What yesterday's big day means and why it's important

The Cubs have a plan.

We call it "rebuilding" as a simple catch-all word and to many, as Tom wrote the other day, it's long overdue.  But "rebuilding" is something of an abstract concept and as such, it can mean different things to different people

To some, rebuilding means losing and empty seats.  It means getting unproven players who will fail like Cubs young prospects have failed in the past.  Or at best it means having to wait 5 years to have any kind of success as the team waits to field a homegrown lineup.

To others, it means trying to build a top-ranked farm system.  While that's a nice little perk and perhaps an indicator of a good rebuilding process, that's not what rebuilding is about either.

Quite simply it's about acquiring and developing assets.

Starting with the hiring of  a new front office, everything the Cubs have done, from increasing the scouting staff to creating a development plan; from building a team culture and setting expectations to finding ways to generate new revenue streams -- all of that is designed to accomplish that goal.  For all of it to work requires a total commitment from ownership and the top of the organization down to the minor league staff and players.

You cannot have a strong organization without valuable assets and what we are ultimately talking about when we talk about assets are the players themselves.

At the same time, it's imp0rtant to think of this in terms of process and not results.  You've probably heard me say many times that you can control process, but you cannot control results.  Yet there is a correlation -- good results follow good process.  Create good process and you'll have success, but more importantly, success that is sustainable.  The reason for this is that the process itself is repeatable.

Looking at the big picture, the Cubs have created a process for evaluating, acquiring, and developing players with the intention of creating waves of talent.

Position isn't as important as you might think except in the sense that starting pitching and up the middle positions are generally more valuable than corner positions and relief pitchers.  But what I'm saying here is that you aren't trying to put together a lineup and a rotation with pieces from your organization, because no matter how good the process is, the chances are that you will have pieces missing.  What you are trying to do is accumulate the most valuable assets you can, and then use those assets to build what you need.  Think of it less like a jigsaw puzzle and more like Settlers of Catan (nerd alert).

You may remember that I disagreed with Keith Law for this reason a while back when he dismissed Dan Vogelbach, essentially because he is a 1B/DH type on an NL team that already has a young 1B.  With all due respect, I think he missed this point.  Dan Vogelbach is an asset to the organization because he has potential surplus value as a power hitter at relatively low cost.  That may be with the Cubs or it may be with another organization, but either way, the Cubs will cash in if he develops as hoped.

For the same reason, I don't worry about who will play where when the Cubs draft Kris Bryant or have three top shortstops that are less than 24 years old.  When the Cubs sign Eloy Jimenez, I'm not going to worry about whether he's the Cubs starting RF'er in 5 years.  It's too early to start trying to put that together.

In a similar vein, I had a conversation with Professor Parks via twitter on that subject a while back.  He's ranking the Cubs as a top 2 or 3 system even though they are heavily balanced toward hitters.  Again, it's about having multiple valuable assets -- 4 of those hitters (once Bryant signs) are among the top 30 prospects in the minor leagues.  The Cubs have succeeded in acquiring and creating  what they consider to be the most valuable assets possible under the circumstances-- they can worry about where they fit and how they will use them later.  In other words, the more valuable assets you have, the more options you have for building your team over time.  Assets with less value, even if it's better balanced, doesn't afford you the same level of flexibility.

Moving on, we should mention that assets are generally either short or long term.  The acquisition of Scott Feldman this past offseason was one that we can consider a short term asset.  The idea, then, is to convert that short term asset into a long term asset.  Short term success is always welcomed, but remember that we're looking for sustainable success here.

There are two ways to do this.  One way is to re-sign Feldman to a long term deal and the other way is to trade him for players who are younger with more cost control.  Whether you re-sign Feldman depends in large part whether you think the salary you will pay him gives him enough surplus value relative to the production he provides or whether you can create greater surplus value by dealing him for younger, cheaper, cost-controlled assets who can give you similar production.  With Feldman's value at a high point and entering free agency at the end of this year, the Cubs chose the latter route and I believe that is the correct choice.  It is essentially a repeat of the trade that brought Travis Wood in for Sean Marshall.

The Cubs also accumulated more long term assets through international free agency signings.  Will they turn out? Will they fit?  There's really no way of knowing, but for now they are assets to the organization and ones the Cubs are betting will increase in value over the next few years.

