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Cubs don't need to prove market status by spending indiscriminately

Cubs don't need to prove market status by spending indiscriminately

The rallying cry for those who have grown weary of rebuilding after 2 whole years has been this,

The Cubs are a big market team, why aren't they spending like one???

There are some fans who want the Cubs to spend money on someone...anyone as long as he has some sort of instant name recognition.  It doesn't matter if the contract will provide value to the team or hinder future payrolls.  They want somebody now.  They're tired of losing.  Theo Epstein was supposed to be some sort of baseball genius.  Well, if he is such a genius, why isn't he doing exactly what they would do.  Why isn't he making a checklist of every recognizable player, taking out his checkbook and signing as many as he can?  Why isn't he trading all the players they've grown impatient with and getting star players in return?  Hmmm...some genius, right?

If the plan were to build an instant winner with a short window to succeed, Epstein and Hoyer could have spent on the free agent market, they wouldn't invest in prospects, but rather on second hand players who have already performed.

But that was never the plan.  The plan was to build a foundation for long term success.  It was to create a steady pipeline of talent -- talent that could be used as assets and inventory so that, theoretically, the Cubs would never have to rebuild this way again.   They were going to bring the Cubs up-to-date in terms of technology and the efficient use of markets. They were going to fix a 100 year old problem and the solution was never to go on another shopping spree.  The Cubs problems weren't going to be solved in two short years.  Nobody ever promised that and if anything, the Cubs went out of their way to say this would be a 4-5 year project.

Other fans might say I'm just exaggerating.  That all they really want is just a couple of shrewd mid-level signings  the way the Red Sox did it last year.  If they can do it and turn it around, then why can't the Cubs?

Sure, the Cubs can do that, but they can't do that now.  That only proves the point.  The Red Sox can do that because they've already built a strong organization from top to bottom.  The Cubs can do the same as soon as they have...

  1. Built the kind of strong farm system and pipeline of talent Boston has built
  2. Create payroll flexibility
  3. Build a core of in-prime MLB players that is ready to win

People forget the Red Sox had to unload big name, high price veterans in order to have the flexibility to make their mid-level signings.  They were lucky enough to have the Dodgers around to take those high priced players off their hands and give up prospects.  They forget that the Red Sox were already a good team that had one bad season.  The Red Sox weren't a bad team because of decades of neglect when it came to developing players.  The talent was still there, both on the MLB team and down on the farm.

The Cubs have worked hard on the first two and it can be said that now they do have that strong pipeline of talent and they have certainly created payroll flexibility.  But now that the flexibility is there, why should they be so quick to give it away again to add a few short term wins?

The Cubs core of top tier talent is about 2 years away and we can probably expect some improvement with that infusion.  And yes, the Cubs will need veterans because a) not every prospect will pan out and b) the Cubs will likely need a mix of players that add experience and leadership.

The problem is that if you sign free agents, you are almost always looking at short windows because those players have already passed their peak athletic years, which for most players is their age 27 year.  The average age of the free agent is 32 -- 5 years beyond that peak and already on the wrong side of the bell curve.  It's actually about the year we should start to expect a more precipitous decline.  Even the better "young" free agents are 30 years old and you're very likely to get their best 2 years while you are still rebuilding.   It makes the most sense for a team ready to win in that short window to make that kind of investment.

That's not to say the Cubs can't look to add talent from outside the organization.  They should and they will.  One free agent we've mentioned who fits the Cubs timeline is Masahiro Tanaka.  Age-wise and in terms of stuff/command, he's a perfect fit in terms of need, potential impact talent, and timeline.  As long as they feel he can sustain that performance (some feel he's been overused), then Tanaka symbolizes the kind of financial risk the Cubs can and should take.  Of course, we all know there will be fierce competition because Tanaka doesn't just fit the Cubs timeline.  He fits every team's timeline.

But do you want to sign a typical top free agent who is already 30 and wants a 5..6...7 year contract when he'll likely be in decline when this team begins to contend?  At that point, are we not going to want that payroll space for a player who is actually still within the range of his most productive years instead of spending it on the last contract years of a player who is now declining and has virtually no market value?

You could say, "Well, then, just sign guys for 2-3 years and then let them go and sign younger guys when they're ready"

Sure, I'm all board on with that -- but don't expect to get big name impact players if that's all you're offering.  No 28-30 year old free agent with a proven record of performance is going to sign that.  You can get yourself some interesting flyers, perhaps a player with performance indicators that portend a big step forward and is looking for an opportunity and/or to establish value -- or perhaps a veteran coming off a down year looking to re-establish value.

The Cubs have done well in identifying the former: Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman, Nate Schierholtz  -- even when they've missed they've been able to still get talent in return, as what happened with Scott Hairston.  Instead of trying to overpay for players, the Cubs found talent which gave them a chance to compete and then could be sold off easily for younger talent if the team struggled.  The Cubs now have young power arms Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, and Arodys Vizcaino for the two pitchers.  Two years from now would you rather gamble on Maholm and Feldman or those three arms which will still be in that prime year range?  If you're the Red Sox, guys like Maholm and Feldman would help you win now and look like shrewd signings.  Their greatest value for a team in their position is what they can provide in terms of efficient production the next couple of years.  If you're the Cubs, the value of those players are different.  In the absence of being those small pieces that gets them over the hump in the short term, their value becomes measured in terms of what the Cubs can recoup in terms of long term assets.  There will soon come a time when the Cubs will value those type of signings the way the Red Sox do now.  There will be a time when the Cubs don't trade your Paul Maholms and instead keep them for the stretch run -- a time when their short term value exceeds what they can potentially bring in terms of long term value.  But that time hasn't yet arrived.

The Cubs don't need to act like a big market team to win.   They just need to act like a smart, efficient team that understands value and the importance of squeezing as much talent as they can onto a roster.  They can't do that if they're still paying guys big money who are in the declining years of their careers.  So let's cut the nonsense here.  Good teams succeed because they know how and when to spend money.  They don't spend it just because they have it.  If you want that, then why bother bringing in a front office who understands long term value and roster management as well or better than any FO in baseball?

There were 5 teams in the playoffs who had a smaller payroll than the Cubs in 2013.  They were better because their money was being spread out over more talent without a large percentage of it going to declining players like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol.  That is the direction the Cubs are trying to go and there is no sense  building future financial roadblocks when it's all about the future right now.  Why would you want to hinder that in any way?  The Cubs can keep their shrewd short term investments when those 2-3 years and those extra few wins could mean a legitimate shot at the title.  They can even splurge on a big name and knowingly overpay in those declining years if it means a significantly better chance to win now.

That time is not now, but the Cubs are moving quickly in that direction and, if they continue to invest wisely, then that time may come a lot sooner than you think.

 

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  • Thank you. I've been arguing about this with Twitter for the last 18 hours.

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    In reply to Julie DiCaro:

    And you're my hero of the day for doing so JDC.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    LOL. Here to serve.

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    In reply to Julie DiCaro:

    You're most welcome Miss Julie. Spoken in my best Southern drawl!

  • In reply to Julie DiCaro:

    John is to Gordon Wittenmyer...

    ...as...

    (insert kick-ass under-paid indy label band) is to (insert talentless over-hyped over-paid major label band)

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I've always fancied myself as the Meat Puppets or the Pixies of blogs :)

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    In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Ooohh...can Wittenmyer be Nickleback?!?!

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    COMMENT OF THE YEAR!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    The one thing this blog is missing is the "thumbs up" button. Comments like this need to be "thumbs upped".

    No need for a "thumbs down" button, save that for those who like to troll, which I don't see much of around here.

  • In reply to PtownTom:

    Yes...I wanted to give that 100 "thumbs up"

  • In reply to Julie DiCaro:

    You're welcome. I wish I'd been around to help you out. If there is anybody still left standing, I'm jumping in!

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    In reply to Julie DiCaro:

    Very well written article I agree. The time for the Cubs will be soon and we need to try and sustain it over years to come. We will get there!

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    I would pay Cano and Tanaka market value. Maybe Ellsbury. But their demands may be higher, and I wouldn't go over that.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Zero chance of it happening, but signing all three would certainly change the immediate outlook!

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    You add Cano and Tanaka or another near Ace to this team, the future outlooks and value of this team changes dramatically.

    Cubs have been very shrewd and patient the last couple of years of this rebuild, but they need " to start flexing there financial muscles" not just because they can, not because they aren't the Rays, Pirates, or A's but because it's time, not only for veteran leadership but to provide some proven building blocks to the team. Does it mean they have to go sign everyone and give blank checks out like some want to think, but they should be adding a piece or two every winter so when the kids come up, the spotlight will not only be on them.

    Poor Rizzo and Castro having to continue to carry this team in this city under this pressure is just not fair. Perhaps they could shock the world and do it, but its a tall order to ask and then it falls on to the next wave of baez, johnson, bryant, soler, ect....... ....scary scary plan but if it works ( it surely can), boom, not only will you have a great young team......tommy ricketts will be a very rich happy man.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Easy for you to say. 200 mil, 140 mil, 120 mil. Nearly half a billion!
    You're not living in the real world, or understanding pretty much every salient point John just made re the rebuild and the timing part of it.
    We as Cubs fans can all hope that two things become immensely profitable for the franchise. The fruits of the 500 mil ballpark plan. The forthcoming local broadcast deals. Then we become a top-four spending powerhouse. That time has not arrived. Aside from the rebuild timing in terms of ramping up the spending.

  • I don't want them Cubs to spend indiscriminately, but I don't want the Cubs to cry poor when they lose out on Tanaka. They are a major market team and should act like when one someone like that hits the market.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    let's face it, if the cubs lose out on tanaka, we're sure to hear theo say something along the lines of "the cubs offered what we thought he was worth. another team offered more than we were willing to give."

    should they bid MORE than they think he's worth, just to win the guy? no way.

    the heart of john's very-well-reasoned article above is that this front office is all about VALUE. they're going to come up with what they think is a fair (and probably aggressive) offer. someone else might offer gads more...but in the end, winning the guy -- at any amount -- is not the goal.

    winning the guy at YOUR price ensures you've got enough bullets left for when the fight goes off. another team might value him more...who's to say who's right...at least at the moment the winner's announced?

    safe to say that we won't know whether the team that wins tanaka made a good investment for at least a couple years.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Agreed on the "value" part, but Tanaka represents a different type of opportunity, if the scouts are correct. He's a Top of Rotation type (1 or 2) that you can get "Free" (no trading of prospects necessary) while just spending money. He's also young. If they have to go a bit over value to get him, I feel they should. Not "break the bank" over, but over. Rare situation that should involve some "outside the norm" manuvering.

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    In reply to Jweav14:

    I agree that they should overpay without breaking the bank to get him, the problem is that the teams we're up against have much larger banks than us.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    either way, the whole thing comes down to "what you think he's worth."

    without any other signaling of bid values from other teams, you have to assess what he's worth to you...as a pure player, from a marketing standpoint, impact to ticket sales, ratings impact, media rights negotiations...everything.

    let's for the sake of argument say the cubs believe, after a tremendous amount of well-constructed and thoughtful analysis, that they're willing to spend as much as $100M on the posting fee and then willing to give the player a contract that's worth $60M over 5 years.

    those (made up) numbers would represent a significant departure in terms of the economics of recently-acquired japanese players. truly record-breaking. definitely demonstrates the cubs' willingness to break the bank and acquire a generational player (if the scouts are correct).

    so, in the spirit of aggressively going after this level of talent, let's say the team's willing to push their posting fee as high as $115M. where $100M would be absolutely record-breaking, $115 is likely a rounding error, but, they don't want to leave anything to chance in terms of losing this player. this, then, represents their best foot forward. something they have tons of analysis backing-up. it's fully vetted and supported across the leadership of the team.

    now, what if, the yankees or dodgers, when all was said and done, bid $115M or $120M? they beat the cubs. they win the player.

    the result? a significant portion of the cubs fanbase says, as you guys did above, that the cubs don't want it bad enough. they weren't aggressive enough. then we listen to even more of the "major market team acting like a mid-market team" stuff.

    we just can't set this up as "if we don't get tanaka then theo and jed have their heads stuck in the sand." it's not that black & white. there's got to be room for other teams to exercise copious amounts o fstupidity, too. right? or even still, that there are teams whose underlying businesses can support larger investments than the cubs can afford.

    which brings us back to the core question: what's tanaka's worth to the club and how high can the number be before the club's operations deem the acquisition unfeasible?

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Hey Again: Didn't say that at all. In fact, I said "If they have to go A BIT over value to get him, I feel they should. Not "break the bank" over, but over. Rare situation that should involve some "outside the norm" manuvering." I totally agree that in this situation, they need to set a value of what he's worth, but what he's worth TO THEM...RIGHT NOW at this point of their rebuild. I'm guessing they won't get Tanaka, but I HOPE that they go 10-20% over what they would put his perfect value at to make it happen. Beyond that, I'd spend the money elsewhere when they deem it the appropriate time to help the rebuild.

  • In reply to Jweav14:

    That sounds like "Don't walk him, but don't give him anything good to hit:.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    Uhm, that seems like a clumsy generalization, but I guess I can buy that to a degree. Yes, I'm guilty. I feel the goal should be "precision" with your money/budget.

    To add to your pitching analogy, yes, I'd expect a first class organization to be able to "Pitch" and not throw. To execute pitches, hit corners, keep the ball down, and follow through on a game plan. Not just chuck it down the middle with no plan and hope for the best.

    Or another "pitching" way to look at it is it's the difference between command and control. I don't want a front office that only has control and can only "not walk" people, or throw meatballs (per your analogy above). I want command (metaphorically) from Thed (Theo & Jed). I want the corners painted. I want the ball kept down. I want quality pitches. That's how you pitch. Not just chucking the ball at the zone. I expect this front office to have a plan and execute it correctly, just like pitching.

    "Control" would be throwing huge sums of money at a problem (like signing Soriano to a contract millions of dollars over what everyone else was offering) and expecting that contract NOT to become an albatross. No Plan. It's "doing something", but that's not precise enough. Value is everything. There's a limit where Tanaka ISN'T worth the money.

    Be precise. I expect this front office to be smart enough to PITCH (with their money, which I think they've successfully done thus far). Not just act like Nuke Lalouche and "announce their presence with authority" by throwing money at problems like prior Cubs executives and owners have done.

    I hope they stick to their plan, but still have the foresight and flexibility to see Tanaka as a "special case" that can become PART of the plan as it evolves, and offer him more money than they may value him at to take advantage of a special situation that has come up while the plan is in process. Just not tens of millions more. There is a drop dead point. No one outside the organization seems to know what dollar amount that is, but I'm confident Theo knows. I also think he's a creative enough thinker to be able to adjust his plan as it evolves while sticking to a larger construct. As he says, "progress isn't linear," and neither is there only 1 way that their plan can rebuild the club. It's constantly evolving within parameters.

