Before you envy the Cardinals, understand how they got to where they are

Before you envy the Cardinals, understand how they got to where they are

As many of you know, I'm not a business-oriented person.  I write about baseball.   But one thing I remember about Marketing 101 are the different ways advertisers appeal to consumers.  One of those is "envy" (My neighbor has a Lexus and all I have is this 1967 Volkswagen van, I'm sooo inadequate).

In what has been a continuing trendlately,  Gordon Wittenmeyer spot, (Mark Potash wrote a similar piece yesterday) it is the Cubs that are portrayed as the 1967 van and the Cardinals are the Lexus.  But it goes beyond that.  Commercials often try to pander to their audience and tell you that it's pure smarts that put your neighbor in this enviable position.  And that if you do what they do, then you can be smart too!

Wittenmeyer wrote such ad copy for the Cardinals and disguised it as a newspaper article. But like most advertisements, it's a one-sided presentation that is meant to draw out emotion and get you to buy.  Congrats on that, but is there truth in advertising here?

The implication among many has been that you can build your farm system and win at the same time, but there is one key difference here.  The Cardinals are not building.  They are sustaining a successful organization that was most recently built over a period of years starting over two decades ago.

The Cubs want to be exactly that kind of team -- the kind that sustains success indefinitely the way the Cardinals have, but it will take time for the Cubs -- just as it took time for the Cardinals in the late 80s and early 90s.  In that era, the Cardinals went to the playoffs once in 12 years and had only one other season in which they finished as high as 2nd.  They finished 4th or below in nearly half (5) the time during the 1988-1999 years.

It wasn't until the year 2000 that the Cardinals became the year-to-year contender they are today, and while those pre-2000 teams were better than the Cubs are today, it was a different CBA that allowed for mediocre and good teams to exploit loopholes when it came to acquiring talent.  There is no question that the Cardinals did this well, but that road to rebuilding has been closed by the new CBA so the Cubs have had to take a detour. But even with those old CBA advantages, the Cardinals first round and first round supplemental pick history since they have had their sustained success -- from  2000 until the end of the old CBA in 2012-- isn't exactly the goldmine you've been led to believe.

Let's take a look at that draft history...

  • 2000:  Shaun Boyd, Blake Williams
  • 2001:  Justin Pope
  • 2002: No pick
  • 2003: Daric Barton
  • 2004: Chris Lambert
  • 2005:  Colby Rasmus, Tyler Greene. Mark McCormick, Tyler Herron
  • 2006: Adam Ottavino, Chris Perez
  • 2007: Pete Kozma, Clay Mortensen
  • 2008: Brett Wallace, Lance Lynn
  • 2009: Shelby Miller
  • 2010: Zach Cox, Seth Blair, Tyrell Jenkins
  • 2011:  Kolten Wong
  • 2012: Michael Wacha (* CBA agreed on but not fully implemented until the next season)

The Cardinals struck gold once and that is with a good, but one year sample size of Michael Wacha.  They also did well the previous year when they got a potential long term starting 2B in Kolten Wong.  Lance Lynn has also been productive as a mid-rotation starter.  It's been a good run the last few years and that's what tends to stick in our memories, but a longer-term, more balanced look shows that it comes on the heels of an even longer dry spell where there were many more misses than hits.

Two of those cases involved some luck.  It was not just skill.  Both Wong and Wacha were rated much higher than where they were drafted.  Wacha, in particular was a candidate to go #1 at one point, but later slipped closer to the 8-12 range -- and once he slipped past the Pirates at #8, it became more a question of signability.  The Cardinals didn't just outsmart everyone else, they had a gift fall onto their laps.  We can give them credit for accepting that gift while other teams did not, but let's not pretend they saw something in Wacha that no one else saw.  It happens in the draft all the time.  Sometimes you get lucky, but you have to be just smart and opportunistic enough to take advantage of that.  The bigger picture look at the Cardinals draft history, however, shows they aren't always lucky.  How many of the players before Wong, Lynn, and Wacha were ever good enough to be on the Cardinals playoff rosters?

And while the Cardinals have more recently added some later round picks on their roster, their success wasn't built that way. They've been able to sustain success by adding to an already good team and good organization.  These were players the Cardinals passed over numerous times themselves (i.e. Allen Craig in the 8th round and Matt Carpenter in the 13th round) in order to take names you've never heard of.  Did the Cardinals really think they were going to be that good but took the chance and waited anyway -- or were those players the result of an excellent draft process under the old CBA, one in which they built tremendous depth over time?  The latter seems like the more plausible answer.   And it appears that the Cardinals will continue to get extra picks because of their small market size status under the new agreement, so it wouldn't be surprising if they continued some level of success under this new CBA, but to what extent remains to be seen.

But let's get back to that Cardinals team that started their current run of playoff appearances..

How did the Cardinals build that breakthrough 2000 team?  Let's go through their starting lineup and rotation...

Lineup

  • C: Mike Matheny:  low cost FA ($750,000)
  • 1B:  Mark McGwire: Acquired via trade from A's team in 1997
  • 2B: Fernando Vina: Acquired via minor trade with the Brewers
  • SS: Edgar Renteria: Acquired from Marlins in 1998 in fire sale
  • 3B: Feranndo Tatis: Acquired via midseason trade from the Rangers in 1998
  • OF: Ray Lankford: 3rd round draft pick in 1987
  • OF: Jim Edmonds: Acquired via trade in March of 2000
  • OF: JD Drew: 5th overall pick in 1998 draft

Rotation

  1. Darry Kile: Acquired prior to 2000 season in trade with Angels
  2. Garret Stephenson: Acquired via 1998 trade with the Orioles
  3. Pat Hentgen: Acquired prior to 200 0 season in trade with Blue Jays
  4. Rick Ankiel: 2nd round pick in 1997
  5. Andy Benes: mid-level FA signing

So what do we have here?

First of all we see a lot of trades and many of those trades were acquired using young talent from their farm system.  We also see that those trades were made over a course of 4 years.  It didn't happen all at once -- it happened when the opportunity arose -- sometimes being opportunistic of cash-strapped teams (McGwire, Renteria), sometimes buying low on a player coming off an off-year (Jim Edmonds), and once making a trade deadline deal for a young talented player when the team showed some progress (Tatis).

The Cardinals also started trading young talent for veterans once they started to taste intermittent success, not coincidentally the talent acquired by trade in the 2000 lineup/rotation were all acquired right after their unexpected 1st place finish in 1996.  They didn't get those players before they had some success and good reason to make those kind of bold, win-now moves.

