But I Don't Want to Envy The White Sox

But I Don't Want to Envy The White Sox

I have said it before: losing sucks. It is doubly hard when your team isn’t at least entertaining.

Right now, that describes the Chicago Cubs on most nights.

I wrote recently that the early 80’s Cubs teams I loved were bad, yet still had some entertainment value due to their ability to put up some offense, namely with power. If you must be bad, at least be fun to watch.

This year it has gotten marginally better offensively with the apparent rebounds from core players Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, and the arrival of Mike Olt. It would still be a stretch to call the Cubs entertaining to watch.

The team on the other side of town, however, is becoming a more compelling watch. My friend Matt Spiegel wrote about it; they are a fun watch. It kinda hurts for me to type that.

I don’t want to spend too much time comparing the different ways the two organizations have gone about getting younger. I don’t want to watch the White Sox. It pains me to admit I have even the littlest bit of envy.

Their GM, Rick Hahn, was once a strong candidate for the Cubs job at one time. It seems, at least up until now, he has done a real nice job at restocking the cupboard with some young and fun talent. Hahn added a leadoff man in Adam Eaton who brings energy, and Jose Abreu’s power and his remarkable start is the talk of baseball. Imagine if promising young outfielder Avisal Garcia had not been lost for the season.

Just last season the White Sox offense was brutal. A short time later the offense is now explosive. The Sox lead the American League in runs, hits, doubles and OPS. They are on pace to score 800 runs. Good times. It is still April though, will it continue? Probably not. Yet, there is no denying the excitement they are bringing to the park, if still not fans.

“We’re evolving,’’ executive vice president Ken Williams said. “We believe we have a very good, exciting, talented core coming through.”

Hard to argue that.

Daryl Van Schouwen just wrote how Hahn turned the roster over with an eye on contending in 2015 or ’16 while not closing the door on 2014. Hmm. That is an interesting concept. Around Wrigley, the Cubs have flushed the last 3 seasons down the toilet. Hopefully, tanking will still pay off much like it did for the Washington Nationals. However, nothing is promised, even if there is a large segment of people on Twitter who will argue otherwise.

I do firmly believe in Theo Epstein and his front office. They do know what they are doing, this plan will work out eventually. Right? When Javy Baez and Kris Bryant arrive, I hope and anticipate the fun will return to the old ballpark and my TV. We will be talking about the North Side Hitmen, right?

For now, I just wish this Cubs thing was a little more enjoyable to watch at times. My daughter Alexa was born on July 28, 2009. I watched the Cubs game in the hospital room the night she was delivered. Alfonso Soriano got a walk-off hit in extras to put the Cubs back in first place. I was relieved she was born into a world where the Cubs were winners.

But that was the last time in her lifetime I could say that. It was the last time I can remember watching a Cubs game that truly mattered and that I truly had fun watching.

If we had to be bad for this long, why couldn’t we at least be fun bad?

I’ll try and not to peek over at the other game, or be too jealous.

@TomLoxas

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  • The question for the White Sox is...who the hell are these guys? Is it a success they can sustain for a whole season? Or next season when perhaps their pen is in better shape? And even their rotation outside Sale, who is on the DL, is a question mark. The Sox are usually never as bad as they were last season, but they're also usually never as good as they were in 2005. They remind often of the Bears...never good enough to make the playoffs, never bad enough to get an excellent draft pick.

    Sure they're fun to watch now, especially with Abreu, but you don't even know if the league can figure him out and then if he will adjust to that adjustment. I'd rather have a team that's going to be fun to watch year in and year out, even if it means a some lean years now

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I figure that they are hitting this well in weather that (except for opening day) has been abominable. I also don't know if it's the real deal, but I also figure that if it heats up, they might also.

    Despite the debate whether a hitting coach matters, Steverson must be doing a hell of a job.

    The other difference is that Kenny Williams said this was the first time that Reinsdorf told him that if Abreu is the real deal, open the checkbook. It looks like it is paying off. Supposedly having Abreu around is also helping the other Chicago Cubas.

