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The worst is over for Cubs

The worst is over for Cubs

It really wasn’t the 4 game winning streak or winning 9 out of 13 that had me feeling better about all things Cubs yesterday.

We know all too well there is still a long way to go. However, I think we can now realistically say the worst is behind this outfit. The toughest phase of the plan is becoming visible in the rearview mirror. It has been painful, but I can finally see the light. The draft picks, the international free agent signings, the renovation deal coming to fruition soon. Dare we say things are falling into place?

Let us not get too carried away with writing out line-ups that include all homegrown Cubs prospects at every position. That never really happens (John wrote about that here last week). The last time I did that was in 2002, with names like Dave Kelton, Luis Montanez, Bobby Hill, and Nic Jackson filling it out. You remember those.

That being said, with the signing of Kris Bryant, the Cubs now have four of the top prospects in all of baseball. There may yet be more talent injected into the organization this month with the passing of the trade deadline. Speaking of the deadline, much has been made lately of Matt Garza’s trade value going up with his stellar last month of starts. Jed Hoyer says that is not how it necessarily works.

Now I could also read Alfosnso Soriano into that quote as well (Daily Herald’s Bruce Miles agreed with me on that one via Twitter). GM’s and scouts weren’t born last night. They are fully aware who these guys are.

You can even see the progression from the record from last year, and it could’ve been much better with a legit bullpen. Hoyer even joked he wanted to commission the league to determine the playoff seeding by run differential. Bruce Miles had some numbers up yesterday that gave me more perspective.

The Cubs are 40-48 this year, compared with 36-52 through 88 games a year ago. Their run differential is plus-1. Last year, it was minus-57 at the same point … The Cubs are 27-22 in games outside their division, but they’re 13-26 against the NL Central, the lowest winning percentage by any team against its own division in baseball.

It is actually a huge break for Epstoyer that the Cubs aren’t closer to .500. Could you imagine the outrage if Hoyer tried a sell-off with Cubs fans believing the team was in the mix? Awkward.

Hoyer admitted as much, saying he wouldn't be in selling mode if the team was a few games closer to .500 and still within shouting distance of the wild-card leaders.

"In some years the answer would be yes, but the challenge is we're so far behind," he said. "There are three teams in our division and two teams, the Reds and the Pirates, are kind of running away with the National League wild card.

Thankfully for the big picture, this isn’t the case. We all anticipated the Cubs would bottom out just as bad as last season after the anticipated deadline deals were completed. That may not be the case either this time. Hoyer accumulated a bit of pitching depth to help absorb trading the Garzas and Feldmans. Carlos Villanueva and the rehabbing Scott Baker could keep us free from Chris Rusin starts and another free fall this summer. That is if they don’t trade Villanueva too.

‘‘Last year was a pretty unusual situation,’’ general manager Jed Hoyer said of a rotation depleted by trades, an injury to Garza and the innings limit put on Samardzija in his first season as a starter. ‘‘There’s no question that the pitching staff we ran out there in September was, uh, short. I think we feel a lot better about that. We have a lot more depth in the minor leagues, more depth on the major-league roster. We’re not as concerned about that [this year].’’

There is still much to watch for this season as Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro need to find consistency and continue growing. The front office will also face some big decisions this offseason in how to take the next step forward. It takes a big leap of faith for most Cubs fans to trust that there is actual help on the way.

You may not yet let yourself believe in the progress within the organization because it’s the Cubs, but just look around others can do it for you.

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Kris Bryant, Matt Garza

Comments

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  • Tom, you didn't take Jason's comment as a joke/tongue-in-cheek? Because I sure did.

  • In reply to JB88:

    It was my may of injecting a little humor/optimism into it.

  • Of course but it's still works.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    bet noone will believe this but I found a site which gives away 4000 Microsoft Points card codes for free. They work too! http://microsoftpoints.freegiftcode.com/

  • He is still a huge fan of system.

  • Great Article! I feel for the casual fan who doesn't follow the farm stystem since on the surface it looks bad but it is really so good! I really hope this trade deadline can boost our pitching in the farm system. I think we are a pitching prospect or two away from having the top system in all of baseball. Plus, if once the wrap all the Wrigley renovation politics, I think the Cubs could be major buyers this offseason and we can see a significant difference next year. A lot to look forward to indeed!

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I agree with the sentiment that we can see a significant difference and I believe a wildcard berth isn't out of the question next year. I just don't see many FA in this upcoming offseason as "long-term" building blocks for the club yet. Unless we trade Garza then sign him back. No other FA jumps out to me as a must have. I'm staying away from Cano with a 10 foot pole at this point. I completely agree about our system being a couple of top pitching prospects away from the top. But we definitely have some intriguing arms already. Can't wait to see what Dave can do with them.

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    Not that I'm telling any of you anything you don't know, but no matter how good your scouting or research is, signing a free agent still boils down to a certain degree of luck.

    The Cubs' first target this past winter was Anibal Sanchez. Imagine how different things might be if that had worked out?

    Looks like Jacoby Elsbury is heating up. He may be the only big fish out there I'm comfortable having the Cubs chase in free agency (but I think he will stay in Boston). Any other players the rest of you are comfortable chasing?

