's hoping he settles everything down.