Things aren't always going to be that clear.  The Cubs had to trade one short term asset for another when they dealt Carlos Marmol for Matt Guerrier.  They also traded a long term asset for another long term asset when they dealt 2B prospect Ronald Torreyes for $784,000 worth of international free agent pool money -- basically money that will bring in top prospect OF Eloy Jimenez.  That is an example of using one asset -- one from an area of surplus -- in order to obtain an asset that the Cubs valued more highly.  It's essentially a trade-off.  You are exchanging a player with greater certainty to reach the majors for one the Cubs feel is riskier, but has a better chance to have a significant impact if he does make it.  Jimenez is a potential impact player and the same can be said of  Jake Arrieta as well.  With all due respect, players like Ronald Torreyes and Scott Feldman are not.  That's not to say they aren't or won't be good players, but in reality there are guys like them who are readily available on the open market year after year.  They can be replaced easily in comparison to the cost of acquiring big impact players.

So impact potential is yet another part of the equation.  The Cubs feel that you win with impact players and that those players are harder to obtain than role players.  The idea is if you can get a few of those impact players to develop, then it's much easier to build around that young, cost-controlled core of talented players.   You can't completely control whether any individual impact talent will reach his potential, but what you can do is acquire as many impact level talents as you can, thereby increasing the odds that at least a few of them will pan out as hoped.  It's a simple game of numbers.

So don't think of this as the Cubs trying to piece together a winning team position by position or as having a set destination date when the team will transform into a contender.  Think of it in broader terms.  Think of it as accumulating long-term, impact level assets, developing them as ballplayers, and then letting the rest play itself out.  The Cubs can either use those assets on the field or use them as chips that give them flexibility and options to continue the building process.

Yesterday was another big step in that direction.

Filed under: Analysis, Rebuilding


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  • Nice article, John. I think the way you laid things out is the correct one and really the best lens to use when looking at this process.

    I still can't shake the relationship between acquiring assets and time, however. We all know that the ultimate goal is to win a World Series (OK, technically multiple WS, but this is the Cubs -- we'll take one and go bonkers with it and Theo would become a god) and that goal is very much a "right now" asset collection.

    I bring this up because even though I concede Theo's point that the path to success isn't always linear, I guess I still struggle to "see the shape of the line", so to speak. OK, so we've now gone through two seasons of bad baseball. So how many years of this do we still have coming? Before getting to contender status, how many years of ~.500 baseball will we have?

    My best guess is that the Cubs will buy an expensive-but-appropriate-value piece or two each year for the next couple of years, wait until some of our prospects are in place and doing well, and then really going for it and start trading long-term assets for short-term, "right now" assets.

    ...But I'm still really not sure.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Thanks Matt.

    I think free agency is a part of the equation and you are going to need to fill in pieces from the outside, but that's easier to justify when you're getting value from within the organization. If guys like Shark, Castro, and Rizzo are giving you surplus value with their production relative to their salary, then you can afford to bring in an impact player or two who provides no surplus value at all -- maybe even one with a deficit, though that's not really desirable.

    Assets can be used, traded, etc. but you keep building that supply and eventually you'll have it at every level of your organization. As for the MLB team, I really don't see any reason why the team can't compete next year with some key additions, especially when you consider Castro, Rizzo, Castillo and others are capable of producing so much more than they have this season.

  • Wonderful article. As precise a summation of the "rebuild" that I've seen.

    This is why Cubs Den stands alone as the best Cubs blog on the web.

    Well done John

  • In reply to HankW:

    Thanks Hank!

  • Excellent!

    I actually feel pretty good about yesterday's transactions, each one of them. I've been a Cub fan since 58-59 when Dad and I were cheering Ernie's back-to-backs because there wasn't anything else to cheer for. Epstein and Hoyer are on the right track. We just have to be patient, and I know how to do that.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Thanks TEC.

    I'm with you on the patience thing. I didn't have to wait as long -- I was a fan for 10 years before the Cubs won something in '84, but since then success has been far and few between. The key to me is that many GMs know how to build an instant winner if given the resources but it's much more difficult to build sustainable success. Yet that is exactly what teams like the Red Sox, Rays, Cardinals, and Rangers have done. I really do think the Cubs are on their way as well.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    You have me beat by 9 years being a fan. Yes fans like us have to be patient. I am sure you and I will agree that for the first time in our lifes, the direction the Cubs are going is the best we have ever seen.