  • In reply to Jweav14:

    "I hope they stick to their plan, but still have the foresight and flexibility to see Tanaka as a "special case" that can become PART of the plan as it evolves, and offer him more money than they may value him at to take advantage of a special situation that has come up while the plan is in process."

    can we agree that they are 100% on the same page with you -- believe everything you just wrote -- and STILL lose out on tanaka?

    let's account for the reality that some teams can be 1) more risk tolerant, 2) more economically stable or 3) more stupid than the cubs. any one or a combination of those 3 characteristics will likely land a team tanaka

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Absolutely agree. That's what I think will happen. I think they'll set a number, shoot above it by a % (10%, 20%, 30%???) and STILL the YankOdgerSox will get him. Then the Cubs will take that money and bank it until they are ready to spend it somewhere else for value, (extension for Shark if it's "At Value", sign a big free agent in 15…I don't know, but they'll have to adjust).

    And I'm OK with that. Did I want Pujols and Fielder as Cubs? Yeah, absolutely…the knuckle headed fan in me was hopeful. Am I glad retrospectively that they aren't at this point when production vs contract are concerned? Yep. Am I learning and adjusting to the economics of baseball in 2013. Yep, and it's different even than 2012.

    We hear that this offseason will be all about trades and not free agents because teams are figuring out that these huge contract to 32 year olds hamstring your team for years. You just have to hope that other teams keep making these mistakes while your club builds value in assets. The Skanks shouldn't even be able to bid on Tanaka, but ARoid may have messed that up by getting his ridiculous contract voided (if that's what happens).

    At some point, the Cubs will begin to function as a big market team again, but that time is not now, and history is telling us that Free Agency isn't the basic way to build a successful franchise for the long term.

    Bottom line. I totally agree. Tanaka won't be a Cub, but I'll be ecstatic to be wrong.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    But what is "over pay"?

    If the Cubs see the bid value at $65 M, should they bid $70M? $75M? $80M?

    Tough question.

  • In reply to Jweav14:

    I will ask you the same question. What is the exact figure that you would bid if you were Epstein? And if they bid that and lose, would you accept their explanation that they tried their best?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    great way to make the point.

    the concept i wanted to share was that -- should they lose out on tanaka -- there's a rational explanation that doesn't immediately assume the cubs were too cute with their bid or lacked aggressiveness. we should all be cautious not to jump to those conclusions...

    the fact is no one but the FO has the numbers needed to calculate tanaka's worth to the cubs, so fans will be left to draw conclusions -- based on a lot of conjecture -- regarding how the bidding played out. we're not likely to know what the cubs bid, just that it wasn't as much as the team that won.

    arguing beyond that set of facts is a fool's errand, IMO.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Totally agree! Well said.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Fair question, but I don't know an exact number because I don't know their exact financial situation or their financial plan moving forward. I don't have enough information to guess at an exact figure for you. It would just be folly. That's up to Theo/Jed.

    That would be like you asking me what you should pay for a new car for your family. Without knowing your financial situation, it would be silly for me to say my opinion was valid. "Gee Dave, you should pay 1 million to get the car you want" is a lot different than saying "Gee Bill Gates, you should pay 1 million for the car you want." You have different situations/budgets/etc (unless you don't, and then Cool for You!). Without knowing the numbers, it's all lunacy. Thed (theo/jed) know what they can spend and what they can't. They'll set the number, and it'll be based on budget in balance with their desire to win a World Series. What's important is that I BELIEVE that they want to do that and still trust them to execute a successful plan.

    Would I accept their explanation if their bid falls short? Yes, just like last year with Annibal, I was psyched they were in there swinging and adjusting their plan on the fly, but totally accepted their explanation that "we made an offer at fair value" and he got more that we were willing to pay. I was fine with that, and will be fine with that explanation if that's what happens with Tanaka, and I will trust that they will take those resources elsewhere to build the ball club when they see a chance to add value. It just may not be this offseason.

    I trust their methodology at this point of the rebuild of not overpaying because of the attempt to develop value of assets more than just grabbing every asset out there. At some point they will have to overpay for pieces as we get closer to when an overpay would actually be the difference between the 1 or 2 wins needed to qualify for the playoffs. We're clearly not there yet.

    When we are there, they'll need to change their approach a bit and overpay on occasion to get the necessary pieces to add that 1-2 extra wins. They have stated that is what they are going to do. We don't know if they will follow through, but we can't control it, so I'll take them at their word, and then react accordingly if they don't.

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    In reply to Jweav14:

    Great post, great analogy. We just have to hope and pray what they have been selling us thru these dark times is the truth and money will appear ........

    We have to believe since Jed isn't naive ( knows what the bids for Darvish and others were) and isn't window dressing us by saying that the Cubs will be very active in the Tanaka sweepstakes. With that being noted, they should probably they have approx 50 million at least ( darvish's post i believe) ready for Tanaka, and if they don't get him, that money should be banked for next winter or for someone they feel is a true long term asset, not a concellation prize.

  • In reply to Jweav14:

    We're being quite charitable toward Theo/Jed re E Jax for 18 mil less than Anibal, who only led the tougher-hitting league in ERA.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Yes but Anibal had a significantly better offense backing him up than Jackson. Jackson basically had to think he had to be near perfect to win. That usually hurts performance. Our offense didn't score much and the bullpen blew plenty of leads. Different situation. We don't know how Anibal would have done on the Cubs.

  • In reply to John57:

    Ouch. That's just brutal, homerish excuse-making. E Jax pitched bad baseball. Anibal pitched great baseball.

  • In reply to Jweav14:

    My Tanaka bid and contract numbers probably would be too low to land him. Pitchers who throw lots of splitters often blow out their arms. The fastball may be hittable in the American bigs.

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    In reply to ratay1:

    Yea, thats what they been trying to show us that they are all about value and paying the premium for who or what they feel fits what they want and not settle/over pay for anything else.

    They didn't do that last year, they prioritized Anibal Sanchez as the best FA pitcher on the market that fits into there profile for the rebuild, but yet they didn't want to add 1 more year or some more dollars on whom they felt was the best thing for org. In the world, your rarely going to be able to pay what u want (or less) to pay for something esp if it has value.

    Sure anibal's agent may have been playing jedstein to get more money from tigers but I don't think Jedstein would get played like that but even if they did, then they should of just been like, okay we lost out, nothing really lost, we are not going anywhere next yr anyway, lets try harder next winter instead of over paying for sake of just signing someone.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I agree. If they like him as much as I think they do, then I want them to bid as much as they possibly can. The way they did with Sanchez. No crime in losing when you do everything you possibly can within reason.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    There are at least three other major market teams out there that also want Tanaka as badly as we do. How would you make certain that our bid is higher than the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers, not to mention Rangers and Nationals and whoever else might be interested.

    Specifically, if you were Epstein, exactly how much would you bid on the posting fee?

  • Kris Bryant is not 2 years away, if he is tearing up Spring Training and Olt is the dolt that he seems to be, then Bryant should break with the big club. He signed a $6.7 Million bonus, so he is basically an arbitration eligible player anyways. Move the Valbuena/Murphy combo to 2nd Base. There are many players making an impact right around their 21st bday, hell Xander Bogaerts started in the World Series and I think he is younger than Bryant. Mike Trout is making an impact, check that, almost winning MVPs. If the Ricketts family wanted to be so patient and cautios they should bought Muni bonds...they are not running this team like a fan, they are running it like a business with a so so product and customers they dont respect

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    Just because one prospect is going to be ready in less than two years does not mean the whole team will be. To expect someone to immediately come up and be a savior and turn the whole team around is foolish. 99.9% of players don't just come up and have the best seasons of their career, the examples you provide are the exception not the rule. Good things take time. Ricketts is putting his trust in Theo and Jed that they are doing what is the best and most direct route to having SUSTAINED success. You clearly don't understand the concept behind what this organization is trying to do.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    i completely understand what they are doing...they hire a patsy(sveum) and tell the fans this may take a couple years---then its worse than they even imagined losing almost 200 games and a record 51 home games this year. unlike you i am not a fool who blindly trusts boy wonder and his sidekicks. now they sell us as this team that is the same as the twins as far as market goes? oh please, and they're getting rolled by the rooftop owners in respects to the renovation of wrigley field. love how u speak of "theo and jed" like you were college roommates. i said if bryant is our best 3rd baseman coming out of spring training i expect him to play, and as a season ticket holder i think my opinion counts. id dnt say sign elsbury, tanaka, cano or anyone...but if he is obviously the best 3 bagger we have and they say he needs more seasoning or whatever they can piss off. good things take time, tell that to someone born in 1909 or 1946 you mutt

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    Sveum wasn't a patsy. He wasn't getting the job done anyway you slice. Theo's priority these last 2 years was development. Castro, Rizzo, Barney all took significant steps back, (Castro the most). Sveum was pretty quick to jump on managing through the media. Quade did this. Calling players out like that should be a last resort. But both jumped on this pretty quick to make it seem as though he was doing his job of developing these young players. This is generally reserved for managers trying to save their jobs. On top of that, the Cubs significantly underperformed their run-differentials. Essentially finding ways to lose. They had an abysmal record in 1-run games, which I know we can hang a lot of it on the bullpen personel, but Sveum has to take some ownership of how he deployed them. Theo could have accepted this, but the managing through the media, and Sveum's inability to reach the "core" players cost him his job.

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    In reply to ChiTownD:

    Did you fill out the season-ticket-holder-opinion-survey form "Mr. Epstein" sent out? Oh, there wasn't one? I guess that shows how much your opinion is being considered.

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but that opinion drives me nuts. You pay to watch the games, not manage the team. You can complain all you want about inferior products, but bottom line, any ticket sales lost will be more than made up for when the team starts winning. And everybody who leaves will be back, claiming they were here the whole time!

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I disagree. Actual revenue lost is still actual revenue lost. And they should care about season ticket holders in some sense because that's guaranteed revenue.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    To say they don't care about season-ticket holders' opinions on baseball operations is very different from saying they don't care about season ticket holders.

    And, of course, "actual revenue lost is still actual revenue lost", doesn't change the plan. I'm sure this front office projected a drop in attendance when they embarked on this rebuild, and the loss of revenue therefrom. The point I'm making is: the outcry of fans who think the Cubs or their front office owes them something, or are personally accountable to them, will not change the plan.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    To say they don't care about season-ticket holders' opinions on baseball operations is very different from saying they don't care about season ticket holders.

    If those opinions come with lost guaranteed revenue, then it matters. Furthermore, the FO projected the drop in attendance. Source? Because I don't anyone can really know that. In fact, if anyone would be engaging in that sort of thing, I would think it would be the business operations side of things. And I think they were misguided in realizing when additional revenue projections might occur.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    "I'm sure this front office projected..." no source necessary, it's my opinion. This might be applicable though: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-27/s /chi-chicago-cubs-home-attendance-dip-20130927_1_president-theo-epstein-fans-dip (doesn't specifically say they projected it, but he doesn't sound very surprised)
    It seems like common sense, to me, that this kind of endeavor (the rebuild, losing 200 games in two seasons) would result in a drop in attendance, and I believe they had a good idea what they were getting into.

    Are you suggesting that the front office should poll fans when deciding who to sign/not sign? How do you suggest these opinions are taken into account? You sell tickets by building a winner, not by asking the people who have already bought tickets what they want. My point remains: anybody who wants to stop buying tickets now, will be back when the team starts winning (acting like they were here the whole time).

    I think it's clear there were some incorrect projections on when additional revenues would occur, I think that's been pretty well documented...don't know how it applies here.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    To be honest, I'm not sure what you're arguing. If you don't like the way this rebuild is going, that's cool, that type of discussion is what these boards are for. But, if you think because you bought a ticket the front office is going to ask for your opinion, just keep waiting by the phone.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Well, Matt I never said the FO wasn't going to allow the this to take some time. I don't know what you think is happening here, though. If you think the business side shouldn't hold the FO accountable after some time, you might want to rethink that. Ticket sales do matter...but you or me cannot project for certain when that winning will come. You're gravely mistaken if you think we shouldn't hold Theo and Co accountable for prospects and their development if that's what your timetable to greatness rests upon. No where have you stated, like Jon has, that it would be after a set number of years. There has to be accountability. You act we should just wait around for something to happen. If it bothers you that that accountability may occur sooner than you wish, so be it.

    And yes, those incorrect projections are a blunder. They serve to push the rebuild back further to--who knows when?

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I'm still not sure what you're arguing with me about, dude. If we're talking about baseball operations, then I think the front office is doing exactly what they've said they would do the whole time. I, for one, have been amazed by their transparency. If you don't agree with their plan, that's cool, but I don't see how you can say their not being held accountable. When I look at the organization today, I'm amazed at how much better off it is than when this regime took over!

    I don't know exactly what they feel the time frame is, but I seem to remember them saying something to the effect of: "it may get worse before it gets better" and "this will not be a one or two year process, it may not be a five year process, but once we build this from the ground up, we will build a consistent winner...". I'm going by memory and before you ask, I'm having a discussion, not writing a research paper, so no, no source.

    If we're talking about who the front office is accountable to, it's not you. Have a great night!

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Ah, the hell with it. You win...accountability....schimountability.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Spoken like a true business man.

    If you don't sell a ticket for home game 10 in 2011-2017, you can sell that same ticket 7 times over in 2018 .

    Yes, why don't other businesses use this innovative financial tactics?

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Not entirely sure what you mean, but it isn't really uncommon for businesses to sacrifice a certain amount of short-term revenue for long-term financial gain. There is also the fact that increasing costs (payroll) more than revenue (ticket sales, in this example) leads to a net loss. I don't think there was any doubt in anybody's mind that the Cubs would sell less tickets during the lowest point of this rebuild, do you? I don't know how they quantified that, I also don't know if the attendance has been higher or lower than their projections, but I'm pretty sure they knew there would be a drop.

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    Being the best third baseman on next year's team is not the same as saying that he is a good third baseman. If he makes the team and performs, as is likely, in a mediocre manner, he will not help the team, will not further his development, and will bring him one year closer to free agency.

    How much better off would we be if Castro had been allowed to make these foolish errors and necessary adjustments in the minors instead of Wrigley Field?

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    In reply to ChiTownD:

    I love that passion. I wish there were more people in higher positions with passion like that.

    This may not be the case, but "boy wonder and his side kicks" could be just getting rich right now on our backs while trying to implement this tear and rebuild model while putting the most economically feasible team on the field as possible w/o it becoming too obvious. Hoping they can sell it long enough until the waves n waves of youth come and save the franchise. In the meantime, tommy nickels is swimming in his money vaults like scrooge mcduck. Or this is all part of there initial rebuilt process and they will be adding a long term piece or two this off season. (esp some protection for Rizzo so he can continue to develop )

    The last couple of years, there was no way to really know what was going on.........Although We will find out in the next couple of months which way is the truth.

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    You also clearly don't understand what you're talking about in regards to Bryant's salary. He is making regular minor league wage just like every other player. He had a huge signing bonus yes, but that is very different and in no way relates to arbitration. He is at least a half season away from being a major league player and then 2-3 years (depending on Super 2 status) away from being "basically an arbitration eligible player". Next year he will be making no more than any of his teammates at whichever level he is at.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    wow...so instead of competing we should field an inferior product but still charge the 3rd highest ticket prices in baseball. yur like a wife who gets beat and still defends her husband. i understand everything u speak of, you smug prick

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    Obviously not by your comment that he is "basically an arbitration eligible player". If they bring Bryant up after the all-star break this year that will be barely over one year of pro ball before he hits the majors. I would say that's a very aggressive promotion, so I don't get why you are so upset about it not being sooner.

