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It’s strange to be looking ahead to the Cubs Convention next weekend, and still not know what kind of mood the event will have. Are folks still excited about the front office? Bummed about not adding big pieces? Will Starlin Castro still make an appearance (no reports are yet willing to say more than he is “expected” to appear)? If so, how will he be treated? Will another few Cubs be gone come Friday? I’m just looking forward to having a good time and helping the wife see a little slice of my world.

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer wouldn’t comment on the sexual assault allegations against Starlin Castro, but did say that the organization expects players to “behave with the highest level of respect on the field, off the field and in the community …. Being a Cub carries with it a very high standard of conduct and responsibility. While an allegation like this is something we take very seriously, we don’t have enough information to make any further comment or answer any questions at this time. We’re hopeful that when the facts are brought to light, that Starlin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
  • I wrote on Friday that “I don’t think it’s the right thing – for the alleged victim, for Castro, for me, or the fans – to share my completely uneducated thoughts on the subject.” Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way, and we’re left with columns like the one recently written by David Haugh. Haugh, so righteous and so smart, stands atop his soapbox and castigates Castro for things Haugh clearly knows to be true. Castro needs to grow up and not put himself in bad situations, Haugh says, while offering mealymouthed recognitions that “[w]e might never know details of what happened inside Castro’s apartment.” The facts, yet undetermined, don’t matter, of course, because Haugh knows best. This is a teachable moment, however damning Haugh’s teaching might appear. And yet, Haugh has the temerity to say this: “The Cubs wisely reserved judgment until team officials can speak directly to Castro.” If the Cubs are wisely keeping quiet, David Haugh, what are you doing?
  • Hoyer says the Cubs are still looking at starting pitchers, hoping to add depth. At present, the Cubs could go about eight deep without even dipping into the minors (Garza/ Dempster/ Wells/ Wood/ Volstad/ Samardzija/ Coleman/ Sonnanstine), which, to me, suggests that the Cubs expect one or more of those eight guys not to be here for much longer.
  • Cubs’ fans, on the balance, seem to be resigned to a tough 2012 season, and open to the kind of rebuild underway in Chicago. Obviously the moves aren’t done yet, but Paul Sullivan accurately notes that the last time a Cubs team entered a season with expectations this low was 2003. That’s not a sentence designed to instill foolish hope, but instead simply to say: surprising things do happen.
  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Hoping smardizjja has a terrific year. He has the stuff

  • Gcheezpuff

    In regards to Castro, call me insensative, but the only thing I care about is whether or not he is the Starting SS for the Cubs in 2012 and beyond. If he is found innocent or charges are not brought against him, it doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything wrong and if he is found guilty it doesn’t necessarily mean he did something wrong. The fact is that no matter what the outcome is, no one may ever know the truth and depending on how drunk the two kids were, they might not even be sure of what happened. Which is why I will worry myself with all this only if the Cubs begin looking for a new SS. I hope something is resolved before the season so the Cubs can plan appropriately. Especially if they need to bring in a SS as part of a Garza trade. My best guess is that this is settled out of court and as quietly as possible as not to damage Casto’s image as much as possible.

  • jayandersonjr81

    I can go with any of those pitchers, with the exception of Volstad. Don’t really want him on the team. It will be hard to cheer for him when everytime he pitches, I’ll be thinking that should have been Z’s spot. Hopefully smarj gets a chance to crack the rotation. I could see him having even more success then Wilson, however unlikely. Keep Garza, Smarj, hopefully McNutt pans out, and add a bug name come 2013 off season, and we may have answered our rotation problems.

    • Gcheezpuff

      I guess I get the part about missing Z, but I am actually looking forward to seeing Valstad pitch in Wrigley. I think this kid has the tools to be good and am hoping he finally puts it together as a Cub. I liked this trade for the Cubs.

    • Brian Myers

      For me it’s Dempster. He turns 35 early in the season and his ERA has been rising each season since his great 2008 performance. But he’s an innings workhorse which gives him a lot of back of the rotation value. In short: he needs to be a #4 or #5 starter on this team (or turn it around this year) for the Cubs to be a success. He’s not that guy as it currently stands, he’s closer to a 2 or 3 on this staff… so the Cubs really need to add another starter (a 2 or 3) to give themselves a better chance this year.

      One other Dempster advantage: he’s got a great attitude and could be the veteran leader (along with Wood) this staff needs.

      • JasonB

        I simply don’t understand the continued affection toward Zambrano – he’s 1) not a good pitcher anymore and 2) a horse’s ass.  2005 was the last year that he performed like an ace and that was a long time ago.  Ozzie and him are perfect for each other.

        Dempster was never as good as his 2008 numbers.  He is also not as bad as his 2011 numbers – his FIP and xFIP have been remarkably consistent over the last 3 years and suggest he’s a 3.70-3.90 ERA pitcher.  With this staff, I’ll take that production.

        • Tommy

          JasonB – those are good points. I would also be lying if I didn’t say I was anxious to watch some Marlins games. What do think is going to happen the first time Hanley Ramirez boots a ball with Big Z on the mound? Oh, will that be fun to watch!

    • Jay

      Jayanderson…your comment is one of the dumbest I ever read….you hope Volstad doesnt succeed because Big Z is no longer here….maybe we should cheer for Rizzo to suck becuase we didn’t resign Pena….I bet Cardinal fans aren’t cheering for Beltran to suck because Pujols wasn’t resigned (i know Beltran is playing outfield and Berkman moving in)…I was a Big Z fan as well….his antics got him traded…the new regime wanted a change…as a true Cubs fan I support the move and hopes Volstad succeeds for his and the mainly the Cubs sake. And we wonder why White Sux fans make fun of us.

