Cubs Notes: Search narrowing and will Cubs still spend this offseason? Updates on Fall League, Bryant, and Baez

The manager search still dominates the news both in the national media and here locally.  It seems that one rumored candidate is definitely out while the Cubs may be quickly narrowing their search overall.

An interesting side effect is how the search may or may not affect the offseason spending.  Were the Cubs set to spend more as a plan to lure Girardi?  We'll never know for sure, but now that he isn't coming, it looks like business as usual at Wrigley and I, for one, am happy to see them stick with their plan.

Manager Search Update

UPDATE to the update 10:14 PM:

Patrick Mooney has some real good stuff in his latest column and one thing that is somewhat surprising is that Sandy Alomar, Jr. doesn't appear to be a candidate at this time.  The same goes for the Maddux brothers but that wasn't one we really ever bought into here. Chip Hale, who we speculated on earlier is not a candidate while Torey Lovullo may be considered down the road, but it's really beginning to look like the Cubs have zeroed in on 4 candidates:  Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch, Rick Renteria, and Dave Martinez.  The latter two will be interviewed soon while Acta and Hinch have already interviewed.

He also has an interesting profile on what the Cubs want at manager,

The Cubs are looking for a bilingual teacher who can develop young players. From All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro to minor league player of the year Javier Baez to $30 million Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, this clubhouse will be filled with important Latin players in 2014 and beyond. There’s X-factor outfielder Junior Lake, building-block catcher Welington Castillo and projected Triple-A Iowa infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Christian Villanueva.

That would seem to favor Acta (who interviewed well), Renteria, and Martinez but the Cubs said that if the manager isn't bilingual, then their bench coach will be.

From earlier...

Things may be starting to come into focus when it comes to managerial search, according to Jon Heyman,

Chicago appears to be honing in on a very short list of serious candidates, including the already interviewed duo of A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta.

Cubs people will not label anyone as a "favorite" yet, but with their plan to add perhaps only one or two names to their original interview list, the assumption is they were impressed by Hinch and/or Acta and confident they will find their next manager from a roster that includes those two, plus Rick Renteria, who'll be interviewed next week, perhaps Dave Martinez and maybe one other. Martinez is said to have a good chance to garner an interview, as well.

Word is, the Cubs may put their energies into callbacks/second interviews, another indicator that they believe they have their next manager on their original short list.

We have heard that the Cubs were impressed with the Manny Acta interview, so that seems to support Heyman's theory that the Cubs were impressed enough in one of their initial interviews.

  • David Kaplan, meanwhile, says that Greg Maddux has no interest in managing, saying he spent 20 years playing baseball and wants to take some time to be with his family.  With all due respect, we never bought into this rumor in the first place.
  • I got some indication that the Cubs have some interest in Chip Hale, though I have no idea if he's on the short list or even the B list.  If Heyman is right and the Cubs are getting close, he may not get his chance anyway.

Carlos Gonzalez, David Price, Masahiro Tanaka, and the offseason

We've talked about the Cubs making some deals for this year but now that the Cubs are re-prioritizing development with Joe Girardi staying in New York, it may not be as likely.

It makes sense that if the Cubs were to lure Girardi here, they'd have promised him to accelerate the rebuilding process.  After all, it was unlikely he was going to leave NY so that they could lose for 3 more years.  Now that the attention has turned to more develomental type managers, the Cubs may proceed with their original plan for 2014, which is to modestly increase payroll and continue to try and improve incrementally while developing impact talent at the minor league level.

We've talked about Carlos Gonzalez numerous times on this site.  Yahoo contributor Evan Altman brought up the subject today.  Honestly, I'm not as confident the Cubs will pursue Gonzalez now that they will continue to focus on development for 2014 and probably 2015. David Price is even less likely.  You have heard me say that a trade for him was always a long shot and now it appears to be almost out of the picture for the simple reason that you wouldn't bring a guy with 2 years of cost control when you expect to be concentrating on development for those 2 years. You might as well wait and sign him in 2 years (assuming he doesn't get an extension somewhere).

One guy who is still in play is Masahiro Tanaka.  His signing still makes sense because 1) it costs them nothing, not even a comp pick. Only money.  2) His is 25 and will be in his prime and still under team control in 2 years, and 3) He fits the teams timeline as far as his peak years.

We never expected the Cubs to build through free agency, and now you can pretty much rule out big spending for 2014, from what I understand.  The Cubs will still add some to payroll, but they will still likely stick with the plan -- look for good value deals and trades that don't cut to much into their foundation.  In other words, Tanaka yes, CarGo maybe, Price...probably not.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at some potential targets.

Fall League/Offseason

Albert Almora is the only Cubs player in the lineup today and he is leading off and in RF.  We'll update with a recap when the game is over.  As of this update, Almora is 1 for 3 with a run scored.

UPDATE #2 Almora added a bases clearing triple to his day and finished 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI.

Speaking of the Fall League, Kris Bryant's quick start and ability to adjust quickly has the Cubs thinking he could start in AA Tennessee and that he won't necessarily need AAA like most prospects.  It is expected, however, that Javier Baez will need some time in AAA to continue refining his approach and cut down on the strikeouts.  It's also a good idea to have him face AAA pitchers, who may not be any more talented than AA pitchers, but they tend to have much more experience and are savvy enough to set him up better than pitchers at the lower levels.  How he adjusts to that will determine how quickly he comes up but right now it is expected to be September.

According to Bill Mitchell, Juan Paniagua looked dominant in instructs and was throwing 95 mph.

Tickets anyone?

Reader "RS Beast" name came up for season tickets and he is in a quandary.  After waiting all this time, he doesn't want to lose his opportunity (especially with the Cubs expected to be on the upswing).  But he also doesn't feel like he can make enough games to make it worth his while.

The solution?  He'd like to go in on it with 3 or 4 groups.  If interested you can either let Robert know in the comments section or e-mail me and I will forward it to him.


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  • fb_avatar

    I think sleeping on Paniagua will be something we all regret. The stuff is legit. I believe the #2-starter ceiling most prospect people gave him is still there. He just needs some stability for the first time in a years. Give him a full year starting every 5th day and we'll see what he can do.