Another thing to note: Their pitching staff wasn't a dominant one.  It was made of the type of acquisitions that aren't too different from the one Cubs have made with Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm, and Edwin Jackson.  Three of the Cards rotation pitchers in that 2000 season had an ERA of 4.49 or higher.  These weren't magical acquisitions, but they were solid additions to an already emerging team.

We also see the Cards were not originally built with shrewd late first round picks or picks beyond the 2nd round.  Drew and Ankiel were blue-chippers and Ankiel only dropped because of outrageous demands that caused him to slip into the 2nd round, something that likely doesn't happen with the CBA that is now in place.

That brings us to another point.  The Cardinals were later able to pick up good later round picks because they exploited the draft loopholes better than the old Cubs front office.  The Cubs current front office, meanwhile, was doing the same thing with the Boston Red Sox at the time -- but those loopholes were closed when they came to the Cubs.

So while the process may have been a little different, there were no magic beans that helped build the Cardinals current juggernaut.  It happened under a different CBA with over a decade of hits and misses in the draft and in trades -- and the process only accelerated after the surprise 1996 team showed that the team was getting close.  And even then it took until 2000 before the Cardinals found the sustainable success they enjoy today.  The modern incarnation of the Cardinals was created through good, hard work and good scouting -- but it did not happen overnight.

If you envy the Cardinals, then you should know it was a process and not the product of quick-fix solutions that worked without fail.  You should envy the Cardinals because they followed a process that they believed in and stuck with despite some ups and downs and a long (for them), playoff drought; you should envy the patience, resilience, and occasional strokes of brilliance they showed before they were able to get where they are today.

You should envy all of this because that is how long-term success is really achieved. It takes time. It means investing your assets wisely, It means taking opportunities when they come -- and it even takes a little bit of luck.  It may not feel like it to you, but the Cubs are trying to do exactly that and by most accounts, they are well on their way. In a few years, the Cubs will have their own Lexus and there will be other teams who will envy their organization.

 

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  • I certainly hope 'we' Cubs fans don't have quite so long to wait as did the early 1990s Cards fans,....

    But - it'll be worth the wait if Theo and the gang can bring something resembling the success seen in the last decade+ in StLouis, or during the perid since ~05' in Boston to Wrigley.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    The Cardinals did show some flashes of success during their "drought" and I expect the Cubs will have their ups and downs even when things begin to get together, but it may be a few years before we see them win year in and year out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Question is, John, can we make the same trades today the Cards made for the likes of a Darryl Kyle or a Pat Hentgen that the Cards made 15 years ago, considering how many teams like to make long-term deals with there young stars before they reach free agency? Look at your FA pitching choices for 2014-right now its Scherzer, Shields or Price. All of them likley good for another 2-3 years tops then downhill from there.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That's a very good question. I think so and the reason is that prospects are highly valued today -- the Cardinals didn't trade for prospects, they traded them away to build that 2000 team. They have changed since then and hold on to their prospects closely, but that wasn't the case early on.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It seems that the FA and trade market will just be different moving forward. Teams will now be more likely to sign their young stars to big money when they're more affordable. But guys will still slip through the cracks, and front offices will still miss on players. It's not like the new agreement made everyone smarter. It's still a league full of front offices that are going to make mistakes, and trade away young talent. The Cubs just need to be on the winning side of those trades or FA signings.

  • In reply to David Johnson:

    Agreed. Good points.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    This is not really the case John or at least not the end all. They do trade prospects they just seem to make the smart call on when to trade them. All during the Larussa years you saw young kid after young kid come up, succeed in a small sample size then get moved for better fitting pieces for the short run. Then to see these kids that got moved were not the end all that they seemed like with the Cards.

    If there is any one way for the Cubs to take that sustained success it is to be the master of this game. Trade the Adam Kennedy, or Robinson's of their almost ready guys before the rest of baseball figures out that their game is lacking.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    The Cubs did a pretty good job of that as well when they traded Choi and Hill for Lee and Ramirez respectively. I think this organization has a better feel now for their own prospects than they did the first year they were here.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Since 1980 the Cardinals have finished above .500 - 68% of the time.

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    Hear, Hear!

  • Sorry Dale ... Sveum.

  • I'd say I loath St. Louis more than I envy them. There isn't a fanbase that deserves 1000 years of darkness more than those self-congratulatory rubes. Hate Hate HATE.

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    100% agree! I don't envy the Cards at all. I am really excited about the way the Cubs are being built right now (I just hate them.) They are using the model that has sustained all the great dynasties in recent memory. I am not a fair weather fan (unless were discussing Edwin Jackson) and I think we will see tremendous results in the future. Luck plays such a huge part in winning the World Series and I hope with all my heart the Cubbies can get it done but I would love to see the Cubs become the Braves of the 90 to now or the Cards. Perennial contenders is the goal and with a little luck World Champs!

  • In reply to Brandon Halford:

    Haha! This made me laugh, very honest ;) -- and completely agree.

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    John, I understand your points. I still can't help but weep when I look at what both teams did in the 2009 draft:

    Cards: Shelby Miller (1), Joe Kelly (3), Matt Carpenter (13), Trevor Rosenthal (21), Matt Adams(23)
    Cubs: B-Jax (1), DJ Lemahieu (2), Rusin (4), Raley (6)

    Luck or whatever, that's the draft that separates the two franchises as much as anything

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I do as well, but I never said it was just luck. I laud the Cardinals draft process throughout the article. The Cards understood the draft process so much better than the Cubs FO (and the ownership that handcuffed them).

    But I can tell you at least one place where luck (the bad variety) was involved for the Cubs...

    I have it on good authority that the Cubs were planning on taking Mike Trout and if the Angels didn't have two picks (that old CBA again), he may well have dropped to the Cubs. Jackson was their second choice -- and I guarantee you that if Jackson was available in the 13th round, the Cards would have taken him over Matt Carpenter.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I didn't know that about Trout, John. Thanks a lot for sharing, now I'm even more disappointed about that 2008 season.

  • In reply to JimL:

    Haha! The one year the Cubs are good it costs them big time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    WOW!! Both of those are jaw droppers, John. Thanks for the info... even if it didn't come out that way!!

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Lemathieu is having himself a nice start to 2014.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    We Cub fans are classier, and I consider us "BASEBALL'S BEST FANS." Here in central Illinois, these self proclaimed fans think all this success was because of their homegrown talented drafts with no talk of the free agents they signed. This is a very sore subject with me, and this site proves their ignorance. they are poor losers, and even poorer winners. Sorry for the rant.

