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Missing out on Yu Darvish, alone, is not a reason to give up on 2012. There are free agents left. Trades can be made. Players can surprise.

So, in that regard, we don’t really know more about the Cubs’ offseason plans today than we did last night.

But, the nice thing about landing a pitcher like Darvish? It can signal your team is “going for it” in 2012, or it can signal your team is committed to building for the long-term. At just 25, Darvish is barely older than the average AA/AAA prospect. Landing him would not have shown what direction the Cubs were going to take, but it would have given me confidence that either path was getting off to a great start.

I am not interested in seeing the Cubs make moves just to make moves. But I am interested in seeing the organization move toward one direction or the other: either sell off valuable pieces to build for the future, or add legitimate, impact pieces to try and compete in the near-term.

So far this Winter, the Cubs have done neither. The 2012 team looks appreciably worse than the 2011 team (which was, itself, no prize pig), and the Cubs have not made a single move designed to build toward the future. I still have “trust,” “patience,” and all that. But the time has come to make a decision. Darvish represented the crossroads. The Cubs missed out, and now it’s time for tough decisions.

We all need to be realistic about where the Cubs, as currently constructed, stand in the next couple of years. Without a number of significant additions this offseason – and I mean Prince Fielder PLUS another big bat somewhere PLUS a good starting pitcher (better than Paul Maholm) – I cannot see how this roster can compete for the playoffs in 2012, short of a Disney-style miracle. Adding those pieces remains possible. But, given what we’ve seen in the aftermath of the 2007 spending splurge, is it really the path we want the Cubs to take?

Keep in mind why we were so excited to get Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in the first place: we believed they knew how to build a roster and an organization from the ground up. With every big name that goes off the board to a team not called the Cubs, it seems more and more likely that building from the ground up is exactly what Epstein and Hoyer plan to do.

That said, it’s time to get to it. And that means aggressively shopping the few valuable pieces on the roster who may not be around to contribute to a winner in 2013/2014 and beyond.

I’ve already discussed my belief that the Cubs should be shopping closer Carlos Marmol and catcher Geovany Soto regardless of their plan for 2012. That should continue, unabated.

Now it’s time to talk more seriously about finding a home for Matt Garza and Sean Marshall.

The viability of trading Matt Garza has been discussed around here – and elsewhere – at length. With Darvish off the market and headed to Texas, the picture for Garza changes a bit. The Rangers, for all intents and purposes, are out, which is a shame, because they may have been his hottest pursuer. Everyone expects the Blue Jays – who’ve now whiffed on both Darvish and Mat Latos – to step up their pursuit of Garza. As a 28-year-old, excellent starting pitcher under control for two more years, Garza is attractive to every team looking for a starter. But he may be even more attractive to teams like the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox, who’ve seen him up close and personal in the AL East, where he was successful.

Ken Rosenthal agrees that the Blue Jays, among others will be in on Garza, and adds that teams are very interested in lefty reliever Sean Marshall.

Theo Epstein recently called Marshall the best left-handed reliever in baseball, which I can only assume was designed to remind those teams who come to the Cubs asking about Marshall to come hard, or don’t come at all. And, you know, Marshall may indeed by the best left-handed reliever in baseball.

Marshall, 29, is coming off back-to-back dominant seasons as a full-time reliever (160 ERA+ in 2010, 173 in 2011). He’ll make just $3.1 million in 2012, his last before free agency. When the San Diego Padres dealt similarly successful, but older, more expensive, and less left-handed reliever Mike Adams at the deadline last year, they netted two top pitching prospects, Robbie Erlin and Joe Weiland (both of whom would have been in the Cubs’ top ten prospect lists last year). Keep in mind on Marshall: under the new CBA, players must have been on a team’s roster the entire season to qualify for draft pick compensation if they leave via free agency. That means if the Cubs waited until mid-season to deal Marshall, the return would be dramatically reduced.

Marshall will soon be a free agent. Garza will soon be very expensive, and then a free agent. Both are likely to be 30 by the time the Cubs are competitive again … and they’ll cost the Cubs a much larger chunk of the budget at that time.

