A recent article by Dave Kaplan has been blowing up (in part because Kaplan sold it on Twitter as “Breaking Cubs news: Cubs to completely rebuild,” which is such a doubly-loaded phrase that the link would spread like wildfire even if it pointed to a picture of grizzly bears wearing eye patches (actually, that would spread like wildfire anyway…)) about the offseason plans of the Chicago Cubs.

The article offers a sobering perspective on the roster and the prospects of competing in 2012, and cites three MLB sources – including at least one executive – who all believe the Cubs should and probably will trade away many valuable pieces this Winter in order to lay the the ground work for a rebuild.

“There is no doubt that the Cubs need a major overhaul and with that comes a couple of seasons of teams that will have more than its share of struggles. However, if Theo and Jed can make astute deals for the few pieces that they do have the rebuild can get off to a very good start. In the addition, the farm system is not in good shape in terms of nearly major league ready starting pitching so if they can make some very solid deals they can reload in the minor leagues as well,” [a Major League executive] said ….

Two other sources confirmed to me today that the Cubs are not players in the Prince Fielder negotiations and are not preparing to make a major offer to land him. In fact, the same major league sources expect the Cubs to try to move most of their valuable assets before spring training and that a complete overhaul of the team will definitely happen. As one current NL executive told me it is about time that it happened. “The Cubs have never had the guts to completely blow up their roster and build it the right way. They have to have a plan for sustained success instead of always trying to patchwork a roster for a surprising season. They should have done that when Andy MacPhail took over but for whatever reason they couldn’t or wouldn’t. By the time Jim Hendry became the GM they had some young starting pitching and a mandate from management in 2006-09 to try to buy their way to a championship. It never worked out so the rebuild is the right way to go,” he said.

Other than the Fielder bit – which would be disputed by many other media members (and I still say if Fielder will take five years, the Cubs would be very interested) – this is the kind of thing most of us have been saying for years. It’s interesting to hear it from folks around MLB, but it doesn’t take much more than a Web search to know that something is rotten on the North side of Chicago.

I want to be clear on something. This isn’t about blasting Kap. His sources have been as good as any, and he certainly communicates things in a lively and interesting way. The article is well-said, interesting, and worth reading.

I just wish he hadn’t blasted it out there as though it wasn’t something we’ve known for more than a month, and let it stand for the interesting article that it was.

As to whether it is “breaking news,” I can only offer what I reported back on November 16:

According to multiple sources, the Cubs are telling other teams that they’ll listen to offers on everyone on the roster this Winter. The front office reportedly recognizes a long rebuild is in the offing, and doesn’t want to rule out the possibility of bringing in a number of young pieces this offseason in the hopes of being competitive in the longer term future.

Privately, I’ve been hearing this for some time, but because Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s public statements contradicted the idea that the Cubs will shop their more valuable pieces, I’ve taken them at their word. Now that so many other sources are confirming what I’ve heard, it’s time to take the gloves off. The Cubs might not ultimately unload all of their talent, but they’ll consider trades that build for the future ….

The return on Garza could be enormous, and the return on Marshall could be impressively large. Would the Cubs be raising the white flag on 2012 if they dealt those two pitchers? I think it depends on the return. If a few ML-ready youngsters with breakout potential come back the Cubs’ way, you never know what might happen. Couple that with some strategic free agent signings…

That the Cubs would be willing to move anyone this Winter is simply the confluence of two things: (1) Theo and Jed’s standard operating procedure: rule nothing out, leave every door open; and (2) it was going to take a herculean amount of turnover to make the 2012 Chicago Cubs a reasonable playoff threat.

The Cubs are, always were, and always should have been listening to offers on their most valuable pieces with an eye toward “the future.” I don’t need a source to tell me that (although, I’ve been hearing it regularly from sources for months). The 2011 Cubs featured a poorly-constructed roster, which would have doomed the season regardless of injuries. To date, the 2012 squad is even worse on paper, having lost Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, having the rest of the roster age a year, and having only added David DeJesus and Ian Stewart. If the Cubs sell off valuable pieces, the 2012 team could look even worse still. “Rebuild” was always going to be a word tossed around.

But Theo and Jed aren’t in the business of throwing a season away. That’s why there are still rumors about guys like Hiroki Kuroda and signings like David DeJesus. Even if the organization moves valuable older pieces for younger players, Theo and Jed still want to win in 2012.

It’s just that they also want to win in “the future.” When those two aims conflict, the latter will win out. Theo said as much. And that’s why some Cubs fans disconnect from others when they hear that loaded word: rebuild. A “rebuild” for one organization is bound to look quite different from a “rebuild” in another organization. For the Cubs, it’s just a word. It doesn’t mean selling off everything for young prospects. It doesn’t preclude adding free agents. It means wisely making a series of moves that make the Cubs better in “the future,” and in 2012, with a deference to the former, if a particular prospective move conflicts with the latter.