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    In reply to edubbs:

    Also being a Central Illiniosian I will say that I totally agree that we Cubs fans are the best fans. Then again when I tell the Cards fans to grab their meth and take me to their leader then never seem to get it.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    I went to undergrad in central Illinois, so I've had my share of run-ins with Cards fans :)

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    Interesting think piece. There's a (potential) veiled criticism of Epstein in this in that the Cardinals were opportunistically adding key pieces via trade for years before they turned it around. Other than Rizzo, who was a AAA player when acquired, the Cubs really haven't been doing this. There was talk of CarGo. It's early, but the Rockies are roughly with the Cubs right now, so perhaps they'll be willing to strip apart their team come July.

    I think the difference is that unlike the late '90s guys like McGwire, Tatis, and Renteria aren't being traded. Even the Marlins latest fire sale left all-world slugger Giancarlo Stanton in Florida. So, we're going to need to develop our own impact talent (which we're doing) and be right on bargain FA signings (which they've shown an excellent ability to do).

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They added all of those pieces, however, after 1996 when they did have substantial success. They didn't take those same chances before then. And completely agree that it's a different environment in many respects.

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    Oh man I admire your optimism, but this crew doesn't inspire much confidence. If they were really interested in winning, they'd do everything they could to put a great product on the field today instead of punting to 2019. I'm losing confidence in this rebuild. Please talk me off the ledge!!

  • In reply to Phil James:

    I don't think they're punting at all. I think they're continually looking for the right mix of players in the hopes that every year they find a couple more. They also leave themselves open to the admittedly unlikely event that multiple players succeed this season -- much like what happened with the Cardinals in 1996.

    The Cubs have had less than 3 years to put together a team under a very new and restrictive CBA. They are basically building from scratch under brand new rules -- and I will still say they become contenders within the next couple of years.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think there are much deeper financial constraints than we are led to believe. Yes, I'm aware of the current CBA and it appears that they are genuinely interested in rebuilding Wrigley, stacking the farm system, etc... But $92 million payrolls and going on TV and begging for money from investors doesn't inspire confidence.

    I keep comfort in the fact that there are 4 one-run losses. Choo sure would look nice at the top of this lineup and as a fixture in right field. One of these days, maybe they'll start the year 8-4 and not 4-8.

    In the meantime, I look forward to another sunny night at the ballpark with my 7 year old twins, watching the "kids" play in Des Moines. Their favorite player so far is Matt Szczur, so I think we'll head over there early to grab an autograph. It's Jackie Robinson Shirsey Night... :)

  • In reply to Phil James:

    What I read about selling shares sounded nothing like "begging". They are just giving the opportunity for very wealthy individuals to "invest" in the Cubs. It sounds like many other teams do this so why not the Cubs? I don't see any harm in it and it could only help.

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    In reply to John57:

    I hope you're right, but you don't make a call for investors unless you need the money.

    The financing issues that ownership has will likely hamstring the team well into the next decade. Brett Taylor had a nice piece on this a while back: http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/03/19/the-chicago-cubs-financial-story-the-payroll-the-debt-and-the-syncing-of-baseball-and-business-plans/

    Not sure why MLB thought this was a good idea.

    "Because of that tremendous appreciation, when the Tribune Company sold the Cubs as part of its bankruptcy in 2008/2009, there was expected to be a healthy tax bite associated with the deal, leaving less money for creditors and, ultimately, the owners of the eventual reformed company. Employing a strategy used in a previous media property sale, the Tribune Company utilized a leveraged partnership, instead of a true sale, to capture the asset value of the Chicago Cubs (and Wrigley Field, and 25% of Comcast SportsNet). This was to be the structure of the deal regardless of who bought the team. If you wanted the Cubs, you were going to have to play by the Tribune Company’s rules."

    It's pretty clear that there's a whole cocktail of stuff going on. We're told that a rebuild is the best way to win long term. I'm not disputing this, but the team finances/debt, coupled with the CBA -- low cost talent in the system becomes much more important. Obviously, they're not going to come out and say this, but clearly this isn't the ONLY way to win long-term. If this were the case, everyone in baseball would be using this strategy.

    This ownership's strategy is to be as frugal as possible and hope for the best with a team and a farm system full of lottery tickets.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Every team wouldn't do this, because not every GM has a long enough leash to let them. Most make win now moves to save their jobs or have owners who push win now moves on them even if they realistically can't keep up long term success. The Phillies are a good example.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    I thought the Bleacher Nation article did a good job in explaining the financial issues. The new CBA, which came after the sale, changed amount the club could spend on payroll in relationship to the yearly debt payment. I think it is for baseball reasons, and not the owners frugality, why the payroll is below what could be this year.

    As far as bringing investors, that may be one of the only ways the Ricketts can bring in money without diluting Zell's 5% of the 'partnership'. My guess is that the money would be used to get the renovation started if the signage is stopped by the rooftops.

  • You can just keep your old used lexus, I'm wanting that new Rolls.

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    Haha! That works for me.

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    I don't know, I was thinking about tricking out that old VW Bus. New paint job, killer sound system, maybe some funky lighting. Throw up some curtains and get new leather upholstery. Yeah man, now we're talking...

    Don't be concerned with what your neighbor has. Work with what you've got and build it into something better!

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    LOL! I like it.

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    Is there any evidence to suggest the Cards won't be able to sustain this success post CBA?

  • In reply to Jon81:

    No, in fact, I said it's likely they will maintain some level of success, but it's hard to say to what extent because of the new environment created by the CBA. The rules have changed.

  • In reply to Jon81:

    My guess - the Cards management will adapt quickly - if they haven't already - to the new system.

    We'll see how their draft picks for 2012 and 2013 (and the upcoming 2014 draft) play out when compared to Theo's over the next couple of seasons - that'll be a sign whether they can keep up their consistent drafting and developing system.

  • In reply to Jon81:

    They've set themselves up really nicely from the old one, so I don't think we'll even be able to tell for another 6-7 years when Wacha, Tavares, Wong etc are gone.

  • The only thing I have wondered during all of out talks about draft picks and making the right moves is the mentality. It always seems I me like the Cubs have a poor approach to the game compared to the Cardinals. We could have relatively similar teams talent wise but the Cards would still come out on top because they have more will to win. I don't know where this comes from, coaching or scouting, but I want to see it in the Cubs. Just worries me more than talent or draft picks.

  • In reply to RonJohn85:

    Haha, good ole WTW. If you watch this year, the Cubs have had really good approaches at the plate for the most part. And many studies have disputed the notion of "clutch" hitters in baseball. It's all about the talent, and the Cards have had more.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I truly hope you're right. And I will admit, I have already seen less 0 being posted in the 7-8-9 innings. It just worried me when I watch other teams string together hits more often than us. And maybe it is coming. It's not like I am going anywhere anytime.