      • jayandersonjr81

        I never said I hope he suck. The reality us he does suck. I hope he turns into the best pitcher ever. Very very longshot. Besides, Pens is no true Cub. Soto, Castro, Barney and such, those are true Cubs.

        • Tommy

          I’ll take a 25 year old with upside over a 30 year old that is coming off by far his worst season in the pros. I always liked Big Z, too, and always rooted for him to turn it around myself. With that being said, when you start hearing veterans like Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster speaking out about what a distraction he was, I have to think the boys in charge made the right decision.

          I think when folks start talking about how we’re going to miss Big Z this year, they’re completely unaware that his ERA was 4.82. Sure, the defense didn’t help him, but that is still the type of ERA of a run-of-the-mill type pitcher. And pitchers don’t typically turn it around at age 30 (I wouldn’t think).

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            lets not forget the change of scenery is another thing that both pitchers have going for them. if big z is better this year there is really no way of knowing how he would have performed in a cubs uniform.best wishes to both guys!

    • ferrets_bueller

      Thats just….pretty much the definition of stupid and petty.  And thats not even taking into account the fact that Zambrano was an ass.

    • jayandersonjr81

      Say what you want, I don’t believe in dumping a player due to “attitude”. And if you dump one for talent or lack there of, make sure the player you get back is as good or better. Im a true Cubs fans, which is why I wanted Z to succeed, in a cubs uni. So when Volstad is 5-12 or so and Z is 16-6 or so, you all will understand. Zambrano record is possible, Volstad’s is probable. I’m don’t dislike Volstad as a person, nor do I like Zambrano, but the reality is Volstad is a horrible pitcher.

      • ferrets_bueller

        …and Zambrano is a horrible teammate.  By your logic, did you oppose the Cubs dumping bradley too?

      • Brian Myers

        You’ll have to ask yourself a question.

        Jay, you are now the general manager of the Chicago Cubs. You have a inconsistent but occasionally great pitcher that stands 6’5 and weighs 260. The biggest guy (in stature) on the team with a bad temper. During the season he’s gotten in physical altercations with smaller players on your team. During a game, he just walked out.

        During the off season, you start asking the players on the team what they think of him. They say they like his ability but they think it’s likely he’ll start a fight in the clubhouse; he’ll bring a negative attitude many days to the park; he will likely argue while on the mound and look un-sportsman like to everyone on national TV; he might even just walk out in the middle of a game and not contact the club for a day to let them know he’s OK or coming back.

        This guy won’t re-sign with the club next year, has a massive salary, and between you and me and our upper management staff… it’s unlikely we’ll win this year. So we’ve decided to get rid of many veterans and start rebuilding.

        Now we have the opportunity to trade the guy. We’ll get a back end of the rotation pitcher that we’ll have rather inexpensively for several more years.

        My question: What do you do?

        The evidence says (if he stays healthy) the guy you are trading has better talent than the guy you are getting. On the other hand, you ditch a guy you won’t have back next year. You also get a long term back of the rotation starter and a better chance at a happy clubhouse. Also, you save yourself a lot of media heartburn every time that guy loses his temper.

        So you risk losing perhaps a handful more of games (3-5) during a rebuilding year , but you’ll gain a better clubhouse, a back of the rotation pitcher, improved media spotlight and a better long term financial situation (due to the new guy having a more affordable contract and improved club control).

        The key here: Zambrano would have been gone next year anyway. Getting rid of him while he still has value (and while rebuilding the moral of the clubhouse) was why the decision was made (along with everything listed above).

        • Tommy

          Brian Meyer – that was a great argument! So good, I wanted to expound on it, further!

          jayanderson81 – Imagine this scenario: There is this guy at work who is an average worker, but considers himself one of the star employees. Doesn’t really matter what he thinks though, the important thing is that 50% of the time, he’s fairly decent to be around, while the other 50% of the time he’s in a crappy mood. Now we all can get in a bad mood at time, but the problem with this guy is that when things are going wrong, he doesn’t ever look in the mirror to see what he could do to change in order to get better, but instead goes off on his co-workers when they make mistakes. Now this should be the bosses job, but for some reason this co-worker feels that he has the right to berate his fellow co-workers any time they screw up, but doesn’t like it when someone does the same to him.

          Now imagine that this guy is the biggest guy at your job. I mean, he’s big, and can kick your ass if he wanted to. So when he goes off on his co-workers, he’s physically intimidating, and sometimes abusive toward them. His volatility makes it difficult for you to work at ease, knowing at any moment this guy could go off, and frankly, you’re scared to death of this guy. You’d like to be joking and having a good time while you’re at work, and most everyone will work together toward solutions when problems arise, but this monster of a man is more of a finger pointer than a problem solver, and certainly not someone willing to take the bulk of the blame on himself.

          Now tell me – is that a work environment you’d like to work in? Do you think productivity in a company like that would be better or worse without the big, troublesome fellow? Remember this saying – 10% of the people cause 90% of the problems. The key to all good organizations is finding those 10% of the people before they get too out of control.

          He lost me when he went off on Derrick Lee (as classy a player as you’ll find). Just something to think about.

      • King Jeff

        He quit on the team.  He told the clubhouse guys he was quitting, took his stuff, and left the team.  That is probably the one unforgivable thing you can do, and he did some other pretty bad stuff as a teammate.  There is no trust between he and his teammates anymore, that is not an atmosphere to be starting over in.  He had to go, and getting anything in return has to be a win, let alone getting a former first round pick who’s got the potential and peripherals to be pretty good.

        • Sam

          YES JEFF I AGREE…. it would be like an Gereral manager that would quit on his his team prior to the winter meeting and escape wearing a gorilla costume .Yes some people can get so passionate and walk out and say and do stupid things or other can just get depressed over a lack of money but quiters are quiters .