I understand that the idea of shipping off the best pitchers on the team for prospects is an unappealing and foreign concept for many of us – and is particularly foreign in recent years in Chicago. But, if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer plan to build a foundation for sustained success in the long-term, dealing valuable pieces like Garza and Marshall may be the first step.

  • boredomINcubdom

    i like the dejesus signing, i’m not against the move to get Stewart, and if we were to sign Maholm i think that would be a good signing as well…there are lots of moves left to be made and now that the Darvish situation has cleared itself up i’m sure the market for Garza will develop even more.

    Can’t see a scenario where Soriano is the teams starting LF, so i gotta imagine he’ll be gone…Z i could see staying because, simply put, he’s a live arm who would have a shot to be good, and then you could deal him later in the year.

    of course i like fielder, who wouldn’t…pencil him in for 35-40 hr, 110-130 rbi, and his track record says he’ll be in the lineup close to 145-155 games a season. those are “rock” type numbers that any team would love to have as guaranteed production…i guess it’ll just come down to people smarter than all of us to decide whether that’s the direction we go with the money we have.

    I just can’t imagine Theo coming to chicago if he ever thought that Ricketts would be a penny pincher when it came to the big league ballclub…he wouldn’t have. and you can build a system through scouting, development, etc and still spend big at the major league level.

  • Local Idiot

    Had to look out my window to make certain; pretty clear the sky is NOT falling.

  • RY

    2012 Prediction: 50-112. Gonna be real ugly.

    • ferrets_bueller

      #1 overall pick?  I’ll take it.  Although theres really no standout #1 pick right now…

  • ferrets_bueller

    Honestly, I have no problem rebuilding.  In fact, I WANT to rebuild. There really isn’t a point to keeping guys like Garza or Marshall if thats all you have.  Yes, Garza is still young and good, but if you keep him, thats all you have- one young-ish, good player.  You need significantly more, which is what you could get in return.  The only way you can win is through your farm system.  You currently have no farm system.  Throwing money at an empty roster will not solve anything.  You have to build first- by dealing Garza and marshall for multiple pieces.  Then, after you have a core of a few good hitters, a handful of pitchers, can you throw money at it for those last few impact players.

  • Mick

    I’m starting to think this rebuilding stuff is a little bit easier said than done and we need to let Theo’s team go through their steps. Contract options, arbritration, Winter Meetings, Rule V Draft, Darvish sweepstakes, and now they just added more personnel to the scouting department. That still leaves Theo compensation, Jed compensation and the Prince Fielder sweepstakes as next things on the “To Do” list. Oh yea, and we’re trying to build a team that will achieve “sustained success.”

    With all of these other hurdles out of the way, I do believe we will start seeing some movement on the major league roster. Theo and team have delayed the Wood signing and left our 40-man at a flexible 35 for some reason and in my opinion its to start cleaning house and to get multiple players back in return.

    Getting back to the easier said than done statement, what do you actually think the Cubs could yield from trading Soriano, Zambrano, or Marmol? None of their contracts are “team friendly” and in the case of Marmol the closer market is so saturated at the moment there’s no need for a team to trade prospects. In the case of Marlon Byrd, by keeping him we get to delay Brett Jackson’s ML service time by a year, won’t have to pay a FA to replace his spot on the roster, and we might get a compensatory pick if he signs somewhere else in the next offseason (is this right?)?

    Now, for the goods. Marshall, Garza, and Soto will be our best chances in acquiring important pieces for the 2014 Central Divsion Champion Cubs. I like the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers, Red Sox, Marlins, and Padres as possible trade partners. If the Cubs and the Yankees could hook up we could just make it a one-stop shop with Montero, Banuelos, and Betances. The Jays system would also be fun to raid for its pitchers and choice of catcher, and Dominguez from the Marlins and Rizzio from the Padres would create a fearsome corner infield for 2014 and beyond.

