The Cubs Are Reportedly Getting a New Scouting Director: Jaron Madison from the Padres (UPDATE: Wilken Staying)

Well, this was both expected and unexpected.

Baseball America reports that San Diego Padres Scouting Director Jaron Madison will be leaving the Padres in favor of a gig with the Chicago Cubs. The position will be the same as he has with the Padres.

The Cubs, you’ll note, currently have a Scouting Director. That would be Tim Wilken, one of the few holdovers at the top of the administration from the Jim Hendry era. Wilken is a well-respected scout and executive, so the Cubs pushing him out would be something of a surprise.

But I’m quite certain that’s not what’s happening.

You may recall that Wilken, before this year, was the top dog on the Cubs’ scouting food chain, but was replaced in that position by Jason McLeod, who came over from the Padres with GM Jed Hoyer. Wilken retained his Scouting Director title (was technically shifted to “Director of Amateur Scouting”), but he was effectively pushed down the ladder by McLeod, who currently heads up all things player development and scouting. It was a bit of a surprise that Wilken stayed on, and most assumed he’d be moving on at some point in the near future.

Wilken is in the final year of his deal with the Cubs, and likely stayed on for this year as a part of the transition, and with the understanding that he could be looking around for another top position in baseball, which I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land in the near future. In other words, I have a feeling that this is all amicable, and has long been planned.

The Cubs haven’t announced anything yet, and Wilken is technically still a part of the front office. I’ll have more on Wilken’s tenure, and on Madison – who comes over as yet another 36-year-old up-and-comer from the Padres (he was hired by Hoyer) – in the coming days.

UPDATE: Paul Sullivan just tweeted, without expanding, that Wilken is expected to “stay with Cubs in expanded role.” It’s hard to see what possibility there is for an expanded role, given that he was just one step below Jason McLeod. Not to start a panic, but, Jason isn’t leaving, right? Maybe Wilken wants to move off of the amateur side and into an Assistant GM type role? This will be interesting.

UPDATE 2: Wilken is, indeed, moving off the amateur side of the game, at least formally. He’ll become a Special Assistant to President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. Wilken is expected to get a contract extension, too. This is pretty much awesome – it’s adding to the already impressive stable of front office talent, without losing anyone.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

184 responses to “The Cubs Are Reportedly Getting a New Scouting Director: Jaron Madison from the Padres (UPDATE: Wilken Staying)”

  1. Spencer

    How many people in the front office have ties to the Red Sox or Padres?

    1. Dan

      Not enough.

    2. The Dude Abides

      Nothing says excellence like emulating the Padres, the “Gold Standard” for which all successful teams strive, forever in the rebuilding process. I can’t wait until our minor league system is ranked in the top five and we can get back to talking about making the playoffs and not some obscure video with 100 people in the stands of some prospect hitting a “BOMB’ off of some 19 yr. olds fastball.

      1. Internet Random

        Don’t forget that the Cubs have a far bigger budget than the Padres.

      2. fromthemitten

        at least their bullpen can hold a lead on the rare occasion they get one

  2. Flashfire

    Hard to argue with the work either man has done. Perhaps, at the end of the day, personality issues?

  3. socalicubsfan

    Could this be a move to set a new standard of excellence in scouting/player development? It would be great to see the Cubs continue to build a foundation of excellence in the front office. Wouldn’t be bad to see some of that on the field, too (ugh… 5 errors).

  4. Luke D

    Here’s a pic of Jed Jason and Jaron (lol) from their Padres days:

  5. Flashfire

    Here’s the answer

    1. Flashfire

      Huh, somehow the link didn’t work. Anyway, Sullivan tweet:

      Wilken to become Theo’s special assistant, and will get a contract extension as well.

  6. dudeski

    i’m loving the padres FO plundering

  7. Luke

    I would not have been happy to see Wilken go. He built a deep farm system on a shoe string budget under Hendry, and since he got a real budget to work with in 2011 he has done a very nice job adding some high ceiling, potentially elite players. He had a couple high profile misses, but he has also had a huge number of under the radar hits. I’m very glad he is staying with the Cubs in an expanded capacity. The hirings of Wilken and Fleita might have been the two smartest moves Hendry ever made as a baseball executive.

