Cubs Notes: Wise words from Billy Beane, Potential players of interest, and coaching staff to be finalized soon?

Cubs Notes: Wise words from Billy Beane, Potential players of interest, and coaching staff to be finalized soon?

We took a break from the rumors today and there still isn't much going on, but there are some interesting news and notes to cover from around the web..

Interesting article by Tom Verducci (h/t to our friends @WSDreaming_Cubs ) and a great analogy by Billy Beane with regard to building a roster.  He tells Verducci,

"Baseball teams are very mathematical.  You can have a star player like Mike Trout and completely nullify his performance if you have two players that are really bad.  We don't have really bad players.  All 25 players are very specific players with very specific roles. We're a mutual fund and we're a value fund.  We've got a bunch of equities earning 3 to 9 percent.  We don't have a 20% and we don't have a negative 20 percent."

I wish I would have used this analogy in my own recent article, when I said,

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.

Verducci then goes on to look at those negative 20% players and for 2B, he picks Darwin Barney of the Cubs, saying there's a point where his glove just isn't enough to secure his job.  He does say, however, that the Cubs should give Barney another chance and if he doesn't turn it around, the solution would be a middle infield of Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.

Possible Players of Interest

  • The Royals released former Cubs killer George Kottaras (okay, he's not a Cubs killer, but an .848 career OPS from a career backup catcher is close enough).  He's lefty, he has some good pop, and he's not going to hurt you behind the plate.
  • The Detroit Tigers are making their young CF Austin Jackson available.  Jackson is heading into his age 27 season after hitting .272/.337/.417 with 12 HRs and 8 SBs.  It was a bit of an off year for him but he still managed to be just over a 3 WAR player, which would be better than any current Cubs outfielder by a good margin.  Not sure the cost on this but it's worth looking into.
  • The Cubs were indeed one of the 4 NL Teams in on Josh Johnson but he had a clear preference for the west coast.  Sad to hear they are missing out but glad to see them trying to get in on a potential impact free agent -- even if he's also a value guy.
  • One interesting player that was just made available was LHP Fernando Abad.  Yesterday I noted on twitter (though I originally called him Francisco...sorry Fernando) that Abad could be a nice fit for the Cubs.  He's in his prime, he is more of a power lefty to complement James Russell, and he throws enough strikes to be effective (2.39 walks per 9 IP).  He put up a 3.35 ERA last year (3.26 FIP).

Odds and Ends..

  • Per Bruce Levine, the Cubs should be announcing their coaching staff soon.  Former Cub Mike Brumley is the latest to interview.
  • I don't normally cover the Wrigley renovation saga, so I leave that to Bleacher Nation and Bleed Cubbie Blue.

More updates as the come...


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  • fb_avatar

    Now as you all know 9/10 out of ten i'm an advocate for holding on to your own prospects and developing the core of your team in-house like the good teams do. I usually don't want to see us making 3-for-1 prospect-player deals.

    But Austin jackson....if what it'll take to get him makes sense(meaning none of the big 4 + Edwards) then he's a guy i'd be ok with trading away prospects, at this stage, to acquire. He's 27. Plays a premium position at a high level, and despite still learning the nuances of hitting hits pretty good. He's still got upside. And I believe he's under control for a while.

    THESE are the kind of players I think you trade good prospects for. Not relievers or 32yr olds with a year left on their deal.

    Nonetheless it's not a move he have to make. Outfield is the least of our worries long-term. We need more good young pitching. Vizcaino, Edwards, and Johnson are a good , but risky start. We need that sure thing....

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I'm curious as to whom they would want in return. They are win now, but they also seem to be interesting in shedding salary so they can re-sign Scherzer and Cabrera. Might be a tough match.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    True. They probably would want at least some MLB talent coming back. Schierholtz, a reliever (Parker), and a prospect maybe?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Tigers need a LF or a 3b, depending on where Catellanos ends up. I still think Miggy will end up back at 1b, especially considering he just came off surgery and VMart ends up as the DH, Nate S, Parker and maybe Villanueva for AJax and maybe a minor league starter?