    I must admit, i'm warming up on Bryant. I had my heart set on a pitcher but this guy can mash. Now I won't be disappointed if he ends up the outfield like I was before. His floor seems to be rising everyday. kudos to the FO (and Mr. Gallo) for proving me wrong.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I did call him and Rivero the two best Cubs relief prospects. I don't think he'll start at this point and only downgraded him because of that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm excited about Rivero. He seems on track to helping the Cubs bullpen some time next season. The stuffs seems real and it has been playing at every level as he moved up the ladder last season.

    Paniagua seems to have similar stuff, but he only had success at the extreme lower levels. Anything could've caused that. Perhaps, Paniagua didn't handle the pressure of the promotion up from the AZL. His life was changing very rapidly at the time. Perhaps, he hit a dead arm period or suffered some sort of minor injury that affected his performance, or maybe it was that his stuff wasn't good enough to beat MWL hitters. It's nice to hear that his velo was strong and that he dominated, but it was an instructional intra-squad scrimmage. Pretty easy to be confident in that safe environment.

    John, any info or insight as to what caused Paniagua's Jekyll & Hyde season?

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Welcome back Marcel!

  • We often conflate Epstein and Hoyer for reasons of convenience, but their working relationship and power dynamic is always a source of interest to me. I can't help but think that Jed gave up a degree of power and autonomy to rejoin Theo here. An interesting angle, should Renteria be passed over, is whether the decision was not entirely Jed's at the end of the day if indeed Renteria is "Jed's guy." Maybe I just want to stir shit up.

    As to FA's, just throw the $ saved by not signing Girardi into the pot for Tanaka and say "no thanks" to CarGo and Price. In particular, I was put off by Price's reaction to getting beat in the Boston series. That kinda tipped the scales against him for me.

  • In reply to CoolerbytheLake:

    I missed Price's reaction to the loss. What did he do?

  • In reply to CoolerbytheLake:

    Interesting theory. It could end up being Jed's hire, which puts the pressure on him.

  • An interesting note about Carlos Gonazalez. He had been plagued by a thumb injury that some thought would benefit from off-season surgery. However, he says he'll pass on surgery, believing rest will heal it. Questions about this sort of injury would be taken into consideration in any trade. It would lessen what the Rockies would get back and how much salary risk any team that traded for him would be comfortable taking on. This increases the chance that CarGo is a better trade deadline player, after the first half shows whether his injury is in his past.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    I can see that as a possibility. Rockies aren't sure any way and they may want more time to see where they are by midseason next year.

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    After announcement yesterday that Girardi was in fact signing with the Yankees for another term, all the winds went out of my sails as far as any big trade going down. It's looking more and more like Acta will be their guy. Business as usual. 70 to 75 wins next season overall but possible call ups of Baez and Bryant at the end of the year may give fans a glimmer of hope.

    I look for fans with pitchforks looking for Theo at years end. I'm not saying I agree with the fans reaction (I'm not) but I can sure see it coming if the Cubs have another 90+ losing season......

  • Sign (in order of priority):

    1. Corey Hart
    2. Omar Infante
    3. Joe Smith
    4. Shin-Soo Choo

    Off-season = Success.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    That is, assuming Choo gets eight figures, not nine.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    No Tanaka?

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Those are some solid low-key guys. Choo will be costly.

    I'd still put Tanaka at the top of that list.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm really not sold.

    From the scouting reports, it seems as if his ceiling is a #2 or #3. I'd put him in the same boat as the Cuban kid that signed with the Phillies.

    Darvish was almost a sure-thing who was very hyped. Same with Dice-K (though the result didn't back that up).

    If Tanaka was the "next big thing" then I'd be all for it. But I am not on board yet with the idea of allocating $50 million in bidding; plus another $_____ to sign him.

    If Choo would be willing to sign a four-year, $60 million dollar deal - I'm sold. Otherwise, if he's too costly (Boras factor) - pass.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    The thing is the payroll flexibility is there to do something interesting. If you look at this upcoming season as another white flag than the only guy that is making insane money is Soriano at $16 million and EJax at $11 million. The ideal thing to do would be to give Tanaka a front loaded contract and wait for the Big 4 to come up and than the FO still has some flexibility in payroll while they are ready to contend. If Tanaka is who they say he is (a potential TOR starter at 24) than he is the EXACT thing that this organization currently lacks at every single level.

    Sorry for another dream case scenario but if the FO adds Tanaka and a potential stud with the #4 pick all of a sudden there are some decent arms in the organization.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Not from the info I have. Very different from the Phillies guy. More complete repertoire, better command, more pitchability. At least one scout I talked to thinks he can actually be a #1.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Actually if you go back and look Darvish was pegged as a #2 starter by most reports.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I would only be interested in one guy on that list, and most definitely not for the $100 mil he wants. One of Hendry's biggest blunders was trading Infante just three weeks after he obtained him. But that was years ago when Infante was on the right side of 30. Now he's well on the wrong side of 30 and, in my opinion, there's really not much point.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Why Choo? -15.5 UZR. No thanks. I do like Infante, good call. Haven't heard his name mentioned previously.

  • Here's a managerial candidate out of left field - Terry Pendleton. He went to the WS 5 times, has been batting / 1B coach for the Braves since 2001, and previously interviewed for Washington, StL, and Braves Managerial openings. In 1991, he was NL MVP and Comeback Player of the Year. In 1998 (his last year), KC signed him to provide mentoring and leadership to their younger players. He played under both Whitey Herzog and Bobby Cox, so he's learned from the best.

    Seems like Terry Pendleton would get a check mark on every criteria we've seen.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Good name DTP but I checked up on him and didn't get a positive response. I mean, they said good things about him, good baseball man...but not what they're looking for. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get an interview somewhere, but don't think it will be with the Cubs.

  • Rule 5 protections: Panigua is on the available list, you have to protect him, right? Certainly Alcantara, probably Amaya, maybe Cervenka, and then Panigua. I think they can do 4 guys no problem.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Alcantara is a must-add. But the other three I think have a low probability of being selected. IMO, Paniagua has the greatest chance of the other three, but he struggled mightily in both Low-A and short season-A.

