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Ryan Dempster was absolutely dominant once again, and the Cubs won for just the fifth time in their last 25 games. Alfonso Soriano continues to hit the ball hard from the DH spot, and Starlin Castro had a big day at the plate.

Castro also had an interesting day in the field. On one play, he showed us everything we already think about his defensive game: taking a grounder in the hole, Castro took his eye off the ball, and booted it into the outfield. Scrambling to the ball, he grabbed it and threw a strike to the plate from shallow left in one smooth motion, nailing a runner who was trying to score from second. He makes mistakes, but he’s crazy talented. That’s Castro.

  • calicubsfan007

    Wow, Liriano really hasnt been the same since the Tommy John surgery. I am not sure how to deal with a win, whatever a win is. It feels weird. lol

  • MichiganGoat

    Interesting that the box score didnt give Russell two ER. I’m sure it’s corrected by now, just interesting that it was missed by the time you pulled the box score.

    • calicubsfan007

      They gave him the two runs, just they weren’t earned. Maybe they factored in Stewart’s error or something like that.

      • MichiganGoat

        Oh yeah forgot about that error, but Russell still looked bad today.

        • calicubsfan007

          True, not his dominant self. I think it has something to do with me watching the game this time, I always bring weird luck to the Cubs.

        • cubchymyst

          I don’t think Russell looked bad either, the first 3 batters that reached were and error, a weak grounder to no mans land, and a bloop. Not a lot of hard hits off of him and with a little better luck the inning would have ended sooner.

      • Joe

        Yep! And Russell was not that bad in my opinion. He had pitches right over the plate that were called balls! I could not believe it. I think the umpires tend to not give calls(deserved calls mind you), to the visiting team. I really believe that.

  • oswego chris

    tough error on Stewart (in my opinion) in 9th…

    in a season where you have to take small victories…this is one…I am just having a hard time forming an opinion on if the Cubs will be able to get anything good for Dempster…

    I stick to my earlier thoughts on playing hard ball for both he and Garza…with HUGE money next year, it is not inconcievable to contend in 2013, and Garza and Dempster would be nice to have…

    • rcleven

      Rizzo is the only player in the system that may help this club in 2013. Unless they can p/u some awfully good players in the off season this club won’t be a playoff contender till 2015.

      • calicubsfan007

        Hamels could possibly come over… I really think that if Theo plays his cards right this offseason, the Cubs can be competitive in 2013. Don’t forget Vitters and/or Jackson, at least one of them will be with the Cubs in 13.

        • art

          Dale just said vitter’s won’t be up till he improves his D, it’s bad. as for Jackson, not sure of him anymore. starting to remind me of Pie.

          • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

            Pie was more raw than Jackson, but maybe had a higher ceiling. A better comparison would be Corey Patterson. Both are more polished than Pie. All three are free swingers that strike out too much. They shouldn’t bring up Jackson unless he gets hot and is hitting above .300. The mistake they made with Pie and Patterson, in my opinion, was rushing them throug the minors. There’s no point in bringing him up if he’s hovering around .260-.270. Same with Vitters. These guys are still young. September would be fine with me, unless trades cause big holes that need to be filled. Honestly, I’m more worried about who will take all the innings when Dempster and Garza are traded. We may need 14 pitchers in the majors when that happens.

            • Kyle

              I don’t think Pie’s that bad of a comp, actually. Not a great one, but not horrible. Jackson is closer to Pie than Patterson. Pie and Patterson are always lumped together, but they were pretty dissimilar. Pie’s walk rate was never bad. It wasn’t as good as Jackson’s, but it was above average. Take Jackson, add some contact, drop some walks, drop some power, add some speed, and you have Pie.

              Pie’s AAA numbers indicated he should have been ready to at least hold his own in the majors, but he just completely cratered. I’ve heard rumors that he was led down a partying path by some of the Cubs of that time and it hurt his ability to work on his game, but I have no idea if that’s true.

              As far as Patterson goes, I think I’d be very happy at this point if Jackson ever has two seasons as good as Patterson’s best two as a Cub.

              • ferrets_bueller

                Overall, I think Pie and Jackson have similar total physical talent levels, albeit slightly different mixes. Not superstar quality, but very talented.

                Patterson, on the other hand….has/had just an absurd amount of physical talent. Had he ever fixed his approach at the plate, and ever had a coach that wasn’t a f’n moron (dusty mother f’ing baker, goddamnit.), he legitimately had the raw talent to be among the top half dozen or so players in all of baseball.

                • Kyle

                  “(dusty mother f’ing baker, goddamnit.),”

                  I will never hate anyone involved with the Cubs like I hate Dusty Mother Effing Baker. Hendry obviously failed to make full use of the resources available to him, but he wasn’t a total loss.

                  Ed Lynch was just plain baseball dumb (though reportedly quite smart academically). Karchner for Garland still sticks in my craw, because it was clearly dumb *at the time*. This wasn’t a case of a prospect developing after you traded him so you look bad. Karchner was the sort of “reliever reclamation” project that Theo loves, and would have been an interesting waiver wire pickup despite his 5+ ERA. But we didn’t just pick him up, we traded our No. 10 overall pick from the year before for him. It’d be like if instead of picking up Corpas on a minor league contract, we traded Javier Baez for him.

                  But none of that compares to the damage Dusty Baker did to the Cubs. I hate him so much. I didn’t poop in his spot, but I’m glad someone did.

              • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

                Don’t get me wrong… I don’t care about the strikeouts if he’s getting on base at a high click and/or driving in a ton of runs. But .260 in Iowa does not make we want to scream, “BRING HIM UP!” I’d like to see Rizzo, but it makes perfects sense why they don’t bring him up. And I do agree with Kyle regarding Patterson. Baker did mess him up. I’d also argue that Lou messed up Pie similarly. I wonder if they had kept Josh Hamilton instead of drafting him for the Reds if he’d be the guy he is right now too… Sveum seems to get it and will play these guys when they’re in Chicago, so I don’t worry about that much. It’s refreshing. While I would love to see all of them playing in Chicago now, I respect the fact that the Cubs brass has a better idea of when they’re ready than I do, and won’t bring any of them up until they are. And when they are up, they won’t be only getting games as defensive replaces for Soriano or LaHair.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Jackson has a much, much better batting eye than Patterson ever had.  He also does not have Patterson’s contact skills: yes, Corey swung and missed a lot, but he was pretty amazing at hitting pitches 2′ away from the strike zone.  Unfortunately, although that talent is very handy if you are playing tennis with baseball bats, it’s not a very useful talent in baseball…..

                Jackson, on the other hand, seems to have a great eye: he just swings and misses a lot.

                So, I’d look at these three as apples, oranges and bananas comparisons….

            • ferrets_bueller

              UGH.
              This again?

              Brett Jackson doesn’t strike out because he’s a free swinger, he doesn’t strike out because he takes too few pitches.

              He strikes out because he takes A LOT of pitches. Such is the life of a patient hitter- a very high OBP, an average average, and some Ks.

              • calicubsfan007

                Whats the comparison then between him and a past prospect or current major leaguer?

              • Kyle

                “Brett Jackson doesn’t strike out because he’s a free swinger, he doesn’t strike out because he takes too few pitches.”

                He strikes out because he’s not very good at hitting good pitches. That’s even more worrisome, because at each level he’s going to get fewer mistakes to exploit. There seem to be holes and if AAA pitchers are finding them this often, MLB pitchers are going to make him look foolish.

              • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

                I have to disagree. You’re telling me he has 80 strikeouts to 26 walks because he takes too many pitches? If it’s 50 ks to 25 walks, I’d buy that argument. I’ve seen him play. He swings and misses plenty. Maybe he isn’t in the same category as Pie and Patterson, but if I had to compare him to past Cub prospects, Patterson is the guy that comes to mind. Jackson is built more like the power hitter that Patterson wanted to be, so if he hits 20 homers and bats .270 in the majors, I’m fine with that. My main point was they shouldn’t bring him up just to draw buzz, like previous regimes have done. I don’t think Theo and Jed will do that, so there probably isn’t much to worry about regardless.

                • Drew7

                  Personally, I couldnt care less about what his BA is, because it doesnt matter. I see no problem with keeping him down in AAA to keep an eye on 2 things: his BB-rate and K-rate. He has shown he can get on base and has shown consistant XBH power, but I want to see his K-rate come down and his BB-rate not suffer in the process. If he can do that, Im on board with a call-up.

                  Edit: I suppose id also be making sure his XBH rate stayed where it is. What you dont want him doing is just trying to get the bat on the ball to keep from striking out, but sacrificing power in the process.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    amazed at how well demp has been throwing the ball… not to mention what a team player he really is…that is in my opinion how id like every cub to be! thanx demp… hope you stick around, but if you dont hope you get a ring… heck of a pitcher, and a heck of a guy!

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Cubs beat the Twins for Victory number 1 how about Victory number 2 and landing Jorge Soler. Get er done Theo and Company.

  • McGrath

    I have talked about this with Cubs friends for the last few weeks. I believe the amount of money we spend this offseason is directly impacted on how well Rizzo and Vitters play when they get called up. If they play well enough to show they are ready to be big time contributors. This mainly applies to Rizzo. If he is as good as advertised then between him and Castro we can really start building.
    With the money they have to spend next year it isn’t inconceivable to sign Melky Carbrera, or Josh Hamilton, or B.J. Upton to fill out the outfield around Brett Jackson and DeJesus.
    If they don’t trade Garza and then sign both Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels a rotation with those three, Smarz, and Maholm would be the best in the Central and up there with any in the NL.

    • calicubsfan007

      Can’t see them being able to afford Greinke, Garza and Hamels. One of those won’t be a Cub, money’s on Garza or Hamels not being there.

      • art

        Garza will be gone for prospects, and Hamels wants a ton of money. Greinke?

        • calicubsfan007

          I think that we can pry him away from the Brewers, I have heard Yanks not wanting him because of his bad record vs. the AL East teams. The Brewers have proven that they can’t really afford much, outside of Braun. He seems the most likely of the three to come over.

    • Alou and Vinegar

      Can see them going after Upton. Hammels probably ends up with Dodgers and not sure Greinke is any better than Garza.  I think Sanchez from the Marlins may be the pitcher they try to sign.

  • AD

    I don’t believe that the Cubs are going to pass out that type of money until they have a true foundation. Big money is what got the Cubs into this mess, so I don’t think that Theo & Company are ready to make that same mistake. Also, why would any of those players sign with the Cubs who will more than likely be coming off a hundred-plus losing season. Just can’t see that scenario happening.

    • Kyle

      Big money did not get the Cubs into this mess. Scouting and development failures did.

      • Cubs Dude

        Agreed big time Kyle! Trainwreck stupid in the past. Lets do it right this time..

      • Joe

        I tend to agree, but by the same token, money just seemed to flowing freely for what ever reason.

      • al

        How does scouting and development failures explain Soriano and Zambranio?

        • Kyle

          It doesn’t.

          But Soriano and Zambrano are not the reasons the Cubs fell apart after the 2008 season.

        • calicubsfan007

          It does actually explain Zambrano. The Cubs signed him as an amateur free agent in 1997. Scouts had to scout him and he went through the minors like any other young prospect, so his failure with his maturity with the Cubs can relate to the scouts missing this immaturity and his developers not developing him properly.

          http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/zambrca01.shtml

          • DocPeterWimsey

            But Kyle’s point stands: Zambrano is not why the Cubs lost.  He was instrumental in getting the Cubs to post-season in ’03 and ’07, and he helped the Cubs almost get there in ’04.  (He chipped into the effort in ’08, but that team was so dominant that it would have made post-season even if a few players had had worse seasons than they did.)