  • Hannemann comes to mind as adding more assetts. Cubs have Almora and others in CF, but adding Hannemann just adds further depth and more value. Question. Again I am a novice with many of these issues. The money the Astros paid for Torreyes, did they hand over that cash? Or they had less cash to spent and the Cubs added to their pool?

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    In reply to Wild Bill:

    The latter. No cash changed hands, but the Cubs earned the right to spend $800,000 more on IFAs and the Astros can spend $800,000 less on IFAs.

    Agree on Hannemann -- he could be very valuable indeed about the time we're hoping to enter "dynasty" status and need to make our own Chuck Knoblauch deal.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That is interesting. So really in essance the Astros had no out of pocket expense for Torreyes. Pretty clever.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    The Astros did what the Cubs are doing. They traded a short term asset (one that expires in one year if they don't use it) in return for a long term asset in Torreyez.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    It was only a short term asset because they didn't use it, possibly because they didn't think they could get (or didn't want) one of the high ceiling prospects. And 5M is a lot to spend on moderate prospects. I think they've got a couple of nice draft picks in Correa and Appel, but in general a lot of their deals have been for guys with modest ceilings. It's an interesting approach but I think it differs from the Cubs who are trying to stock up on high ceiling prospects in an attempt to get impact. For the most part, the Astros seem to be going for guys with greater certainty and lesser ceilings. I'm not sure yet if that's going to cut it in the AL West, but we'll see.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Yes, I agree. Hanneman is an interesting prospect and I think if you're going to gamble on a player, you do it on an athletic, up the middle player, which Hanneman is. He'll be interesting to watch.

    I think Mike answered your question on the Torreyes deal well.

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    Great article John. I couldn't agree more. From a farm system standpoint, when you draft a Kris Bryant, you aren't overly concerned with how many other third basemen you have in the system or at the major league level. You are acquiring the most valuable asset possible with your draft pick. If you end up with two outstanding players at the same position as they are ready to reach the majors, you look at moving one of them to another position (if possible) or one of them becomes a valuable trade asset that can help you acquire a player at a position of need at that time or for other future assets. It makes a ton of sense and lends itself to increasing your odds of success over the long term.

  • In reply to Tom Wozniak:

    Thank you and agree completely with your take.

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    An inspiring article John. When Jivewired.com makes it's first million I should at least treat you to a Steak and Scotch.


  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    Haha! Thanks. And I will definitely take you up on that.

  • Excellent points John.

    Let's use Brett Jackson as an example. If we decided last year that Brett Jackson was "it", we might have a little more reluctance to add so many quality outfielders in the system.

    With Almora and Soler, and of course, Jackson, you are set. Right? Right?

    Of course, that's wrong, and your article explains why perfectly using the better example of Dan Vogelbach. Not to mention, if we want a David Price, or anyone close, the team in need is going to have holes, and you never just quite know where.

    Guys like Vogelbach might turn a "no" into a "yes".

    Though he rarely gets press, Brad Nelson is a possible late sleeper, another one who could be the missing piece in a big trade, or a surprise backup if someone like Rizzo goes down.

    You can never have enough really.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Thanks Jon. And that is very true. You can never have enough assets. Prospect attrition will happen. It's a fact of life in baseball.

  • why do I get the feeling today that Garza and Shark will both be pitching for contenders this year ? Stewart let his twitter mouth show him the door, Clevenger apparently had issues too , Both gone. Now Shark is publically calling out the FO and basically calling them stupid. I think He gone and we aquire 2-3 impact spects plus the haul for Garza , PS I am ok with it too if they get impact and lots of it for those 2 arms.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't think Shark is gone to be honest, but I agree with you on Garza.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    just a feeling after todays events, I would trade Shark for Bradley and another good piece for sure now.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    From a mgmt/ownership perspective, the cons probably outweigh the pros as far as trading Smardzija this year.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    possible but guys like Theo / Jed have shown in the past they don't like being publically called out, Sharks comments while I understand them were borderline calling the FO stupid, not the best move by Shark, add the fact that He hasn't been extended and its a recipe for a trade. Might not happen but I wont be shocked if He is the blockbuster arm besides Garza to be dealt. Guess we will see.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    He has a no-trade clause, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. So, he appears to have the leverage under that scenario.