    Whereas Paniagua and Amaya are worthy prospects, I think they are both too far away from the majors to be at much risk of being selected. Cervanka's close enough but his struggles with command make him not likely to be selected.

    But, hey, if the Cubs have room, and want to play it safe, why not add them...

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    Choo /w a large contract blocks development. No thank you. We have 3 likely OFs going to be in the majors within the next two years. What's the point of signing a big contract when we're not going to contend. Let's just keep stock piling talent through great draft position.

  • In reply to Stomper90:

    The likelihood of the Cubs producing three OFers that would produce better than Choo in the next 2 seasons is not very high. Could Soler, Almora and Bryant all becoming starting OFers in the next two seasons? Sure, but I doubt all three would be putting up better numbers than someone like Choo or CarGo would in the same time frame.

    And then there's the possibility of Bryant playing 3B, Almora not reaching the majors until 2016 and Soler not OPSing higher than someone like Choo or CarGo in his first season or two in the bigs. If the Cubs want to maximize their ability to win games (and thus not have another high draft pick in the coming years) they most certainly have room to bring in one all-star level OFer without blocking anyone. And blocking a deserving prospect isn't the end of the world either. It just means the Cubs would have a surplus of talent. Trades are a great way to fill holes in other areas...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I agree.

    What happens in the very likely scenario that one of them doesn't pan out? I'd rather have the scenario where we have the ML OF to fall back on.

    I don't want to settle for another Sweeney as a starter for a couple years and the prospects don't pan out.

    Even if the "problem" of they pan out and we sign the FA, that's a good problem to have.

    Choo/Ellsbury aren't blocking anyone right now. None of the guys mentioned have seen a pitch in AA, they aren't that close to the majors. Bryant could be fast tracked but there's a chance he sticks at 3rd. Go for the talent, assuming it's not a nine figure contract.

    Last thing I want is to avoid talent and the prospects don't pan out, that's putting all your eggs in one (well I guess four) basket(s). Even then I'm not going to expect a bunch of guys in their early 20's to carry the load. That's just asking for a couple more 90 loss seasons.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Quedub: Fortunately there are a number of FA outfielders who have been voted or named to the All-Star Team, some of whom would be worth looking at, but Shin Soo Choo is not one of them. All-Star FA outfielders are:

    Jason Bay - No Way
    Carlos Beltran - Unrealistic
    Nelson Cruz - Maybe
    Jacoby Ellsbury - Possibly
    Curtis Granderson - Unlikely
    Corey Hart - Depends on Health
    Raul Ibanez - Unrealistic
    Nate McClouth - No Need

    Choo really has been unable to perform at an All-Star level due to his injury history which includes Tommy John surgery, back problems, a broken thumb and knee problems. I know he will likely get four years and big money, but I would say caveat emptor.

  • If Tanaka is the Cubs only move this off season, it will be a good one.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Hah. I kind of agree there. That and the appropriate coach.

    ..Though I am also kind of on the Hart / Granderson bandwagon.

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    Danny Knobler is speculating that Max Scherzer might be traded this offseason: . The speculation seems maybe a little overwrought to me; why would the Tigers suddenly be so shy of spending now, when they've been opening the wallet to get Ilitch a championship for the last several years? I doubt Scherzer will be a prime target for the Cubs anyhow, since he a) will turn 30 next July b) only has one more year of team control remaining and is a Boras client, and so will definitely test the free market and c) is coming off of a career year, and we know this FO doesn't like to buy high. But it's maybe worth keeping an eye on the situation, if for no other reason that that it could affect the way the pitching market shakes out this offseason.

  • In reply to Sandy Johnston:

    I agree with your reasoning there. Doubtful he's a fit for the Cubs at this time.

  • John,

    First time responder. I have been reading Cubs Den for months and I look forward to each day's update. You do a terrific job and I believe I am getting the real scoop on the Cubs when I read it in your blog. A terrific site for information on the Cubbies! Thank you!

    With that said, this article was really depressing to read. If we had been able to get Girardi, the Cubs were supposedly going to go after people like Cargo, Price, Stanton, etc. Make trades, go after FA, etc. Now that Girardi is not coming, all bets seem to be off. Not only will the new manager hire not make the fan base excited (and they certainly need something to hang onto), but now it appears that we will have to survive through another two years of 90-100 losses. You wrote the other day that the Foundation was now basically built, so it was now time for an exciting Offseason. Today's article sounds more like the excitement is now over and we can look forward to signing a few retread FA and trade them in July for prospects. Although that has worked well, I am personally ready for implementing Phase II (Make the MLB Club noticeably improved), not more of Phase I .

    So am I disappointed that we did not get Girardi? Yes, not because I love Joe so much, but that seemed to mean we were going to see some meaningful improvement of the MLB team. Now we need to be happy with "incremental" improvement. I know, patience, patience.

  • In reply to Big Blue:

    Thanks Big Blue.

    Part of that is speculation on my part so don't take that as a 100% certainty. I do think the Cubs will improve the team through smart, value trades and FA signings but I think if they had Girardi, it's possible they may have been willing to overpay. I think they'll still try to improve but to stick to good value. It may be an extra year before contending but I hope it pays off on the back end.

  • In reply to Big Blue:

    Big Blue -

    It is all perspective. I understand where you are coming from. I wanted Joe because I think he is the best man for the job. That said I didn't like trading prospects this off season for Price or Cargo. I think it is too soon. I know people might not like hearing that but to me they just don't know enough about what we got and where they will play to start filling holes.

    I look at it like the '90's Braves. They didn't get Pendleton until they were getting close but some young guys were up and showing they were good. We need another year to get Baez up, maybe Bryant. Hopefully we see Lake improve, and Rizzo, and Castro get back to form.

    I know people don't like it, and they are sick of the losing. People need to remember two years ago when Theo got the job this was the 29th best orginization as far as talent top to bottom. Only Houston was in worse shape. This group has come a long way but we need one more step before we start reshaping the roster, we need to actually start seeing where the pieces fit. So a Tanaka that doesn't cost us assets is a green light go. A Cargo, and/or Price that costs us at minimum one of the top four and other guys like Alcantara just doesn't make sense to me at this point of the rebuild.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I agree with you on all counts.