  • Left a long message which didn't get through - so will summarize.

    1. John - your analysis as usual is totally on target and shows much Cub wisdom and perspective. Hope that the FO reads it for guidance and support.

    2. As long as the team is headed in the right (consistent playoff appearances) direction and building a solid and sustainable core, we need to be patient.
    I am torn daily - I really want them to win, but in the long view,
    maybe it's better to get higher draft choices.
    In any event, this year will probably be dismal ... but next year ought to be interesting and 2016, competitive and exciting.
    The minor league updates are great - a source of information and hope.
    The FO in my view is making all the right moves. (Well, not all. It was obvious that Sveum's glum, downbeat, unenthusiastic approach was not what this or any team needed. That was a miss. But Babe Ruth struck out almost twice as many times as homers.)

  • In reply to tboy:

    Thanks for the kind words, Tboy. Maybe the comment got caught up in the spam filter. If it appears in there, I will put it through.

  • In reply to tboy:

    agreed

  • John,thnx. for these pensive articles....excellent! A little surprised the Cubs have not moved to employ you yet. Forward thinkers are always an asset.

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    You're welcome and thanks for the kind words!

  • I use to think the Cardinals were just lucky, but whether it's fa, trades, or the draft, they seem to hit the jackpot most of the time. Remember old tired Will Clark. He couldn't hit his weight when Cards picked him up at the trading deadline. Also, I wouldn't have anything to do with any player that St. Louis choses not to resign. Finally, did any team benefit more form peds than LaRussa' s.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Its part skill but luck is always involved with any team -- Theo's teams included. A quick look at those CArds first round picks show they aren't always lucky and aren't always good. And it's much easier to be lucky when you are already good and looking for role players instead of saviors to turn around your franchise. Even the Cubs made great trades in those circumstances (i.e. Lloyd McClendon in 89).

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    Good column, John. Just 3 points:
    1) unmentioned was the fact that the cards were blessed with incompetent rivals in the division: the pirates, cubs, brewers and Astros were either financially or intellectually handcuffed through most of the decade after 2000. Essentially it was the reds and cards favored to win almost every year. Cubs don't have that luxury any more; between the cards, pirates, reds and even these brewers, it's one of the toughest divisions in mlb.
    2) wacha may have fallen in their lap, but they weren't shy about taking that pitcher in the first round. Today it's somehow become gospel wisdom that pitchers are too risky to take in your top pick. If we want to follow the cards' model, this would be a good year to take one of those arms we've been eyeing for a year now.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I don't think the thought process is that pitchers are too risky for a first pick, I think that if there is a position player and a pitcher who project to both be of equal talent/impact, you go with the hitter because of the added risk with pitchers. If the BPA is clearly a pitcher, you don't reach for a hitter though.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Thanks SKMD -- totally agree with the first point. The second one I agree with a little -- teams are mostly shy at the top of the draft with pitchers but I think most --even Epstein have been willing to take the later in the first round.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    But guys like wacha aren't usually available "later " - if you see a pitcher you like and he's available you should probably grab him, and forget the ghost of mark prior.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    They aren't -- and that's where the Cards got a little lucky. He had no business falling to the Cards -- a bunch of other teams screwed up, but nobody expected him to go in the top 6, which is where the Cubs drafted.

  • Wouldn't the upcoming offseason be a good time to start making some of the trades like the Cards did? The waves were not going to be here in time this season, so I like that we didn't make an Ellsbury type addition this season. But if this team ends up yielding our last very high draft pick anyways, wouldn't it be an ideal time to grab a long term rotation piece or veteran bat to either get on in front of or protect Baez/Rizzo/Bryant next season? I think we make our move after this year.

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    Whats seems to be missing in this piece is Larussa and Pujols that makes everything a million times easier. Pujols came out of no where from A ball in 2001 and allowed for them to build around him for 11 years, huge advantage. Also larussa and the org culture that was built over 10 years made players play the right way top to bottom, we all know that didnt happen in chicago and is just starting under Theo/Jed/McLeod.

    The Cards have just been smarter overall. They traded Kent Bottenfield for Edmonds, so smart. Picked up Rolen at the right time in 2002. Got lucky with Chris Carpenter and Wainwright, but maybe that was Dave Duncan. He fixed Wellmeyer, Weaver, etc.. for years and got run out of them that nobody could have.

    Another factor is pressure, there's pressure in STL i'm sure, but not like Chicago, cause of the big market and losing history. That is why the 07 and 08 teams were so short sighted. It will take a special team to overcome the pressure of this city, and the national attention. That is why what Theo and team are doing is the right way, cause Boston failed a bunch in October before they overcame it. And now they are winning regularly.

  • In reply to Niren Desai:

    An impact player like Pujols can make all the difference in the world, which is why the Cubs have tried so hard to find one with Baez, Bryant, Soler, etc.

  • In reply to Niren Desai:

    LaRussa helped but he was under .500 in his first 4 years -- even after winning 89 in his first season. He averaged 77 wins in the next 3 seasons.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This was my earlier point. The culture in the organization for the Cardinals is different than ours. I just hope we see a change in the next few years that let's us see the team is heading towards a more competitive and consistent team.

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    GW and his partners, Big and Little Dick at the ST are complete HACKS! Nothing they say matters as they have an agenda and that is to be shock HACKS in order to get attention in a dead media!!!

  • And John you were right about Darnell McDonald:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-darnell-mcdonald-hired-as-assistant-20140415,0,1909486.story

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Good for him - and good for the Cubs. He'll be a good one to have around the Club and Farm system.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Awesome. That is great to see. I'm thrilled for him.

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    John,

    In honor of Passover;

    Let My Comment Go!

  • They are amazing at trading away mid-level prospects for guys that turn in to solid MLB contributors (or so it seems). They also picked up Wainwright for a 1 year rental of JD Drew (I think). Hitting on an all-generation talent like Pujols and being way ahead of their peers by locking him up to a 9 year extension after about 2 years of service time doesn't hurt either. Then letting him walk and picking up Wacha with the Angels' pick -- you literally couldn't have scripted it any better if you were a Hollywood writer.

    Maybe my faith in TheoJed is misplaced, but I do believe they will be successful. I remain frustrated by their lack of spending - but they do seem to be making solid draft choices, making some nice trades that fill up our minors with talent and have shown the ability to make some shrewd signings.

