Cubs Q and A with ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg: Rickett's regret, Fan apathy, 2014 expectations

Cubs Q and A with ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg: Rickett's regret, Fan apathy, 2014 expectations

ESPN Chicago.com's columnist Jon Greenberg has been all over Tom Ricketts and the Wrigley renovation plan.

I was able to check in with Jon on his thoughts regarding Ricketts, Theo and Jed's progress, and of course Starlin Castro. 

TL: What does Tom Ricketts regret the most since he purchased the Cubs?

JG:  Probably not having more of a concrete plan to rebuild the stadium from Day 1. Revenue, revenue, revenue. Given the onerous loans that were necessary to buy the team, I don’t blame him.

I thought he should have brought in a baseball guy (right away), but he ended up with Theo Epstein, so I think that’s worth two years of limbo with Jim Hendry’s regime.

But he really should’ve brought in a business of baseball guy. The stadium stuff should’ve been handled better from the get-go. In some respects, he obviously got bad advice, but the timing was bad with the mayoral transition. He still nearly got public money from Rahm, before the Super-PAC debacle, though I think public sentiment would’ve squashed that deal anyway

His plan now isn’t bad, and I’m anti-public money for private stadiums, and I think it would’ve been championed even more if he presented it in 2010. Personally I’m just tired of the Cubs’ whining, even when they’re right. I call their attitude “Cubbie Exceptional-ism.”

TL: How much have Theo and Jed Hoyer been able to accomplish so far? Just how limited have they been?

JG:  A decent amount and a decent amount. I’m not criticizing these guys for anything yet. It’s a weird situation, really unlike any other big market team in recent history.

Given the financial restraints levied upon the big league club and with that, a complete lack of expectations from Ricketts, it’s tough to judge these guys from their minor league deals. It seems like they've spent wisely in the draft and international market except for Gerardo Concepcion, what was that about? But we won’t know for another year or so if it’s for real.

Really, Cubs fans can high-five each other about every minor leaguer and draft pick and low-level Luis Valbuena signing, but until it’s time to compete at the major league level, this is all prologue.

One thing they need to improve on is acquiring/developing relief pitching. They've been great at getting starters, but this bullpen performance is shameful.

TL: What are the expectations for 2014?

JG: At this point, I don’t know what to expect. There isn't much ballyhooed minor league talent that’s Major League ready, is there? I guess we’ll know more by the end of this season, and next spring. In that regard, the Cubs are kind of in limbo, they can’t sign guys that will block the top prospects’ ascent, but they can’t rely on them either.

Are they going to add free agents, or veterans through trades, to compete next year? It’s really too early to even guess at their plans.

TL: What are the FO expectations?

JG:  I know the front office wants to see this "Cubs Way" start to work, and by that I mean better plate discipline (not walks, but wearing out pitchers, knowing situations) and defense.

If they want to stop hemorrhaging fans (they’re down almost 200,000 fans compared to last year through 36 games) they better start caring more about the big league product. The tourists will come, but local fans are really turned off.

TL: Is Starlin Castro really the only thing that sports radio and print can cover that moves the needle?

JG:  Pretty much. And that doesn’t move the needle much either. His play is a bit of a concern. Has he improved at all defensively? I’m not one of those guys saying trade him, but he’s not untradeable, if you think you can get a star for him. Castro’s obviously very, very talented, but given the dearth of talent around him, there are more expectations.

TL: Is this the year your team (Pirates) finish above .500? 

JG: I think so, finally. These last couple years have been like the final test of our fandom. It’s like wandering in the desert and seeing a mirage that drives you to the point of insanity, before you finally find that oasis. I’d be like a little kid if they get the second wild card. I was 13, a month from 14, the last time they made the playoffs.

TL: Is the NL Central going to become the next AL East?

JG:  The Central could easily be the toughest division in the NL for years to come. Not exactly traditional big markets outside of Chicago and St. Louis, but Pittsburgh is only team not drawing at least 30,000 a game. There’s money out there. It’s a pretty exciting time for this division. Is that good for Chicago?