  • In reply to Big Blue:

    You're so right Big Blue, and I heard a rumor today that Jim Hendry called Epstein and asked if he needed any help. He wants to come back and fulfill your dream!

    By the way, what on earth makes you think that since there are 29 teams out there without Cargo, Stanton, and Price, that all 3 of these guys would be playing for the Cubs? In truth, whoever gets them will probably, most likely, if not definitely have shot themselves in the foot! How have the mega deals for Pujols, Hamilton, BJ Upton, working out? Giancarlo played in 116 games this year and drove in 64 runs. Last year he played in 123 and drove in 86. Price has never pitched one good game in the post-season, and never given up less than a hit/per inning pitched? There are more misses than hits with the big names when it comes to outbidding. How are the Oakland Athletics working out?

    I am not saying you Big Blue, but some here would like to trade Baez, Soler, Vizcaino, and Almora for Stanton, and Bryant, CJ Edwards, Vogelbach, Alcantara, and Pierce Johnson for Price. And do any of these guys think the Cubs would be a winner?

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    I don't think anyone has suggested those trades.

    As far as Price in the postseason, he pitched great the year they made it to the World Series.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    You are incorrect in your false assumption that I wanted/expected all those players. You are also wrong in your assumption that I am willing to trade our farm for a couple major league players. Those were just names John had mentioned as "possible" acquisitions. I was simply excited about the prospect of maybe making the major league team better with proven talent.

    I live in Arizona and attend Cubs Summer Rookie League games, Arizona Fall League Games, and Cactus League Games. I have actually seen Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, etc. play in person-up close. I personally spoke to Almora and Soler at Rookie ball in 2012. Nobody needs to tell me how valuable these kids are to the ultimate fruition of the "plan." I have been sold on the "plan" from the beginning.

    I am disappointed that the "plan" the FO laid-out two years ago all of a sudden seems to have just added an extra year of acquiring talent. That of course probably will translate into another lousy season in 2014. If memory serves me right, 2014 was originally mentioned as the year we should first start to see a noticeable improvement for the ML club. Instead, I am now hearing more of the same as 2012 and 2013. That "exciting offseason" John mentioned all of a sudden seems to have disappeared.

    By the way, I agree that Hendry made some awful acquisitions/trades. He also made some fantastic ones as well. My dream, as you put it, is for the plan to work and we become competitive at the MLB level within the next couple of years.

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    If the Cubs hire Martinez I guarantee that after 50 games, if Sandberg has a winning record and we do not, the media and fans will turn on this team like never before. The media will play that story up so much that it will be impossible to have success.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Then turn off the TV and turn down the radio. And no one ever forced a fan to read the newspapers. I have listened to your Chicago media a few times when there. They seem to like to stir it up! Not in my life!

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    I agree, Nick. Choosing Martinez has the potential to be a public relations blunder.

    I've gone full circle on the managerial position. I'm all for Acta. He should be good with all the Latin players we're accumulating, and maybe those two losing episodes were his learning on the job. As it has been pointed out, Francona's early teams didn't do so well either. We're still rebuilding. Acta could be good in this role.

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    In reply to Nick Johnson:

    This "story" is just message board fodder. No respected media outlet is going to turn to a 25 year old rumor to ruin anybody's success. They will report how the Cubs need to spend more in free agency, or hire Dusty Baker, or lower ticket prices to appease the fans...etc. I'm not saying Martinez is "the guy", but to pass him over because of these ancient rumors is crazy, IMO. If he was accused of being involved in an extramarital affair with a co-worker's wife CURRENTLY, then I could MAYBE see it as a character issue...but to say a 24 year old supposedly sleeping with a married woman (who allegedly slept with a number of other teammates) excludes him from a job at age 49 seems way out of whack to me!
    Sorry Nick, only about 10% of this rant was in response to your comment, specifically.

  • John can u let the emailer who just got the ability to buy season tickets that Id like to be part of his group

  • In reply to jsuritz:

    Will do. Would you like me to give him your email (I have the email you use for the site so you don't have to give it to me).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I've got two season tickets to the bleachers that I don't plan on renewing this year. I'd hate to give them up, but money is tight. If you know anyone that wants them or would want to split, Please let me know. Thanks for the site, love it!!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When does the $$ for the season Tix have to paid?

    If anyone has some (part or all) e m a i l me at: Jim Helms (at) G Mail (no spaces anywhere)...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    There's a 10% down payment due to renew your tickets in mid-November. The rest of the money is due in early January.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I may be interested in going in on some of the tickets from "RS Beast."
    You can give him my email to contact me.

  • fb_avatar

    John I was thinking about peter gammons' observation that the Rays have had more 90-win seasons in 6 years than the Cubs have had since WWII. Clearly when Theo came in, the minor league system was at a level not much better than that of an expansion team. If we think of the 2011 draft as ground zero, and we're planning on being competitive by - realistically - 2016, ie 5 years, how does that compare to the competition time lines of other recent expansion teams: Rays, Marlins, DBacks, Rockies, Nats? I leave out Mets, Padres, Brewers etc because the CBA was a whole different beast back then. And what routes did those teams take to become respectable?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    That would be a good article. I'd have to go back and research. I know that they got extra draft picks and there is an expansion draft, of course, but this would be a good project.

  • Please, please no Price!!! Makes no sense with where we are at in the rebuilding process. Plus, timing wise - Price is about due for an elbow blow-out. Tanaka - yes - all in!!!

  • In reply to Pepitone8:

    What makes you say he's due for an elbow blow out?

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Too many innings! Heavy load at Vanderbilt + 5 heavy years with Tampa. Velocity is down ... all the tell-tale signs are there! Are you ready to lose Price for 1-2 years to TJ surgery while giving up Baez & Almora?

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    In reply to Pepitone8:

    Also can you show me textual reference that Price has had a drop in velocity and that it is potentially injury-related? Not that I don't believe you, it's just that as pitchers mature they tend to be able to change speeds and if they can do that successfully, that makes them better pitchers, not potential Elbow surgery candidates. I am interested to see any data you can link me to.

  • In reply to Pepitone8:

    Thats not evidence that he's due for an elbow blowout at all. I wouldn't call less than 200 innings on average in those 5 seasons a heavy workload at all.

