Advertisement:

Yes, I know about draft pick value in today's CBA but I'm still rooting for the Cubs to win...this year

Yes, I know about draft pick value in today's CBA but I'm still rooting for the Cubs to win...this year

Usually by this time of year I'm waiting for the season to end.  I watch the games with less enthusiasm, almost as a sense of obligation.  Part of me wants to close my eyes and just say, "tell me when it's over" and then, when I open them up again, I look to see the Cubs have secured yet another  top 5 draft pick.

Usually.  But not this year.

This year I'm tuning in to see the maturation of Starlin Castro.  I look forward to witnessing the ongoing breakout seasons of Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta. I dream about the possibilities brought by the fast-twitch athleticism of Arismendy Alcantara and the violent bat speed of Javier Baez.

There is the artistry of Kyle Hendricks and the deceptively quick Tsuyoshi Wada.  I no longer cringe when the Cubs make the call to their bullpen.  These guys throw strikes and brings multiple weapons to each appearance.  I even enjoy seeing quality ballplayers like Luis Valbuena, Chris Coghlan, and Justin Ruggiano settle into roles rather than being the guys who are asked to carry the load.

And there is more to come. I eagerly anticipate the arrival of Jorge Soler in September as well as the fireballing duo of Arodys Vizcaino and Armando Rivero.  Next year brings a whole new wave that will be led by Kris Bryant and, later, Addison Russell.

It's getting harder to separate wanting to see these players to do well from a genuine desire to want to see the Cubs win.

I have to admit I got a great deal of satisfaction when the Orioles came to town with their "occupy Wrigley" hubris and the Cubs took out their  brooms and swept their suddenly silent fans back to Baltimore.  It wasn't an accident.  The Cubs thoroughly outplayed the AL East leaders in every aspect.  The next time they come to Wrigley, I guarantee you it's going to be with a lot more respect.

And yes, I know this is irrational.  Nobody has to tell me the value of say, the #3 pick vs. the #11 pick -- especially with the current environment created by the CBA.  I get it.  I've been one of those fans standing on my head when looking at the standings for 2 years now.

But there comes a point where you have to start winning ballgames.  Dave Cameron wrote about this two years ago for Fangraphs,

There is a point at which it makes sense to just blow the roster up and start over. But that point is when you get enough long term value in exchange for your short term assets to make the trade-off worth it. You shouldn’t just implode your team on purpose in an effort to be bad simply for the sake of earning a higher draft pick.

It appears the Cubs are passing the point where losing makes sense.  One thing we should not that this year it's different in terms of how the Cubs are winning -- or perhaps more accurately, who is doing the winning.  The Cubs won those games behind players like Arrieta, Alcantara, Baez, and their young bullpen.  They have won other games behind the play of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.  They are winning games with players that we expect will actually be here next year.

A common mistake is that we assume one year's record directly correlates to the next.  Intuitively we expect improvement to be incremental as we add one piece at a time.  But as we have heard repeatedly, progress is not linear.   As Cameron explains, there is too much variation for us to forecast records so neatly.

There’s too much variation in baseball for teams to simply accept their most recent record as evidence of their short term future. There’s too many things that simply can’t be projected — and too much uncertainty around the things we do know — for more than one or two teams per year to simply punt the entire season and lose on purpose. Trading from the present to improve the future is one thing; trading from the present simply because we see no future is another thing entirely, and requires a level of certainty in forecasting that we simply don’t have.

We can't control when things start to click for a team.  Ideally we'd like to set things up where everything comes together on Opening Day next season. so the Cubs can have their cake and their top 2015 draft pick too.

I'm a Cubs fan, though. I can't be choosy.  I am taking on the field progress whenever it comes -- even if it comes at the cost of a better draft pick.  Some of that progress may be happening right now,  something we may not fully appreciate until next season.

If the Cubs decide they're going to start to play good baseball midway through a "meaningless" season, I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I  am going to sit back and enjoy it.  You have often read that I root for the Cubs no matter what the situation.  Why?  It's simple. Because I like to see them win.  At heart, I'm a fan.   They are going to win or lose based on their play on the field, so it really doesn't matter how I root.

The past two years, that play on the field would have deteriorated by this point, but the Cubs have not collapsed  after the trade deadline this year.  They could have.   They lost 16 of the next 19 games after the Jeff Samardzija deal and everyone, including me, was talking draft pick again.  I have to admit, however, that I was initially disappointed.  We had all heard the Cubs had more talent this time and weren't going to go into another 2nd half nosedive.

It turns out that they haven't.  Since then the Cubs have gone 15-11 and, in fact, have gone 45-45  a rocky 40 game start (13-27).  Take away that bad post-trade stretch and the Cubs have gone 42-29.

Of course, we can't just whisk that away.  That rough stretch is every bit a part of the season as the good play that has sandwiched it.  It may even be an integral part of their growth.  While we don't like to see it, we know that in the long run. it helps young hitters to slump and make adjustments.  They often come out the better for it.  Perhaps the same applies to a young team that struggles through adversity and overcomes it.  Bruce Miles wrote that there is a certain vibe with the Cubs this year.

"There is some energy, obviously," manager Rick Renteria said. "I'm hopeful the energy that they have and the guys that have been here that it's coming together, they're jelling. It doesn't hurt you when you're playing good baseball.

"Your spirits are uplifted when you have some of the young men coming through in big situations with some timely hits or some really nice defensive plays. It doesn't hurt you, and it doesn't hurt the atmosphere. It doesn't hurt the mood of the club. I think it just breeds confidence in each other."

What seems apparent is that this Cubs team believes it can win and they have the emerging talent to back it up.  They are having fun and playing with confidence.  It appears that this August they are actually looking forward to going out there and competing.

And I, for one, am looking forward to watching them do it.

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Comments

Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    Preach!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Damn I am so happy winning is finally important to others. This losing bit does not get it with me.

  • In reply to mailmanrod:

    Winning is always important, but it's importance is relative to other factors. That is the sad fact of the CBA.

  • "I'm a Cubs fan, though. I can't be choosy."

    In a lot of ways I echo that statement. As a fan - they are my team whether, or not, they stink in a given season.

    Although I don't see them 'stinking' for several year to come now with the current trajectory and pool of talent coming up.

  • fb_avatar

    I want to see them win to, even if it means a lower draft pick. I trust our FO enough that I know they will make a good pick even if it's out of the top 10.

  • right on. and i trust the FO to come up with a good draft strategy regardless of the draft position.

  • I'm thinking Vizcaino will get shut down... He hasn't pitched in 10 days... Makes me think he reached this year's limit.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Possibly, but I think they could just be resting him for a few sept appearances. They've kept him down all season so they could manage his innings. If he had reached whatever limit was imposed, they likely would have said so.