    1. Bric

      A quick look at a couple other NL Central teams over the same time span as Wilken (Reds and Brewers) produced: Drew Stubbs, Yonder Alonso, Mike Leake and Jeremy Jeffress, Matt LaPorta, Brett Lawrie, and Jake Odirizzi, respectively. And this was just looking at their first round choices.

      The White Sox, Braves, Rangers, Angels and a bunch of other teams have blown away the Cubs in overall drafting the last couple of years. At least to me because I’m not concerned with Iowa, Daytona, or Tennessee’s overall records.

      Brett Jackson, Vitters, and Barney? He’s been here for 6 years and the Iowa Cubs’ roster is basically barren. What pitching has he developed? I guess your definition of depth is much different than mine.

      1. Luke

        If you refuse to admit the existence of any talent anywhere other than Chicago or Iowa, then we are looking at two different things.

        1. Bric

          I guess we do. In deference to all the Smokies, Hawks, and Daytona Cubs fans, my only opinion for the minor league teams is to produce major league ball players.

          But somehow I think the majority of I-Cub fans would prefer a Chicago Cub appearance in the World Series over their own PCL. This might be just my own opinion but it seems to be working for other teams (Reds, Pirates, Nats, Orioles, Brewers) that just five years ago were complaining about big market-small markets, salaries, and a bunch of other B.S. until they realized to just focus on the prize. Everything else will sort itself out. The Cubs are still trying to figure that out. Again, JMO.

          1. Luke

            The only goal of any farm system is to produce major league players. Winning games is a very clear second (or at least it should be). The Cubs definitely have their priorities in order.

          2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            Bric, alright since everything is so black and white can we agree the legit standard of future Cub grading can be on the 2011 draft and forward? Quite a few factors that play into a farm and a farm isn’t built overnight. It usually is built through at least four years at a time. That is when you will see top talent at every level when you have strong drafts and international signing. Our first round pick in 2010 was Hayden Simpson for God’s sake. If you feel this front office would take a guy penned for the sixth round in the first then there really is no convincing. In your opinion have they built a decent base? I mean you have to start somewhere.

      2. Scotti

        Bric, while it isn’t the role of the scouting director to develop, Wilken drafted one Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs ultimately spent $10 million to keep him from the NFL and they were PANNNED for it. And he also drafted Cashner who was flipped for RIZZO. A draft can generally be fairly judged five years out… Dudes been doing the gig for six.

        Re. his first round picks. Every guy that he drafted that got panned, save one, has produced more than his slot, or it is still too early to tell, and that one guy got sick. Colvin, Vitters, Jackson, Cashner, Baez is a pretty good haul period much less for a guy who rairly had a budget.

        1. Luke

          Budget is the big factor here. The Cubs gave Wilken very little money to work with for most of his time as scouting director, and he still produced a deep (except in the areas of star power and elite pitching) farm system. He made very few big, over slot signings not because he could not recognize the talent, but because he didn’t have the money to make the signing.

          If you want to blame someone for the Cubs lack of star power coming out of the farm system over the past few years, blame the ownership groups and front offices that chose to spend peanuts on amateur talent acquisitions.

          1. Scotti


            1. Rebuilding

              As I say in my post below…have the Pirates, Reds or Brewers significantly outspent the Cubs over the last 6 drafts? I doubt it, but they have produced a ton more talent. That’s on Wilken. Our major league and high minors clubs are bad, really bad. Wilken has had 6 years. That’s on him not on a few 100k in draft budget

              1. calicubsfan007

                @Rebuilding: Look at the Rays. Limited money to spend, yet they created a powerhouse through the draft. A credit to the scouting department.

              2. EvenBetterNews

                Ok rebuilding. Here you go. Not only did the the Pirates spend more than us, the Pirates have spent more than any team since 2007-2011 on the Amateur draft at $52 million. Who have the Brewers drafted over 2007 to the present that is tearing up the majors? Braun was ’05 and Fielder was ’02. Same thing with the Reds. Who have they drafted that is up at the major league level tearing it up for them? They haven’t produced more talent in that timeframe. The Pirates have and they have spent more than any team in Baseball. Check your stats next time. One thing I know is in that same timeframe Boston was 4th in spending. That shows me no matter where we are in the draft we will spend.