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Jackson probably has 3-4 strong seasons left in him. Definitely a guy I would be interested in assuming he is under team control for those seasons. Wouldn't want to give up too much for him if he has less than 3 years left though. I agree I would be willing to deal Alcantara/Vogelbach level prospects for him.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Austin Jackson is eligible for arbitration this year and next then, barring he signs an extension, he will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Nothing against him, but it is hard to imagine the cubs giving up long term cost controlled prospects for an upgrade in centerfield for two seasons.

  • In reply to Greg Menke:

    Like I said, less than 3 years then I have little interest.

  • In reply to Greg Menke:

    Exactly. If we were contending and a center fielder was a need, he'd be a perfect fit.

    But contending is unlikely and he's only under contract for 2 more years, so no thanks.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Why be concerned about his contract? He will be 27 next year, and already has put up some monster seasons. If you believe in WAR, he already has three seasons (according to Fangraph's calculation methodology) of 3.9, 2.4, 5.2 and 3.1.

    I want the Cubs to get good, young, proven players on their team. At all costs no, but if the price is right, this is exactly the type of guy I'd like to see them target.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    If the Cubs only had to give up 2 of those level prospects for Jackson, the Tigers would be going backwards with that deal, both in the short and long term. That would be a coup for the Cubs.

    I don't see why a 27 year old in 2014 only had 3-4 strong seasons legt in him. He could have 6-7, especially if he ages well, develops enough power to move to a corner or a combo of the two.

    I'm not sure what is fair, but the Tigers would be dumb to not want cheap MLB ready talent coming in return.

    Shark straight up might work. Baez straight up might work. Castro plus Schierholtz and something else useful at the MLB level might work.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Why would a prospect like Baez work straight up but a proven young SS signed for 6 more years like Castro needs other pieces going with him to work? Not sure I follow that one.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I was throwing theoretical scenarios out there, but guess my thought was that a) Castro costs money and that's what's the Tigers are trying to save by moving Jackson and b) Castro just had a really bad year and has declined for two strait years.

    Javy is nice and shiny and all and the Tigers aren't afraid to push guys so perhaps maybe they'd play him immediately to 3B,mive Castellanos be K to the OF.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    None of those things will happen.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Neither will 99%+ of the trade scenarios (including Jackson) and free agent signings is used on this website. So what's your point? You just got it out for me now?

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    That is incorrect on all counts.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ok. I can't win. I'm one of the few lucky select (you actually calling me out says enough in that regard) in the comment section that has brought up theoretical trade scenarios that in your opinion are unlikely.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Hey Monkey Shines - maybe I can help: Austin Jackson is a tier 4 or 5 OF. So I think in suggesting trade scenarios you are overshooting and theoretically overpaying a little.

    Some value (not statistical) comps:
    Torii Hunter
    Leonys Martin
    Shane Victorino
    Coco Crisp
    Desmond Jennings

    I think the Cubs already have an Austin Jackson-type in their system and all things being equal and if he reaches projection that would be Albert Almora. So it's not like the Cubs REALLY need Jackson but I agree he would be a nice piece, especially if he develops enough power to move to corner. I personally think that will not happen though. By age 27 the power tool should be fully developed and any strong spikes after will raise doping suspicions.

    Granted if you keep him three years you could give him a QO, hope he rejects it and get a comp pick. But by then the QO value will exceed $15M - and if Jackson stays the same statistically he would be foolish NOT to take that, so he would be an overpaid player without a position (assuming Almora is up and hasn't been traded of course) on a one year deal.

    Now every 1.0 WAR is close to $6M (approx 5.7) so in that regard he would be worth that QO money, but that doesn't include position scarcity, the pool of available players when he enters the free market and the fact that at age 30/31 he would normally start to see a 0.5 WAR regression per year going forward.

    When you add all that up it could be a risk to trade for him. But if the Cubs really wanted him, and I would think DET would trade him to open a spot to sign Ellsbury, it might cost less than you think. My guess is the Cubs could offer a player like Arrietta and a mid-level prospect, or maybe a guy like Blake Parker who might be able to close in Detroit.