Moves like signing Yu Darvish or Prince Fielder, or trading Sean Marshall for Travis Wood all work toward the same goal: making the team better in “the future.” They just happen to also potentially make the team better and more balanced in 2012. That’s why those are the kinds of moves I still talk about frequently, and why they come up frequently. For a team that wants to improve long-term, and as much as reasonably possible in 2012, those are the kinds of moves – together with dealing valuable pieces for a net increase in young, ML-ready talent – smart guys like Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to make. Are they “rebuilding” moves?

Call them what you want, but, again: it’s all about making the Cubs better in “the future,” and in 2012, with a deference to the former, if a particular prospective move conflicts with the latter. “Rebuilding” is just a word.

Kaplan’s piece was interesting and important, even if it wasn’t anything we didn’t already know.

  • Martin

    I think you’re forgetting that the internet is a binary place: you are either the best or the worst ever, terrific or terrible, or Rebuilding or Going For It. There is no middle ground on the internet, so articles like Kaplan’s just feed into the ridiculous black or white world that the internet creates.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Just doing my part to keep things nice and gray.

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      Award for best first comment on a post that had seemingly said it all. Well done (x2).

  • Kenny

    Your website and your entries are good stuff, but I don’t think you should waste your time responding to another blog post by saying you already scooped this a month ago. This article is a response to Kaplan’s “BREAKING” attachment, regardless of your comments post-Kap discussion. Just let your work speak for yourself. A post in light of the Kaplan blog update sounds whiny and as if you were cheated out of credit. It’s blowing up because its a new article, not for any other reason, same reason all the links you post on Twitter get clicked when you post them.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the thoughts. I disagree, and think it was worth writing – I see it as a much larger issue right now, given the Garza and Marshall rumors. It’s part about pointing out that this isn’t new, part about reminding folks about the possible future facing the 2012 Cubs, and part about discussing what the appropriate course is. And, primarily, it was about pointing out the substance of Kaplan’s article, which was worth sharing.

      • Bric

        Brett, i think you just killed kenny.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I don’t mean to. It was a worthwhile comment, and I understand that impression. But it’s not about crapping on Kaplan so much as it is about crapping on the idea that suddenly, out of nowhere, the Cubs are “rebuilding.”

          • Bric

            Just kidding buddy, I was quoting South Park.

            • Mike Foster

              I even got that one…and i seldom watched SP.

              • Cerambam

                Plus Brett did say it first 😉 #imasuckup

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I know, homey. Wanted to make sure Kenny (this one) knew I wasn’t laying into him.

    • Martin

      Considering Kaplan whines like a baby everytime someone dares not to “SOURCE THE KAPMAN”, you would think he’d be better about sourcing his own articles.

    • Mike Foster

      Brett, I kinda sorta agree. I come to BN because then i don’t have to go chase down all those other sites and read them. You do all that for me, and then I can choose which to read from all you offer. THAT is value to me, BIG value. Thanks, I appreciate your work. But I realize you still need to drive hits on the site, and yeah it is kind of a PITA when some schmoe with a big name now writes what you been saying for 2 months and NOW it’s news. Ehhh, that’s the bloggers life. Keep up the good work…….now Santa where the hell is my BN T-shirt!

      • Ol’CharlieBrown

        Brilliantly stated, Mike. I couldn’t agree with your sentiments more.

  • Bric

    Pretty harsh criticism coming from the unnamed NL exec but it was right on. I’m glad Hendry’s gone because now his old school buddies can talk about what they really think of the team without hurting his feelings. Most Cubs fans are realists anyway, we just want hear the truth from the guys in power and the real value of the players and farm system as viewed by other teams.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hey Brett, a little off topic but I was just looking at the 2012 draft order: http://riveraveblues.com/resources/2012-draft-order/

    It shows the Cubs getting a supplemental pick (#40 overall) for Ramirez, and then lists the rest of the supplemental picks right after. Once Pena signs with another team, will we also have pick number 41? Or does it get inserted somewhere else?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I want to say that they’re ranked based on the value of the player, but given the ad hoc changes to the system for this year, I’d have to do some research to confirm.

      • Hrubes20

        This is still correct. At least for this year.

        • JulioZuleta

          Hrubes, new to BN?? See you on PSD all the time, but I’m more of a watcher over there.

          • Bric

            Dooglass, too. This is a much better website, though. The comments are similar but all of those flashy avatars and junk kind of give me a headache.