  • John, I could not agree more. I was just thinking earlier today after this weekend the difference between last year and this year at this time. Last year the team was just playing out the string. This year I truly beleive that they are trying like heck to win every game. I think Rizzo and Castro are tired of losing and see the team getting better and are leading this group to win each game. I look forward to each game now instead of just waiting for the season to end. Draft pick be dammed let's beat some of these contenders and have something to build on going into next year!

  • fb_avatar

    I'm just salivating thinking of a line up one thru six of
    Alcantara, Castro, Soler, Rizzo, Bryant and Baez

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    That is insane....and there is Schwarber and Russell not too far behind.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    And then Russell. ... And if you mix in a successful free agent signing of a position player and a couple good free agent pitchers (say one monster signing and another mid-level) to go with plenty of arms in house to fill out the bullpen, it's not hard to see this team as a solid contender by 2016.

    The thing is, in this era of pitching domination, if you have four or five solid bats and a couple serviceable ones, it's more than enough to be a contender.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Russell-SS--Good discipline, some pop
    Schwarber-C--might as well start the thumpers early
    Bryant-LF--Traditionally the spot for the best hitter
    Rizzo-1B--If we want to follow the RLRL thing as long as we can
    Baez-2B--More thunder
    Soler-RF--Pitcher is escorted off the field with a nervous twitch
    Castro-3B--When your #7 guy can reach 200 hits in the NL you are in good shape
    Almora-CF--Doesn't strike out a ton, puts the bat on the ball.

    If Alcantara plays CF simply bump everyone else down one spot.

  • fb_avatar

    Welcome to the club, John. I've been rooting for the Cubs to win every season since 1969. No matter how they start a season.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Haha! I always root for them to win, but the last two years I was ok when they lost. Right now I'm not ok with it. I can't wait until I get ticked off when they lose! I am getting there.

  • John, another great blog! Everyone at Cubs Den keep up the good work. It's only going to get better. I want us to win as many as possible. I'm done with packing it in(losing), as you said John they are learning to play together in their future roles. I actually hope John Baker hangs around. I think he has helped the pitching staff and Castillo.

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    Thank you -- and I like Baker as well. Team seems to like him a lot as well.

  • fb_avatar

    John,

    My sentiments exactly...Normally by now, my focus is on the Bears; however, after their pathetic performance against the Seahawks (I know it's exhibition football), I remain focused on the Cubs and their farm system.

    There is an emerging sense that we are turning the corner into something great!

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Exactly...feeling like we have turned the corner and can see good things ahead.

  • I think that it is key that the contributions are coming from future or limited value pieces. We are winning with a bunch of young, future everyday players and the timely contributions from guys like Ruggiano, Coghlan, Valbuena, and Wada. the plug-in players haven't been consistent (with the exception of Wada), but it seems like one of them has come through huge during every win.

    It is really fun to watch this team. It has been a long time since we were able to say that.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    It has been a tough 2 years to say the least -- longer than that really when we go back to the final, bloated, hopeless Hendry years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Where are all of the people who use to bad mouth the rebuild now??? Like you said John the last two years have been rough, but to the credit of the FO & players they have really shorten the 5 years window (according to the experts in the media).
    Our ride as Cub fans is arriving & I for one cannot wait to see the end result in the next two years!!!

  • I must admit that things are turning around. And what's even better is that this is just the beginning. I have spent a lot of time sitting in front of my TV or computer watching the Cubs this year. In the back of my mind was "The Plan." And slowly but surely. it's coming together. I can't help but wonder what all those Red Sox or Baltimore fans must be thinking after the "lowly Cubs" swept their prized teams in the last 60 days. And looked good doing it. It's really starting to be fun watching the Cubs mature into a better team. And. eventually, a World Series champion. My heart beats fast just thinking about it!

  • In reply to toboyle9:

    Agreed! The Cubs are coming on fast.

  • In reply to toboyle9:

    As I said on another article yesterday or the day before - I'm thinking that there will be a few more teams smelling a playoff spot who get hit with an unexpected 'wrecking ball' Cubs team before this season is done.

    I would especially enjoy seeing a series win in Cinci and in StL (preferably a sweep of the Reds) to start to wipe some of the perennial smirks off their faces.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I can't wait to listen to Marty B and the Cowboy when these lowly Cubs take it to them.

    Rizzo set the marker last series when he basically said...I know we are a terrible team BUT we are not going to take your chin music lying down anymore!

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Going 5-2 in Brenneman-ville and that other place would have us all beaming, giddy, and in danger of doing rotator cuff damage from all the high fives.

  • I enjoy watching the young player develop and find ways to win.
    But this might be the last year for a high draft pick so I hope they
    play good but lose

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Same for me. There will still be an aura of optimism like there is for every team when spring training rolls around even if the Cubs have a bad September. Bring Edwin back

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You can't always have both. The Cubs have enough talent now that when they play well, they are good enough to win and that is exactly what is happening.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sneaking suspicion EJax is shelved. Doubront enters his arb years at the end of this season (I believe). His September looks like it will be an audition.

    Turner will be a most interesting pitcher to watch the rest of the way to see if Uncle Chris is able to work his magic.

  • Best thing to happen would be to jump past the Reds and out of last place. Ask Dale Sveum how tanking works out.

  • fb_avatar

    I would like to see a run to 75 or more wins.

  • fb_avatar

    If you think Sveum was fired because of wins and losses, you couldn't be more wrong.

  • Possibly the only good thing for the Cubs in this situation with the draft is they can now take more of a chance on a Jeff Hoffman-type player. Obviously couldn't take a guy having TJ surgery with the #4 pick, but next year if they have #9 or #11, that becomes more of a possibility.

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    Could definitely see that. I think if the Cubs picked 10th last year they would have been choosing between Hoffman and Conforto.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Schwarber would have still been there at 10 according to alot of people

  • In reply to Jjdgolf:

    Yes, but they wouldn't have had the surplus pool money to spend and sign Cease, Sands, and Steele. He would have gotten slot value and the Cubs wouldn't have been able to get overslot later.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But then using that correct logic and jorel1114's premise, shouldn't we be rooting for that top draft pick again? Don't you possibly take that Jeff Hoffman-type player, get him at that great discount, and have fun with your last stash of big bonus pool money?

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Anyone would want a top pick in a vacuum, but at some point the costs of getting one becomes too high. For the Cubs to have been bad enough to get a shot at that top pick, a lot of things would have had to have gone wrong with the young core. Not worth it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We could've just kept Jose Veras....then lots of things could have gone great with the young core and still could've lost.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    OR how about Schwarber? He was projected as a mid teens pick, no? Either way, they'll find assets whenever they pick. I like the idea of carrying some positive momentum into next spring.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Yes, I do agree they could have gotten Schwarber at 10, maybe top 15. But remember they wouldn't have had pool money to also get 3 top high school arms. There is no doubt that there is a price to pay by picking lower. I don't want people to think that it doesn't matter. It does. What I want to say is that at this point in the rebuild, progress from the core may outweigh what they could get by picking higher in the draft.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I read somewhere that Schwarber was rising on draft day and someone else was going to pick him around 8th so maybe he wouldn't have been there at 15. Comforto was ranked worse than Schwarber and went 10th. That also implys Schwarber was going in the top 10.