            Z’s antics might have pissed off people with artificially straightened intestines, but he was a good player.  His so-called “maturity” (sorry, when you are like that at 30, it’s not maturity: it’s personality) was not a scouting issue: the Yankees certainly won a lot of games with much bigger jerks than Z.

            • calicubsfan007

              Good point Doc. Didn’t even think of that.

  • Caleb

    Good game, but shiza manelli it was effing windy! Never watched a game in a tornado before- kind of interesting

  • AD

    Well, that is also true. However, Soriano’s contract, Zambrano’s, Marmol’s, and Byrd’s have put the Cubs in between a rock and a hard place going forward. Not only have they spent a ton of money on players who were not worth that money, but that has also made these players nearly untradeable. They have netted Volstad and Bowden and have the others left to warm the bench. Albeit, Soriano has been streaking this week. Also, why spend big money when you aren’t ready to compete.

    • Kyle

      For the first point, I think you are overrating the impact of bad contracts on the ability to put together a quality roster. Ideally, everyone on the roster will be paid at or less than their value to the team. But in the real world of major-league contracts and the various CBAs of recent decades, that is impossible. You will always have some guys on the tail end of deals making more than you’d like to pay them. But if you scout and develop well, you can balance those guys out with extremely cheap homegrown players. For example, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano combined make $19 million, and as a package that’s a good value.

      For the second question, why spend money when you aren’t ready to compete, my answer would be that if you wait until you are ready to compete, you may find yourself waiting forever. It’s a *lot* harder than people seem to think to build a nearly-ready-to-compete team from scratch without spending money. Ask fans of the Kansas City Royals, for example. There’s a team that has had a universally lauded farm system for many years, and for the last few they were supposed to have finally built a competitive team with it. But it just hasn’t quite clicked at the major leagues. Before that, it was the Cleveland Indians whom everyone said was right on the cusp with their homegrown talent, but it never materialized.

      As a counter-example, I’ll throw up the Washington Nationals. They built a nice core with the farm system, but they didn’t wait for it to develop before they added major-league pieces. As the farm system matured, the surrounding talent was already in place. That should be the Cubs’ model moving forward. If we needed a year to cleanse the books of what’s left of the Hendry era, so be it. But if we aren’t going to spend money until we already have a competitive team in place, we may find it takes 25+ years, a la the Pirates.

      • AD

        I agree that it is really difficult to build from scratch such as the Rays and Nationals have. However, I can not justify spending big time money on free agents with the Cubs far from contention. While I believe that the Cubs could be improved next year, I still feel that they won’t be competitive until 2014. With Castro already starring at Wrigley, if the Cubs can hit on Rizzo and one of Jackson or Vitters then they can start adding some pieces. They also need to develop some more arms. Spend all you want on Hamels and Grienke, but those two aren’t going to be pitching complete games night in and night out. The Cubs just aren’t good enough to be adding big time names at this time.

      • Drew7

        Well said, Kyle. Many believe big money spending got us here because thats the easiest explanation, but you have to spend $ to be competitive.

        Like Ive said before, the FA market isnt about spending vs not spending; its about finding value (buying low- see: Dejesus) and avoiding paying a premium amount for guys not likely to repeat (buying high- see latest ARod ext). Its the same with trading players: find the player’s ceiling, then decide if hes better used adding value to your ball club or being exchanged for players likely to add more value in the long run.

        Like Kyle said, you are going to have guys on your team not *earning* their contracts, but with a good farm system, the ones playing way above value balance that out.

      • Cubs Dude

        I usually like your points Kyle, but that is way too long bro. Come on now..

        • Kyle

          I’ll start adding a tl;dr synopsis at the end.

          tl;dr: Building from within is hard, unreliable, and 20 other teams are trying to do it at any given time, so trying doesn’t mean you are anything special. And we’ve definitely tried it before.

  • ottoCub

    As difficult as it may be to acknowledge, Koyie Hill also made an excellent play on the Castro error + beautiful throw. His block of home and tag was perfect technique, and kept the runner from reaching the plate.

  • Toby

    For years, the Cubs spent the most in free agency, whether on resigning their own or goign outside of the organization because they had no pipeline of prospects coming up and had no choice giving said free agents more than what the market dictated. Compound that with no trade clauses made the situation worse. From the sound of it, the Cubs are finally going to use free agency the right way which is developing a core of their own players while supplementing that core with free agents whose position has a lack of depth in the minors. Take Tampa, for example, which has not spent money on any starting pitching because of the amazing depth they have in the minors and the majors. In fact, they took the most valuable starter in Garza and flipped him to the Cubs for pieces that they were lacking in the minors. So, by this method, they can allocate money that would normally go toward a starting pitcher and look at other positions that they are lacking.

    • Kyle

      It’s not like the Cubs have never tried to build a core of young players from the farm system before. It’s been less than a decade since they were universally lauded as the best farm system in baseball.

      Do we need to dig up the pre-2003 BA chat again? :)

      • nkniacc

        But other than using most of them for trade they really didn’t produce much at the mlb level

      • AD

        So in one breath you are saying that money isn’t the reason that the Cubs have failed and that it is due to a lack of scouting and development, but in another breathe you say that building a system is impossible to do. Obviously the key to success lies somewhere in the middle, but your points counter each other. Not saying this is a bad thing, as I can see both points, but just wondered what the thinking was behind your commentary.

        • Kyle

          There is no contradiction.

          You need to develop homegrown players to win. It is almost impossible to win only with homegrown players or to wait until you are happy with your homegrowns to add outside acquisitions.

          Good organizations pay for talent and accept that the end of some deals will be undesirable. They balance that with steady, homegrown talent. The Cubs weren’t awful in recent years because of overpaid but talented players such as Soriano, Zambrano or Ramirez. They were awful because they failed to surround those guys with more than Castro.

