Creating the timeless in the age of pop: The Epstein Symphony

Creating the timeless in the age of pop: The Epstein Symphony

When I was in school a long, long time ago, I went on a field trip to the CSO.  Like all the other kids, I was moaning and groaning about having to listen to "old people's music"  I remember getting into my seat and consoling myself that at least this is better than sitting in language arts.

And then the music started.  It was Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

I had never heard anything quite like it.  It was such a complete work of music from beginning to end. I quickly became enraptured and soon forgot the people around me.  There was only music.  There was the initial power and excitement of the allegro to get things started.  Soon after the patterns and recurring themes that define the rest of the symphony begin to emerge and become clear.  The pace quickens, then slows and by the time the climactic 4th and final movement came around the hair on my arms were standing on end.  And, of course, it all ends with the triumphant choral, "Ode to Joy".

An hour had gone by and I hadn't even felt it.  The payoff was worth it.  No other musical experience has had such a long term impact on me.   By comparison, I couldn't even tell you what the #1 song on the pop charts was that day.

It occurred to me today that building a strong organization is very much like a symphony.  It takes time.  There are times when excitement builds and times when things slow down.  But the payoff is long term and well worth it.  In an age when pop songs are created in an instant and crafted to sell from day one  -- only to become stale, forgotten and replaced almost as quickly -- the symphony seems forbidding in terms of both length and complexity.  Has the immediacy of pop culture replaced the timeless art of the symphony?

Not for me.  And thankfully, the Cubs new front office believes in building an organization that stands the test of time -- a plan for sustainable success.  So if you will indulge me in a rather unique and nerdy analogy, I present to you The Epstein Symphony, played to the music of Beethoven's 9th, of course...

Allegro Ma Non Troppo

Epstein is introduced and there is excitement in the air.  He presents his plan assertively and with great clarity.  But not so fast -- this is going to be neither quick nor easy. If you are listening closely, everything you need to understand the next 3 movements of the rebuilding process is here.

Molto Vivace

The Cubs come out aggressively and add young talent at a frenetic pace.  Epstein and his crew quickly build one of the top two farm systems in the game and fans are very excited about what is to come in the future.  Anticipation swells to new levels.

Adagio Molto e Cantabile

This is the sad song of the 2013/2014 offseason.  All the excitement of the first two movements gives way to somber notes.  What happened?  Where did the energy and excitement go?  No major additions and the rooftops are suing. This isn't what we were expecting as we head into the 3rd year.  Things are slowing down just when it seemed like this organization was on the rise.

Presto! Allegro Energico

We are once again reminded of earlier themes -- the promise and excitement we had when Epstein was first introduced.  Things slowly start to come together.  It becomes apparent at first in glimpses, a hint of what's to come, but the pace picks up, and suddenly the team is winning and Wrigley is alive and bursting with energy and anticipation.

Ode to Joy

A World Series ring.  What else?    The cathartic culmination of a long and challenging process.  No one can contain themselves any longer.  People are singing in the streets with unbridled happiness.

 

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  • this team is going to be painful to watch...maybe more painful than last year...another 100 loss season and the No 1 pick maybe.

    you're far more optimistic than me....no pressure on Bryant or Baez either if they come up this year after Shark/Schierholtz are traded!!

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    I think this season is going to be a tough one, but not as tough as some think. I think the Cubs will surprise some people -- not in some miraculous way, but enough to rekindle hope.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hope will be rekindled by the fire in Javier Baez's eyes.

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    I think I have to disagree with you on this one ChiTownD.

    This is a team that is going to look absolutely fantastic some days - especially defensively. They are NOT going to be a team that regularly beats themselves.

    Assuming that Theo & Hoyer can cobble together a couple of #4 and #5 pitchers to plug into the starting rotation that are worthy of the name (IMO - it'll get done) the pitching should be solid,.... and I especially have a good feeling about the bullpen - something I could definately NOT say this time last season.

    It's going to be a slog on offense UNLESS some very interesting things happen all at the same time for severa key hitters.

    70-75 win team IMO,... but one that has a heck of a lot of youngsters getting playing time by end of season.

    It'll be fun most days - even if they lose more than they win.

  • Cubs:Classical Music :: Crane Kenney:Pagliacci

  • In reply to Eddie:

    LOL!