    But the Cubs need pitching, can't trade from a weakness, and they don't have any offense Detroit would want or that the Cubs might make available except Wellington Castillo. The Cubs would want an overpay in prospects rather than Austin Jackson to move Castillo.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I didn't mean to call you out specifically. Just that what you stated was so polar opposite of what I believe the FO is trying to do, which is very similar (but not exactly) what I would do, not that I'm qualified to be a GMm of course :)

    You're right, people throw out opinions all the time and they vary a great deal. A lot of us, including me, are going to be wrong. What I didn't like is the implication that just because many of us like what the FO is doing it means we aren't thinking for ourselves, that we follow them like puppy dogs, as you put it. I've given this stuff a lot of thought and I learn a lot from people who know a lot more about baseball than I do. I like what they're trying to do based on what I've learned and how I understand the process of building a team. My brain is wired to think globally and in terms of process. I see in big pictures, so when they say these things, it makes perfect sense to me. It's right in my sweet spot as far as how I happen to think naturally. It has nothing to do with following them blindly. As a writer, I feel it's my responsibility to convey that understanding in a way that may interest readers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thats good to hear.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Jackson is currently 2nd yr arbitration eligible. He can be a free agent after the 2015 season. Unless you knew ahead of time that he would agree to an extension, I don't think there is any point in trading prospects for him.

  • Austin Jackson might indeed be an interesting player to take a run at - depending on Detroit's asking price. Better than average defense, some speed, some hings of power,... but strikes out a bit more than one might like,....

    But he's likely an upgrade over what we have slated for CF now - no knock intended against Sweeney or Lake.

  • Jackson is intriguing.

    Surprised they haven't struck a deal with Baker yet. Are they sitting on this one you think?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    If Baker is returning, I wouldn't be shocked if it wouldn't be a handshake agreement to hold off on it until later in the offseason to preserve the roster space in case a trade or FA opportunity presents itself.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    That's interesting, I sure hope that is the case.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    That's kind of what I was hoping for. Just curious what the census was amongst those in the know....

  • fb_avatar

    Also the quote from Beane was amazing. You could apply that to many facets of life.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:


  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The most important thing I ever learned from the best business people, is make your losses quick ones, don't let them linger. Seems like some teams don't figure this out.

  • That is an excellent point.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The 2013 Blackhawks are a perfect example of that quote. Yes, they have a few stars, but not a single roster spot was wasted. Not on the fourth line. Not even the backup goalie. The offense was stellar, but defense and an insane PK was what kept them in every single seemingly lost game.

  • re: KC, I'm thinking they signed Vargas in preference to Chen, and are still in the market for a replacement for Santana. If true, they are a still a viable trade market for Shark.

    If Vargas is worth 4/32, why isn't Edwin Jackson--a better, albeit inconsistent pitcher--not worth his 3/33? If the Cubs ate 9MM to admit their mistake here, at 3/24 I've got to believe Jackson is movable.

    Is it true that Josh Hamilton is a DH-only guy at this point, or can he still play a passable OF? For all this talk of buying low on former all-stars like the Dodger outfielders, you couldn't buy any lower right now than on Hamilton, right? They take Jackson off our hands and we call it a day?

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Hamilton could probably fake LF for a couple of years, but the bigger concern with him is the loss of bat speed. His drug abused body is probably not going to hold up well into his 30s either. No thanks.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    If they do that they'll have paid $28 mil. for one subpar season of Jackson. Wow. That's one thing not mentioned in all the Fielder/Kinsler stuff: The Tigers paid $75 million for 2 seasons of Prince. Ouch.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TheMightyGin:

    no tears for detroit, nobody put a gun to their heads when they signed him. hopefully Prince and Pujols will become the poster children for how NOT to play the free agent market.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SKMD:

    They already have. Add Hamilton to that list.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Let's not lose sight of the fact that the Tigers had two really good shots at it with Prince hitting fourth. So far, the Fielder signing by Detroit is looking a lot better than Albert's deal. I think Prince is good for three more good seasons in Texas.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Yep,... remain ever so glad the Cubs didn't make serious plays for those two guys.

