It's time to extend Theo Epstein

This really shouldn’t even be a question.

Oh, sure.  The Theo Epstein led Cubs have averaged 95 losses the last 3 years, but we knew that was going to happen.  Could they have been better?  Of course, but the CBA punishes mediocrity.  Epstein could have overpaid players to come to Chicago and made them a .500 team, but to what end?  For a lower draft pick?  To have these players hanging around in the last couple of years of their deal taking up payroll space?

Epstein played the hand he was dealt and he played it remarkably well, stocking up a farm system that ranks among the best in the game.  The Cubs enter Epstein’s 4th season with scads of the kind of currency every organization covets:  young cost-controlled impact talent and payroll flexibility.

As we have mentioned, this first phase of the rebuild has gone swimmingly, but it is all prelude.  The Cubs have put themselves in a position where they can easily sign free agents or trade for veterans.  The best is yet to come.

And who knows the organization better when it comes to making the necessary moves for the next few years?

What’s more, one rival executive told me that Epstein himself is a draw to get these players.

I think the Cubs are in a unique spot because of the credibility they have with Theo Epstein.  If he says they are on the brink of a championship, well, he should know since he has two World Series rings.  I think it’s difficult for other GM’s who have never reached the playoffs — let alone won a World Series — to make the same proclamations because, how would they know?

He went on to say that this is a big offseason for the Cubs and he expects them make a couple of big moves.  He also believes they should contend for a wild card next year.  Now, if I were a player signing with the Cubs for an extended period of time, I’d want to be pretty darn sure Epstein is going to be there too.

There is no doubt Epstein wants to stick around, but he will let that take care of itself.  It’s fitting for a man who understands that all he can do is control the process and the results are at least somewhat out of his control.  But he also believes good results follow good process.  The same should apply to him with the result, of course, being a contract extension.

“That’s really not a concern for me,” Epstein said. “I’m just focused on growing the organization. But I’m sure we’ll talk this winter about sort of longer-term plans and how all of the different personnel fit into that mix.

“It’s not really a pressing issue. I love coming to work each day. I love the people I work with. I love the challenge that we have here.”

Theo Epstein and his group have set up this organization to contend for years the next 5-10 years beginning with next season. He has brought good process to an organization that has lacked it for most of it’s history.  That process is already beginning to bear fruit and Epstein should be here to enjoy the results when they come.

#ExtendTheo

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    This is as close to a no-brainer as you're going to find. If Theo wants to stay, this should get done immediately. For all the reasons you give plus it will give Lester an assurance that Theo will be there for the entirety of any contract he signs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yep, shouldn't even be a question.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Indeed. Anywhere else theyd be raising champagne glasses for the job Theo/Jed have done with this system. An extension and a raise are in order for the entire front office. After all, they did just extend Crane Kenneys contract to 2019, and hes useless as a baseball man.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    What you said Mike.

  • Retain the President of the best FO in the league? Sounds great to me.

    It seems like Theo is not the least bit worried and I cannot blame him. The media and other organizations rave about what he has done thus far and the Cubbies just exceeded the 2011 win total by paying $42M less. I bet Ricketts loves the guy and opens up the wallet for him in due time.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Ha! Well, when you put it that way.

  • John, this probably doesn't enter into the decision to extend Theo but is there a mkt val measurement per salary of the pres/GM? Not sure how you can measure their stats like you do players but is their a way to measure value or is it in the eye of the owner? How does Theo's deal currently match up to his peers? As I said how he stacks up against his peers probably isn't relevant but can he be overpaid?

  • In reply to stix:

    Not that I know of, but I can tell you he is considered the best or in the top 2-3 by just about everyone you ask in the industry.

  • I am surprised It has gotten even this far. Makes me wonder what Ricketts is thinking and that he may not be as bright as we had hoped.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    However smart he is, I hope he is at least smart enough to extend Theo.

  • Three years into a total gut & rebuild,... and what do the Cubs (and us fans) have on our hands.

    A supurb set of young, cost-controlled bullpen arms - with a glut of them waiting in the wings in the Minors to go with those already up.

    The makings of a solid, young, cost-controlled core to a pitching rotation to build around Arrieta, Hendricks - and potentially Turner, Doubront, and guys like Wada and Joksish. They need a TOR guy by hook or crook, and could use a solid rebound from Wood and/or another arm from 'somewhere'.

    A generally good defense built around a bunch of young, cost-controlled players with scads of power,.... with the biggest concern being a tendency to swing a bit too freely.

    And perhaps the best minor-league system top-to-bottom in the league.

    The best record since 2010,.... and remind me again why it is that Epstein and Hoyer shouldn't be given an extension to see the process out?

    The end result may not be our much coveted World Series appearances and wins,..... but the probability of get these is quite high for years to come.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    You make a great point-- this was a total rebuild. Not just of the major league club but all the way down to the minor leagues, scouts, facilities, you name it. There were certainly some missteps at the beginning (the Ian Stewart debacle or EJax signing) but the amount of work it takes to totally restructure the baseball organization as a whole is enormous and there are bound to be some miscalculations along the way.

    I knew this organization had absolutely made it when they acquired within a six week period the equivalence of six top tier prospects or first round picks with the acquisition of Schwarber, Cease, Sands, Russell, McKinney, and Turner. Rizzo says Carpenter and Holliday were commenting on how impressed they were with Soler & Baez but they have not seen anything yet.

  • You're right, he deserves an extension but the Cubs are at the point now where they're going to start spending big money. Theo's record is spotty when that's the case:
    Adrian Gonzalez $154 over 7 (had to be dumped)
    Carl Crawford $142 over 7 (had to be dumped)
    J.D. Drew $70 over 5 years (was bad except for HR in World Series)
    Josh Beckett $68 over 4 years (had to be dumped)
    Edgar Renteria $40 over 4 years (traded after 1 year)
    Julio Lugo $36 over 4 years (lost job in year 2)
    Edwin Jackson $52 over 4 years

    Hope he does better though I'm sure this case can be made with most huge contracts.

  • In reply to DComegys:

    I buy into the idea that some of those bad contracts were not Theo's fault, but the fault of the ownership forcing his hand.

    http://nypost.com/2013/01/15/francona-epstein-take-shots-at-red-sox-owners-in-new-book/

  • In reply to nukee:

    Solid point

  • In reply to DComegys:

    I would say that they fact that Boston was able to trade those contracts is evidence that they weren't as bad as you say.

    He has made a bunch of good signings for the Cubs but of course the general MLB record for all GMs on huge free agent contracts is not so hot.

  • In reply to ddevonb:

    Meh. Everyone always blames the other guy for moves that don't work out. Theo was GM, but who knows who is ultimately to blame.

    What we do know is Theo has made one major FA signing with the Cubs and it was Jackson. I think all of us would agree this has been a terrible signing, and easily Theo's worst acquisition.

    Part of me thinks the reason Theo went all in with a youth movement with the Cubs is precisely because he did so poorly with expensive FA's in Bos. He wanted to build a team of youngsters he drafted or acquired in trades, with short term FA's to supplement those players. I'm not convinced Theo will sign 2 major FA's this winter. I'm pretty sure Theo will sign Lester because of his history with Lester. I think this is why you can forget Shields and Scherzer. Theo isn't going to invest big money into guys he doesn't know. He knows Lester and he'll go all-in for him or he'll sign no big money pitchers.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    I do think he will make plays for guys he knows well. The only other big MLB free agent he went after was Anibal Sanchez, who was part of the Red Sox system. It's why I can easily see them taking a flyer on Justin Masterson if he comes cheap.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't disagree with this as Masterson will come cheap and won't need to lock up long term.

    Theo won't invest big dollars/years in someone like Scherzer or Shields, IMHO. It will be all or nothing with Lester, as far as big dollar FA pitchers.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    good news is that apparently the Stanklees are out of the market this year. The Rangers also seem reticent about any big$ contracts this offseason. Cubs appear to have the best shot at Lester.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Agree, it appears there might not be the competition for Lester there might have been in other years. The rumors had the Yanks going after Shields. The Cubs have the money and desire to sign Lester. I think the Cubs are willing to outspend everyone for Lester because of Theo's relationship with Lester.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DComegys:

    To be fair, I don't agree that Gonzalez had to be dumped.
    Becket and Crawford HAD TO be dumped, and Gonzalez was the price they had to pay.
    Sure he was expensive, but he was and is extremely good. He's what made it worthwhile for the Dodgers to absorb so much money.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You're right about that GIffmo

  • In reply to DComegys:

    I would argue that 80-90% of all free agent signings turn out poorly.... especially anything for more than 2 years.