          • AD

            Exactly it has been because the Cubs are a franchise recovering from dire straights. Adding young, impact talent is hard to do, but if the chance is there you must take it.

            The Cubs should be spending money on players like Soler right now instead of Hamels, Greinke, and Hamilton. These are players who are in their primes when the Cubs aren’t at a level to compete for a World Series. I can’t remember a time in which a team lost 100 games and made it to the Series the next year.

            Adding pitching is fine, but Im not comfortable wasting two years of those guys arms until we are ready to be serious contenders. I’m all about adding free agents, but certain guys don’t make any sense at all.

            • Kyle

              We’re a big market team with $35 million committed to next season. I see a list like Soler, Greinke, Hamels and Hamilton, and I don’t see why I should be choosing just one.

              Paying for MLB talent and developing new talent from within are like eating and drinking. Both are necessary, simultaneously. The Cubs failed to drink and as a result got very, very thirsty. Many Cubs fans want to blame the eating for how thirsty we got, and have resolved in the future to hope that the Cubs never eat again, only drink.

              Well, this team is driving me to drinking, anyway…

              • AD

                The Cubs don’t have enough key young pieces like Castro in place. If you sign a players like Hamilton, Grienke, and Hamels you are doing what Hendry did his whole tenure: attempt to win in a two or three year intervals and then be terrible for the next ten years because of it. Id rather have a team who can compete every year instead of in two year intervals.

                By adding expensive free agents when you lack a core of young players, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Im not saying all young players have to be superstar, but if you start adding older players without a core of talented, younger player, you cannot achieve sustained success as Theo stated in his press conference.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  No Theo would not be mimicking Hendry.  Hendry signed few big name free agents prior to 2007.  Even at that point, Soriano probably was the only guy who makes a list with those guys.

                  Historically, the Cubs have passed on free agents.  There were numerous big name free agents from as late as the early part of last decade who later admitted that they would have been interested in an offer from the Cubs: but none was forthcoming because the Cubs always claimed to be set on some minor leaguer or another….

                  • AD

                    You are though. When Hendry went on his main spending spree he already had a team of veterans. He had virtually zero young core players in place except for maybe Zambrano. By doing that, you limit yourself to winning in windows and set yourself up for more failure than success. I would like to add free agents just as much as the rest of you, but I don’t think its responsible given the state that we are currently in. We need to stress patience. Im willing to lose terribly for another year if it means that we can build a solid young core that will allow us to add impact free agents in the future, allowing for sustained success.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      That simply is not the case.  10 years ago, many people thought that the Cubs did have a great young core of players lined up.  People argued about whether the Cubs farm system was the best or merely one of the best.  Zambrano was only part of that.

                      4 years later, and that core was a complete bust.  Really, the only things to show for it were Z, ARam (who was acquired for future no-star Bobby Hill, you might recall) and DLee (who was acquired for future no-star Hee-Seop Choi).  Never mind not being All Stars: the vaunted Cubs core that Hendry helped develop were not MLB starters for the Cubs or anybody else.  The player development plan had, once again, completely failed.  Hendry had a mandate to win, and win quickly.  So, he actually started signing some free agents.

                    • Joe

                      I would tend to agree. For whatever reason, Hendry always believed we were one veteran player(a big lefty bat by his account) away from the Show. History shows how wrong he was.

                  • Bric

                    Who- Jeromy Burnitz? Ryan Dempster? Neither of these guys (one successful, the other one not) qualify as big singings. Please name 2 examples to support this assertion. Who are you talking about?

                    • rcleven

                      Hendry actually picked Demp off the scrap heap.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Yeah well that’s just your opinion man plus BleacherReport said something that MIGHT be true… So obviously what was said is an actual irrefutable fact.

                  • AD

                    Thats exactly what Id like to do. Evaluate the young talent we have before we start spending money like crazy. Again, Im not opposed to adding key pieces bit by bit, especially after 2014, but we don’t need a spending spree this offseason. One piece to add to the puzzle is nice, but we don’t need to be excessive at this point and time.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      The minor leagues are for evaluating young talent.  Moreover, even then it’s foolhardy to count too much on it: for every 3-4 good young arms in AA, you can expect one to amount to anything as an MLB starter.

                      Greinke and (especially) Hamels are solid MLB pitchers. We already know that the Cubs do not have anything in the minors that is going to pitch that well.  Starting pitching is vital: it is far and away the biggest part of a full half of the game (run prevention).  Getting either of those guys (and especially Hamels) would go a long way towards making the Cubs contenders in 2014, and maybe even “catch lightning in a bottle” contenders in 2013.

                • AD

                  And Hendry and the entire organization paid dearly for the signing of those old veterans. He spent on players such as Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Soriano who was already in his thirties, Jaque Jones, and Mark DeRosa who were all part of his three year window and now the they are either absent from the team or lacking. At the time they were great signings given a window to win. Id like to be competitive nearly every year rather than in three year intervals every ten years. You’d be in favor of signing Hamilton, Hamels, Grienke, and whoever else is necessary to win next year. By the time the Cubs add all the necessary pieces to win they will again be facing some type of window instead of sustained success.

                  • Kyle

                    Explain to me this.

                    Imagine the Cubs sign Cole Hamels next offseason.

                    How does that hurt the Cubs’ ability to build a strong farm system? In what ways are the 2018-2025 Cubs hurt by this signing?

                    Under the new CBA, there’s almost no penalty. You can’t say they are taking away money from the drafting and development process, because the new CBA caps that spending anyway.

                    The only thing they would lose is a second-round pick (assuming we don’t rebound and win our way out of the top 10, leaving our first-rounder unprotected).

                    Are you telling me that a team that gives up a 2nd-round draft pick for Cole Hamels is somehow throwing away its future?

                    • calicubsfan007

                      If anything, the Hamels signing would actually help the future because less youngsters would have to pushed into the majors before they were ready. Hamels, even in worse case scenaio, buys time in a ton of ways.