    • Rick Vaughn

      Three or four of the top 60 or 70 picks should net some minor league depth. Hope we can sign them with the new hard slotting rules in place. Bad time to try rebuilding through the draft. At least we got this years draft in the books.

      I’m stoked about a few of these players. Probably be much more interesting watching them play than the actual big league club.

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

        What’s sad is that we will never see the Theo Braintrust be able to draft uncapped. This last draft was all Hendry and Co. So hopefully it will still work to our advantage, but it would be nice to see this FO have an unlimited draft budget.

  • Deez

    I don’t know why everyone kids themselves w/ the thought of any of these big time free agent moves! The Cubs as an organization is at least 2-3 years away. I do not mind having a bad season w/ young organizational prospects playing & showing improvement, but when we have a top 10 payroll & have a bottom 10 record something has to give.
    Until we have a minor league system that is the core of our MLB roster. we’ll never find success.

  • Cubs8ball

    Brett, please ignore Kenny. It’s perfectly ok to post a response to another writer’s blog. You do not sound whiny. Theo has repeatedly stated, “Major market teams (chicago) do not rebuild.”

    Keep on doing what you do brother.

  • BD

    I still don’t understand why Fielder can’t be a (very) big building block as they lay the foundation. He’s only 27 and is a big lefty bat who thrives at Wrigley, something that would be an excellent part to build around. And mainly, he costs nothing but money (don’t have to give up anything to get him).

    • Hrubes20

      He would cost our 2nd round pick, which looks to be around 60th overall or so.

      • BD

        That’s fine… one less pick to use our limited draft money on.

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      He can be a building block; we’re just not in a we’ll-definitely-contend-this-year mode so as to make us overpay in years for him. If he’ll sign a contract with a reasonable length, we’ll be in on him.

  • Lou

    I think that while Kaplan is a sensationalist (and mind you that has always been his brand), the opposite approach is tiresome talk as well. Listening to the national media discuss Fielder over and over tied to some long-term contract with the Cubs (7-10 years) is laborious because no one truly knows who’s behind such talk (it could be an equally valid source or Scott Boras). It’s not just the internet, this is sports, politics, the culture we live in. Take another sport: Bulls basketball and see the discussion around Derrick Rose’s extension. Equally divisive as the Cubs’ future. But really when it comes down to it, though the Cubs are at a crossroads, yet once again. For me, at least two of the moves Theo and Jed have made are taking the middle ground (Reed Johnson and David DeJesus). Given how long this team has meddled around with this, I don’t see moves like these helping the future. Yeah, Theo and Jed have to “look” like they’re putting a competitive team on the field, but that doesn’t mean, in actuality, that team WILL BE competitive.

  • Jon

    So the Cubs look worse on paper than in 2011. They could even look worse than they are now if they trade more players away. The farm system lacks depth of players to make a significant impact. The players they traded may help defensively but lack an explosive spark on offense and the expectation is that within that 5 year Theo contract all will magically come in place? How many product oriented companies go with a product cycle where they release a worse product than a year before in the hopes everything comes together without significant investment in talent for the future. We want ok engineers, not the best ones to build our products now etc. Not the best way to make people invest in your brand.

    • Martin

      False analogy. Companies hire engineers to produce products that are sold to the public. It is a perpetual and ongoing process tied to the consumer’s tastes and/or needs. Teams hire baseball players to win championships within the artificial framework of professional sports. This is a one-time event that occurs once a year and is not tied to the changing needs of the consumer.

      A correct analogy would be to hire players that appeal to fans so that they might buy tickets. But given that fans buy tickets for many, many reasons, the connection between engineers and baseball players is incorrect.

      • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

        I liken it more to filing bankruptcy.  Yes, bankruptcy sucks and many people lose out in the process but sometimes it is needed so that you can rebuild a solid footing for yourself or your company to succeed.

        If the Cubs were a person, we would have too much credit card debt (Soriano, Z, Dempster, Byrd), a house that is under-water and needing serious repairs (Soto, Marmol, Marshall, overall facilities, the farm system) and the only thing of value is the TV we paid for in cash when times were good (Castro, 2011 draft class). 

        What we need to do is file that Chapter 7, suck it up, say goodbye to a house that we cannot afford but might love and our credit rating for a few years.  This way, in 4-5 years, we have a good savings account (farm system), a house that we can afford (facilities) and can afford to take that vacation to somewhere reasonable each year (FA spending).

        • HoustonTransplant

          I do very much enjoy and appreciate that analogy.  Cheers for that!

  • cubbyblues84
    • Fishin Phil

      Much as I like Marshall, I think we did well on this deal.

      • Martin

        If the names “Hamilton” or “Cozart” are in this deal, I’ll be impressed.

    • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

      The Reds beat reporter keeps refuting it.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      Wonderful. How do we benefit from this? Marshall is probably the best lefty reliever in all of baseball. Not only that, but we just traded him to a division rival. Wood may not even be a consistently decent 4th or 5th starter. Who are these “two minor leaguers” we are getting also? Obviously they’re no one to write home about or they would at least be described by name. I understand the concept of trading off our valuable pieces, but for this kind of return? I feel like the Reds got the better part of the deal at the end of the day. Ugh.

      I still trust and believe that Theo & Company know what they are doing, but man… I’m feeling less and less excited about this team as this off-season progresses. We better hit the damn jackpot in return for Garza if we trade him too.

      • BetterNews

        I see Cashner taking his spot in the pen so we’re covered there. I actually envision Travis Wood as a much better starter than Dempster and see him as a solid 3rd or 4th starter. Time will tell, but the trade doesn’t look to bad , really.

  • Cheryl

    The improvement of the minor league system of the Cubs will take time. Theo and company will have to review it and stick with the good coaches and make sure it can aid the major league club. There was a beginning with an improved draft by the cubs this year. Several people in the past have commented on the quality of the major league club. Although trades are wanted, the club as it stands doesn’t seem to be a too inviting trade partner with a few exceptions. So it will take a while before things improve.

  • Bluball

    I would think that the FOs reluctance to use the term “rebuilding” might have something to do with luring a big time FA to the North side for 2-3 years of rebuilding. Ask yourself, as Prince Fielder, would you go all in on a 5-6 year deal if you knew that team wouldn’t contend for 2 maybe 3 years?

  • ThosKam
    • ottoCub

      Wood and two minor-leaguers for Marshall… sounds good. Another solid deal, trading Marshall at his peak to bring a needed pieces to the Cubs. Anybody have any insights on who the two minor-leaguers might be?

  • TP

    Great trade for the Cubs. Keep it going!

  • Matt Murton

    We have no precedent whatsoever for a complete overhaul on the Northside, so to assume what it would look like is totally unfair. We do however, have several examples of total overhauls throughout the league. Florida (Miami) does it every four years, San Diego is in the middle of it, Tampa does it every year (and still wins, consistently). Granted, these are all small market teams. They don’t have the pressure to win that both the media and we, the fans, put on the organization. However, there’s no reason to think that the series of right moves can’t turn around the ship immediately. See: Arizona. The current roster simply isn’t going to do it. We have a bunch of 27-somethings that can provide a lot of value to a team in contention right now, so we need to milk that for everything it’s worth. The buy-low types that Theo/Jed keep picking up are merely low risk, high reward stop-gaps until the borderline major league-ready talent that we bring back in trades are ready to turn around the ship. This is the right way of doing things, and though it will take a couple years, the patience of both the fans and media will really be rewarded

  • aCubsFan

    I also find it hilarious how Brett tries to paint himself as a ‘writer’ of objectivity. But on a daily basis he is only feeding the beast of nonsense. It’s as if you are attempting to walk on both sides of the fence and you don’t do it very well.

    I also find it to be mindless crap when on a daily basis you still keep spreading BS about Fielder. BS promoted by every reporter from ESPN, CBS/AOL, FOX and beyond.

    You can’t tear a club down to its core to rebuild and have any brain cells to even consider that a) Fielder would want to be part of any such scenario and b) that Theo and Jed would even consider Fielder is any part of a rebuilding puzzle. I don’t care that he is just 27 he’s a fat slob who’s real age is about 50 because of his obesity and Boras is just using all the ‘so called’ media types to get anyone interested in his client for as large a contract as possible because he knows that Fielder at 32 doesn’t have a prayer’s chance to get another ‘big time’ contract. Fielder needs to come to the realization that unless he drops about 70 LBS he is headed to be a DH — sooner rather than later.

    If the Cubs did sign him for 5 or 6 years, you’d be part of the same group in total outrage over the fact that 2 years from now Fielder can bend over and tie his shoes or get out of bed because of back and knee problems.

    • Rick Vaughn

      You mad bro?

    • DRock

      WOW, sure sounds mad. Brett is entitled to his opinion (as are you) but you don’t need to keep cutting him down. Maybe this isn’t the right site for you to vent your frustration about a possible Fielder signing…

      • aCubsFan

        Gentlemen…is this supposed to be an opinion column or is this supposed to be an alternative media outlet? I sense that BleacherNation is supposed to be an alternative media outlet. As such the ‘reporters’ and ‘writers’ need to write as such.

        Know you want some reality to all the Fielder BS. Here’s some from another source. “The Mariners’ decision to trade League may be held up by their possible negotiations with Prince Fielder, according to the report, as it could be hard to sell Fielder that they’re serious about building a contender while simultaneously trading away a useful veteran coming off his best season.”

