The Anarchist's Brunch- The big plan edition.

The Anarchist's Brunch- The big plan edition.

Well, we're somewhere in the "Jawas-sell-C3PO-and R2D2-To-Luke-Skywalker" part of the baseball season and it's a little frustrating. There isn't a whole lot to talk about, other than the usual day to day baseball stuff. It's too early to think playoffs, it's too early to talk trades. The draft is coming up but that's down to two people and that's Arguello's baby. And there's been enough time for this regime that we really don't need to discuss how it differs or improves from the last one. So allow me to take something I usually rant about in the comments section, and occasionally hint at in my game wraps, and try and expound on it into a full length column.

There is no "Big plan".

A lot of people subscribe to this idea of "a big plan"- The Cubs are going to be awful for a few years, might even tank on purpose, are going to get as many high picks as possible, going to trade everything short of Castro, Rizzo, and the new right field patio for prospects and then in 2015- the magical year, when all the prospects have developed, that's when they open the Ricketts family vault, sign the lynch pin free agent and begin a reign of terror that will bring championships and blood coursing through the streets of Wrigleyville. And while I'd love for that to be true, especially the part about Championships and blood, it just isn't.

That's just one possible plan out of hundreds, perhaps thousands of plans lying around the offices at Theo, Jed, Pi Epsilon HQ. And all of those plans are re-written, shredded and re done all the time. These plans are fluid and are based on marketplace, opportunity, new developments, and un-forseen things being seen. Right now, the only "plan" is to decide between Appel and Gray ( fine, I'll throw Bryant in there...) figure out what the signing number is going to be, or at least ballpark it.) and execute a plan to draft two maybe three others before going to the college senior route of minimum contracts through the 10th round. ( I mean really, who drew this part of the CBA up? Daffy Duck?). Other than that...

There is no "Big plan".

There's a big goal. There's a big picture. I do agree that by 2015 or so the Cubs want to be a fully stocked team that churns out it's own players and thus gives the roster cost control and flexibility and makes them players whenever a star player becomes available. That they're contending every year because each year one of their own players takes a step forward as Rizzo is doing now. I totally agree with that.

That's why I bristle when Matt Garza comes back to pitch and everyone from the pressbox to to the bleachers starts listing possible suitors and talks about how few starts Garza has to have before they can "ship him out of here". They might. THey might qualify him and get another year to increase his value. They might sign him to an extension. Garza for 3 years at 30 might be a better move than 90% of the trades out there.

That's why I don't have any definite pans for Javier Baez. He might be a shortstop and move Castro to third or the outfield (although I doubt it.). He might be moved to second base. He might be traded. He might flame out or get hurt. Is it written in the big plan or not whether Javier Baez gets hurt? Of course there isn't.

Because there isn't any "Big plan".

You might have a big plan. But the Cubs don't. They have a big goal. Splitting hairs? Picking nits? Perhaps. But I'm always reminded of that great sports mind Mike Tyson when he said "Everyone has a plan, until they get hit." The hits fly fast and plenty in baseball, especially if Rizzo's up. ( That's right, the Cubs are playing well so the Jokes are positive. If the Cubs were losing that line would have read "especially when jackson is pitching..."). So the goal may stay the same, but the plans change all the time.

Because there is no "Big plan". Click your heels three times and keep saying it.


Really, really enjoyed the debut of Matt Harvey Friday. Reminded me of when Jason Isringhausen debuted for the mets and struck out 12 Cubs. Next day Mike North was calling the GM and offers him half the White Sox team for him.

Eeegads. Mike North. Remember when he was a thing? City of Chicago is not gonna live that one down. Mancow Meuller either.

I've got the Stones "Sticky Fingers" playing right now. Getting jazzed for the Stones show in two weeks. Going with my pops. It'll be his 15th Stones show. He saw them at the Stadium in the 5th row in 1975.

In new music, thumb is mildly up on the new Daft Punk. Which considering the hype it got, is pretty impressive.

Ryan Dempster threw 127 pitches last night and didn't even get through 5 innings. Ahhh.......

By the way, Randall Delgado, the stud pitcher everyone was so upset we didn't get in the failed Dempster trade....? Yeah, he stinks. He's currently got an ERA of 9 in AAA. Vizcaino is already a better pitcher and he hasn't even pitched.

When does he start pitching by the way?