  • I think that is the one thing people don't appreciate about having a strong farm system, you don't have to bring in guys like Brent Lillibridge to fill any role.

    And please tell me the Cubs are not going to start paying a -20% like Barney 7 figures. In fact I think that should be his new nickname, -20. Please just non tender him. I've been saying it the last two years, Barney could be on the team in his pre arb years, but he has now outlived his usefulness. Move on.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I'm not sure why Barney is a problem. Sure I'd like to see more offensive production from 2B, but Barney gives the Cubs gold glove defense up the middle and he made a whopping $562K this year and $500K the year before. His salary isn't going to increase much. He is a positive influence on Castro, and has experienced winning at every level. He'd make a great utility infielder when Baez or another younger player earns the full time gig at 2B.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WSorBust:

    Barney is arbitration eligible and MLBTR estimates his 2014 salary at $2.2mm. That's a lot of money for a presumed placeholder with a 2013 WAR of just 0.4 That means even with his glove, Barney would give about half a win above a replacement level player like Watkins, who could man the position until the cavalry arrives for about $1.7mm less.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    barney's line in 2012 .254/.299/.354 - not great, but 50 points better in each category than 2013. He had a fangraphs WAR of 4.8 in 2012.
    He's never going to be an offensive monster, but isn't it reasonable to consider that he may have been a victim of the Deer/Rowson batting school just a Castro and Rizzo may have been, and he might bounce back neck year to tolerable numbers? Darwin Barney is not the reason they only won 66 games last year.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    "Darwin Barney is not the reason they only won 66 games last year"

    True, but Barney still only deserves a shot in 2014 if he accepts a paycut. Valbuena & Murphy are better cost controlled options for secondbase (Olt at 3B).

    If Barney can earn his job back in the Spring on a minor league deal, good for him.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Barney belongs in the majors. But as a utility man. The problem is, because our roster was so bad, the last couple of years we had to start a utility man. Now, going into his arb years he is due to be paid as a starter, which is not the role he should be playing. We have another right handed utility guy that can provide similar value, only we have him under contract for 1.5M less.

    Non-tender Barney and use the 1.5M to improve your roster somewhere else. If Barney is willing to resign for 750K or less after we non-tender him, then by all means he can return and we can DFA Murphy. We don't need to spend two 40 man spots on utility guys with no upside. And we certainly don't need to invest 2.2M in the position.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    That analysis only works if you project 2014 Barney to produce exactly what 2013 Barney did.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mjvz:

    I absolutely can't stand Barney but there's no purpose in a non tender.

    He's beyond awful but he *did* have a really low BABIP. If he has a luckier year and can get his OBP north if .300, he may have just enough value to package in a trade.

    But even if he gets 2M in arbitration, so what? Its not a significant sum in the sense that it would prevent us from signing other players.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    "even if he gets 2M in arbitration, so what?"

    That'll set Barney up to be overpaid in his second year of arbitration.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    When you pop up to short LF or weakly ground out to 2B in most of your ABs of course you'd have a low BABIP...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Oh I'm definitely in agreement that a good Parr of his babip is his own incompetence. I'm hoping for a LOT of luck.

  • Excellent analogy by Beane.

    As for Barney, I think his value is harder to peg. Our pitching staff looked really good this year and he was a large part of that.

    It's one of those things where, if we put a slugger at 2nd, or even someone above average on defense, we are going to miss Darwin Barney incredibly unless we go out and get Brandon Phillips or get some young riser.

    The offensive difference of a new player I think would have to be considerable. Barney will give you good at bats as well, and this must be considered.

    Unless someone blows us away with an offer for a great 2nd baseman, I think you have to keep Darwin.

    I think he needs a change in batting stance primarily as his stance (or swing pattern, not sure), seems to lead to a lot of balls hit at SS and 2B without looking at the hard numbers.

    He seems to get the bat on the ball, which is good, but I think it's a game of minor adjustments with him. He is the best glove out there, so we shouldn't be so quick to give up on him in my opinion.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    I am not denying that Barney is a very good and dependable defensive player, but I also think he is aided by the Cubs use of shifts.