Maybe, because it’ll make Ricketts spend some of that farmer’s market cash that’ll be pouring in.

Follow Jon @espnchijon

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  • I am very curious as to how the FO will handle this off season. I am sure it depends on developent of key people in the Minors over the next few months. If they can project Soler, Baez, Alcanterra and some others possibly making the big club come August 2014, will they be a bit more aggressive with Free Agents and try and be a bit more competitive, leading up to a buzz for 2015?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Concepcion was highly coveted by every other team- a little too easy to second guess it now, don't you you think? If winning out on international talents gets you one concepcion for every soler, i'll take that every time.

    Also, chicago's helped fund every team's stadium (sometimes multiple times) so ricketts should be screaming instead of, so-called, "whining."

    Had i known he was a pirates fan up front, his complaints would've made more sense. I mean, better relievers? Really? The fact the starters have done so well is wonderful, but we're still in rebuilding mode. Frankly i don't know who's worse- relievers or offense. That answer tells me he doesn't quite get it.

    Relievers were hard to come by this off season. Why would you break the bank trying to get a reliever or two for a team not ready yet? Kind of a questionable complaint. Really, it's like when they finally start renovating wrigley & somebody complains about not using shinier dump trucks. WHO CARES RIGHT NOW?!!!

    They're rebuilding. Either you get it and can give us some insight, or you don't and you can talk about the pirates success.

  • I think that it will be a very intriguing offseason. 2015 should be the year we are in the mix however next year could be a huge push forward. I look for them to try and pick up a bat pref OF.

  • Jon mentions biz of baseball guy. I think that is what Crane convinced TR he was.

  • I'm sorry but what exactly are the Cubs whining about? Every other f'ing team in this city got public money except for the Blackhawks. And they were a franchise blackhole for more than a decade. I just don't get what he means by "whining" or Cubbie Exceptional-ism

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I didn't care for that comment either. I get that he's not a "fan". But his responses didn't lead me to believe he looked favorably at anything other than some apparent admiration for Theo.

    Honestly, I was hoping for some insight on Ricketts mindset or mood about all of this. But all of his comments sounded speculative. Maybe he has some information that we don't to form those opinions, but he does not infer that. Then when I read the "whining" & "Cubbie Exceptional-ism" comments, my thought was "he has some deep seeded disdain" for this organization.

    I hope he finds happiness in his next endeavor or the afterlife or whatever.... Apparently being a sports reporter and covering the monumental task that Ricketts, Theo & Jed have undertaken won't bring him any.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That comment and others shows he's not a journalist, but an ESPN opinionator. Big difference.
    Good effort, Tom, but your interviewee didn't bring anything insightful to the table.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I respectfully disagree. I just think Greenberg is not telling us what we want to hear. As terrific as this site is, it stands to reason that you are usually going to get an optimistic spin. And that's OK. I like that most of the time. But sometimes you need another perspective, and I think Greenberg offered that.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I appreciate what you are saying, but I wasn't asking for, nor expecting him to tell us what we (ostensibly) want to hear.
    I wanted some fresh insight, not unfounded snark -- e.g. "whining". There went his credibility, for me at least.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Thanks Gregory thats kind of what I'm saying

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I don't really feel like Jon Greenberg is the only sports reporter in town who doesn't like the Ricketts family. I feel like a lot of the Cubs beat reporters have a bad attitude towards the new regime, because they were much closer with the old regime. The old regime gave them quotes and stories. The new regime is much more tight-lipped. I'm not asking all these guys to just not question anything the franchise does, but I feel like a lot of them are letting their personal grievances get in the way. And maybe it's just they're sick of covering such a terrible team.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    No, he's not the only one. But anyone not employed by the Trib should embrace the change, I would think.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I think he is just critical of them not dislike.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    "Personally I’m just tired of the Cubs’ whining, even when they’re right."

    That doesn't sound critical to me.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    It isn't critical.

    It certainly is snarky, though.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    There is some truth there in other cases but not here. This is more about Ricketts and Crane trying to replicate Bos with limited resources.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Jon does have insight and I think the arrogance on their part is what he's pointing out .