    As you note, in the meantime the Chicago Cubs are, as you note, unwatchable, and any future hope is way off. Also, the Sox have their top 2 starters on contract extensions, but Theo can't get that done.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yep, hearing Steverson deserves some of the credit for sure.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    Oh I'm certain the league will adjust to Abreu. However, I still think he's a real talent. On the other hand, who the hell is this Semien character??

  • Shark and Wood are a little different than Sale and Quintana. First of all Sale, while not having pitched in big games, has I think proven himself an ace. The Sox also locked up 24 year old Sale last year and 25 year old Quintana this year to 5 year deals with club options. These aren't necessarily their last big deals. Not so for Shark and probably Wood too. This is definitely Shark's last chance to cash in big. You don't think Theo would have signed those two to club friendly deals if he could have?

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    Yes, I know they have tried with Shark. Wood needs to get locked up and soon.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    My point was that "if he could have" has resulted in "he didn't and apparently can't."

    It is not a good sign when Jeff came out of avoiding arbitration and said "if I pitch well I can help the club by increasing my trade value."

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    What makes you believe that the Sox will contend in 15 or 16? I honestly look at their roster and see a fire sale in the making in 2 to 3 years. If you strive for a team that is mediocre than I suppose that you would envy the Sox. They have a shot at finishing .500, but would need Detroit to perform poorly to even come close to actually competing over the next couple years. I don't mind watching Rizzo, Castro, and Castillo continue to develop, while also watching some of the young arms in the pen improve.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    Disagree. They have young talent. Abreu, Sale, Quintana, Viciedo, Garcia, Eaton, Donaldson. Maybe, maybe not as potential impact as Cubs can have. Yet, right now they are more fun to watch. Cubs offense can be so listless.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    The Cubs offense is listless, but they do have potential impact players on the way, where the impact players you mentioned for the White Sox are all that they have in the foreseeable future. Sale has shown that he has difficulty handling the ace workload and is a prime candidate for TJ Surgery as he continually has had to be shutdown several times a year. Abreu was a great get for the Sox, but outside of Quintana, I don't see any of the rest being part of a core of impact players for a winning team. Your right in that their offense is fun to watch, but I don't want to be in the Sox position right now as a club, because I don't see a foundation being built that is going to lead to contending beyond July.

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    In reply to Richard Madsen:

    Tim Anderson is a potential 5-Tool impact player. The White Sox will get a potential impact player in this draft. Micah Johnson is better than anybody the Cubs have at 2B (assuming they do not play Baez there). They also have assets to sell, Viciedo will bring back talent. Alexei Ramirez will too. Why he is potentially on the block is puzzling to me though.

    The Cubs, despite our lofty expectations for their minor league system, actually have a lot of question marks. We believe in these kids because that is all the Cubs are offering us to believe in. We may be looking at a 110-loss team this year, the worst Cubs team of all time. And with Samardzjia about to be traded, it only gets worse.

    Tom is right. Be envious of the White Sox. It sucks, and I hate it, But Hahn has done an amazing job.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    I'm enjoying watching same things you are but wish we had more offense to distract from the tanking.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    That's exactly the point I was trying to make. They seem to strive for mediocrity. They won't rebuild, but they also won't go all in with big free agents. 2005 was an aberration, it was a perfect combination of a bunch of guys all having career years and just the right amount of Ozzie. Which is why they were unable to sustain the success. It seems like with the way they build their roster, they are just trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

    I'll give Rick Hahn credit though because it appears that he's trying his hardest to actually build a team properly, but you still have Kenny "The Smartest Man in the World" Williams meddling maybe a little too much.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    Yeah I think we need to let Hahn do his thing before we say same old Sox. So far I like him and his ideas.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    So how do you explain $68 million for Abreu? And Kenny scouting him?

    Who has Theo found? He said he had money for international players. I don't think former Sox Ryan Sweeney counts.

  • In reply to jack:

    Abreu is about as obvious as it gets with an international player, who wouldn't want Abreu? Everyone who needed a 1B or DH would want him, I don't really count that as scouting. KW is also the guy who brought in Peavy, Dunn, Alex Rios, who drafted v-shaped "athletes" who seem for the most part to have trouble finding the majors. I'm not saying the Cubs have been any better, I'm saying I think KW is a joke and the Sox are better off with Hahn calling the shots. You always want a little ego in your GM because you need someone who believes in the guys they are bringing in, KW has too much ego, he got too smart and clever and it put the Sox in a bit of a hole, developmentally, that Hahn has to climb out of. Again, not saying the Cubs are in any better place, I will just always scoff when anyone says anything positive about Kenny Williams.