By the way, for the two to four people that might care, the name of this Sunday column was taken from this book. It's one of my favorite collection of short stories anywhere. We even named our beagle after one of the characters in the last story.

I'm in the middle of a new business pitch, which means I have to go into the office today. Which is a long way of saying today's game wrap might be delayed a couple of hours.

But Arguello and Loxas will be at the game today. So be on your best behavior. Because they won't be.


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    It's not that there isn't a plan. It's that the plan is flexible to allow it to adapt to continually changing circumstances. Sun Tzu would approve.

  • There's a goal. The plan is to get to that goal. That's as far as I'll go.

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    In reply to felzz:

    Goals are strategic. How you achieve that goal is tactical.

  • Yeah... I think some of the "plan VS. Goal" stuff is semantics. But like you pointed out felzz, it's not rigid. If there was a rigid plan to suck for 3-4 years and be good by 2015, you could have a computer as a GM and just hire good scouts. But things change, and thus the "plan" changes. So we have Theo and Jed.

  • Agreed Felzz. I think the plan is a fluid one and it's more about getting the best value possible. And if Garza on a deal as you say, 3/30, gives them more value than the prospects he'd bring back, then they'll sign him. I don't think it's set in stone that you have to flip everyone. You do what gives you the most value short and long term.

    Also depends on time frame. If you think you can win next year or 2015, then a reasonably signed Garza is a lot more valuable to that pursuit than a prospect.

    On the other hand, if he wants a lot of years and a lot of guaranteed money, maybe it's best to get what you can for him.

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    John, there is no way I think Garza settles for a 3year 30 million dollar type of deal, especially if he returns healthy and effective, we shall see in thenext 50-60 days..By the way Felzz, love the brunch pic today....any woman that could eat like that and still look decent..

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Probably not, was more speaking in hypothetical terms. You can still get value for Garza at more than that probably. I think it just depends on how the negotiations go. If Garza wants to test the market -- and I wouldn't blame him with such a poor FA class, especially in terms of pitching, then I think you try to deal him for something more than the comp pick you'd get with a qualifying offer.

  • Olney has a new column out on the limited amount of good starting pitchers that may be available on the trade market. His #1 SP value is Scott Feldman . Feldman has pitched Himself into a very good asset . Good stuff.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Dealing Feldman is something that makes a lot of sense if the Cubs are out of it by the deadline. I think he's a great sell high candidate.

  • There seems to be some confusion stemming from semantics.

    A plan consists of a goal, a strategy and tactics. You are correct that all three of them change over time, but each does not change as often or as completely as the others.

    The GOAL seems to be quite simple. They wish to have an organization that is a perennial contender by the year 2015. This does not seem to have changed over the past year, and probably will not change in the immediate future, barring unforseen circumstances that render it necessary to change the target date. A car crash killing Rizzo, Castro and Samardzija would likely to set the date back a little, while MVP offensive and defensive years from Ian Stewart, Darwin Barney and Wellington Castillo might bump it up a year.

    STRATEGIES consists consist of long term plans that support the goal and should lead to it's accomplishment. Building a strong minor league system that creates a consistant flow of talent to the MLB team would be a strategy. Reducing payroll now in order to free up money at a future time would be a strategy. Creating a "core" of young and talented players around which to build your team would be a strategy. Strategies change over time, much more often than goals, but much less often that tactics.

    TACTICS are short term plans that support the each individual strategy.

    To support the strategy of building a strong farm system, you might use the tactic of improving and expanding your scouting system. You might create a standard training system and publish it in the form of a "Cubs Way". You might build a baseball academy in the DR and increase overseas scouting and signings.

    To support that stategy of building a war chest, you might use the tactic of trading away overpriced veterans. You might revamp Wrigley Field to increase the revenue streams. You might add advertising revenue by building jumbotrons.

    To support the strategy of creating a core of players, you might sign Castro, Rizzo and Soler to long term contracts, or you might trade veterans for young prospects that could eventually become core players.

    Each tactic actually becomes a strategy in itself, as you add sub-tactics in support of them.

    So a plan is always changing, but different portions of the plan change at different rates. Goals change rarely and slowly. Strategies change occasionally, but in normal times, not often. Tactics change constantly as different opportunities come into being. I am not aware of any change to the Cubs goals or stategy, but I am sure their tactics change almost daily. If you can't get DelGado in return for Dempster, try to get Vizcaino for Maholm. If Gray is gone in the draft, get Appel or Bryant.