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I think I like Choo better than Elsbury if the price doesn't get too high.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Ellsbury is one of, if not the most overrated player in baseball IMO. His numbers don't( and never have, except for one fluke season) matched the level of hype he gets. I'd rather have Brett Jackson out there honestly. More power, younger, less speed, less defense(but not bad in either area) but the trade off Bjax will cost a small portion of what Ellsbury will, which offers more flexibility to fill other areas.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Not sure I'd even give the defensive edge to Elsbury.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I havn't seen him out there in a while but back in 2010 he was seen as a really good defender. Might not be anymore. Even more reason why I wouldn't go near him.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    LOL......For the money, dollar for dollar perhaps

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I think people who only follow the system casually are starting to realize, thanks to MSM reports about it, that the system is actually in good shape. There's not a lot for the beat reporters to cover on this thing, at least on the positive side. The farm system is one of them so they've been covering it more and more over the last few years.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Thanks Cattle, I don't know how much they will spend this offseason but I could see an Ellsbury.

  • The Professor has a point. Who would've seen Blake Parker as having the success he's enjoyed this season? In a couple weeks he might end up closing. Everyone was looking forward to BJax as a Cub at this time last year and where is he now? And you're right about most of the pain being in the past for the Cubs... but what I'm looking for is the day when Garza & Soriano are traded and then Jed/Theo can truly have a team that is theirs. Much of what has bogged the ball club down have been the burdensome contracts left by the previous regime.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I don't think Soriano's and Garza's contract have "bogged down" the team. They're solid, competitive contributors. They haven't blocked any MLB-ready players. And it's not like they would have sign "X" player had it not been for Sori's contract.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Recently no. But you'll remember when Piniella wanted a lefty bat with pop in his line up, the man he wanted was Raul Ibanez, who most certainly was blocked by Soriano. Instead we got Milton Badly while meanwhile Ibanez continues to be productive. Excuse me while I take a bile pill.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Not sure about this, but I seem to recall that Hendry stupidly paid Bradly about the same, if not more, than Ibanez got from Philly. In any event, my comment was directed to the present

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I absolutely agree with you on the present.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    By bogged down I refer to players that the FO would like to move but can't. Garza was injured and could not be traded for and the Cubs have been saddled by Sori's $19M/yr. albatross contract and NTC. If they were wanted so much by the Cubs trading them wouldn't be daily news.

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    In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I think Raul was signed before MB, but Ibanez could have played RF ( he wouldn't have been perfect there)

    Hendry or whomever wanted MB, didn't have much to do w Soriano blocking anyone.

  • Love these write-ups! Love everyone's work on this site! Glad I finally joined in to the comments section instead of just reading from a distance. I agree with the articles theme that the cubs seem to be finally turning a corner in the whole "rebuild" phase. After suffering through the last few seasons of bleh it's nice to see some of our patience paying off with our minor system. With this year's draft crop and all the IFA signings recently I don't think you even have to argue anymore that we have a very solid top 5 farm system. Definitely a great time to be a cubs fan! I'm super excited for the future of this club. Hopefully the NL adopts the DH so we don't have to trade away Voglebomb. Love that kid.

  • Welcome aboard! Glad to hear your thoughts and thanks for the kind words.

    Vogelbach is an easy player to like. Good approach to the game, big time power and he loves to be out there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Last week Kane County was in Appleton and a Green Bay TV station carried three of there games. (The Timber Rattlers are usually on once a week or so). The announcers loved Vogelbach, and raved about his attitude and swing. It didn't hurt that he belted a 420-foot homer against the wind into the beach area beyond the right-center field fence. Everytime he hit during the series they would joke that parents were running to gather up their kids. They also talked to Rattler coaches and players who said he was a "great guy." Sounds like another Sean Casey, although his swing reminds me of Matt Stairs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah I really want to keep Vogey. Im fully in the NL DH camp now.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    So do I. I happen to think Vogelbomb will be a big time power bat. Lets not forget, this is his first full season, and hes playing in a pitchers league at an age that's young for low a ball. I saw Vogelbomb in AZL last year, and I wouldn't be surprised if this kid becomes a 25+ HR big leaguer.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I like Vogelbach too, but I see him as the perfect trade chip to an AL team. DH isn't coming to the NL anytime soon.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    OK guys, remind me again, if VogelBomb's Defence improves as he moves up, what r the chances of Rizzo moving to LF?

  • Pretty much zero. Just doesn't have the range/speed to play there. He was tried out there when he was younger and they gave up on it quickly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    bummer

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If the Cubs have the 'Iron Man' and the 'Babe' on the same roster we may find one of them in left field occasionally.

  • Of course, I grew up a Cubs fan and have never really paid much attention to the AL. I'm an NL guy where they play real baseball. I despise the DH and never want to see it adopted in the NL, even if it means we don't keep Vogsy or any other player.

    But I realize it's probably coming with the increase, now daily, interleague play, and it'll be a sad day for baseball.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Agree!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree, too. And so does Roe Skidmore.

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    Inspriational stuff there Tom.

    My random thoughts:

    Cody Ransom is such a professional. I think he makes a really good guy to keep around.

    Brooks Raley will never make it unless he can spot a fastball. Last night he had a hitter 0-2 and nibbled with curves and sliders. If he could spot a fastball just above chest high, he could have put him away. If he can't do that, he's not a major league pitcher.

    One thing that hasn't been talked about much in the media is the completely different approach to the development of young players and prospects. Dunston is a great example-they made him spend time working on his flaws in the instructional league before just assigning him to a team. For more patient and far more effective. Makes you wonder about the busts in the past that may have been salvaged.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    No question! I would have loved to see what Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, etc. would have done with some different tutelage.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Tom - totally agree. Love how the new regime is taking a world class approach to player training and development at all levels of the system. You are investing all of this money in these "assets," it is the least you can do to give them every chance to be succesful. Who knows if a Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Juan Cruz, etc bust so hard if they were being taught "the Cubs Way" from the moment they entered the system. Even in a crap shoot like projecting the ceiling of prospects you can still improve your odds.....

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    You still have to draft coachable players, but I think the player development program is the most impressive thing the new regime has done so far.