  • fb_avatar

    The Alfonso Soriano contract is like a weird metaphor for the Cubs' fortunes. Productive but illusory and a bit delusional from the start, an albatross in the middle, no production at the end, and then when it's over, the team looks pretty good!

  • I have been a Cubs fan since 1969 (7 years old) and I've been waiting for them to become a smart organization. One that puts a process in place that allows them to compete most every season. It appears that they have done that. It's now time to learn how to win!

  • In reply to AggBat:

    Yes! I think we have had teams that have won before but this one is set up to win for years to come. Closest thing I can think of is 2003 and most of 2004, but injuries ruined that potential mini-dynasty.

  • John, I could not agree more. To be honest, I always cheer for them to win even though the past few years draft picks were the way to go. This team is getting me gitty. I can't wait to watch the games and I am really looking forward to next year. Also looking forward to see what Turner does here this last month.

  • In reply to apalifer:

    Turner could be a nice find if he pans out. Looked good his first couple of times so far.

  • The 2 weeks following the July 4th trade were miserable. Then Barney went on paternity leave and Alcantara brought that spark to the team, then came Javy and Hendricks. If I am a FA pitcher this winter (Lester, Shields, etc...) I would definitely want to strongly consider coming here to play next year. The opportunity to be a hero on a Chicago Cubs World Series winning team would be epic.

  • As I mentioned in a previous thread, at this point in our rebuild I think the confidence gained by succeeding outweighs the potential for a higher draft pick. In my view we now have enough young core players in place to try to instill a winning culture which will hopefully stay with them for the duration of their tenure with the team.

  • Totally agree John. Couple observations. First, the Samardzia trade just looks better every day. Second, the Cubs are 58-72 and the White Sox are 59-71. I'm not a Sox basher, but remember when Rick Hahn was getting all the kudos for their offseason moves? Which farm system would you rather have? Which future?

  • In reply to ccia:

    I do remember that. Those same people are awfully quiet now. And the Sox are pulling a Hendry by looking to promote Rodon to show they are making progress.

  • So you just test drove the 2015 Lambourghini Huracan and the deal informs you you can take the car now, but you can only enjoy it for a month before they have to put on the final improvements and you can start driving it again in February. However, if you forgo the opportunity and drive your current model, they will include you for the new jet booster addon that may indeed make your car untouchable in competition for 4 more years. What do you choose?

  • In reply to PolitiJim:

    Ahh.. "dealer" not "deal"

  • In reply to PolitiJim:

    LOL, Jim, no edit button here!!

  • In reply to PolitiJim:

    It doesn't work that way to me for a number of reasons. For one, it assumes that a team is in a somewhat static, finished state (like a car) and that it can be put away and resume exactly where it lefty off. A better analogy to me is the mechanics, drivers,..the general crew of that car, whose skills keep improving even if they can't get good enough in time for the big race, but he is winning minor races in the meantime. Do you tell them to stop getting better and stop winning minor races? Put off their progress in his own skills and development as a mechanic/driver, lose on purpose and start over next year so that they may get a shiny new part that a) won't be ready to use for a few years and b) may not work or fit for that particular car? If the mechanic has an old car that he isn't going to use in the next race, or the crew is going to be replaced anyway, or if the car has so many missing parts that he has no hope of winning soon, then take that chance and wait. But if they are using basically the same car/crew he is going to use next year and they are getting better right now, why would he stop making it better, shelve their own progress and learning process, all for the mere possibility he may get that missing piece that could help. The second part I dont agree with is that you assume not only that this part will help, but that it is such a great part (and also assuming that he can't get an effective part anyway, even if it isn't his top choice) that it will make the car unbeatable. The truth is that part is an unknown quantity, it is always better to get your choice if possible, but at some point the relative value of one part vs the next available part is less than the tangible progress he is making now.

  • I've been one of the people who has been on board with the losing and hoping for higher draft picks the past few years. I wanted to see the few youngsters play well down the stretch to get a taste of success and then have a Shawn Camp or Marmol blow the game, which they frequently did. And even this summer, I was still angry about sweeping the White Sox last season when it ended up costing the Cubs a chance at Rodon.

    But even I'm now ready for the losing to be over. I'm already excited about next season and seeing the plan finally start to come to fruition. I'm ready to see the rest of NL Central get a look at those bats and get that "Holy Crap" look on their faces when they realize what they're facing for the next decade. I'm ready for a string of packed houses and for Wrigley to be buzzing again.

    Though I am also dreading all the anti-rebuild crowd jumping back on the bandwagon, but at least it will mean good things are happening again.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    The anti-rebuild crowd will chalk up any improvement next year to whatever spending they do this offseason ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Between Arrieta, Hendricks, Rizzo, Baez, Soler, Alcantara, Bryant, Rondon, Ramirez, Vizcaino, Grimm, and Rivero at minimum being a major chunk of next years team, it should be undeniable...even for the morons....unfortunately that hasn't stopped them from arguing despite the facts before.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That last sentence says it all...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    And they will always be convinced that they are right.

  • In reply to John57:

    And when proven wrong will say they knew it all along...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Word!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    The argument will be that it was easy with the draft picks and we could have competed the last 3 years and still had a solid farm system. Even a WS win won't make it go away.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Maybe...but after a WS win there will be a good long period where I'm too drunk to care.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I second that North Irish!!

  • Having a pick higher than 10 means the lost of the 1st pick if a
    top FA is signed

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Unless that top FA isn't extended a qualifying offer. It is doubtful that with the financial reality in Oakland (and likely Kansas City as well) that Lester and Shields will cost the Cubs their first round pick. Heck, with the money that Detroit has allocated in 2015 already (82.8 million to Verlander, Cabrera, Kinsler & Sanchez), when you include Price they'll be around $100 million for 5 players. Even Scherzer might not be getting a QO.

    Staying within the ten worst records in baseball is a lot less important this season.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Scherzer is going to 100% get a qualifying offer.

    There's no qualifying offer attached to Lester because he was traded in-season.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    You're right, I forgot the trade rule with Lester.

    And I agree that it's likely that Scherzer will get a QO (and stated as much in my post above), but I wouldn't put it at 100%.

    The Tigers 2014 payroll (currently around 175 million) was a major departure from future seasons. Recently, they've sat around 133 million. With 100 million tied up in just 5 players and the QO amount being 15 million or more, that would leave them 18 million or so to field the rest of their team (19 players). It's doable, but not guaranteed. Scherzer's already turned down 6/144. There a chance, they move on.