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Crane Kenney: Barney Fife during choir practice.

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    I love the 9th. My favorite piece of it is in the beginning of the 4th movement when he's introducing his main theme. It starts on the cellos. Beethoven had gone far darker with similar pieces of music (in fact, he does in the second movement). But then the theme is picked up by the violins, and the finally the wind instruments. It's so fragile. Like it's about to break. And then the entire symphony picks it up and leads into the vocal part of the piece. I think I have to listen to that tonight.

    You might want to check out the movie "Immortal Beloved." I suspect that the history of the woman is completely wrong, but the linking of Beethoven's music to his life is incredible.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Great stuff. Thanks Mike.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh, and I haven't seen Immortal Beloved. I meant to twice and somehow it has slipped through the cracks all these years. Thanks for the reminder.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Immortal Beloved is not a great movie - and really historically inaccurate (Amadeus, though, was inaccurate, but a very good movie). The best part, really, is the depiction of Beethoven's deafness and its accompanying heartbreak. Interesting comparison of the rebuilding process with Beethoven 9, but, in the beginning of the 4th movement, the cellos and basses reject each of the previous themes. Does that mean we trade our farm system for free agents that will win right away??!?

    Of course not, and I don't me to imply that that's what you meant. No snark intended here - it's just those two degrees in music kicking in here. Cool idea for an article.

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    Thing is Theo tried to add some fast beat to his symphony. He obviously thought it was missing something. Well it still is. Another 1100 loss season and he only thing to look forward to is a bunch of unproven kids.

  • In reply to Dave Cookfair:

    1100 losses? They can't be that bad. I kid, I kid.

    We'll see. I think this is the year we begin to see a glimpse or two.

  • Bravo John - creative analogy! As a first year season ticket holder, I can honestly say that I have the utmost confidence in this front office. Though the Tanaka news wasn't what I was hoping to hear today, I would have been a bit disheartened to hear that the Cubs landed him, but with with the same opt out and no trade clauses that the Yankees recklessly handed out...

  • In reply to Tom Jacks:

    Apparently, all the other top bidders offered a 4th year opt out (Cubs inclusion assumed), and agent Casey Close informed Cashman that an opt out was essential.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    That's surprising. I'm guessing the cubs were still unwilling to include a no trade clause. I'm a bit stunned by the contract he landed. Boras would have had a tough time topping it.

  • In reply to Tom Jacks:

    Thanks Tom!

    The Tanaka news was a bummer. But I agree, it was a reckless deal by a desperate team.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Is it wrong of me to hope it bites them in the ass?

    Love the analogy by the way. Hope this results in a dynasty that can be admired when history looks back upon it

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Not wrong of you at all IMo ChyRy. Am thinking they will regret this contract as well - as will Tanaka wasting a couple of very good years with a team sliding down in qualit.

  • Yeah. I took one of those music appreciation courses in college. Sitting through a listening session of Beethoven was almost as grating as sitting through this rebuild. That "A" wasn't worth the pain.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Bite your tongue! Well, maybe talking about music isn't so fun, but I can listen to Beethoven all day. In fact, I have. Inspired me to write this piece.

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    For me it is not losing out on Tanaka, although that still hurts, but it is the impendind legal battle with the Rooftop owners that is most troubling to me. I am on board 100% with Theo and Jed's plan and I do believe that we will see some progress this year, but we will still be looking most likely at a last place finish and perhaps a 90-95 loss season, which I have no problem with as long as our core of young players continue to progress. However, I'm wondering at this point, do Theo and Jed still believe in the Rickett's/Crane plan? Any hope of starting the renovation after this coming season probably just went up in the flames of court filings.
    I truly believe Theo and Jed will build a competitive team through their system, but will they ever have the revenue streams that they were promised by the owners to keep together a consistent competitive team and to put them over the top when they need it? That is the question that is far from being answered.

  • The idea is to buy players for a song and write a symphony.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I like it.

  • Seriously....just "wait til next year."

  • Which is more important to success in baseball?
    - a good baseball executive (Pres/ GM)
    - or strong ownership

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    That is a good question. I think you need both, of course, but I will say that it all starts at the top.