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    What arrogance could he be speaking of?

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    In reply to Mikethoms:

    I'm in agreement Mike. What exactly are they whining about? The Cubs aren't asking for any special favors here. They're paying for the improvements with their own money, and the city, as a whole, will benefit from more jobs and increased tax revenue. They're simply being asked to be allowed, which they shouldn't even have to do in a truly free country, to make best use of their assets.

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    In reply to Mikethoms:

    This. 100x this. The Cubs have been a model of patience and flexibility in a system out to nail them to the wall. I really tuned out the rest of what he had to say after that.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I've read all the comments here twice and reread the interview, and I think there is room to take issue a little with Greenberg's choice of words. I think, however, that if there is arrogance or whining on the Cubs' part it's because they know they are the cash cow for everybody and they think those who benefit are beating the cow over the head.

    The problem is that the Cubs are unique in being situated where they are in the middle of a neighborhood. And the Cubs' leverage is mitigated by the fact that while they are a cash cow for the neighborhood, the neighborhood is also a cash cow for them.

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    I'm not meaning to open a political can of worms here. I know that's not what this blog is about, but it has to be said because it's so true. If not for our nation's insane tax code, the team wouldn't have had to have been sold the way it was. As for the Wrigley rebuild, if the city or the neighborhood won't allow the Cubs to do as they please with their property, even though it causes them no harm, then the team should be moved to another location.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    No one forced the Ricketts family to agree to the deal as presented by Zell. They could have walked away at any point. All of the financial aftermath they agreed to from the deal should not be used as a poor performance crutch ever.

    What they should be complaining about is how they weren't smart enough/prepared enough as a franchise/corporation to succeed in the situation they agreed to be in.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I agree completely, Ricketts signed the contract out of emotion (life long Cub fan) rather than a good business deal. Mark Cuban walked away from the Cubs deal after he heard the terms (Big red flag). Rickets knew financially the Cubs would be somewhat handcuffed after the purchase and I believe that is what Theo is frustrated with.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That is the crux of it. If the Cubs actually feel, rightly or wrongly, that they are better off somewhere else, they should move somewhere else.

    Wrigley Field is important to a team that fields poor teams, and needs the park to draw in the fans. But a team in the suburbs that is a perennial contender will draw without the "Wrigley Field experience".

    The Cubs have been foolish to stay there this long.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Agreed, they need to stop allowing themselves to be held hostage.

  • I have a question for Greenberg. If you think Ricketts is so bad, what in the world was Zell and the Trib ownership like? BTW, Jon, why are you ignoring what its like to deal with Ill Annoys politicians?Gee, Im sure having to deal with Blago was a real treat.

  • First of all, stadiums pay itself back but that's a different debate.
    But, is this guy serious? Whining? Almost every stadium built over the past decade has been with public money, in all sports, in all parts of the country. Standard procedure is whining? Throw on top of that the Mayor pulling the rug out on a better deal earlier because of political comments Ricketts senior said, that is disgraceful. And for that matter, so is this joke of a reporter.

  • Well guys I think Jon is less anti Ricketts and more about policing the rhetoric if you read him regularly. He's been fair and he's been open about TR mistakes. Also has been out front saying Theo/Jed aren't getting everything they thought coming in. I love getting all angles even if its not what you want to hear. This is still going in right direction and I think Jon would agree. However if you just want to focus on our A ball team all the time you may miss some things along the way.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I confess, I don't read him regularly. By "regularly" I mean "Never". So this is my first impression of him and his work. I respect you and your opinion enough to give him the benefit of the doubt, because you vouched for him. But with the negative vibe I detected in his answers, I doubt I will ever venture over to review his work. I sensed a real surge in enthusiasm when he spoke of our Wonder Boy President and his Pirates organization, so this disdain he has for the Cubs organization was more than just a "bad day".