    If they stay around 175 million, then yes, 100%. If Ilitch was sold on this being a one time push for all the marbles, and they don't even make the playoffs (they are currently 1 game out of the 2nd wildcard spot), and Ilitch doesn't see any of the big money made off of playoff games...?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    There's no harm in offering him a qualifying offer because he's not going to accept it anyway.

    He didn't turn down $144 million in the off-season to accept a one year deal for around $14 million especially when he'll get at least $20 million per year and a multi-year contract from someone else. It makes 0 sense for him to accept a qualifying offer from Detroit.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yeah, didn't think about it from Scherzer's side. There's 0% chance he'd accept it, so Detroit has no reason not to. Guess that makes it 100% then, :-)

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Lester can't get the QO because he was traded mid-season (same with Masterson), but I think Shields will. But it would still be nice to keep their first round pick in any season.

  • Thanks for the article John, this represents the essence of the screen name. I am disappointed when the cubs lose, because I am a fan. I am not dissapointed in the FO, I am not dissapointed in the plan. At times this year cubs den helped me make it through the rough stretches, with the articles about the minors and trade and draft analysis especially, always seemed to be some positives on those fronts. Now we are finally getting to see it at the highest level.

  • In reply to less disappointed:

    It's going to be a lot of fun when we can talk about the big league team like we have talked about the draft and the prospects!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not sure where I will find the time to keep up with both the major league team and all of the teams in the minors. We should all be thankful we have John.

  • In reply to Chi2334:

    Thanks for the kind words!

  • I agree with this article. Especially with a young team, you have to establish a culture of winning. Not to mention if the Cubs want to sign a top free agent pitcher, or even a quality bat, without having to majorly overpay, it will help to show that the Cubs are an up and coming team (with more than just words and prospect rankings).

    Free Agents like to go to already good teams that they can help put over the top. The best thing about all this is that it's not some fluke or short term chance at winning. The Cubs aren't creating just a contending team, but a contending organization which will be a perennial contender. That's the biggest difference now, that the winning will be sustainable, not some short lived run at a winning for a year or two only to stink for years after. A culture of winning. An organization that does things the right way, the "Cubs Way".

    Yes, I'm drinking the Cubs Koolaid, and it tastes good. Anyway, it's possible that even with a lower pick, the Cubs still get the player they wanted (DJ Stewart?), but just have less money to spend later in the draft. I would gladly trade that for the young players we already have to be successful in the majors.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Good points. It's not something I wrote about but a lot of those things you said come into play. I think other teams and their players are beginning to sense that the Cubs are going to get better quickly and that has been reinforced by their play on the field. We have heard David Price and Chris Archer talk about winning in Chicago and there are rumors that Lester likes what is going on in Chicago as well. That has value. If it helps the Cubs land a great player like Lester or Price at the expense of getting a higher pick, I'll make that trade given where the Cubs are right now, which is on the brink of winning (at least that is the growing perception).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good point. The Lesters and the Prices will want to come to the Cubs. We won't have to overpay. We might even get a discount. Boy Tanaka blew it big time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think, especially with Lester, that not only do players sense and like what is happening in Chicago, but the players have an idea of what is going on in the front office. It seems pretty likely to me that most players respect Theo Epstein and remember that he GM the Red Sox out of their long WS drought. Most players probably realize Theo isn't going to pull a Hendry and just drive the organization into the dirt. It would be pretty awesome if we could perhaps get some of the Miami Heat treatment of the past couple seasons. This isn't a perfect analogy because no player in baseball could ever be what Lebron James is to an NBA team. However, you saw established veterans taking less money to go play for a team they thought they had the best chance to win a Championship with.

    Perhaps a guy like David Price will take less money, because he believes it will help the organization and give him the best chance to achieve the only thing that has alluded him his whole career. I think anyone who has played sports understands that any true competitor thirsts for a taste of that ultimate goal, a championship or world series ring. This may be a long shot, but man would it be awesome.

  • The Cubs are more exciting than they have been in years and the irony of the Cubs sweeping the Orioles is threefold: one is the Orioles are being led by the GM who proceeded Theo in Boston. Two is I think the rosters both show how important power bats are. And three is that in 2011 the Orioles had a big second half climaxed by a last at bat win keeping the Red Sox out of the playoffs that springboarded the Orioles run the last three years.

    There are also lots of differences but better times are coming and they may already be here.

  • I know things are moving in the right direction. One thing that tells me that, is how irritated the Cardinal fans are around here about the Cubs. Drives them nuts hearing about all these top young prospects the Cubs have. And of course they do backflips to tell you how overrated guys like Baez(he is just a strikeout machine) and Bryant are. And the mantra that the Cubs have no pitching(Arrieta and Hendricks are invisible I guess).
    Nuclear holocaust, plague, earthquake, nah. No fear for a Cardinals fan tops when the Cubs are really good. They wake up in a cold sweat.

  • Ha! Sounds to me like they're getting a little nervous.

  • That's great news! Belleville, huh? You are like right outside St. Louis, that has to be pretty bad as far as Cardinal fans. When I lived in southern Illinois (Makanda/Murphysboro/Carbondale) it was about 50/50 Cubs-Cardinals fans (their are little to no Sox fans in s.Illinois as you well know) and it would get brutal at the bars....I literally had a big, ugly, inbred, bearded Cardinals fan try and push me out of the bar once so we could fight...but I was like, "look ma'am, take it easy, I'm not going to hit a lady" ;-)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Nah the Cardinals fans are great people. I went to the game in STL when the Cubs won 17-5. I was easily the most popular person in the bar. Everyone kept cheering for Castro (I was wearing a Castro jersey). Groups of four or five of them kept offering to show me something cool outside ... in some dark alley. Someone even threw me a free beer. They were even nice enough to take the cap off for me first. I would've caught it too had I not been on that stupid mechanical bull ...

  • In reply to nukee:

    Hilarious! That was funny. ;-)

  • I said above that it would other worldly to go 5-2 in this 7 game stretch in CIN and Scum by the river.

    The San Fran crowd was just as miserable as the O's crowd. Spread the word, people. It's happening!!!

  • In some ways, this is the easiest time to be a Cubs fan: if they win, it's fun to see the team making progress and playing well, especially given how many future pieces are now up with the club; if they lose, at least we have a better draft pick to look forward to.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    I think it's relative. I would not have wanted a higher draft pick if it meant another bad year from Castro and Rizzo -- or the lack of progress from pitchers like Arrieta and Hendricks. It's hard to say how progress in one area affects another, but I wouldn't take higher draft picks in exchange for further regression from current core.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Absolutely. My post wasn't very nuanced as there are, naturally, certain conditions which would make either unacceptable (winning, but with regression from Castro/Rizzo or awful flopping by other young players) or losing badly while Renteria plays only the vets (see Sveum, Dale). Either would be depressing. But since RR is playing the kids and Castro/Rizzo are kicking ass and the kids look like they are learning valuable lessons, I feel like I can be happy with either result. Next year, I will be rooting for them to win win win (with the understanding there will be growing pains).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Perfectly said, John!!!!!!