        That just proves my point. Fielder isn’t going anywhere that he has no chance of being a winner during the duration of his contract. Especially when his whole career so far has been to one up his father. He can’t one up his father when Cecil won a World Series with the Yankees.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If the Cubs aren’t competitive within the next five years, I’ll be quite sad.

          • aCubsFan

            It’s going to be 2014 at the earliest that the Cubs are in a position to compete for the NL Central. So there is no sense to spend $25-$30MM per year on one player when they need 25 new players.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I don’t necessarily disagree. But there aren’t going to be many options like Fielder available in 2013 or 2014. That’s the thing that has to be considered, even if 2012 is out the window. That’s all I’m saying. I think it’s a reasonable point, and I’m sorry that it bothers you so much.

              • aCubsFan

                But please you’re whining over split milk. So there aren’t going be ‘options’ in 2013 or 2014, in your option but what if Bryan LaHair is one of those low-risk high-reward guys that Theo has talked about. He’s only 28 and doesn’t cost you a lot. Sure Rizzo is an option as well, but what is the cost to get him from the Padres? It’s probably a lot less than the cost of Fielder.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  LaHair after a decade to prove himself in the minors (when he was younger) and in some MLB time and many Spring Trainings, has not had a team take a real chance on him. The odds that he’s a legitimate contributor at the big league level ever is extraordinarily low.

                  I also don’t see anywhere that I whined. To the contrary, I continue to address you courteously and with thoughtful responses. Whether it’s been worth it, I’m not sure.

        • Rick Vaughn

          Veggie burgers aren’t cheap. He’ll chase the money. Not that I think it’ll be the Cubs with the best offer. But I don’t see Prince limiting his options to winning ball clubs only. Especially if it’s more than 5 years. A lot can happen in five years.

          • aCubsFan

            If he goes to a losing ball club that is going to give him that 8-10 year contract and max dollars, then he is a not the player he claims to be. If that is the case, why would the Cubs want a player who is just interested in nothing other than money?

            • Rick Vaughn

              If you’re interested in only signing guys that don’t care about money…your options and future will be pretty limited. Just my opinion. But I’ve never been wrong about anything in my life, soo…

              • aCubsFan

                I’ll take 25 Derrick Rose’s any day. He was willing to play his heart out for whatever the Bulls were willing to pay him. It just so happened that the new CBA allowed the bulls to pay him what he is worth to the Bulls.

                To me I don’t want a Kerry Wood who the Cubs have dumped a ton of wasted money on and who said last fall if he doesn’t get a contract from the Cubs but oh BTW I want a raise this year if you are going to sign me.

                Large guaranteed contacts are the bain of professional sports for numerous reasons, including injuries. For example, Wood was on the DL 16 times in 14 years. Last year he missed 6 weeks due to blisters and then blow out his knee. The blister wasn’t anything new, so why hasn’t he done something to help correct the problem.

                The other problem with large guaranteed contracts is apathy. They get the contract and stop hustling. Stop working to improve their game. All you have to do is look at Albert Haynesworth in the NFL or even ARam or Big Z for that. What did Ramirez ever do to improve his fielding once he got his big contract? Why is it that Z is just now claiming he is working out like he is a rookie again? If he was a professional he should have been doing that all along and kept his mouth shut and stop being an ass in the clubhouse.

                • Rick Vaughn


          • Lou

            So, that puts the Mariners, O’s and Nationals squarely into the conversation…just saying but it bears repeating. January’s gonna get real interesting, that’s for sure.

          • Wilbur

            Veggie burgers! The only way you stay that big is if you eat the veggie burger and the hand of the person serving you …

    • Boog

      I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of other sources out there for you to get your Cubs news from if you don’t like how Brett reports it.

    • Smitty

      If you don’t like Brett’s style or his opinion, then take your opinion and go to another site. There are plenty and I am sure there will be one that has a style and/or opinion you will like.

      There are lots of good posters and intelligent people on this site with very sound opinions. Brett is the reason we come here and are able to have these (mostly) intelligent discussions.

      • Matt Murton

        If I didn’t like the site, I wouldn’t read it as religiously as I do. It’s the best site out there HANDS down. But what’s a the point of having a blog without followers who are willing to share their opinions? If everyone always agreed, it’d just be a cult

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For the record, when it comes to the Cubs, I’m not objective. I’m a Cubs fan. I’m not a journalist. I’m a Cubs fan who writes about the Cubs. Thanks for your thoughts.

      • Matt Murton

        Matt Murton likes this.