          I dont see anything wrong in trading Baby z except we paid 15 million dollars. I actually think lil Theo made a bad move in the timing. but I believe the Cubs had no choice but to trade Zambrano prior to the season because if Zambrano pitched for the cubs and attain certain numbers than an option year would be vested and The cubs would be stuck with him an extra year and unloading him would be even harder.
          I think behind the scenes the Cubs felt the only chance was to trade Zambrano eat the 15 million and send him to the only place that he would veto his no trade clause. Zambrano is dealt to a contender reunited with a person that will address his fiery nature and not be asked to be a clubhouse leader but the workhorse that is better suited for him.
          Poor Theo was handcuffed in this contract by the person- if zambrano pitches well in wrigley we have for two years- if the BiG Z is shipped to the team of his choice ( florida ) then a deal can be had.

          This is the only time that i think the cubs might have been fearful that a dissaponting player could rebound and force an option year.

          • Rick Vaughn

            I think his option only vests if he finishes in the top 5 in cy young voting. Probably wasn’t going to happen.

            • SAM

              You are correct ! but stranger things has happen Dawson with two bum knees Won the MVP for the Cubs . When the Big Z plays like a gamer – he is good but when he plays like he has been drinking tiger blood he is a crazy as your namesake.

              • Rick Vaughn

                I agree, Zambrano can be awesome. I’m one of his biggest fans. But it was time to move on. I figure if the Cubs were willing to eat 15 million of his contract, then he must have done more behind the scenes than we’ve been made aware of. Trust me, I’m going to miss Z as much as anybody.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        how about dumping a bad attitude that could potentialy be a cancer to the younger players. lets remember this is a completely self centered jerk whos had several oppertunities given to him based on his past perfomance. with that being said “what have you done for me lately” besides bean batters, walk out on your teamates, and destroy equipment durring his many melt downs. to think Z may have a good year is reasonable, but as a fan im glad that that “possibility” is on the marlins hands. im not so afraid hes gonna have a good season that i subject my ball club to another helping of his bullshit! let it go buddy and start hopeing the new guy kicks ass, instead worrying Z is going too somewhere else.

        • Tommy

          well put loyal100more, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Z may rebound, but I’d rather let the Marlins take that chance! That was perfect!

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        also cub fans dont get mad about trades before they have been proven to be bad!

  • rich

    I usually agree with a lot of what Haugh say’s’ but this time i totally agree that this article by him at this point is crazy. He is a hippocrite, say’s Cubs should wait for outcome and he say’s the opposite. Which is .

  • wiggleyboy

    One of the most frustrating things about last year was the pitching. From everything that happened with semesters first start giving up a grand slam, Wells getting hurt, Cashner, all the fricken times that I would clinch because I had no idea what kind of stuff Marmol would have…….can anyone talk about Bosio and what he brings? I’ve read some articles and see he has some stints as a pitching coach but don’t have a sense of what type of relationship he has with players and individuals for that matter.

  • Roland Perrelli

    Wow we really must be desperate if we are trying to give ourselves that much hope. Let’s look at outfield of 2003 right now Sosa, Alou, Glanville, Patterson,Lofton vs. 2012 Soriano, Dejesus, Byrd, Johnson,Campana. We are definitely better defensively 2012 but will not come close to the run production. Now let’s look at pitching staff 2003 Wood, Prior, A good Big Z, and Clement, Estes vs. 2012 Dempster, Garza, T. Wood, Volstad, Wells. Now that is not even close. Now catcher position 2012 is most likely better 2003 Bako, Miller vs. 2012 Soto, Cleavenger, Castillo. Lastly infield 2003 Karros, Grudz, Bellhorn/Rami, Gonzalez vs. 2012 Stewart, Castro, Barney, Lahair the only place we will is shortstop. When you look at the 2012 team we are not going to score any runs. We should be solid defensively so long as Castro makes some strides. Because Lahair is no DLee defensively, and he will not save us runs with his glove. We are going to be worse then last year and if we do not sign at least one probably two of next years pitching studs we will not be good for at least two probably three years. So much for every year is sacred, I guess that is every year after 2012 is sacred.

    • bob

      If you’ll recall, Karros, Ramirez, Lofton, and Glanville were all acquired in mid-season in ’03. The legendary Hee Seop Choi was the first-baseman until he had a collision with Wood on a bunt play. Overall, our projected opening day infield actually compares relatively favorably. The big difference is definitely the rotation…the top 4 in ’03 was possibly the most un-hittable in Cubs’ history, and it was fun watching them constantly competing to try to one-up each other.

      • Dougy D

        Legendary Hee Seop Choi, I love it!

      • ferrets_bueller

        Karros was acquired in the offseason, along with Gruzielanek for Todd Hundley.  He platooned with Choi from the outset.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And even then, at the time, the 2003 rotation coming out of Spring Training had plenty of question marks. It’s only looking BACK that we realize how good it was.

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

          Exactly, but the difference is that if we have a surprise season I don’t see Theo chasing that luck or trying to put a band-aid on the holes. Theo/Jed have a long term plan and a surprisingly good season won’t change that. Whereas Hendry was always chasing 2003 and trying to bottle the magic of that season without ever having a plan.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            my thoughts exactly.

        • Pat

          Yes, but at the time you had two guys in Wood and Prior who were widely believed to be top of the rotation caliber guys. That a big difference from Garza and Dempster.

  • cls

    David Haugh has been, and always will be, a hack. That is all.

    • Mayor1969

      Well said, though you just insulted every other hack out there by calling Haugh a hack.

  • Rooster

    Please trade Casey Coleman…uggggh. I can throw batting practice for another team.

  • T Larson

    Forget the “Z” cancer. I hope Volstad steps it up and becomes one of the leaders off of the mound.