    I think the Cubs will see an even more pronounced decline in ticket sales / attendance and an overall increase in fan frustration if they sit on their hands again after 2014. My back of the envelope projections have about $25M coming off the books (including arbitration raises and salary increase [i.e. Rizzo]). If they don't spend some money, they will literally be trotting out a $65-$70M payroll - which is completely insane. If they trade Shark, it drops another $5M. Its crazy to me that Castro is the second highest paid player at $6M/year.

  • It's the little things and attention to detail. Why can't Strop wear his cap straight like a professional should? , why can't Lake keep his shirt tail tucked in? , why can't base runners run between the lines to first base?, etc, etc. How does a player wear the wrong uniform top? That stuff MATTERS!!!!!

  • In reply to dumbass:

    All of that is covered in the "Cubs Way" manual and will be straightened out in due course. We must have patience.

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    In reply to dumbass:

    does it matter to fernando rodney?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to dumbass:

    Sorry, but this comment fits your UN so so well.

  • Is Wittenmeyer going by the name of Mark Potash now?

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Aritcle referenced and linked is Wittenmeyers, Potash wrote a similar one two days later. Maybe they are the same person.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The link takes me to a Potash article. He (Wittenmeyer) been taking such a beating of late because of his views, thought he might have changed his name and taken up residence on lower Wacker.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    That's weird because I didn't even know about the Potash article until you mentioned it. I only read it afterward and it's similar but not the same exact piece. Anyway, I'll re-link it just in case. And maybe I'll link Potash too just in case Wittenmeyer did change his name.

  • John, what about Shelby Miller (only 23) and Lance Lynn (only 26). Don't you have to include them in the group with Wong as among the draft picks where the Cards did "pretty well" for their long term? They, along with Wacha, comprise 60% of their starting rotation. That's four players out of their last 5 drafts. And why is it that the Cards also don't seem to be quite so adverse to getting their young top prospects to the majors quickly.

    I disagree with your characterization of Wittenmeyer's article. I know Wittenmeyer is disliked here. But, even though one can certainly disagree with him, I'm glad he's out there keeping this FO's and Ricketts' feet to the fire and kicking up some dust. There are at least some reasons to be skeptical of, if not disgusted with, what Ricketts is doing payroll wise, dealing with the rooftops, stalling on the Wrigley rehab, raising tix prices, etc.. There is good reason to question whether he and Crane Kenney are simply doing everything they can to maximize profits as their top priority, with winning a World Series a secondary priority, with their planned -- and now approved -- Disneyfication of Wrigley Field and their blatant efforts to take as much revenue as possible away from the Wrigleyville bars and businesses.

    Sure, we're promised that it's all being done to generate the revenue we need to fund the "sustained success" that is surely, no doubt about it, just around the corner beginning in the next two or three years. Of course, they have recently been the most profitable team in baseball, but we're nonetheless told they need even more revenue. And, of course, they have a right to make as much money as possible. That's business. I get that.

    But I've previously said that I wish the Chicagoan who was the lead investor in and is now bankrolling the Dodgers' spending splurge had bought the Cubs instead. Because when I heard that the a Billionaire family of true Cub fans bought the Cubs, I hoped that we finally had the ownership that would treat it as a sacred trust to spend whatever it took for as long as it took to finally win the World Series. And I hope, John, you would agree that Epstein's approach is not the only way to get to the promise land. It might be the smartest and most cost effective way, but I would have preferred the big spending way be tried first.

    Telling the world's most loyal and longest suffering fans in late 2011 to wait five, six or seven years to get to competitiveness, let alone a World Series, is understandably hard to swallow. One can also legitimately wonder if we got the old bait and switch from these guys when on Day One they told us that they planned to do this -- I forgot the term Theo used -- on something like "multiple or both fronts," i.e., meaning they were gonna rebuild the farm system while also maintaining a competitive team. I know at the beginning of spring training Theo said that his saying that was one of his biggest regrets or mistakes of his tenure so far. I for one don't think Theo was lying, but this whole "structure-of-the-deal-and-the-convenants-Zell-instisted-on-hamstring-their-ability-to-spend-thing" also causes one to question whether Ricketts and Kenney misled Theo as to what resources would be available to him.

    All that said, I am excited about the rebuild. I very much enjoy following the progress of our prospects and Theo et.al have done an amazing great job in building up our farm system in relatively short order. It's quite remarkable, really. And that is why I have great faith in Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. I am optimistic that they can and will get us to the promise land. So I am fully on board with the rebuild -- although I have to admit that I can't quantify how much of that is simply the product of having no other choice. Yes, I do see light at the end of tunnel -- although given the uncertainty in the MLB success of all prospects, it very could be a train heading right for me.

    Sorry for the long post. My main point is that rabble-rousers do serve a purpose and offer some benefit, so maybe we shouldn't kick guys like Wittenmeyer in the shins. Despite my own personal efforts to tell every die-hard Cubs fans I know that Cubs Den is MUST READING everyday, the vast majority of Cubs fans simply don't have the time, interest or inclination to follow the rebuild and the prospects as closely as those that do what I do everyday,that is, come here several times to not only read what you and your colleagues write, but also the largely informative and insightful comments of these Denizens. Fans do, in fact, want results and quick if not immediate gratification. We here know better. Yet, no matter what, whether its Wittenmeyer who is paid to follow and write about the Cubs everyday, or just the less informed, but nonetheless passionate, die-hard fan, there is reason for them not be totally enthralled with this plan and the fact that we have endured the worst two years of baseball in the long and torturous history of this franchise. It isn't necessarily a talk radio-meatball approach to be frustrated and angry with what we've endured. I don't begrudge anyone for saying so.

  • In reply to TTP:

    They were both solid picks, though there is some concern about Miller's shoulder. He hasn't looked the same since the first few months last year. Lynn is a solid mid rotation type. I should have added Lynn, but I'm hesitant to add Miller right now.

    I don't normally criticize other writers but this Cardinals article perpetuates the idea that you can build quickly and win at the same time, but it doesn't take all the facts and the big picture into account. I think it sets up false expectations and creates a narrative that is misleading. And i think it intentionally panders to frustrated, results-oriented fans. Those kind of articles are why I read the paper less and less these days.

    As someone with no ties to Wittenmeyer, I feel like i can and should do my best to balance the ledger. And like you, I don't begrudge fans who demand results yesterday, but I don't think this blog is ever going to make them happy -- well, maybe until the Cubs win, then we'll all be happy ;)

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    In reply to TTP:

    Its a LOT easier, IMO, to bring prospects along quickly when you have a winning team.

    Cards won the WS a few years back and still had a very talented roster, so bringing up Miller, Wacha, Martinez, Etc is easier. You're not telling them they HAVE TO WIN.