    Edwin Jackson is due for that same elbow blowout using that same logic.

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    In reply to Pepitone8:

    How can you say no Price? That's just ridiculous. He would be the best pitcher the Cubs have had in a decade. And as Yemi said, what indicates an impending elbow blowout?

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    he would be the best pitcher on the cubs, but at what cost? I don't see unloading a good chunk of the minor league core to get a guy who only has 2 years of control left and has been showing a drop in velocity. I'd rather see what next year's draft brings, and maybe explore what we're offered for Samardzija this off season - entirely possible we could get a AA Price-ceiling pitcher for him.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Ok, are you ready to give up Baez & Almora to get him? This isn't free agency!

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    In reply to Pepitone8:

    But nobody said that is what it would cost. You said, [paraphrasing] please not David Price, he is about to blow out his elbow. You did not say Price will cost too much.

    If we are talking about cost, well, what is that cost and is it worth it for a legitimate ace? For the record, I don't think the Cubs should overpay for anybody. But if your best pitcher is Travis Wood you certainly have to at least inquire on Price and determine some type of cost/reward strategy if there is any semblance of intent.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    The Cubs aren't going to be a playoff team in the next 2 years with or without Price.

    Trading for him is wasting assets. His contract just doesn't fit the window. If they want to make a trade like that, wait 2 years when the young talent is up and they're an ace away from being a WS contender.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    This makes sense to me, Tulane. Besides that, in two years we may not need him if some of the yong pitchers keep coming on.

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    If anyone else would like to go in with me as well, my buddy's number came up last year so I went in with him for the season tickets. We ended up selling most all of them and donated the rest but lost a pretty penny. If anyone would like to come in with us as well, we said we would make a deal that anyone who did would receive face value playoff tickets when they come around. That would mean being involved for a few years but even if you purchase a series or two each year, that would be worth it in my book. Anyway, let me know. Go Cubbies!

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    Interesting tidbit: Jim Callis thinks of the top-3 2013 draft picks, that Gray has the best upside now. He really was dominant and looks like a #1 starter. Not taking anything away from Bryant or Appel.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He is just one person. I think it was K Law said the exact same thing about Bryant. No big deal. It seems both Colorado and Cubs are happy with their respective picks. Even Houston is probably happy with Appel.

  • "Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort has made it clear that he doesn't intend to trade All-Star players Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki during the offseason."

    Obviously things can change but this (and the Cargo injury concern) should slow down the rumor mill. Rockies aren't going to trade him unless they're blown away.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    cue identical quote re: Matt Garza, 2010

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Can you show me this quote?

  • While some of our young players will absolutely need development in 2015 I will be extremely disappointed if the front office considers that another development year. I'm completely on board with the rebuild and I am fine with not competing again in 2014. However there is absolutely no excuse if we are not competing at minimum for a wild card in 2015.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Who says we won't be completing in 2014? Our starting rotation will be solid even if we don't get Tanaka. If we do land him, it will be very good. The number of power arms we are collecting will vastly improve our bullpen. The defense is stout. With pitching and defense we will be in most games. Our hitting is weak but improving. I wouldn't say 2014 is a lost year so I definitely wouldn't say that about 2015.

  • In reply to John57:

    Obviously we don't know the roster composition right now, but I'd be very surprised if we competed in 2014, Tanaka or no Tanaka.

  • Regarding Robert's ticket issue, we lost two people out of our group if he'd be interested in joining existing season ticket holders. We've got four seats in the first row of the upper deck, just behind 3B (Sec. 409, Row 1). Definitely in need of some replacement partners because I can't go to 60 games a year. Just thought I'd throw out another option for Robert (or anyone else).

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    I don't think Girardi not coming will preclude them from making a splashy trade or fa signing, only that there may not be the same pressure to do so. Theo has maintained that they will continually look to acquire young, premium talent when it is available and makes sense (I assume from both a financial, and also prospect cost standpoint). I would assume that if a Carlos Gonzalez or Giancarlo Stanton were availabe at the right price, we're in.

  • Interesting update from Patrick Mooney: Alomar appears to be out while Renteria and Martinez will indeed get interviews.

    The Cubs are looking heavily at bilingual candidates, though that should be apparent from the list. 3 of the 4 known candidates are bilingual -- and it doesn't appear like the Cubs are going to add much -- if anything, to their current list.

  • According to the cub reporter, Phil, Jose Arias is also looking good in instructs with a 94 mph fastball, he even went on to say he has a shot at starting next season in Daytona.

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    So if you were in charge of making the hire, who's your guy and why (using of course the names mentioned who have interviewed/will interview next week)???

  • In reply to Juan Pablo:

    I think Acta will get a 2nd interview based on reports that he impressed the Cubs. Renteria seems like a good bet as well. I think Martinez comes in as more of the darkhorse and he'll have to blow them away. Just a gut feeling there.

  • 3 rbi triple for Almora and then he scored his 2nd run of the night. I wonder how close it was to going out for a grand slam...

  • John ... You left out a very important aspect of the Mooney article. Yes, the Cubs would like to find someone who is bilingual as the manager, but if they can't the bench coach will be speak Spanish.

  • In reply to JeffK:

    I did not leave that out. Read carefully.

  • Mooney also stated the reason Alomar Jr is out of contention is that Francona moved Sandy from bench coach to 1st base which told the Cubs that Sandy was not ready to be a manager.

  • Also Mooney said that Chip Hale is not viewed as a candidate. That contradicts your note that there is some interest.

  • In reply to JeffK:

    #1 That is already mentioned in the piece, but thanks for pointing that out again. #2 that was only my speculation (not sourced info) and #3 What I heard was that he was on an original list of candidates to look at (which was admittedly very long from what I understand), but as mentioned by me, I had no idea if he was on the short list or even on the B list

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    Hey, John,

    As usual, GREAT work! Love reading what you have to say regarding the Cubs spending this offseason as well as the latest on the managerial search. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next week or two....Additionally, what are your thoughts on the Cubs being fairly active on the trade front this year?? With there not being many FA's that seem to be a fit (other than Tanaka), who do you picture the Cubs trying to move in a deal (if anyone) this offseason?? (Barney, Lake, Schierholtz in a package perhaps??) Also, what do I need to do to be included in on the season ticket holder group? Thanks John!