                1. Flashfire

                  I live in Nashville. I go to the Sounds games regularly. Trust me: there is NOTHING at the top of that system. (Though the Greinke trade had something to do with that.)

        2. Bric

          Yep, after I posted that I realized I should’ve listed Shark also. And as you say, Cashner became Rizzo so technically one or the other should be included on that list as well. Also, Colvin became Stewart so he belongs on that list as well. The Cubs have been hamstrung by losing picks via free agent signings.

          But the question still remains where’s the pitching depth he’s aquired in 6 years and 500 draft picks? Trey McNutt? Casey Coleman? Brooks Raley? If he’s found these under the radar, high ceiling type guys who are they? Most of the top 10 minors pitchers have been signed either internationally (not drafted) or aquired thru trade. Dylan Maples was not under the radar. The Cubs paid huge to sign him. I just don’t see it but will happily admit I’m wrong if there are a couple of names I don’t about.

          1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            They haven’t went for pitching. That is why this year was all pitching.

            1. Flashfire

              Speaking of which, Pierce Johnson (“Ouch”) was sent to Boise for the remainder of the season yesterday.

      3. Nathan

        You are also not releazing that when the Tribune was owner of the Cubs, they put all their money on free agents and pretty much neglected the farm system. Since Wilken had a limited budget to work with for many years, he tried to find diamond in the rough type of guys that would sign with them that no one expected to be drafted that high. Since Ricketts has taken over, and let Wilken spend, the Cubs have had two highly rated drafts in a row and drafted some very quality foreign prospects.

    2. Rebuilding

      First of all, I love your minor league coverage, Luke. With that said…I would have paid Wilken’s airfare to get him out of town. To me his tenure is completely indefensible. The lack of homegrown talent at the major league and in the high minors is shocking. And I don’t buy the budget excuse. I don’t have the numbers handy, but I seriously doubt that the Pirates, Reds or Brewers have significantly outspent the Cubs in the last 6 drafts. Whenwas the last time produced an average major league talent drafted after the 5th round? To me that is scouting talent, finding the hidden gems. Silken got lucky with Shark given the football and ND/Chicago angle. That was a stunt largely done by Hendry. Just take a look at 2007…we take Vitters at #3 who has huge holes in his game including plate discipline and defense and in the next 15 picks you have Matt Wieters, Ross Detwiler, Jarrod Parker, Madison Bumgarner and Jason Heyward. In 2008 we got Cashner who has a great arm until it falls off and is ultimately a reliever (I know it got us Rizzo, but that deal still makes no sense to me from the SD side), 2009 Jackson who is going to have to figure out something very soon or is going to be a bust, he is already 24. In 2010 we took Simpson which might be the biggest joke in draft history (for all of those who wanted Zach Lee for Dempster – he was picked 12 picks later). 2011 I love Baez. Now these are just first founders, but again, I don’t think the Cubs have produced more than a couple of replacement level guys after the first round under Silken (maybe Barney?). The proof is on the field and in AAA – little to zero talent. Just do t get anyone defending Wilken

      1. Evenbetternewsv2.0

        You do realize every year you do have beef with was years we couldn’t spend right? The years you are happy we were able to spend. Impact talent is typically in the first round and when year after year we went below slot what do you expect?

        1. Rebuilding

          Hmmm…what? That’s all you took out of my post? The only pick I like is Baez. Name one player after the first round that Tim Wilken has identified that has had a major impact. Are there any? To me, that’s scouting.

          1. Scotti

            S A M A R D Z I J A

            1. Rebuilding

              You do realize that had nothing to do with scouting skill. Everyone passed on him because they assumed he going to play football. And Henry/Tribune pushed it as a marketing thing given the ND ties to Chicago. I would guess that Shark getting drafted had absolutely zero to do with Tim Wilken

              1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                Rebuilding I found the stat you were looking for up above. If you truly feel the Brewers and Reds drafted better than us the last 5 years look at their rosters and the last 5 drafts. I am assuming you will be shocked. Talent takes time to get through the minors. It usually takes at least 4 years. You don’t draft a first rounder and see him in two years.