                  • AD

                    How does Hamels prevent players from being rushed. Except for maybe one pitcher, which the Cubs have zero high upside pitchers anyway.

                    • calicubsfan007

                      Need sometimes forces teams to rush players in before they are ready. If we have Hamels, we don’t need to rush guys like McNutt up to the majors as quickly.

                • Kyle

                  Hendry failed to draft well. Hendry won three division titles despite that.

                  Drafting well and signing free agents has very little to do with one another. If Hendry had drafted and developed those draft picks well, then Hendry would still be in charge of this team and he’d have several more division titles and probably some playoff success to go with it. The expensive players Hendry signed did not hurt this team.

                  There is nothing mutually exclusive about winning in the present and winning in the future. Many teams have successfully built and maintained strong farm systems while simultaneously.

                  The guy running our baseball organization right now made himself famous by drafting extremely well while *simultaneously* signing big-name players and adding impact, expensive talent at the major league level.

                  This false idea that if we try to win in the near-term, we are somehow hurting in the short-term, is befuddling.

                  • AD

                    You are missing my point. Im all about adding players, but not Grienke, Hamels, and Hamilton right now. We have one successful player right now that is a lock to be with us next year and that is Starlin Castro. Im all about adding players going forward, but we don’t need to go on a spending spree next year.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m not missing your point, I’m asking you to *make* your point.

                      How does going on a spending spree next year hurt the Cubs?

                    • Drew7

                      So what would you do instead? Wait until after next year so we can evaluate the young guys for a year?

                      If you wait until all of your young talent has proven itself, you’ll never be *ready*. When I look at next year, I see 3 starters (Jackson, Rizzo, and Castro) under 24, a couple solid, cheap contributors (Dejesus, Barney, Clevenger, LaHair), and a few pieces on the pitching side to build on (Russell, Shark, Garza (if hes here), Wood).

                      I know there are a few holes, but there are some good pieces there. You wait too long, you end up with young guys getting more expensive and veterans you are getting value from now starting to take a downhill slide in production.

                    • Cooper R

                      “How does going on a spending spree next year hurt the Cubs?”

                      I don’t think it hurts the Cubs but why spend a ton of money on a guy nearing the end of his prime when he will contribute to a team with a weak core? By the time our younger players are entering their primes the FA we sign will be nearly out the door. I’m with AD, I rather wait to sign big time FA’s when our younger players are just entering their prime, not when they’re still going through the system.

                  • Joe

                    Kyle, I have to disagree on that one buddy. The “expensive” players Hendry signed not only hurt the team, the signings are still having a huge impact now, whether it be “directly” or “indirectly.”

                    • Drew7

                      What players/contracts are you talking about?

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Sori was huge for the Cubs in ’07 and ’08.  Ted Lily was really big for the Cubs in both years.  Fukudome was useful and better than people thought: people spent too long looking at his BA and not his OBP.

                      After that, the list of “big” FA signings sort of dries up.

                    • AD

                      You guys are right. Lets add Hamilton, Greinke, and Hamels and buy are World Series tickets. Im strictly talking about this year. Beyond this offseason I will reevaluate my opinion, but I just don’t see a spending spree to be valuable. Also why would anyone want to come to this team next year?

                  • AD

                    And those players: Lily, Fukudome, and Soriano were great additions for winning in a certain time frame, but not for sustained success. This is the point Im trying to illustrate.

                    • Kyle

                      But you still haven’t demonstrated how those signings prevented the Cubs from winning in other time frames. And that is what I’m asking.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      And Kyle’s point is the key one because it reduces your argument to a contradictory one.  Signing free agents is bad you claim.  However, what did Sori’s contract prevent the Cubs from doing?  Not signing amateur talent: although the Cubs were cheap there, that was pennies on the pound relative to free agent signings.  No, what it prevented was (drum roll….) more free agent signings.

                      So, free agent signings are bad because they can prevent further free agent signings.  However, that makes free agent signings good, because it prevents free agent signings, which are bad because they prevent free agent signings, which are good because …. (everybody sing “The Circle of Liiiiife….”)

                • Kyle

                  I just don’t see any evidence, whatsoever, that adding expensive, quality baseball players hurts your ability to win long-term.

                  The only evidence people seem to be putting forth is that Hendry added some expensive but quality baseball players, and Hendry’s teams failed. Post hoc ergo prompter hoc.

                  The analogy stands: Hendry ate (added expensive major league talent) but never drank (developed young major league talent), and as a result the organization died of thirst. What you and others are arguing is because that failed, we should starve ourselves and only drink, so that we don’t die of thirst.

                  • AD

                    You are missing my point. Im all about adding players, but not Grienke, Hamels, and Hamilton right now. We have one successful player right now that is a lock to be with us next year and that is Starlin Castro. Im all about adding players going forward, but we don’t need to go on a spending spree next year.

                  • AD

                    Thats the problem. You have to eat and drink at the same time, but Id rather drink before I eat.

                  • Joe
                    • Drew7

                      Surely you dont think all of those were bad contracts, so which ones were you talking about?

                  • Poopypants McGee

                    Is there a fat joke in there?

                    • Joe

                      Ya! Hendry’s wallet was so fat…..

          • 1908Blues

            Augie Ojeda would like to have a word with you.

  • AD

    I would agree that the Cubs have overcompensated for a bad farm system by spending money if free agency. The fact is, the Cubs have done many things wrong in the past that will take some time to fix. I still fail to see how adding two pitchers in their primes help the Cubs when they still lack a offense and bullpen. The farm system still needs to be built before we start spending.