  • baseballet

    “But I am interested in seeing the organization move toward one direction or the other: either sell off valuable pieces to build for the future, or add legitimate, impact pieces to try and compete in the near-term.”

    It’s so obvious that the former is the correct path. Why would the Cubs want to add impact players with mega contracts just to compete for a weak division in the near term? So Trib/Hendry. Last year’s team was old and one of the worst in MLB. The answer cannot be signing a couple mega free agents in their mid-to-late twenties to try to beat the Brewers in 2012.

  • Pingback: Lukewarm Stove: What About Dealing Marlon Byrd? | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • SirCub

    Just for comparison, how much more left-handed is Marshall than Adams?

  • OHBearCub

    Brett,

    I have disagree with the Cubs dealing Garza, Marshall and Marmol. I believe Theo is planning on building through the draft even with the CBA changes. That is why he has hired so many top notch scouts. I do see Theo making a few trades and a few more Free Agent signings. I just don’t see where trading Garza, Marshall and Marmol makes us anymore competitive in 2012. I think Theo has to build around all of these guys. I can see a Soto trade because we have depth at catcher and I believe Theo signs Varitek to be a player coach for Wellington Castillo or Clevenger. Trading Soto I would look for a decent prospect to help the farm system. He won’t bring a MLB player that is going to do us any good in 2012. I believe we have to keep Garza, Dempster and Zambrano in our rotation. If we can start out by having Cashner as the 5th starter and possibly Maholm as the 4th starter until we see how these are shaping up. As Cashner gets better he move up in the rotation moving Dempster and or Zambrano down in the rotation. The pitching match ups will benefit the cubs with them being lower in the rotation. My thoughts are we run a innings eater in the number 2 rotation spot. Why send Dempster or Zambrano out to be out matched when they can win more games lower in the rotation. I believe Theo goes after the following three players but leans into these first two with a little more emphasis.
    Carlos Beltran and Cocoa Crisp and Fielder depending on how that scene develops.

    I believe starting out with Bird in CF, either Crisp on Beltran in LF and DeJesus in RF will give us a decent defensive outflield as well and they should have decent BA and OBP.

    At first base I see two scenarios unfolding. Either Theo goes all in on Fielder (which I doubt) or he goes with a Platoon at 1st base with LaHair and Soriano. You probably don’t like it but it is probably the best use of our assets in house. I believe these two can way out produce what Pena did last year or even what we had before with Lee.

    At third base I see Stewart and Baker with both getting playing time against righties and lefties. this will be a platoon unless Stewart proves he can hit left handed pitching.

    Shortstop is Castro and Second is Barney.

    I would love to see Theo get an Orlanda Cabrera to be a back up for Short Stop and Second base. I believe Dewitt goes in a trade for a package deal on some minor league propects.

    Notice that I don’t have many trades at the big league level. I believe that having a 100% improved coaching staff will bring out the best in this team. With the addition of a few more key veterans through Free Agency the Cubs can be competitive. In the mean time I see Theo working feverishly to build the farm system through minor league trades and the US draft and signing International players in the Dominican Republic and Asia Pac. Hence the signing of so many top notch scouts.

    Players by position:

    1. Garza, Dempster, Zambrano, Maholm, Cashner, Samardja, Wells, (another possible free agent signing).
    2. Castillo, Varitek, Clevenger (Soto gone via trade for minor league prospects)
    3. Fielder or more likely LaHair, Soriano in a platoon at 1st base.
    4. Barney, (possibly Orlando Cabrera signing as a free agent) He is always on play off teams. (Dewitt gone via trade for minor league prospects, lower level)
    5. Ian Stewart and Jeff Baker in a platoon based on righty vs lefty matchups
    6. Castro (Orlando Cabrera as a back up at SS and 2b)
    7. Carlos Beltran (I hope through Free Agent Signing) Cocoa Crisp through Free Agent Signing.
    8. Marlon Byrd. (mid season call up for Jackson) Campana breaks camp as the 4th outfielder.
    9. DeJesus and potentially LaHair on days when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley or other ball parks that are bang boxes. When the wind is blowing out you don’t need a lot of defense in the out field when balls are flying over everybodys head.