  • In reply to stephenwdavis:

    It'd be interesting to actually look that up but you're right, a lot of these marquee free agent deals aren't going to be great value from the start.

  • In reply to DComegys:

    Agon led the NL in rbis this year. He might be the one somewhat worth his contract. Agreed, the others sucked. One thing about Lester, tho, hes not a true fireballer or hard sinker/slider type who tend to develop arm problems the most. More of a compsite who can pitch with whatever works, and do it all fairly well. Lester would be the only one Id trust long-term tho.

  • I agree we of course want him to stick around. How much would we argue he's worth though? And how many people like him do you need to be successful (Hoyer, McLeod...)? I'm mostly doing this to be devil's advocate but I think aside from potential draft picks lost we'd argue the cubs should sign (after Lester) Shields, Martin, and some other top FA studs if money were no issue. Why is it money is never discussed when we talk about Theo?
    Maybe he's worth $40M/yr? What's his WAR? I don't really mean WAR because I don't think you take a replacement of what's available outside of all working GM's but rather in the sense that you have to compare his worth to other GM-types when valuing him. Theo may think he's worth that much and then it may be less of a no-brainer. Just as young prospects don't have to be paid as much, up-and-coming bright young executive "prospects" are picking up the skills by studying what Theo, Jed, Billy, etc. have done and can be had at a fraction of whatever Theo will be paid.

    (I think it's clear it will be less than $40M/yr) but can someone correct me on another factor that may limit Theo's earning potential - isn't it the case that executives can not jump to another club in a lateral move without permission of the team they're leaving. I think that's not often withheld but it would seem to depress the wage of a good President, no?

  • In reply to hawkmcd:

    The top execs don't get contracts like good or even average players. Epstein's contract is for 5 years and 18.5M. That is worth less than 1 win a year on today's market, That isn't going to be an issue. imo.

  • Every time I hear some one say now is the time, I ask... why now? Why not in December of during spring training? :)

    I think they will extend him but the timing is certainly not critical now.

  • Theo (and more importantly) the core of his management team, deserve an extension. They've built up one of the best minor league systems in baseball, and have obviously excelled in the scouting/drafting/trading department. In addition, they have done a good job dealing with the media.

    But in terms of grading his team, it is still a big incomplete. The MLB team is still lousy to mediocre, and honestly the jury is still out on their ability to develop the young players they have acquired. When the young'uns start raking and chucking at a consistently, successful level in the Major League, only then can we say they are successfully developing their young players. With a few exceptions, such as Arrieta and Hendricks (maybe Ramirez and Strop, too), there are still too many players 'baking in the oven' for us to know conclusively how they will turn out.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I'd actually be tempted to give McLeod and extension before I would Theo. IMHO McLeod is the true star in this FO. Still, just like with my points with Theo, I want to see these prospects prove themselves before offering an extension to McLeod. If the Cubs had to lose one of Theo and McLeod, I would chose to lose Theo in a nanosecond before McLeod. His job rebuilding this farm system has been incredible.

    Plus, if the draft rumors are true, McLeod was the guy pushing for Theo to pick Bryant and Schwarber. Theo preferred a pitcher over both those guys.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    McLeod has been extended and he is great, but Theo is the star here. Let's not overthink this. McLeod's draft picks without Theo were Corey Spangenberg and Karsten Whitson. Drafts aren't one man shows and McLeod has done a whole lot better with Theo in the room.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    McLeod I beleived was extended back at the time when he turned down the GM position with the Compadres,

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That is correct. He was extended in early July, IIRC.

  • Looking over his big free agent signings, the only positive was David Ortiz (Adrian Gonzalez hasn't been terrible). That does make me nervous, but he's due for a few good signings right?

  • In reply to Bandito Blanco:

    Oritz was a huge diamond, but certainly not his only positive signing. Bill Mueller, for instance. Adrian Beltre. Even Kevin Millar was a good value signing.

    I'm not sure I put much stock in those later year signings. Seems like he was pressured to match the Yankees punch-for-punch...

    That won't be the case in Chicago. I think he'll only make signings that provide good value while trying to minimize risk.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I don't know, but I would wager that Theo learned a great deal from those free agent signings in Boston. He's a smart guy. Smart guys don't make the same mistakes twice. That's one of the reasons they're considered smart guys.

    Also, Ricketts was smart enough to hire Theo (when few thought it was possible) and get out of his way and let him do his job. I think he can figure out when to give Theo an extension. I imagine Theo can have this job until he no longer wants it.

  • Mr. Ricketts, and family would be fools not to extend all involved in the FO/ Scouts.
    That is the way I feel, they have done great all through the minors to the top. Maybe a new MLB hitting coach would help? Manny?
    Cut our K rate down!!! Great work again John!

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    "Maybe a new MLB hitting coach would help? Manny?
    Cut our K rate down!!! "

    I thought people said Bill Mueller was a great hire as hitting coach because he was a guy who could teach them about patience, etc. The reality is it's very difficult for a player to cut their K rate down. It almost always goes up some from their MiLB level. Very few players cut their K rate from the minors to the majors. Now walk rates can be increased but extremely rare to make a meaningful reduction in a player's K rate. It's because high K's are related to poor pitch recognition and that's something that can't be improved, or at least no one knows how to improve it.

  • I agree that Theo should be extended and Cubs ownership should keep him.
    Normally, John presents both sides of an argument in his articles. Is there an argument to not extend the contract of Theo?
    - Each year for the last 3-4 years, we have been signing a few bargain priced experienced outfielders. So far, we have only found one gem (Coughlan). The front office seems to do a better job identifying diamond in the rough pitchers than position players.
    - As mentioned by other commenters, Theo and his colleagues have history of mixed success with high price free agents....including his only try on behalf of the Cubs (Edwin Jackson).
    - Some successful business managers believe in having diverse voices from different backgrounds giving input to direct an organization. Theo has surrounded himself with people he is familiar and have similar backgrounds. When the Cubs management team needs to make big decisions.....will they lack diversity of perspective?

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Good points. There are good reasons not to extend him now. If nothing else flexibility for Ricketts. There's no urgency to extend him now. As John said, it's not like Theo's not happy in Chi or threatening to leave. What is the harm in waiting and seeing? The FA argument is weak. FA's (including Lester) aren't going to not sign with Chi if Theo doesn't get an extension. It's about the money (especially if FA think the Cubs are trying to win). If the Cubs offer the most money the Cubs will land the FA. It's not complicated.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Jed Hoyer is actually quite different than Epstein and Theo brought him in specifically because he is willing to go in different directions.

    The free agents are a concern but until late, they didn't derail the chances to win. It was only when they started getting into bidding wars that it started to adversely affect their org as a whole. Even the EJax signing didn't cripple them.

    I would say that Valbuena is a bigger gem than Coghlan as far as position players. Nate Schierholtz was a nice signing for one year. DDJ was good for 2 years. Bonifacio was a signing that sparked the team early and wound up being used to land another prospect. Most flyers are only good for a year or two. Guys like David Ortiz are the exception.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Ruggiano wasnt terrible. Valbuenna was a decent find. No one really thought EJax would be as bad as he turned out to be, his track record at the time made his contract seem reasonable. My pick for the worse signing hes made is Veras. Completely useless. Only good news with Veras is he didnt cost much to dump.

  • There's absolutely no reason to extend Theo right now. He's done a good job but shouldn't be extended until he shows improvement with the major league product. Having a nice farm system is great, but the bottom line is the major league product. Wins in Chi are what count, not wins in Tenn.

    If the Cubs finish the next couple of seasons with 90 loss seasons, without extenuating circumstances, Theo should be gone. His prospects could turn out to be busts. If that happens, or the Cubs continue to lose 90 games a season then The Plan is a failure.