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    In reply to ChiTownD:

    LOL. Don't worry Chitown, whatever money they were going to bid on Tanaka ( assuming we don't get him) a portion of that savings will be used to lower ticket prices, parking, concessions, merchandise, ect. You didn't know?

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    In reply to ChiTownD:

    Why on Earth would anybody run their business like a fan?!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Because they're tired of being a GM and want to sit with them?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ha!

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    yikes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to ChiTownD:

    LOL. That was great

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    K Bryant hasn't even played AA ball yet. And it's a really big deal whether he can show he should stick at 3B, or have to be moved to OF. The org will want to see him play 3B at a high level for at least 50 games to get that important answer. They'll also want to do the customary thing of delaying a top prospect's service time. His performance will dictate his readiness, anywhere between June 1 and Sept. 1, which would be super-fast and wonderful.

  • fb_avatar

    John, you should put this one in the "Best Of" file to repost at a later date, because it will be needed again. Well done!!!!!!!!!!

  • 2014 will be the 3rd year for this team. I said it when they got hired and I will say it now, the Cubs need to be in position to compete for the wild card in 2014. Anything less, in my eyes, will be failure of the new management team. This team is smart, and they will figure it out for 2014.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    "We view your ultimatum with all the value that it merits."

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Ditto. :)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to GoCubs:

    Its actually not far fetched. If they wanted to ( without writing 5 blank checks and NTCs), I actually think they could be potentially competitive next year. I believe Jedstein is smart enough in his player evaluations, statistics, metrics, ect that he could make 1-2 signing and 1-2 trades and this team could actually compete next yr.

    Will they? That will become clear in the coming months

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    You've totally and unnecessarily set yourself up for disappointment. Postseason contention in 2014 is unobtainable, unrealistic and not even a goal. The focus is still A & D, but now heavier toward the D part. Acquire and Develop young talent. The D part will be very exciting in '14. Getting the near-ready prospects ready. And the next tier closer to ready.

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    Actually, they never gave a solid timetable for the rebuild. They said that simply you don't get ahead by signing a multitude of FAs.

    At that point, are we not going to want that payroll space for a player who is actually still within the range of his most productive years instead of spending it on the last contract years of a player who is now declining and has virtually no market value?

    Well, Jon, that player is becoming increasingly difficult to find via a trade or FA. The problem isn't "SIGN ALL THE FAs", the problem is identifying the core. And that includes guys like Rizzo, Castro, and Shark. If they're not the core (I think Rizzo still is), then Theo and Co need to move more quickly to trade them for value. That would actually be my problem with this offseason. Not rebuilding around FAs.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I think you underestimate the value in having even average regulars at that low long term price. Even if Rizzo or Castro don't become stars, then they can still be productive players signed through their prime at well below market value. That in itself is an asset because it allows you to use that saved money to acquire highly paid stars from the outside. A core doesn't necessarily mean they have to be superstars, a core should provide long term value and give the team flexibility to fill in other positions.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Don't agree. If the player doesn't fit their system, like Castro with his low OBP, then what's the harm in finding multiple players in return and hitting on that one who could fit that role better. Again, overpaying for a no 7 hitter in the lineup is not worth it, Jon. Finding a younger core player from a pool of returned prospects, especially after you've passed on two guys in the current FA market who demonstrate high OBP abilities, that is.

    Trading for younger players will not affect the plan to acquire higher paid players in the future, especially if the trade involves someone like Shark who won't be resigned. This really has nothing to do with a core of superstars.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    There is no harm, but if you can't get better value, there are a lot worse things to be stuck with than a historically above league average SS signed through his prime years. You can't make the assumption the Cubs will get better value.

    It has nothing to do with where we think they may project in the batting order. It has everything to do with obtaining as much surplus value at as many positions as you can so that you can invest that surplus in perhaps a more established but less cost efficient player elsewhere. As a front office, you have to make that analysis, do I get more value for Castro as a reasonably paid SS who is above league average in terms of production (as he's been every year but last year) or do I get more value by trading him? That is a decision that is not as easy as saying the guy is a 7 hole hitter or he doesn't "fit the philosophy". The Cubs philosophy is about getting value and if they project Castro provides more as the Cubs starting SS for the next 6 years, then they'll keep him. If he can provide more value based on the projected value of a return on a deal, then they'll trade. But to say there is one easy answer to that question is inaccurate.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Never said the answers were easy. It has EVERYTHING to do with batting order projection. So, if that's the case....then just bat him 7th this year...right. I hardly think they'll do that. The problem is where are those high OBP guys coming from in the system??? Almora certainly but I see lots of power hitting top prospects. You have two of them in FA. So, if the mantra is "pass on all these guys because they don't make sense two years from now", then shopping an above average SS should have value to someone closer to playoff contention interested. Because it's as you've just stated, "It has everything to do with obtaining as much surplus value at as many positions as you can so that you can invest that surplus in perhaps a more established but less cost efficient player elsewhere." Exactly.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I can assure you with zero hesitation that the Cubs won't be making decisions based on where players bat in the batting order. Somebody has to bat 7th.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, and in the long term it shouldn't be Castro.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Now there is something outside of the box. We value guys based on their place in the batting order?

    Good Luck with that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So, you're saying @bocabooby that there's no projective analysis going on with all the people Theo hired into the FO. Wow, there's a dumb comment.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Are not 7hole hitters easier to come by than good top or middle of the order guys? One can get an idea what kind of run production a team will have by how many players in the lineup fit in the seven spot in the order. It isn't the top variable, but significant.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Top power guys are also generally top OBA guys. Look at any lineup in the history of the game and you would improve it if you had Berry Bonds in his prime as the lead off man.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Castro has proven he's one of many RHs in this future and he's certainly not Bonds.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I know about 7 scouts that believe that Castro will be llucky if he becomes an average SS.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    He's already an average SS, even a bit above average, the last two years on defense. His overall value has been above average in his two years prior to last season and projects to be again next year. Sorry, but advanced statistics just don't back that up at all.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Sorry, KGallo, if I've confused you. My statement should have read Castro has not proven....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree w you 100% that having Castro and Rizzo signed up to team friendly or " well below market value" rates is a huge asset. The problem I have is, I am not 100% sold that they believe that. If so why not sign a player like Cano ( just an example) this yr or next yr? lets say that player gets 25 million a yr.So your getting 3 solid players, 1 superstar for decent price? Is it fair to say that w Castro $ +Rizzo $( as productive players)+high priced free agent 25 million+ Castillo $ + 4 other starters that are not breaking the bank = 8 players puts us in a better position then the alternative ?

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    They were asked about a five-year plan and they said they don't think in terms of five year plans. They think in terms of progress. If somebody doesn't see progress in this organization since Epstein took over then they're miners of fool's gold. And that's what Cubs fans have been mining since the dawn of free agency. Sign just enough key players to get fans into the stadium. Big whoop.

    Stay the course. But I would love Cano (won't get him), just because it solidifies your infield through 2020 and he is incredibly consistent. Tanaka because he is young. Those guys would be "core guys."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Never said anything about wanting Cano or staying the course or not seeing progress. Don't know where you get that from my comments????

    Fans want a clearer timetable. That being said--Jon said the FO told us it would take 4-5 years. Don't remember them saying that as you've said. That's why I'm bringing it up.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I am not disputing you. The FO said it would take 4-5 years before we should realistically measure progress. We are in year 3.

    You mentioned core players. You mentioned not to sign all the available free agents. I mentioned that Cano and Tanaka would be the two free agent signings in my opinion that would make them core players for the next 5-8 years.

    Jeez, do I make everybody that defensive? I can't even agree with anybody anymore.

    That being said, I do agree with John's assessment that core players are not necessarily star players.Castillo will not be a star. Right now he is a core player (build your roster up the middle first, right?). A Guy like Pedro Strop, even if he stays in middle relief, could be considered a core player. Your 3 & 4 starters, locked in long term, would be core players. And yes, you would not want to sign free agents long term unless you could count on them being part of your core. I chose Cano and Tanaka. I also like Ellsbury but to a lesser degree because his agent is overvaluing him. At the right price, though -- yes. Straight up the middle, that's a tough team.

    Won't happen though. That's nearly half a billion dollars and 20 years in commitments at the end of the day for just those three players.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Again, source where the FO said it would take exactly this number of years? I get that it's implied by fans like ourselves. I don't recall them saying it.

    BTW, I don't want all three of the guys for a half billion? Maybe that's where a bit of the defensiveness comes from...arguments of polarity where I get my original statement shredded and then rephrased back to me.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I didn't say you said that. I extrapolated. I am also not going to dig up articles from Theo's first few months on the job for his exact timeline reference. You will have to trust me, I run a digital media company and I am far too busy.

    Read what I write, not what you think I wrote. I never said you want the Cubs to spend a half billion dollars. I said I like those guys and that it would never happen.

    We are both wasting time here, I agreed with you originally. Please stop saying I am contradicting you, arguing with you or putting words in your mouth, Lou. If you are that defensive it usually means you are unsure of your own argument. No charge for the analysis.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    "You will have to trust me, I run a digital media company and I am far too busy."

    Lol. Fancy talk for, "I can't find it". You sure spend a lot of time here posting for someone who is "far too busy"

    (chanting) Show the article! Show the article! Show the article!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to d evans:

    You're right, I do. Perks of being the boss. I suppose I can find it but why? because Louie wants me to?

    I'm fine in knowing what he said. If it's that important to you, dig it up yourself. You seem to have just as much time on your hands.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to d evans:

    BTW, Michael, for someone who says I'm pointless. You seem to be the one who's demeaning here.

  • In reply to d evans:

    Why are you still posting? I thought you were busy.

    Hey Lou, isn't it great when you call someone out to back up to back up their point and they can't? "Go find it yourself and I don't have to find it!!!" Now that's a proper way to back up a point. Lou said it doesn't exist because Theo never said it, yet he should go find it himself. Oh ok.

    Lou, we both know if it existed a person like him would be the first one to post it to throw it in your face, but he can't. Not to mention finding something like that shouldn't take more than 3 minutes with a Google search. But yeah, far too busy while he continues to churn out several 300 word posts a day.

    Michael isn't a Cubs expert but he did stay at a Holliday Inn Express last night.

  • In reply to d evans:

    "Why do you keep asking me to reference some set-in-stone timeline?"

    But before that you said... "I suppose I can find it but why?"

    What were you talking about finding then?

    You sound confused. Now how are we supposed to trust you with logic like that, Michael?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Not defensive. I just don't how giving me your interpretation of what the core is to you has anything to do with us being in agreement. I don't want all of those players. One maybe...definitely not all. Not workable even after we've determined our young players strengths. As for the definitive timetable, they never provided one. And yes my argument is sound and still stands.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    But the point is I never said there was a timeline.

    Here is what I said:

    "They were asked about a five-year plan and they said they don't think in terms of five year plans. They think in terms of progress."

    Why do you keep asking me to reference some set-in-stone timeline?

    You are asking me to back up a point I never stated.

    And as I understand forums, for you and d evans, it is an open forum not a discussion between two people.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    You were responding to me. I was responding to a set yr timeline in Jon's article. You said I should go look it up and then accused me of being rude. Nice backtracking, Michael.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    ""Why do you keep asking me to reference some set-in-stone timeline?"

    But before that you said... "I suppose I can find it but why?"

    What were you talking about finding then?"

    Hey Lou, check that out. You can actually hear his footsteps backtracking away.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Not defensive. I just don't see how giving me your interpretation of what the core is to you has anything to do with us being in agreement. I don't want all of those players. One maybe...definitely not all. Not workable even after we've determined our young players strengths. As for the definitive timetable, they never provided one. And yes my argument is sound and still stands.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    And d evans - my kids are off school today and have friends over, not that it is any of your business, which is why I am on here so much today. Not feeling like hanging out with a house full of middle school students.

    Although, truth be told, most of them know more about baseball than the two of you numbskulls combined. I'm still trying to figure out how you warrant paying a guy less based on his position in the batting order. Clayton Kershaw bats ninth. Based on the de-escalation of salaries as indicated by their place in the batting order, aka the "Lou Sofianos Model" -- Kershaw should probably pay the Cubs to play here in 2016. Moron.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Mikey, maybe if you spent less time taking avatar selfies you'd be able to fill in your baseless, hollow points. How many hats did you try on for that pic? lol

    You seem cranky, I'll be sure to roll over tonight and tell Linda to cut the crusts off your PB&J's from now on.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    And again you shred the comment I made and fill in the words. So, I want Kershaw, now at those prices? The hell you say! Then, when someone counteracts your statement with rationale argumentation (Is it really wise to keep Castro as a 7th place hitter in a sea RHs coming up from the farm system?), gets a barrage of name calling instead. Well, folks, looks like Mikey's got no argument.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    You don't get it Lou, he's the only person allowed to put words in other people's mouths.

    He's probably too wiped out from being a boss to think clearly right now.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Signing Cano would be a huge mistake. He'll be looking for megabucks for 10 years, and the last five of that contract would be like pouring fine wine down the toilet. He's on the wrong side of the hill, just like Pujols. Keep to the plan. The Cubs are not contenders this year. They need to move Barney to a utility role now and be developing a young 2B (Baez, Alcantara) to take his place. I can live with Valbuena and Murphy for a year, maybe two. Let the Yankees keep Cano, or let him go to the Dodgers or the Angels. The Cubs can spend their money far more wisely than this.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    To maybe take this on a more pleasant tangent... I wonder about Cano. FO is familiar with him and the Yankees aren't going to meet his initial demands. It'd be interesting to see if that price falls, 1. how much it falls and 2. if we become interested.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Theo Einstein:

    I am reading 8/225 gets it done though they are asking 10/300 and I suppose if Artie Moreno had the money or if we saw a resurgence if the free-wheeling mets it would happen. Maybe the Dodgers go there. At some point they have to realize they can't buy everybody - but they need a 2B a helluva lot more than they need a guy like Tanaka, so who knows. is a possibility.

    For what it's worth, I know for a fact the Cubs are interested in Robinson Cano, but as to the depth of that interest I have no idea. Only Jay-Z, Epstein, Hoyster, Ricketts and Cano know the answer to that. How do I know this? Right now they are interested in everybody that can help this team. That interest has a dollar value ceiling for each player however.

    But to T-E-C, I am done arguing with statistical reference, factoring inflation, dead money that is paid at the end of the contract and how WAR is calculated on a real and inflationary dollar value and that long term contracts are anything but a cut & dried barometer based on age of the player and AAV. I wish it were that simple. Then free agency would last all of three or four hours. We could say "He's 31, his contract should be front loaded," or we can simply say "pass."

    You think Cano would be a bad signing, so be it. I think Cano would be a great signing. Not ever free agent over 30 is doomed to a pathetic, diminishing existence. Nice to counterpoint with you and good day.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Yea. I'm thinking in terms of dependable production. Cano would be our best bet, even with the high dollar amounts associated. He brings a veteran presence, fills a hole (albeit a temporary one) at second base, and big middle of the order bat that hits left handed.