  • jim

    Let’s ALL deal with the fact that this tear’s time will just be
    an average team, at best. Theo is making moves that he
    feels will “ultimately” benefit the CUBS. We need to try
    to enjoy our “hometown” team & CONTINUE to be supportive!
    p.s. Next year Theo , I believe, will finish off what he has
    started. KEEP THE FAITH & GO CUBS!
    ( WE STILL LOVE YOU GUYS!)

  • baseballet

    I’m encouraged by Hoyer’s comments, especially this:

    “…the only way to rebuild a great organization is to have the patience to go through that with the right players. … You can do it by constantly acquiring veterans with less upside, but the only way to be a great organization is to be willing to go through those growing pains to get the reward.”

    I’m so glad they didn’t splurge on Fielder to “compete” for a weak division in 2012. Now they can spend that money more wisely (e.g. on a top pitcher like Cain next year). FINALLY the Cubs have ownership and a front office who will spend wisely and build the team the right way.

    It’s ironic that on the verge of what should be a loss filled season, I’m optimistic about the Cubs for the first time in years.

  • rcleven

    Brett, I have to disagree on the Haugh article. Weather it be Castro or any other other person in a position the press can pick apart. He’s Not making an indictment. As a father of three girls I have hope installed in them that don’t put your self in a position that will embarrass yourself or do something you will sorry for long or short term. It is a true statement that Nothing good happens at 3 AM. Will be interesting to see how this evolves.

  • AZTheo

    For some long suffering Cub fans it’s hard to look at another year or two that the Cubs will not only not contend but will actually struggle to compete on a daily basis, especially Cub fans that may not have many years left. However, fans have to be realistic. As much as I liked Ramirez when he came to the Cubs, I realize he was on the downhill side of his career. Pena was a stopgap 1st baseman at best. Zambrano, thank you for the first few years, but he has not yet become the mature man he was meant to be and has worn out his welcome. 3 strikes if you will.
    Basically, the Cubs were regressing and the notion you should go out a spend big bucks for “star players” when you need improvement on the largest percentage of your roster is wrong. It has made me chuckle and a little ill to see high priced teams fail and low budget teams succeed.
    The way to succeed consistently is with good pitching and defense up the middle with hitters that are willing to take a walk and make a pitcher make his pitch. For too long the Cubs have played with little discipline and poor fundamentals. From all indications coaches and managers have not held players accountable for the mistakes or lack of hustle and management has not held coaches and managers accountable from the low minor all the way up.
    It remains to be seen if Epstein and Hoyer will succeed where so many others have failed but I applaud the changes that have been made. Especially in the scouting department and the minor league staffs. I do see hope on the horizon with the trades that have been made and the existing minor league players who we may see over the next 1- 3 years.

  • baldtaxguy

    Phil Rodgers wrote this morning “The Rays were talking to the Padres about Anthony Rizzo before he was dealt to the Cubs. The Rays haven’t yet identified a first baseman, with Ben Zobrist in line. The Rays will weigh interest in the Cubs’ Bryan LaHair, who could be a low-cost option that fits their dynamic. …”

    ??  The Rays are “weighing” their own interest in the only first baseman on the Cub’s roster?  I think its pretty clear that Rizzo starts the season at Iowa.  Maybe I’m simply missing the thinking here but I’m at a loss why LaHair’s name is linked to the Ray’s.

     

  • die hard

    Garza/Dempster/Wells/Wood/Volstad/Samardzija/Coleman/Sonnanstine may be a good staff for a minor league team…..but if this is the Cubs staff we shouldnt expect more than 40 wins broken down as follows: 10/8/7/4/3/4/3/1….

    • Louis

      last years wins: 10/10/7/6/5/8/3/0
      your prediction: 10/8/7/4/3/4/3/1
      You nearly copied last years numbers which I appreciate but, Garza could win 15, Dempster had a bad season and could win 10-15, Wells missed 6-8 starts and had a down year, Wood won 6 last year on 18 starts, Volstad had 5 last season so why would he do worse?, Samardzija won 8 in the bullpen last season, and Coleman won 3 games in limited and terrible work.

      • die hard

        Marshall was key to many of Cub wins…will be hard to replace him…my guesstimate may have been too high….and by the way, I didnt even look at last years stats…just guessed based on what I knew about each pitcher….not going to be pretty….has a team only won 35 games and still be allowed to remain in the NL?….isnt there some proviso in the league charter allowing the league to kick out a team for losing too much?….Cubs lawyers should check this out to be sure….

        • Tommy

          and all this time, I thought it was the team that won. All along it was an individual.

  • DCF

    I think the Cubs are not neccesarily planning on trading away any of these 8 potential starting pitcher, but they have to acknowledge the fact that these guys are far not enough to build a rotation from. Obviously, you can take Coleman, Shark or Sonnastine off that list, they’re NOT serious options for the rotation, not even for for the Cubs.

    Coleman: As a starter he’s an emergency option, as he was last year. But he’s no part of the future for the Cubs rotation, not by a long shot. If he really starts some games this year than it’s because the rotation is running in emergency mode again. They could just as well start you or me. His biggest upside might be if he finds a place to help out from the pen.

    Shark: He’s not a starter anymore, just as Cashner isn’t. Yeah, maybe he has the stuff, but he missed that boat 2 years ago. Working him up again to a starter-worthy number of innings would easily take 2 years and it just won’t happen. Sharks seems to be valauble from the pen, no reason to mess with that.

    Sonnanstine: I don’t know much about him, but after 35 innings last year he will definitely not become a starter in 2012.

    • hogie

      I think the idea of having 8-9 starters in the first place is that they are emergency starters and swingmen that don’t need to pitch 200 innings.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah … it’s not like the Cubs are planning to use an 8-man rotation. The latter three, for now, are the “depth.” They are back-up options. At this point.