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    A philosophical view, Vida. I like it.

  • fb_avatar

    Absolutely! We have gotten to the point, I think, that rooting for the higher draft pick is rooting against the future.

    I never actively root against the Cubs per say, but I do admit that if there is a player - Junior Lake for instance - who I don't think can be a solid starter going forward, I may cringe if that player has a hot streak because it almost obligates the team to wait until he inevitably struggles for a long period of time to open that spot for a true prospect.

    Now, however, much of the Cubs lineup is filled with guys who if they progress the rest of this season could be a key part of a winning team in 2015 and for sure 2016. And the group as a whole needs to get used to winning and winning together.

    So whether it's Chris Coghlan or Javier Baez, every strikeout now brings me down and every home run makes me see a bright future (admittedly, I'm way too the sky is falling/Javier Baez is the next Mike Trout, meaning I overreact to the bad and good). But it's good to care so much again about everything that happens on the field.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Agreed. It really depends on where those wins and those streaks are coming from.

  • I'm not concerned in the least with not getting a draft pick in the top 10. The hated Cardinals haven't drafted in the top ten once in THIS CENTURY and have still played in four WS, winning two, plus had other playoff years. Why? Because they've done their homework, drafting the right players - AND - because they have traded judiciously, adding prospects to their farm system whenever possible. The Cubs will do the same.

  • I never root for them to lose.

    I've understood that they did not have enough talent to win games the past few year, and that was partially by design, so I accepted it. But that is not the same as wanting it to occur.

    I know everyone says this team still lacks TOR starters and the OF is still weak, but the truth is, this team is competitive right now. Baez, Alcantara, and the resurgences of Coghlan, Ruggiano and Sweeney mean this team fields a MLB quality lineup every game. And the emergence of Hendricks and Wada (and the banishment of EJax) means they are no longer running stopgap starters out there like they have after the past few trading deadlines. Oh, and the bullpen is one of the best in the NL right now. This is a .500 team going forward.

    The only way this team struggles over the last 6 weeks is if one of 3 things occurs:
    1) They purposely tank by shutting down Arrieta and some of their other starters,
    2) A rash of injuries,
    3) The young guys play terribly

    I don't understand how anyone would want any of those three scenarios to occur.

  • Hear! Hear! I agree with John. Lets not underestimate the value of learning how to win. Think 2009 Blackhawks?

  • In reply to JimmyLeeMcMath:

    Good results follow good process...eventually and often at unexpected times ;)

  • fb_avatar

    I still want us to lose this year.

    I realize it seems kinda like having your cake and eating it, too. But Regardless, I'm not amused by the wins and I'm a little irritated that we keep running into teams on our schedule whose rosters fell apart just before they played us.

    We got to go into Colorado without facing Tulo. The O's lost Machado for the season a little bit before we played them. The Dodgers were all sorts of beat up.

    And it's not like our offense (our biggest problem) is improving that much. In the last 10 games we've won three by a 2-1 score. We still are bottom of the barrel in AVG, OBP and runs.

    I guess I could agree if the offense was picking up, but it really hasn't.

    Bring on the losses.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I know the numbers are not reflecting it yet (keep in mind Castro has missed several games over the last 10), but there are no longer any automatic outs in the lineup. Even the low OBPs put up by Baez and Alcantara are offset somewhat by their SLG ability. The likes of Barney, Lake, Schierholtz, Bonifacio not getting on base and not hitting the ball with any authority are over. Half of the everyday lineup in the 1st half was filled with guys with sub 270 OBPs and sub 330 SLG. Everyone in the lineup is a threat to at least contribute something at this point.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mjvz:

    And yet we still aren't scoring runs with any regularity.

    Don't get me wrong, though, I expect it to change. Bryant and Soler will help a lot next year, and Javy will be playing smarter.

    But right now I feel like we are pouncing on wounded teams and I don't like it.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    So are you saying the Cubs are a Manny Machado away from being better than the Orioles? That the Cubs only won because he was out? Good teams like the Orioles win even when they aren't at full strength especially against last place teams. That is what makes them good. The fact that they couldn't and were easily outplayed says something about the Cubs.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    There are only a couple of teams in all of baseball that score runs with any regularity. The Orioles, Royals and many other good teams have offenses that struggle and they win plenty of 2-1 ballgames themselves. I know I say this seemingly once a week, but this isn't 1998 anymore, offense is not what it once was around the league. Sub 300 OBP hitters are prevelent in lineups throughout the league (on good teams and bad) and that leads to inconsistent scoring.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    See my comment below -- get me that barf bag! Stat!

    Giffmo, we already have an embarrassment of riches in the farm system. We have the payroll flexibility to buy the great pitching we need. Everything John said above is spot on. We want Rizz and Castro and Baez and Alcy and Jimi and Strop and Rondon and, starting next week, Soler, to win. NOW! For all the reasons John so cogently explained above.

    Haven't you suffered enough? Haven't you had enough misery? There's no doubt you are a die hard Cubs fan, but do you watch the games? If you do, I just don't understand how every fiber of your being isn't pulling for our guys -- especially all those that represent the future.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TTP:

    The season is already lost. We aren't making the playoffs.

    So, NO, I don't care if we win 75 instead of 65. It means nothing to me.

    As long as the season is lost I'd rather not narrowly miss out on an impact talent.

    You can say you have confidence in to FO until you're blue in the face, but if we would've won another handful of games in 2012, Bryant would've been gone. All the smart executives and confidence in them in the world doesn't change where the best players get picked.

    As long as it's a lost season, the wins mean nothing.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I think we can flip that and say that a poor record this year would have required some of the Cubs young players to play poorly. Would you take more losses if it meant a repeat performance from Rizzo and Castro? Regression or injury from Arrieta? Another bullpen implosion from young arms the Cubs are counting on? Everything comes with a price. It just depends on your perspective.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I've said since the year started that I wanted our long term pieces to play well and we lose anyway.

    It's not that much of a stretch. It really isn't.
    Rizzo has had a phenomenal year. Castro has totally bounced back. Arietta has pitched like a top 5 pitcher in all of baseball. Baez is paying for broken windows across the street. And we have still lost... A LOT of games.

    Okay, maybe that can only keep up for so long, but I only need a month :P

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Ahh, but the Cubs lost a lot of games early. They are a .500 (45-45) team since mid-May even with that horrendous 3 weeks after the trade. It's a different team than the one that started the year. I think a repeat of the last 3 months of play is more likely than one of the first month and a half.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The A's are one game behind the best record in baseball and have lost 7 of the last 10. A couple days ago their previous 10 record was 2-8.