  • We'll be just fine. Stay the course, and we'll hit land and the treasure.Don't forget that Kosuke had a great first game, and it went downhill after that.

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    Great job John on your coverage of he Tanaka sweeps stakes! Thank you for avoiding the speculations and “guestamates.”

    I have a comment / observation: Most fans on this Blog acknowledged that this building process would be long and uncomfortable back in 2011 and here it is… two tough blows to the fan base. 1st We loose out on the free agent that could start the turnaround and 2nd the rooftop owners start beating the drum again about taking legal action over their views of the Ricketts privately owned property.

    As we express our disappointment and frustration we need to remember that two years ago we acknowledged that this would be a building process and we would have bad days and that everything Jed, Theo and company did would not work out. In no way am I accepting failure but we need to continue to elevate our expectations for their plan B, C, and possibly D. Hold the front office accountable “YES” but move the team and buy a had full of free agents “NO.”

    Thank you again to all the posters on this Blog (you all really know your stuff)…I learn from you all every day.

  • In reply to Nutso:

    Man, I think the rooftop owners are complete idiots for their antagonistic stance instead of working with the team to create the best scenario possible. However, the comments that Tom Ricketts and Kenney (I believe?) made recently just as there seemed to be forward progress were perhaps the most moronic thing I've ever seen...

    On a more positive note, I agree with you about the posters on this site. I learn a ton all the time and feel like I understand the game and the process behind roster construction a million times better than I did before I found the Den a couple of years ago.

  • Yeah but how many offseasons did it take for Beethoven to write the 9th.
    Love the article John. Anything worthwhile takes time to create and in this age of instant gratification everyone wants the FO to go out and spend big bucks for a quick fix. I'm generally not a patient man but I;m glad to see this FO do things the right way.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    LOL! Good point and thanks.

  • Old school (70s to 90s) R&B and rap is more my style. Can Theo do anything with that

  • I did like Public Enemy. Still do. I have a rather eclectic taste in music.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have there CD. How about Whodini and UTFO

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That's way old school, isn't it? I mostly got into a little rap in the PE days but not much before or since.

  • Alex "Delarge" loved his "Lovely Ludwig Van".
    I can appreciate but prefer The Doors and The Cure

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Loved Clockwork Orange!

    I like those bands too. Morrison Hotel one of my favorites.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I salute your good taste!!

    By the way. Of the 5 or 6 Cub pals I have heard from everyone was supportive of the FO effort but not brokenhearted either to not be risking SO much money on one arm.

    You might have seen Olbermann did a clever piece of previous Japanese "can't miss pitchers"

  • I thought this morning I was going to hum Hallelujah Chorus. But after Tanaka went to the Damn Yankees, I'm humming Handels Funeral dirge. I think Theo should play the Stone's 19th Nervous Breakdown. I hope him and the Ricketts family have stock in Tums. We're all gonna need depression meds during this season, I'm afraid.

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    Haha! Nicely done.

  • It's not the genre. If it is good enough it will cross over and become a classic.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    True.

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    I don't always listen to music, but when I do, I prefer Blue Oyster Cult.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Needs more cowbell.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Great skit. Oddly enough, despite being one of the most influential and iconic bands of the 70's and being from New York to boot, the band has never appeared on SNL

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I didn't know that. They need to have them on. Better late than never.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. It'd be awesome if Christopher Walken introduced them.

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    As a professional classical musician (trumpet player), I like the analogy. I second the Immortal Beloved recommendation. I was actually just thinking about that movie a couple of weeks ago, after playing Beethoven 7 in Chattanooga. One of these days, I'll pull it out of the box it's in (on VHS) and watch it again.

    Bummer about Tanaka, and I don't know what I'd do next. I guess don't pull a Sanchez/Jackson settle. Let some kids play and see what we have.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Thanks Brober. Will have to see that movie soon.

    Part of me wants to see the kids out there but I would like one veteran -- just in case. Even if it's a guy on one year deal.

  • I think it is time for Crane Kenney to earn his money. The rooftop owners need to be summerially dismissed and quickly. That is Crane's symphony. Up until now it has had tragic themes. And to show the rooftop owners what we think of them, Clark should attend every legal proceding since they are acting like a bunch of petulant kids.