    IDK, I've been drunk on Yeungling and went slumming in Pennsylvania Amish country before. I get it. Not everyone loves the Cubs.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'm sorry guys but I didn't read any hatred in there? He's a columnist and opinionated but he's easy going. I hope we aren't becoming too sensitive around here. We are a big market team that has sucked for last 4 years and only team in town that can't get a stadium deal. Also pinning all our hopes right or wrong on A ball players. We are an easy target.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    An easy target? For at least attempting to rebuild? If any thing this should finally get the target off our backs. But jokers like Sully and this guy will always write about what's wrong with the Cubs. Even when we finally win.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    And come on... Almost every single major leaguer played A ball. At least our hopes are finally many, not one.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    What I'm saying Dan is all of our hopes are focused in A ball. It's not a real guarantee there.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I respectfully disagree that "all our hopes are focused in A ball". We have good prospects at all levels.
    True, the hottest names are in lower levels, but that's a function of the massive rebuilding project the Cubs / Theo/Jed/Rickettses are in.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I totally agree, but there are always going to be some people out there are going to believe the Cubs, their plan, and the execution of that plan are beyond reproach.

    I myself 100% agree in a total rebuild, but neither necessarily agree in every facet of the rebuild plan being executed, nor in the way the ownership/front office has dealt with the negative heat being generated from that plan. A huge part of their job is to take that heat in stride, smile and NOT make excuses. And to not be smug about it in the process, a vibe this ownership/front office puts off from time to time, especially in terms of the whole we're smarter than you mentality (they probably are a lot smarter, but a) that doesn't mean you have to act like it, and b) doesn't mean you don't make mistakes and that you cannot be criticized for them).

    The Ricketts are in this financial situation for a reason, and that's why it makes the struggle to get the stadium renovation completed so much more desperate and frustrating---they really need it to dig them out of the financial hole they got into by agreeing to buy the team under the disadvantageous financial structure.

    I 100% believe they will succeed in every possible facet once the smoke finally clears, but again, it neither means they have been perfect on every facet during the journey, nor that people, such as Mr. Greenburg, cannot hold negative opinions about the process.

  • I think there was a lot of naive on ownership part coming in and they will recover eventually but I agree they should've had much better plan from get go other than being Boston 2.0

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    In terms of remodeling the stadium what other model is there? The situations were nearly identical. I guess the naivete comes in never being able to trust Chicago politics. But in that regard, as many have pointed out, public money for stadiums is hardly a new thing. And even if he wants to be critical of their naivete that's fine, I get it. Tom Ricketts is from this area, he should know about the insane politics of this city, a city where a mayor bulldozed an airport.

    It's the whining comment that I don't understand though. What is the Ricketts family whining about? They had an idea that involved public money, it didn't work. Instead of whining about it they went back to the drawing board and came up with a much better idea. The only whiners in this whole thing have been the neighborhood associations and the rooftop owners. There's your whiners. Other than answering a loaded question about what they would do, if all else failed, and they couldn't get approval for the changes-changes that would improve the neighborhood and bring in more revenue-what whining has Ricketts done? And his answer was something along the lines of we'll have to explore moving.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I meant BOS model all the way around, not that its a bad plan.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    But their plan wasn't BOS 2.0. If it was they would have spent more money. I think this is kind of a different rebuild from Boston. Rebuild your minor league system, i mean that's a basic step of any rebuild. Boston was trying to compete while the Cubs have all but said they don't expect to compete for years.

  • No we're not too sensitive. I would also add that his comments to the "expectations for 2014", "FO expectations", and "Castro" are spot on.

    He seems overly critical of Ricketts for not having a better stadium plan in place prior to the purchase. I'm not sure that was actually possible. Given the amount of political nonsense and time frame, etc... Hell, you could have a handshake agreement for renovations and that could go out the window with new elections or wind changes directions, politicians lie, etc...

    Does he have any insight to the Ricketts family due diligence process and what their expectations in regards to Wrigley were when they agreed to purchase the team? He mentions they "got bad advice", "bad timing", politics, etc... Hindsight is 20/20, he can play "armchair MLB owner", from his position and he's certainly entitled to his opinions. And it's entirely possible that the Ricketts were too naive or sophisticated about stadium matters.