              2. Scotti

                Surely you jest. No way, no how, Hendry decides to spend ten million dollars on Samardzija without Wilken’s imput. That was 100% pure scouting (and largely panned at the time). Samardzija wasn’t really that highly thought of as a pitcher in college. Callis at BA said at the time that other GM’s were stunned that the Cubs would agree to pay that for him. Wilken liked what he saw and felt he could develop–he has.

                1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                  Oh you know Wilkin sucks, so anything that goes right isn’t on him… Also, the Pirates who pick in the top 5 every year who spent more than anyone in baseball have great scouting… The Reds and Brewers that virtually have no impact players from the last five drafts are night and day ahead of us in scouting as well. Although we have a pretty solid starting pitcher, and a gold glove caliber second baseman. I guess some people have opinions no matter what.

                2. Luke

                  I wouldn’t go as far as to say that he wasn’t well thought of as a pitcher, but he was considered a much better NFL prospect.

                  And there is no chance that Hendry would dumped a huge chunk of the drafting budget into a PR move pick over the objections of his scouting director. Wilken would probably have left the Cubs shortly there after had that been the case, and he would have had no trouble finding another job.

                  Hendry would likely have been shown the door a few days later. No GM would pull a move like that.

                  1. Scotti

                    Luke, I didn’ t say he wasn’t well regarded as a pitcher, I said that he wasn’t regarded anywhere close to a ten-million dollar pitcher (as a wide receiver he was maybe a 3rd or 4th round pick.)

                    1. Luke

                      That’s fair. I do think the Cubs’ over paid for him.

                    2. Scotti

                      I disagree that they overpaid for him. The Cubs had to beat a guaranteed NFL contract (even a third rounder gets that). They just paid $30 million for Soler (not to mention Conception). The Cubs thought he had the makings of a mid to upper 90′s fastball and plus breaking pitch with a repeatable (low injury risk) delivery because of his athleticism. They were spot on (and he’s certainly prooved his worth AND value). If Theo deciced to move him he would return a huge haul (and return that 10 million in current value many times over not to mention his ROI on the field thus far).

                    3. Flashfire

                      I just noticed something: in the 2006 draft (Colvin/Shark), the Cubs didn’t have a second, third, or fourth round pick. Anyone know what happened to them? Can’t find it in a Google search.

                    4. Luke

                      The Cubs signed a bunch of free agents and lost some picks as a result.

                    5. Flashfire

                      We gave up draft picks for Jacques Jones, Bobby Howry, and “Stevie” Eyre? This is why that regime was fired far too late for the good of the Cubs.

                3. Rebuilding

                  Alright, I guess we’ll have to disagree on Shark. I don’t personally believe he was drafted because Wilken went to Hendry and said hey I think we can develop him let’s spend 10 mil and find out. That was in the heyday of the Tribune spending spree and I think ot was largely a huge PR move. But maybe that was the one pitcher he identified in 6 years

                  1. Scotti

                    Most of Wilken’s Cubs drafts are (and should be) still in the minors. Cashner brought Rizzo and Samardzija is a top of the rotation guy (and the Wilken/Hendry trip to see Samardzija was widely reported after the draft).

                    After six drafts you would expect to see good results from the first two to three drafts. We see that with Wilken’s drafts.

                    1. Rebuilding

                      Those are fair points, but if Vitters and Jackson don’t pan out those drafts are going to look really weak. My point on Samardzija is that if Wilken was the talent evaluator for 29 other clubs I very much doubt he drafts him. Given the unique ND/Chicago connection I think only the Cubs do that. If I have the pleasure of spending a Friday night 6 years from now chatting with you guys and Epstein and company have produced the equivalent of Hitters, Jackson, Barney, Russell and a few other replacement level players I hope you won’t be defending them. Maybe it was all the budget, but when a guy is your talent evaluator for 6 years and you are in danger of losing 90+ games for three straight years I think he might be part of the problem

                    2. Scotti

                      Rebuilding, any team that wanted to pony up $10 million would have landed Samardzija. Only the Cubs had a scounting director who thought he was worth $10 million. That scounting director was right.

          2. Luke

            Check back in a few years. A lot of Wilken’s players are just now getting into the majors.

            But you already have one of his guys on the starting roster right now. Darwin Barney, he of the near Gold Glove defense, was a 4th round pick in 2007. I’d call that pick a success.