    Sometimes you just lose games. That's all. That's what I'm hoping for.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    If we have lost a couple of more in 12 we would now have apple or gray. Thank you - i am fine with bryant

    Just shows that draftpick is a crapshoot even at the higher level.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    completely agree.

    of course on the flip side, that means that next year we need to win 85, otherwise we'll never escape the cycle.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubbie steve:

    I'm fairly confident that we can have a winning record next year, and even if we just miss, I'll have trouble calling it a "lost" season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    "All the smart executives and confidence in them in the world doesn't change where the best players get picked."

    So, are you talking about the 25th pick or 2nd round/76th overall?

    ESPN has Stanton as the best. Elias ratings has Trout.

    It's time to start winning. Winning / losing becomes a habit. It's time to develop the winning habit.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    The Cubs beat the Orioles without Castro. They beat all of these teams after trading away their top two pitchers. And they outplayed them from top to bottom with potential core players leading the way.

    And I think it's important for prospective free agents to see the Cubs as an up and coming team, as they are beginning to do. The draft is part of how you build a team, but it is only one part of it. To continue to neglect every other aspect of improving your team for the sake of one aspect is pretty questionable strategy.

    If you don't have good play from Castro, Rizzo, BAez, Alcantara, Arrieta, the bullpen, Hendricks, and other players who will be around then you likely don't win your share of games. Would you want the core to have underperformed/regeressed for the sake of a better draft pick? I think that is a step backward when we look at the big picture.
    It's unrealistic to think that the Cubs could get consistent good progress and good play from a significant group of players without winning ballgames.

    What you are essentially preferring here is the Astros plan. Maybe injuries and an Olt-like year from top 1B prospect Singleton. Stalled progress from their top pitcher -- and we have seen that drafting high hasn't paid off well enough to make up for all of that. I wouldn't trade places with them right now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The News that Machado wouldn't be back came out at the start of our series. So not only was he out but I could see the team being a little down after the news. The Cubs played down after Shark got moved. It's not unreasonable.

    And I didn't say I wanted us to play badly. I like the progress, but like I said, it hasn't resulted in any progress in runs or stats on a team level.
    It's funny that the perception is that we desperately need pitching because throughout the whole rebuild, it really hasn't been a problem, and still now is not a problem. We've been winning with pitching a lot, even despite Ejax.

    I like progress, but we're playing nothing but contenders coming up and it would be nice for us if those teams played like contenders.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    The thing is, I don't think the Orioles played badly at all. They just didn't hit -- and given that the Cubs started Arrieta, Hendricks, and Wada that may have had somethng to do with that Cubs pitching. In general, they pitched well, defended well, and Machado is more known at this point for his defense than offense, I am not sure he would have added much. I don't think a good team like the Orioles lost because they were mentally down.

    I am understanding what you are saying, but for the Cubs to make progress, put more talent on the field -- and still lose as much when those things weren't happening, then I think you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You would have to hope for bad luck to hit the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    At the end of the year, when I look back at things, I'm not going to care if the Cubs record shows 75 or 95 losses. If they don't make the playoffs, I'll take the 95 losses. The problem is, I live in the now, and I enjoy watching baseball. When the Cubs play, I want them to win, and at this point in their progression, it is what the team needs. Our core is winning games against good teams, and a players memory is long. What's happening in Chicago is being noticed, and if Soler comes up and is fairly productive, we may be the most sought after free agency spot.

    I do agree about the pitching. The Cubs seem to be able to find it without the big bucks, and so they have spent all their time seeking bats. Oakland trades their best bat and free falls a bit. I am all for pitching but would much rather have an offense that can drive pitchers out of the game consistently the second time through the line up. I bet NL Central starters lead the league in hits and whip over the next few years just for having to play the Cubs a bunch.

    The question is not would you rather have the first pick or 15th, because that is simple. You take the first pick so long as something didn't go completely wrong for you to get there. Take the Colts from a few years back when Manning was gone for the year and they got the first pick, and took the QB of their future.

    Bottom line is rooting for your team to win is what fans should do, not rooting for them to win draft position. I will admit that losses are easier to stomach because it's still a win in the loss column for the draft though.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    "Bottom line is rooting for your team to win is what fans should do, not rooting for them to win draft position. I will admit that losses are easier to stomach because it's still a win in the loss column for the draft though."

    Short-term vs long-term. Rooting for losses in a lost season is rooting for a long-term win. Rooting for a wins in a lost season is rooting for a long-term loss.

    See, I can do it too. The case can be made that we root for draft position because we want long-term winning.

    All that said, it is a lot easier for me, as a fan living in the south & without tv, to root for a top draft pick. On the off occasion I'm somewhere that has the game on...well yeah, I can't root for a loss. I mean, sure, I did once or twice when Dusty Baker put Neifi Perez out there game after game and I wanted nothing more than to see Baker get fired, but that is different.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    How do we know losing is necessarily best for the long term? Many things are entailed in a losing season and some of it may adversely affect your long term hopes. Many things are entailed when rebuilding a team besides a draft pick. I don't think we can generalize and say it's always for the best. Dave Cameron in that linked article argued that it is not necessarily the case at all.

  • Overall, I am in agreement because the wins are the result of contributions from players that will be a part of the future of this team. However, I'd still like the team to finish with one of the 10 worst records on the chance they'd consider signing a free agent with draft pick compensation tied to them after the season.

    I would love to see them continue to play fairly well but still end up with a pick between the 7 and 10 range. I suppose that would not matter if their main targets were Lester and Tomas as they would not be tied to draft pick compensation.

    I do think winning an extra game or two that moves your pick from protected to unprotected will not be worth it.

  • Yes, sir!

    John, thank you very much for this. As I've written previously, I want to puke when I read guys here saying they hope the Cubs lose for draft position. This is the definitive piece rebutting that thinking.

    The excitement and anticipation for the things to come are palpable. The Cubs are the young guns getting ready to take over. Those young guns know it and the rest of MLB, like the Orioles, are finding it out the hard way. The swag these guys are developing is really cool to see.

    So I'm very much looking forward to all the games the rest of way, all against contenders. Not just to be spoilers, but as a measuring stick and confidence builder. And I am really forward to this weekend's series in St. Louis and the last three home games of year against the Cards. Nothing would make me happier this year than knocking the Cards out of the playoffs and sending them a clear, unmistakable message that it's pert 'near our turn!

    The darkness is over; dawn is upon us! Go Cubs!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Thank you... I do think it's time to shift our thinking a little. You don't build one way and then flip a switch and suddenly start winning. There is a gradual progression and the Cubs should put less emphasis on the draft and more emphasis on what can make them better in the short term. That is not to say you sacrifice the long term for the short term, but it is obvious that the Cubs are not doing that. They are winning with long term pieces and I like that better than losing with long term pieces in the hopes that they make a 180 next season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I trust that the front office knows what to do, and when to do it. They've made very few mistakes so far.