    But when he makes statements like: "Personally I’m just tired of the Cubs’ whining, even when they’re right.” It's an obvious barometer for the disdain he has the Cubs organization.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yes I see what you are saying and I hope his latest comment in the comments clear it up a bit. Its more about the way the org has handled some of the issues.

  • I also have been drunk on Yeungling. Not a bad little beer.

    That said, I guess I don't understand the "whining" and "Cubs Exceptional-ism" comments. If he means "exceptional" as in "unusual or extraordinary", then I would say that a baseball team who has not won a World Series title for 105 years is certainly "unusual or extraordinary". We're pretty sick of that and would like it to change. So if you want to apply the term "whining" to the Cubs clamoring in the face of opposition to plans to renovate the stadium, increase revenue to acquire additional player resources, increase night games, etc, all of which attempt to improve the team and end this unusual and extraordinary 105 year drought, then so be it.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    It is a damn fine beer. I'd argue the best. They sell it here in FL and nothing better on a warm humid summer evening than a frosty cold Yuengling. Unfortunately, they do not sell it in IN, so I usually add three 12-packs to my checked luggage to get me through my stay.

    I will however only admit to driving to Ohio once solely to snag 10 cases of the delicious beverage for my garage fridge up there.....

  • Ok just talked to Jon he gave me this:

    "I did mean what you implied, that I was talking about their rhetoric, not what they want, when I say whining. And the "Cubby Exceptionalism" is meant to imply they act with an arrogant tone (the business folks, not Ricketts specifically).

  • I also think Ive been critical yet fair of TR regime. All in all I think he has made some mistakes but hit some HR too. I think in the end they are going to win at everything and win big, but there have been some mis steps and Ive heard he thinks the same.

  • His comment:

    "If they want to stop hemorrhaging fans (they’re down almost 200,000 fans compared to last year through 36 games) they better start caring more about the big league product. The tourists will come, but local fans are really turned off."

    shows he doesn't understand what the Cubs are doing. They are doing a rebuild from the bottom up. That takes 4 to 5 years according to Theo. They can't worry about a temporary drop in attendance. It will come back and more when they are in the playoffs most years. Reminds me of the Trib's Sullivan. Rather clueless. He should go to Pittsburgh and cover the Pirates. BTW how is their attendance?

  • In reply to John57:

    I hear you on a philosophical level John57, but lets break down that 200K fewer fans number through roughly half the season. 2012 avg ticket cost at Wrigley was $46.30, throw in a beer and a hotdog for $12 more. Extrapolate that 200k lower fans to the end of the year and generously say it only turns out to be 400k fewer fans YoY. 400K x (46.30 + 12) = over $23 million dollars a year of lost revenue (a good chunk of which is profit because your costs are relatively fixed), and that's probably conservative.

    The Ricketts are rich sure, but they are carrying a TON of debt and $23M / year is real money, especially if 400k fewer fans this year turns into 800K fewer fans next year watching Marmol blow big 9th inning leads. At some point the economics are going to drive some compromises to taking this thing down to the studs and rebuilding (especially when we already have the 3rd highest avg cost of attendance in baseball for a lousy team).

    http://fancostexperience.com/pages/fcx/fci_pdfs/8.pdf

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    In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    The debt load isn't that significant in and of itself -- it's hard to imagine just how much money they have. The problem with it is covenants in the debt that limit spending based on revenue. The ticket sales are small potatoes in that larger picture.

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    Not a Greenberg fan but I actually liked the article and I agree with him on most points.

    Thanks for the interview, Tom!

    I, personally, hope they avoid making any significant moves in free agency this winter. A guy like Maholm or Feldman, sure that sounds great. You always want to pick up underrated, under-the-radar guys, even if you win 100 games.

    Buy its a terrible class this winter and big names terrify me.
    Cano is an albatross in the making and Ellsbury... Please god no not Ellsbury.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Thanks, trying to get different perspectives.

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    It's always good to get a non-Cubs fan's perspective on things. And reading between the lines here, Greenberg seems a little skeptical.