    Overall, this team is maybe a few games over .500 but if they stay close maybe Theo makes a deal before the trade deadline. Overall the defense will be IONS better.

    I think this kind of lineup will help us play more small ball. Give a lot more team speed on the bases and better base running in general. My Free Agent signings are all guys who have played on winners and fit the type of winning attitude i.e. Cubs Way Theo is looking for. Lastly, I predict that Soriano is going to have a great season this year. The winning attitude that has been brought on board and with these key Free Agent signings the Cubs could be pretty good. Don’t expect a World Series appearance but maybe the playoffs in a weakened Central Division. If we don’t get Prince Fielder then he will be in the AL West which makes us have to focus on beating the Reds. I would be happy with this team for the time being. I expect that Theo builds up the farm system when he does a deal for Marlon Byrd at the deadline and get prospects when he brings up Jackson.

    The key for Dale Sveum is to get these guys slotted into what their roles on this team are going to be and get them foucsed on those roles during spring training. Trying to do that after the season starts has been the down fall of Quade and Lou that past 2 years. And I pray we have a season without a lot of injuries right out of the gate.

    Advice for Theo and Sveum. Have infield and outfield practice every day rain or shine until this team can execute under every scenario known to man. Practice makes perfect and they don’t practice enough at the big league level they do a lot of BP but not enough live infield drills before each game. A sharp infield practice before each game will set the tone for how they play during the game. Your only as good as you practice.

  • JK

     Good post OBC. I understand the approach. Assuming we break camp the way you have described above do the Cubs break 100M in salaries? I still see the benefit in moving Garza, Marmol, Soto and potentially Marshall for top tier AA/AAA talent that is close to compete. We are not that excited to pay Dempster this year b/c he is declining and we are not going to be that good. In 3 to 4 years, Garza = Dempster. Why not get out in front of that issue now and sell high?

  • RY

    I dont want to rain on OHBearcub’s parade but this team as it is will be nowhere close to .500. If we were to get Fielder, instead of my predicted 112 losses, i would shave that down to right around 100. I do agree with most people that it is time to hopefully start seeing theo and his gang actually show some signs of heading in one direction or another. One last thing, the thought of seeing Soriano dance around like an idiot at first base like he does in left field almost forced me to fall out of my chair due to laughing hysterically! I would rather have any one of the bleacher nation followers play first base next year for the cubs than sorryano! face it, sorryano has only one place to play in the majors and that is on an american league team as dh. he has no business even bringing his glove to the ballpark except for shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice and i highly doubt he has the desire or the energy to do that!

    • BetterNews

      Agreed. How can you have a better record in 2012 with a team worse than 2011 as it now stands.

      • Kyle

        Better luck with starting pitching would help. Dempster doesn’t have terrible BABIP luck, Zambrano isn’t made to go away for no good reason, Wells doesn’t get hurt for half the year.

        Of course, it could all happen again, but if it didn’t, that’d make up for the loss of Ramirez and Pena.

        • hardtop

          yeah: pitching, defense, and Quade were major contributors to the Cubs 2011 record. i don’t know how improvement in those categories are going to make up for 50ish homeruns, but the club may actually be better in some ways…. but not enough to break 500, in my opinion.