    And most starting 2nd basemen in baseball would provide a significant upgrade offensively.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    The other thing that Barney hasn't historically done well is he doesn't draw much in the way of walks.

    So you got a guy who's probably never going to hit much over 0.240-0.250 consistently,.... with little to know power,.... who also doesn't get on base much via drawing walks.

    Does limit his upside,.... but if he could figure out how to raise the BB rate some - there's often room for a solid glove man who can hit 0.240-0.250 and draw enough walks to get the old OBP over 0.330. Ozzie Smith had a very good career hitting a lifetime ~0.260 with OBP ~0.330.

    Not saying Barney is equal to Ozzie,.... just that he isn't necessarily a complete waste of a roster spot.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Barney's offense is only going to get worst. As soon as the league realized he had no bat speed they just unleashed their pitchers with him at bat. That's why he never drew walks. He fouls off lots of pitches, but they never pitched out of the zone to him. He can't get around on heat so everything dribbles up the middle for an easy double play. I don't see any batting coach being able to correct that.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Larry Bowa-esq choke-up swing maybe? But even that's not really a solution - Bowa in his prime also had enough speed to regularly beat out infield hits.

  • If Billy Beane's payroll approached what a large market team like the Cubs hopefully will be, he'd rightly expect those 3-9% returns to rise concomitantly. That's the advantage we'll have with our FO having the largest market in the division... if the owners haven't been selling us a bill of goods. I'm 65/35 they haven't, but I'll definitely breathe a sigh of relief when the timing's right and they start spending.

  • John, you got your goal from Big Hoss a couple of minutes ago.

    Definitely, look into Austin Jackson. Pick up Abad if the FO likes him instead of a Rule 5 guy. I don't want to see Renteria juggling a bullpen role with a guy who might not be ready.

    With the fourth pick in Rule 5, can the Cubs pick for another team and get a young lottery ticket?

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Nice pass from Toews on that one too :)

    Yes, they can trade the pick, but it's usually not worth a whole lot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Probably better to just take a pick and at least see him through Spring Training.

    They just showed the replay of Hossa's steal and pass. Can't wait to see the FO taking a Saad-level talent late in a future first round.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    I think so. Might as well pick a talented guy and take a look.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Me too on Saad...but they also got Kane and Toews with the 1st and 3rd pick...and they don't win without those guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope we are seeing history repeating itself and the business side can capitalize in the same way.

  • As long as we get someone for the pick

  • This is very, very long. For that I apologize.

    If Bean's roster construction strategy is indeed the optimal roster construction strategy, then no major free agent contract should ever be offered. Why? Because virtually every major free agent contract ends up as a -20% by the end of its tenure (and sometimes in the middle of the contract as well), and this situation is to be avoided at all costs under his strategy. Perhaps the player isn't -20% in actual output, but if you take output in terms of salary commitment, it has a similar effect. If this idea is true and adopted by all teams, then the landscape of free agency should undergo an extreme transition sometime soon. Now, part of what I'm saying is hyperbole but I also think part of what he says is also hyperbole.

    Now, in spite of our disagreement the other night, I neither think the Cubs should sign everyone, nor sign no one. Where my issue lies is with the rebuild expectations. I think a 5+ year timeline for what some people would likely consider the best collection of front office talent in the history of baseball (at least that is how a lot of fans act--hence my beyond reproach comment) a very, very generous timeline, regardless of whether they have the full arsenal of resources from ownership at their disposal or not. The best make optimal use of whatever resources at hand (McGyver shit)

    You said you wanted me to draw up a plan. What I want to see is more creativity and smart risk taking. Tanking (whether overtly or covertly) to get high draft picks and signing and flipping players are standard formation tactics. Sometimes guys like Castro have to get moved to fill other holes (isn't this the whole deal from strength to address weakness thing). Sometimes a roll of the dice or three on a middle (Edwin Jackson) or even lower upper tier free agent or int'l free agent need to be made, even it if means spending a few more million than what you think the market should bear for that player. You don't have to create value or "win" every deal. This isn't a f*cking wrestling match with your little brother. Other times, you have to push a few guys through the minor leagues, whether they're clearly ready or not. This may test your preferred systematic/fundamental approach, but that's the cost of doing business.