    Remember when manny signed with LA because they overpaid in exchange for reduced years (2 years/45M)? I wish we could do that with Cano. I don't think we need to keep it as short as 2 years. Maybe 5 would work, but I'm more comfortable with his durability than Ellsbury or Choo's.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Theo Einstein:

    Cano would probably take a 5 year deal but he would want a $35M AAV to make up for the extra 3 years. I'd rather pay 8/225 than 5/175.

    That's the part people don't get about inflation and dead value. The two contracts are essentially the same (here comes the argument that they are not) because in reality the Cubs would look at it as buying those last 3 years for $50M rather than the AAV which would total $84.375M. That is the bookeeping way of paying less for the dead weight of the backend. The front end is offset by inflation (3.5% per year) which on contracts of that magnitude is significant. Inflation lessens the impact of declining WAR (for lack of a better statistic) because you are paying tomorrow's salaries in today's dollars.

    It's how budgets are created and adhered too. If it was just age of the player and AAV vs. theoretical value of a player vs. diminishing results over time (age and skills regression) we all could be GMs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Theo Einstein:

    Sorry - got distracted. The Cubs should sign Cano for every reason except his cost. The fact is, that cost would be better used were it saved until the Cubs had more of a core in place. Cano won't come here to lose for 2-3 years all things being equal. And the Cubs aren't going to hand the guy a blank check.

    A lot of times it is nice to think "what if" but then reality hits and you stick with the plan. The numbers make sense, but the results don't matter enough right now. A 7 WAR player is great if you are 7 wins away from competing for a championship. But if you are 35 away, you have to shrug and say "someday."

    I'd love to have Cano on the Cubs and you're right, I am more comfortable with his durability. But sadly, the the Cubs are still in the asset building stage of this project. Cano is unfortunately a finishing touch, and if the Cubs don't see it that way, Cano would.

    He'd look good batting 3rd with Almora at the #2 hole and Bryant clean up in 2015 though, wouldn't he? Timing is everything.

  • In reply to Theo Einstein:

    Alcantara will be our really good starting 2B for about a decade, and super-cheap the first few years. He needs '14 to calm down on defense, and to figure out whether to switch-hit or just go with his strong side. Scouts universally rave about his talent and make-up. I'm a huge believer.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    You can't get all 3. We are not a top 5 revenue team. Even if we were, it doesn't really make sense to spend so much money 1 winter esp w Almora coming for CF so why block him? Who knows who on the roster or system may regress or get hurt so it would be a good idea to save some salary to fill in holes next winter.

    I am not attacking your comment Michael, I know you were just throwing that out, but I think signing Cano and Tanaka shouldn't be such a pipe dream like lot people think. They both make a lot of sense. I just think Cano or someone like him will not only give this team some credibility, but it really help Rizzo and Castro take that next step in there progression. Who knows what kind of impact a pro's pro will have on guys like Baez and Bryant when they are ready.

    Manny Ramirez helped Papi become the hitter he is now, and to a lessor degree other hitters in the red sox during that time period. I remember Kevin Millar, Youk, ect all talk about how much they learned from watching Manny prepare before games. Millar still talks about Manny on his mlb network show and Papi is manny's #1 fan. Sure not everything is so black and white but thats why we love baseball.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Move more quickly? Timing is really important, Lou. You always want to sell a player high rather than low. After his awful '13, you'd be selling S Castro very low. I don't like him as a core keeper, but he will have a much, much better '14. Then, next offseason, trade him. Selling high. It's not like we're a contender in '14. And it's not like J Baez is ready to take over the position.

  • cubs den is just a fantastic blog. tks so much, john.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Thank you ratay.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    I double down on this, ratay1!

    I may not write every day, but I read it every day, John.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Thanks T-E-C!

  • fb_avatar

    They need building blocks who are vets not castro he has lito learn please no more dejesus types we need an ellsbury and josh Johnson that's all I wish for

  • fb_avatar

    This post could have been called "Calm yourself, Gordon Wittenmyer."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    And yet Gordon would be the first to praise the Cubs for the minor league rebuilding. I've heard him state it multiple times.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    Great subtitle!

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Alternate subtitle: "Sit on this, Mr. Boras."

  • In reply to Phil James:

    I remedied my constant Gordon puke reflex by not reading him at all anymore.

  • I hope they stay the course and continue with the plan they put in place, besides who is really available you would want? A 31 year old Cano on a 10 year deal, no thanks, a Japenese player with an over worked arm for a 100+ mil., no thanks. Continue to develop big bats in the minors, you can always trade a big bat for several arms in any market.We have the team going in the right direction, I have waited 50 years for this kind of leadership, stay patient, it will pay off.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Why can't we draft a legit #1 starter instead of having to trade for one? I don't want to keep trading young talent away for that. Right now we have a good farm system but not a lot of depth at most positions. Have 1 other 1B that people talk about, 1 other SS, and 2 outfielders. Maybe in 3 years might have more depth at positions. Do a better job of drafting a TOR guy instead of shopping for one and having to unload players to do this.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Nothing wrong with drafting pitching, but if you look at the history of this FO they are not keen on using high draft picks for pitching. I think the smartest for move now would be keep your prospects and trade Shark for young pitching and developing them. Fact is we are not going to be in the hunt for a few more seasons, why not trade for pitching that can develop along with rest of your prospects and keep farm system intact. I was talking about trading bats for pitching farther down the road when wer'e completely stocked in the farm system, instead of free agency.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    The last time we had a real shot to win it we had 3 home grown pitchers. So it can be done. I just don't think Shark is gonna bring a number 1 to the organization.

  • fb_avatar

    Well, that comment got absorbed by the this website never to be found again. So, HERE goes again. I don't think they stated a 4-5 yr plan directly. That bothers the fanbase. I just think they're against loading up on FAs. The problem still remains. Who's the core? If not Shark, Rizzo, or Castro (and I think they should keep at least Rizzo), then they need to get value for these guys. I would be more upset if the Cubs went into next year without doing that, rather than signing big time FAs.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I think all three are still viewed as core pieces, as is Weli, and there's no reason they shouldn't be. They haven't been able to lock Shark up yet and are getting calls on him, but that does not make him not a core player. It just means they need to get things straightened out so that they can keep him a part of that core for more than the next two years. I don't even want to get started on Castro, but a 23 year old two-time all star at a premium position who is locked up on an superior cost valuable rate is in all cases a core player, regardless of one bad season well before his prime.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Even the "core" can and does change from year to year as unexpected things happen. Prior dropped out of the core quick quickly, and Wood didn't take that much longer.

    If Castro has another year as bad as the last, I doubt that he will still be considered a core player. On the other hand, if he has 200 hits and 20 home runs next year, his status will be confirmed quick quickly. and I expect another year by Wood like the last one will elevate him into the "core".

    Kessinger and Beckert were core players on the Cubs for years, without being the best players on the team, or the best players at their positions.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Nice post.

  • This year no to any FA who wants more than 3 yr and he must
    be under 32. Draft picks can't be lost

  • Isn't there a middle ground? I'm not looking for them to splurge on a $200M payroll. But can't we get two or three or four valuable veterans on short term -- one or two or even three year deals -- won't block the prospects.?

    Guys like Shark, who spill their guts on that field, deserve more support. Each MLB season does count. Just spend more on short term deals to be respectable and give shark and starlin and anthony and beef a fighting chance.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Shark must be traded. There is a market for him now and he is
    not worth big bucks and a long term contract

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Totally agree with you. Shark's too inconsistent. Inconsistent performance stems from several mechanical inconsistencies. Several, not one. And he'd've fixed those by now, if he was ever going to. Let another team pay a bunch for him being pretty good, and no more than pretty good.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    There is that, but I tried to address that point. Those kind of mid-level guys tend to help great teams get over the hump. Think about it -- if the Red Sox had signed Maholm, Feldman, and DeJesus and they won the World Series (which is not out of the question) the perception of those signings change. The Cubs are in a different place. They can sign those guys and if they would have kept them, they almost certainly would have won a few more games in 2012 and 2013, but the value of those few extra wins for the Cubs are far less than the value of those wins for a team like the Red Sox. The Cubs may have won 75-77 games and it would have shown short term progress in terms of win, but it says nothing for the long term, which is the ultimate goal. Keeping those guys probably don't help you in 2015, but the guys they got for them probably will.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That Red Sox team that is brilliant and does everything right -- including kicking that bum Theo to the curve -- is about to let go of the guy people are screaming we should break the bank for. Excuse me?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ha! Agreed. It's like anything else, you can look at those things from whatever angle supports your argument, but if you really want to understand, you don't look at it from any angle -- you look at the big picture.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes - totally on target. Fill in with whoever and wait for Almora. Foolish to grab guys now who will do what ... get us
    to mediocre?

  • In reply to tboy:

    Yes. Keep CF clear for Almora. He's the real deal, and a core piece of our future.
    On the negative side, I truly fear J Soler will be a bust. He swings at a ton of bad or pitchers' pitches, and his character is suspect. Wouldn't mind him in a trade package.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Really like Almora. He will be a core piece if he stays healthy. Soler has a even higher ceiling but a lower floor. I say keep him too. At the beginning of the year, John made an argument that Soler was our top prospect. Since then he hurt his leg and he has not been impressive. Given some time to fully heal and get his confidence back I think he will flourish. I hate trading high ceiling guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    All correct. And the Cubs didn't have a core even in the vicinity of Papi-Pedroia-Ellsbury around which to add pieces.

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    In reply to Nondorf:

    Most of those veterans cost you draft picks. Which are essential to a rebuilding process. We've seen how comp picks can speed up a rebuild or make a strong farm stronger.

    Who would the Cardinals rather have right now. A declining, overpaid past his prime Albert Pujols or a young stud like Michael Wacha under control for what 8yrs? They are a competitive team every year yet their best player go because it didn't make sense and now they're better for it. That's all he's saying.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Dear Marcel Jenkins,

    I've seen your posts here and on MLBTR and I would like to compliment you on the intelligent thoughtful comments you bring to the discussion.

    There's been many occasions where I would like to post my thoughts on the Cubs and you say what I'm thinking first.

    Great minds think alike! Keep up the good work!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jughead:

    Thank you. I just enjoy talking Cubs baseball and sharing my opinion with other intelligent cubs fans. Cubs den in particular can further your knowledge tremendously. So many different opinions and thought processes clashing in meaningful discussion. It's a gold mine.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I thought Cubs finish means they can sign FAs without losing draft picks

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Only their first round pick is protected. They can lose their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. for signing draft picks.

  • *shrug* I guess I mostly agree with the conclusion, even if the tone is a bit rah-rah. It's too late now to spend. There was a time when the tailspin the team has been on (and the shrinking attendance, lost revenue and decreasing value to brand and media rights that come with that tailspin) could have been avoided with some judiciously timed spending to bridge the gap between what was then the present and the future. They failed to do that.

    Now there's nothing left to do but hope that in a division full of smart front offices and good farm systems, our smart front office and good farm system can rise to the top. I guess it's better than no hope at all.

    Could it happen sooner than we think, as the article says? Sure, anything's possible. Baseball's a notoriously difficult sport to project, especially when you start talking about multiple years in the future. Every player in the system has a range of possibilities, and if a majority of them come in on the high side of that range, then this team could be awesome as soon as 2014.

    But it's not hard to see a lot of pitfalls. The medium-term and long-term pitching outlook is better than it was a year ago, but it's still pretty iffy. The pile of position prospects is nice, but it's going to have to supplement an MLB team that is worse than it was a year or two ago and is completely devoid of impact talent. And even if it all comes together, you come back to the problem that there's at least two teams in the division with every reason to believe their future is just as bright (Cardinals and Pirates) and a third that I wouldn't rule out being able to keep their run going for a bit longer with shrewd moves (Reds).

    I'm not going to give the front office a lot of credit for recognizing that this team is too bad to be spent on, because (while they certainly didn't inherit an ideal situation) they have had a pretty good hand in making it too bad to be spent on. They talked a good game about "parallel fronts" when they took over but did nothing to follow up on that talk in 2012. They did a slightly better job on that front in 2013, but it didn't go well and they seem to be using that as an excuse to bail out on 2014 as well. Had they followed through on their "parallel fronts" promises from the beginning with skill and determination, then this team might have been ready to be spent on this offseason.

    They had better be able to recreate the Boston player development success here (Castro notwithstanding, there are some positive signs on that front). If not? Well, it's only a lost decade.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    I agree with this.
    I'd add a harsher tone to it though and steer it away from Theo and straight at Ricketts's front gate. We've been subjected to really awful baseball for a long time now. Hundreds of games. That means something, those lost years of watching games with our family and friends. The tanking and the worst-ever seasons are inexcusable for a big market team.

    Overspending and high priced free agents are relative terms. A Mercedes is too expensive for me, it's overpriced. But not for a billionaire. High payroll teams can afford to get some good players while they bide their time restocking the farm for sustained success.

    And I'd point out that the avoidance of higher priced players has not been merely a matter of strategy. Theo spent every penny he was allowed to spend and lamented the budget restrictions. He has not been saving money for later.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    For all the talk about the Cubs being a major market team, no one seems to mention that they play in a minor market ball park, at least as far as revenue streams are concerned.

    Wrigley Field is the best place in baseball to watch a game, but with a low seating capacity, miserable luxury boxes, lack of advertising space and an decaying infrastructure that will require incredibly expensive rebuilding that is mostly prevented by it's "landmark status", it is one of the worst parks in the world to provide the revenue stream necessary to sustain "major market" payrolls.

    They would be better able to spend like a "major market" team if they played in a modern facility in the suburbs that brought in revenue streams from parking, advertising, luxury boxes, major concerts and pay per view television.

    Is that what we want?

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Kyle, you have perfectly summarized my frustrations with this FO. I lov the rebuild and am all for it. But we don't have o completely suck.

    Nicely done, sir.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    It's all nice anecdotal stuff, but the argument that you can be mediocre, draft later, and get better prospects anyway isn't supported by real evidence -- and it's going to be even more difficult with the CBA.

    On the other hand, I don't understand the argument for a few more wins in a season. How does that benefit the rebuild?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    Great post Kyle. Well written. I don't know why from this point on ( since they have been developing the system and dumpster diving the past 2 yrs) they can't A. continue to draft, develop, and sign young talent that will hopefully become core pieces in the future 2. Make some trades 3. Sign a free agent or 2 every winter that could help the current and future of the team.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    You shouldn't've bought anyone's talk of parallel fronts. Baseball execs say stuff that sounds good to the average fan. You have to distill the outright lies, distortions and accepted BS talk from the truth. This was and is a committed, ground-up rebuild. With a planned and deliberate de-emphasis on parent-club results first three years.

  • fb_avatar

    This is one of those articles that should just be stickied on the homepage of the site. It needs to be said and seen many times just to remind the impatient of the goal this FO has in mind.

    I've said all along. There's no point spending money if there's nothing worth spending on just to say you did it. And if there is someone who's worth it, there's only so high you can go until that contract doesn't provide surplus value.