    You can take a glass half empty or glass half full about where the Cubs are headed. On one hand, I firmly believe Theo and Jed are laying the groundwork for a solid organization on so many levels. To me, that's the biggest positive.

    If you think about it, however, with the uncertainty regarding just how good Castro and Rizzo will eventually become, the Cubs are just a few minor league prospect busts away from being in serious limbo.

    Also, I don't want to reignite the Castro lightning rod, but it's a fact that the national media - while not obsessed over the story - is far more down on his future than most of the measured, critical thinking folks from the Cubs camp.

  • Assuming the National League does not come out with the DH Im starting to wonder if Vogelbach becomes our first baseman of the future over Rizzo. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    I don't see Vogelbach having the defensive chops to play first base given the Cubs' philosophy on run prevention. I think we're at least a year from any notion that Rizzo is not going to become at least a solid No. 5 or 6 bat on a contending team, but if he doesn't become that - and Castro turns out to be just average - the rebuild plan gets a lot longer (not to mention the hesitation on the supposedly team-friendly extensions before a player has had a breakout year).

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Vogelbach is becoming an adequate first baseman, and if he doesn't make it in the majors, it will because he doesn't hit well enough, not that he doesn't field well enough.

    Vogelbach is a better first baseman than DeJesus is a center fielder.

  • I don't think that Greenberg doesn't "get it," in terms of how the team is rebuilding. I think that he is a realist, and has a good point about doing something in 2014 to regain the trust of fans. Remember that perception is reality, and the Cubs have put out sub-par teams over the past 4 seasons. The FO can try to sell people on an improving farm system, and that we will have some home-grown stars in the majors before too long, but look what the ordinary fans are seeing from the young "stars" that have been called up over the past couple of years. If you're hanging your hopes on Castro and Rizzo, well they are both hitting at about .240 right now on a terrible club.

    I hate to say it, but 90% of Cubs fans have no real idea who Almora, Baez, or Soler are (maybe we can credit the Cubs' record for picks in the first round for that), and the big prospects that have been touted by the organization over the years have turned out to be guys like Corey Patterson and Felix Pie...supposed "can't miss" guys. And the reality is that organizations like the Royals, who have been talking about the overwhelming amount of talent in their system, are STILL waiting for a competitive team. And you know what? Kansas City and Chicago are not equal. Yet, we have posters on this board who want the Cubs to act like a small market team, trade away current, good pitching for prospects that may (or may not) not turn out to be major leaguers.

    By no means would I say that the Cubs should go out and be irresponsible by bidding high on free agents. However, there has to be some point where the organization makes an effort to establish a winning/competitive team without relying solely on guys that are 2-3 years away from sniffing the big leagues. The more I think about it, the more I would support using some of these prospects to acquire established (not old) MLB talent. It hurts ticket sales and concessions to field a crappy team, and ultimately if you are a business man like Ricketts, you have to be concerned about diminishing profits, particularly when you are funding a huge renovation project out of pocket.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Well said.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Some good points about the average fan, as opposed to readers of this blog who--while they often disagree on certain points--seem to take a more global view of the Cubs' transformation efforts.

    Hey, maybe we could co-opt Jon's term to refer to "Cubs Den Exceptional-ism".

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    The Cubs are not relying on guys that are 2 - 3 years away.

    The Cubs are relying on building a system that has guys at all levels of the system. But they are essentially starting from ground zero, and it will take a few years to get there.

    The Cubs filled several holes in their system last year with trades at the deadline. They can fill several more holes this year with trades at the deadline. And the guys they trade are guys that would be gone from the system by the time the team is ready to compete on a regular basis.

    As they get closer to the point where their system is adequate, that is the time that they should, and will, move into the free agent or trade market to bring in the guys that can put them over the top. And this winter is the time where we will start to see them doing this that.

  • I have little expectation that the 2014 Cubs will be any better than we are seeing so far in 2013.

    Unless Castro, Rizzo, Soriano, Castillo and whoever mans 2B pick up the pace with the lumber, we will continue to have trouble scoring runs.