    Overall, this rebuild has been about as plodding, calculated, boring and systematic as it gets. Will that create the most optimal outcome by 2017, maybe, but it might not either. If a few of the lynchpin minor league guys that seasons were tanked for don't pan out at expected, then what? What are the odds each way? I'm not saying frivolously spend, but trying to actually overtly compete by 2014 isn't too much to ask, especially when the front office has deemed every year as sacred. Also, good GMs still find good players outside of the top 5 of the draft. I understand it gives the rebuild through the draft part of the equation the best chance to succeed, but it also comes at a huge cost. Embarrassing seasons. Lost fans via alienation. Lost revenue. Mistrust in ownership. Mutinous player attitudes (this can be sticky). These are not negatives that should be casually cast aside.

    And for those that say name free agents the Cubs should have signed the past few years. That's an exercise in futility. If I say guys that failed (B.J. Upton), I will get a told you so, he is awful type of response. If I mentioned players that have succeeded (Ryu, Victorino), I will get having people pointing the hindsight bias argument thrown at me. There is no winning in that game.

    Finally, a big part of what I was trying to get at the other night was to test people's elasticity of patience. At first people nodded their heads with 2014, then 2015, and now perhaps 2016. At what point will the truest "Plan" believers finally draw the line in the sand and say enough is enough? I have a feeling some people are just so blindly optimistic and trusting (and puppy-doggish) with this front office that they'll literally keep nodding their head until the front office itself calls it quits.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    What is it you want to win in this "game" you speak of? Did you honestly think this FO was there to win in 2014 or 2015, lest it be a bust? Theo has spoken quite clearly about spending when the time comes to spend. Now is not that time. And...this "pie in the sky" attitude you describe is nonsense. Is it actually "pie in the sky" to not be satisfied with 80 win seasons? To me, it's just the opposite. I'm not going to pay $100 for tickets to see a Choo or Ellsbury play, but I WILL spend the money to see young, homegrown studs playing exciting baseball as a team. So if I have a "demand" of this FO, it's to do just that, and that's anything but "puppy dog".

    So what would it take for you to be satisfied with what this FO is doing? We do see a reformation in up and coming talent, something we haven't seen in a long, long time, which is exactly what it takes to get us over the hump. Theo/Jed will fill the gaps (and there will be gaps), unless you think they're lying to us, by spending when these kids start filling the big league roster. I don't know what else you think would work better, honestly.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Good Post.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Outstanding. A +20 percenter!

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    This is long, but it doesn't say a whole lot and it's nothing new. I can turn on talk radio and hear a similar version of this rant at any given time from any frustrated armchair GM that doesn't understand the process of building a team. . This outlines exactly what many of wouldn't want.

    There is no semblance of a plan here. Just spend money on free agents who you think will be good. That plan has been tried over and over again and never with any long term success,

    I've been a Cubs fan for a long time and I'm willing to wait to see this thing get done right for a change. No band-aids, no quick fixes, no spending money and hoping it's the right guy this time.

    Give me what this FO is doing over this vague, unproven, frustration fueled plan of yours..

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, for a while I thought it was impossible to know what you wanted out of someone not on your side, but now I know that it's simply impossible to give you want you want. Your faith in this front offices plan is so strong that any deviating opinion is mute. Why try.

    Under your rules, how is one supposed to craft a plan better than the flawless one already in play? I don't have an army of analysts and coworkers and state of the art systems to help. I'm not tapped into scouts and other GM's. I don't watch and read about baseball all day long. Most importantly I'm not paid the collective 10s of millions of dollars that they are in order to do so. If having these types of resources at my disposal are what's required to form an opinion you can actually respect, then this conversation, including all conversations, on this topic with you is completely pointless.

    You said the other day that you haven't heard one argument/plan detailed better than what the front office is currently doing. That says it all. There's just nothing that will satiate you regarding this specific topic.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Armchair GM is such a poor shot. You run a sports blog where you give opinions all the time, therfore in essence making you a constant armchair GM. I really expect more out of you.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I'm writing this blog by trying to understand the process of this FO and the way they look at long term value. That's why we figured they would sign Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, that's why we predicted they'd protect Dallas Beeler, etc. etc. And this is even discounting sourced information, which is why we had a good understanding of what the Cubs would get back for Matt Garza in a trade.