    • madprizamwoo

      Lets see…….If you add two pitchers in their prime this offseason, coupled with Demp and Garza…..thats 80% of 1-2′s in your in rotation. If pitching is half the game, then I know I’m going to be pretty competitve in 4 out of 5 games. And…..if I develop just 1-2 minor leaguers(Rizzo and one of Jackson, Vitters, Szcur (sp), Javier, etc.) who start and contribute well at the Major league level, now I’m up to 2-3 suds on the offensive and defensive side of the game. Sign 1-2 decent position players and you have a very competitive team.

      • Dob2812

        There are many things wrong with this comment, not least of which is the statement that pitching is half the game. It’s not. Be patient. It won’t take long.

  • nkniacc

    I don’t have a problem with spending next year if your signiing them to 1 year deals. If you fall out of race you trade them for prospects. But to hand out 4+ year deals won’t be that smart when its likely going to be 2014 at earliest the Cubs are going to challenge for the WC or divison

    • Kyle

      So you assume everyone the 2014 Cubs will need will be available in the post-2013 offseason? It wouldn’t be smart to have a few pieces in place a year early, rather than assume you can get them later?

  • die hard

    Will Castro reach 25 SB or 25 errors first?…does he add a net value to the team…Maybe..but definitely time to trade Dempster when value high….and pinning hopes on Soler is another example of why this team is going nowhere…let him go to the Yankees…

    • Puma0821

      He has a 1.5 defensive WAR this yr… I can live w/ a few errors.

  • Hawkeye

    Building farm systems isn’t a sure thing, so it could be a long decade to wait until “we’re ready” to start spending. I’m not saying we go get Hamilton but if the cubs put something like the 2012 product on the field in 2013 I do have a problem. Also everything I’ve read puts Boston’s farm system somewhere in the middle, not elite, so let’s not get to overconfident in Theo building us the Rays.

  • Joe

    Trade Dempster now! Are we to believe he is this good? He has NEVER posted numbers like this. It’s an inexplicable fluke.

  • Hawkeye

    On a side note Kyle you continue to make excellent points!

  • gutshot5820

    Sveum is saying the time to add impact free agents is “now.” Prospects are just that, just prospects. If you wait four or five yrs for them to develop and they don’t pan out, then what? You have to add quality free agents to complete now and at the same time develop your farm.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Indeed.

    • AD

      I agree that there is never a bad time to add impact players. However, I think you must sign the right players. Adding players in their primes at this point in time just isn’t sensible for the Cubs at this time.

      • gutshot5820

        I agree that you must sign the right players. I disagree that adding players at this point in time isn’t sensible. It’s hilarious all these posters think we are going to have an outfield of Jackson, Almora, Solar and an infield of Baez, Castro, Rizzo and Lake.

        The time to start competing is not 4-5 yrs from now, it is next yr. We should add as many impact players as we can that makes sense for the long-term and bring up a few of the prospects that are ready to contribute. As Sveum said today in an interview, the time to add free agents is “now.” Build up your bullpen, solidify your 3-4-5 hitters and you are ready to compete.

        The goal is not to have the #1 farm system in baseball. The goal is to bring up prospects that help the big league club or trade them to fill holes. In 4-5 yrs any number of those prospects could fail, get injured or be traded. The goal should be to compete every yr, starting next yr and use assets to help the MLB club.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Do you think the Cubs would trade the Orioles Garza and Castro for Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, and Kevin Gausman (I know you can’t trade 2012 MLB draft picks to a year after they sign but maybe a silent agreement to trade him later) and maybe another high up side prospect. The Cubs would cover the rest of Garza’s contract this year and give them $15 million for next years arbitration payment. I think I would do this deal if I were the Cubs. It will never happen but do you think the Oriole’s would do it? They’d be getting a top of the rotation arm for this year and next year and a young really good SS. And we would get 2 top 10 prospects in Manny Machado who is a young stud SS to replace starlin (better defensively and great offensive potential) and Dylan Bundy who is flamethrower who has more potential then Garza ever did and could be true future ace. We’d also get Gausman who is just amazing and could be a potential top 10 prospect next year and then another high upside prospect like Jonathan Schoop. I would do this deal in a heart beat if I were the Cubs. Realistically it won’t happen but what do you think?

    • Toby

      Usually, if two teams agree to a player that was drafted then said player is the PTBNL in a deal.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Ya true. But I think be a win-win for both parties. The orioles are starting to come to competitive relevance and by giving them castro and garza (while paying for his contract to help out financially, wouldn’t strap the team down so they could make a couple moves of their own this offseason) they would instantly be right on the level or near the level of the red sox, yankees and rays. That whole division is in the race. Then we in turn would get 4 premier prospects back. Also if I were theo I would trade dempster (eat the rest of his contract this season) to the Tigers for Nick Castellanos top 3rd baseman prospect who is just raking. They could even throw in Josh Vitters in the deal and it would still be well worth it. Once again I’m not sure if the Tigers would do it and I know the Cubs would be eating a lot of contracts but they are essentially paying for top of the line prospects. Thats what they are trying to do buying jorge soler anyways. This would send us into complete rebuild mode but with in 3 years all those prospects would potentially be ready and the cubs would be young, athletic and exciting. Throw in a couple big name free agents = world series. It may not be that easy but in my mind we would be stacked. But this is truly just all a pipe dream

      • gutshot5820

        Pass. And not even close.

    • ferrets_bueller

      If you could get even just Bundy and Machado out of it, you do it. But there is pretty much zero chance the O’s would make that deal.

    • Kyle

      I would pass. You are lucky if Machado ever becomes Castro. Bunch is exciting but has another half decade in the injury nexus. TINSTAAP applies.

  • Cubs5050

    Pass, most prospects DON’T reach there ceiling, and never make an impact, but a few will. But with proven players, you know what your getting.

  • The Dude Abides

    Very smart group of fans here. What team comes to mind who has built their team through their system without adding free agents? Which team are we modeling?

    • Kyle

      Tampa Bay.

      But that’s survivor’s bias. For every Tampa Bay, there’s a dozen failures on the same model.