    For example. Tanaka is everything this team wants and I'm sure Theo and Co will pay him what he's worth, which should provide value if he's good. They might even overpay a little to make that happen. But at what point, even though he fits the bill, does overpaying for him hurt the team more than help it? He's good. But is he 125 million good?(the average number being thrown around). What about 150? 160? At some point it becomes "not smart" to pursue him. Doesn't mean the cubs are broke like people want to assume. Just means he wasn't worth it at that price.

    People like to point out players like Puig and Darvish as Cubs failures but the truth is, the Dodgers and Rangers simply got lucky. Dervish has outperformed all expectations but at the time it was considered an overpay. Puig was considered "what the hell were they thinking" bad at the time. Jury still out on him though. So with luck being a factor, the best this FO can do is make the smartest, most efficient moves possible. We're not stable enough to take huge risks just yet like the Rangers are. We will be soon though. A storm is coming.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Marcel, that's a really, really good post!! That's part of why the Tanaka stuff scares me a bit. It's widely thought he's not as good as Darvish, plus the cost has gone through the roof - esp since Darvish and (we think) Puig have done as well as they have.
    And you're right. How much *is* too much!! That, to me, is the big question for this F.O. I guess ya gotta believe these guys are going to make the right play. Just don't know if it will be enough.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    The rhetoric going around about Tanaka is identical to that going around just prior to the Soriano signing. We couldn't afford to pass up a guy that will be a threat to win the triple crown for years to come.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Thanks Marcel.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Lucky w Darvish? Wow, thats a new one. I could see why Jedstein could have been skeptical at first because of what happened w Dice K. You know in football, they say there are things u cannot measure or quantify? Darvish passes the eye test. Although most of those concerns would have been quickly dispelled when he did his due dilligence ( I am sure he did, not many are better then him and his staff as scouting) and watched and scouted his pitching. Darvish unlike Dice K had a very powerful arm to go along w a big projectable frame and the pitch array. As a young Yu he was pitching against grown men, Did you not watch any video on him or see him in the WBC? You must not have because otherwise I don't know how you could use the words lucky and Yu in the same sentence. The sick thing is look how good hes been in a new country, new language./culture, pitching in a hitter park in some nasty heat in Texas. He still may have not hit his peak, wait til someone convinces him not to try and strike 300 guys out every year.

    Puig, Cespedes, and Soler, you may be right, as the jury is still out. Puig may be the real deal, may not be, who knows, but one thing I can tell you is that Yu Darvish will be force in this league for a long time, and would probably be dominating even more in the NL. Who knows.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Rangers were smart to pay up for and sign Yu. Yes. And so what? What's your underlying point here?

  • fb_avatar

    It's. Been. 2. Years. Two years, with worse draft picks than the Astros, and yet we're the ones with 3 guys in the Top 10. We have impact talent dotting the farm system, we added several more nice long term pieces in the International market. We have an easy Top 5 farm system. Every sign is that they are going to be serious about bringing Tanaka to the North Side.

    And, yet, after 2 years the team has lost 200 games and hasn't won a World Series. LET'S TAR AND FEATHER 'EM!!!!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    THIS.

    Almost word for word, this is a rant I've let loose on more than a few occasions. And you didn't even mention the upcoming #4 pick!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Since 2011 (three rankings), 11 different teams have had a top-5 farm system using BA rankings. And it's pretty likely that three new teams will join that list this year (Cubs, Twins, Pirates).

    That's more or less half the league in four years. Having a top-5 farm system isn't some special unicorn that only awesome teams achieve. Everybody does it, because of the cyclical nature of farm systems.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    I will respond to this if you respond to the totality of my point instead if taking one sentence out of context.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I didn't see a total point to respond to. I saw a few generally connected statements of fact.

    But I'll give it a shot.

    "It's. Been. 2. Years."

    Well, that's factual. Can't argue with that.

    "Two years, with worse draft picks than the Astros, and yet we're the ones with 3 guys in the Top 10."

    No, we don't. This is something fans love to do. There's a dozen prospect ranking services out there, and you pick whichever one ranks your prospects the highest and repeat it as gospel. Often rounded up.

    It's possible that I missed it, but I don't believe any ranking system has actually put three Cubs prospects in the top 10. IIRC, one did say that three were in consideration for the top 10, but that doesn't mean all three will make it. And certainly we don't have three consensus top-10 guys, even if there were a single list out there somewhere to rank all three in the top 10.

    We have three top-20 guys, sure. The most impressive of which was inherited, interestingly enough (although that's subjective, I'll grant).

    " We have impact talent dotting the farm system,"

    Yes. Congratulations. That means we win the Farm Rankings Series. The rings for that aren't quite a gaudy as the ones you get for the World Series, though.

    " we added several more nice long term pieces in the International market."

    And when that turns into a positive, I'll be happy about it. But Epstein's history (and the general history) with high-paid IFAs isn't anything to write home about, so we'll see how it goes with the Jimenezs and Torreyess of the world.

    " We have an easy Top 5 farm system."

    Addressed above.

    "Every sign is that they are going to be serious about bringing Tanaka to the North Side."

    Not every sign. They talk a good game about due diligence, and that's fine, but nobody seriously thinks they have the money to do it. Not even them:

    http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-look-long-shot-win-tanaka-sweepstakes
    One club official questioned why the Cubs would sink more than $100 million into one player when the team has so many needs and doubted Tanaka will land in Chicago.

    Sources have also sent signals it’s unlikely the Cubs would have the wherewithal to make a winning bid, especially if the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers go all-in for Tanaka.

    "And, yet, after 2 years the team has lost 200 games and hasn't won a World Series. LET'S TAR AND FEATHER 'EM!!!!!"

    That's not a point, that's just sarcasm trying to deflect the fact that losing 200 games in two years is kinda bad.

  • Thanks John. Really appreciate your leadership and courage on this. Well said!

  • In reply to Indy57:

    Thank you Indy.

  • Well said .

  • In reply to jbblack:

    Thank you.

  • fb_avatar

    Fantastic article. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. A tour de force. The feel good article of the season. Would read again.

  • fb_avatar

    Seriously FA guys: the team that most embodies your plans, the Dodgers, couldn't overcome the team that's a model for what Theo is trying to build, the Cardinals.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Great point

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I still don't see how the Cardinals are a model for what Epstein is doing.

    I'm looking and I'm looking at their franchise history, trying to find those periods where they let the team bottom out to 200 losses in two years in order to build up the farm system, and I'm just not seeing it. At least not in the last few decades.

    The Cardinals prove that Epstein-style rebuilding is unnecessary. Good organizations can draft and develop well and get an elite farm system without needing gimmicky tanks and flips to get there. I wish Epstein had enough confidence in himself to try the same.

    (also, the Dodgers' farm system is pretty good and has produced a pretty good chunk of their team).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    It would really be pleasant if you would read what was written and respond to the argument being made instead of responding to the argument you know you can beat.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    This was written:

    "couldn't overcome the team that's a model for what Theo is trying to build, the Cardinals."

    I don't believe that's accurate, and I was disputing it. The Cardinals are not a model for what Epstein is trying to build. I'm not really sure there is a model for what Epstein is trying to build. It's like if the late-00s Royals had the potential to spend $150m someday in the far future.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    And, yet, THIS is what you said: "I still don't see how the Cardinals are a model for what Epstein is doing."

    Doing is in the present and represents the route someone takes to a goal, which in this case is what they are trying to build. Two very different things. And every argument you made is about what the Cubs are *doing* as opposed to what the Cardinals *have done* and it's different. You just assume that since the route is different the final destination is different.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Kind of a pointless point then.I mean, I guess we can all agree that having an organization overflowing with developed talent and having possibly the best team in baseball is a good thing and something more or less every organization in baseball would consider a "model."

    And that's even putting aside the weirdness of declaring the winner of one seven-game series makes some sort of statement on the relative merits of their team-building philosophies.

    And it's also putting aside that the out of the top 7 Dodgers pitchers and top 7 Dodgers hitters by bWAR, only four were acquired via MLB free agency.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    It's pointless debating with you since you're never wrong and always belittle points made against you. I'm going to walk away. Continue being brilliant. Look forward to watching your impending GM job.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You asked me to address your points.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    No, actually, Kyle, it's your stuff that's consistently pointless. You state things that you believe are dogma, but are not. And then skip to your next point in the same haphazard, putdown fashion. You're the poster version of ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. The attitude, without the content.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    he said the Cardinals were the model.

    The Cubs are the one losing. Are you paying attention?

    Theo did PLENTY of acquiring top talent while fielding a good team during his Boston days. All of the current hype around the Boston system is comprised of guys Theo drafted or signed.

    The Cubs weren't good when he got here. Becoming good isn't magic.
    And the Cubs aren't tanking. The Cubs may be flipping players to acquire talent, but before they're flipped those players help the Cubs win some games. Without Schierholtz, Feldman, Navarro, Gregg, etc, the Cubs would have easily been pushing Houston for the #1 pick.

    I really think Theo is trying to win seasons, he's just not adding future contract albatrosses to do so. Because that isn't what good teams do. That's why the Cards let Pujols leave. It's why the Red Sox could let Ellsbury walk.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    "Theo did PLENTY of acquiring top talent while fielding a good team during his Boston days. All of the current hype around the Boston system is comprised of guys Theo drafted or signed."

    And he did it with good ol' fashioned scouting and development. No flips, no top-5 draft picks. That's what he should have done here.

    "The Cubs weren't good when he got here. Becoming good isn't magic."

    It certainly isn't. It requires adding good baseball players to your baseball team.

    "And the Cubs aren't tanking. The Cubs may be flipping players to acquire talent, but before they're flipped those players help the Cubs win some games. Without Schierholtz, Feldman, Navarro, Gregg, etc, the Cubs would have easily been pushing Houston for the #1 pick."

    They tanked 2012. They sort of tried to pull out of it with a nice offseason pre-2013, but some of the early indications seem to be that we're returning to a 2012-style tanking in 2014.

    "I really think Theo is trying to win seasons, he's just not adding future contract albatrosses to do so. Because that isn't what good teams do. That's why the Cards let Pujols leave. It's why the Red Sox could let Ellsbury walk."

    Albatross is in the eye of the beholder. The Red Sox supposedly had quite a few albatross contracts in recent years, but they've somehow managed to remain a good team (even before the Dodger trade).

  • In reply to Kyle:

    You are completely disregarding the changes in the CBA which has forced teams to get creative. I'm sure it's willful since it isn't breaking news, it's now over two years old, but, its an omission that pretty much negates this entire line of reasoning.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You are right, I am disregarding them, because the impact has been severely overstated.

    Good drafting and developing has always been 95% of the battle. The overslotting of the old CBA and the pool-manipulation of the new CBA is fascinating, but it's barely a blip in the long-term results. Finding and developing a Michael Wacha at No. 19 or a Dustin Pedroia in the 50s (and no, he wasn't an overslot) is what makes organizations great. Not the other 5%.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    The old CBA made good scouting that much more effective. Teams with excellent scouting (not to mention money to spend) were the most effective in the draft.

    The Yankees are actually a great example. They get a lot of attention for their big spending but big spending (relatively speaking) in the draft was just as important to their long-term success.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I'm not super-familiar with the Yankees' 2000s' farm systems. Who were the overslots that made a difference for them?

  • In reply to Kyle:

    The impact is substantial, to say it's a blip tells me there's a fundamental misunderstanding in the process. Before the CBA, players could more easily manipulate the draft and fall into the late first round or supplemental first round. They could make a bonus demand they knew teams couldn't touch.

    What's more, the old CBA allowed big market teams to let mediocre, overpaid players go in exchange for a 1st round or supplemental pick. That gave weathy teams the kind of opportunity they would not have otherwise had to go with their limitless resources. It was an easy system to game and the good teams did it over and over again.

    Teams like Boston gamed the system, stockpiled picks and had the resources to with enough picks to cut their losses to take a gamble on guys like Clay Buchholz, who ordinarily would have gone early in the first round.

    That option is largely gone. There are still ways to game the system. But the opportunities are less and the resources, though they can still be finagled a bit, are finite. Every team is looking for ways to turn long term assets into talent. Whereas before you could sign Feldman for a couple of years, let him go and then receive a pick for it, now you can only get that young talent by trading him or giving him a QO which would vastly overpay him -- and one he probably would not turn down anyway because it would present tremendous value for a guy of his skill set. That is one way teams have tried to game the system. Another is the way KC and the Astros did by overdrafting their top pick to save money for later.

    Guys will still slip but it won't be as easy. There are a lot more good scouts out there than you think out there. Everyone knew the Cards had a steal in Wacha and Wong when it happened. The difference has a lot more to do with resources and the ability to use them freely than scouting.

    There is no question there has been a huge impact and the fact that the Cubs have built a top 5 system in two years without those easy shortcuts speaks volumes as to how creative the front office has been.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    "The impact is substantial, to say it's a blip tells me there's a fundamental misunderstanding in the process. "

    On your end, imo, but that's OK, rational minds can disagree.

    "Before the CBA, players could more easily manipulate the draft and fall into the late first round or supplemental first round. They could make a bonus demand they knew teams couldn't touch.":

    It happened, sure, but it wasn't the baseball-changing process that some seem to think now. The draft is enough of a crapshoot out of the elite picks (who rarely fell very far) that it didn't have a ton of impact.

    "What's more, the old CBA allowed big market teams to let mediocre, overpaid players go in exchange for a 1st round or supplemental pick."

    They can still do that, albeit in a slightly different way.

    "That gave weathy teams the kind of opportunity they would not have otherwise had to go with their limitless resources. It was an easy system to game and the good teams did it over and over again."

    With marginal effect.

    Let's take the Red Sox, for example, since you brought them up.

    From 2002 to 2011, the Red Sox made 13 supplemental first-round picks using the loophole you've described. Precisely one of those players has made it to 10 bWAR in the major leagues. One decent player a decade isn't a game-breaking exploit.

    "There is no question there has been a huge impact and the fact that the Cubs have built a top 5 system in two years without those easy shortcuts speaks volumes as to how creative the front office has been."

    Well, they've certainly used different shortcuts.

    First, they didn't exactly build the system from nothing, despite that being the rhetoric. The system was pretty decent after 2011. On that top-10 Baseball America released this week, four were inherited (and Almora came from a pick they were already going to get to make).

    But I can't deny that they've been creative. They've diverted something like $60m to $70m to commit to international prospect signings. They've traded a dozen major leaguers for prospects.

    Whether that creativity will actually lead to the sort of results we all want at the MLB level is a bit murkier, imo.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    It doesn't matter. What you're acquiring are assets. There is understanding that some will make it and some won't, but if you can acquire them by letting mediocre, unwanted free agents go and spending only money (something big market teams have to spare), then why wouldn't you buy up as many lottery tickets as you can?

    The CBA changes have limited opportunities and resources. They didn't just change them, they flat out eliminated some of those opportunities. It is no coincidence that the supplemental rounds have shrunk considerably. The type system under the old CBA allowed teams to let guys go easily -- guys they wouldn't even dream of even giving half the QO offer in exchange for a first round pick, yet they would get one. There was almost no risk and no significant investment in acquiring those extra picks. It did not just change the way they had to do it, it substantially drove up the price of those lottery tickets.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    "It doesn't matter. What you're acquiring are assets. There is understanding that some will make it and some won't, but if you can acquire them by letting mediocre, unwanted free agents go and spending only money (something big market teams have to spare), then why wouldn't you buy up as many lottery tickets as you can?"