  • OHBearCub

    I agree with moving Garza, Marshall and Marmol at the trade deadline if we are not contending this next season. Let’s just see how we do first. These guys will bring back a bigger haul when teams are desperate than they will right now. Maybe the Yankee’s, Red Sox, Rangers, and Angels have a key injury he we can get them by the short hairs. Right now I don’t see us dealing from a position of strength and it’s pretty hard to bluff anyone right now cause they all know what cards we are holding no matter how close Theo holds them to his vest. I say let the pot get a little to rich and see who panics first with the CALL. To answer the question on the payroll being over a 100M. I think we will have a payroll that puts us in a great position. LaHair – league minimum, Barney – League Minimum, Castro – League Minimum, Castillo – League Minimum, Stewart 3.5M, DeJesus 3.5M, Beltran 10M, Byrd 5M. Obviously we have a few guys like Soriano, Zambrano and Dempster who being over paid right now. But if they contribute not all of their salaries are sunk cost just a portion. Let’s say those 3 guys get us 3/4 of the production that all the other players getting paid the same produce this year the we only are out about 10M to 15M vs trading them off and paying 80% of the salaries to play for someone else. Doesn’t make good business sense. Also Theo never said he was going to build the Cubs way in his first year so having Zambrano, Dempster and Soriano around is only for one more year on the first two guys. That’s 31M coming off the books next year. That buys two good starting pitchers in the Free Agent market. All Theo needs to do this year is put a .500 team / product on the field to make the fans in Cub Nation happy. They will be excited and come to the games and Ricketts will make money. Then next year we will put an even better product on the field.

  • Edward

    Only 3 more years of Soriano!

  • Jeff

    RotoWorld is reporting that the Cubs didn’t even bid 20 million for Darvish. If they don’t plan on going after Fielder, and the amateur spending is now limited, I have a hard time seeing where they are planning on allocating the remaining baseball budget if they still plan to keep it on par with previous years.

    • Vinestal

      I guess we are turning into the Pirates? Why bother bringing in an elite front office staff if they aren’t going to spend to acquire talent young or proven. This is gonna be a real short honeymoon period for Theo and Jed if they don’t start showing some signs of life.

      • Lou

        Well, Ken Rosenthal still has the Cubs getting CoCo Crisp. LOL! You gotta wonder what these guys are doing if we get him. I really hope he signs with the Cards, the other rumored team interested. Oh, I guess by signing him we’ll play keep-away from him going to STL. There I said it!

  • Vinestal

    I’m sorry but a .500 team is not going to make anyone happy, Cubs fans have seen plenty enough mediocrity. I’m pretty sure most of us would just rather have us be basement dwelling than .500, at least then we’d have a better position in the draft, since it seems that’s the only way they are interested in improving the team.

    • Kyle

      The slim chance that we could be the 2006 or 2011 Cardinals >>>> a few spots in draft position.

  • Dukie11

    I actually think Crisp would be a good signing if its short term and we trade Byrd. There is no doubt in my mind, Crisp is a better player than Byrd plus a potential leadoff man. He’d make sense for what we are doing. Take some pressure off Jackson to rush through the system, help make us at least digestible next year while we continue to sell off our valuable parts for youth. While the youth is growing, you need guys like Crisp, Dejesus, etc. to fill the spots. They seem to want to fill those spots with guys who are cheap but have high potential, hoping a few of them pan out while we are biding our time as an added bonus.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      I didn’t agree with you at first about Coco being a better player than Bryd, but just taking a quick glance at some numbers, I think you may be right. I think they aren’t too far apart in terms of how good they are overall, but I think Coco is better suited for the Cubs needs than Byrd is.

      Though Coco could have a better OBP, he would give us a lead-off hitter. He doesn’t seem to have lost any speed as he stole 49 bases last season, the likes of which us Cubs fans haven’t seen anytime recently. I don’t think there’s much to be gained or lost in this situation except the drastic difference in speed, which is something the Cubs most certainly lack.

      I think you summed it up best when it comes to trying to understand what Theo And The Boys are trying to do: “While the youth is growing, you need guys like Crisp, Dejesus, etc. to fill the spots. They seem to want to fill those spots with guys who are cheap but have high potential, hoping a few of them pan out while we are biding our time as an added bonus.”

  • Cerambam

    IF and this is obviously a big IF this happens I would be at least a little optimistic on opening day, where do you guys land on this very generalized cubs team?