    Now, I don't think the Cubs will continue to lose 90 games and I don't think Baez, Bryant, Soler, Russell, turn out to be busts (at least not all of them), but Theo should be evaluated on the results of the major league product before he's extended.

    I don't buy the argument that the Cubs can't compete until 2017. They should be able to compete (at least play around .500 ball and have a puncher's chance) next season.

    Again, there's absolutely no reason to extend Theo now. Wait until next offseason and you will be in a much better position to evaluate Theo's performance at the major league level.

    The reason John and others are sold on the extension today is because they are totally convinced The Plan will work. What's the hurry? How about Proof of Concept first? They may be right, but the jury is still out. Let's see progress at the major league level before we give Theo the keys to the city.

    Just like payroll flexibility is a wonderful thing for a GM, personnel flexibility is a good thing for an owner. If the prospects flop and the Cubs keep losing 90 games, then Theo's plan is a failure and he needs to go. I don't want to get stuck in a fat contract with a bad plan that's not working. Ricketts could still fire him but the next GM would be a cheap hire because they would still owe so much money to Theo. Dumb.

    Waiting a year is the smart play.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    So McLeod does a great job is the "real star", makes all the prospect decisions (according to you), and should be extended first, but if prospects fail then Theo needs to go. Curious logic. All of these arguments probably work better on Bleed Cubbie Blue. That is more their style.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    While I do agree Cubs Den is a much stronger blog and better commenting environment than BCB, I find it very unprofessional for you to be making attacks at the other blog. I have read this blog for some time, and it seems a bit out of the ordinary for you, John. May have been better just to ignore.

  • In reply to Burnsie25:

    You are right. I meant the sniping you see in the comments section sometimes and not the blog itself. That didn't come off well. I apologize for that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Apology completely accepted! I do agree with you - it is just one thing coming from any random commenter versus the man running the whole show.

    Either way, the apology is appreciated.

  • In reply to Burnsie25:

    Thanks, appreciate that.

  • I have been on board hundred percent with this front office ever since Theo came on board.The big difference that I see between this front office compared to the Hendry one is the difference between strategic thinking and tactical decisions… One puts together a vision then executes a plan to get there... the other one throws stuff up against the wall and hopes it'll stick...
    Since Theo's thinking aligns so closely with Rickett's there is no doubt this relationship will continue beyond the five-year contract.

  • fb_avatar

    Another vote for "no brainer."

    And as a rebuttal to those who question his free agent signings, I say that sure, he made some bad moves, but I think he's learned from a lot of them.

    H was, after all, the youngest manager in MLB history and is still just 40 years old.
    His strength is clearly the draft and scouting. Which he has done splendidly.
    Even his past bad decisions came when he was attempting to make a splash to give a boost to a team that was close but didn't make it. We're sill a few years away from being THAT team.

    An extension is definitely due for what he's accomplished thus far.

  • John could have saved himself time and had another scotch by simply writing the headline and leaving it at that. Don't think that any evidence needed to be presented to support that statement.

    Every GM has a bad signing. They important thing is to minimize the damage by keeping the years or the dollars down.

    As bad as EJaxx has been, it has not nor will not keep the Cubs from doing something else because there are so many cost controlled guys on the roster. For the short term, this contract can be eaten.

    Even guys like Sweeney, Ruggiano and Schierholtz weren't bad signings. They had moments where they have contributed, but again, the contracts were short term and the dollars were nothing to worry about.

    This off season will be the first where we could see Theo sign a significant FA. I think most of us would be fine with signing Lester, but would anyone be worried if it was a 7 year deal? 6 year deal? 5 years at $150 million?

    So whereas it might be a no brainer to go and get Lester, with the type of contract he will demand (and could receive from the likes of the Yankees and Rangers) there could come a point where it would be wise for Theo and Jed to walk away.

  • Extending Theo is the right move, no question, but if he were to leave for some reason, I'd be perfectly confident with Hoyer and McLeod leading the way.

  • Epstein has been going about his job the same way they've tried to teach their hitters to go about theirs. That is, have a good approach and the end result will take care of itself. We've yet to see the end result, but it all looks very promising to me. That, to me, makes Theo a keeper. Sign him!

  • In reply to tenncub:

    He's under contract for 2 more years. There's absolutely no pressing need to extend him now. I've still yet to read a single convincing reason why they need to extend him now. If the Cubs lose 90+ games the next 2 seasons and/or the top prospects turn out to be busts, Ricketts would be kicking yourself for offering him an extension now.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    That does pose an interesting question.

    The timeline pretty much assumes that next year the Cubs are a .500+ team and contend for a wild card spot and 2016 is the year the fun begins.

    Now what happens if the Cubs aren't a playoff team the next 2+ years due to anything from crippling injuries, bad luck, regression, prospects not panning out, playing in a tough division etc. etc? At what point do the torches come out for Theo's head.

    I also want to say the rebuild was absolutely a necessary evil but the ultimate goal is to translate it to wins for the major league team. The foundation is solidly built but it one day must be translated to major league success.

    If the Cubs miss the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons under the Epstein era I'm assuming we all agree we must try someone else. But where's the line for people? 6 seasons? I'm not calling for anyone to be fired if the Cubs don't make the playoffs next year but what's the line?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Good points.

    While I agree the FO shouldn't be blamed for injuries, bad luck, etc. If the prospects don't pan out this is a major point against Theo. He went all-in with the prospects, so he can't say, "oops", that was just a bad batch, the next ones will be better. He was able to get Bryant, Schwarber, Russell, McKinney, Edwards, because the team punted seasons. The point in punting seasons was to take short term pain for long term gain.

    Let's say Bryant and Baez flop, because their high K rate won't let them have success at the ML level. Even if Soler doesn't flop what if he's just a ML avg RF? What if Russell's bat turns out to be avg as a middle infielder but believe avg anywhere else? Now the Cubs are losing 90+ games and no (or not enough) impact prospects.

    Like you, I'm not calling for Theo to be fired, even if he doesn't make the playoffs in the next couple years. However, if they don't even compete for a playoff spot, and there's no extenuating circumstances, then you have to take a hard look to determine if Theo deserves to be here beyond 2016.

    I guess my point is what is the rush. People have bought into idea the Cubs shouldn't sign a bunch of FA players to long term contracts because it limits flexibility. Isn't the same true with the FO? If they extend him then Ricketts hands are tied if the Cubs flop the next 2-3 years. He can't get rid of him and if he does he'll end up having to go cheap for his replacement.

    Why the urgency to extend Theo now? He's not going anywhere. Let's way and see how he does with the major league product when next year is when we should start to see positive results at the ML level.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    good example and the royals and mike moustakas. drafted 2nd overall, number 9 prospect according to baseball america, texas league player of year when he hit 36 HR and 124 RBI's with a .347 BA. The guy has never has a career .236 batting average now.

    Thats why Theo and Jed are genius for loading the system...if one guy fails, we have plenty more!!

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    I don't think that is a convincing reason to wait. Do you have a better one? You are all for extending McLeod but none of those prospects have proven themselves at the MLB level yet. Can't have it both ways.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bill Oliger:

    considering we didn't even lose 90 games THIS year, that's unlikely to the point of absurd.

    There may be no "pressing need" but it's the right thing to do. He's one of the best minds in baseball and has created the best minor league system and already changed the major league team in a big way.
    We avoided 90 losses despite not bringing up the unanimous (and it wasn't close) best minor leaguer in 2014.
    The team as is would already be very interesting for 2015 before you consider that we only have about 30 million dedicated to that season's payroll and we can spend the next 2-3 seasons aggressively pursuing anyone who can make us better.

    There's no NEED but there is absolutely plenty of convincing reasons.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    89 games, 90 games, a distinction without a difference.

    LOL. Why is it "the right thing to do"? Is he not getting well paid now to do his job?

    You guys are such hypocrites. You whine about payroll flexibility and signing of long term contracts and then you are saying "it's the right thing to do" for Theo. Weak.

    Again, there's no need to do it at this time. They can wait a year. Ricketts isn't running a charity, so the "it's the right thing to do" claim is silly.