    • http://www.twitter.com/MrRobbins MrRobbins

      There’s only one reason Price fades before he’s 34-35… That’s if he gets lazy with his fat contract. Or has a major injury. Same risks as any player, but less because of his position.

      He’s a vegan who has access to the best medical care in the world, the best workout regimes, and is naturally athletic. There are hundreds and hundreds of cases where very, very large men are still very successful athletically as they age.

      Every OL/DT/TE in the NFL (and some of those guys are pushing 380)
      Numerous C and PF in the NFL (Shaq/Barkley/etc)

      Baseball is not nearly as taxing as either of those sports and guys that are 50-100lbs heavier than Price play until there late 30’s and early 40’s.

      In baseball, there’s only 1-2 positions where you can get away with that size (1B and MAYBE 3B or OF for awhile). You don’t see many larger baseball players because they’re pushed to other sports in America and you aren’t seeing many 275lb Cubans.

      When you want to make your point about large baseball players flaming out you’re going back to Prince’s DAD or Mo Vaughn who was 15+ years ago.

      It may come into play at some point, yes. He’s a bit more risky than a guy in great shape, I’ll concede. But stating it as a lock that he’ll deteriorate in his early 30’s is really quite a massive stretch.

  • matt

    Bruce Levine is reporting the deal for Sean Marshall is done.

    • DRock

      Do we know anything about the 2 prospects? I do not like the deal straight up at all. Don’t see what the Cubs see in Travis Wood. Thought Marshall was worth way more!

    • Rick Vaughn

      Any guesses on who the prospects are?

    • Kyle

      I really like this deal. That’s five years of a cost-controlled starting pitcher who I expect to be at least adequate.

      Dempster and Zambrano are gone after next year, I still have huge doubts about Wells, and our system is badly short on high-level rotation prospects.

  • oswego chris

    ..lay off Brett…this site does an outstanding job of condensing and consolidating numerous sites, stories and sources….

    it’s easy to pop on here and just spew

    you will find more objectivity among writers/some posters than you will at all of the “real sports ” sites

    there are more knoweledgeable Cub fans on this site then you think

    • Rick Vaughn

      Well said. I’ve never understood the mindset of a person coming to a site just to complain about the guy running it. Brett does a great job. Appreciate all his time and effort.

    • Joe

      Agreed, Brett’s work here is as good as it gets. Never too high, never too low. Just good solid analysis that is repeated all over the internet by “insiders”. I’m just happy that I found a site (posters included) that look at the cubs and baseball the same way that I do. So for that, thanks and keep it up.

    • Cheryl

      Totally agree with you Chris. I was a reporter and editor for a newspaper at one time and if my experiece is any judge, we are lucky to have Brett. He does an outstanding job.

  • tex134

    Interesting path we’re heading on. So far this off season we have spent more money on are front office than upgrading are roster, we bought a McDonalds, brought in some mid level talent, and traded one of the games best left handed relievers to one of are division rivals. It is a very confusing path Theo is navigating. Don’t think I would want to be riding in that car. I feel sorry for the 2012 season ticket holders as it stands.

  • matt

    I understand what they are trying to accomplish, but as a fan….why would I spend ANY money to see this team? At this point, from the looks of it, I don’t even know why I’d waste my three hours watching them on tv.

    • Rick Vaughn

      I think the team is banking on the probability that the seats will still be full. Every baseball fan wants to be in Wrigley Field. Attendance has been over 3 million for eight straight years. Ranking in the top 5 in all of baseball for 9 straight years. We’re the one franchise outside of Boston that will draw fans no matter what the product on the field is. Which really sucks. Gives the fans no leverage.

      At least we’re not the Mets.

    • Jon

      I have to roll down from WI and spend way over $5K on tickets, parking, food, beer and sometimes hotel stays. I plan on holding onto my money I think for this upcoming season.

  • Frank

    Can’t say that it’s a good trade without knowing who the prospects are. Wood for Marshall straight up isn’t a good trade at all–one of, if not the best left handed set man in baseball for someone who may make the back of the rotation? No thanks.

  • Mo


    You come off so bitter and small every time you argue with a beat writer about whether it ” is really breaking news” or not or whether it makes sense.

    Like that is all you do, & ALL THE TIME. Quit bashing proven industry guys like Kaplan, when you are trying to come up as an up & coming source for Cubs news. It is such a turn off.

    I know you are trying to drive hits to your page, but I am going to repeat bashing Rosenthal or any of the national guys is getting old.. when in all reality YOU HAVE NO SOURCES, and are really just a hub of information with all of these guys’ work.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      All the time? Are you sure about that? I think it’s pretty rare. In fact, I’m regularly complimentary of true journalists.

      • Rick Vaughn

        I second that. Brett wins.