    Lineup
    Dejesus
    Castro
    Cespedes
    Fielder
    Stewart
    Soto
    Barney
    Jackson
    Pitcher

    Rotation
    Garza
    Zambrano
    Dempster
    Maholm
    Wells
    Cashner

    Pen
    Marmol
    Marshall
    Samrdzjia
    Wood

    • Jeffrey

      Truthfully, Cerambam that lineup and pitching rotation in my opinion would be able to contend for the National League title. Mr. Ricketts won’t spend money to make this team good. The two acquisitions that I think is possible in your scenario is Wood and Maholm. The reports are saying and I’m starting to believe that in lamens terms our owner doesn’t have the money (Cheap). So you can forget about Fielder or Cespedes. Plus I think Cespedes is definitely going to the Yankees where they have a fantastic owner in Steinbrenner. I know a lot of people think I’m bashing are owner and their technically right. The thing is I have seen the Tribune Company be cheap for years until the end. Now I see Mr. Ricketts doing the same thing. Rebuilding takes way to damn long. I can’t believe he was able to get so many Cub fans on board with rebuilding all because he brought in a GM that only won a championship because Mr. Henry was willing to spend. Cub fans please look at the payroll of those World Championship Boston teams. That is the real reason Epstein looked so good. It was Mr. Henry’s money which allowed Epstein to make the moves that made that team great.

    • Kyle

      That lineup is bad and that pitching staff is nice if it stays healthy and sane. 81-win team, and that’s *if* Cespedes can start right away in the majors, which he probably can’t.

    • Kevin

      Its a creative lineup, but I really don’t think Cespedes is worth the investment considering he is likely older than advertised, and can he really be better than Soriano…..who we are already paying. I also don’t like Maholm, his peripheral stats tell a story totally different to his performance prior to injury last season.

      I really think we need to trade Marmol while he has SOME value left; his velocity is down and mechanics are lost. On the same note, Barney could be a serviceable shortstop for a few teams. That in itself should add a bit of trade value. Perhaps we can trade Soto and Dempster near the deadline and take D’arnaud and Drabek or Hutchison for the future. Just a thought when that proposed lineup soon falls out of contention. No offense….at least we got fielder..haha.

      • Jeffrey

        I can’t stand fans like you Kevin. Your the reason why Ricketts and Epstein will get away with spending nothing. Your the fans that come out to the park when we are in last place and why people call us the lovable losers. Well there are fans that won’t stand for it anymore. History has proven that the ones who have spent win the Championships. I have come up with the Marlins of 1997, all the Yankee and Red Sox teams. It’s rare to see a team win that has been built on the rebuilding process. The Rays would be a perfect example of that and have yet to win a championship. Now, if you like to wait 3 years and continue to watch us lose be my guess. But after over 100 years like so many other Cubs fans I want to win not and if not now next year by the latest. Epstein and Ricketts have to remember that we are not the Royals or the Padres… We are the 3rd largest market team with a huge fan base that sells out every game. The reason the Ricketts and past owners have gotten away without having to spend money is fans like Dukie who is always OK with the “rebuilding process”

        • TWC

          Jeffrey, kid, please learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”, “our” and “are”.  It cheapens your arguments when it appears you don’t know the difference between the words you chose to use.

          • Jeffrey

            TWC , thanks I appreciate the comment. But, I’m not in class and I’m not currently writing for a website. All I care about is the content of what I say and others have to say. By the way TWC it is not a complete sentence if you want to go all grammatical to say Jeffrey, kid, ….. If you want to make a stupid comment like that then learn how to use proper grammar yourself.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              For what it’s worth, I suspect TWC was – in his own way – trying to help. Good arguments can be obscured by grammatical/spelling/whatever issues. It’s not always fair, but that’s the way some folks read comments. I don’t think TWC was criticizing.

              (And I’m not criticizing anyone.)

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                Brett, why don’t you like me.

                • Rick Vaughn

                  Same reason why nobody likes Detroit. It’s in Michigan.

                  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                    But, but, but I’m on the other side of the state, and we have great beer.

                    • Rick Vaughn

                      Oddly enough, my comment was brought to you in part by some Michigan beer. I concede victory to you my friend.

                    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                      Which one Founders, Arcadia, Bells, Shorts, Crooked Tree, Atwater or another?

                      I’ve been enjoying Shorts Brewery Liberator most the night an amazing Double IPA

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Why would you ask such a thing?