      • Bric

        I’m thinking more like the Braves or Cardinals. Both have produced a boat load of position players (either through drafting or international scouting) and have built their pitching by keeping a couple of key guys and wise signings and trades of available vets.

        • Kyle

          Both teams have also invested heavily in free agency, though.

          • hansman1982

            And you don’t see either of those teams signing too many big time contracts. While we followed the Tampa model last offseason I highly doubt we do the same moving forward. Do you honestly think that Theo and Jed can’t see the same thing you do that it is nearly impossible to build a perennial WS contender through the farm system alone? You have to be prudent when adding the free agents though.

            • Kyle

              They don’t sign big-time contracts? Matt Holliday and Dan Uggla would like to have a word with you.

              I agree, Theo and Jed aren’t foolish enough to try to build a team entirely through the draft and free agency. When they decide the time comes, there will be big, huge contracts and some of that will go to players that later we think are overpaid.

        • AD

          I agree that it takes a combination of free agency and development. For example, the Rangers. When talking about the Cubs though, Id rather drink and then eat.

          • Hawkeye

            Again you need to drink and eat.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Stony Brook, the team of the Cubs’ 26th round pick RHP Jasvir Rakkar, is currently fighting with college baseball titan LSU for a spot in the College World Series.  Rakkar is not pitching in this one, but I understand the game is on ESPN News.  Anyone wanting to catch some good college baseball should check it out.

    If Stony Brook does move on, there is a chance we’ll get to see Rakkar play on the national stage at some point.

  • supergeek24

    What if we use Jackson or vitters with garza to the blue jays for brett lawrie and pitching. Just a thought

    • DocPeterWimsey

      A young third baseman as good as Lawrie is almost as valuable as a good young SS or catcher.  You don’t trade him.  The Jays do (if I recall) have a few good young arms in their system.  That being said, chances are good that Garza (still) will be better than any of them in 5 years time.

  • Kyle

    “I don’t think it hurts the Cubs but why spend a ton of money on a guy nearing the end of his prime when he will contribute to a team with a weak core? By the time our younger players are entering their primes the FA we sign will be nearly out the door. I’m with AD, I rather wait to sign big time FA’s when our younger players are just entering their prime, not when they’re still going through the system.”

    Because we’re a baseball organization that competes in a baseball league, so we need good baseball players.

    Even if we believe that we don’t need good players in seasons where we aren’t clearly a very good team (and I’d say that the 2006 and 2011 Cardinals prove that even bad teams can win it all), we could always trade those players later for better assets.

    • Cooper R

      Then why didn’t Theo add Prince, Pujols or even Wilson? Why did they put the team we have now on the field?

      • ferrets_bueller

        Because those are not the type of good players that you can trade….you’d literally be throwing money away.

        • Cooper R

          So signing Hamilton next offseason is smart but signing Pujols or Prince would be dumb?

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Yes, it would have been dumb to sign them.  Sori’s contract is less an albatross and more of a sparrow compared to what those contracts are.  The Cubs would have had to top the Angels’ and Tigers’ offers.

            Whether it will be wise to sign Hamilton will depend on how much he commands.  Owing to his past (and present), he has much less leverage than either Pujols or Fielder.

            • Cooper R

              Doc, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should have signed Prince or Pujols. In fact I’m saying it wouldn’t be wise to add either of them or Hamilton.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Whoops: sorry!  The conversation has gotten so convoluted that I lost track of where your reply was directed!

      • Kyle

        Because they chose to tank the 2012 season. You’d have to ask them their reasons, but I’ve been pretty consistently critical of the decision and believe it hurts the Cubs in the long-term.

        • Cooper R

          That’s fair, but we obviously can’t spend big every single off season otherwise I’d be on board. If we have to pick and choose when to spend then I’d prefer it be when we have a better core of young players.

        • hansman1982

          Really this season is no different than any other team’s rebuilding. Just that the Cubs didn’t have multiple big-name prospects that were ready on April 1 with open roster spots, instead we went the route of getting guys who had down years last year but have good talent to see what we have. Basically, we had crap to trade away, got crap back and are now playing like crap.

      • DocPeterWimsey
  • whiteflag

    I don’t know if this has been answered already, but have the Cubs signed any of their draft picks yet?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not publicly / officially.  There are whispers that they have reached deals with several of them, but nothing confirmed.  The Cubs usually like to bundle a whole bunch of signing announcements together and release them all at one time instead of trickling them out here and there.  I would not be surprised to see a dozen or so announced this week.

    • Kyle

      Quite a few, but no one extremely significant.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Baseball America maintains the best and usually most up to date list.

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/draftdb/2012xteam.php?team=1004

      • whiteflag

        Thanks for the resource tip, my quick google search was a dead end.

      • calicubsfan007

        So the cubs haven’t signed anyone of the picks yet? Or am I misreading the list?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Not that Baseball America has been able to confirm (they usually have the info before any official announcements, but they wait until they are sure).

          There are whispers that several agreements have been reached, but nothing beyond that.  I suspect that, if agreements have been reached, that they are conditional on physicals and those physicals will be taking place early next week.  That’s a big part of why I expect the Cubs to have some signings come out in the next few days.

          • calicubsfan007

            Do MLB teams more than likely sign the later picks first, then move up and sign the higher picks? Or is it normally sign early picks first, then move down? I am used to NFL, where teams tend to sign the guys from the seventh round way sooner than the guys in the first. I am trying to understand the MLB draft and its signings.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              Yes.

              Some teams go one way, some teams go the other, and given the changes in the new CBA, I’m not sure how the Cubs will play it.