    The objective is to win major league games. To make the playoffs and ultimately a WS.

    So, then the team shouldn't lose 90 games (or close to it) next season and if they do then Theo did a poor job? Is that what you're saying?

    I'm glad you agree with me there's no need to do this now, and you've failed to provide ONE convincing reason. Believe it or not, I think you are coming to agree with my comments without realizing it. You just need to take the blinders off.

    BTW, none of this is to say I don't think the Cubs will win in the next couple years, etc. I'm just saying we should wait another season to see if we get results at the major league level.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    There's no need to do anything. So what's your point? The Cubs don't need to extend Theo? Of course they don't need to. Way to go out on a limb there. The Cubs don't need to win a World Series either. We would like them to, but they don't need to.

    Your entire hangs on whether the Cubs need to extend Epstein, yet the word need is never used in the article. If I were to write an article on what the Cubs don't need to do, I could write it on pretty much any existing subject. So what is exactly is your point? There is nothing inconsistent about what Giffmo wrote.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you bother reading what I write or do you just like to act dumb? I've said numerous times the Cubs don't need to extend Theo "now". Wait a year and assess the situation. Contrary to you, I supported my reason for waiting with logical points, you provided us with a single, idiotic reason for giving the extension and then when asked to provide of a similar example, you've been incapable of providing one. Brilliant, John.

    You wrote a weak article, with foregone conclusions, then get upset (your typical thin skinned response) when someone disagrees or challenges your position.

    The title of your article isn't a question it's a declaration. Since you seem to be more obtuse tonight than usual, I'll make it so clear even you can understand. Contrary to the conclusions in your lame article, NO, don't extend Theo now. Wait until the end of next season. Is that plain enough for you or do I need to be clearer for you?

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    I'm thin-skinned? I'm having a blast watching you back pedal, chase your tail, and lose your composure, Now you are making personal attacks? Do you want to read the comment policy?

    The Cubs don't need to extend Theo Epstein? Wonderfully courageous statement there, Bill! Can you tell me where I said the Cubs need to extend him? Or do you bother to read anything I write? :)

    The article is a declaration of what I think the Cubs should do. You are hung up on the word need. Everything you say revolves around that and it's not anything that was ever said here. The Cubs don't need to do anything. I'm saying they should.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Seems like every comment bill makes is always the exact opposite view point of whatever article he comments on.. seems trollish to me.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Could you explain how extending Theo takes away from payroll flexibility? Lets say Theo gets a max of 5mil/year, what FA are you going to sign with that cash instead? Darwin Barney?

  • Without a doubt Theo should be extended...Same with Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. The three of them make the best brain trust in the league in my opinion. However, if I were to guess, I would think that if anything it's Theo that might stall on signing an extension, until some of the business sides of the equation come to pass.

    A common refrain during the last 3 years has been the promise that the baseball & business sides of the operations would come together in splendid equilibrium, i.e. as the MLB team came back into relevance lead by young cost controlled talent, the business side would start bringing in new revenues from the park renovation allowing the baseball side to add money to payroll, which would further establish the Cubs as a contender, thereby driving further team interest, ticket sales, sponsorship opportunities, etc, etc, etc...finally culminating in the giant TV deal in 2020...

    So, while Theo has said he has full faith in the business side of the equation, I think he wants to wait to make sure their are no "Cubby Occurrences" in the next while, such as an inability to get a good radio deal, a good bridge TV deal for the WGN games, and most importantly that the renovation (and the revenue from signs, etc) goes through without an injunction or even something crazy like the Roof Tops winning against the City and Landmark commission and halting the project full stop....that could seriously set everything back as far as business plans go....so I think Theo just wants to see the Biz side execute on the plan, especially in these critical next 12-24 months. After all, Theo is not worried about job security, those in baseball are not looking at the Cubs record, but the amazing organizational turnaround, and Theo's history. If he left or didn't get extended, he would have 5 offers the very next day.

  • Another way to look at this is:
    If not Theo, then who?

    Could we do better? I doubt it.

    And best to keep Theo, Jed and McCleod as a package as long as we can.

  • In reply to tboy:

    That's a terrible way to look at it. Theo is getting paid more than any other GM in MLB to win major league games, not just build up a farm system. I'm not saying building up the farm system shouldn't result in more ML wins, it should.

    There are several GM's who could have done as good or better a job. In fact, if the objective was to win without spending money, and building up the farm system, I would have offered Andrew Friedman a blank check to take the Cubs job. Dave Dombrowski followed a similar plan and won a WS in shorter time than Theo. I would have preferred him.

    I'm not sure McLeod couldn't do as good of a job. He's the true gem in this FO. His loss will be felt much more greatly than if Theo were to leave.

    I like Theo and think he's done a great job, but until he starts winning major league games, has the Cubs competing for the playoffs/WS then let's hold off on giving him the keys to the city. Major league results should matter when evaluating a GM.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Wrong. He was not paid to win games these first seasons. I know this for certain. I am sure you'll find some reason to say otherwise, but I can promise you it isn't true.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's not what I said, but nice try.

    He's built up the farm system so he's being paid to win games at the major league level the next couple of years.

    Keep up your little school girl cheers though. You've still yet to provide a single good reason the Cubs need to extend him now. You've given one single reason, which was as lame as they come. Yes, FA's won't sign with teams unless the GM is there for the life of their contract. Would you care to provide us of other examples of this being the case or is this just another case of John blowing hot air? To paraphrase a political consultant, "It's the money, stupid."

    John, I'm sorry to burst your bubble here but your wrong. Don't feel bad, this is more often the case than not.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    It is what you said.

    "Theo is getting paid more than any other GM in MLB to win major league games"

    In the present tense. Can't be any more clear than that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    "other GM in MLB to win major league games, not just build up a farm system. I'm not saying building up the farm system shouldn't result in more ML wins, it should."

    Try to understand context.

    In other words having a good farm system isn't enough. Ricketts ultimately paying him to win major league games. Jeebus, I can't believe you disagree with this but you've got your head so far up Theo's backside you can't see anything. Ricketts wants to get in the playoffs and win a WS. He let Theo punt seasons the first 3 years, but Theo has now built up the farm system. Punting is not allowed. He has to win games now.

    He has 2 more years on his contract. He needs to show results, not farm system results, but positive results at the major league level. Do you seriously disagree with this point?

    Stop being such a fanboy and look at things objectively. You've still failed to provide a single good reason why the extension must happen now. Please provide for me ONE example of a FA not signing with a team because a GM wasn't guaranteed a contract for the life of the FA contract. Come on, John, if you are going to use this as your gold standard reason to justify the extension, you should easily be able to cite other examples.

    I'll hang up and wait for your example.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    That is quite a back pedal. We know what you said, Bill, "Theo is being paid to win ballgames" There is no way around that. He isn't being paid to win ballgames right now and the Cubs knew that would be the case for these past 3 seasons.

    And again...never said it must happen now. Try to understand context, Bill :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No backpedal. It was quite clear the point I was making but you seem to major in obtuse.

    Theo is paid to make it to the playoff and win a WS.

    John what a tangled web you weave.

    Mike Moody: " If Theo wants to stay, this should get done immediately...."

    Your response: "Yep, shouldn't even be a question.

    You said the same thing in the article.

    You do a good job of digging your own grave.

    BTW, have you come up with 1 example to support your lame reason for extending Theo now. I'm waiting.

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    In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Since I've been working with statistical software all day: "should" != "must"

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Should does not have the same meaning as need.

    And it's you who is digging your own grave here, Bill.

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    In reply to Bill Oliger:

    I am not sure Ricketts cares as much about winning a World Series as he does making as much money off the team and Wrigley. He hired Theo and let him hire and do whatever he wants w the team. Theo gave the team credibility to the fan base and media and buy time to deliver a winner.

    Despite losing a lot of games, the cubs are one of the most profitable in the league.