  • It looks like the Cubs 50 acre $7 million Dominican Academy is going to be a good investment.

    Story about the different academies

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Thanks for the link. Good stuff.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Thanks for the link. I learned a number of things. I was not aware of this. Signing a 16 year old the team has five years of control. after that they either become rule 5 or need to be put on the 40 man roster.

  • You did a great job of explaining what I have been trying to explain to my friends and family for the last 2 years. I couldn't agree more. They need to get as many assets as they can regardless of position because of market value. We also don't know completely what the market value is for prospects with the new CBA. Obviously, the new CBA changes everything in regards to the value of prospects. I hope Garza fetches something a little more interesting than Feldman did but I am not disappointed in the return.
    Thanks for the article

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Thanks Tide. I've been wanting to write this kind of article for awhile but yesterday's events seemed to make it the perfect time because it put it all into context.

  • John....I have to disagree to your balanced approach argument you present as it relates to the Cubs first rd pick as I still find it a hard argument to make that passing on Gray over Bryant in the draft was the wisest move for the Cubs...when I look at Rosenblum's article about the rankings of the top prospects postdraft and I see Gray listed as #20 and Bryant listed as #37.....isnt the most important thing when assesing value the "league perception of that value"as something in a trade is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it...if the league percieved Gray as having more value, then perhaps the Cubs erred in not obtaining an asset that was more valuable on the open market (and at the same time bring a little balance to the minor league system).....throw in the fact that Bryant is holding out (while Gray did not) and this issue is not playing out to my liking at all

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    Theo and Jed have their own system for ranking player value. It does not necessarily match others' opinion or league perception. They chose Bryant over Gray because they ranked him higher using stats that they deem important.

  • In reply to John57:

    Yes, and my guess is that system likely includes not just the ranking of the player at the time, but the likelihood that they might rise or fall. In other words, they may have felt that Bryant has the tools to improve his... uh... tools and that Gray may have a great risk of regressing. I think pitchers often tend to be year to year with their stuff and their results... so much is based on how much they were used the prior year, injuries, etc. so maybe he was judged as having better upside and/or less risk of losing the value he currently holds.

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    It may be the league perception right now but the Cubs didn't perceive Gray to have the better value long term.

    By the way, I don't really think Bryant is holding out. I think Boras just hasn't really initiated serious talks yet.

  • I would've went Gray as well, system full of bats and to pass on the power arm I was surprised by. FO might have had some info none of us know about though that turned them away from Gray, don't think adderal was it . Maybe they saw something else.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think there were a few questions with Gray. I don't think the adderall was one of them, but it didn't help. The lack of track record was probably the big one, not just in performance, but even things like being able to stay in shape. A little stiffness in his delivery too when compared to Appel.

    My feeling was that the Cubs were interested in Appel much more than they were interested in getting a college arm in general. They've always said you can get impact arms later in the draft.

  • Damn I love this site. I have learned more these past few months. Thanks John and all others. Really good stuff.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Haha, thanks.

  • Impatient folks with somewhat long memories only need cast their minds back to the Sosa era. There was a point in time, not too long ago really, when the Cubs mgmt basically laughed at the idea of trading Sosa to the Yankees, because the Yanks had depleted their farm system down to the point where the system was void of enough solid prospects to trade for a single player that could put their MLB team well over the top. Fast forward a few years, and the Yankees had re-stocked the cupboard and had one of the highest-rated farm systems in the league.
    We are witnessing the phase where the Cubs org builds the system up to the point where it reaches critical mass with prospect talent.
    The Cubs are well along that trajectory, and the moves yesterday, especially the International signings, are giant steps towards the day when critical mass is surpassed.
    The players moved the last 2 days would have had zero impact on the team's success in the next 2-3 years, so these trades were all net gains in my opinion.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Agreed on all counts.

    And if memory serves, wasn't Alfonso Soriano the Yanks main trading chip for Sosa at one point?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't remember Soriano as part. Not that it matters; we got Soriano without having to give up Sosa anyway. Win-win! ;)

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    How is it that the Yankees restocked the cupboard but still remained ultra competitive in the market? That's what gets me.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    If you have the do-re-mi...