  • In reply to Kevin Campbell:

    Thanks! I think the Cubs will actively pursue trades this offseason because the free agent possibilities are slim. I don't think they're in a position where they'll overpay with a prospect package, but I think they'll look for deals that make sense and keep the core (both present and future members) in tact.

    I will get all interested parties in contact with "RS Beast" via the email you provided when you registered for the site.

  • Verlander! What a stud! What a performance last night. Stuff of legend.

  • Here's my take on the manager situation:

    Everybody (including me) was excited about Girardi because he checks all the boxes. The question now is what do we need? In my opinion that is 1) someone who will be respected by and provide leadership in the club house and 2) someone who will excite an obviously frustrated fan base. None of the candidates mentioned (except maybe Alomar) do that, so I think it's time for some out of the box thinking. My favorites are Greg Maddux (analytical, familiar with Chicago media/fans/etc, would probably embrace sabermetrics/Moneyball) and Cal Ripken Jr. (baseball lifer, father was coach/manager, came up through "Oriole Way" one of the all-time best player development systems). The bonus is either choice would excite the fan base. As for Acta, I can only say based on the Nationals, that if the Cubs are foolish enough to hire this 2 time loser, everyone will hate him. He is not dynamic and does not stand up for his players, he actually reminds me of Lovie Smith a little. Finally, Riggleman was considered to be a vast improvement. Keep that in mind. Besides, if Theo/Jed hire a loser/nobody, how are they going to sell this to the fans/media?

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    Can one walk off the golf course and say by the way 'I think that I will manage the Cubs this year'. As has been said great players do not necessarily make good managers. The Cubs are looking for a guy who is good with young players for now. Most baseball lifers know the game, but that doesn't qualify them as a manager of those who play it.

  • I'm still suprised that Tony Pena is not being interviewed. He seems to be what they want.

  • What ever happened to Jerry Manuel? He's only about 60, good Latino player's manager with a lot of experience and a fair amount of success.

  • MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors 1m
    Yankees Expected To Aggressively Pursue Tanaka #mlb

    "The Yankees will have competition for Tanaka -- one talent evaluator told King that the Red Sox, Dodgers and Rangers will be in the mix as well "

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    For a team that is trying to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold, I'm not sure how they can go after Tanaka.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    The posting fee wouldn't count towards the threshold, just the contract.

  • Right, but he's going to get a big contract on top of that posting fee. Plus the reason they are trying to cut payroll is because they want to reduce spending. Seems odd for a team looking to shave over $40 mil in salary would spend $40+ mil on a posting fee, then $15-$20 mil a season on his contract.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    Because having A-Rod's salary off the books for 2014, and possibly forever going forward with the lawsuit they will probably file following the suspension to void the contract, as well as other money coming off their books for next season, will give them $80 million dollars to spend. The posting fee doesn't count against that threshold, and neither does the TOTAL salary they offer Tanaka. If it is a 6-year $50 million dollar contract then you are talking about a hit that averages 8.25 million. Further, they could get creative and backload the contract to create even more threshold space.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Cubs will be in the mix too -- and I kind of like that they're lurking in the weeds on this one.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am with you John. Nobody is expecting the Cubs to nab him with all the high revenue teams going after him aggressively.

    But I think it is fair for the Cubs to get him because NY got Girardi. This way both teams get one guy they really want,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I do too & it really makes sense given it's a blind bidding. I would imagine we'll hear a lot about a lack of resources until the Tanaka bidding process starts.

  • I don't have any inside sources or anything, but I'd be shocked if the Cubs FO would be willing to change their personnel strategy, either or short or long term, based on trying to lure a manager.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I would too. That was the indication I got, however, and if Cubs were willing to pull out all the stops to get Girardi, it stands to reason that would be a requirement for him. We know that the Cubs promised Theo they'd have the highest payroll in the division when it became necessary.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But I think the Cubs would have told any candidate at the time of the GM hire that they'd have the highest payroll in the division when it became necessary.

    For Girardi, you're talking about a shift in strategy in order to entice a manager to jump on board. It just seems unlikely to me that TheoJed would be willing to do that, unless Ricketts came in and said,"If you get Girardi, I'll grow your baseball budget."

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Not necessarily. If they were hiring an up and comer, they would not have been in a position to ask that. They would assume it'd eventually be that way because of the big market, but I don't think many candidates had the kind of pull to make that a requirement and the Cubs wouldn't need to make that promise. Jed Hoyer didn't have that luxury in San Diego.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think promising they'll have the biggest payroll in the division when the team needs to compete is a pretty easy promise to make to any candidate considering the other teams in the division and their typical payrolls.

    Just my opinion.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    So Cubs would make same pitch to Theo as they would to an up and comer? Doubtful. I also don't think Rick Renteria or Torey Lovullo gets the same pitch as Joe Girardi.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    With that simple of a request, certainly. There's no reason to think the Cubs payroll should be below anyone else's in the division when they're ready to compete.

    I'd think most GM candidates would hear that and say,"Well, yeah, duh, you've got Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati in the division. Of course our payroll will be highest."

    And I guess I don't understand why the financial breakdown for Theo would be any different from any other candidate. You might give a different candidate less control than Theo got, since Theo isn't the GM and instead the President.

    But I don't really see how the baseball budget would be impacted depending on the candidate.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I think your view is idealistic and I'd like to believe it were true, but information I have suggests otherwise. I wish I could agree with you. Unfortunately the business world doesn't always conform with my ideals.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Something is seriously wrong here. I would kill to be a fly on the wall in Theo's office right now.

  • In the end the Cubs might have been lucky Girardi chose NY. Timing!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It will be interesting to see where both teams are in 2-3 years.

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    I think the problem with everybody hoping for Girardi is that there seems to be this huge letdown with every other potential manager. Isn't that the Cubs Fans Way. (By the way, I am seriously considering publishing the antecedent article "The Cubs Way Will Never Work Because The Cubs Fans Way Will Always Come First")

    Joe was a fine candidate, but he never really was a candidate. The Cubs never had permission to talk to him and he never asked the Yankees if he could shop their offer to other teams. I think in hindsight it is pretty apparent that Girardi wan't leaving New York unless they insulted him with a lowball offer.