    Sure, but that doesn't mean that it was a defining or even particularly important strategy. Good teams fight for every little edge, but that doesn't mean they are big or that everything changes significantly when they are taken away.

    "The CBA changes have limited opportunities and resources. They didn't just change them, they flat out eliminated some of those opportunities. It is no coincidence that the supplemental rounds have shrunk considerably. The type system under the old CBA allowed teams to let guys go easily -- guys they wouldn't even dream of even giving half the QO offer in exchange for a first round pick, yet they would get one. There was almost no risk and no significant investment in acquiring those extra picks. It did not just change the way they had to do it, it substantially drove up the price of those lottery tickets."

    And at the end of the day, all the gimmicks will amount to little and the teams that draft and develop well will have great farm systems and the teams that don't won't, regardless of how many extra picks or overslots they did or did not accumulate.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Things have changed significantly, but no system is ever perfect there are always ways to exploit loopholes I think it has forced a change in the way they exploit them. I agree there. But the change has come with a higher cost and less return overall. The new system isn't a 100% success, but it has made it more costly and more labor intensive to work around the rules.

    I'm sure if you were to poll the GMs who exploited both the old CBA and this new CBA and asked them which CBA they'd rather have, I will bet the farm that they will want the old CBA back. It was easier, cheaper, and there was more potential for return.

    Now, if you ask me if I'd have the old CBA back, I'm not so sure. If this new CBA is more difficult and takes more resources and creativity to exploit, then that benefits the Cubs and any other big market team with a top front office. They should have a competitive advantage based on their superior financial resources to go with superior creativity.

    Maybe that early competitive edge balances out the more laborious rate of return.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    Yeah, my whole point is that Teo knows how to scout and acquire players. He's more than equipped to do so.

    The Cubs were bad and you think they should've just added "good players" to their roster. Who? Who was available? Who could they have added that would've made sense? Are you SURE they would've been better?
    A lot of people thought BJ Upon or Bourn would've made them better.
    Should they have sacrificed draft picks to acquire players past their primes that had as much chance to be bad (if not moreso) than good?

    And yet they got BETTER by dumping those contracts. Including the best hitting first baseman in baseball over the past several years.

    He's trying to get back to what he was doing in Boston, but it's a unique situation.
    The Red Sox were already really good when he got there. He never had to dig out a team with a horrendous roster.

    And the situation was uniquely complicated by the new CBA.

    Shove your fingers in your ears and cry out "SPNEDSPENDSPEND!" all you want, but it really isn't going to make the team better.

    If anything it will just make it more difficult in the future to sign that player that WOULD make the team better.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    "Yeah, my whole point is that Teo knows how to scout and acquire players. He's more than equipped to do so."

    Well, he's had his share of misses. We'll see how it goes.

    "The Cubs were bad and you think they should've just added "good players" to their roster. Who? Who was available? Who could they have added that would've made sense? Are you SURE they would've been better?"

    I'm not going to go back two years from the beginning of the 2011-12 offseason and lay out dozens of theoretical alternatives. I did at the time, as I've been against this path from the beginning, but it's way too late for that.

    "A lot of people thought BJ Upon or Bourn would've made them better. Should they have sacrificed draft picks to acquire players past their primes that had as much chance to be bad (if not moreso) than good?"

    Sure. 2nd-round draft picks are basically meaningless. Sacrifice all them that you want for major-league players. Then if you want, flip the players later for prospects if that's what's so important to you. Letting second-round picks, which have <10% rate of turning into meaningful MLB players, stop you from making acquisitions is madness.

    "And yet they got BETTER by dumping those contracts. Including the best hitting first baseman in baseball over the past several years."

    And then replacing them with *gasp* other free agents.

    "He's trying to get back to what he was doing in Boston, but it's a unique situation."

    It's really not that unique to be bad at baseball.

    "The Red Sox were already really good when he got there. He never had to dig out a team with a horrendous roster."

    Good thing for Boston fans, because if he had, this is what they would have gotten.

    "And the situation was uniquely complicated by the new CBA."

    Overrated factor. They took away preemptively one of the gimmicks he planned to use, sure, but that's only a problem if you are insistent on tanking and using gimmics.

    "Shove your fingers in your ears and cry out "SPNEDSPENDSPEND!" all you want, but it really isn't going to make the team better."

    I'm not doing that. At this point, there's nothing left to do but stay the course. If we could up the payroll to $160m or so, then spend away, but we can't, so oh well, we suck and will probably suck for awhile.

    "If anything it will just make it more difficult in the future to sign that player that WOULD make the team better."

    So will drawing 2.3m at Wrigley with half no-shows in 2014.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    Nevermind. You're a whiner.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    Also, they didn't tank in 2012. They brought in Travis Wood, Maholm, and Volstad.

    Wood became a fixture, but according to you, the Cubs don't bring in good players and certainly it's foolish to "flip" players (even though every team in the league that doesn't look to contend by the deadline does it)

    Maholm Brought back Vizcaino.

    Volstad busted. It's the nature of bringing in players to help. Some don't work out. But they were wise to not risk too much to do it.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    "Also, they didn't tank in 2012. They brought in Travis Wood, Maholm, and Volstad."

    So they took a team that desperately needed to get better, fast, and they replaced Pena, Ramirez, Marshall, Zambrano and Cashner with Wood, Maholm, Volstad, DeJesus and Rizzo.

    That's tanking. That's failing to address the obvious needs and treading water at best.

    "Wood became a fixture, but according to you, the Cubs don't bring in good players and certainly it's foolish to "flip" players (even though every team in the league that doesn't look to contend by the deadline does it)"

    I don't recall saying the Cubs don't bring in good players. I thought that the Marshall deal was one of the more genius baseball moves I've ever seen (although failing to replace him in the bullpen through free agency was a big mistake).

    "Flipping," as it is usually used, doesn't just mean dumping expiring contracts at the deadline. When Cubs fans use the term of late, they generally mean signing players to short-term deals because of their ability to be traded a few months later for prospects.

    "Maholm Brought back Vizcaino."

    So we paid Maholm $3m or so, took up an MLB rotation spot and at the end we got a back-of-the-top-10 pitching prospect with Angel Guzman-itis?

    I guess we probably came out ahead on that, but not by a lot.

    "Volstad busted. It's the nature of bringing in players to help. Some don't work out. But they were wise to not risk too much to do it."

    I disagree that it was wise.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    You're complaining about losing Pena, Ramirez, Cashner, and Zamrano?

    I get it. You're trolling.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    No, you're just misreading and looking for any label you can find for your cognitive dissonance to make it easier for you to dismiss someone you disagree with. Whiner! Troll!

    I'm not sorry they're gone. I'm sorry they weren't replaced with better players and then had more better players added on top of those other better players.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Speaking of trolling, you never responded to how Kozma is the same offensive player as Hardy.

    Here's there stats...
    .263/25/76 Hardy
    .217/1/35 Kozma

    Care to show some stats to back up your claim? I don't want to just sweep this one under the rug.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    @ d Evans - I did reply to that.

    Hardy is a litle better offensively but that doesn't mean he's good. At all. Kozma is about as bad as it gets.
    I didn't mean they had the same stats. I meant he would provide St Louis with the same problem. Good D but no bat.
    Trading anything of any value for Hardy is laughable. Especially the young studs the Cards have.

    Hardy can barely manage a .300 OBP year after year. The Cards are a loaded team, they don't to waste good prospects on second rate players.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Hardy is much better than Kozma offensively. Not "a little"

    Hardy-.263/25/76
    Kozma-.217/1/35

    While Hardy barely gets to .300 OBP year and year, Kozma doesn't even sniff it. I'd call a .263/25/76 season a good bat for SS.

    Kudos for trying to change this about trading for value when the only thing we're discussing is Kozma compared to Hardy, that's it.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    If you hate so much how the Cubs are running their organization...why don't you go and cheer for some other team.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I don't agree with that at all. You must agree with management decisions or else cheer for someone else?

  • In reply to Kyle:

    The Cardinals have been doing things right for a long, long time. They've never really needed to rebuild for a long time.

    Assuming the Cardinals have some kind of magical development system or superior scouting is exaggerated. Yes, they are good at this but they also capitalize on an imperfect draft where talented players fall. The Cardinals draft as opportunists. They tend to take the best player that falls to them regardless of position. Most considered Wacha a top 10 prospect, but not a top 5 guy.

    Do you think the Cardinals would have selected him over Kyle Zimmer or Kevin Gausman if they were in the top 5? I think the assumption that they knew things other teams didn't is way overplayed. They're opportunists who are willing to spend on a guy in the draft if they fall unexpectedly. The same can be said of the Nationals, Blue Jays, Rays, and a few other teams with that same strategy.

    This year in 2013, they didn't have a player unexpectedly fall to them like Wong or Wacha. Let's see how good their scouting and development is. Gonzalez and Kaminsky were legit mid to late round talents but not top 10 guys. Let's see how it works out.

    There is also selective bias involved. We remember Wacha and Wong as steals, but what about Zach Cox or Seth Blair or James Ramsey or Patrick Wisdom? What about Brett Wallace? All of these guys have been selected in the first round recently and Cox and Wallace have been spectacular busts, the others look mediocre at best right now.

    But they are opportunists and when you take guys that fall like Wacha, you get lucky, but sometimes it's guys like Cox, Wallace, Wisdom, etc. Overall it's a good strategy and if you get a few to hit like the Cards have, people remember. Sometimes guys don't fall at all and that's when your scouting truly gets tested. We've seen the Cards have their share of misses when they didn't have a plum sitting there for them to pick (see 1998-2008 drafts and see if they overperformed). With all due respect to Gonzalez and Kaminsky, who are good prospects, this year they didn't get that easy plum ripe for the picking.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Fine. But there's no reason the Cubs couldn't have been opportunists, too.

    Honestly, given how far back they were drafting, 38.4 bWAR from first-round picks from 1998-2008 (and that's even taking out JD Drew) doesn't seem *that* bad.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    I agree there. They should have been. It used to aggravate me to no end, but the marketing/win-now oriented mandate handed down from the Tribune diverted resources from the draft. The Cubs didn't take these players because they were imposed with an artificial limit on the resources they were able to utilize on individual picks. There were numerous talents the Cubs passed up because they simply had their hands tied.

    The problem now is that the CBA limits those opportunities. It doesn't eliminate them, but we just don't see players slip unless they are special circumstances like Giolito and Manaea. Wacha was a gift from the baseball gods. He fell into the Cards laps. But yeah, I give them credit, because he would have been a gift for the few teams above the Cards, but they passed it up anyway. One team said it was because they didn't want to pay full slot. That idea looks ridiculous now.

    I also didn't mean to say the Cards drafts were bad. Just that they had their share of misses. They weren't particularly special for that entire time frame.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm going to shift gears a bit and go back to the example of Boston. Here's a list of players and their career bWARs:

    David Murphy, 10.9
    Jacoby Ellsbury, 21.0
    Dustin Pedroia, 38.1
    Justin Masterson, 11.0
    Jonathan Papelbon, 19.7
    Jon Lester, 27.6

    Those players represent, more or less, the core of the Boston drafting success that made Theo famous.

    You know what they all have in common? What they aren't.
    None of those players came from supplemental picks.
    None of those players were significant overslots (with the possible exception of Lester, who got $1m when the players around him were getting $700k).

  • In reply to Kyle:

    So what exactly does that prove, that Theo and his front office scouted well? Nobody is saying they don't. But if you think they outwitted everyone and would have selected those guys if they had top 3 picks, then I'd have to say that's naive. They selected the players they thought were the best available for that particular slot. None of those guys were considered surprises at where they were taken, but if Boston could have picked some of the guys above them, they would have. Of that list, Pedroia was the most inspired pick but I see the other guys as basically going around where they were projected.

    Boston scouts well and develops well. This is exactly what the Cubs are trying to do, so I'm not sure I see what's new here. But if you can use that same process but with higher ranked talent, why wouldn't you do that? Why would you purposely move down the list and miss an opportunity to draft guys you prefer most so you could win 76 games and hope that good players drop?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    " But if you can use that same process but with higher ranked talent, why wouldn't you do that? Why would you purposely move down the list and miss an opportunity to draft guys you prefer most so you could win 76 games and hope that good players drop?"

    Our fundamental disagree is going to come down to I believe they could have won a lot more than 76 games the last two years and been in better shape going into next year with a different plan.

    You don't purposefully move down the list. You just don't purposefully move up it at the cost of 3 (or more) MLB seasons.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    I don't think they were that good, but I like the optimism. We can agree to disagree on that one.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I would even disagree that Wong is a steal. He's a solid starter at second, but I don't think an all star -- about what you'd expect from that.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Only about 25% of No. 22 overall picks get to that "solid starter" level. That's more than you'd normally expect from the pick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wacha seems legit for sure and I know he popped up on some top 50 / 25 lists - but I think the sample size is also an issue. The book wasn't built on him and he got hot at the right time. Nobody in the league had really seen him. That really changed once the Sox saw him a second time. They were able to pick up the ball better and I think STL tried to be to 'smart' by having him throw his curve a ton in game 6. It wasn't really an impressive pitch. Time will tell if he can get by with FB/CH with that hook. I doubt STL would have drafted him at #6 instead of Almora.

    What kills me more is that they got that pick for Pujols. No matter what they do, it always seems to work out (considering Albert went to shit right when he left...)

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    That's true. The jury is still out to some degree. He doesn't have that great breaking pitch, which is why he wasn't considered a top 5 guy (of course, he was still better than #19). We'll see if he's able to sustain the success. As we know, things can change quickly.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    The Cardinals have been doing it right for 20 years.

    We did it wrong for the first 18 of those years.

    And in your mind, that seems to be reason enough to "not do it right" now, since in two years, we haven't caught up yet.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    We've had good farm systems before in the last 20 years.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Theo interviewed with Ricketts and essentially said:
    You've got a combination of past-prime, super-expensive vets and a shelled-out farm system. Your particular situation requires a committed, ground-up rebuild.
    Theo doesn't have a particular style. If he had interviewed with a different organization, he'd have recommended a different plan tailored to that org's best interests.
    And Mozeliak didn't need to do a major rebuild with the Cardinals

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    Fun morning. I need to get some work done. thanks for the last two posts and to everyone for their comments.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I've been in four hours of Physics and OChem lecture this morning, and have been directing most of my attention here.. Any grade regression this semester I'm going to go ahead and blame on John Arguello and the rest of you posters.

  • If only someone can go back in time and show this to the FO before they wrote up that contract to Edlose Jackson

  • In reply to Vinny:

    Jackson will make a nice trade chip this July or next. If he gets off to a nice start. His contract really isn't bad. He had a lousy season in which he under performed his peripherals, but overall his contract amount and term are quite reasonable.

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    John-- you hit a grand slam on this one....