    There is nothing wrong with that, it's simply business.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Sorry, but I must take exception to your first sentence. First, I really do think Ricketts wants a WS from a personal perspective as a Cubs fan. Second, I believe Ricketts realizes how much more cash he will make when the Cubs DO win a WS. Once the Cubs start winning consistently, Wrigley will of course be packed all the time, but add a WS on top, and it will be absolutely nuts.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    It won't let me reply to cubsfaninNorway

    The only fact any of us know is that you get into business to make as much money as you can. Sure, there are exceptions to everything, but that is the basic principle. I don't run my business to make money and support my family. Yes, billionaires are a little different.

    Would winning WS make his team more valuable and bring in more revenues ( 2013, the 90 loss cubs were 4th in baseball ) YES. I am they would love to be there, but at what cost? I def don't know that.

    Right now, none of us know if his main goal is to win a WS at any expense. What we see right now is it's about making as much money as possible ( to pay off his debt service) while rebuilding the minors w the hope of filling the major league roster w cost controlled players.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Well, I will admit to being a bit of a Ricketts apologist. Maybe because we are alumni of the same school (U of C).

    I didn't equate "(not) car(ing) as much about winning a WS as ... making as much money (as possible) off his team and Wrigley" to "win(ning) a WS at any expense". I would agree that we do not at this point in time know how much Ricketts will be willing to spend to bring home a WS. I will argue, though, that Ricketts is more than just a bottom-line owner. I will not deny that the bottom line isn't important to him, I just have never gotten the impression that it THE most important thing to him.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    It won't let me reply to cubsfaninNorway

    That's my point, neither of is know what is going on in rickets head. I hope your right and he will spend spend to get us that World Series.

    I can't be convinced just because of what we have seen before. This offseason will show is how serious he is in winning

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wow what a weird arguement. Theo, according to the Cubs website is President of Baseball Operations. Jed H. is GM. There's a massive difference in those 2 jobs. Theo is macro in the sense that all things baseball go through him and the direction of the baseball side is his responsibility. That's a bigger job than GM so of course he's paid more than "other GM's" except he's not a GM. Anyway, if I'm Tom R. I would pop my head into Theo's office and say let me know what you want to do and we'll take care of it quietly. Thanks for all your work John... not sure how you do it..

  • In reply to PeteyB:

    Haha! It was weird indeed. I've had some good debates in the recent past, one with Len Kasper, one with Ivy Chat, and then one with Brett from BN -- all on consecutive days! The difference there is that they were all good civil discussions where I appreciated their side and I believe they appreciated what I had to say as well. Nobody was keeping score, just exchanging ideas, which was very cool. I didn't like this guy trying to belittle me and others (and I emphasize the word trying), so I have to admit the little devil came out in me and I just wanted to see him chase his tail for awhile.

    Thanks for the kind words and I like the angle you took there, which is an insightful one about his job being more big picture than that of the GM.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John! Discourse is a good thing... but I'm just not real sure that was going to go anywhere constructive! Go Cubs!

  • In reply to PeteyB:

    Agreed om all counts :)

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Bill:

    You might attempt to express your repetitive arguments without being critical of others.
    Try the "high road" occasionally.
    You might catch more flies, etc.

  • In reply to tboy:

    He can be critical with his arguments, but he should hold himself to his own standards first. Everything he was critical about could be found in his own responses on multiple occasions. The irony was delicious, not that he noticed, of course.

  • In reply to tboy:

    Yep, we have seen they work well together and it has worked best with Epstein at the helm. Keep em all.

  • I have a different reason for extending Theo now. I don't want the excellent people he has assembled to be lured away or start looking for work elsewhere because they think there's a possibility that they have only two years left with the Cubs.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    Good point.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    Then extend them. I've already said I'd extend McLeod before I would Theo. McLeod has done what he was assigned to do and that's rebuild the farm system and make it top notch. He's the true jewel in the FO.

    Plus, these people aren't going anywhere, unless the get a promotion with another team, and they'll take that job whether Theo gets an extension or not. Nobody is saying Theo's job is in jeopardy or he's not going to be extended. The only question is does is need to be right now or can they wait a year.

    The clear answer to those who have any objectivity, is it can wait till next year.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    WHy extend McLeod? They just extended him in July. Do you want to extend him again? Or maybe it was something you didn't know?

    And you seem perfectly fine extending McLeod before he ultimately shows results. None of his drafted players are surefire big league starters yet? Shouldn't we wait for results there too, Bill? Or does that just apply to Epstein? Are you a McLeod fanboy?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John:

    One of the things that I find appealing about this site - which I attribute primarily to you - is the absence of diatribes ad hominem. Usually.
    One respondent today seems not to get this.
    Perhaps we should clarify a code of conduct for the site.
    Logic 101 - arguments ad hominem are considered not only an indication of a weak thought process, but are one of the major logical fallacies.

    John, keep up your outstanding work.

  • In reply to tboy:

    Thanks. We get that from time to time, unfortunately. Key is not to stoop to their level. They can be behave as badly as they want, but it tells me two things 1) they tell more about themselves then they tell about the person they are trying to insult and b) they don't have a place here. This is a place for civil discussion. Loved the stuff that Senator Mendoza had today. He made a good point and I found out I was wrong about something and that is cool. I mean, nobody likes to be wrong, but sometimes that's how you learn something new. Lots of times people here come up with stuff I didn't think of -- and that is cool too. That's why I love the comments section of this site.

  • In reply to tboy:

    I do have a code of conduct, by the way. It's in the commenting policy and there were plenty of times where he did not respect that code of conduct.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Tell me, what "objectivity" have you shown in your endless diatribes and your personal snipings at those who don't agree with you?
    One, two, three strikes--yer out!

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    The AZ Republic reports that the D-Backs will be looking to ramp up their analytics department, starting at the top. I'm sure they'll come shopping for our guys. There's going to be a lot more of this. As stragglers like the D-Backs come shopping for back-office talent, the Cubs may become a one-stop-shopping destination. Knowing that there will be continuity here would make any such offers a lot less tempting.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    Let em shop-McLeod just turned down the Padres this summer. Boehringer likely will stay with us. Who else might they want? Wilken? Let LaRussa go haunt his former club.

  • I'm in the camp of liking what Theo has done & the arrow pointing upwards... (new catch phrase for the end of prospects articles...? ;o) ), but the extension can wait. Unless Ricketts wants it done, then there is no reason to w/2 yrs left to go. I wouldn't wait until winter meetings of 2015, unless the negotiations take them to it, but certainly no need to do it this winter.

  • I'm on board with an extension now. The first three years have gone just about as expected, including some of my "stupid" predictions. I get the big picture and I'm sure Ricketts does too.

  • In reply to since1970:

    It is about the big picture. It's about creating something sustainable and I think they have an excellent chance to do that if they can be reasonably healthy.

  • I was expecting an extension sometime in June or July. Now is fine since it is inevitable. One benefit is that it would kill half a dozen Gordo pieces.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    LOL!

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    Lets give Jim Hendry the credit he deserves: he was the GM that brought us consecutive first place finishes.

    Epstein and Hoyer need to bring us winners before being judged as successful.

  • In reply to George Krkljus:

    We can give Hendry credit for his successes but he was unable to create anything sustainable, which is what the elite GMs/execs do. In that sense, he failed miserably because not only did he not create something sustainable, but he set the organization back long term. Epstein and Hoyer have been successful to this point because they have done exactly what they were brought in to do, which was undo that damage. We should not measure their success in wins and losses to this point, but it doesn't mean we can't judge them as successes at this point in the process.

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    In reply to George Krkljus:

    Most folks here do give Hendry his due. He is one of the better scouts of major league talent in the game and his trades for DLee and Aramis were probably the best trades in modern Cubs history. (Sandberg was a throw-in who excelled.) They also laid the foundation for a decade of competitive Cubs teams.