          • Rick Vaughn

            TWC, take a lap and hit the showers. You’re embarrassing yourself.

    • Brian

      Your pitching rotation looks pretty much the same as this year except Maholm.

      Cubs pitching rotation in 2011 was one of the worst in NL.
      Adding Maholm and Cashner/Wells being healthy might help little bit. But it is not good enough to compete with Carpenter/Wainwright, Greinke/Gallardo. Baseball is all about the pitching and we don’t have it. You can sign couple of expensive FAs to improve your team for 2-3 years but it is not going to be enough.

      It has to be balanced! We should stock up from lower level for long term and sign FAs at good timing to maximize the efficiency at the same time.

  • Dukie11

    Love how half the people here think the best way to overcome our problems with overspending in the past is to overspend now and try to buy a title. We do not have the money to buy the title- we would need 2 more top of the line starters, 2 big bats and a 3rd solid bat to even be in contention. Even if we signed the 5 spots (with some sort of hidden budget because a lot of our dollars are already spent) odds are 2 of them would not end up having good seasons and since we spent all the money on those guys we would not have any depth or…

    We could stop calling Ricketts cheap and talking about how Theo has lost his honeymoon period after a whopping 2 months with a very messed up franchise and let them actually take a few years to organize things and get it fixed the right way. News flash, they do not care if you think .500 is unacceptable, they are not going to allow us to continue down the same path we have been on.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Love how half the people here think the best way to overcome our problems with overspending in the past is to overspend now and try to buy a title.

      It’s the great mystery of Cub Fandom, some people bitch about what we have then bitch when we don’t have what they use to bitch about us having.   I’m sure Hendry is available so lets fire Theo and get back to the good old days of Jimbo and the open checkbook of failure.  Revisionist history is not history its just an excuse to complain.

      • Jeffrey

        Michigan, so what Hendry’s signings didn’t work out the way we wanted them too. We still made the playoffs for 2 straight years. That was something that hasn’t been done in a while. I was happy that Hendry went for it and we had something to be excited about come April. Rebuilding doesn’t work. It’s almost the same as if we had big free agent signings. I’ll tell you why:
        1. Most prospects don’t work out in the Majors…. Rizzo who everyone seems to be in love with batted under 200 for the padres with over 140 at bats
        2. There is a greater chance that the free agent signing will pan out than Prospects
        3. Only way to win in this league like many leagues is with Superstars… Pujols carried the Cardinals to victory last season.
        4. Ricketts has the money just doesn’t want to spend it. Look if we had Wilson, Darvish, Fielder, and even Crisp we would be looking at minimal a division title.

        • Jeff

          Actually, the Giants and Cardinals both recently won World Series with rosters largely developed from within and enhanced by “middle of the road” free agents and reclamation projects. Neither spent large amounts of money bringing in big name free agents. Spending big money isn’t the only way to win.

      • Kevin

        I don’t think signing Fielder is buying a title, but rather a good investment for a business based on selling tickets to spectators. Does a lucrative contract to a 27 year old inhibit the Cubs scouting and player development in any way? Do we have to have a fire sale in order to be successful in 3 years? As much as I like prospects, they are just that….young players with potential to succeed.

        I like Rizzo as much as the next guy, but to trade away Garza entering his prime seems like a gamble. This angle seems pointless since San Diego can’t afford Garza, so what about Toronto? Fine, if they can send us Drabek, McGuire, Hutchison, and D’arnaud…then happy trails Matt Garza. Theo is smart and wants assets right now; I trust he will accept nothing short of the haul San Diego commanded. And if not….I am happy to see building coincide with an 84 win season, highlighted by Fielder hitting bombs, Castro maturing on both defense and offense, and Garza winning 19 games. I am fan that expects more out of the front office than perpetual rebuilding that we see in Kansas City and Seattle. I want to watch competitive baseball….but thats just me.

    • Kyle

      Our “overspending” problems are vastly overestimated.

      All big market teams should and will have guys toward the end of contracts who are still making big bucks.