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Thanks Bob. Consider my lack of HR power, we'll call it an inside-the-park grand slam :)

  • John,

    More than anything I think the "stop being cheap" response is in reaction to the drawn out length of this rebuild. The club's last winning season was in 2009 and that sure didn't *feel* like a winning season. I don't want to see the Cubs spend stupidly on free agents, but it is high time for the team to show progress at the major league level.

  • It's a natural reaction by many fans (including me) to want the team to spend the money they have. I still recall my Season Ticket Letter from Cubs in Nov 2007 explaining how the Cubs needed to raise ticket prices 15% in order to support the payroll that was going to creep past $140M in 2008. Now with payroll below $100M, I don't see the Cubs arguing for ticket prices being lowered. They still have a Top 3-4 average ticket price in all of baseball. And I know they spent more on Draft and IFA's then they were back then, but it's not been $40M more.

    I don't want the Cubs to spend money on a NAME guy just to get a name guy, but I also don't want the focus on every signing to be on value. If there is an FA out there that fits with Cubs long-term needs, then I would not be at all disappointed if the Cubs decided to spend $XXX more on that player above whatever Carmen (or whatever Theo's new computer program is named) determines he is worth.

    And by the way, I don't think Theo disagrees with anything I just wrote.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Charlieboy:

    OF course, If they don't want to spend money on high priced FA's for various reasons, that there perogative, they can do what they want to do. Then they should pass that savings on to the consumers. Yes, that's not a common business practice, but its the honorable thing to do when your continue to preach patience and rake in profits off hard working people.

  • como dicen en mi país Ole tus santos cojones...

    Saludos

  • In reply to cubstorreon:

    Jaja! Gracias!

  • Ken Rosenthal:
    https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal

    Owner: "Serious reservations" among clubs about posting process. Possible no agreement is reached, which means no Tanaka this off-season.
    --------------------------
    I think someone with the initials J.S trade value just increased.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    I'm going to assume Reinsdorf had something to do with this.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    I think the Cubs benefit from this. We don't need Tanaka for this year. Next year for picking up a TOR guy would be perfect. One less year for him to get injured or to flame out. One less year on the payroll.

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    I really enjoy all of your work, John, but these take-a-step-back-voice-of-reason-type articles are my favorite! And, this one is one of the best! Keep it up, buddy!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Thanks Matt!

  • If the Cubs were winning with a $60M payroll - not many people would complain.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I agree, when that day happens, everyone will be happy. Just don't think we'll ever see it

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    In reply to Charlieboy:

    If that day happens. I am not sure who will be more happy, Us here at cubs den or Tommy Nickels Ricketts.

  • Hey John, I want to echo the sentiments that many have already said. This is outstanding work and written at the perfect time. Building an annual contender is a process and one that few of us would have the patience (much less the other skills) to endure.

    On a COMPLETELY different note, a friend and I were talking yesterday and I raised the question as to whether players prime years are different in regard to defense and offense. My guess would be that players hit their defensive primes earlier and stay in them longer than they do their offensive primes, but that's just a guess. It probably also has a ton to do with position and skill set based on position, and I'm thinking mostly about position players here. What brought this discussion up was a conversation about a guy like Vogelbach. I read that he is working hard on his defense, so I assume his defense is improving, but I would also assume that his body type might not age well and it will decline at a pretty early age, perhaps well before his bat declines. Your thoughts?

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    It's an interesting question and I don't have an objective answer off the top of my head. My feeling is that is especially true in the middle positions. There is a certain amount of athleticism required. It's no coincidence that we see shortstops move to 3B or CF'ers move to LF as they age.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John, I'm sure when Sabermetric guys talk about prime yrs being 27 to 32 that's an overall assessment of when their greatest WAR is toward a team, but I was just wondering if there was anything you new of that broke that down to the offensive and defensive level.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    And thanks!

  • Its not the free agents that they have missed on that irks me, but the international guys. I heard Wittenmeyer say that Cespedes thought he'd be a Cub but they wouldn't give him the contract terms he wanted, they lost him to freaking Oakland over money. They missed on Ryu, they missed on Darvish, likely they're going to lose out on Tanaka. I don't want to spend $150 mil on 31 year old players either, but when there's a chance to get a guy in his prime (like Cespedes, like Darvish, like Ryu), I'd like to see them be a big market club and come up with the cash.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Totally agree Ike! We've been scrooged.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    I was screaming and crying and praying over getting Darvish and Ryu. I knew this was the cheapest and quickest way to get us to level we need to be w/o breaking tommy nickels bank or costing draft picks.

    I never heard that about Cespedes, but that makes me even more sick. 3 yrs 36 million is what he go right?

  • MLB has pulled its proposal from the Japanese IE posting agreement , says the Proposal wasnt acted on fast enough, Tanaka may not be a free agent this offseason . story on ESPN .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    They do realize that it's like 4:00 tomorrow morning in Japan, right? Seems dumb to hold up an international deal over response times.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Good...This posting thing is BS. Japanese players should demand free agency. Then let the free market deal with it.

  • If a 3-way deal between St Louis, Colorado and the Cubs took place involving Tulo, Castro and other pieces/prospects from all 3 teams, what would a likely return complement be for the Cubs? Is there a reasonable scenario where the Cubs could snag both Miller and Martinez?

    All this Giolito talk has me thinking big on the Cubs pitching possibilities two years from now.

  • The Chicago Cubs are owned by a family trust of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts. Theo Epstein is an employee of this family trust, but he's not even on the Board of Directors. The family trust has assembled a team of more than 190 people to help run their business other than Theo Epstein. This family trust and staff have built a training academy in the DR and a lavish spring training facility in AZ among other accomplishments despite declining revenue and a poor economy. They have brought the vision and insight to the business that no other previous family or corporate ownership group has offered.

    Has the family trust been painstakingly deliberate in executing their plans. Of course, and it's frustrating to watch the drawn-out process of renovating the ballpark, or even hiring a manager. And clearly, there has been much more success when they are able to get out ahead of things, whether that's trading Scott Feldman, or having the clause in place to now be able to opt out of their WGN TV contract. We all want them to move faster, because it is in their own best interests.

    Yet anyone who has followed Chicago sports should know that sustained success comes first with ownership, then with drafting and developing franchise players that provide a GM with the foundation they can build around. Kenny Williams won a World Series, but the only homegrown, in-prime player on his roster that had continued success after 2005 was Mark Buerhrle. How has Kenny done since with splashy trades and big FA signings? How have the White Sox done with their owner who has not invested in a strong farm system or the supporting infrastructure that provides the revenue streams needed to be competitive in today's baseball economics?

    We're all frustrated. The Cubs were unwatchable after the Trading Deadline. But thankfully the manager was fired because of his short-sighted, win now decisions that put us through an extra month of Kevin Gregg. Debating the merits of FA acquisitions or trades going forward must be put into this context of the whole as John's article outlines.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    The Yankees and Red Sox account for 8 out of the past 20 titles. They scout and develop but they also spend. The would not tank three seasons to accumulate draft picks.
    Ricketts should apply some of those vast TD Ameritrade resources you mention towards team payroll. That way my Dad and I could have enjoyed watching decent baseball the past few years, all while rebuilding the farm. A wise man once referred to parallel fronts. Too bad he wasn't given to the funds to make that happen.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    The Cubs payroll in 2011 was $125 million, in 2012 it was $107 million and in 2013 it was $88 million. If it was all about payroll, we would still be celebrating all the titles the Trib spending won.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    Big drop in payroll last year and the Cubs improved. That's interesting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The improvement to which you refer was 50% of the worst two year stretch in Cubs history. Both of those years featured a low payroll.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    You can increase payroll, but if you do it without specific purpose and without the long term in mind, you'll get what you'll always get -- overpaid teams that just aren't good enough and leave the team with short windows, no flexibility -- and does nothing to build for sustained success. Honestly, it is a bit shocking to me that people still want to do continue to try the same failed solution over and over again. It is incredible to me that people think building an organization that is built to win for the long haul can be done simply adding to the payroll. The payroll will eventually go up, but the idea that that's how you build a strong organization that sustains success is pure nonsense. Can you name any team that is successful year in and year out that built their organization by spending on MLB free agents?

  • Great writing as always, John!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thank you Ben. I appreciate that.

  • Nice article, John, and there is virtually nothing in there with which I disagree.

    However, I still think the Cubs' tight budget has hampered them.

    The Cubs hit on Soler, and they at least won the rights for Concepcion (thus far money poorly spent). They missed (likely due to a combination of not overvaluing guys and financial restraints) on Darvish, Ryu, Cespedes, and I'm going to throw Anibal Sanchez out there as well. Marcel mentioned that some of those teams got lucky, and that may be true, but it sounded like there were a few guys on this list whom we missed on by just a few million bucks, and to me that says financial restraints. Moreover I'd wager that Theo & Co. would rather "overspend" on a young guy versus an old guy, and yet we didn't see it happen with these cases.

    So while I'm MUCH more on the reasoned, long-term growth strategy, I think there are still at least some financial issues going on to the point where it's slowing down the Cubs' ramp to major league success.

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    Gotta clear the decks and provide opportunities for Vittrrs, Watkins, Hendricks and Lake. What good does it do you to play Bogusevic over Vitters or Murphy over Watkins? The second tier prospects that develop can be moved when they're pushed by the better talent. Have to make our own product now

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    I want to have an academic exercise. What would our 2014 roster look like if Epstein/Hoyer continued to build a roster similarly to the Hendry/Tribune model. Here's what I propose it would look like

    (player...position...2013 WAR...2014 salary...2014 age...2017 age)

    1. Jacoby Ellsbury...CF...5.8 WAR...$20m...30...33
    2. Starlin Castro...SS...-0.1 WAR...$5m...24...27
    3. Josh Hamilton...RF...1.9 WAR...$25m...33...36
    4. Alfonso Soriano...LF...2.9 WAR...$18m...38...41
    5. Prince Fielder...1B...2.2 WAR...$23m...30...33
    6. Aramis Ramirez...3B...1.4 WAR...$16m...36...39
    7. Welington Castillo...C...3.2 WAR...$0.5m...27...30
    8. Darwin Barney...2B...0.4 WAR...$2.1m...28...31

    Zack Greinke...SP...2.9 WAR...$24m...30...33
    Matt Garza...SP...2.2 WAR...$16m...30...33
    Jeff Samardzija...SP...2.8 WAR...$2.8m...29...32
    Ryan Dempster...SP...1.3 WAR...$13.25m...37...40
    Andrew Cashner...SP...2.2 WAR...$0.5m...27...30

    Joe Nathan...CL...2.5 WAR...$7m...39...42
    Sean Marshall...SU...0.3 WAR...$5.5m...31...34

    ...Maybe this theoretical team could sneak into the playoffs ahead of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but it's still probably not as good as Saint Louis. So then we're theoretically one of the wild card teams, and at that point, we have a 50/50 shot of advancing further. And this if for a window of, what, maybe three or four years (2013-2015/2016)?

    Comparing what we're doing now with this hypothetical alternative, I much prefer the actual plan.

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    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    A great analysis. That's a lot of dough for about 30 WAR off the top of my head and of course you still have 10 roster spots open. On initial look you think "nobody could beat this team" but then you go, "oh, wait." The potential for injury is even more scary.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Well done.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    At the end of that 3-4 year window, we'd have a good farm system if the front office is as good at player development as their reputation.

  • JOHN: This is the best writing you've done!!!!! Keep adding to the core. It will make us happy for many years to come. I'm no spring chicken any more, but this is the best way to go. Went to the AFL yesterday, and Almora was the best outfeilder there including Mitchell of our beloved WS(Ha Ha). Almora made a great catch going to right with his back to the infield. Then an inning later went to his right in the gap (hard hit line drive) the ball went off the heal of his glove for a 2 bagger. He was so upset by that he was pounding his glove to the ground the rest of the inning. He will be a true leader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    Thank you Cubs26.

  • If the Solar Sox win today they will play for the AFL championship, on Sat. at 1pm AZ time 2pm Chicago time.

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    In reply to Cubs26:

    And even though the batting average is coming down, Bryant was 1-for-3 with 2 walks and no strikeouts. He seems to be getting a better idea of how professional pitchers are going to approach him. Scary thought for every pitcher in the game.

  • It will be on MLB NW We are winning 7-1 in the fifth inning. Soler is 2/3 Bryant 1/2. Almora 0/2. Looking good for the game on Sat.

  • The "big market" argument makes no sense to me. Who's the biggest market team? The Yankees. And what were they doing in October? Watching the playoffs on TV.. If I remember correctly, 4 of the 10 lowest payroll teams in baseball made the playoffs this year.

    I was following baseball before Curt Flood's case and before there was any form of free agency. In the last 40 years or whatever it is, the rate of success among big money free agents has been mighty small. And if you do sign one of these guys he can hamstring you for years, tying up your payroll (see Soriano, A; Pujols, Albert, etc). The top tier FA market is a quick fix solutions that seldom renders positive results and almost never for the long term. I even remember Ted Turner signing Andy Messersmith and how he was one of the first in a long line of "saviours" in baseball, who never led their team anywhere.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    Agree with you 100%. Good post.

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    In reply to GAHillbilly:

    Very good post. If people stopped and looked at the track record of all these long term big money deals it would scare you silly. I'm shocked teams are still doing it to be honest. It just hardly ever provides food value throughout the life of the contract.

  • Take a look at what the Phillies are doing with the signing of Marlon Byrd to add to the tired talent of Rollins, Utley, Howard, etc and picture that this would be a pre Epstein Cub type move. Keep patching an old team together with no good farm system to add players. This is what the Cubs were. Give it a few more years and you will see this Cub team blossom into a great team. Also watch the Phills, Yanks, Angels to name a few struggle as they can't patch their teams together anymore through free agency.

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    In reply to kevie:

    The Phillies are doing what they have to do. That's an aging team with enough pitching to compete. It's worth rolling the dice. At some point they'll start a serious rebuild and most of these guys will be jettisoned.

  • In reply to kevie:

    I think that's pretty much the scenario we'd like to avoid. They're afraid to tear that thing down. It's going nowhere. Atlanta and Washington are the superior teams in that division. Seems like Byrd isn' going to make a dent when it comes to making up that difference.

  • Great article, insightful and good writing.

    Almora appears to have been injured. Anyone know why?

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Thank you. Minor tweak while he was running to 1B. Stayed in game for one more inning. Appears to be minor.

  • Nice article John. I get frustrated like everyone else, but I know in my heart this team is being run the right way. Excellent talent evaluators in place, acquiring lots of good players. Some will be great, some won't pan out. Strength in numbers.
    The only move I never got was giving Edwin Jackson 52 million.
    Of note, the Mesa team in the Arizona Fall League clinched a spot in the championship game on Saturday with their win today. Another big day for Bryant, a hit, two walks, three runs scored, Soler hitting third with a hit, Almora started in centerfield.
    Championship game is at 2:00 central on Saturday, will be shown on MLB network. I hear Dallas Beeler will probably be the starter for Mesa.

  • Thanks. Jackson's money was largely paid up front, so he'll be making 33M over next 3 years. That's basically 3/4 starter money. I think he'll be that over the next 3 years. Peripherals indicate he was largely the same pitcher and should return to his usual solid numbers.