    Where Hendry struggled was in organization and in this new, modern era where teams like the Marlins and Pirates aren't forced to trade away Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen, that is highly problematic because you have to develop cost-controlled talent yourself. It is true that Tribune budgets hamstrung him there but that was not all of it. That is why there was a need for Theo to build the organization from the ground up and why these last 3 years have been so awful. The good and the bad are a package deal, here.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well, I don't think JH has received enough credit on this site but we all know the Cubs were in a different phase under JH, a go for it all mode most of his tenure. They were favored to go the WS entering the playoffs at least once and failed on the field. We also weren't fly's on the walls with JH, John McD. and Tribune brass (entertainment company who care about ratings) on how much pressure was put on them to go for it all for TV rating's/ad revenue. And we know Zell was only worried about a high price to sell the Cubs and I think the farm suffered under both ownerships. And even JH is ultimately responsible Wilkin and Omer should share some of the blame.
    As far as Theo, if I was Ricketts, it is a no brainer, but if I was Theo I would wait, he is in the drivers seat. I lot of big market Presidents are on the hot seat. I still think back to his cryptic comments on expecting more payroll flexibility after his fist year and it is clear he loves big FA names. Is Theo satisfied with the Cubs and Ownership? It's been fun to watch Rizzo, Castro develop, Solar looks like he will be a star (If healthy) Byant also, but I'm nervous about Baez, AA and the starters outside of Jake. If LA doesn't make the WS and starts to put out feelers (great roster and decent farm) or the Yanks (lots of money) will Theo listen????

  • In reply to Rock:

    I think we have defended him a lot, more than most sites -- particularly his early years when he built the 2003 team. We reference Hendry there and talk about how the organization knew what it was doing...

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/10/the-time-the-cubs-almost-got-it-right/

    But we would be remiss if we didn't look at both sides of the coin and Hendry had his share of failures, including the long term big contracts that decimated this organization. To be fair, the ownership deserved a good chunk part of the blame.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    What long term contracts decimated the organization ?

    Soriano? We are a big market, one of the top revenue teams. One or two big contracts does not ruin or set back the franchise.

    Zambrano? Toxic and unproductive ? Yes, but he was only unproductive at the end of his contract. That money didn't stop the cubs from being productive or successful.

    The minor leagues being in shambles w very little talent was what made it necessary for Theo and crew to rebuild. ( which was the right thing to do ). Hopefully it all works out and all these bad season are soon followed by the " 5-10 years of continued success "

    Extend him now or next year, I don't know what the argument is about. They believed in his plan this long, might as well let him see it thru.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Seriously? This was the situation in 2010

    Alfonso Soriano: $19M: 2.8 WAR player
    Carlos Zambrano: $18.875M: 2 WAR player
    Kosuke Fukudome: $14M: 1.2 WAR
    Ryan Dempster: 14M: 2.9 WAR -- a relative bargain!
    Carlos Silva: 12.75M: 1.8 WAR

    At that time market value was $4M for win. They got 10.7 wins out of that quintet and paid 78.765M. They paid nearly a premium that was nearly double their worth on the open market. That team won 75 games total with a $144M payroll

    Theo Epstein got 73 wins with $92M this year. That gives him $50M to add players to add to that compared to the 2010 team.

    Big market is nice, but you still have to be efficient. You still have to do more with the money you have if you expect to compete year in and year out instead of masking deep organizational problems for a cosmetic one and done.

    And it was just as bad in 2011, if not worse.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I like that, great points w examples.

    My point was that a 144 million dollar payroll ( w most of those bloated contracts soon to expire ) should not kill a large market team. I like that you only mentioned the bad ones, but that's fine since that's the point of this discussion.

    I don't disagree that you need to be efficient w your money or you end up being they Yankees. I don't disagree that this team easiest and cheapest ( or efficient) way to fix the organization was to gut it from top to bottom.

    I just think it's naive to think ( not saying you believe this so don't attack me like you did the other guy ) that your going to compete for championships for an extended period with mostly cost controlled players. ( my point is w the revenues being pulled in ( 274 million last year for 4th in the league ) we should be above the 140+ million mark and it's not going to hurt the team )

    Yes I know it's a business and the goal is to make as much money as they can, but that should not be a fans main concern.

    Let's look at the playoff teams this year

    Dodgers 235 million

    Tigers 162 million

    Angels 155 million

    Giants 154 million

    Nationals 134 million

    Cardinals 111 million ( small market team lol )

    Baltimore 107 million

    Oakland 84 million

    Pittsburgh pirates 78 million

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I agree fans shouldn't worry about payroll. We just want a winning team. But I do think fans should concern themselves with spending in that they do it in such a way that they put the best team possible on the field. The idea of getting cost-controlled players is not to get the best team for the least amount of money, it's to give them the greatest amount of money possible to spend on 2nd contracts. The more cost-controlled players you have the more higher paid and/or high quality impact players you can bring in. As you say, they are a big market team -- they shouldn't give up that advantage. However if they can get 73 wins with $90M instead of 75 wins with $145M, that gives them a whole lot more room to improve.

    The other guy was aggressively going after readers, by the way. You may disagree with me at times, but I never need to worry about that with you, Jim.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I am not saying that they shouldn't have cost controlled players. I am not disagreeing with you at all. My point is that a lot of people ( not saying you ) acted like the Soriano contract ( which wasn't as horrible considering what people are getting now ) was the reason this team couldn't be competitive, and now that he's gone we can spend money, Cubs could have spent money the last couple of years, and it wouldn't have destroyed the franchise. I like what they are doing now so by no means am I advocating that they should have spent like drinker sailors. ( although I do wish they would have bid a little more for Darvish and Ryu but that's a whole other story)

    I like that we will be having a lot of cost controlled players, but my point is that's not going to be enough to get us to the promised land. My hope and concern is that Ricketts has banked a lot of profit the past couple of years, so soon he will be willing to act like a big market team ! We have a smart man at the helm,so we shouldn't be too worried about him giving out bad contracts. Yes Edwin Jackson is a bad deal, but it should not hurt this team going forward.

    John, how come the comments are going right thru now? Did you have a couple of scotches and smash the spam filter?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I tweaked the spam filter a bit and it has worked a lot better. I'm no expert on that stuff so it's just trial and error for me. It's been a relief because it gets tedious to fish them out. Comments get through, spam still getting caught. So far, so good.

    The reason they didn't add to the payroll is twofold 1) is that they wanted to clear the decks of those bad contracts, they did not want to add new ones they'd likely have to clear later and 2) they didn't want to be mediocre in the first couple of years. Regarding the latter, it's a trade-off and somewhat of a gamble but if they win it pays off huge. They basically passed up the opportunity to sign the Fielders and the Bourns and the Ubaldo Jimenez's just to win a few more games in the short term. What they got in return is a team that lost, but also lost enough to get Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, a huge haul in the IFA class, and the flexibility to deal for prospects like Russell, Hendricks, Vizcaino, Edwards, Ramirez, etc.

    Now they have a ton of young players they would not have otherwise had if they won a few games and also a lot more payroll flexibility going forward. Instead of having guys that are now 32-34 years old and on the last years of a multi year deal, they have lots of young cheap impact talent and payroll space created by cost-controlled players and eschewing the opportunity to sign free agents at a time when it wasn't going to make much difference in their record and a huge difference in the amount of young talent they'd be able to acquire.

    It has worked better than we could have imagined. The Cubs have tons of talent knocking on the door and lots of money to spend on guys who will be closer to their prime.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I am so glad you fixed that spam filter. It makes things so much better.

    Again, I agree with everything they have done as it was the safest way to go for a long sustained run. My point from the beginning is that adding a few players wouldn't have killed this team ( unless we would have to give us a top draft pick ). Could they have got lucky adding a few players and taking a run at it, who knows?
    All we know is this was the right way to fix the organization

    I hope I am not irritating you ( tone is so tough over the messaging ) but I was just so sick of lot people saying " soriano's contract is destroying our ability to sign any good players".

    The real answer is they prob did the right thing and just decided not to sign anyone until it was Edwin Jackson time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You are correct about his failures like all GM's do. When it comes to the large contracts lets talk about a few, as far as Soriano's contract, we found out after that John McD. added the 8th year, 7yrs 116m for a 30yr makes more sense especially for that so called final piece. Big Z a home grown talent that pitched 4or 5 straight years of 200+ innings with a excellent era in the steroid era prior to his 91m dollar contract, reasonable. Milton's contract was inexcusable, not long but their was too much information that screamed he was unstable. JH was lucky to flip him for an very good half a year of Silva.
    Would Big Z have received his contract if Wood's and Priors health didn't crumble, would a tear down would have happened if Vitters, Jackson, Simpson, Pie, Patterson, and Colvin could not make that final jump from AAA and be productive in the show. Wilken (who should not be with the cubs) and Omar should share some of the blame also.
    That is why I am cautiously optimistic on the rooks, the Cubs have put most of their eggs in one basket, what if Solar's legs continue to hamper his potential, or Edwards shoulder, can Olt, Baez, AA, make that final jump (many don't). Say we sign Lester (5yr 130m for 32yr old) and I think we will, and he tails off and with Jackson's horrendous contact are we calling for Theo's and Ricketts head?? Ahhh the life of a Cubs fan.