    I'm convinced that their actions and reasons behind them will be taught in sports management classes for years.

  • Things really are not that much different in how the front office has approached 2014 in comparison to 2012 & 2013. The difference is the level of talent of the players being given the opportunity to play at the end of the season. Had pitchers with the talent of Hendricks and Turner been available to make starts at the end of the 2012 season, Bryant would not have been available when the Cubs picked in 2013. In my opinion, enduring starts by Germano and Raley was worth ending with Bryant in the draft because, sadly, the farm system had no better options at that time. With all that has been made of the high profile hitting prospects, the front office does not get enough credit for significantly improving the rotational depth between Chicago and Iowa. Since Jackson has been replaced in the rotation, I personally believe that the Cubs will probably pick closer to the 10th pick than the 1st overall pick.

  • In reply to rdacpa:

    This is true and this is what you would hope to see. A gradual build of talent to the point where winning at least a few more games, barring bad luck, becomes inevitable. We would all like a top 5 pick, but it's hard to repeat previous tank jobs when you have more talent on the field now. It's the price they are paying for progress and good process. Good results inevitably follow.

  • Great thoughts, John. Here is my take: You couldn't stop this team if you tried, and by season's end, they will end up exactly where they belong.

    Theo and Jed have not just been drafting and developing. They've been trading for and signing well-scouted talent in the upper levels. This rebuild did not ignore the upper levels, and it did not ignore mlb-ready talent on the cheap.

    This rebuild will be over by April. I look forward to watching Jorge Soler help this team win. We beat the Orioles for a reason. This team has already become competetive. Quality rotation and pen, solid defense, improving offense.

    Go Cubs Go!

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Thanks Hack. The team is getting better and it's going to show up in the win column more often now. I understand some want the best of all worlds (progress, higher draft pick, and FAs wanting to come here) but I just don't know if that is realistic. The Cubs have enough good players now where if they play well, they are going to win more often than they have in the past.

  • http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24676589/report-cubs-rejected-edwin-jackson-for-bj-upton-trade-proposal -Thank goodness for smart baseball personnel

  • fb_avatar

    John, I agree with everything you said. I would like to add that what is happening, what is about to happen repersent two things. 1) The dreams of every Cub fan over the last 130 years and 2) It is EVERYTHING that Theo, Jed and the rest has promised us all from the day they arrived.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    That plan certainly seems to be working, doesn't it? I think every fan wants to see at least some progress on the field. It would be nice to be able to have that timed perfectly from the start of the season, but if that progress starts early, I am not going to be too upset. Success is never guaranteed so I'm always glad to see it come when it comes. Hopefully the players build on the progress they've made.

  • "I like winning man. Its like, you know... better than losing!"

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Haha!

  • fb_avatar

    For those worried about not getting a protected draft pick for next year's draft, I say worry not. The Cubs play for the rest of this season will not affect next year's draft in that way. The only reason to worry about such a thing is if you truly think the Cubs are looking to spend a lot of money on "protected" free agents. You know, the type of free agent that was given a qualifying offer that they turned down so that they could test the free agent waters.

    IMO, the Cubs really only have 1 yes 1 guy that they are probably targeting in free agency. It's Jon Lester. And guess what, he does not have that "if you sign me you must also give up a draft pick" label. So these young guys learning to win together shouldn't worry anyone for next years draft.

    But should we also lose next season because many (not me) believe the Cubs won't make the playoffs. We might as well throw away next season then with that logic. Let's just cozy up next to the magic switch next to Theo's desk and take a vote on when the right time would be to start winning ball games.

    Go Cubs Go! And don't look back!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    I hope you're right. I really hope the Cubs get Lester. But I'll believe it when I see it. I think the Red Sox and/or Yankees will offer $30m more than the Cubs, and he'll go for the money. But I really hope I am wrong.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Whether they get Lester or not is missing the point I was trying to make. This FO as well as many other organizations have shown that they are unwilling (in most cases) to lose a draft pick because of a free agent they wish to sign. This may not be the case for a team on the brink of what they perceive to be a WS run.

    History has shown us that this is true with the current Cubs FO. They just don't see value in signing one guy to a ton of money and also giving up a draft choice. Look at the guys that they have signed or even the guys they made a run at but were unable to sign. They have been very transparent with this element of the rebuild.

    So the argument that that we need to lose so that we get a protected 1st round draft choice is just not valid to me. The evidence suggest that this is a non issue. I hope this is a better explanation of what I was trying to say....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    Okay. And I definitely agree with the "magic switch" comment.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I agree here...I don't know if the Cubs would have pursued a protected free agent anyway. Some think maybe they would have pursued Scherzer, but frankly I don't see that, draft pick or not.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The one thing I herd about Scherzer was that the Cubs didn't like his medicals....

    How can the Cubs already know what his medicals look like before he even declares himself a free agent? Is there no privacy for players in this respect?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    *heard* I let my fat fingers work to fast..... lol

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think there is some concern there, though I do not know that for certain.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    One of my good friends is a Cardinals fan and a baseball fanatic. He has also told me that he has heard, unconfirmed, that the Cardinals organization also wouldn't make a play at Scherzer (not that I think they would regardless) because they don't like something in his medical reports.

    I haven't seen anything that supported that until now, so I am curious where you and John have heard this speculation from. I wonder how much truth there is to it, and how many organizations may also have similar concerns. That could make for an interesting off-season story-line to follow.

  • Well said, John. This has been my thought process since the rebuild started after Theo and Co. came: I go into every game wanting the Cubs to win. If they do win (especially if it's future core pieces like Rizzo/Castro/Baez, etc. helping the cause), then great. If they don't, then oh well, chalk up another one for the draft pick.

    Now that we've turned the corner, I want these players to start experiencing winning together. I want prospective free agents to see that we're an up and coming team. I've probably watched this team more since Mendy (and especially Javy) were called up than I've watched them the past two miserable years combined. It's getting more and more fun to watch. Yes, being awful got us Baez/Bryant/Schwarber, but now that we're so loaded with top prospects and some are close/already here, I don't think getting the highest possible draft pick we can is the highest priority anymore.

    Of course, there is prospect attrition as many here go out of their way to point out. Sure, it would be lovely to have another top-5 pick. But at this point, I think starting to build a winning mentality with our young players is worth more than another few spots in the draft order. In a best case scenario (or close), we could be pretty darn good next year. Maybe not playoffs good, but pretty good. I want our players to have confidence and momentum going into next year. For me, that process starts now. It's time to win.