    No plan has ever gone exactly as hoped. In the military, we were always told that no battle play lasts beyond the first shot. But so far, the Cubs seem to be progressing very steadily in their overall plan, regardless of changes in individual details.

    There IS a plan. Let us hope it works. At this point, there is nothing to indicate that it will not.

  • The plan is a lot like the book Dune where Mentats have plans within plans within plans and hopefully a kwisatz haderach

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Ha! I think I need to read that book.

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    In reply to historyrat:

    We will kill until no Cardinal breathes our air.

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    I think there is a plan that is designed around hitting the big goal, as you put it.

    They'll keep the guys that make sense, but I don't think there's any doubt that they'll be moving pieces come the deadline. Right now, this looks like a 75-80 win team. Going into the year, Theo essentially called that a worst case scenario. The plan designed to attain the big goal will dictate lowering that win total. Add to that: deadline trading is one of the few ways to bring in lots of good young talent. And we need it. That's one of the reasons they sign guys like Carlos Villaneuva and Scott FELDMAN!!!!! to short term deals: to increase their value at the deadline. The hope is clearly to get some prospects that you can't get overspending in the draft any more. Last year, in addition to the well known names, it brought in Chapman, Hendricks -- who is outperforming phenomenally -- and Loux who, well, isn't.

    We may not trade Garza -- the plan clearly doesn't say, "Trade Garza for anything, even a bag of baseballs if that's the best offer given" -- but certainly we're listening. And if he'll agree to 3/30, then we probably won't trade him. But that will almost certainly mean that FELDMAN!!!!!!, Villaneuva, Soriano, and probably even Schierholtz and DDJ are cleared out. It becomes about adding pieces and lowering the win total. Again, I'm not just saying this theoretically, Theo has said high 70s in the win column is something he's looking to avoid.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree here. Isn't the point that guys get traded because their market value outweighs their worth to the team? Both Maholm and Dempster were valued higher by other teams (for good reason or not) and so their returns were worth trading for. In Soriano's case the offers the Cubs' FO were receiving eventually got so low, they determined he was worth more to them as a LF, not as trade bait. In this way I think they have to be aggressively seeking good deals, but knowing when to walk away when they can't get that value. A plan with flexibility.

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    Oh, and on Delgado, the ERA is one of the less concerning things. He's pitching in the PCL West -- imagine if every ballpark was Coors Field. What's more concerning is the big drop in his strikeout numbers and a tick up in his walks. The arm is still pretty good, though. He has more than enough time to figure things out -- but, much like Olt, he is a bit of a disappointment so far. (Another irony -- the other guy in that reported Garza trade was Martin Perez of the Rangers, who looked like a flyer on a good arm. He's been out injured all season, but looked like he was finally putting it together in spring training before the injury.)

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I take it back -- Perez is pitching again, and he's struggling a bit. But this is essentially spring training for him.

  • Goals are paramount IMO. The strategies devolve into tactics in achieving the goal. Semantics, schmemantics, "I'm an entrepreneur in the sport of kings". " You're a bookie!"
    There is nothing I; we can do but wait and see, and enjoy Sunday brunch.

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    John, any news on Scott Baker??

  • I read Dune. great book. Also saw the movie. terrible movie

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    With good piyching so hard to come by,why would we wanna trade our good pitchers? it's tough to have 5 solid starters and then and another 5 good pitchers in the bullpen. I would try to sign Garza to a club friendly deal and Feldman is looking very Comfy and pitching great in pinstripes. Only pitchers I would trade now is Marmol,Camp,Bowden and maybe Captain Morgan. I know we wanna stock up on young guys but theres other ways to do that IMO.

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    In reply to freeagent24:

    You're proposing trading the 3 guys no one would want and the guy with the best stuff on the staff.

    If we re-sign Garza, the starting staff next year is Shark-EJax-Garza-Wood, with the #2 pick knocking at the door. That essentially makes Feldman expendable. We can get good young prospects for him without hurting our long term rotation -- that's exactly the kind of deal that will help build the minors. It really makes no sense to keep both Garza and Feldman.