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    Definitely extend Theo, Jed and Jason. But I'd also like to throw some praise to the people who work for the three big execs as well. It was obviously brilliant of Theo to hire Jed and Jason, to double the scouting dept, build an entire analytical dept and spend over $1mil on the necessary software.
    It is the people who work in those new and expanded departments who deserve a collective pat on the back. They're the guy watching hours and hours of baseball or pouring over head spinning stats, finding hidden gems and bargain bin reclamation projects that are later spun into gold.
    This is definitely a top notch front office from the top man on down through the ranks.
    The educated fan sees the forest for the trees and says, well done Cubbies. Well done.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Great point. They have some excellent scouts who really have had a big factor in some of the good decisions made so far.

  • Wowzers, some friction here at the Den tonight. That's what I get for going on vacation!

    My two cents: Extend him.

    Kenney's extended, McLeod's extended.

    Let's finish syncing up the business and baseball sides of things and let this thing flower.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Haha! I think his act was getting old. I probably should have handled it better, but was having fun with it..

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    Reasons to extend Epstein:

    1) the cubs are set up for long term success but have not had it yet. They show signs next year and it will make it harder to extend. Reward him with a long term deal now when you have at least a little negotiating leverage. In addition his prospects have climbed rankings. They may not pan out in the majors, but they have had success so far and if we wanted, have ridiculous trade value (not saying we should). Although ultimately we want success in the majors, success so far is a good indicator. If we take Bill's logic further, then should we wait till the cubs win the WS (which will happen next year according to back to the future)?

    2) it's more OK to extend gms earlier than players. Players cost more and have way more risk to perform worse than previously due to degradation of skills, age, etc. We have another 30-40 years before we need to worry about that with Theo...

    3) Not extending him could lead to the perception of a lack of faith in him. That may sound silly but this happens all the time with gms and Coaches/managers in professional sports.

    If Epstein wants something ridiculous like 10 million a year then by all means wait-but if you can sign him to something close to his original deal then do it!

  • In reply to Aalok Shah:

    Those work for me.

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    I have been a Cubs die hard fan for 46 years. I have NEVER had the confidence in a Cubs management team like i do with Theo,a proven winnner. I hope the ownership gives Theo another 7 years and tells the baseball world just how serious this team is to winning it all. We need this guy and the credibility he brings to the organization.sign Lester, trade for Hamels and bring up Bryant in May and Russell by mid season. Thank You John for a great place to talk and learn about Cubs baseball.

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    Thanks Ironman. Appreciate you being a part of the great conversation here, beats the spitting contests you see elsewhere on the web. I have to apologize to everyone for engaging that type of commenter. I probably just made it worse!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would have been disappointed if you didn't engage him - no apologies needed. What he was getting at (winning at the ML level) is a no-brainer and everyone on here knows that already. Calling you dumb and obtuse lost any credibility in any argument he brought.

    Here we see, at least in my opinion, the going right back to the same old thing: how do you want to get there? What should Theo be doing differently than he already is to prove his worth? If we agree that this is the correct path (most of us surely do), then I believe he has indeed proven his worth. If, by chance, those walls come tumbling down, will it be because his plan and work was a failure? "Yes, because he COULD have been signing FAs from the beginning and not been relying on player development!"...hindsight and going right back to that same old contention that we all know doesn't work for sustained success.

    And that's why I ask what else would he have to do than what he has already done and is still doing. If we're going to go on the reasoning of winning at the MLB level before we lock him up, I guess we shouldn't have locked up Castro, Rizzo, and Soler either. What have they won?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Engaging with them almost always makes it worse, but that's how the "good" ones do it--they make it impossible not to respond and then it's off to the races. They thrive on that.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    True, for me that is especially true of those that are aggressive toward other commenters. I have little tolerance for internet "bullies", especially when it is accompanied with such grandiosity.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When he called you a fanboy and said you cheer like a schoolgirl, I thought of an angle for you as a second mascot. They put a bar on the home dugout, you are 'the Scotch Guy', and your tweets show up on the video screen. You can have one decanter filled with iced tea so the tweets don't get out of hand.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Haha! Can I at least have a couple real scotches before we replace the decanter with iced tea?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh yeah. There will be multiple decanters including 'the rally scotch'.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    I like rally scotch.

  • Can't change horses in the middle of a race!

  • In reply to Trey Mcfreakin Nut:

    Haha! And that nickname made me laugh. I hope he makes it back.

  • Keeping Theo and crew for an extended period should be considered, they by far seem to be the most intelligent and competent FO this team has ever had. That being said, at some point, pro sports is about winning, and while the needle is pointing up (finally), they're not there yet. I would wait and see what they do in the off season (FAs, etc.) to judge the odds of the 2015 team being .500 or better before extending them.

  • I have a different angle on this, as someone who works in the sporting/entertainment industry (I have a contract myself so I have my own biased opinion). Theo and Ricketts may say the right things (i.e. "let that take care of itself"), they may have high regard and respect for each other, but in the end, the contract is an important business deal. It's a sign of faith, affirmation and respect on both sides. In my experience, contracts have a funny way of bringing out the worst in people. I've seen the most rational employee's and owner's relationships deteriorate simply over language or delay in negotiations. It can be a huge distraction, especially in the world of social media today.

    So I say, if Ricketts really buys into Theo's plan of sustained excellence, and wants to ensure there are no disruptions in this plan, he should entend him sooner than later.

  • In reply to DemonBerryhill:

    That is an interesting take. There certainly is a human element to this. Epstein himself has talked about how they're not dealing with automatons when it comes to players. Sometimes we have a tendency to look at players at them as numbers/statistics, maybe we're looking at a won-loss record here and not someone who has done everything he has been asked.

    They were originally given a time frame -- 5 years, that made a lot of sense at the time but the changes in the CBA eliminated a lot of short cuts, many of them directed at how Epstein had done business in the past. Before the new CBA and the delays in renovation, the front office thought it would take 3-5 years to rebuild. That he was able to adapt and do it with a more restrictive CBA in 3 years is remarkable. That they had to lose to make it work by losing games and avoiding wins is unfortunate, but that is just one of the unintended consequences of this CBA.

    For me, I extend him because I say, you've done everything right, let's give you a few years o work with this foundation you've worked incredibly hard to build in in just 3 years, let's make sure you have the time to get the next phase right and not feel like you have to rush to the end here. Let's let everyone in the industry know you are in here for the long haul. I think it's a no-brainer and an act of good faith. It's human and it's good business, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John,
    You described it much better than I did. There is definitely a human element in this that is very difficult to capture in metrics. I always chuckle when someone says "we should sign ___ but not if it is over X amount of years or X amount of dollars". Yes, I get that you want to extract value for your organization in terms of financial value. In the end though, as an employee, you don't want to feel like you're some great bargain like an EBay find. You want to feel appreciated. Especially when we're dealing with high powered individuals at this level with larger egos and type A personalities.

  • I'm late to the party but want to throw out a few comments. I'll start with a general statement. John, your analytical skills have improved markedly over the 3 years I've been reading. I don't always agree but you lay things out very systematically and coherently. This pertains to both the big picture stuff and the everyday individual player level stuff.