        • Brian Myers

          Yeah, otherwise instead of the “College of Coaches” we would have the “College of Pitchers”. Each guy guaranteed fresh as they only pitch about once every two weeks… :-)

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            While I’d never advocate eight pitchers, I do wonder why, in recent years, there haven’t been more experiments with differing rotation sizes/differing lengths pitched in each game. Knowing absolutely nothing of the science, I’d have to wonder if there’s a possible inefficiency there.

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

              I think it’s because pitchers want to keep the five man rotation because they want to have a shot at the stats that other pitchers have and the players union backs this up as well as agents, but a six man rotation does make sense unless you have a true Ace.

            • Boog

              8 man rotation with pitchers going on 4 days rest and only throwing 4-5 innings, thus 2 starters pitch in each game… Bullpen be damned. We wouldn’t need starters to throw 200 innings, they could get through a season on 160 to 180, thus making guys like Marshall, Harden, and Cashner potential studs.

            • Brian Peters

              Why DO we have five-man rotations in the first place? I think six is a better number, myself…..it would lengthen careers in most cases.

              • DocWimsey

                The biggest problem with that is that there are not 150 MLB capable starters now; getting 180 would be really tough!

                Another problem is that baseball is extremely conservative. People groused about 5-man rotations: until they quickly realized that teams using 5 guys did better than teams using 4 guys.

                Heck, some old-timers still grouse about closers: “in their day” pitchers were proud to complete 20 games a year.  They always leave out the fact that the teams that used the early closers heavily (Fingers, Marshall, Carroll, Lyle, Gossage, etc.) were the ones in the playoffs every year…..  This is the same thing.

  • Ivy Walls

    They are not done yet and I think they are going to add at least two more pitchers, one young (going to 40-man & potential TOR) and one who is another scrap heap/reclamation hopeful, while trading away Garza and Soriano.

    Over the year there will be more assets turned into building a stable for the rebuilt foundation. Next year the Cubs will have more financial flexibility w/o Z’s, Dempster, Garza, and Byrd’s direct contracts and possibly Soto’s. That equates to between $44-$50M, on top of this year’s removal of Ramirez, Pena, & Grabow’s + others ($33M), leaving $75 off the $130M 2011 payroll.

  • ccia

    David Haugh was a lousy beat reporter for the Bears. He was routinely beaten to stories by Brad Biggs. How in the world did Haugh get his own column? He is awful. This quote was written for Mr. Haugh: “better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”.

  • jim

    Reds, cards, brewers all look much better than cubs for next two years. Minimum. Case of binnys best bourbon only help!

  • Jimbo Slice

    Soriano for Brian Roberts anyone?

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      i say what the hell… it actually couldnt hurt.

  • Hendry

    Guess pairing the young Castro with Soriano didn’t work! by the way, whatever happened to the multi year seeking Pena?

  • Sam

    Why bash David Haugh? I read his article- it was good! I think I am gonna show that article to my son. The facts are Mr. Castro a public figure ( because he can hit a baseball) is caught up in a Police investagation . (FAct) He was in a bar at 3 am and he took somebody home to continue the party ( fact) A women goes to the police and alledges a crime took place (fact) Did a crime take place? ( we do not know)

    Mr Haugh is entitled to write his column with his own opinion – At this moment Castro is the face of the Chicago Cubs and he has Embarrass the city of Chicago and it may not be any fault of his own or it might. I thought what he wrote was direct and to the point.

    Now if you want to sweep this incident under the rug .and just wait for the outcome then i think someone is just cuddling Castro and the Cubs organization.

    but for the record if Casrto did commit a crime and it can be proven . I will lose no sleep when the time comes for conviction. If Castro is being set up – I hope dearly that Castro will learn fron this Experience and help other not to fall into the same trap.

    I have full confidence that Chicago Cubs will handle this situation with great care and protect Castro until given reasons not too .

  • cubmig

    I have a comment on the Castro situation.

    Public figures don’t have the private lives as we pedestrians. Castro is a public figure. And media people have the job of informing the masses of findings they believe to be news worthy—whether we as readers differ with that judgment or the delivered commentary on it. It’s a vicious circle that produces only tension because as we can see it only affects people’s lives. What is important to keep in mind though, is that as human beings, we are imperfect. No one comes out a winner in situations like the one reported. All we can do is accept is living with imperfections and hope we don’t do each other too much damage in the process.

    Sorry to preach, but I can’t help but see how we’ve all been sucked into what’s happened.

  • tex134

    The problem with articles like Haugh’s is that a large part of society believes everything they read. Articles like this seem to paint a picture of guilt long before any information is presented. It’s a shame because it appears that journalists today don’t excercise enough resonsibilty in their writing. Anything to sell an article, weather it’s  fact or fiction. Issues such as this one need to be handled very carefully and not taken lightly by either side.

  • KJ

    Is it possible the Cubs picked up Rizzo knowing that the Rays needed a first baseman? Is it possible that the Cubs are still going to go after Fielder and is only jusing Rizzo as trade bait to get good starting pitching from the Rays?

    • gratefulled

      No. Theo and Jed have made it clear that they believe in Rizzo and want to see him succeed in a Cubs uniform.

      Nice try.

  • BD

    Why does anybody include Coleman on their list of SP options? If he’s going to be, we need to be talking about option #15 or so.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      dont relly wanna see his name on any list other than the trade block

  • Tommy

    For all the naysayers and pessimists out there, I’d like to point out something Theo said when he took the job:
    “We want to pay for future production, not past.”

    All of you naysayers are already writing off every single player on the Cubs based on last year’s performance. The dynamics of the situation when putting a team together can change the production for any given player. Why on earth would you want to go into the year with such a negative perspective, when the best you can do is guess at how they’ll perform. For all the grief I’ve seen on this blog about how we’re going to miss this guy or that guy, it seems to me that the pessimists somehow have forgotten that we only won 71 games last year. I think we can equal that regardless of the team we put on the field, and even if we can’t – why not give them the benefit of the doubt at this stage.