  • No pick in this draft is likely to be knocking on the door next year. But more importantly, out of any 5 pitchers you now predict will be Cubs starters next year, at least one is likely to be unable to pitch, or pitching badly. This year merely illustrated this fact. Possible starters were projected to be samardzija, Jackson, Wood, Baker, Garza, Feldman and Villebuena, with Vizcaino waiting in the wings.

    Didn't work out that way, and almost never does. You can't go through an off season expecting your 5 starters to be healthy and effective. It can happen, but you certainly can't count on it.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Appel could probably pitch in the majors right now. Gray is probably second half of next season. You're simply wrong -- both will be ready soon.

    I'm also not sure who thought Vizcaino was waiting in the wings or that Baker would be ready to start the season. Most people thought Baker would be ready in late May (clearly, that isn't happening) and that Vizcaino might -- might -- be ready for the bullpen in the second half of the season. You're wildly overselling where we thought we were.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Why wouldn't Appel/Gray not be knocking at the door next year? It my understanding that both pitchers are advanced enough to even pitch in the big leagues this year.

  • I love John Sayles as a director - Now I need to find the book. Thank You.

  • Yeah, hist first few movies were ace- Eight men out, Matewan, Brother from another planet. But those short stories are just awesome. Hope you enjoy it.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Wait, we still talking Dune? Because that was directed by David Lynch and he disowns it now.

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    hahaha No. We're not talking about Dune.

    Although, I remember when Dune came out because Sting was in it and the girl I was dating had an amazing crush on Sting, so we went to see the movie, it's 3 hour long, awful, and Sting was in it for maybe five minute. Hi I'm sting, I hate I challenge you to a fight, oh darn I'm dead.......

  • In reply to felzz:

    Secret of Roan Inish

  • Jorge Soler was just replaced for Taiwan Easterling... Any word on that? Was there an injury or something?

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    In reply to Caps:

    Announcers didn't say anything. Hopefully no big deal.

  • Miltitades Stergios Pappastegios, Jr. to sign the stretch.
    One of the best trades the Cubs made back in the day.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    Weird what happened to his wife.

  • Ignition key turned off, drivers seat position not set for her position, and body found on the passenger's side at the bottom of a lake.

    Inspector Columbo has his theories.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    I couldn't remember who the Cubs traded for Pappas, so I looked it up.
    No wonder I couldn't remember - they purchased him from the Braves.

  • Make that "sing" the stretch. So sorry.

  • If the Cubs lose this game, what could be the headline from Cubs Den?

    A - Mets "Fuji" the Cubs

    B- Mets "Nip" One Out

    C - Another Wasted Afternoon In the Bleachers With My Drunken Old Lady

    D - More Thoughts Who The Cubs Might Draft this Year and in 2014 with the #2 Pick.

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    How many one run losses is this team going to rack up this year?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Your job for 2013 is to keep track and report every Monday to us. That should keep you out of trouble......

    what's up with all the beards in MLB this season?....players making millions, and cannot afford to buy some razors!

    If Appel hated to pitch for the Pirates, what does he expect pitching for the Astros for the next six seasons!.....

    Houston, what a lousy town of the worst cities in MLB......

    I hear the Cubs are going make a bunch of minor league moves according to reports.....I think Baez will be here by Sept. 1st.

    I say the Cubs make a trade by the time they come back from their road trip.

  • Normally, I do not take notice of a man's level of physical attractiveness (not that there's anything wrong with that).

    But the first time I saw Fujikawa, I couldn't help but immediately think "That is the homeliest ML ballplayer I've ever seen".

    He didn't have bad stuff today. Give the hitter some credit for the home run; he hit a fast ball that would have been in on a lot of hitters' hands. It looked like he was guessing fastball in on the 2-0 count and nailed it.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    If you said "physical abilities", I would said "physical attractivness"..........that worries us straight guys out there who are in gym locker rooms of other guys who say stuff like that..... .......

    Who is the Ugliest Player in MLB?......has to be someone on the White Sox or Cardinals.....

    Funniest tv ad is the ad from that Chicago area gym that has the large strong guy with a towel between his legs talking to a small skinny guy in the locker room.......I cannot believe the censors let that ad go by them.....gotta see that ad.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    It's one of those things that jumps up and slaps you in the face; you can't help but notice.

  • Why was Bowden DFA'd and not Camp? puzzling, IMO.

  • Great post Felzzy.

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