    They aren't random guess and rolling of the dices on players who have name recognition and a history of success. These are calculated based on future expected performance. We aren't always right, but we have an idea of what they're trying to do because we understand the process at least to some degree.

    It's the way it's always been and what sets this blog apart.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Again, if you don't think understand the meaning of expected future return, creating value, processes, etc. and you think I think the Cubs front office is simply pissing into the wind, then this is again a futile exercise. Armchair GM is just such a generic shot. Every time someone offers up an opinion regarding a trade scenario, 40 man roster decisions, free agent signings, minor league promotions, coach/staff hires, draft decisions, etc, that is playing armchair GM. It's opinions of the writers and posters that make blogs possible and fun.

    And asking me to come up with a detailed 40 point plan for why I don't agree with every facet of the plan is again a crap exercise. Is this expected for everything people disagree with Cubs related, or are you just sick of hearing about it in regards to the plan, so this is your defense mechanism against it? Basically, you're saying prove it. If that is the case, again, this is an exercise in futility. It would be impossible to prove something is better than a plan that no one can prove at this point in time is the optimal plan.

    The Plan as it currently stands is still in its experimental phase. It's not complete. I get that. Doesn't mean it can't be questioned, or tinkered with, and certainly doesn't mean that its' flawless or people can't hold opinions that aren't perfectly aligned with it.

    Not once during this whole conversation have I bashed the Cubs front office or ownership or said the plan sucks. If you look back and carefully read what I have opined against the plan, more or less its the extreme leniency in the time allotted to get it done.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Epstein clearly stated his plan would take 4 to 5 years, not 5+. And since the Cubs never had a plan to simultaneously improve a bad farm system and a major league team that had many old high priced veterans who were in decline, I am willing to give them the 4 to 5 years. Epstein never gave out 2014 or 2015 as the year the major league team would compete for the playoffs. Did you hear him state that? I get it you want to compete right now, and who doesn't, but Epstein is going to do what he feels will work for his stated objectives.

    I think it is rather insulting that you call some people "just so blindly optimistic and trusting (and puppy-doggish)". Theo's plan and strategy seem to be quite logical and methodical. I like it.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Well put. I keep coming back to all these lost seasons as the thing I dislike the most. We don't live to be 300 years old, thus making a 5+ year stretch of worst-ever Cubs baseball irrelevant. That's where the spending "just to spend" comes into play. It's sugar to help the medicine go down. More sugar please.

  • Cubs should absolutely make a run at Austin Jackson, unless it costs us a top 6-7 spects .

  • I would definitely be interested in Jackson. Young, great speed, great glove, and right handed outfielder (which they need right now). Slot him into the #1 slot and this offense is significantly better. Not sure what it would take to get him though. Maybe a package can start with Junior Lake

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    In reply to NathanE:

    Jackson, with all that speed, stole just 8 bases in 12 attempts last season. He also doesn't have particularly good power (just 42 career HR in over 2300 AB) and he's more of a liability on the bases than an asset, as he's been successful in just 69 of 93 SB attempts and his totals have gone down every year he's been in the league. Jackson K's a ton too, with a career high 181 in 2011. The two things he does well is play D and get on base, but I don't think his career .759 OPS is worth a top prospect, or junior lake.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I would trade 3-4 Jr Lakes for Jackson.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I envision the outfield within 2 years to be Bryant, Almora and Soler. I think Bryant is up the end of 2014 and Almora, Soler up the end of 2015. Where is Jackson going to go? I would not trade 3-4 Jr. Lakes for Jackson. He does not fill a glaring long term hole.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:


  • The funny thing is that if Barney were on any other team, the Suits would be chasing him. Great glove, coming off a bad year, low risk.
    He's their kind of guy.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Interesting perspective

  • Since Tom Verducci came out with his asinine "Bonus AB" idea, I've added him to the list of people I pay absolutely no attention to.

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