    Geesh – are you not at least excited that Theo and Jed are building up the farm system and not mortgaging our future by signing ridiculously large contracts. Have we learned nothing from the contracts we gave Bradley, Zambrano, and Soriano? You can win without signing someone who wants $20M a year. There are plenty of teams that do it. I’m not sure I ever want to see the Cubs sign someone to a contract where they’re making 1/6th or 1/7th of our payroll. If you keep your salaries lower, you can move people in and out much more easily.

    Do we really believe that if all of our starting pitchers are throwing up 5.00 ERA’s that there won’t be changes made? Do we really believe that with all the young sub-26 year old players we have that at least SOME of them won’t shine? Do we really believe that Theo and Jed are throwing together a bunch of players with no talent? Along with that, do we really believe that we can gauge talent better than Theo, Jed, and McLeod?

    Remember one thing naysayers – every $20M/year player was a $500,000 or less player at some point, but some of you don’t seem to understand that.

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    Brett, I think it unfortunate I can’t come here and disagree about a trade without being called names. I have never been disrespectful to anyone on this board and I expect the same in return.

    On another note. I’m not totally against trading Zambrano. However, I have a lot invested in Z emotionally, and I would love to have seen one last return on my investment. I’m a sucker for happy endings. The reason I was against it is I knew it would take us eating most if not all of his salary while not getting anything usable in return. So I figured we might as well see what he can give us. I’m not rooting against Volstad. But really, I see a 3 yr vet with upside. My definition of upside is a guy who we thought would be good but turns out, he wasn’t. I don’t see any chance Volstad cracks our rotation with those numbers. And if he does, it will be a long year. Plus, if we are going to start him, might as well give Coleman another chance. If we only had to pay half of Z’s salary, is say good deal. But eating all of it, this is an atrocious deal. I’m not against Epstien. I loved the Marshall trade. I loved the Rizzo trade. Dejesus, good signing. Johnson, horrible signing. Yeah he’s cheap, but he doesn’t fit the mold for this team no more or less then Zambrano(for different reasons, obviously). Please, lets not drink the cool aid and think its a good move just cause the new regime made it.

    And please, let’s restrain from calling people names for disagreeing with the majority. That’s just petty.

    • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

      Also, if you call Z a quitter, make sure you give Epstein the same title.

      • Tommy

        Epstein didn’t walk out on his team. The Cubs asked for permission to talk to him and hired him into a position that was a promotion. Jed Hoyer is the GM of the Cubs and Theo is his boss. I’m disappointed I need to explain this. That was a silly comment.

        • Rick Vaughn

          Getting promoted is the same as quitting. He should be demonized forever for it. I will never accept a promotion, even if it comes with a huge pay raise, because I’d be heartbroken if  janderson thought of me as a quitter. Hurts to even think about.

          • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

            Epstein quit several years back when he walked out on the Sox while under contract.

            • Tommy

              I don’t know why I waste time trying to rationalize with people like you. You’ve made up your mind to whine, complain, and bitch, and that’s what you’re going to do no matter what anyone says. There’s a handful of you that show up on this blog and do nothing but. I’m all for having discussions on pros and cons, but guys like you only want to make everything sound like a foregone conclusion of bad when it comes to the Cubs.

              You’re right – Cubs suck, their GM sucks, all their players suck, all the trades they made suck, and all of us fans that don’t recognize it suck. Thanks for filling us in on our suckiness.

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

                Tommy, your right to just ignore those who can’t have meaningful discussions. Come over to the message board and you won’t find yourself frustrated.

                • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

                  I’m not complaining. I said Theo did a great job in the Marshall trade, and I feel like he completely robbed San Diego for Rizzo. Thought it would cost us Jackson. But just like I give credit, I also have a right to disagree with the Zambrano trade. Its doesn’t make me a complainer. It makes me a Cubs fan who disagrees. I think overall Theo doing a decent job. But I also think that just like he robbed SD, he got robbed by Florida. Just an opinion, not the end of the world. The thing about me is if Volstad wins 10+ games with a sub 4 ERA, I be the first to say I was wrong.

                  BTW, I’m not call Theo a quitter, nor am I calling Zambrano one. People deal with situation differently. I’m not Z or Theo, so I can’t call either anything other then a pitcher and a PoBO. But dont call Z a quitter, then give Theo a pass for doing the same thing.

                  • Rick Vaughn

                    “Also, if you call Z a quitter, make sure you give Epstein the same title.”  5:37 pm

                    “Epstein quit several years back when he walked out on the Sox while under contract.” 6:19 pm

                    “BTW, I’m not call Theo a quitter”  7:11 pm

                    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

                    • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

                      You are correct Rick Vaughn. The points was if what Z did is considered quitting, the so is what Epstein did. They both walk out on there teams. However, we don’t know where either ones emotional state was. I think they both handle a situation they way they thought best. It worked for Theo, not so much for Z. But I wouldn’t call either a quitter.

                    • SweetJamesJones

                      You do sound like a battered wife. How many more passes do you want to give Z? Its just more excuses to be made.

                      I wouldnt even compare the Epstein/monkey suit debacle to the crazy past three to five years with Z.

            • Rick Vaughn

              I think this is why people call you names or whatever you were crying about earlier. Just random comments about things that don’t matter. Baseless nonsense. It just irritates a lot of people here. It gets old. I don’t blame anyone for being rude to you at this point. And if at some point you felt I was rude to you, then you probably had it coming…so mission accomplished.