    Archie Bradley is begging to be brought up right NOW but the D backs are losing and the team doesn't want to send the message of "save the team"

    Like John said, STL went all out once they HAD success. Gambling big when you're still struggling just makes failure nearly impossible to come back from if it doesn't work out. That's why the FO wants to do this the right way the first time, instead of maybe having to start over.

  • In reply to TTP:

    TTP:
    Actually I thought your comment was not rambling, but was quite
    incisive and relevent. - and captured the mind-set of at least one long time Cub fan - me -
    perfectly.
    What was the old Mets slogan - Ya gotta believe. (Sorry for bringing up the Mets, but the slogan does apply now.)

  • I would have to call this an "investigation". And a well thought out one!

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Ha! Thanks.

  • I think you can win very quickly but the cubs were not in position to do so 3 years ago. But three years later we have not made much improvements to the big league line up. It takes a steady balance of draft and signing free agents to win. But the true test of drafting ability is finding players after the first couple of rounds. I just think we are spending money backwards. Why would you spend money on jumbo trons and a whole new spring training facilities. Instead of getting a player like tanaka? Year 3 and we should have a better roster then we do.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Tanaka was way overpaid by the Yanks. If we beat the Yanks price it would have been a very bad deal for the Cubs and hindered our progress. Also the new spring training facility was paid for by the city of Mesa not the Cubs.

  • In reply to John57:

    Thanks. I didn't know that on spring training interesting. As far as Tanaka goes. Would it b over paying? It would have set the table for the young pitching staff. And given us a great starting point. Cause a ace like this might not come a long very often. We will find out today.

  • Down here, most cardinal fans think everybody is just jealous of them. That assumes I would want the Cubs to be similar. I despise the attitude and the style they play. It ain't envy.
    Success in drafting and player development is a very recent thing for them. The 2006 team basically had 2 homegrown players.
    The biggest thing by far, is they had easily the best hitter in the game for 10 years. And they dumped him, and the fan base turned on him in a very ugly and sad way. And they have collapsed with all the chips on the line without him. Year 3 of the " Curse of Albert".

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    Going to the WS is "collapsing" now?

  • I found Wittenmeyer's article interesting and spot on. The true test of the Epstein's genius IS going to depend upon how well they assess the talent in later rounds. Picking a "can't miss" talent with the 3rd or 4th pick is comparatively easier than doing so later.

    The Cards have demonstrated that they are a benchmark organization in so many ways. They lose a great GM, a HOF manager, a #1 starter to injury, or a guy like Pujhols to free agency... yet they continue to tick. Tough not to envy them.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    It's a bunch of baloney is what it is, not in small part because both of you ignore the significant changes in the CBA, which directly affect the ability to find -- and sign -- talent in the later rounds. But, hey, don't let facts get in the way with you embracing narratives.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What don't you like John?

  • In reply to xhooper:

    It's in the article.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm not here to troll and I did read both articles. I'm not "embracing narratives" only expressing opinions--just like you.

    I don't understand why you take such offense to Wittenmyer's article. I didn't take it for the one sided presentation as you did. From my perspective, you are essentially saying the same thing. Forget whether you are building or sustaining. You must be able to identify talent in the later rounds to survive long term. You point out, correctly, that many of the Cards first round picks may have been busts. Such may be true league-wide. But the Cards have filled the void by developing talent that they grabbed in the lower rounds and augmented with finds outside. You still are not always going to have top 5 picks (particularly as you improve) but you need to make the most of what you have. That is where the true talent evaluation comes into play. That's why the Cards have done so well to be there year after year after year.
    By the way, new CBA does not interfere with making intelligent decisions. It reinforces the reliance on them and distinguishes organizations. Let's not use it as another excuse.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    And where is Gordon's proof that teams build with late round talent, a couple of cherry picked examples from the Cardinals? You take that as self-evident, some sort of truism in baseball -- but where's the data that supports it? Gordo certainly didn't provide it -- yet you accept it blindly as fact.

    What you say, though, still excludes that the Cards got all of their late round finds under the old CBA. You try to dismiss it as an "excuse" but in just a couple of years, it's already been shown that it's been hard to garner talent in the later rounds -- even the Cardinals haven't picked up a prospect worth mentioning after the first few rounds the last two years.

    For all the romanticism about "intelligent decisions" what really convinces talented kids to sign is money and the way you strike on a few is with volume -- and money is simply no longer available in the later rounds and certainly not at volume. The limits of the new CBA are a reality, better get used to it.

    And lastly you ignore that the Cardinals did not build this way anyway, they've only sustained success in recent years -- and only because of the advantages of the old CBA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    First of all, it's too early to say whether any of the new group of picks is going to pan out. No one knows. Yet something is sustaining them. What do you think it is. Momentum? Luck? I think not. A great infrastructure that develops kids in a way that will fit their system? Probably.

    Using your argument, what is going to sustain the Theo organization beyond the days when they draft in the top 5? You say the Cards can't do it...what is so special about the Theo plan that will overcome the CBA obstacles? What about this plan for waves and waves of prospects coming up through the Cubs system? If they are going to be as good as projected, they are not going to have the luxury of a top 5 pick. What will they do then that the Cards are so incapable of now?

    We know that the Cubs and Cards orgs are at different levels of maturity. Cubs are where the Cards were at one point. Given. But why are you so hard pressed to credit them for their success?

  • In reply to xhooper:

    The whole article gives the Cards credit for their success. It continuously credits them with doing the right way, with process and patience as they were building. You keep saying you read it, but then you are arguing a straw man. The only thing I'm saying is that his notion of them building and winning at the same time is exaggeration. They've sustained success and recently they've done a great job of acquiring young talent (but not always), but there's no denying it was done under an old system and the Cardinals will have to find another way to continue to do that -- as will the Cubs once they are successful.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    I know you're asking John, but I think it's just another typical grasping at straws article by Wittenmyer... Not only Theo and Jed have had good success finding talent past the 1st round and past the 10th pick (I don't think the Red Sox picked too much before the 20th pick and much less before the 10th pick )... But then John is right, Wittenmyer is not considering the new CBA and how it affects the later rounds... Teams cannot sign a 20th pick for more money than they can sign their 5th pick anymore, they can't pay overslot like they used to...

    And then... Why did Wittenmyer choose to ignore how the Cubs went in a swept the International market? Why did he ignore that now in 2014, teams are talking about emulating what the Cubs and Rangers did and blow past their limit?? Doesn't that count in the "getting creative" category and finding talent past the 1st round?

    And how about Wittenmyer complaining about trading guys like Garza, Dempster and Maholm? We got CJ Edwards, Mike Olt, Grimm, Ramirez, Villanueva, Hendricks and Vizcaino for them... All of them potential impact players... Why did he ignore those moves? Doesn't that count as finding talent past the 1st round? But he wouldn't mention that because he has complained plenty about that.