    So as for who Theo has found, well I don't really know since I don't think Williams found Abreu. That's like saying the Yankees found Tanaka. We'll see what happens to the guys the Cubs took in the last international draft. We know the Cubs bid on Darvish and a few of the other recent international FAs, but they don't have them on the roster. I don't know if that's Theo's fault.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    1. I thought you just said that this wasn't a Sox blog. Are you now outside your scope of expertise?

    2. Suffice it to say, Theo didn't sign Abreu, Tanaka, or anybody else, even though he did say the international budget was there.

    3. Are you calling Kenny Williams a liar? If you are, come out and say it.

  • In reply to jack:

    This isn't a Sox blog. There's one post about the Sox that seems to have drawn you out of the woodwork to troll on every post. I don't think you need much expertise to say that Jose Abreu, a 27-year old hitting monster, would be highly coveted by basically any team. The Cubs however did not even attempt to go after him because they don't need a DH and already have a 1B.

    Tanaka went to the Yankees because they're the Yankees, and while the Cubs might have had a lot of money to spend, the Yankees had more, and are not rebuilding. The Cubs did spend on Soler and Gerardo Concepcion, but they missed on Cespedes and Darvish. I'm not sure how in they were on Puig, I can't really remember. Only one team can get each player. The international budget is there, and I assume will still be there, but I also assume it's hard to attract players when you're in the foundation stages of a rebuild.

    As for me calling Williams a liar, I'm not really sure where I did that. I think Kenny's an egomaniacal jagoff and that's why you guys are saddled with Dunn and were stuck with Peavy and Rios. Granted Peavy netted you Garcia, but you also paid him for 4 years of basically nothing. And maybe Dunn will play well enough this year to move him at the deadline for something, but will it have been worth it? I just looked up who you got for Rios and it's Leury Garcia, who seems to be contributing this year. But is that going to be enough to counter all the time wasted with Rios?

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    Since this is a Cubs blog, how about Theo paying Sox castoff Edwin Jackson equivalent money for nothing?

    How much time did Theo waste with Soriano? What did he get in return for him from the Yankees?

  • In reply to jack:

    Edwin Jackson was a lot of team's castoff, not just the White Sox.

    I don't know what Theo has to do with Soriano, since Theo didn't sign Soriano to his ridiculous deal. He moved him when he could and got a minor league reliever for him, while also paying a portion of the remainder of the ridiculous contract a previous GM gave him.

  • In reply to jack:

    Mike, regardless, you brought up Dunn as wasted money, but Theo is equally guilty putting money on someone (Jackson) without credentials worthy of $13 mil a year and certainly without commensurate subsequent production.

    Also, you brought up "hanging around." Whoever signed the Soriano contract, Ricketts should have know what he was buying.

  • In reply to jack:

    So you think Ricketts shouldn't have bought the team because of the Soriano contract? Because that's insane.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    Much better chance than the Cubs have of contending in 15 or 16. Any young core is already up here, not sitting in Daytona or Tennessee.

    What's the odds of the Sox or Cubs getting 80 wins in 2014? Much better for the Sox.

  • In reply to jack:

    And what is 80 wins going to do for you? I don't want a team that's exciting to watch in April and May, I want a team that's exciting to watch in October.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    October of what century?

    What is 45 wins going to do for you?

  • In reply to jack:

    This century, that's what I'm talking about. The past of the Cubs has virtually no bearing on these Cubs, no matter how much Sox fans like to talk about goats and Bartmans. If you're trying to rebuild your farm system, and turn it into a factory that churns out impact players, then you need high draft picks. I don't think the Cubs are going to only win 45 games this year, but it's going to be lean again. You're basically rooting for the Bears, who love to go 8-8 and not make the playoffs and then get stuck with mid-round draft picks. Winning 80 games and not making the playoffs does nothing for me. As I said, I want a team that's exciting to watch every October.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    Then which decade? Certainly not the 2010s?