  • Its even more promising to think that the Cubs have 3 of the top 4 (qualified for ABs) OPS leaders in their minor league system:
    Kris Bryant: 1.125
    Jorge Soler: 1.118
    Kyle Schwarber: 1.115

    The only player separating Schwarber and Soler is Bobby Bradley, who is still in Rookie ball.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/leader.cgi?type=bat&year=2014&sort_by=onbase_plus_slugging&show_fas=0

  • A good close to the season, let's say 19 wins out of 32 games (.594, in comparison the Angels who have the best winning percentage in baseball at .597) compared to a bad close to the season, let's 12 wins out of 32 games (.375, in comparison to the Rangers who have the worst winning percentage in baseball at .388) is the difference between a 71-91 (Good enough for the 6th pick last year) record and a 78-84 record (14th pick). The Cubs won't be that good or that bad. The extremes on both sides is the difference of only 7 games. So in that case...

    Go (other team) Go!

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yes...root for the other teams. That's what I will be doing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My post was talking about who I'm rooting for. I don't care who other people root for.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I know. I meant to say I am rooting for the Cubs to win and for all the other teams with a similar record to win as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's exactly what I've been doing for the past couple of weeks. I've been rooting for the Phillies, Twins, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Astros to win (I think Texas and Colorado are lost causes at this point), so that I don't even *think* about rooting for the Cubs to lose, but the Cubs can still keep a relatively high draft pick. I guess I'm going to have to start rooting for the White Sox as well, now that the Cubs have as many wins as they do.

    I've been thinking the same thing as several have already mentioned; that the Cubs winning now will make them more attractive to some free agent pitchers. This is going to be an interesting offseason, for the first time in quite awhile!

  • Love the headline. I am not gonna call people out. They know who they are but we have a lot of flip floppers on here now. I have been blasted cause I was not ok with the cubs "tanking" for a better pick. I have always wanted the cubs to compete and win. Makes me laugh at how people change stance. Oh well let's go cubs.... Finish strong and get us excited.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Quite obviously, this is a completely different situation than the last two years. It is not a static, black and white issue. Teams adapt strategies as circumstances change. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". This FO is not comprised of little minds.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And neither is this blog.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Call it what you want. I stuck with them and wanted them to win as often as possible. Many of you were justifying it or making self feel better. I can't tell u how many time I heard the bs about high draft is better then winning meaningless game. Or who cares about improving record if you aren't in the playoffs. I have always wanted them to compete and be best team they could be. Only thing that changed was calling up a few players are starting playing better and all of a sudden ppl r ok with winning. Other thing that changed was peoples stance. :)
    :) :)

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I doubt you see the irony of this response.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Why don't u break it down with another Waldo Emerson quote :)

    I just know I didn't flip flip stance.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    How did those players who were called up and playing better than the players they replaced get there?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    @nukee
    I don't think many ppl saw that Wada and Hendricks would do what they are doing. They have pitched better in the bigs then they did in AAA. So that is great. Most "experts" have these guys as 5 starters.
    What about Olt and Lake then???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The funniest thing about this comment is that you don't understand what the difference is between now and the last 2 years, i.e. having young core players winning games for the team is called development...having veteran replacement level players winning games in lost seasons is called stupidity.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I get what you are saying. But if the cubs are winning and competing does it matter if you do it with 9 40yrs or 9 rookies. I just want cubs to compete and never satisfied myself with. "Well we will get a better pick". And in all honesty the better prospects are not even up yet. Who knows if AA will stick or not. But that is different topic. I just got tired of hearing the draft pick answer. And now that cubs are playing well the same people are all of a sudden ok with it.

  • Fun time to be a Cubs fan. As far as the draft pick goes, as money as the FO has been I'm sure they'll pick up a Guy whether they're picking 5th or 16th. Schwarber could've conceivably been the 16th overall pick himself had the Cubs not scooped him up! Glad they did.

  • First an article on Schwarber's struggles and what he's done with coaches to tweak some things: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/blogs/2014/08/25/kyle-schwarber-of-middletown-hits-fifth-homer-in-six-games/14560095/

    Next, a question -- When player A signs a long term contract, they seem to include a team option at the end, right? If I'm a player signing with a team based on the latest CBA, can't I refuse the team option year at the end so I just become a free agent at the end of my contract without worry that teams won't touch me with a ten foot pole because I'm attached to a draft pick? I'm not sure how all of this works but have felt bad for the players the last two years that didn't have a team until Spring Training started.

  • Thanks for the link, BTC.

    I don't feel too bad about players like J.D. Drew. They had a chance to sign with their original teams for years and money and turned it down, hoping for more. Hoping!!!

  • "And yes, I know this is irrational. "

    John, contain yourself right now, young man!

    But seriously, couldn't we at least bring back Marmol....or Rick Aguilera, LaTroy Hawkins or Mel Rojas and lose the rest of the games in the 9th? We can all just turn off the game after the 8th and consider whoever was ahead at the end of the 8th the real winner....and still get that high draft pick.

  • I understand what some of you are thinking regarding tanking the rest of the season but those words would never come out of my mouth. I think our wheels running this show have put us in prime position to make all our dreams come true. I can't imagine going to the Friendly confines and not wanting to sing "Go Cubs Go" totally un-American to me. It's gonna be a great ride for years to come. Let's just enjoy it. We deserve it.

  • In reply to mrcubII63:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko58baUVstE

    Enjoy!

  • In reply to mrcubII63:

    It's easier to root for when you're not at the game or watching the game.

    But I think this whole topic is more complex. The idea that it has been pointless to be near-sighted enough to root for an extra 5-15 wins a season and still miss the playoffs and so the best outcome has been to lose and secure a top draft pick is a difficult mindset to break out of.

    In this sense, the payday for enduring all the loses the past few seasons--and very much this season as well--and for enduring trades to top pitchers is that the farm would be restocked and the future would be bright and WS titles-filled because of having top draft picks. One win or loss in a lost season is meaningless. So given that, if the team wasn't a playoff contender, being a contender for the top pick (or merely a "top" pick) was the alternative. There is/was no middle area there. Win & make the playoffs or lose and get a top draft pick and a lot of pool money.

    The issue of this post--which is obviously worthy of discussion and provocative--is whether or not there is another alternative; outside of a top draft pick in a trying and terrible season, could there be a rewarding payoff that doesn't involve getting a top pick? That's the premise, and really the point of discussion: is there important player development going on at the MLB level--that to a great extent involves winning games--that is of great value to the long-term goal of the Club, and still gives us some short-term satisfaction for enduring a tough season?

    It is a paradigm shift that will be challenged. It will take some time to ponder. To wrestle with the emotional desire for another top draft pick (aka more cookies). Once you've let the cookie monster out, sometimes it is hard to catch him and put him away!!! After all, when you see Baez, Bryant, and Schwarber, don't you want another one?!!? It has been the crutch for surviving bad seasons of baseball. To make it 3/4 of this season just to find out the Happy Meal you just bought doesn't have a toy in it is prone to make you angry.

  • Amen

Leave a comment