  • great article John. I've been a Cubs fan since the mid 60s and seen the ups and downs and as painful as it has been to watch the big league product this year and last I haven't been this excited about the young guys in the system in well forever. Keep up the good work.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Thanks Kansas!

  • love the Settlers of Catan reference

  • In reply to Csanad:

    Thanks! My wife and I play that with friends sometimes. Great game. Seemed to fit in this instance.

  • Then what was the purpose of the Dodgers then designating Marmol for assignment?

    I heard it on the radio; apparently the only web reference is here.

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    Can someone explain to me why the Astros traded two slots for Ronald Torreyes? Do they like him that much? It seems to me they should have been in the same mode as the Cubs of trying to aquire slot money and not trading it away.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    My guess is they weren't into this IFA market as much as the Cubs were. They have a new FO and they may not have their international scouting department set yet, or they don't want to spend money on the 'lottery ticket' know as international free agency. My guess our FO called all the teams that weren't going to use the IFA money, and gave them a list of 'c' prospects they could have.

  • Great article John.
    Did you get a spreadsheet I e-mailed you awhile ago? It shows when the current assets will reach their 'prime' and how that impacts the Cubs plans.

  • In reply to djriz:


    I didn't see it. I'll look for it. Hopefully didn't go to spam or something. It would fit in with what I'm talking about here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think you will like it. It kinda gives an idea on what FA and trade acquisitions make sense. If you need me to resend, just ask. I used the Yahoo e-mail from this site.

  • The next two big items on the agenda are getting the best possible upper-level arm in return for Garza and seeing if we can't pry away Miguel Gonzalez.

    The pipeline is teeming with positional prospects. If we could add another arm or two into our current rotation core, the clock for being competitive will be sped up considerably. Having a great rotation is the quickest way toward contention.

    Shark, in the words of Dave Cameron, is an ace. Travis Wood is looking like a solid #3. E Jax , despite early season struggles will prove to be a solid #4, when considering his history and peripherals. We need that #2 spot.

    The pen is an easy fix; we have way more in-house solutions to that problem, in the minors than we realize.

    The biggest near-term issue is the lineup, particularly the OF. Unfortunately , the system isn't quiteready to spit out any ML-ready , middle-of-the-order bats. That being said, we have the depth of talent to go and out and be aggressive in the off-season trade mkt.

    I know Alex posted it here and Jason Parks recently posited the same thing but I wouldn't be shocked if Baez is the bait to help land a big piece for the lineup or rotation this offseason. Despite his immense talent, he just doesn't seem like one of "their guys" and there is a lot of value to capitalize on. Bryant, Almora, and Soler all have that Jedstein stamp on them. Javy is talented but is he their type?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    We actually wrote an article on that subject a while back. I think he's their type if he mashes the ball and gets on base at a reasonable rate (.340?) but that's definitely a possibility if they feel they need to help the MLB team. It would have to bring back a ton for Cubs to consider. I think those things have yet to play themselves out, though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't want to get ahead of ourselves but I think they're getting to the point where they might want to parlay some of the talent they've accumulated into an impact talent. I agree that probably hasn't been determined yet. You know when those discussions start that Baez's name will be one the first names brought up by potential trading partners.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Agreed. He may be the first name that gets brought up.

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    This a article that should viewed by Cub Fans worldwide. There are many who understand the way you laid it out,but there are many negative Nancy's who won't be satisfied no matter the results. Keep on keeping on John,its the reason I faithfully read the Cubs Den.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Thanks Riot!

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    Just got through watching about an hours worth of video of Jake Arrieta and man.....Stuff is filthy. Guy throws a 91mph SLIDER! Don't think i've seen that kind of velo on an offspeed pitch in a while. 95mph 2-seamer 96-98mph rising 4-seam fastball. Not a max effort guy either...he gets it up there easily.

    His delivery is fluid and when he's on he repeats it well. Looks like a guy that should have at least decent command. Talked to some Orioles fans and they said he has mechanical problems while pitching in the stretch which leads to implosions with runners on base, fix that issue and we have a #1-2 starter easily. Bosio.....get to work.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Yeah, that's nasty. If he can harness that he's going to be a load for hitters to handle.