               

        • sam

          tommy

          to steal a direct qoute from Wikipedia

          “”On October 31, 2005, Epstein resigned, rejecting a three-year, $1.5-million-per-year contract for personal reasons. According to The Boston Globe, “This is a job you have to give your whole heart and soul to,” he said. “In the end, after a long period of reflection about myself and the program, I decided I could no longer put my whole heart and soul into it.” Because it was Halloween the night he resigned from the Red Sox, Epstein left Fenway Park wearing a gorilla suit in an attempt to avoid reporters. A witness reported spotting a person wearing a gorilla suit driving a Volvo similar to Epstein’s that night. “””

          The Redsox promoted Jed Hoyer to interm General Manager and oversaw all baseball descions for 10 weeks that included that years winter meeting and scout developments.

          In January Redsoxs President Luccino hired him back ( I wonder why nobody hired that quitter during that down time?)
          Anytime an major executive quits prior to baseball Winter meeting to me its like what Zambrano did on the field .
          Jed Hoyer did a remarkable job and I for one is glad that he is with the CUBS !

          but lil theo will always be remembered as a Quitter in some circles in baseball

          • Rick Vaughn

            What the hell is a quiter anyway?

            • sam

              ha ha ha . I am the worst speller – I sometimes think I should ban myself from site that dont carry spellcheck for that reason alone .

            • Rick Vaughn

              There you go. Edit button for the win!

            • SweetJamesJones

              Yeah, what is that anyways? :)

              These people trying to defend Zambrano and his actions with the Epstein/Red Sox drama from years ago really sound like a bunch of little kids.

              “But nuh huh, SO? Esptein did this, blah blah blah and blah. So if you are gonna call Big Z one, then you better call Epstein one.”

              Thats just stupid to argue over about.

          • Tommy

            Sam – when I generalized the group of people that whine, bitch, and complain – you were near the top of that list.  When you’re not typing off some hard to read/understand run on sentence or something completely incoherent, you’re arguing the same old points, name-calling the same old Cubs – rarely anything positive.

            If you want to compare Theo Epstein to Zambrano, that’s your right.  Just save me your cut and paste Wikipedia posts, because as far as I’m concerned, if you compare the two, you seriously don’t get it anyway.

            I grow tired of your anti-Cub banter, and think you should stick with your favorite team, the Red Sox.  I am taking MichiganGoat’s advice and spending my time on the message boards having meaningful conversations with other ‘FANS’ of the Cubs.  You stay here and bitch, moan, and complain some more.  I’ll be seeing you around.

            • sam

              dude I dont complain or whine .I simply state the facts with colorful insightful rhetoric. As being a Cub Fan I do not like the direction the Cubs Organization is going but once the Cubs do throw away all it current players . It will be easier to blame Lil theos or RIcketts Agenda,
              Chicago is a major Market and its baseball ticket prices is the near the top of MLB to enjoy a baseball game ,if management feels it needs to regroup it loses by providing an inferior team on the field then i will complain. If i feel the Ricketts and his gorilla for hire is a staple of what to come I will complain .
              I am not lost on the fact that Theo could be a great leader within the Cub organization but I am not fooled by the smoke and mirrors if Ricketts has handcuffed Lil Theos free agents budget.
              I belive to have a successful Chicago baseball team a good portion of player development and veteran presence must be maintained. This team shows no promise of improvement nor the professional atmosphere in winning games . Unlike most people I hold Theo Epstien responsible for the sucess or failure of the Cubs not Jed ( a remarkable Young GM) just as i give credit to the Redsox President When Theo was a young GM.
              Having said that maybe the problem is with who owns the Cubs. I expected When Ricketts hired Theo it was to develop a winning team that would compete today and build for the future.

              • Rick Vaughn

                I think this is just a misunderstanding. You seem to be under the impression that the people on this board have some pull in the organization as far as moves and ticket prices.

                When you come on here bitching and moaning about ticket prices and blah, blah, blah… it’s just pointless. Take your complaining to someone who cares, or who could at least do something about it. We’re here to talk about the team as it is and what it probably will or could be. Basically, potential. Not to complain about what isn’t happening.

                You (and a few others) seem to just be looking for a place to vent. Looking for people to share your frustrations with. What is the point of that? To be pissed off together? There are plenty of other boards and websites for that. Most of us aren’t here for that. It’s a pointles, pointless, POINTLESS, waste of time.

                • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

                  Sam I would have to disagree with you here. I like the direction the club is going, and think a rebuild is good. I was against the Pujols/Fielders signings from the start. Rizzo is the guy I wanted. If not, then Lahair. I think Theo is the right guy for the job, I’m just not going to drink the cool aid without sniffing and testing it. Now if we don’t at least go after Solar or Cespedes, I will be upset. But Ricketts has no agenda, IMO, other then long term winning. My beef with the Zambrano trade wasn’t against Theo as th PoBO, It was more for what we paid, verses what we recieved. Chill out buddy, we will be ok.

                  • sam

                    Rebuilding should always be an ongoing process. I am truly excited in seeing theo first draft- his moves to date give me no excitment – I think Rizzo has a slow bat- the other stuff – marshall is like the day we put up the white flag ( ply wood) is younger sean and two prospects are decent. Stewart – oh my god the tiger juice is kicking in ……

                    • Rancelot

                      sam – the white flag was waving last year when Jim Hendry appointed Quade as the manager. Bottom line is the Cubs had a poor product on the field the last two years with an over bloated payroll. The continual dipping into the free agent market for the proverbial band-aid method had run its course. To be honest, I found myself falling out of love of the Cubs for the first time in my life.

                      I will not allow myself to fall prey to blind faith but the renewed energy that the Theo/Jed combo has brought to the north side in 3 months time in very encouraging. I am finally seeing an organizational vision and focus and this is something I not only recognize but also commend. I am truly looking forward to going to Spring Training again this year, an annual tradition of mine since 1991, and I can thank the Rickett’s ownership for that. Let’s not get carried away and try to predict the future, just live in the moment, get excited for the infusion of life with all the player movement, and hope that success breeds success!