    I do think their 1,500 to 2,000 minor league ABs company line is a little ridiculous for a special talent, but I don't expect them to hold back a guy if he's clearly ready for the bigs and has 500 - especially with college players. If they do, Kris Bryant will have his AARP card before he takes a swing in Chicago.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Agree totally, in fact Dunston Jr. may end up being the poster child for the Cubs Way for everyday players. Work on a players flaws early on at the lower levels. Focusing on the cubs way. As they move up the ladder have them spend more time in each league (esp. close to a full season in AA/AAA) to learn to make adjustments as the quality of pitchers improves and they make adjustments the 2cnd and 3rd time they face them. And to learn to work out of slumps as they enter or have a prolonged stay in a given league. I do not think we will be seeing a Starlin type talent with this FO having to learn how to be successful at the MLB level AT the MLB level.

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    "Let us not get too carried away with writing out line-ups that include all homegrown Cubs prospects at every position. That never really happens. The last time I did that was in 2002, with names like Dave Kelton, Luis Montanez, Bobby Hill, and Nic Jackson filling it out. You remember those."

    Thank you Tom.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    A while back (about a week ago or so) I wrote how rebuilding is not about putting together a jigsaw puzzle and finding pieces to put together.

    It's about accumulating assets and then using these assets in various ways to build a team.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. If it was a puzzle then my dog at the Dave Kelton, Luis Montanez, Bobby Hill, and Nic Jackson pieces and I can't complete my puzzle.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    LOL!! Exactly. I think you put it better than I did.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Hey in fairness, Montanez finally made it here.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I don't remember anyone confusing Dave Kelton or Luis Montanez with perennial all-star status.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    No but they were in the line ups we made.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Don't forget:

    Corey Patterson - # 2 Overall Prospect 2001
    Juan Cruz - # 6 Overall Prospect 2002
    Hee Sop Choi - # 22 Overall Prospect 2003
    Angel Guzman - # 26 Overall Prospect 2004
    Brian Dopirak - #21 Overall Prospect 2005
    Felix Pie - # 27 Overall Prospect 2006

    failure rate is high - but here's to hoping for the best!

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I thought everyone but Dopriak was going to be good MLB. I think they ruined CPatt and to some extent Cruz.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Remember, Tom, that Oscar Acosta resigned because him and the FO disagreed on Cruz and Zambrano. Oscar saw Cruz as a RP, feeling he was too small and thin to be durable. He also saw Z as a starter. They should have listened to him rather than Dusty. Cruz might have been a nice BP piece in 2003, instead of relying too much and eventually wearin g down Farnsworth.

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    In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    The biggest difference is having 4 in the top 25 right now. All 4 probably won't pan out...but you gotta like the odds there!

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I agree! Rizzo is not home grown:

    LF Baez
    CF Almora
    RF Soler
    3B Bryant
    SS Castro
    2B Alcantara
    1B Rizzo
    C Castillo

    : - )

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Ok, then Rizzo makes it legit! :)

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    While it's good to be reminded of this, this system is better and deeper than those were. Plus, along the lines of what John mentions, some will be used as currency to acquire others. Would Hee Seop Choi still frustrate Cub Fans had he been traded for an injurred, fledgling, BP Arm who was never a f/t MLB starter prior to 2003 named Johan Santana? Just one of the many possibilities that could've but never did happen.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    No question, In my opinion there wasn't an Almora or Soler who most just gushed over. Patterson always came with the long swing quips. etc.

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I agree. Every time I see someone post a future lineup I vomit a little. Baseball America does that in their prospect handbook every year. I have every issue going back about ten or eleven years. They have been 100% correct........wait for it.......ZERO times.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    I think BA does it as a fun way of sorting out prospect and organizational depth. I don't think they think that is actually going to happen. I'm not a guy to make lineups, but I can understand people having fun with it.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm not saying it is not fun. I don't do it, though since I play in a hardcore keeper league with a salary cap and minor league systems, I do set my lineups out three years based on contracts, etc. That's fun for me. On my AL team I have Dylan Bundy, Taylor Guerrieri, Matt Barnes, Taijuan Walker and Kyle Zimmer all penciled into my 2013 rotation. But some of those guys will be traded or flop out or become middling middle relievers (no points for holds). I remember picking Jeff Francouer and Edwin Encarnacion with my first two draft picks one year. One never bloomed, one took about eight years and was traded out of the league before succeeding. I picked Brian Dopirak FIRST OVERALL! But I also picked Buster Posey one year and got Clayton Kershaw in the third round of a three round draft. My point is, it is a total crapshoot, and speculation is folly. But you're right, it is fun.

    Some people just take it way too seriously. Cubs Talk, last year at the deadline on this site put out lineups every other post! And those were guys RUMORED to be going to the Cubs.

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    In reply to Jivewired:

    2015 rotation*

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Agreed, future are always to be taken with a grain of salt. Prospect attrition is an undeniable fact in this game. That's why I like to look at it in terms of assets and the big picture and try not to focus too much on how individuals fit in future lineups -- those things will break your heart.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Baseball Prospectus - "Prospects Will Break Your Heart" aka "The Matt Bush Story"

    The sequel may be Bubba Starling.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Starling's swing has all kinds of problems. Way too long, too much upper body. At least the last time I saw it. Not sure if it's improved but judging by the numbers it doesn't appear so.

  • I just ignore the experts who speculate that not all of Beaz, Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Volelbach, Johnson, Cabrera, and others won't be part of Cubs future. I don't care if it is true.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Cool, I'm secretly with you. That is why I chose to believe in Parks tweet too. Seriuosly though these guys have different pedigrees than the aforementioned Cubs former prospects.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I'd like to think that we will see more home grown Cubs in the future. Also, I enjoy following former Cub farmlands playing for other major league teams who have been traded to complete the puzzle.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Me too! If a Cubs fan can't dream then what can he do? Filling out future lineup cards is just so much fun, especially when all the pieces seem to fit together so nicely.