            1. Luke

              I think James Russel should be on that list as well. I believe he was ’07.

              Ian Stewart was acquired with Wilken draftees, as was Rizzo. Clevenger I’m not sure of… he may have been the last year before Wilken.

              Beliveau, Raley, and Rusin I think all came from his drafts. So did Coleman, but fans would likely hold that one against him, even though he did make the majors. Campana was a Wilken guy. Another one, Ryan Flaherty, has been playing for Baltimore all season.

              In the next wave, Vitters, Jackson, and Watkins all came from Wilken drafts, and Watkins was a mid rounder guy… 7th I think. McNutt came in the late 30s. Beeler came in the 41st. Jensen in the 26th. Francescon the 40th.

              1. Flashfire

                Castro would have been Wilken, no?

                1. Scotti

                  No, he wasn’t a draft pick (international signing) BUT, interestingly, very early on (when the Cubs didn’t really know what they had) Wilken saw Castro in instructs and said of Castro that he had the best hitting hands he had seen in years. They double skipped him the next spring.

                  1. Flashfire

                    I can believe it. Castro’s raw talent just makes you shake your head in disbelief. If he could find a coach that can get through to him — like McKay and Soriano — so he could harness that talent, it would be terrifying the numbers he could put up.

                2. Luke

                  Fleita, actually. Oneri Fleita handles the International Free Agent side of things (no doubt with input from the rest of the front office). Guys like Castro, Castillo, Candelario, Dolis, Cabrera, and others came out of Fleita’s department.

                  1. Flashfire

                    Gotcha. Thanks.

                  2. Luke

                    And now that I’ve typed that, I’m not sure it is entirely true. I seem to remember reading about Wilken taking trips to the Domincan to scout players. I’m not exactly certain how credit on those guys should be divided.

                    1. hansman1982

                      I am sure when they find talent they like it’s all hands on deck to scout him – especially so back in the Hendry days when there were 8 people in the FO.

      2. Luke

        When you look at the players the Cubs did not take, be sure you look at how much the signed for and how much they were demanding at the time of the draft. You cannot blame a team’s scouting director for a team’s lack of dollars with which to draft. That’s on the GM and the owner. Any criticism of Wilken must start from that position. You cannot rip a guy for not executing a $10million draft when he was only allowed $3.5 million. For example, the Dodgers gave Zach Lee more than the Cubs allowed Wilken to spend that entire year. How is that Wilken’s fault? He did not set that budget.

        And there is no defending that budget. The Cubs’ stupid unwillingness to spend on amateur talent prior to 2011 is the single largest reason for their lack of elite talent in the farm system. The best scouts in the history of baseball could not have signed most of the players we wish the Cubs had taken because the Cubs flatly refused to spend the money. Again, that is the fault of the owner and the front office, not the scouting director.

        Do not make that bet regarding Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee, either. You would lose. In 2011 the Cubs spent $4.7 million on the draft, and that was a notable improvement. Pittsburgh spent $6.5 million on one guy in that draft and $11.9 million total. Cincinnati spent $5.7 million. Milwaukee did only spend $2.4 million, but that deserves an asterisk. Their first round pick was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after the drafted and decided to head to college while he learned to manage the condition; nothing Milwaukee could really do about it.

        Prior to 2011, the Cubs had not spent more than $6 million in a single draft since 2007. After disgusting mismanagement of that magnitude the remarkable thing is that the Cubs’ even had a farm system at all, let alone one that was solidly in the middle of the pack. Based purely on their budget, the Cubs should have been competing with the White Sox for the worst farm system in baseball history. That they aren’t is due largely to Wilken’s efforts. He put together a deep (but thin on elite talent) farm system on a budget that many other teams would spend in just the first two rounds.

        In 2011 he was finally allowed to spend with the real teams, and he turned in one of the best drafts of that year and easily the best draft the Cubs have had in a decade. Imagine what could have happened if the Cubs had allowed him to spend like Pittsburgh for his entire stay with the team.

        On second thought, don’t imagine that. You’ll probably cry yourself to sleep.

        1. Flashfire

          Hey Luke: any thoughts what changed Ricketts thinking on draft spending, as both the 2010 and 2011 drafts were under his ownership?