    • Rick Vaughn

      Wow true story? Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I try to be kind and thoughtful in my responses to nasty, thoughtless comments like this, but actually, I was far too kind in my initial response.

      In this very post, I’m HIGHLY COMPLIMENTARY of Kaplan. I go OUT OF MY WAY to emphasize that I’m not criticizing Kaplan or his work – which I like. As I’ve said. Repeatedly.

      You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and you couldn’t be more off base. Not only am I not “bitter” about anything real journalists do, I admire them, and candidly admit I couldn’t do what I do without them. I say it all the time (and if you were actually a frequent reader, as you suggest yourself to be (fat chance), you’d know that). I am not a journalist, and don’t pretend to be one. I’m a dude who writes about the Cubs. I think I do an all right job of it. That’s all I am or claim to be.

      If it’s just about the “hits to my page,” I can do without yours.

      • TWC

        Uh-oh.  Bert’s pissed.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Few things really get me riled. Accusing me of doing Bad Thing X, when I actually repeatedly do the opposite of Bad Thing X (Nice, Professional Thing Y), is one of them.

          • TWC

            Totally.  But you don’t expect the facts to interrupt their rant narrative, do you?

          • EtotheR

            Not to worry, Brett…

            In this type of situation, those making the assertions are usually pissed off that THEY’RE not being seen as an authority. They don’t care about the time, effort, and patience you’ve taken to create a terrific site, develop genuine sources, generate timely and remarkably well-written articles, and…make a true investment in a tough business.

            They ignore the fact that you go to great lengths to NOT put yourself on a pedestal, nor make yourself out to be sitting in Theo’s pencil box.

            They’re mad because you did it…and they didn’t. The rest of it is just testosterone.

          • Kansas Cubs Fan

            Brett, I think your great “copy catting”(writing) skills are what attract people like that.  You know your doing something pretty good when people like that come along just to try and bash you.

        • Rick Vaughn

          About time.

          Not that I have a whole lot going on in my life today, but really? This is all these guys want to do today? Criticize Brett? Nothing better to do? This is how you get your kicks?


      • Cedlandrum

        The only response Brett needs to these clowns is “fuck you jobu”

        • Rick Vaughn

          “you have no… marbles!”

          • ferrets_bueller

            hats for bats, keep bats warm

    • JustSwain

      Mo, Dude

      You come off bitter and small when you post a comment on a board for an established blog accusing the writer of being bitter and small. Quit coming onto established blogs and insulting writters who have earned the right to express their opinions by putting together a professional and well crafted site. It makes you come off as really whiny when you post that someone who has done far far more than you to earn his chops is actually whining about what someone else wrote. What is worse YOU DO IT ALL THE TIME!

      Sorry if I added any fuel to this dead string, but I think this post by Mo encompasses the true meaning of the word ironic (not the Alanis Morissett version) To come onto a site and lambast someone who makes his living by writing (very competently I might add, though I’m new to the site) for attacking established industry writers, while Mo himself is nothing other than a nameless, disrespectful flamer just kinda made me giggle. Brett compares much more favorably to Kaplan as a baseball source than you do to Brett Mr. Mo.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Come on, we’ve known this for months. Kaplan might as well post “Breaking news: Water is Wet.”

    • Lou

      On CTL tonight, he’s gonna give an in-depth analysis that it’s winter so it’s gonna snow. Better be careful, his birthday falls on the same day as mine :)

    • King Jeff

      I called him on it, and he replied to me in a pretty defensive manner.  Funny stuff.

  • leo

    Been long time reader. This is only my second reply ever. Love the site. has been more popular from my point of view. I see alot more replies. Dont always agree with you but hard to argue with someone who does great research and writes intelligent posts. Then again I usually agree with you. I check the site regularly several times a day because it is worth it. Must be doing something right. keep up the good work and i hope i get a Bleacher nation shirt for christmas (it is on my list).

    there is a fine line between clever and stupid
    –spinal tap

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the kind words, Leo.

  • MoneyBoy

    Brett … Let me get this outta the way … You do a wonderful job with all the blather out there in mainstream and blogosphere.  You tolerate the illiterate, the ignorant, and the blind much more than I could/do.  The quality of your work and your writing is what keeps me coming back.

    No one but E/H&Co really know what’s going on and what’s going to happen.  IMO, 2 reasons: 1. They’re not Hendry and 2.  They keep their mouths shut.

    You’re on it when you say everyone is up but 13 (maybe Garza – return being the key).

    I found the unnamed exec’s take refreshing and couldn’t help but think, “Those same words (or others like them) have to be said behind closed doors at 1060.”  I’ve mentioned before – several sets of fresh eyes running the show … with no agenda other than putting a consistent winning product on the field. With 105 1/2 days till Opening Day what counts, to me, is what they are able to get back for what they’ll ship out.