    Wittenmyer would have more credibility if he was more unbiased, IMO... But sometimes he goes way out of his way to complain about the Cubs... Just how he complained about the team because the Ivy was not growing during the first week of the season...

  • In reply to Caps:

    Good points, Cap -- the true answer is they didn't fit his narrative. He could praise the Cardinals -- which is what I did -- but he has to consider everything involved.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed... I don't think the Cubs direction is too far from what the Cards have been doing and I can only hope the Cubs do it successfully, like they have.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know what article you are referencing, but the link I'm following says nothing about building/winning simultaneously. His premise is the importance of picking/developing talent.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Are you guys talking about THIS Wittenmyer article, his past opinions, or is it the Potash article?

    I don't agree with everything Wittenmyer says...but I don't find any problems with him this time. Basically he is saying that you need success in identifying/developing talent at all levels. Not just with your #1 pick. You can't sustain any organization otherwise. He further states that the jury is still out on the current organization. Any quarrels there? I think not...nothing to show for it at the ML level.

    I am not disagreeing with anything you are saying, Caps. Nor am I disagreeing with the fact that the Cards had to start where the Cubs are now. The Cards are sustaining and the Cubs are working to get to that point. Which, I guess, is John's point. But none of this has nothing directly to do with his focus in THIS article.
    Furthermore, it's one thing to get to the top of the mountain. Even tougher to stay there. Whether you attribute it to skill, windblown hits, or a fandom sans goat curses, I still envy the Cards.

  • John, this article is another example of how you have a knack of cutting through a common misconception with facts in order to set the record straight. This idea that the Cards have always had a solid farm system with the best organization ever built always bothered me, and it only takes a couple good or bad breaks to dramatically change the teams fortunes.

    The whole Pujols saga is a perfect example of how fortunate that team has been. If Pujols didn't hold out for a better contract and decided to stay in St. Louis they would have been on the hook for a $200M contract to a player in rapid decline. Not only did the Cards have the benefit of getting HOF production from a 13th round pick, they were able to replace Pujols production when he left St. Louis with cost effective players.

    One caveat regarding the recent success of their team is that the dependence upon young talent doesn't necessarily mean the Cards will be set for the next ten years. Shelby Miller was to be their stud ace for eternity and now he appears to be damaged goods with diminishing velocity. Rosenthal looked quite hittable against the Cubs and we even got to Wacha a bit. Never know when a player is going to go all Rick Ankiel on you. And core pieces like Holiday and Molina won't be around forever.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Thanks. I've been hearing this "look at the Cardinals" narrative for so long but I had yet to see anybody truly look into it and see how they did it. They assume they build the team and the farm system in an instant. It just isn't true. What they have now is sustained success, but that is due because of a long, intelligent process. People seem to buy into this so easily, just assuming that the Cards are so much smarter than everyone else -- but that fits neither fact nor logic. They are smart but there are a lot of smart baseball people out there. The difference is the Cardinals developed a good process and stuck with it -- and continued to stick with it after they had success.

  • It seems like Jen-Ho Tseng had a great outing, 5.1 scoreless innings and he has yet to walk a batter in 2 games, while striking out 11 in 10.1 IP so far.

  • In reply to Caps:

    It's hard not be excited about what Tseng brings to the table. If he gets to Daytona later this year at his age it could be the rise of another Cubs pitcher up the prospect ranks.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Interesting that today 2 pitchers advanced for their age will be going for KC in Tseng and Blackburn, hopefully Blackburn follows up with a solid outing of his own.

  • In reply to Caps:

    That would be nice, because Pimentel is getting shelled against the Zephyrs tonite. Really thought he'd be a potential option to make Chicago this season- doesn't appear he's quite ready if the game today is any indication.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Yeah, he had a very good spring... But now... We're gonna have to wait a little bit on him...

  • In reply to Caps:

    Yes, was listening to the game earlier. He gets into some trouble -- I suspect because he will throw hittable strikes as a 19 year old who is still learning command -- but he does not walk people and can miss bats when he needs to. He keeps his composure, throws strikes, and battles his way through.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for sharing your observations, I didn't have the chance to even listen to the game today.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Blackburn is pitching well in the nightcap, himself. 2Ks through 3 innings, but no walks and no hits.

    That team makes me smiley.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Especially that staff.

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    Good article. Well said. Only thing you left out is player development.

    I think part of what seems like their "luck" is maximizing whatever tools platers do have to be their best and most productive.

    But I feel like this is an area where Theo is equally adept and have confidence we will do this well.

    Even player development probably isn't where we would like it to be but I don't think its anyone's fault.

    I wonder how long it took STL and Boston to get the minor league coaches and trainers they currently have? I'm sure its been an ongoing and will be a never ending prospects for strong organizations.

    I bet Theo has a list of guys he would like to hire if they become unemployed.

    The FO obviously couldn't have cared less about development. And they put no effort or money into it.
    I don't think guys like Matt Carpenter or Matt Adams are just diamonds on the rough that no one but STL recognized. I think they are players that, had they been drafted by the previous Cubs FO, would have collapsed under the weight of their own shortcomings.

    Boston does this well too, and it will become our strength.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Player development certainly plays a role and there is no question that the old regime struggled with it. This new regime has not. I just chose to focus on talent acquisition for this piece.

  • Cubs hired Darnell McDonald to join FO... I've been hearing for a while what the meaning of his signing was... They seemed to like his presence in the clubhouse and how he helped younger players and considered him for a spot for him in another capacity... It seems like he's getting that chance now.

  • I have 2 season ticket bleacher seats available for this coming sat and sun vs reds and Mon night vs dbacks. Sun and Mon games I will sell below face value. If interested email me at topps_25@yahoo.com

  • If I remember right, their pitching rotations were always scrap heap guys whose careers were rebuilt by Dave Duncan. Chris Carpenter was one of those guys as well as Pineiro, Garcia, Benes (after a trip to SD) and many more.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Good point -- that goes with the player development that Giffmo talked about, and the Cards had the advantage of being able to do it at the MLB level.

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    A couple people have mentioned Dave Duncan's ability to take chronically underperforming pitchers and get Cy Young seasons out of them. There will never be another Dave Duncan, but Dave Duncan light Chris Bosio has done a wonderful job of turning around guys like Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, and Paul Maholm. So yet another way we're trying to imitate the Cardinals.

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    I mentioned this last night - White sox doing a hell of a job in rebuilding quicker than the cubs.