          1. Luke

            I think in 2010 he was still figuring out what to do and essentially left the existing plans untouched.

            In 2011 he knew how he wanted the Cubs to build and he opened the wallet to make that happen.

            1. Scotti

              TR didn’t add to spending anywhere over his first couple of years. The spending in the draft last year is a result of spending less on the product on the field. The family has been handicapped by the debt that Zell demanded the buyer take on (for tax purposes related to the incredible ROI the Trib had).

        2. Nathan

          Amen Luke, Amen!

        3. Rebuilding

          You make good points on the budget, Luke. Maybe Wilken is a great talent evaluator that has been shackled. But the lack of any major league talent from later than the first round (I’ll give you Barney) points me in another direction. I will say I love Vogelbach…he’s killing baseballs right now. Too bad he’s limited to 1B

          1. Luke

            Major league talent on the Cubs, you mean. Colvin is in his third season. Cashner is in his second. LeMahieu was up with Colorado for awhile this season. I think Marwin Gonzalez was a draftee, and he’s been up all year with Houston. Flaherty I mentioned elsewhere. And Russel. And Raley. And Coleman (not necessarily to anyone’s credit). And Clevenger. And Guyer in Tampa.

            Given that the typical minor league player spends about four years after the year he is drafted in the minors (drafted in 2007 means he his four years are ’08-’11), that’s not a bad early return.

  8. FFP

    Thanks for the insight, Luke.

  9. Kevin

    The New CBA puts much more pressure on the FO & the scouting department to evaluate talent. I’m glad the Cubs are making the right moves.

  10. Featherstone

    I’m also a huge fan of the move. You really can’t have enough top talent in the Front Office when it comes to scouting and development. God knows the Cubs aren’t spend the budget for the on-field product for a while

  11. bluekoolaidaholic

    Wow, another suit.
    Maybe we need another McDonalds too.

    1. Ron

      No kidding, they are going to have to build the triangle building so these guys have their own office.

  12. Theocracy

    This is a good thing. Wilken is a solid scout and I believe he was almost entirely responsible for the last draft under Hendry. Which was also the last draft that you could throw money all over to get high talent in late rounds. He did a great job during that draft. Our best in years.

  13. Cubs1967

    now that the FO has tripled in size, maybe next year they can figure out what to do with a 120M payroll and put a team on the field that is not such an embarrassment. there is NO rule that says teams must suck while rebuilding; expecially in the 3rd largest market with 3M plus attendance. some how the 50-60M Rays and A’s are both within .5 game of the playoffs.

    1. TWC

      Did you forget to include your de rigeur complaint about the Marshall trade?

      1. Jonski

        [Ed. - Le sigh.]

        1. MichiganGoat

          Sigh someone is angry and rather incomprehensible, stay classy buddy it will take you far.

        2. Drew7

          Dude, chill out. The only reason these guys are saying this stuff is because you’re getting so angry. If you really do respect Brett and his site, you’ll refrain from all the awful language.

          1. Jonski

            Drew are so right on so many levels and your right I allowed issues or a person to get under my skin.Insulting somebody while hiding behind a computer is in mature so I feel pretty small right now.I have tried were I don’t know about the sabermetrics and the money ball thing .I try to not post and read and learn.A persons a opinion is a right I try not to force mine on posters and I don’t like others opinions forced on me.Th e other issue I have is that no matter were I post my screen name is the same I don’t hide and take heat for what I post …while others hide behind several screen names.So to everybody not just Brett im sorry.

            1. Crockett

              Some more “learning” for you, Jonski:

              You’re, not “your”.

              I try not to post, BUT read and learn.

              Person’s, not “persons”.

              Two spaces after a period, please.

              Commas are important, please learn how the work.

              Calm the fuck down, in general.

              1. Jonski

                And yet while correcting me you made a mistake yourself (please learn how the work)I deleated Bleacher Nation on face book and twitter waiting for my ban!

                1. MaxM1908

                  “And, yet, while correcting me, you made a mistake yourself: ‘please learn how the work.’ I deleted Bleacher Nation on Facebook and Twitter–waiting for my ban!”

                  I love grammar and spelling fights. Let’s keep playing!