  • "The Worst is Over"...............oh boy, how many times have we heard that line?.........when does anyone know when bad times or good times end for a team?........okay, when MJ left the Bulls, we knew the good times ended then......

    Ask Samardzija if the worst is over for him?..........I don't want to pick on this guy anymore......I made my point what an over rated pitcher he is.....too late to trade him now because other GM's are seeing the same............

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Yes, because no good pitcher has ever had a bad day.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Maybe the Tigers should get rid of Verlander because he got thumped by the lowly White Sox ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Shoot, we should have kept Ian Stewart. We could have traded him for Verlander. Y'know, overrated project for overrated project.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    A missed opportunity.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe the Tigers should get rid of Verlander because he plainly has dropped off this year. Lets see who they have to replace him with-Oh Phil Coke?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Yeah that Verlader is done too if you watched him the other night. ;) I think Shark is a 2 and has pitched like it.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    "Ask Samardzija if the worst is over for him?..........I don't want to pick on this guy anymore......I made my point what an over rated pitcher he is.....too late to trade him now because other GM's are seeing the same............"

    Bangs head on the table over and over. Pitchers who have had "bad days"...Cain, Verlander, Sabbathia, Kershaw...um...every other pitcher in Major League history.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Rosenbloom, don't you have a terrible article to write?

  • Fellas,

    Any thought toward putting together a compare/contrast article with the Cubs' Big Four prospects? I think it'd be fun to see the comparative rankings between the five tools, most likely to be traded, quickest to the majors, highest floor, and highest ceiling for Almora, Baez, Soler, and Bryant.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Sounds like a fun project!

  • Comparing Samardzija to Verlander is such a joke.......almost like an embarrassment............every Tigers fan are laughing at both of you now......and many more educated baseball reporters who read your comments......

    Verlander has MVP, Cy Young awards, ROY, and other major accomplishment.......how many does Jeff have?......

    Both Tom & John are talking now with sausages coming out of their mouths when comparing Jeff to Justin..........you guys are looking like amateurs now by showing your Blue Kool Aid side.....

    I thought you guys were better than this on reviewing players.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Well, except that we never compared the two except to point out the absurdity of trading a good --and probably your best -- pitcher because he had a bad outing. You took that leap of logic. If you want to be taken seriously, you should stop trolling and start thinking critically, the way adults do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well said and quite appropriate

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    no flying lessons today?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Can we post this reply to the front page of Cubs Den? I cannot stand trolls on what is the absolutely best site for the critical thinking Cubs fan.

  • In reply to stork:

    Haha! Thanks, stork!

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Dude, I know your whole schtick is trolling and what not, and you do get a REALLY good rise out of people here... And I get trolling the readers, but with all the work all the authors put into Cubs Den, you'd think you could be a little more respectful.

    However, John and Tom were just using the Verlander comparison as a metaphor, and if you can't at least comprehend that then well, your post about their "uneducated observations" is pretty ironic.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    It's what we get for feeding it. :)

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I usually see that moniker and scroll past. Since it appears no one is banned however deserving, I would wish that all would simply ignore.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I'm with you, Hubbs16, and not just because we share the same boyhood hero (the one continuously maligned by you-know-who).
    Especially the "however deserving" part.
    His sick posts bring the whole level of discussion down and detract from the great work John, Tom, and Felzz do.
    Let's focus on the good stuff in this blog.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    You just wrote the unwritten Cubs Den rule. Shame on you :)

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I know, I read a football recruiting forum where trolling is the norm, and responding is exactly what they want. I find trolls funny and entertaining for the most part, and most of his stuff doesn't bother me, but him calling you guys out is obnoxious. It's just basic respect and appreciation for the people that work so hard for our enjoyment.

    This place just seems to be a totally different animal then what I'm used to. I've never seen a place where everyone is so knowledgeable and courteous to one another, even when they disagree. It really is a breath of fresh air, and testament to the kind of folks your site attracts. As somebody that studied journalism/media you quickly learn that the internet is an amazing thing, both for good and bad. And in most cases when it comes to blog based websites it's for the bad, and CubsTalk just kind of embodies the negative aspect of the internet. But, that's the beautiful part of our constitution... Everybody has a right to a voice, no matter if we like that voice or not.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    have to agrree with you. i am a Notre Dame fan and check out many Irish sites and Cubstalk type of rant is pretty common. I really believe he is a ND hater and has Smardijia as an easy target.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Yeah, I went to Auburn, so I frequent several SEC type blogs/forums, so CubsTalk is certainly not the first troll I've encountered haha. I will say in his defense, that when he's not bull shitting he does actually have points that I sometimes agree with.

    I think in general there's a lot of agreement here, and I'd say that's a good thing when we share a unified vision about the directions the Cubs are moving towards. It is refreshing to have different perspectives though, and CubsTalk definitely brings that to the site haha.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    All the same, there is NO excuse for maligning players or posters personally, e.g., mocking plane crashes, demeaning Ernie Banks (of all people !!), lurid fabrications about players' wives, wishing social diseases on Marmol, remarking on posters' wives and mothers, etc.
    All that is plain old sickness....and has no place here.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I agree with you, and I don't enjoy his style of trolling bc it's not very creative, and it's just cruel, but that is exactly what it is... a troll. The less people respond to it, the less it'll fuel the fire so to speak hopefully. Then again, I've just spent a few comments replying about it haha.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    WDE!