  • ITA, every good Cub fan should read this article. If only people just sat down and read this article and other like it would people see the Cubs have a real plan and very good one.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thanks Steve.

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    A hole in one Johnny boy! A hole in one! Good work!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Haha! Thanks Michael.

  • Excellent article John, you really hit the nail on the head. A couple of questions on Arrieta
    1) How long do we have cost control?
    2) Do you have the feel that the Cubs have already found something specifically in his delivery that is leading to control problems & that they can fix?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Thanks ChiRY.

    He's not due to become a free agent until before the 2017 season. And I think the Cubs probably did spot something and they're really banking on that big arm. If they can fix the command issue, they're really going to have something there.

  • I know why Garza has not been traded yet, by it makes me
    worried. So many things, out of the Cubs control, could go
    bad or wrong.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You know why? share with us.

  • Can we have the Navy Seals get Paniagua out of the DR?

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Too busy right now....training to snatch Edward Snowden out of Russia.

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    Well explained, but its still amazing that this would even have to be explained. To me its pretty elementary. This is an exciting time for the Cubs, and all Cub fans. Of course you stockpile as much top level talent as you can. Don't matter what position or where you're strong or weak. Really shocking that so called experts like Keith Law question this. Its like criticizing just to do it. Its the best player available scenario. Again once the Cubs are ready to win they'll flip these kids for vets, not to mention have positional depth to be able to sustain injuries at the highest levels of the organization. One goes down one moves up the rung and those below them. Cubs will have prospects galore to trade, or keep and develop, and the financial means to acquire free agents and absorb contracts for deadline players on the block for teams rebuilding during a post season run to improve deficiencies. The opposite of they're doing now essentilly. Than you have these kids to trade for IFA money as well. Keep the minors stocked and thus sustaining success. Much like they did yesterday when they traded Ronald Torreyes. This is the way its done, and one I've been screaming they do for years before Ricketts brought Theo & Co. aboard.

  • Off topic kids, but are there local sports like the link one of you put up for the Boise Hawks. It's nice to see the highlights whenever we can.


  • I agree it is a very exciting time to be a Cubs fan. Great article John. I'm a fan since very early 1970s so have seen my share of blunders. I wish there had been a source like this site back then. Separately to kansascubfan, let me know if you live in or near Lawrence, KS...would love to get together!

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    Thanks Kansasblackhawk!

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    kansasblackhawk I live down Wichita way in town called Derby. Got some friends that live in Lawrence.

  • I need to mark the date of July 2, 2013....the day that Theo start creating his Cubs team.......

    Comcast Sports has a story of Smardzija might have to go.....watch 5 pm show.

  • More complaints from Samardzija on the moves from the Cubs yesterday........

    Can we have Yankees GM tell Jeff to "Shut the F*** Up"

  • Camp is DFA

  • As some have speculated, Shawn Camp was justDFA'ed.

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    In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    Good. I was tired of cringing every time he came into the game. He did a lot of good for this team last year and I appreciate it, but with all one-year wonders, when the magic wears off you gotta let 'em go.

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    Just tweeted that. No surprise at this point. Gave us a good year but just wasn't the same this season.

  • So this Cubs 5 year plan has turned into a 8 year plan?....with 2012 & 2013 already gone.......and Samardzija will wait around for this team to be a playoff team?

    Jeff will take what is behind Door #2 which is $200 million and playing in Southern California.

  • never has been a 5 year plan. It is a process which many on this site have mentioned. I for one love what is going on in the minor leagues even as i cringe at what is going on at the major league level.

  • As of today, I'm convinced Samardzija will jump ship asap.
    Someone....demanding....that he get a haircut....will make him pack his bags.....

  • Great article and always nice to see it broken down. I think the best way to look at this today and project where it will end up down the road is to look at what the Cardinals (I know it hurts) have been doing. The Cardinals always seem to have a guy that comes in from their system each year. They also have remained contenders even when they lose a Cy Young caliber pitcher to injury or they lose their MVP to free agency. In the past, things like this would doom teams like the Cubs because they just didn't have any depth. What Theo is talking about when he says waves of talent is just this. For too long the fans in this city became addicted to the thought of free agency and to be honest, it didn't work out. The fact that the Cubs are in the position they are in today is a direct result of dipping too deep in that pool. When Ricketts bought the team, I saw it as obvious what he was going to do and he wasn't going to go and do the same thing his predecessors had done.