    Since the Marlins are now supposedly using the same strategy as the Cubs, I'll bet you'll use you'll Marlins Park WS tickets before any Cubs ones. Remember where Derrick Lee won a WS ring?

    By bringing up Bartman, etc., you just prove that you are the type of Cubs fan Evan described here as caught up in the mystique of losing. Don't project on others.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm not talking about the past, I'm talking about the future. Tom said the White Sox have an exciting team. My point is that I want a team that will be exciting in October, in future Octobers, not past Octobers. You are bringing up "centuries" ergo you are bringing up the past. I am not caught up in any mystique of losing. The Cubs are attempting to build a team for sustained success, while I believe Kenny Williams tried to build teams to catch lightning in a bottle. It worked once, so you have to give them a tip of the cap for that. I believe Rick Hahn is attempting to also build sustained success.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I'm not trying to bring up the past; you seem fixated on the Sox past.

    I'm talking about the future--that the Cubs have no chance of contending in 2014, and, IMO, of getting to October anytime in this decade. You tried to project the goat and Bartman on me. Maybe you should read before hitting "Comment."

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    Yes they have no chance of contending this year for sure. But this decade? Seriously? What are you basing this on? There are 5 seasons after this one left in the decade. First of all they have one of the best farm systems in the game, which I realize is only promise and not exact prediction. But it's hard to ignore the teams who have had success, who have regularly contended and won the World Series, have built from within. That's a fact.

    Second, there is virtually no evidence that the Cubs will not spend in free agency once they are ready to compete, which I believe to be next year. They were already prepared to pay Anibal Sanchez, unless you think the Cubs only got involved because they planned to pull out at the last minute. They were also prepared to pay Tanaka. With new TV and radio deals coming next year and with the new ballpark income they will have even more money to spend.

    So if you really think the Cubs have no chance of contending in the next 5 seasons then that must represent your own personal dislike of the Cubs and desire to ignore all facts. I could have said last year, as constructed, the Sox had no chance to get to October any time in this decade. A farm system in shambles, poor offense and defense one excellent pitcher. And yet in one offseason they managed to turn that around to the point where yes, there is a chance in the next 5 seasons they could reach October. So by that reasoning the Cubs have the same chance, in that you have no idea at all what the Cubs will do this offseason to augment their incredible farm system.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    As I said, (1) it's IMO, (2) speaking of the present, there is no evidence that Theo's plan is working, at least in the near future, especially when there is still talk about flipping the current roster and (3) they could have spent, but did not.

    There is a lot of stuff, both the baseball side and the business side could have done over the last winter, but didn't. That tells me something.

    But apparently you have more faith in Theo than I have in the Lubavitcher Rebbe coming back with the Messiah, after being gone 20 years. Look that one up.

  • In reply to jack:

    If you think that I am going to reply to words you are putting into my mouth, you are .....

    Reread my post and don't put additional inferences into it. All I said is that he knew what he bought.

  • In reply to jack:

    What do you base your opinion on? The plan was to rebuild the farm system so that it would produce homegrown talent that would contribute to the major league team. That's the only plan they've ever spoken of. They have also indicated a willingness to spend when the team is ready to compete. Edwin Jackson was a huge mistake. There's no way around that. I still fail to see what Soriano has to do with anything. Did Ricketts bitch and moan about Soriano? Did he point specifically to Soriano as why the team was as bad as they were? The guy contributed offense, the numbers support that.

    They are not still talking about flipping the whole roster. Rizzo, Castro, Castillo, Wood, a good chunk of the bullpen, Jackson (unless they can find a sucker), Olt, Arrieta are all what they will build around.

    Theo has no control over the business side pertaining to the renovation of Wrigley, which obviously couldn't have gotten done otherwise it would have. What could have been done on the baseball side? They tried on Tanaka, as did the White Sox. Only one team can end up with him. Cano? Choo? The White Sox bought extremely low on a player of Abreu's caliber, because although he is very impressive, he was at the time unproven in the majors. Offensively what options did they have in the free agent market that would have made them a competitive team?

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    amen

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