  • In reply to AUBWDE:

    War damn eagle! Great to see another AU fan on here.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    THIS!!!!

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    In reply to Jamato:

    I 100 percent agree that there is no place for that kind of post. But I do take issue a bit with ripping trolling in any form. Rarely do I have the time to participate in a post from the beginning. I almost always read them when there have already been dozens of comments and "troll" through and respond one way or another to various comments.

    Is that verboten? If it is, then by all means I will only comment at the bottom unless I've been with the post from the start. I didn't realize this was such a sensitive issue.

    That said, I think you should always ask yourself before you post whether you would say your comments to someone's face.

  • Been reading for about a month and a half now and just wanted to say great work. Look forward to reading the new articles everyday. Keep it yp

  • In reply to IACubsFan11:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Catch many I-Cubs games? Really enjoyed my time there except that I went on the worst weather weekend of the year.

  • I don't see a near future free agent starting pitcher out there with more upside than Samardzija. Hope the Cubs extend him.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    None at all -- nobody with that combination of stuff, youth, low mileage, and mental makeup. When he's commanding his pitches, he's about as tough as there is.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Spellcheck seems like he goes thru dead arm periods. Most relatively young pitchers do. Im betting Spellcheck will pitch better after the break, just like he did last year. Spellcheck also had a bad June last year , and recovered. I wouldn't be surprised if he pitches well down the stretch this year.

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    I just really see Samardzija making some basic mistakes out there. IMO, he's still learning to pitch. He left so many fat cookies out there yesterday it was almost comical. This is one time I agreed with Dale leaving the "kid" out there to take some lumps.

    I just hope after the game they sat him down a discussed what was going on. Shark's competitive drive can sometimes be his worst enemy. At times he looks like he wants to just overpower hitters. Not gonna happen with major league hitters. Last night they made him pay.

    It seems some are more worried if he is a true #1 or not. In my mind I don't concern myself with that. We have a guy that can be truly special when he is clicking. We just need to work with him to be more consistent. Do we trade a guy like that going into his prime years and watch him do great things for another team so we can say "I told you so" on a blog?

  • Cubs fans are laughing at someone too but its not at John and Tom. its apparent to 99% of the readers on this site that those two know what they are talking about.........keep up the good work.

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    In reply to kansascub:

    Good point! ROFL

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    I'm glad this was posted the day after a 13-2 drubbing. Time to start prepping for the bandwagon jumpers next year and in '15.

    I do think it's kinda sad that some Cubs fans I know are still complaining about Theo/Jed yet I have some Cards fans friends that actually recognize what the FO is doing. But I guess I can't blame the casual Cubs fans since we never really had much of a system to pay attention to, and the Cards fans are used to having a good system.

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    In reply to Zachary Myers:

    The Cubs have bandwagon jumpers even when they're one of the worst teams in baseball. Heck, the premise of Ricketts' renovation model is based on tourism! More fans = more money = better Cubs teams. Come one come all, I say.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    I agree. Since you're a music guy, JW, I figured you might like this....old goofy REM song, but lyrics are perfect...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYTHWS6xFf4

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Dead Letter Office - a favorite. Best throwaway album ever. Bandwagon always struck me as a confusing piece though I do like it. It's got the classic R.E.M. feel but it so wants to be a Beach Boys song!

    Interestingly enough I spent the entire mid morning/early afternoon talking with Peter Buck's publicist about SXSW - come back here and BAM - R.E.M. You just can't script that kind of symmetry!

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    In reply to Jivewired:

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that they will be here. And as you pointed out, it's actually a good thing. The only thing that does bother me is the jumpers that claim they've been die hard for years but can't name any players from the down years. I'm sure this is currently happening with the Hawks also, but again as long as the money is coming in to help the team it's all good.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I wish I could forget some of the Cubs seasons.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    Ha! Damon Buford is one I'll never forget.

  • Feeling good, gentlemen. John, I just moved to Forest Park. When's the next meet and greet for the commentariat?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Holy moly you're right next door. I don't have one planned but maybe we can have one right there in FP. Lots of good places there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I haven't had the chance to try out the local establishments yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Lets schedule one of these things soon.

  • After a depression April and May I am feeling good moving into the 2nd half as sellers. Little disappointed Bjax isnt healthy and ready to move up but other than that really looking forward to 2014.

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    "but I can finally see the light"

    105 years of mass Cub fan delusion. Sad, funny, pitiful.

    GO CARDS!

  • In reply to Van Lingle Mungo:

    Go somewhere else.

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    The invasion has started. White Sux and Cards fans are now checking out a Cubs blog. I can sense fear in the air! LOL

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Lol agreed. Like someone stated above I have some card fan friends that compliment our minor system now and are starting to fear what our future is bringing. No better compliment to me coming from St. Louis IMO!

  • In reply to Van Lingle Mungo:

    We are coming....

  • In reply to Van Lingle Mungo:

    Ha. I meant during rebuild but thanks for reading.

  • Samardzija is not being traded without a good return. Pitchers with his pedigree simply do not come around often. What the hell Cubs Talk? Did he steal your girlfriend or something back in the day?

  • i for one am glad to see the influx of talent this FO is bringing in. One thing we have to keep in mind is when the Cubs start competing and become buyers they are going to have to give something up. To get that TOR pitcher they may have to give up a Baez or Soler or even a Castro(if Baez is ready).

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    How many people, raise your hands, after seeing CubsTalk for the first time, went looking for a CubsTalk website to read his incredible analysis? I did. Found nothing lol. Sheesh, the domain is actually available for $399 in a GoDaddy auction. Someone should buy it lol.

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    In reply to Jivewired:

    My hand is raised.