    You say baseball is a game of numbers and all the numbers mean something and what they mean is an element of predictability and chance. Smart money says that if I can get a team to compete for 10 years and in those 10 years, maybe make the playoffs in 8 of the 10 years, with the way the ball bounces in the playoffs, there is a strong chance at winning it all at least once. After looking at the numbers, the chances are even better than that.

    In the last 10 seasons, there have been 7 different champions (Marlins, Red Sox, White Sox, Cardinals, Phillies, Yankees, and Giants). 3 teams won multiples (Red Sox, Cards and Giants). If you look at each team that won and look at how they performed the 10 years before that, you get the idea of what sustainability really means…

    03. Marlins – 2 playoffs in 10 years – 2 championships, 2 WS appearances
    04. Red Sox – 4 playoffs in 10 years – 1 championship
    05. White Sox – 2 playoffs in 10 years – 1 championship
    06. Cardinals – 6 playoffs in 10 years – 1 championship, 2 WS appearances
    07. Red Sox – 5 playoffs in 10 years – 2 championships, 2 WS Appearances
    08. Phillies – 2 playoffs in 10 years – 1 championship
    09 Yankees – 9 playoffs in 10 years – 2 championships, 4 WS appearances
    10 Giants – 3 playoffs in 10 years – 1 championship, 2 WS appearances
    11 Cardinals – 6 playoffs in 10 years – 2 championships, 3 WS appearances
    12 Giants – 3 playoffs in 10 years – 2 championships

    What about the teams that have been knocking on the door?

    Detroit – 2 WS losses (06 & 12) 3 playoffs in the last 7 years
    Texas – 2 WS losses (10 & 11) 3 playoffs the last 3 years
    Tampa Bay – 1 WS loss in 08 3 playoffs in the last 5 years

    In the extreme example, the Yankees made the playoffs for 9 out of 10 years and won 1 title. The Cardinals twice translated 6 in 10 to a title. The Giants have been to the playoffs 3 of the last 4 seasons and have won twice. Throw out the Marlins, White Sox and Phillies and the teams that won on average were in the playoffs 5 times over 10 years. Take the Yankees out and that’s 4.5 times out of 10.

    To use the Cardinals as an example, they have made the playoffs since the beginning of this century 9 times (00, 01, 02, 04, 05, 06, 09, 11, and 12) and they are on their way to their 10th playoff appearance in 14 seasons barring a complete collapse. When you are in play that many times given the quirkiness of October, winning one is inevitable.

    Everything that Theo talks about is in line with the Cubs chief rival to the south. The Cardinals have put together an era of sustainable success because they built their organization from the ground up. When people complain about why it has taken the Cubs so long to win it is because as an earlier article this week pointed out, it has really been more than 40 years since the Cubs mostly committed to this philosophy and that brings us to the mid 60’s that eventually produced the Cub era from 1968-1973. I say mostly committed because I don’t think they have ever fully committed to something like this. Each time they talked about it, they seemed to get sidetracked from it.

    I’m not a masochist and I get frustrated when the Cubs lose but I love what the Cubs are doing right now because for the first time they actually have a plan and are following it. I always said that if the ownership could show the fans that there is a plan that will lead to light at the end of a tunnel; no matter how long it has been since the Cubs won, the fans would be patient. I am patient because I know this plan works and how do I know, because the team I hate the most 260 miles to the south has been doing the same thing and finally we have an owner and baseball people in place who have the guts and enough baseball sense to try something new.

  • In reply to joparks:

    Wow! Great stuff. This is a great post on it's own. Great point on making it a numbers game not just with players but with the team itself. And as much as I don't like the Cards, I'll be ecstatic when the Cubs organization is as good as theirs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Great post by joparks. Also just look over at the other sport in this city and see how the Hawks are doing it. They were miserable for years and started stockpiling high draft picks. Under the current regime they have developed those picks into players waiting to get their turn at the pro level. Those that excel are kept as core players, while those that don't are eventually let go. Immediate needs that can't be filled by prospects are then filled by short term free agents. This is a great formula for sustained success and this is what the Cubs FO is doing. The Hawks have won it all with this method, will do it again, and so can the Cubs. Everyone just has to be patient.

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