  • Almora: Heard it was a slight hammy. Maybe from the catch, and almost catch on Wed. We will need him for the championship game on Sat. MLB @ 2 Chicago-time.

  • Beeler pitched on Wed. But only went ~2/2/3 his command was not good walking batters, but had nice vel. I hope he does pitch.

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    Beeler actually went 5 innings of 5-hit, 0-run ball on Monday. He could be available for Saturday.

  • First of all... Good article, John, one of the better ones in a while... I also liked the meat puppets and pixies reference in one of your comments, 2 of my fave bands as well.

    Now, today I've been busy the whole day as I just got to the DR and I'll be more than glad to take a look at Jr Lake and Alcantara in person... But I missed the AFL game today... Why did Almora leave early? An injury?

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks! I'm definitely an 80s music guy, that's when I was a teen, but more of the underground stuff, when it was really alternative and not the manufactured "alternative" we see being marketed today.

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    Always entertaining on this blog. Time for my thoughts.

    To spend or not to spend this is the question?

    Listen. I think this whole thing was decided over 2 years ago. These guys are smart and I'm sure they set goals for 5 years and 10 years down the road. This is not to say they looked at any one individual player and said this is a guy we must have or must stay away. But rather, a guideline to right this ship.

    Every organization has a limited number of resources. The Yankees are the best example here. For the first time in my lifetime we are hearing how they want to get under the luxury tax. Just hearing this from the "Evil Empire" has to make you take notice.

    We have recently heard reports the the sale of the Cubs was based mostly on debt type of financing. And as a result it MAY HAVE hampered things a bit here in the short term. This is not new news, just new information that fans finally heard about. But when Theo was finally aboard his first question had to be, how much? How much money do I have to play with?

    And after hearing the figure the whole organization had to have their own internal debates about how best to attack this problem. The problem of having a bloated payroll with aging veterans past their primes, no farm hands to bring up, a stadium ready to crumble, etc.

    I'm sure any solution they came up with was going to have positives and negatives but they finally reached a consensus. The money was going to be used from the ground up and not the top down. And to their credit, they told us so.

    And they have stuck t their guns. They rid themselves of those contracts. They have built or upgraded facilities to promote a winning culture for the future, they hired the right guys for the right jobs, the have acquired assets from our mess left over from previous ownership, they have drafted well, etc.

    Has it been a perfect ride? Well no, hell no. But you just can't argue that this organization is not better off then it was before Ricketts actually came aboard, let alone Theo and company.

    I would be extremely alarmed now if we did start spending money on a couple of big name free agents. It would be a sign to me that they have given up on the plan to bring these youngsters to Chicago.

    It's a gamble folks. We all know how many youngsters just to make it. But this gamble was taken on the first day Theo stepped into his new office. Stay the course Cubbies! It's the first time.....EVER..... that you have stuck to your guns!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Very well thought out response. I have only been introduce to this site for a couple of months and I see that there are a lot of passionate cubs fans. It is great to see all the different views floating around. Everyone has the same goals and everyone has there ideas on how to reach those goals for the cubs. There are so many elements that have to fall into place.

    I just want to throw this topic out there to discuss. I have been a cub fan my whole life like most of you have. And it is so hard to be a patience and keep waiting for them to be competitive year in and year out. But lately I have been feeling like I don't know if I trust Theo. A lot of people have just given him a free pass cause what he did in Boston. My philosophy is you are only as good as your last game. We haven't been very good and I get frustrated thinking that we have lost around 200 games these last seasons. Yes I know farm system looks better but time will tell on that. Just hearing that Boston said they never denied us a chance to talk to Luvollo? Who is telling the truth? What are the reasons why they can't get deal done with Shark? Why did they want to sign Jackson for that long, when they now want to give 1-2 year deals to average players. I'll always be a Cub fan but I will not put Theo on a pedestal until he proves himself as a cub.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Regardless, Theo deserves a pass for what he did in boston. Thats the reason hes getting paid like hes being paid for what hes done in the past and we must be patient that he can repeat it here.

    Edwin Jackson is deal is a funny one, the deemed anibal sanchez was the pitcher that best fit there plan but for whatever reason ( not enough yrs or money, he didnt want to pitch for this shit team, ect) they didn't get him, but then they pull a "pre-epstein" move and hand out money to an inferior pitcher that didn't rate as high. Yes, I know many like to sugar coat it and say, its not bad, its a front loaded contract, by the end of the contract it will be a deal w inflation, blah blah. The thing they should have done is stick to there plan, bank the money for next yr or and INTL signing. Consistency, that's the question we have for the FO.....while patience and $$ is what they ask from us.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    "Has it been a perfect ride? Well no, hell no. But you just can't argue that this organization is not better off then it was before Ricketts actually came aboard, let alone Theo and company."

    I'm pretty sure I can most definitely argue that.

    When Ricketts took over, we were coming off an 83-win season and two playoff appearances before that. We drew 3.2 million fans to Wrigley Field. The farm system was middle-of-the-pack and on the rise, led by the emergence of Starlin Castro into an elite prospect. The offense was a bit long in the tooth (although not exactly decrepit, the oldest were coming off their age-33 seasons), but there was a bit of decent pitching in the general vicinity of 26-years-old.

    Four years later, we have 375 losses, attendance plummetting, the MLB team reeling, the brand severely damaged (which is hurting media rights negotiations). Sure, we've got a top-3 farm system and some shiny facilities, but I'm not sure that's worth what we've lost in those four years.

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    "We all know how many youngsters just to make it."

    We all know how many youngsters just don't make it.

    Guess I should watch a bit closer for all my mistakes like this one before I click "comment." lol

  • Irwin: I saw Loosen on WED. (MY MISTAKE) Beeler should be available and that will be better. Saw him early in the fall league and he pitched great. Thanks for correcting me!!!!!!!!!!!! That's what makes this BLOG THE BEST TRUE CUB FANS

  • Are we trying to categorize Theo's approach? IMO he changes it to fit the circumstances. But his main objective is to have enough quality minor league players that will eventually move up the ladder. Castro and Rizzo and Shark may have been identified as core players at one time but the Shark seems to no longer be in that category and will probably be traded. By this time next year Castro may be gone and Baez may have enough experience to take over. Rizzo is a question mark. He could do well next year but if he doesn't Theo could shift his focus in terms of core players.

  • John, I like your site, but that is a pretty weak argument. Of course the Cubs could spend or act like a small market team if they wanted. The advantage of having the revenue the Cubs have, is that they can make more mistakes and take more risks on players that other small market teams can't make. The Ricketts have decided that they don't want to take advantage of their market position and instead pocket the profits and look at it more like a business than a sports team. I own my own business so I don't blame them for wanting to keep profits. What I do blame them for is their patent dishonesty about putting the all the profits back into the team and claiming to be cash strapped. Tom Ricketts would have been better off just admitting that they cared more about making money than putting together a winning team.

    Ricketts should also get credit for being ahead of the game in regard to the future increase in revenue too. If you are paying attention, they keep talking about the need to increase revenue by signage, and tv deals etc. Quietly Ricketts split the marketing team from being part of the Cubs and started his own independent firm to provide sales for the new signs. So now when they sell the ads for the new signage at the park, Ricketts can skim 25%+ off the top before any money makes it back to the ball club.

    Like I said I don't blame them for wanting to make as much money as possible, just don't treat people like they are stupid.

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    In reply to Cubz99:

    Skim? What are they mobbed up? I love it. I don't doubt that what you said could happen, but with the debt load they assumed when they bought the team I'm sure every penny is accounted for.

    I'm not making fun of your post. I really do love it. First time I've heard that said!

  • In reply to Cubz99:

    Ricketts said they would put all profits back into the organization. I don't have any data that suggests this is not being done. Do you? If you do please share with the rest of us.

  • In reply to John57:

    I don't have to share it with you. You have a computer and access to the internet. Wittenmeyer pointed this out earlier this year.

  • In reply to Cubz99:

    You won't share it because you don't have any. Wittenmeyer doesn't have access to the Cubs complete financials either. He can make a lot of assumptions and give his opinion but in the end it is just his opinion, not fact. You are using his opinion as fact.

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    In reply to John57:

    Really, in the end, I don't even think it's his opinion a lot of the time...I think it's whatever he thinks makes a headline. It's pretty clear he's had it out for the Ricketts since they arrived, and he never misses a chance to try to stir up a mob!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    He is probably just trying to sell papers. It is his job, can't blame him too much. But that doesn't mean you take everything the media says to be true. Can't believe everything on the internet either. No one is verifying that info.

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    In reply to John57:

    I agree...you can't blame him. I just don't have a whole lot of respect for his approach.

  • In reply to John57:

    I just want the Cubs to have enough dry powder to spend when they really need it. Sure, I'd like them to spend some $ to let fans and other stakeholders know that they are serious - but its not needed right now.

    However, if some of the prospects do their thing and we are on the cusp of being legit in 2016 and David Price or some other Ace is a FA, I'd like them to pony up to get that player that can get them to the top of the mountain. I just hope they have these new revenue streams (signage / jumbotron / TV deal / etc.) in place in enough time to spend on FA and extend our core guys when the time is right.

    Sidenote: If I'm Ricketts, I'm looking to rip up the current CSN deal (the one that goes thru 2019) and extend it for another 20+ years. I'd had for them to wait, and have the market dynamics shift and have them left out in the cold - while a handful of teams (NYY, BOS, LAA, LA, Rangers) can reap huge revenue streams. Come to the table and say, "in 2020 we could sign 25/$3B (or whatever comparables are). But we will to 25/$2.5B right now.." It gives them long-term security and also more cash starting in 2015 (when the WGN deal expires).

  • In reply to Cubz99:

    "Of course the Cubs could spend or act like a small market team if they wanted. The advantage of having the revenue the Cubs have, is that they can make more mistakes and take more risks on players that other small market teams can't make."

    Well said Cubz99

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    In reply to Cubz99:

    Nothing wrong w that. They spent there hard earned money on this team and want to capitalize on every dollar of profit. I own my own business too, and thats exactly what I would have done too.

    Skim, more like double dipping, but either way, its smart and shrewd if its true.

    Our problem or perhaps misfortune as Cubs fans is we don't have an owner like Mark Cuban that treats millions like we all treat dollars. An owner who makes the majority of his money from other revenue streams so they don't have to get as much as they can from the Cubs.

    There is no shame in the Ricketts game.......they have more money then all of us will ever see in our lifetime.

  • John:

    Superlative article on Cubs basic plan and strategy. Far better analysis than anything I've seen in the mass media. Should be required reading for the fringe Cub fans.
    Two questions:
    1. Why is anyone talking about Olt to start at 3rd next year? What happened to him is a shame, but I haven't seen any evidence that he has recovered.
    2. And it seems clear that the FO has done well in scouting,
    selecting and acquiring excellent prospects. But what about development, a long standing problem area. What is Theo et al doing to improve this? New people? New coaches in the minors? How is Theo/Hoyer philosophy and approach being
    "trickled down."
    Again, John, excellent and cogent analysis. (Be sure that Theo adheres to it!)

  • In reply to tboy:

    Thanks. I think Olt is going to be given every chance to win 3B. The Cubs seem to feel that it's only the eye issue holding him back and if he recovers from that, it's conceivable he can pick up where he left off.

    The Cubs have brought in a lot of new development people, instructors, and they make sure they are all on the same page with the coaches at each minor league level. It's a consistent message from top to bottom. They also have a development plan for each individual player. They all have clear goals and every prospect understands what he needs to work on. It's very well organized. For example, things Baez needs to work on likely include his plate approach, discipline, going the opposite way when he's pitched that way, etc. They have all kinds of tools at their disposal, including video and computer generated analysis. It's light years ahead of what the Cubs were doing before.

  • Thanks John for writing a long time coming piece. I hope those "life time Cub fans" host over at 670 the score read this.

  • Preach on brother! Excellent article. The future looks brighter than I can ever remember. Patience people ... our time is coming ...

  • In reply to Dirdy Deedz:

    Agree 100%.

  • In reply to Dirdy Deedz:

    Thanks. I like what Theo said, "it takes courage to be patient". It will pay off and when it does, it's going to be more than just a couple shots at the playoffs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly, that's the whole point. The goal is to be in the race 8 or 9 years out of 10, rather than take a shot at making a run for a year or two and going right back in the toilet.

  • After listening to the comments from Scott Boras, he is clueless about the Cubs plans. You can't buy a team, especially a team of guys over 30 years old like Hendry tried to do, which doesn't work. Add some prime pieces here and there, getting the guys "coming into their primes", not on the decline. Cards signing of Jim Edmunds is a perfect example, our signing of Jim Edmunds is another perfect example.

  • John this is a great article and I found this article, which people who think that spending is what we need to do should read. This shows all the value that this front office brought to the Red Sox and is what they are now doing for the Cubs.
    http://nesn.com/2013/11/theo-epstein-deserves-some-credit-for-red-sox-excellent-position-within-baseballs-hierarchy/

  • In reply to JoeV10:

    Joe,
    Really nice find. Thanks a lot for providing the link to this article. It shows that what Theo did in Boston produced fantastic results. When he said his plan to start those results in Chicago would take 4 to 5 years, I am certainly willing to give him the time he says he needs. Some are less patient and want to deviate from his plan. They think they know better. The farm system he built and nurtured in Boston has produce 3 WS championships in the last 10 years. That is what I want here.

  • great article

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    Great stuff coming from a Boston source. The better thing about it is that it's now happening in Chicago right under the nose of all those that doubt Theo's approach.

  • John, I'll second the numerous posts complimenting you on what is probably the best article & analysis, ever. I too wish more of these fringe fans or whatever you want to call them would be required to read this. All I can do is roll my eyes at some suggestions to sign/trade so and so.... It's counter productive....

    While this FO has not been error-free, they are excellent strategists., We have a clearly defined strategy & plan in place and we are probably only 40% done with the execution phase... We need to remain patient a little bit longer and then we can sign our "Jayson Werth". Right now, we don't even know where we will need that guy to play....

  • Great, well reasoned article. I started out with the question 'why wouldn't they do whatever they need to do to get the player? Then read this and a larger than normal number of comments.

    Now, I sincerely hope that, above all, the Cubs stick to their plan to reach a high level and stay at that level. I'll invest a reasonable amount of time,

  • In reply to TsaoTsuGonzalez:

    Thank you. I appreciate that and I completely agree. They should stick to their plan. They have been successful with a particular process for a long time. There is no way they are going to change it because they think that fans think they should do it differently.

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    John, thank you for this article. At least someone gets it. I literally agree with everything you said. I told friends when Theo started this that the Cubs were going to be bad for 4 years at minimum - and that it was the right thing to do. They had a declining roster and no farm system. You cannot fix that overnight. I read some of the main Chicago paper guys (Rick Telander, for example) and shake my head. No idea what they are talking about. You have to produce young, talented players to win consistently. Cubs can take Rays model and augment it with more players. It's a great idea and the right idea. When the Cubs start winning consistently, I want to see all these media guys struggle to jump back on the bandwagon.

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