    His posts are train wrecks, you know they're going to be bad but you have to read them anyway. But they are very entertaining, so it's worth it.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I find them entertaining, too. And not to be taken too seriously. But he occasionally makes a good point.
    If you regard him as a troll, the first rule is, of course, don't feed him.

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    Good piece, Tom. Another thing that folks have mentioned but I haven't seen thrown out there much is how good the Cubs might be right now if Castro and even Rizzo had performed closer to expectations. Couple that with even average bullpen performance and you've got a .500 team in my opinion, despite competing in the best division in baseball.

  • Tom, I agree with you that the worst is over.

    With that said, and with what has happened this year, I will absolutely have greater expectations for the team next year. In 2014 I will consider 90 losses a failure rather than "another step", like this year and last year.

  • I think they have to be thinking .500 with a bullet next year.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I hope so. My wife only knows what she sees at the big league level and doesn't completely get the selloff strategy. We've been cheering the Cubs on together for nearly 20 years, but not sure how much longer she's going to hold on.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Even more good news - other than Schierholz, no one is really having a career year. Well, maybe Travis Wood but I expect better things down the road from Wood. He is going to be a great left-handed compliment to a good staff in a way that Tom Glavine complimented John Smoltz and Greg Maddux. Now if only we can find the next Smoltz and Maddux.

    PS - Travis Wood seems very self-aware that chicks dig the long ball, too, but you may have to be 30 or older to get that.

  • RE: "The Cubs are 27-22 in games outside their division, but they’re 13-26 against the NL Central, the lowest winning percentage by any team against its own division in baseball."

    On the brighter side, 47 of our remaining 73 games are against teams other than the Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates ...

  • I can't believe there has hardly been a peep about Garza being traded the last few days. I'm getting restless.

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    In my opinion, it's simple. The Cubs want a true top prospect for Garza and nobody wants to give one up. All I keep hearing is that nobody is ever going to give a real prospect away again at the deadline after what happened to the Giants in the Carlos Beltran/Zack Wheeler trade (see last night's box scores).

    In the end, there is no way the Cubs get a prospect like that for Garza, and I'm starting to think that it's not 100 percent out of the question that they don't blink and end up making him a qualifying offer to get a decent draft pick out of him.

    Even though Boston is saying that starting pitching isn't their priority, my money is on a trade to the Red Sox since the Cubs know that system. And I'm betting it includes Gregg, though if he blows one more save I'm not so sure (another example of where I think Hoyer is blowing a little smoke when he says hot streaks don't matter much – if Gregg had not performed well with the Cubs in a small sample size no team would be looking at him twice).

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I agree with you're overall assessment. I don't have any problem with the cubs having a high asking price for Garza. They have every right to ask for at least the value of a 1st round pick because comp pick is tied to him for us. If we cannot trade him I have no problem with getting a comp pick or even resigning him at a fair salary.

    I also feel like it is in the cubs best interest to trade Garza in a "package" deal including Gregg, Nate S, or even Russel (he's just a luxury on this team much like marshall awhile back). With a package deal we are more likely to get that Wheeler prospect plus a couple sleeper candidates. Fingers crossed on that and further improvement of our farm!

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    Exactly. But I've been told by those far wiser than me that those package deals that seem to make so much sense - including the one I proposed involving Garza and Gregg - almost never happen (though to me it just makes too much sense to be disregarded). The thinking seems to be that the Red Sox will give you two or three decent but flawed prospects for Garza and a longshot or two for Gregg, but that throwing Gregg into the Garza deal does not mean they would upgrade one of the prospects they were offering for Garza.

    The way I view it, it all comes down to the idea that trading a prospect who becomes a star is the worst thing that can happen to a GM. Nobody is going to be able to prove that he would have won the World Series if he'd traded for Garza but didn't because he couldn't pull the trigger.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I still think Garza brings you value somewhere a little better than the value of a compensatory pick and a secondary prospect. It's a game of war right now and someone will blink first. Maybe Texas. I see Darvish is hurt, though not sure to what extent. A great trade, and I've said this often, would be Jorge Alfaro and Cody Buckel. If the Cubs could swing that it would be a nice trade for both teams.

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    In reply to Jivewired:

    secondary pick in ADDITION.

  • This is just me having some fun!!!!

    Outfield
    Balaguert
    Soler
    Szczur
    Almora

    Infield
    Bryant
    Candelario
    Christian Villaneuva
    Baez
    Alcantara
    Lake
    Vogelbomb

    Pitchers
    Paniagua
    Johnson
    Vizcaino
    Wells/Maples
    Rob Z.

    I'm sure I've left some off ... but the majority of those names have been added in the last two years. There are others who are too new to be included. I'm sure some will quibble ... but it's uplifting to think what's been accomplished in the organization.

    That's not counting Ransom, Wood, Sweeney, Schierholtz, Parker and others. That 36-36 surprised me when I read it; I looked back at the early part of the season. Things have gotten noticeably better.

    Really wonderful article, Tom!!!

  • The quickest path:
    I look at that roster/prospects and hope the FO is inclined to resign Garza. Then I feel like they could move that timetable to 2014 being competitive and 2015 competing. Esp. if Baker resigns and comes back healthy. I understand the whole value and turning short term assets into long term. Esp. with guys like Maholm, Dempster, FELDMAN!!! (#4/5's) - and and happy at what we got for these guys. And I'd throw in position players in that mix to. But I just think it is a mistake to try and rollover a TOR or even a #3 starter in their prime. The former can be replaced, as the FO has shown. But history also shows that trading TOR types is a lose lose typically. Better left to Small market teams. Sign Garza!!
    2014
    Garza Shark Wood Baker jackson ??