  • I really wanted to see Lake last year and wasn't disappointed. This year it's Vitters and Jackson. I want them to prove to me they don't have a place with the team.
    It seems a majority of the readers want to pick up a castoff from another team, I myself want to see our homegrown fail. Too soon we will have a lot of prospects knocking at the door and we won't have a spot for all of them to prove themselves. We all know we are building so lets admire the framework before the final bricks are laid.

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    In reply to CubsBuck22:

    If you want to see Critters and Jackson fail, I'm pretty sure you're going to get your wish.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Fail or not, I want to see them fail before I kick them to the curb. My thought is they were both once in the top 10 let them try to show what they have if anything. I'd hate to see a Cub castoff do something somewhere else.

  • I always enjoy your insights, and I do like me some classical even if I don't know anything about music.... Come to think of it, I don't know much about baseball either!

  • The biggest PR the Cubs could get this year isn't Tanaka and it's not renovations starting. It's for Baez to come up and be great even if for a short time. It will give people belief in "the process".

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    Right now the Cubs symphony is composed of music strictly from Pagliacci and Miss Saigon.

  • John, that's quite a good analogy. I'm an actor and your analogy reminds me of film. Every film, yes EVERY film (well not really but sorta) has a sequence where things go wrong for our hero. Sometimes it's referred to in the script as the "All is lost" sequence or the "Dark night of the soul." Think about it. In every film you like, this type of sequence is in there.

    For example, in the Godfather this is when Michael is told that his brother Sonny has been killed and the next day the love of his life, Appolonia, is killed in a car bomb meant for Michael. Things couldn't get much worse right?

    Sound familiar??

    Tanaka signs with the Yankees, the rooftop owners are suing thus possibly delaying the Wrigley renovation, they Cubs are staring at another awful year in the face, they're publicly accused of not being willing to spend money, the fans are (justifiably) restless...

    This is a necessary plot element for our conquering hero.

    But what happens next? Well in the Godfather, Michael wipes out brother in law Carlo and all the other heads of the Five Families.

    For Theo, this is when the prospects arrive and produce, any holes are plugged with free agent signings regardless of price tag, and the Cubs win the World Series.

    Ode to Joy.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    I like it!

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    John,

    What a GREAT analogy, coming from a long time follower of the CSO....Hopefully this symphony will not stretch out to a ten year symphony (audiences tend to leave if the concert is too long-- LOL).

    Hopefully the tempo will pick up once we see the prospects perform in spring training.

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Thanks Bob.

    I think those prospects are exactly what we need to pick up the tempo!

  • The Angels have signed third baseman Ian Stewart to a minor league deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports (via Twitter).

  • John, I too love the classics. I'm talking 'bout my generation. You remind me of the lady who's sure all that glitters is gold. I know you can't always get what you want, but I'm glad you think we'll get what we need. Cause its been a long time comin. Yet I can't help feeling like we got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track. So I'll let it be. ; )

    (I know that penultimate sentence may be a deep track)

  • In reply to Teddy P:

    Good stuff! And good tune from Neil Young :)

  • John - you are serious nerd at times,.... but man you are my kind of nerd!

    In my case - I would make the comparison more to a classic Italian Opera - the kind I used to hear over at my Late Grandpa's place back when I was a kid. He was a factory worker,... accomplished oil painter,... Cubs fan,.... and serious Opera Nerd. Still have some of his old vinyls in storage, lovingly up in the attic. You make me almost want actually own a turntable again.

    Excellent anology man!

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    LOL! That I am. And thanks! Cool story about your grandpa, thanks for sharing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    From big one nerd to another - cheers man!

  • Very entertaining post!
    I think this issue of "immediacy" has wormed its way into everything in society today: social media, politics, shareholders, and... sports. There is no understanding of process, or long term ramifications, and absolutely no patience. I wonder if my patience stems from being a huge Blackhawks fan. It wasn't long ago that no free agent worth anything would even sniff "the worst franchise in sports". The only thing you could enjoy was monitoring Hawks' prospects in juniors and in college. And look at what this homegrown talent has done and we get to enjoy a sustained period of excellence. And now it's easy to forgot the dark days of the Hawks. In fact, the rise from worst to best has been extremely gratifying. Now, I'm not saying that Almora, Baez, Bryant, Soler and company are the next Toews, Kane, Keith, and Seabrook. But I understand the process and the rationale. And I'm glad that Theo and co. had the guts, smarts, and conviction to walk away when a Tanaka deal overstepped the bounds of value. Just a reminder to myself and others, guys like Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa don't join the franchise if we don't have home grown talent. I have no doubt we get the right free agents (at reasonable costs) when the Cubs have their cost controlled franchise pieces in place.