                  1. Adam1680

                    Really guys? Nobody cares about the stupid spats and the “I’m quitting BN” posts. We come here to read about baseball and about the team we love. Take that stuff somewhere else.

                2. Sircub

                  I really dislike the state of New Jersey. It is my least favorite state. I find the general attitude of the people there to be unfriendly and, at times, rude. I also dislike the traffic, and think it (the state of New Jersey) smells. For these reasons, I do not often go to the state of New Jersey. In fact, if I woke up one morning, and for whatever reason found myself in the state of New Jersey (alien abduction, sleep walking, etc.) I would probably leave. Unless someone was forcefully keeping me there against my will, I would just walk right out of the state. I could also take the bus, but that might not be enjoyable, since I might have to sit next to people from New Jersey. So I would probably walk. It’s not that big of a state anyways.

                  1. hansman1982

                    what I would do, in your situation, is proceed to vandalize, pillage, plunder, ransack, murder, incite riots and violence, libel and slander those around me. While I was doing this, I would BEG Gov. Christie to forceably remove me from the state because, apparently, I did not have the willpower to remove myself from the state.

                    1. Sircub

                      Crap, I didn’t think of that. You’re probably right, that would be the easiest way to vacate the state of New Jersey.

                    2. Jonski

                      Its is really simple what I was trying to say.It would allow me to read Brett’s and Luke’s stuff .It should be pretty clear I have a temper and when I blow I blow period.Secondly I don’t want my email attached to this blog.That may be your resume ,but not mine all though the slander part seems pretty fair for the shit that came out of my mouth yesterday.

                  2. MaxM1908

                    New Jersey doesn’t hold a candle to Delaware.

                    1. hansman1982

                      yay. we’re in delaware. it’s…delaware

                      (incorrect capitalization done intentionally)

        3. Carew


          1. calicubsfan007

            @Carew: Hooray for new words! Haha!

        4. TWC

          Oh, is THIS what I missed earlier? Dang, I had hoped for something a lillte more interesting than petulant homophobia presented through the lens of unintelligible belligerence. I should lower my standards.

    2. Eric

      The reason those low budget teams are so good is they are doing what we’ve been doing only for the last year, but for the last 10 years. IE: being REALLY good in the draft.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Exactly, for the last 20 years we’ve been trying quick fixes by signing big FA without having a core team and organization in place this is the first year I’ve seen this team committed to a long term vision.

        1. hansman1982

          Well, for the last 20 years we have tried to sign the 2nd tier of big name free agents. The only truly HUGE splash was Grabow.

          It is interesting to see how the debate is focused around the 2 extremes – that we should only sign big time guys (operate like the Yankees) and the farm system will be a bonus or only build through the farm (operate like the Rays) and Theo is never going to sign a big time player, when the Red Sox never employed either strategy.

  14. Mike F

    I don’t disagree Luke, but I want to sound a caveat to Theo’s handling of this. I am not of a belief that Ricketts is a great owner. I don’t think he’s a bad owner, but he’s had some real missteps. And Theo has never done what he is attempting to do. Yes he had winners at Boston, yes he’s bright, and yes building a farm system is the right thing. But looking at his 2002 – 2003 Boston Rosters he’s not got that kind of roster and frankly he’s busy blowing this one up. And I don’t see the Farm producing the real gold until 2014 through 2017 with the bulk of the real gems in 15/16.

    And that’s the rub, if they don’t do a much better job than they did with the ML Roster this season it will get hot in Chicago. I don’t blame, Theo, Sveum or anyone else. But let’s not sugar coat this either. We are in our 3rd year of real losing. And no one expected much this season and the Chicago Cubs have delivered that. Personally I think if they don’t wrap up the miserable ML performance by next season’s end it will be a short lived experiment. I am in Theo’s corner, but honestly believed he is miscalculating the resolve of fans to see ML improvement and willingness to stink for an extended period of time. 1 year is to be expected, 2 years is even likely, but when it gets beyond that and it is looking pretty bad, I think it gets very dicey.