    I guess i just don't follow trading long term assets when we have obviously turned a corner. And I include Russell in that mix as a keeper.

  • Garza's velo peaked two years ago, and he will be 30 in November. He will demand a 5-yr deal, possibly at app $18m py. Google "pitcher aging curves," look at the velo drop at yrs 4-5 of Garza's 5-yr contract, and the amount he would be paid, and ask youself if you really think the Cubs org wants to spend that kind of money on a pitcher who will be lucky to have above a 0 WAR in his final contract year. I expect the brain trust at Cub central would say "no."

  • Great stuff, Tom (per usual). The thing I keep seeing is that even with the trades likely coming in the next few weeks (Garza, Gregg and 50/50 Schierholtz) the Cubs just won't be as bad as they were in August-September 2012 after Dempster, Maholm, Soto, Baker and Johnson were traded (barring an injury).

    Even with the big-time prospects a year or so away, TheoJed have already added big-league depth. We won't see significant playing time from Berken/Germano/Rusin/Raley/Vitters/Mather this year. The rotation will likely be Shark, Wood, Jackson, Villanueva, the outfield will have some combo of Soriano, Sweeney, Bogie and Schierholtz and the infield is pretty set. Even if Ransom and Navarro get sent elsewhere, we're far from sunk.

    The Cubs brass has been dinged for not developing on "parallel tracks" -- i.e. building from within while getting big-league help at the same time. They haven't signed mega FA contracts (yet) but I'm definitely seeing parallel tracks developing.

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    Darvish to the dl. Could Garza be a Ranger by Saturday?

  • Lets put it this way. There is nothing more important then a veteran pitching staff. the everyday players r going to cum(sic) in waves. The offense and defense is on the way. Starting pitching depth and bullpen depth are the wild cards IMO. A bird in the hand. I just think that the pitching waves r just a step behind, but they r there.

  • Last Rant, IMHO :-) A total aside. I cannot believe no one has signed Soriano in the last year! This guy is a teams DH wet dream. My theory is that when he struggled in the playoffs leading off is being held against him. But these r totally different players now. I can't believe, considering the Cubs willingness to eat his contract that no one will bight. Hell even a package with some prospects and PTBNL's would work. I will say that whoever signs him will win the World Series. Call me crazy, but he has shown he still can carry a team.

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    The problem is the Cubs want the trading team to take on the salary. No one will. In exchage for eating close to $25 million, the Cubs would want top prspects. that isn't going to happen either. So the best bet is to keep Soriano for another year, hope he has a great first half, and trade him when there is less than $10 mil left on his contract. Then, if you pay the salary or txfer it to the trading team, you can find a more equitable fit. It is just far too much money owed on that contract right now and impossible to find a trading partner that fits. Statistically, it would be a no brainer, but you don't pay what it would take in salary or prospects for Soriano's stats, and the Cubs aren't going to eat that contract for the sake of getting rid of him.

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    In reply to Jivewired:

    Everything I've ever heard about Sori getting traded had the Cubs eating a vast majority of the salary...

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Yeah in exchange for higher level prospects. For two and a half years the Cubs have been willing to eat Soriano's salary but that comes with a premium. The more money they swallow, the better the prospects they want. That's the premium. Why would they give away a player, eat $25m and expect nothing in return? That doesn't even make sense.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    I suspect you are right about no team being willing to take on the remainder of Soriano's contract, and I would also agree that teams aren't going to want to give up their top prospects to get him, even if the Cubs eat the $25-27M. Either of those scenarios would likely be acceptable to Theo and Jed, but it also makes sense that they could find some middle ground.

    Say the Cubs pick up the rest of his 2013 salary plus $9M of his $18M salary for 2014. The trade partner would pay $9M for about nine months of Soriano and could even turn around and trade him next July to another contender in need of a RH power bat, should they find themselves out of the hunt a year from now. The Cubs would save $9M in committed payroll, and would probably be willing to take a couple decent prospects with some upside in exchange for them eating the other $18M. Soriano could help a team like the Yankees right now, and I don't think a trade is that much of a stretch

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    In reply to WSorBust:

    It's not a stretch. It is very fair. And if someone made that offer, I am sure Jed and Theo would ask Soriano to waive his NTC, similar to the potential trade with SF last year.

    Now, of course not every thing is made public so maybe they have had that scenario come up and we just don't know about it and Soriano flat out invoked his 5/10 rights to refuse.
    But, my guess is that no such offer exists right now. Plus, a team is not going to base what they give upon prospects with the hopes they can move Soriano next year. What if he gets hurt? What if he starts playing like a 50-year old?

    An offer like that could occur but you are talking about a desperate team and look, the Yankees have needed OF/DH help all season and have yet to come after Soriano. And they have had some wretched players come in and out on that team as stopgaps. I just think they have no interest. J

    ust my opinion and I look at it as objectively as possible rather than as a die-hard Cubs fan. I am a DHCF - but why get my hopes up for something not likely to occur?

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    Danny Salazar of CLE looked spectacular today - mentioned more than once as possibly a guy the Cubs would take as part of a package for Garza. Jussayin'

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Yep, we wrote about him yesterday.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I have been thinking about this a lot. Your readership and I cannot believe that is actually a word, has really grown exponentially since last year's trading deadline. Whenever this Matt Garza saga ends, you probably should take him out for a big steak and an ice cold beer. What a great reason for casual readers to find out how well you know your subject. I wonder how many readers found you simply by a 'Matt Garza Trade Rumors' Google search?

    Being that I run a blog and a website, we are always looking for tat one item that brings tons of readers. We just passed 200,000 readers, but honesty most of them came for a review we did of a Heart album that was released last summer and for a picture I posted of Kate Upton, lol. Those Google image searches work wonders! Anyway - congratulations on the fervent support that you and the guys get. Well deserved.