    I do not see anyone in the system that is close enough to make an impact at the ML level beginning next year.

    I have written off this team from being competitive until 2015 at the earliest.

    At this point, I have learned to temper my expectations as it helps me sleep at night and keeps the demons at bay......

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    In reply to JK1969:

    And as much as it angers people to say it, it was kind of fun last year to root for the Cubs to lose and get a high draft pick. Following the trade deadline, the offseason and the draft as intensely as John has been doing has given me an even greater appreciation for the sport and the Theo/Jed front office. Sure winning is the ultimately the most fun, but rooting for losses so I can engulf myself in many other things is also exciting.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I, for one, will never root for the Cubs to lose.

  • I, for one, will never root for the Cubs to be solidly mediocre during a rebuild.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thank you.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Seconded!

    I'm happy to admit I rooted last year for losses, I'm rooting this year, and I probably won't mind next year.

    I'm rooting for the rebuild right now.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I agree.

    The 2014 Free Agent class is weak and the Top FAs will be "overpaid". So it will be difficult in improving the club this way.

    Farm System is still a year or so away (2015 in my opinion for the top guys to start contributing).

    Trades - it will be tough to improve this way because you have to give up something of value to get something of value.

    Next year will be alot like this year .....but we will be a year closer to the impact prospects.

    Looks like 2 more High draft picks (2014 & 2015) coming the Cubs way !!

  • Really enjoyed this interview. We enjoy getting different perspectives here. Jon's tone is generally a little different than what we usually have, but I think it's a nice change of pace and good to look at some of these things from a different angle.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I couldn't agree more. I enjoyed seeing the Cubs from his perspective whether I agreed with him or not.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think it's the different perspective that is ruffling feathers. I'm not even saying I disagree with anything he said. But the whining comment really pissed me off. That has nothing to do with his differing perspective since I find it to be completely baseless.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I hear ya. I'll say this. We're not whiners here.

  • I've read JG's articles. I don't read them much any more. I sense this smugness, disdain to Chicago sports to be "in" as a media member and arrogance like he's the smartest guy in the room.

    I love this site much for all the other reasons. I read the article to give him a chance but you can take the spots off a leopard..

  • He is 100% right in the failure of the front office putting together an even average bullpen. It has been their biggest flop to this point, and cost the team from moving in a more positive direction.
    He is also correct in criticizing the way they have manged the Wrigley renovation project. Complete amatuer hour. But not whining. The problem has been they were to nice from the start. Should have used leverage from the start and they would have gotten the deal they wanted.
    The real story is just how close the Cubs are to moving. They are in serious talks with people of influence to move this team and build a new stadium. And it this point, the smart business move is to do just that. Wrigley and the whole process has shown that playing day games in Wrigley is a failed business model, compared to what could be done from scratch.
    Even Tom is beginning to see what his brother and sister and their advisors did long ago.

  • You say the real story is the Cubs are close to moving. Are you talking about the following link that says DuPage is trying to lure them?

    http://foxvalleymagazine.com/recreation/sporting-life/18168-dupage-county-cubs%3F-team-would-feel-the-love-in-western-%E2%80%99burbs%2C-.html

  • The way i look at this club and farm system....we won't see playoff baseball until 2017 the earliest.....still several years away from seeing our top 4 farm players making a impact in this league......I looked at this club at the beginning of the year, and I saw this club being much better than what they have done.......maybe it has been all those blown saves that knocked the gleam out of this team.......or the poor hitting from Castro and others........I was expecting Ian Stewart to hit 20 HR's, not tweeting out anti-Dale messages.....I was expecting Marmol to come out throwing K's, not golpher balls.......I was expecting Barney to hit .290, not .190........ so I have my mind set someday this team will be not just good, but great.....when that time comes, the best we can do as Cubs fans is wait......Saw the Bears, Bulls, Fire, White Sox, and Hawks win championships......I expect we will see the Chicago WNBA team win a championship before our Cubs will.

    For the people who run the Cubs, it is all about making money at this point.....not what kind of team is on the field.

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