      That’s not why the Cubs lost. But it’s easier for fans to see a few overpaid guys and blame it all on that, but it’s hard to see the deeper reasons for why the Cubs are in such bad shape.

      • Jeff

        I don’t think the overspending is the problem. The problem was that they used the excuse of overspending as a reason to stop making improvements to the team. They seemed to think that “hoping” that players had a better year the next year was a viable offseason strategy. The problem is that the team hasn’t added enough impact players to the team since spending all that money, either through free agency or their farm system. I think Fielder is a good investment, but I don’t think that signing him means that they have to spend a bunch of money right now to fill out the team. I think that they can sign Fielder and continue to build as they go, and add pieces around him and Starlin Castro.

  • Rick Vaughn

    I’m very important, so forgive me if this has already been discussed. Am I the only one who wants to see Sean Marshall back in the rotation? If I remember right, he seemed to put together a few decent starts. On a team or two that couldn’t score runs to save their jobs. I’ve always been a big Marshall fan and I understand the value for a late inning southpaw is fairly high. But wouldn’t it be higher if he could prove to be a solid innings eater?

    Just a thought. I’d much rather see him start than the Shark.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Marshall had a few issues as a starter – (1) he’s never been economical with his pitches, which forces his pitch count up early in the game (he sets guys up, and punches ‘em out, rather than allowing them to get themselves out), (2) he’s always had stamina issues in addition to the pitch count issue, going back in the minors (a pitcher who can’t regularly go six innings, and who can never go more than six innings, is tough to keep in the rotation), (3) his fastball isn’t particularly great, which is easier to conceal as a reliever (tougher to do when you’re facing a guy for the third time that night).

      All that, combined with how incredibly good he’s been as a reliever, and it’s been understandable why he hasn’t gotten a second look in the rotation.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      It’s been discussed. Marshall is 29 and has proved to be an elite Lefty out of the pen, he was less than mediocre in the rotation. So why risk messing him up by flip flopping him back and forth when the team has a very valuable asset already?

      Samardszija is younger and showed he can command his pitches better than when he was last in the rotation. So why not give him another chance to see if he can handle being a starter? If not he is young enough to adjust back to the pen.

      And what makes you very important?

      • Rick Vaughn

        “And what makes you very important?”

        I pitched for the Cleveland Indians in the late ’80 and early ’90s

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Why do I think of Zombies when I read some of these ridiculous NooB comments?

    It seems like one catches a whiff of human life and the rest come over and tear the place apart.

  • Rick Vaughn

    Nearly 2012 and people are still dropping NooB into everyday conversation? Wake me up when that’s over.

  • CubFan Paul

    i’ll take two Top 10 prospects for Marshall right now, especially for the 2 guys the Pads got; i’ll go warm up my car so i can drop him at the airport

    • CubFan Paul

      eh, ..i dunno about that ride to the airport now ..Not unless we get one of what’s left from the Cincy top 10 prospect list after the Latos trade ..but even then, whats really left on cincy’s cupboard after Byrnes robbed Jocketty for a starting pitcher, a starting 1B & the other 2 prospects?

  • Jannenga

    “Keep in mind why we were so excited to get Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in the first place: we believed they knew how to build a roster and an organization from the ground up”……….Speak for yourself ………….I have had no faith in Epstien or Hoyer or Ricketts…………They are all idiots and the fact that you people actually don’t realise that everyday that Epstien does this so called Job it proves more and more that Henry was the Brains behind the Red Sox,if he wasn’t he would have gave Epstien the world and epstien wouldn’t have left…………But I guess I should expect you kids on here to believe this nonsense most of you on here are still wet behind the ears and only be watching baseball and rooting for the cubs for a couple Years…….Actually how many of you here went to a Game at Wrigley in the 70’s??????…….Not many of ya……

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Ignore… You do understand that ellipsis points are only THREE periods.

      • CubFan Paul

        lol MG

      • Rick Vaughn

        Give him a break, he’s a time traveler from the ’70s. He’ll figure it out.

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