    Cardinals did do a lot via trade
    Rick Hahn is doing the same
    acquiring a starting CF in Adam Eaton that is controllable
    acquiring a starting lf/RF in Avisial garcia that is controllable
    locking up Sale and Quintara - and signing J Abreu.
    3B Davidson is a prospect and may or may not make it - but thats where we are -
    Plus they have Konerko and Dunn coming off the books.
    they really look good short and long term.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    You conclude this after a dozen games and ignore the multiple trades and acquisitions the Cubs have made. You assume all the White Sox players will be good long term. Lots of assumptions and jumping to conclusions here...

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    In reply to deport soriano com:

    Cubs acquired:
    SP - Jake Arrieta, who was Baltimore's opening day starter in 2012 and is under team control thru 2017
    RP - Pedro Strop, who was our best reliever last year and is udner control thru 2017
    3B - Mike Olt, now our starting 3B and under control thru 2019
    Not to mention all the other quakity prospects like Edwards, Vizciano etc

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Their cupboard is totally bare though. No prospects in the BP top 50, only two in the top 101 (67 and 93). One is struggling at the majors and the other with serious skeptics on his swing. None lower in the pipeline. The future looks pretty bleak IMO.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    To get Eaton they traded a good young SP Santiago who is controllable Their starting pitching is suffering now.
    To get A. Garcia who is out for the rest of the year, they traded their best SP last year, Jake Peavy Again their starting pitching is lacking.
    They locked up Sale and Quintana, We locked up Rizzo and Castro
    They got prospect Davidson by trading a young controllable closer Reed
    Konerko and Dunn salaries are coming off the books and so is the significant power and HRs they provided

    The trades Rick Hahn could turn out great, terrible or somewhere in the middle. We will have to wait and see. But one thing is pretty obvious, our long term future looks brighter by looking at the respective farm systems and the fact the Cubs revenue looks like it is going up in the next few years.

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    In reply to John57:

    Excellent post John.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Thanks Mike.

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    In reply to John57:

    Well said. I was going to post something similar.

    Its easy to focus on all the things they gained, but they gave up A LOT to get those.
    If the Cubs did that, the focus would be on everything they gave up.

    Hey, I think Hahn made some pretty good moves. But he was backed into a corner and had to get really creative to get what he did.

    I'll take Olt over Davidson anyway and we didn't have to give up a controlled player to get him.

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    In reply to deport soriano com:

    Of all those moves, you fail to mention the best move they made. Signing Abreu cost them nothing but cash (No draft picks, no players going the other way) and he's the best talent they've acquired.

  • This subject got me interested in looking a bit closer at the players the Cubs and Cards have drafted since 1990 and the difference is both stunning and depressing for Cub fans. Pujols as a 13th round pick in 2001 put up 83.2 WAR for the Cards, Edmonds 41.8 WAR, Lankford 33 WAR, Molina 28.7 WAR, Brian Jordan 19.5, & J.D. Drew 17.2... all draft picks of the Cards. That Drew pick was gold for St. Louis as they used him to headline the trade that sent Wainwright from the Braves and the rest is history. And it doesn't include players like Jon Jay, David Freese, Matt Carpenter, or Allen Craig who have put up 5-10 WAR already in their young careers and are still producing.

    The best Cub position player drafted during the same period of time has been Geovany Soto, who put up 11.3 WAR as an 11th round pick in 2001. Other position players drafted by the Cubs since 1990 that put up only 1.0 CUMMULATIVE WAR (NOT average per season) as Cubs include Theriot (7.5), CPat (6.3), Barney (5.0), Orie (1.9), Campana (1.9), and Glanville (1.3). That's it! These numbers don't include results these players had with other teams (which wasn't substantial anyway) or free agent signings like Starlin or Zambrano.

    The discrepancy isn't nearly as great with the pitchers drafted since the Cubs took players like Wood, Prior, Shark, and Marshall, but the Cards overall have drafted more home-grown pitchers than the Cubs and the difference is startling among position players. Hopefully the Cubs emphasis on drafting impact position talent like Bryant, Baez, and Almora will make a difference and the FO won't let up on acquiring more young talent in the future.

  • I think people are going to be consistently frustrated with how the FO does business up to the day and all the days after the Cubs win a World Series.

    The clearly are not going to go much beyond their comfort zone to sign free agents. Premier free agent signings are going to be rare. Why overpay?

    Looking at the current landscape, I'm thinking there will be trades of young players not just for a veteran or two but for more younger prospects to help maintain the waves.

  • I want the Cubs to be the bus... a mint condition 23 window VW bus.
    You'd be shocked by what they're worth.
    Let's just say your Lexus owning neighbor would be very jealous.

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    Just for ***** and giggles, the HACK puts four Cubs in Yankee Pins today. He says they would look good and are a good fit. However, he doe not address how the Cubs would make out in this picture...he does not care, HACK!

    The Yanks have nothing we want and there would need to be a third team involved...but do you think the HACK took any of that into consideration?

    Why does he do this? He is a HACK that thrives any kind of attention. Did I mention he was a HACK?

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    Thank the baseball Gods that there is some responsible journalism done here. Think I'll tweet this blog to the pointy headed moron Shitenmeyer. Other organizations that suffered till they became annual contenders were the Yankees and the Dodgers. A couple other teams that used to win with farm systems, Twins and Astros had to build it ground up too, and are currently on pace to regain contender status because of it.. Clearly there is an agenda here although I'm not entirely sure what it is. My guess is trying to gain relevance by going full bore contrarion, because they don't have the skill or work ethic to do it the right way. Trying to go the Mariotti and Rome route. Sickening.

  • Great article.

  • John,

    Well written and great insight as usual. I do feel the need to point out some of the season results of the cards and cubs leading up.

    80s - Cardinals above .500 - 5 of 10 seasons. Cubs above 2 of 10. Cards 90 plus 3 times. Cubs 2.

    90s - Cardinals above .500 5 of 10. Cubs above 2 of 10. Cards 90 plus zero. Cubs 90 plus 1 season.
    * between 1980-1999 the Cardinals finished about .500 10 of 20 seasons. The cubs 4 of 20.

    2000s - Cardinals above .500 - 9 of 10 seasons. Cubs 2 of 10. Cards 90 plus 6 times. Cubs 0.

    2010-13 - Cardinals above .500 4 of 4. Cubs 0-4. Cardinals above 90 twice. Cubs zero

    In Total since 1980 - Cardinals above .500 - 23 of 34 seasons, Cubs 10 of 34 seasons. Cardinals 90 plus wins 11 times. Cubs 3.

  • fb_avatar

    67 Cardinal Bus? well here it is!

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