  • In reply to DemonBerryhill:

    Well said, Demon. Good post.

  • Ha, what a great idea for a piece. Brought to mind Godel Escher Bach. Voice-counter voice could be the opposing media positions on the rebuild. :)

  • Maybe, just maybe a couple years down the road we look back at today as a great day. Tanaka could be a flop or his arm falls off and sometimes lawsuits can settle disburse quicker when judges suggest settlements.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Hardly anyone remembers that the Hawks tried to sign Mike Modano and Peter Forsberg back in 2006. They took lower offers elsewhere because they didn't think the Hawks were ready to win. Hopefully, years from now, Tanaka will be a footnote.

  • I believe Cubs Den is John's 9th symphony. He has built up this blog into something special the last few years and has created a great community of commenters and true Cubs fans. Thank you for the music, John. And thanks for keeping us sane through this saga and the whole rebuild in general. The times, they are (soon) a changin'!

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    @Southbender, YES! Amadeus was a great movie, despite its historical inaccuracies.

    The Beethoven Symphony that best portrays this dreary Cubs day is the second movement from his Symphony No. 3 ("The Eroica"). Check it out in Youtube and you will see what I mean.

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Beethoven 3 - You hit the nail on the head!

  • Wonderful analogy, John. Beethoven's 9th by the CSO in person -- it doesn't get much better than that -- and this from a pretty big fan of popular rock music (Beatles, Rolling Stones, plus numerous others). I also enjoy thinking about how attention to the details of the rebuilding process is like paying attention to the details of the music. The more closely you pay attention to the details and nuances, the more enjoyable the end product is. Carefully watching the details of building the eventual championship Cubs team will end up in the joy of seeing all of the elements come together in triumph -- an Ode to Joy, indeed!

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    He's alive! Angels sign ex-Cub twitterbomber Ian Stewart!

    I thought for sure that guy was done the way he went down guns blazing in Iowa, but I guess everyone gets a shot

  • Nice creative piece. I bet Theo will totally jibe with this piece.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Thanks Jeff.

  • As a season ticket holder I routinely complain about the major league product (NOTE: MAJOR LEAGUE PRODUCT, I understand what’s happening in the minor leagues but that has no bearing when I spend 10k+ each season on two season tickets, my fellow season ticket holders know what I mean), and people say, “What would you do??? Sign Pujols and Hamilton?!? Look how the Angels turned out.” As if improving the major league product only means going after the most expensive guys.

    Well one thing I would have done as an arm chair GM is I would have tried to sign Curtis Granderson this off-season. I know it’s a two way street and he has to have interest in coming, you can’t just get every player you want but he’s from the area so it’s not too big of a reach to think if we matched the Mets offer he would have came home.
    4 years/60 million.

    2014/2015/2016/2017, ages 33/34/35/36. That covers 1-4 seasons out of the typical prime (28-32) people talk about. Even at the end of that contract, 36 years old, doesn’t seem that old. Some people act like it’s a death sentence to have a post-prime player on the team, yet the same people are counting on…Baez (22 in 2015) Bryant (23), Soler (22), Almora (21) to turn this team around and make them contenders in 2015. So the guy who is two-three years out of his prime isn’t going to produce but the kids who are five/six/seven years from an expected prime are going to carry the load? Oh ok. 36 isn’t a death sentence especially in the day and age we live in with modern medicine and training regimes.

    The beautiful thing is with a front-loaded contract he would be easier trade bait at the end of his deal. One example of a front loaded contract … First year-Third year: 17.5 million, 5 million signing bonus. Year 4-2.5 million.