                • sam

                  Ticket prices LOL – when the staduim is half empty its easy to get tickets and not over pay for them (LOL) actually its cheaper and easier to get tickets if the cubs are bad- i think this is the first year a person can still get Cub convention tickets- usually it sold out in day or two if not within hours.

                  i need to drink some tiger blood!

                  • Kansas Cubs Fan

                    You know… I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you were Charlie Sheen.

                    It makes sense now.

                    • Rick Vaughn

                      My friends call me Chuck.

          • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

            See, I don’t think Theo is a quitter either. He handled it how he felt he had too. I hate the quitter label. I could call Jordan a quitter. Sandberg. Ricky Williams. Bill Parcells. And so and so on. In reality, no of them are.

          • Brian Myers

            I think the difference is the opinion of the man.

            In other words, when Theo left he was a respected executive that the organization trusted. In general, I believe the team missed him because he was a good individual that they valued.

            Z was a man known for arguing. He can be a likable guy, but also a very outspoken one. In time he stepped on a lot of toes, hurting many feelings and egos in the clubhouse, and brought the emotional level of the clubhouse down with his moods, mouth and actions.

            Both men quit. But with Theo the club wanted him back and he was generally still respected. He hadn’t burnt his bridges. It caused a bit of introspection and mutual understanding. But Z was the boy that cried wolf. He had whined, complained, bitched, thrown temper tantrums and threatened physical violence. Those that supported him early on grew tired of the constant emotional drain that was Z. So when he walked out it was the culmination of years of tirades and bad moments. The time had come to do something about it and do something about the bad relationship.

            In short: while they were similar as individual incidents, when looked at as a compilation of a whole series of career moments Z’s issues were mostly negative while Theo’s were mostly positive… and that made all the difference in perception of an event.

            • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

              Now that I agree with. Z is no saint by any means.

    • Rick Vaughn

      Don’t call me petty, snitch.

      • Tommy

        ROFL!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t catch all the comments, but, yeah, let’s all abide by the general principle: no name-calling. Primarily because it makes you look like an idiot. (I’m witty.)

    • gratefulled

      Please tell me you are not really a father.

  • Mark

    Pitching isn’t looking very tough. But neither will our lineup. Who bats 3,4,5? Pirates and Astros might be better. Wow that hurt to say that.

  • cubfan

    can we please get rid of Randy Wells, he is a bad player and i cannot watch him throw 45 pitches in a single inning for any longer

    • Rick Vaughn

      I think statistics would show that Randy Wells is at least an above average player. I like him. He was hurt early and rushed back. I’m expecting good things from him this year.

      • Brian Myers

        Randy has a career WHIP of 1.347, he also gives up more than a hit an inning. That means the base runners he allows tend to be by hitting the ball instead of by wildness. By ML standards, he’s not above average… at least by the numbers. He has some potential, but it needs to turn around this year.

        • Cubbiecop

          I think that while we all have emotional ties to certain players, for whatever reason, we have to think of what is best for the team as a whole. I believe that it was Zambrano’s time to go. Was he a great pitcher for us at a certain point in his career, yes. Is he that pitcher anymore, i’d have to say no. If he was a “team” guy and had not caused so many issues in his tenure with the Cubs then i’m sure he would have been retained and allowed to pitch with the team in his final year of the contract. Don’t get me wrong, I have emotional ties to players too, Mark Grace being the one that comes to mind for me. I was highly pissed when he left to go to Arizona. But when I stepped back and looked at the fact that this is a business and Grace got a WS ring to go with it, I was a little less angry. We have to allow the Hoyer and Theo to do what they think is right to get this team back on track. Let’s not castrate them before a pitch is even thrown for 2012.

          I think we will be competitive for 2012, I don’t believe we will win the division or the wild card by any means. However, with that being said, the team did not get into this position overnight and it will not be rectified overnight either. Lets give it a bit until we all become unglued and start calling for peoples heads.

          While I can understand peoples frustrations with us not “winning it all” this year, but i’m not going to let it keep me up at night and cry myself to sleep holding my security blanket either. We all need to stop, take a breath and realize this is a SLOW process. Look at the Rays, it can be done with smart drafting and player development. The only thing different about the Cubs is that we can spend the money to pick up the “big name” free agent that will put us over the top when our young core is up and running, while the Rays can not.

          So lets all pump the brakes and let time tell as to where we will be when this is all over. If it doesn’t work then i’m sure appropriate action will be taken in due time.

          • Rick Vaughn

            Booyah!!

            “The only thing different about the Cubs is that we can spend the money to pick up the “big name” free agent that will put us over the top when our young core is up and running, while the Rays can not. “

            Not to mention, unlike the Rays we have the ability financially to retain our own home grown stars once they hit free agency.

        • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

          There are pitchers who have “stuff” and there’s pitchers who use deception. Maddux was a very deceptive pitcher. Wells reminds me of Maddux, though not as talented. If he can find the deception he had his rookie year, he could be pretty good. If not, he could be pretty bad. Hopefully he finds it. As is, he’s one of our better pitchers.

          • Rick Vaughn

            I know I’m repeating myself, but I think Randy is going to have a solid year. He was rushed back from injury last year. Definitely had some good starts. 2-hit shutout in August. Went 8 innings against the world series champs to close the year. I think he’s a solid #4 starter. Other than Garza, he’s the starter I have the fewest issues with. Unless Dempster rebounds, Wells might be our second best starter this year.

          • Kyle

            The myth of Maddux’s stuff continues to be very silly.

            For much of his career, Maddux had a low 90s fastball with exceptional, late movement. He complemented that with a plus-plus changeup and two other good pitches.

            He had exceptional stuff. He combined that exceptional stuff with some of the greatest control the game has ever seen, but he wasn’t throwing junk.

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