    I'm very open to extending Theo for 3 additional years. When hired, I initially said I'd give him 2 years without criticism to put in place a plan (not that my criticism really matters). After the draft in 2013, I gave him another year. 3 years in and I'm pretty happy. One, we're past the part of the plan where winning at the big league level was not goal #1. Two, things have gone fairly well with regard to building the system. Similar to you John, I also believe in process. I think I understand the process here and pretty much agree with it. I'm comfortable making a commitment to sticking with it for the next 5 years. That seems to be a good time frame. Plus, Theo does have a track record of succeeding at the major league level. We can debate what that track record actually is, but I'm comfortable saying that I'd take the success he has had. The plan is not one dimensional and I'm comfortable with Theo and his crew being in charge going forward trying to mix young talent with other pieces through trades/free agency. In fact, I think this off-season might be the most important one we're going to have over the next few years. We need to bring in veteran talent but we don't quite know exactly what we have in terms of our young guys. Choosing correctly this off-season can really help accelerate the process of winning both short and long term. It would be great over the next several years if we're adding pieces through the market instead of filling holes from prior bad decisions. Some folks on here won't agree and will argue that I don't have one compelling piece of evidence to make this claim, but I would be more comfortable with the FO making these decisions with a clear 5 year window instead of the 2 years that Theo is operating under right now.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    Exactly. It's as simple as extending that window given the mess he has had to work with, the CBA, and the revenue issues here. It took 3 years to clear the deck and build a foundation -- that to me was incredible given the current restrictions. He had to work hard to do it, now we are asking him to take them to the WS in 2 years after he just got the organization healthy? Yeah, give him some breathing room and time to do this next phase right.

  • I think Theo is all in on this Cub reclamation. Not everybody is about getting the last dollar. Sometimes it's the challenge.

  • How do you think the relationship between Theo and Jed plays into this? Would Jed want to make sure Theo got an extension before he would sign one or would Theo think signing Jed to an extension before working on his own would show respect and acclaim to Jed for what he does for the FO? I almost think Theo is playing this off that it will get done when it gets done so he doesn't put a wedge between him and Jed. I think we will see an extension for Jed happen soon with Theo's extension coming shortly after it. Theo knows he is wanted here and most of the time we talk about signings, drafting, etc we say Theo did this or Theo did that, maybe this will be his way of showing the importance of Jed publicly.

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    I think they would all like to see this through together.

  • To me the argument for extending Theo now is that it sends a clear message throughout the organization (including those deciding whether or not to swing at that low outside slider), that the Chicago Cubs rewards good process, with the clear expectation that good results will follow. Either you believe this or you don't, but if you do, rewarding progress on process clearly suggest that the entire FO team be extended.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    This was put as well and succinctly as I've seen. Wish I would have thought of putting it that way!

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Well said....and it goes along with a common theme that John emphasizes here at the Den of considering process vs strictly results with regards to development, scouting, trades, etc, etc....which I emphatically agree with.

    When discussing the Cubs "rebuild" it goes far, far, far beyond just adding talent to the farm system. When Theo got here in October of 2011, and subsequently brought in Hoyer & McLeod two weeks later, they discovered an ORGANIZATION in need of a complete overhaul. That goes way beyond players and prospects. They say give a man some fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime....well, Theo taught the Cubs how to fish, so that even after he is gone, the organizational structure, tools, processes, and operating procedures that he has implemented will keep the Cubs a top flight organization.

    Here is an excerpt from ESPN which is very telling regarding the state of the Cubs when Theo got here...

    "Epstein laughingly concedes that his version of "The Cubs Way" -- a 100-plus-page manifesto given to each player and employee -- includes aspects of the Red Sox's blueprint, which aped the Indians' blueprint before that. Cubs scouts are expected to be the first ones in a prospect's home. Hitters are put through a battery of proprietary video-game-style tests to gauge hand-eye coordination and pitch recognition. Cubs players at every level are required to play these "games" daily. This reliance on "neuro-scouting" is a byproduct of Epstein's contention that analytics are flat because anyone with a credit card and a laptop has access to the same information as big league decision makers. The scouts are expected to determine the answers to an exhaustive list of questions. Who is the family's decision maker? How clean do they keep the house? Who does most of the talking? Is this the type of kid who'll be able to handle living away from his parents and girlfriend?

    "The currency of the draft is information," Epstein says. "Scouting information, statistical information, makeup information, medical information. In each of those buckets, we have to drill deeper if we want to have an advantage."

    It's a big change from the previous regime, whose old-school methods prompted the overhaul. When one of Epstein's hires told scouts they'd be using Microsoft Excel for scheduling, one asked, "Sorry, but what is Excel?" When McLeod took over player development, just eight of 24 area scouts had email linked to their smartphones. "Hendry is a great guy, but this was the Stone Age," says a player-development source no longer with the team. "A report would be, 'Plus-plus makeup -- I love this kid.' What does that even mean?" Scouts did not take video of players -- a basic and invaluable task with today's technology. The job of one executive under the computer-shy Hendry consisted of scanning the Internet for relevant stories and distributing printouts twice a day. "Theo finally told him to stop," the source says. "They let the guy go, which is sad, but nobody needs stuff that's three hours old when they have MLB Trade Rumors up on their computers and the app on their phone."

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Great post. That was very educational.

    Yes, the previous regime was behind in modern technology, but we have to be fair, as the technology has just gone thru the roof over the past 4-5 years. How many people had a smart phone w email linked to their phone back in 2009 ? I think I did, but pretty much everyone I knew didn't.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Thank You.

    RE: "How many people had a smart phone w email linked to their phone back in 2009 ?"

    True, but remember this was end of 2011 into 2012, that's not that long ago. Also this excerpt is just the tip of the iceberg. It was countless things. For instance they mentioned video....well the Cubs minor league team parks didn't even have video installed either. The Cubs had no way to track their prospects besides sending a scout down or going themselves. The first thing that Theo/Jed/Jason did was install video at each affiliate. Not only does it allow for video scouting, but it's a huge tool for development too, as the development staff regularly goes over video with prospects to work on swings, pitching, mechanics, etc, etc, etc.

    Also the Cubs had no proprietary software program. these programs combine statistical analysis, video, doppler radar (ball tracking-defensive positioning), communications between teams, etc etc, etc. That software is a huge tool and any organization that has not developed their own is walking into a gunfight armed with a swiss army knife. Theo created it in Boston and then had a new, better version created once he came to the Cubs. Everything changed in the organization. Better people, better tools, better strategy, better research, better facilities, etc etc etc. On their own each thing is not a game-changer (besides maybe the software) but collectively the difference between the two regimes (old cubs vs new cubs) becomes stark...night and day in my opinion.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Great stuff. I was not trying to argue w you, as I agree w everything in your first and second posts.

    I was just saying that technology has changed so much so quickly. The previous regime was ancient or old school ( your choice ) I am pretty sure eventually they would have got on it, prob not to the degree that the bad boys front office has created and emphasized.

    Great stuff

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Good stuff, Ghost.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Thanks DK

  • While I'm all for locking in Theo to a new contract, is there any threat that any losses to the Cubs' FO might give the Ricketts pause before making a long term commitment? Specifically, are the Cubs at risk of losing Jason, Jed or other members of the FO (even the ones currently under contract) to other teams during the offseason. If the Cubs are at risk of losing senior members of the FO, do you think the Ricketts might want to give it another season with Theo and his revamped team before making a further commitment to Theo?

  • In reply to franniejg:

    I think other teams interest in Cubs FO personnel would give Ricketts less pause. It would show that Theo knows how to identify talent and put them in the proper roles.

    I don't see Hoyer taking a lateral move and Cubs success adds to his resume if his goal is a job at the President level. Jason is a tougher call. If he stays to see the fruits of his labor, his resume only looks better.

  • So far the only thing the FO has proven to Ricketts is they can make him money with Cub teams who are out of the running by the end of April. Marketing gimmicks, jumbotron, selling TV rights to a new station is making him money despite putting poor teams on the field. Theo is proving to Rickett's he can make him money and still get the attendance with poor teams. I don't see the Cubs signing a proven player until they can prove they are close to competing for a WS. When people finally stop coming to games or wearing bags on their heads he will probably start signing older players at the end of their careers to poor long term contracts to keep fan interest. Why not, they are playing with monopoly money and people keep coming and spending their hard earn money. I guess the new jumbotron should permanently say at the bottom wait til next year. BTW, I knew Oakland would lose to Kansas City because of the Cub factor.

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