              I suspect most teams sign everyone who will sign for a price the team is comfortable with, leaving a list of tough signs.  Those tough signs are prioritized, the budget for all of them is established, and then the teams tries to figure out how to make the most of that signing money.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    The Cubs have to spend some money now and this off season. Like zsveum said today. We have nothing for him to work with. How long do you think he will stick around for this crap. If I’m Scrum and something doesn’t start changing soon I bail and look for a better job. He has nothing to work with. We have 1 player in Dizziness and that’s it. Jackson will never get to Chicago in a cubs uniform. He isn’t good enough. I trade him in the next 45 days in a deal with our pitching. I’m just wondering who is going to pitch the rest of this year. The problem. Theo has is no good free agentpitchet will come to the cubs. They will look at what’s happened to Dempster and Garza and say no thanks. I feel this rebuilding approach everyone on here talks about is a joke. Its not going to work because we will end up more flawed than we are right now. Its so bad I don see how it gets fixed. Some ships just sink to thebottom of the ocean. I have seen enoughof this regime at work and no longer support what they are not doing. I’m not a troll I’m just fed up. I’m still a cub fan fan and I will still watch all the games and not jump ship. But I don’t have to like it or believe in Theo and Jed or Tom. Until God steps in and dies some miracles I am not a believer in what management is doing. Still a cub fan for life though.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    My damned phone changes too many words. I’m not illiterate. On vacation and no laptop allowed. The outerbanks is experiencing beautiful weather and I don’t want that laptop around for the next 7 days.

    • Joe

      I’ll be heading up there in about 35 days. Hope the weather is just as pleasant when I get there. They are callng for tropical storms to pick up so I am a little worried. anyway, have a great time!

  • Joe

    Yes, I do think they were all bad.

    • Drew7

      Really? Hmm…

      WAR isnt my favorite stat, but its a quick, useful way to make my point.

      Fuke- 5.8 in 3+ yrs
      Sori- 17.3 in 5+ yrs
      Lee- 13.3 in 3+ yrs after ext, 2 with over. 900 OPS
      Z- 9.7 in 4 yrs after ext
      Marquis- 3.6 in 2 yrs
      Bradley wasnt good, but 3 yrs at $30mil isnt crippling, and same w Grabow @ 2 for $7.5 mil

      Im sure you’ll either dismiss WAR completely or sidestep the points all-together, but most of those were decent to good signings

      • Joe

        I don’t follow WAR stat’s and you know that. And those signings were terrible, not to mention the others.

        • Drew7

          What stats do you follow then? I have plenty of other ways to prove you wrong, but if you refuse to back up what you say with something other than your misguided opinion then I won’t bother sharing them.

          So, any Better stats you’d like to share?

          • Joe

            Did you read the article? Truly read it and at least “recognize” it could be fact? Did you ever stop to listen instead of trying to prove people wrong? Did you ever stop to think someone’s opinion is NOT misguided, no matter what your opinion is?

            • Drew7

              I obviously read it, otherwise I wouldnt have commented on every slide that it contained. Again, prove me wrong.

              I spend plenty of time here agreeing with people who have opinions and PROVE them to be valid.

            • MichiganGoat

              Recognizing that something could be a fact DOES NOT mean it should be reported as a fact. It’s possible the Cubs are trading for Matt Kemp but that DOES NOT mean I should report it as fact. You keep reporting vague rumors as fact- that’s just not going to fly on here. Be better than this!

              • Joe

                Who are the Cuns?(LOL)

                • MichiganGoat

                  Haha cause you never make typos (btw there is an edit button) but this is you again avoiding the facts by being obtuse. Got an acronym for that?

                  • Joe

                    Michan Goat, I make typo’s all the time! Is that what you don’t like about me?

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Nope just who’s you report rumors as facts and then won’t accept the flaw to your logic when faced with actual statistical evidence yet continue to argue or avoid the discussion until new people show up for you to spread your rumor-facts. That the fact that you’ve come back with this new name but still doing the same things. I came here tonight to await for Soler news but instead I see your rabble all over the place. But I’ll be the better man tonight and return to ignoring you. Cheers.

                  • Joe

                    Again, I think you are confusing people. Don’t know quite who, but you need to sort it out. I respond to all people in the manner in which they deal with me. I might not be the politest person all the time, but I sure try. It’s guy’s like you that actually make it tough, if not impossible. You should really look in the mirror!

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Just admit that you are wrong when faced with facts, don’t spread rumors as facts, don’t use racial slurs and hide them as acronymns, and we will be fine. And you know who you are and I was hoping this time around your news would be better.

        • MichiganGoat

          WAR may have flaws but it’s not something you can just ignore completely. It is a good comparative stat and can’t be excused cause you don’t like it.

      • Drew7

        Also, Garciaparra was a 1 yr deal and he got hurt, and Lee didnt match his ’05 campaign because he broke his wrist the next year! What a joke of an article

        • Joe

          I thought it was a great article. Underlined all the big “problem” signings.

          • Drew7

            Again, back it up. I read the article, I disagree with most of the article, I told you why, now its your turn.

          • MichiganGoat

            BleacherReport is a joke of a site, to call it journalism or reporting is a joke. They are all about flash, pictures, and rumor mongering- not credible EVER.

            • Jp

              Someone needs to get laid pal.

              • Joe

                Ha! He needs more than that.

              • Vladimir

                why because he called out your crap site?

  • Cheryl

    Just saw an indirect link with a warning that it may not be true that Soler has signed. I won’t go beyond that. Don’t want to step on someone else’s turf.

    • Yakshamash

      I think he indeed signed.

  • TSB

    Amazing! Bret Jackson has gone from being the next Willie Mays to being the next Cory Patterson and he hasn’t even played a game in the bigs yet! Meanwhile, Anthony Rizzo is tearing up triple A and is to be the savior of the Cubs. However, Bryan la Hair, who tore up triple A last season, is a flash-in-the-pan. The wondeful world of predictions, based on guess work.

    • Vladimir

      I wouldn’t say he’s gone to the next Corey Patterson. It’s just that, compared to the guys they’ve been adding since they got here (and guys they are targetting), they all look better, that’s all. Soler, Almora, and Rizzo all look like better prospects than Jackson.

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