    This team sorely lacks leadership since Soriano left. Most people just see it as you’re paying for a couple extra wins a year. You’re paying for excitement and extra butts in seats. You’re paying for a marketing ad campaign about the area kid coming home. You’re paying for showing a fan base that the front office hasn’t abandoned the major league team. Not everybody gets the whole minor league re-build thing so you have sometimes throw the casual fan a bone, not to appease them but to keep the business running and people in the ballpark. You’re paying for showing free agents that we’re trying to win. Most importantly the #1 reason I would have went after him is because you’re paying for a professional to come in and teach the young kids what being a major leaguer is about, something they don’t have. You’re paying for someone to lead them. To help mold them into better people and players so when they do hit their prime. Soriano was that guy, not who is it? There’s no one that I can think of. THAT’S why I would have wanted him.

    Two red flags people seem to mention, the draft pick and he’ll be blocking someone. I don’t mind using a 2nd rounder to get a leader and as Ghost Dawg posted on here a couple days ago… 10% of players in the 26-30 range become successful major leaguers, and 6% become superior major leaguers. There’s only data on the first round. I think it’s fair to say that number continues to drop as you get into the 2nd round. So in the 31-60-ish range I don’t think it’s out of line to say below 5% of players become superior players, and somewhere around 5% become successful major leaguers. On average less than three guys in the entire round make it on that list. I don’t find much value in such a low number, that’s a lottery ticket; give me the more proven commodity. If it was a first round pick it would be harder to give up, 2nd round, makes it an easy choice for me.
    As for the blocking notion, there’s two OF spots he can play and the guys he might potentially block haven’t even had a single AA AB. There’s nothing to suggest that if/when Soler/Almora do come that all three of them couldn’t play the OF together. Things get a bit more muddled if Bryant is pushed to the OF but this “problem” would have been something to handle in future seasons and you have to take into account all of the prospects making it, plus position changes, too many variables to just keep the gun at the hip right now.

    That would have been my 2014 arm chair GM acquisition.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    So spending for show is a gm's job. Like theo I would never tell someone how to spend there money but for season ticket holders its buyer beware.

  • In reply to seankl:

    The money isn't the problem, I just cut a check. It does suck to be there in August and September and it be empty. I've also lost a lot of friends over the past couple of years who can't afford the tickets as easily as me and their isn't much of a re-sell market for those people to recoup losses.

    My post wasn't about spending to appease season ticket holders. The main point is the Cubs don't have a clubhouse leader. A true professional the young guys could emulate. I felt Granderson would have been that.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    understand your point...given their approach, i'd be highly surprised if they didn't address this question internally.

    it's for them to answer, but my guess is they kicked this one around and decided, instead, to acquire ruggiano from the marlins.

    it's true that move doesn't address the veteran leadership angle from your post, but if he gives them some large semblance of granderson's offensive production, better defensive skill at corner OF, and does it at a fraction of the cost...you'd have to ask yourself how much that veteran leadership is truly worth...is it the implied $12M or so per season (think ruggiano's asking for $2-$3M in arbitration)?

    that seems like money i'd rather have for a rainy day...

    who knows? we might be much happier with what that $12M x 4 yrs buys us next winter or at the 2015 trade deadline...

  • In reply to ratay1:

    I sure hope Ruggiano isn't the answer for a clubhouse leader. Ideally you'd like to have the leader as one of the best players on the team. There's exceptions of course like DeJesus but I don't want to confuse being a vet (and I use that term loosely with Schierholtz and Ruggiano) for potential leaders. Ruggiano has only been a full time player for one season, for the Marlins, to ask him to lead a young ballclub might be thrusting him into a situation he's not ready for.

    That's not to say Granderson would have automatically became a great leader because he's a solid ballplayer but you'd like to imagine something rubbed off on him being next to Pudge and Jeter, two of the best leaders of their generation, for nine years. I see being around other potential HOF's like Cabrera, Sheffield, and Cano also as a positive.

    As for saving money for a rainy day, I'd say it has been raining for some time over Wrigley

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Two more points I wanted to hammer home, DeJesus was an established major leaguer when he became the Cubs clubhouse presence, six full years under his belt before he stepped foot in Chicago, she while he was never the star anywhere he had a track record for being in the majors.