    I think we have to trust the front office a little here. I find it amazing (but shouldn’t I guess - Cubs Fans Way, after all) that so many are already so impatient a whopping two full years into a rebuild. You have an organization trying to blow up a 105-year old blueprint for failure. It's like building a home and wondering why the house isn't livable while you are still waiting for the foundation cement to dry.

    And whomever they bring in, that person is going to have to be on board with the current stage of their plan: He is going to lose a lot of games beginning April 1, 2014 and through most of 2015. The team is going to trade as many good short term assets it can get it's hands on for potentially better long term assets. His job is to manage in a way that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer deem to best fit with the long range plans for the organization. His job is not necessarily to win immediately, but to promote an environment conducive to winning consistently long-term.

    Honest to God, the one manager I dislike the most would probably be a better candidate than Girardi, and that's Mike Sciosia. You say he won't play young players but that is a bad rap given to a guy who works for a club that buys older players on a pretty consistent basis.

    Still, whether it is Acta, Renteria, Martinez, Hinch, Ausmus or the flavor-of-the-month to be named later, why can't we just trust the guy who is in charge of the deconstruction of 105 championship-less seasons? Why can't we just trust the guy that everybody wanted as GM/President? Why are we so quick to move on from a plan that is barely out of chapter one? It's the Cubs Fans Way, that's why.

    I'll trade three more pathetic seasons if the return is twenty years of consistently challenging for a championship. You say you're too old to wait? Sorry, that is the hand you've been dealt. When Theo Epstein was hired he was totally transparent. This complete system reconstruction could take five years, he said, and maybe longer. I for one believe they are slightly ahead of that projection and can point to the aggression with which they launched Sveum as a sign that they believe that as well. And I am willing to continue to stay the course because I see the massive change that has already taken place with Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein.

    Laundry List in case you forgot:

    They built a state of the art academy in the Dominican Republic, forced the city of Mesa to build them a new spring training site, come to an agreement with the city on a state of the art rehab of Wrigley Field, a decaying structure mind you that were it in any other city would have been mercifully torn down and replaced, spent more money in the amateur draft than any other team, spent more money on international free agents than any other team, turned overpriced average players like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm and Alfonso Soriano into prospects, and cleared every bad contract (or most, monetarily) off of their books whose ledger entries landed in their laps thanks to the previous regime. Further, they successfully amended their plan when baseball took away the one leveraging tool that they planned to use when baseball immediately agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that made it punitive to spend over slot on draft picks necessary to more rapidly build arguably the worst farm system in baseball, on average, over the last forty years.

    Bravo. Call me impressed. Can we please let them continue now and can we get off of their backs a little and just trust that whomever they hire to manage this .395 team will be the right choice for this part of their long term plan?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Very well stated Michael and I agree with you.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Amen! Couldn't have said it better. But the one thing I would add is that it's not just the Cubs fans that are impatient. A lot of the media is the same way. Rick Telander wrote this last week:
    and I couldn't have disagreed more with what he said. Then you've got Steve Rosenbloom and others who are just as bad.

    I've been a Cubs fan since I was a kid back in 1969, and by 1999 I was fed up with the bad seasons followed by the Cubs trying to sign a few free agents or trading their prospects away to get better. All that ever got the Cubs was maybe one or two years when they were competitive, followed by years of mediocrity or worse. By 1999, I wanted them to just tear it down completely and rebuild it right. That never happened until Epstein got here. They're finally doing it the right way, and I for one am willing to give them the time to do it, even if it takes another year or two. It's worth it if we finally get a team that can compete every year.

    I found this blog about a year ago, and I've been reading it ever since. It seems to be the only place where I can find sensible commentary and people who think the same way I do about the Cubs and building a team for the long haul.

    Thanks, John, and keep up the good work!

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    In reply to nccubfan:

    Thank you nccubfan!

    Hahaha - Rick Telander has become a complaining old fogey who thinks that modernization and new school thinking is akin to Satan worshipping. I used to love his columns, now I wish he would retire. Rosenbloom thinks he is the 2nd coming of Jay Mariotti. I'd love to lock Telander, Rosembloom and Mariotti in a room and throw away the key.

  • Exactly how I feel, which tells me why a lot of teams hate to really rebuild. A actual rebuild takes 5 years before it takes effect, if its' done right .

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    In full disclosure I can think of only one move that backfired on Epstein, though I think the impact is significantly less than others, and that was trading Tyler Colvin and DJ Lemahiue (sp) for Ian Stewart. Yup, Stewart sucked. But trading the equivalent of a journeyman outfielder and a utility IF for a chance on a potential impact third basemen is a risk I'd take 100/100 times.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I had no problem with the trade, but giving him another 2 million bucks was not a good move. The Edwin Jackson signing is the bad move this front office has made. I think he is going to be truly awful next year, will be out of the rotation by July.

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    I hope you are wrong. I give Jackson a mulligan for last year. I think he showed signs of turning it around in the 2nd half. But yeah, it could be slightly disastrous if he falls out of the rotation. Still, his contract is equitable enough to move if they have to and I would think a lot of teams would be interested in EJ were he made available.

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    I also think it was genius that the Cubs altered their rotation when Garza came back to start him in games against teams with which he had the most success in his career. Beautiful move to maximize the return value on an expiring asset and one that landed far more potential major-league talent than Garza was worth.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I have been very impressed with what Theo can get for a player in a trade. Look at the Dempster, Cashner, Soto, Maholm, Garza, Feldman, Hairston, and Soriano trades. We got extremely good value for them. If Theo only has one or two trades that turn out bad out of dozens of trades, I will take that in a heartbeat. For those who are putting Theo on the clock, who do you want instead? Hendry? Kenny Williams?

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    In reply to John57:

    Agreed 100%. I hope Epstein signs an extension soon.

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    In reply to John57:

    Agreed. Anyone who doesn't see that the organization is in a MUCH better place today than it was 2 years ago just isn't paying attention!

