Dave Van Dyck, Chicago Tribune baseball bigfoot:
Even though they tried to lower expectations heading into the season, it became clear the Cubs' new front office had no desire to tolerate their team losing six straight games and starting the season with a .214 winning percentage.
This is wonderful news, to me. First, let metake care of a couple of pieces of business:
- Non-snarky sincere thank you, Marlon Byrd. Nobody, least of all yourself, claimed you were a savior, a straw that stirred the drink, or anything like that. You seem like a decent guy and I wish you the best of luck in Boston and the rest of your career. You really didn't do anything that I recall that I....well, that's good for now.
- I believe I have the ability to communicate clearly. However, often people seem to read things that I didn't intend to say, so let's clear something up. Yes, I think the whole "keep a guy down simply so he can't become Super-Two Arb eligible sooner" is bullcrap for this franchise that practically prints its own money. But I understand it is the Epstein Plan to keep Jackson and Rizzo down on the farm this spring, and I do NOT advocate scrapping that part of the plan at this time. Keep 'em down there. Let them wring every last drop of enjoyment out of Des Moines, Iowa. Should take another six weeks, tops. I will wait. No problem.
What I intended to say the other day is, fine, keep Rizzo and Jackson in Iowa. On the other hand, I do not see any point in giving major league at bats to Marlon Byrd, Ian Stewart, Geo Soto, Blake DeWitt, Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, and Joe Mather if they cannot even manage to hit .200. Why? Because, in every conceiveable scenario in where the Chicago Cubs evolve into a contending organization, none of these guys will be part of the plan.
If we are going to lose, let's bring up guys who are NOT necessarily sure things. Say we replace six bums with six kids. We lose the same number of games. And, maybe, one of the kids demonstrates the ability to produce on this level? Then, hey, we got something for nothing. And if none of them pans out? Then, I guess we know, and then there is no reason to keep them around. Cut losses, move on to some other guys.
I mentioned names like Wellington Castillo, Adrian Cardenas, Jay Jackson, Travis Wood, Chris Rusin, Dave Sappelt, Josh Vitters, Trey McNutt, Jae-Hoon Ha, Logan Watkins. All these guys are 25 or younger, and none are our top-10 prospects. Vitters was, but not lately. Except for perhaps Wood, the organization has no certain expectations on these guys. Are they just organizational filler, or will they contribute someday? We don't know, do we?
Would they play worse than Byrd, DeWitt, Soto and Stewart? Nah, they couldn't possibly. I'm not sure me and the three developers from India in the room with me right now would play much worse.
All I know is: there is about a 5% chance that one of the kids would step up and make himself part of the Eventual Plan. On the other hand, there is NO chance any of the guys on the roster now (except Castro) are ever gonna be part of the plan. I'd rather have 5 percent than none at all.
So we traded Byrd for a relief pitcher who was so poor, he couldn't stick in the Sawx bullpen, the same Sawx bullpen that blew a 7 run lead on Friday and a 9 run lead yesterday. What the hell, as I said, there is a .00001% chance he gets good with us and is a Cub in the years to come, which is .00001% more of a chance than Marlon Byrd had. Is this what Theo meant when he said improvement would be incremental, and non-linear?
Yeah, I believe this IS what he meant. At least they aren't doing the Hendry thing, sitting on their asses, waiting for the veterans to fulfill their baseball card expectations. Byrd is on a relevant team; we have one more chance to see if Tony Campana can get on base enough to contribute in the big leagues; and there is a clear path for Brett Jackson when he finally comes to town in June.
Now its time to find a new home for Geo Soto. (UPDATE: can't even field bunts anymore. any questions?)