    Jayson Werth cost the Nats 126 million to play a similar role (93 losses the previous season), Granderson would have cost half of that and it's not like Werth is twice the player Granderson is. I think we can all agree that was a gross overpay for Werth though

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I hear you and I agree in general. I'd like to see a veteran or two as well. Ithink the major difference we are talking about though is draft pick compensation. When you talk about a pick in the 40-50 range, you are talking about a top 10 to 15 prospect in a strong system. All 3 of the Cubs picks taken in that range: Pierce Johnson, Paul Blackburn, and Rob Zastryzny are in their top 15. We are talking there about 3 of their 4 top starting pitching prospects.

    It's not so much a question about the money for me as the years and what amounts to trading a very good prospect for an aging player. If you ask me if I would have signed Granderson for 2 years and 30M and no draft pick comp, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I actually wanted Granderson until the Yanks offered him the QO,

    If you ask me if I would trade for 4 years of Granderson, two of which will hamper your payroll when you need it, in exchange for one of our best pitching prospects, I'd say no chance.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think hamper is too strong a word. I believe even with Granderson the payroll would have been outside the Top 10. If you front load the contract it's not as much as a hindrance when you're ready to spend the big money consistently.

    As for the 2nd round pick, history says that out of those three guys, none of them make it to be successful major leaguers. All 2nd round picks are thought of highly when drafted and almost all are plugged into a teams Top 10-15 prospects but the overwhelming majority of them fail. While Theo has had success drafting in the 2nd round he has had his fair share of complete duds, like all GM's. Take into account someone like Jonathan Egan who was a 2nd round pick made by Theo. I'm sure the year after he was drafted there was high hopes for him and he was shooting up Red Sox prospects lists solely because of his draft position (a lot like how Frazier/Meadows are already Top 10 OF's on MLB.com and Gray/Appel are Top 6 RH pitchers, 1st round picks I know, but high picks nonetheless, this is why I don't like to rate prospects until they have a full year of pro ball) What ends up happening to him? Doesn't make it out of A ball. This is more the norm then the guy making it to the big leagues and making any kind of impact. The flame out rate is high. Over 90% chance they aren't successful major leaguers. So while Pierce Johnson and co. look good now, the book is far from being written on them. Smart money says they do nothing of merit in the big leagues.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    totally understand your point...all i was wondering was whether the value of "veteran leadership" could be quantified and if so, whether it was worth the incremental cost between the two options (ruggiano v granderson).

    not at all arguing that ruggiano is/was/will provide the kind of leadership the team needs...just that i'd guess the FO has already done the math and felt that tying up big dollars in a 3rd & 4th year on a player like granderson wasn't likely to pay off significantly more than the cost-controlled ruggiano...at least in terms of the tangible qualities that can be boiled down to statistics and dollars.

    my 2 cents.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    I definitely jumped the gun with saying Ruggiano was potentially being looked at as a leader. I'm not saying you said that, just hoping the front office doesn't see him like that.

  • In reply to seankl:

    To be fair, I don't think Jimmie was advocating just "spending for show"... I wouldn't go 4/60M on Granderson personally, but he does a good job of articulating why he would.

  • I suggested months ago when the threat of a lawsuit was new that the Mayor should send out a crack team from the assessor's office to revalue the rooftop apartment buildings. Hey, Mr. Mayor, the time is now!

  • I too think Jimmie makes a good point - the club desperately needs some veteran leadership. An outfield slot (LF in particular) would appear to not be blocking that many of the "up and coming" players this rebuild is counting on for success. While I may not agree entirely with his solution, I think there are some moves that could be made, possibly taking the salary hit for one of the Dodgers' extra outfielders (Ethier or Gonzalez maybe).

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    I'd take on Ethier if the Dodgers took on a big chunk of his salary. I'd want the ability to easily release him in 2 years.

    I prefer waiting to see how this season starts though and if it goes well, maybe trying to get a guy like CarGo if the Rocks get off to a bad start.

  • From leaking the Dempster deal.
    Then the Marmol to the Angels.
    Same for Anibal.
    Then there's Ian Stewart. Twice!

    Yakety Sax is probably the best musical comparison to this point.

  • This is another brilliant article and perspective to the process of where the FO is going with the organization. It felt like the wind got knocked out with not getting Tanaka. These are smart guys who I believe are doing this right. I love to watch quality MLB. That's not happening fast enough for me, but the farm system is growing. Again, great analogy!

  • In reply to Cubswin:

    Thanks Cubswin!

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