  • In reply to John57:

    Trades and drafting have been Theo's strength in his time with the Cubs, in my opinion. He's got good return on trades for the most part (nobody bats 1.000) and the drafts appear to be good (time will tell if the appearance is correct).

    Some of his other moves are head scratchers but I don't have much beef on his trades and his drafts.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    Unless he trades Beef.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm for keeping Welington Castillo.

  • Not sure if anyone saw this, but a cool pseudo-scouting report on Almora is up on Grantland:

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Thanks for the link. I love this. Cheers!

  • Free agent acquisitions

    2. Some sort of solid outfield aquisition (Granderson, Hart,Morales if not too expensive)
    3. Cheap starting pitching especially if miss out on Tanaka. (Gavin Floyd, Arroyo) etc.

    Ellsbury will be too expensive.
    Choo will be too expensive for what he's worth (terrible against lefties and wrong side of 30)

    *Note if we can somehow land Tanaka (gonna be tough I know) then I consider off season a success regardless of what else happens.

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    In reply to Cubswin2015:

    Floyd and Arroyo give up a lot of homeruns. Plus isn't Floyd injured and out until at least mid-season? The rest of those guys are pretty old.

    I think Ellsbury is worth the expense, pass on Choo he cannot field and I love Corey Hart if he can stay injury free.

    Lots of risk with all those guys though.

  • I think it is possible that both the Griradi agenda and the steadfast as you go rebuild could produce success. The thing that gave me pause with the sped up to win sooner than later, was how we could know which prospects were the keepers.

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    Agreed. But the average Chicago fan does NOT look at the whole organization. It seems like that after the Cubs came within 3 outs of a World Series, the whole fan base woke up from a 100 year sleep. Going to a Cubs game was no longer about just having fun at the ballpark with a few beers. It's only about the win and loss column.

    Most fans are lazy. They don't even glance at a minor league score much less care about what prospects we got from which trade or draft. Of course everyone was excited when Theo came to the Cubs and they all shook their heads yes when the good doctor prescribed a total break down and rebuild.

    But they just had no clue of what that really meant. That's why I love this blog so much. We can see the progress of these prospects and know the tides are a changing.

    I got a family member still arguing that "the Cubs Sux" and White Sox at least fufilled the promise of a WS. I think he makes loves to his 2005 WS video. Nothing said will convince him of the progress being made. And he's the majority of those lazy fans I speak of.

    Girardi was just a chance for more time. I'm not even sure if he was the "right" guy for this situation. But that's over. This town looks ready to set fire to Theo's home in order to run him out of town. Of course it's not justified but it is real.

    This winter has got to be a turning point for the organization. Theo said this thing wasn't going to be linear. But he didn't say we would be one of the worst teams in all of baseball for a 3rd year as well. It's a bad situation and hope we can just hold on for one more year!

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    He did say it could take five years, maybe longer, until the team could be a consistent winner. He was very transparent about that. He pulled no punches in declaring the organization a wreck from top to bottom. It is hard to watch the losing. And you are right, it is exciting to see the development too.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think this winter has to be the turning point. I've taken a wait and see attitude since Theo was hired. I honestly don't see how anyone expected the past two seasons to be much different than what they were. I like what he's done in building up the minors. In my opinion, .500 ball is a realistic goal for the coming year (barring a rash of injuries, which is unpredictable). When the Winter Meetings start, Theo's grace period is over and he's on the clock (I realize he never had a grace period with some folks). I see 2014 as the year Theo shows us which way it's going to go. If they have another awful year, he basically becomes a 2 year lame duck; if they play .500 or pretty close to it, then it shows that his plan is close to schedule and better days should be ahead.

    When he was first hired, there was one prediction I made. I said that Theo would either succeed big or he would fail big; there would be no in between. The upcoming season should be a pretty good clue as to which way it's going to go, in my opinion.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    I have really enjoyed watching Theo and Jed assemble a top notch farm system and training/development facilities in just 2 years. He has as much time as he needs to finish the deal with me.

    And I think 2014 will be much better than 2013. The pitching and defense will be pretty good. The offense will be meh.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    I just do not see how 2014 is "the year Theo shows us which way it's going to go." There will still be too many roster spots filled by filler while we wait for the prospects.

    Maybe 2015, which, presumably, will feature a significant number of Theo's prospects from Day One.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Everyone assumes the prospects will be fast tracked too.

    What happens if say Baez struggles at AAA?
    Or any of the other prospects for example.

    I don't want to be a Debbie Downer and I do understand the more big time guys you have the better the chance of it working out, but you always read Vogelbach has 30+ HR power, Alcantara is a .275 15 HR hitter, the ceilings are examined all the time, but the basements seem to be ignored.

    Theo did say he wants 500+ AB out of the prospects at AAA. I know there's exceptions the rule, Junior Lake is one, but if these guys are going to be up as soon as most people think, they won't even come close to 500. Yet some people complain that guys like Castro are now struggling because he was fast-tracked and failed to learn some things in the minors and Theo is always saying that they don't want to rush anyone.

    I even think starting Soler at AA next season could be looked that as rushed.

    People do say "big if" when talking about if the prospects all make it, but then casually post a 2015 line-up featuring four rookies and expecting that line-up to carry the team. I just don't think it's that simple. I think if and when the rookies start the struggle in 2014/2015 people going to be surprised because the expectations are so high, especially with the recent successes of Trouts and Machado's. I stopped doing the mock line-up thing more than a year away ever since I had Patterson/Pie in the Cubs OF for the next decade.

    This is why I think Theo is going to make moves. I think some of the prospects will be traded whether this year or next and we'll see a lot of aggression in FA because without trades/signings and just waiting until the prospects to grow into their own, this isn't an offense that can contend until 2016/2017-ish. That's even assuming they make it.

  • I was hoping for Joe, but when it didn't happen I was blanketed with a wave of calmness. Change is always stressful.

  • Large market team...From the time Theo & Company got hired, IMHO, they have/had three years to reach MLB playoffs. If they (Cubs Management) don't, then they have either under achieved or failed. EOS.

  • Can someone explain to me about how excited I should be about the new manager?! I have been out of touch for a while and just now catching up. Why were no big name managers considered?
    Thanks and Keep Believe'n!

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