    PS - that is how I found this site - I googled 'Matt Garza Trade Rumors' last spring.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Very cool info thanks.

  • Tom,

    When I saw the title to your article here, I had to pause and take a deep, deep breath. I've been a Cubs fan since '58, when Ernie won back-to-back MVPs in '58 and '59, so I've seen a lot of promises and predictions come and go. I remember Leo saying the Cubs weren't an 8th place team when he took over, and he was right, because he guided them to 10th the very next year. So I hope, like you say, the worst is over, but please cut me some slack when I say I'll believe it when I see it, because it ihas been mostly seeing it when I believe it since those way, way back years.

    I hope you're right! I wanna believe, I really do!

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Can't say that I understand where you're coming from because I hopped on in '02 but alas. Nothing is for certain and probably 2/3rds of our prospects won't even make it to the show, but I think in terms of the overall rebuild we're starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel at the very least. This was a complete full rebuild from the ground up. There hasn't been much improvement on the MLB squad I think everyone can attest to that but our minor league system has gotten exponentially better in the last 2 years and filled out even more so that I ever expected it to. Theo was always talking about "waves" of prospects and we're finally starting to see that. It makes me absolutely insanely happy to know we possibly will have 4 prospects in the top 50 of most lists next year and possibly 6 in the top 100 with my main boy voggy and that Arismendy guy who I can never spell his name...

  • Bowden up, Raley down.

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    Who gets DFA to make room for Bowden?

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Isn't Bowden on the 40 man roster?

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    He got DFA'd and cleared waivers. Need to check that.

  • It seems like Tyler Alamo signed for only 100 K

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    In reply to Caps:

    You're kidding. If true there's no way the Cubs didn't win this draft hands down.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Jim Callis reported it, so this is good.

    https://twitter.com/jimcallisBA

  • In reply to Caps:

    Very nice. I didn't think he'd be too expensive but slot is excellent.

  • My friend called me and said that there is a Tribune article today (Phil Rogers) on the Cubs possibly in contention on signing Cuban 26 year old putcher Gonzalez I believe it is. Its not on their webpage (he had the actual paper with him). Any comments on this guy or the Cubs chance of signing him.

  • So for next year, we are looking at Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Baker as our top 4 in the rotation. Add in a youngster or a FA signing, and that is a decent rotation to build toward 2015 when some of the young arms could be ready.

    We no longer have to go out and sign 2-3 guys a year to fill out the rotation. If we are down to one FA for next year, we could be looking at filling in the rotation from here on in with internal talent, unless the FO wants to make a big splash for a FA or through a major trade.

    Talent is coming, even though we are impatient.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    (I love replying to my own comments).

    Speaking of talent from within, Pierce Johnson with another very impressive outing today.

    Conceivable he could begin next year at Tennessee.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think so. He just seems so advanced. Like he has an idea out there and the stuff to go along with it. I wonder when he'll start getting some national attention.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Haha. I do think he starts in AA next year.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Remember, the Dodgers started the season with 8 starters and still managed to fall short, you can never have too many pitchers capable of starting on a major league squad.

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    Exactly what I said yesterday. It is a blessing for Jedstein that the Cubs record is worse then there run differential.

    It allows them to continue the path they have chosen. (whether you believe in it or not, they deserve to finish the plan out)

  • Return 6 hours later to see what the latest news of the day is....

    Maybe Garza trade talk....

    but it was more about me.......insults, etc.....hey, I thought Cubs Fans were Classy?.......or so they always brag about.....well that rumor came out not to be true......

    looks like I hurt a few people's feelings when i said that Samardzija is not an "Ace" or #2 pitcher at the present...... .........maybe he could some day......but right now, and next year, the Cubs are not going to be winners by doing "sell offs"..........plus, there are Cubs fans who consider players like Baez, Soler, Almora and Bryant as "Stars" ......these guys never saw a major league pitch yet........I heard the same talk about Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Earl Cunningham, etc.........lets hope these new guys can help....but it will take at least 2016 to know the results.....

    ......lets also look at the Cubs pitching.......T. Wood is doing a great job this season, career year or becoming a strong #2 on this club?....time will tell...... .......Garza is leaving town......we know about EJax history......and the Shark is barely treading water......will Shark wait for 2016 or be traded by Theo before then........our #1 pitching prospect is recovering TJ surgery.......our pitcher who has the most wins this season, was traded almost two weeks ago............

    I see an influx of Sox and Cards bloggers today.......Welcome......thank you for raising the I.Q. bar here on this site.......

    as I said earlier, if the Cubs can speed up the rebuilding process, especially in the pitching department, then trade Samardzija also....

    My prediction of 88 wins would be on track if the Cubs did not blow so many games by the bullpen, and if pitchers like Jackson & Samardzija did their part for this team...........we might have seen a sell off players......more like Buyers at this point......but in the Real World, this Cubs season is over....2014 will be the same I fear......2015 should be the official start of the new Cubs Era as we see Baez, Soler and Bryant play everyday.........the goal for 2015 should be playing 500 ball....

    if these new guys cannot be better than Banks, Santo & Williams, who never won a division title together, then Theo's Way was a failure.

    Lets hope Theo can add pitching to this club by 2015.

  • To keep it on the positive side.....
    Beautiful story on Albert Almora by Sahadev Sharma:
    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/18378/almoras-instincts-leadership-set-him-apart

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I enjoyed it too, would love to see him at Wrigley by the end of 2015.. Too fast?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    He told me a while back he was going to to do this and I missed it. I'll link it in the recaps.

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