    In an email this morning, one of the folks in my group said, “Thanks for giving us this opportunity to join your cartel.  Our employees enjoyed the games this past season – not so much for the product on the field  – as for the whole Cub Experience.”   Pretty nice huh?

  • tex134

    What I don’t understand around here, if you don’t like the writing style of the man (Brett) or his opinions/ideas can’t you go somewhere else for your info?

  • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

    Culpability is one factor that helps a new GM lean towards a full rebuild, while a GM who’s promoted from within will lean towards pushing for the championship. The new team can blame 2012 on Hendry. If they rebuild they can blame 2012 and beyond on needing to rebuild because of Hendry. But when Hendry took the reins, he had been part of the organization. He was invested in the players on the squad. He believed in them.

    Both biases can be wrong.

  • Eric

    Kaplan is just a sensationalist. “LOOK AT ME”. I think maybe he was the loser in high school that nobody wanted to play with. He screams for attention.

  • Mike F

    I think Brett is great, a credit to entrepreneurial spirit blended with incredible passion. It’s his site and it’s an incredible one. I personally would be hesitant to respond to trolls who are flaming to do exactly what they have. And in the end, all the real principles including a media star like Kaplan, who I still like and always have understand one think, the hills of Tuscany, the car factories in Italy, Germany and Japan, and the drib makers everywhere aren’t worried. Soriano, Zambrano and even Dave have this in common, they’ll all be sucking the first titty on fan hog for years to come win, lose or draw.

    If Theo is a great GM his philosophy should be you’re only there until I can find someone better to replace you. And I think he has that. I also think he should be looking to win now and in the future. So, I don’t think anyone has to worry that a full scale complete blow it up and write it off is the offing. No where in his portfolio is there evidence that he has ever done that. And bluntly, he’s intelligent enough to know it would make no sense for him to leave Boston a year early, go through the hell he and his family probably have only to come to an organization many of these idiots are trying to convince is completely broke. WTF, he leaves Boston when he could wait a year and be a free agent and pick his spot to basically end up in purgatory? I don’t think so. So while everything is on the table, every shred of evidence we have says three things. First, Theo is exceptionally competitive and wants to win always.

    Second, he left Boston, in large part to win Championships in Chicago. i can see Theo being willing to listen to offers, but the idea that some are putting forward that he would be willing to accept a couple of 100 loss seasons, is learning disabled, doesn’t happen, won’t happen and is patently absurd. And in fact w/c, I can’t believe he would consider anything under .500 acceptable. There’s a hell of a lot between there and championships and while I don’t think he expects to considered a championship contender for maybe 2 years, that’s media not him. He wants to compete, and if he didn’t he would be worth having. He is capable of doing two things at once.

    Third, this isn’t the previous regime who had straights we often failed to recognize. One of those though wasn’t telegraphing their strategy. The single worst negotiating thing the Cubs could do is announce to the world or whisper what Kaplan did. Not only would it weaken their negotiation for worthy pieces it would discredit any attempt to trade the more difficult pieces. Let’s be clear, if you intend to do something that dramatic the first and most important piece would be to get waiver of all no trades, because if we’re realistic we’ll be honest, that kind of wholesale liquidation, even for the most loyal fans, would never be tolerated if they were forced to pay premium prices for Soriano and Zambrano. And maybe even more important, you would want to get Dempster to waive his no trade and be fair to trade him and remove that salary while getting prospects.

    I just think there’s a lot instability in the media, even the ones I respect because unlike Hendry, Theo doesn’t share well. They remind me of Linda Blair, she’s still hot, without the split pea soup. They can’t get their story straight in one news cycle even. Even a guy like Levine is all over the lot all the time. So my thought is let play out, before anyone heads to the Chicago River. And bluntly no one should have any issue with Brett he’s great.

  • D-day

    Very interesting watching the moving and shaking from the UK. Yes the Cubs had sucess a few years ago and nearly made it. But since then it been mediocre at best since with a lot of money spent. It is time to rebuild but there cannot be a reliance on youth or farm system to produce as there isnt the good pieces on the way up so I agree sell the value to build in short term and then work with prospects to have long term success, look at Manchester United after 20 years of failure to present success they built a legacy of success through youth including beckham. Fielder would be 50 million wasted for next two years. His true value would be in three years when a developing team just needs the superstar addition for it to kick on perhaps we already have the superstar we need in Castro. Wiser, cleverer, people than us are in the front office or we would have the job instead of theo. So I believe in what is happening trust and patience needs to be shown, which is lacking in the present world of sport.

    • BetterNews

      O.K.–We repent(LOL)