    1. The Dude Abides

      Agreed, Theo has no experience of doing this from the ground up as the BOSOX were a much better team before his arrival, by end of next season he will have traded every player he inherited and gotten as much as he will get in stock piling the minor league system other than through the draft. The Padres on the other hand are always counting on youth so I guess they feel they have a hybrid of FO talent. Time will tell if their strategy will work or quite honestly what their strategy is but I agree by the end of next season the Chicago market better see a clear direction and moves will be need to be made between 2013 – 2014 so a competitive team will be on the field for the beginning of 2014. Giving these guys two years isn’t unreasonable but if in 2014 we are still fielding anything close to what we have now it will be unacceptable for the fans, the media and I hope Theo (I really think improvement will be needed by this time next year or the media and fans will start to question). Theo has to be smart enough to know this isn’t San Diego and a four year plan will be not be acceptable, correct?? We have the money, we have the FO and we have the fans so we shall see how this works.

  15. MichiganGoat

    This is great news and glad to see Ricketts but his focus on getting the top talent at the top and let the success on the field trickle down to the field. Instead of focusing on getting big FA on the field the focus is getting top talent in the FO. It might take a couple of years but this will result in top sustained talent on the field. Get job by Ricketts and if you think he is being cheap and not committed to winning you are short sighted and impatient.

    1. Ajbearsfan

      I have to agree here. It’s like putting a puzzle together. Sometimes the pieces fit right and you move onto the next piece. When one doesn’t fit you replace it with another. Rickets is a fan with a vision and it’s gonna take time to come to fruitation. But in the same hand lets face it we are all tired of losing and want at least something more in the win column.

      1. MichiganGoat

        The we’re tired of losing arguement is the reason us fans refuse to give the organization time to fix the structure of the ship before setting sail. We continuely add a pretty new flag to sinking ship and expect it to reach the promised land. Now we are building an unsinkable vessel that can succeed for generations.

        1. Jonski

          Your the classy one and from what I can see is a real help to Brett I follow you also…I don’t like getting called of the porch for a opinion.

          1. MichiganGoat

            I appreciate the follow but you can’t come on here and spew homophobic comments because someone disagrees or challenges you, be more mature.

            1. calicubsfan007

              @MichiganGoat: Is Jonski the same person as Cubs1967? I would ask him myself, I just don’t want to start anyting.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Idk and I think you just asked

                1. calicubsfan007

                  @MichiganGoat: I mean comment under his post. Sorry, I phrased that horribly.

              2. Drew7

                I doubt it. I’ve never heard “Jonski” bash Dejesus – a move ‘ol 67 wouldnt be able to resist :)

                1. calicubsfan007

                  @Drew7: i was just curious because the guy seemed pretty pissed at TWC’s comment to 1967. Your joke is funny, but 1967 seems to not really care for me, so I am trying to not add anymore fuel to the fire.

                  1. Drew7

                    I gotta give it to you, Cali – you are certainly the “anti-fuel”

                    1. calicubsfan007

                      Drew: Is that sarcasm? The quotes make it sound sarcastic.

                    2. Drew7

                      Oh sorry…no, no sarcasm

                    3. DocPeterWimsey

                      Well, at least Drew7 didn’t use “retardant” or “wet rag,” “hose” or even “CO2″: really, there are not many words or phrases here that do not seem insulting!

                    4. calicubsfan007

                      @Drew7: Oh God, sorry. My fault there. It is hard to tell sometimes. Especially when one can’t hear the tone of the voice. And sorry Doc, I was more asking than accusing Drew.

        2. Flashfire

          Are you sure you want to use the word “unsinkable” in a ship metaphor about the Cubs? ;-)

          1. calicubsfan007

            @Flashfire: The last “unsinkable” thing didn’t end too well, no? (=

            1. calicubsfan007

              Whoops! Lets try that again!titanic23.jpg

              1. calicubsfan007
  16. calicubsfan007

    So, Brett or Luke or whoever would know this, is this a promotion for Wilken then? I mean, when I hear the word “assistant” as a position to a guy like Wilken, I tend to think this is more of way to hold onto a valuable asset for the sake of not letting the other guys get ahold of him.

    1. MichiganGoat

      I’d say it’s a little of both

      1. calicubsfan007

        @michigangoat: At least Wilken can have helluva reference if he looks for another job with another team.

        1. hansman1982

          I think he ultimately has his eye on the GM’s chair and this is a way for him to begin that transistion.

          From what I have read, he should be an interesting blend between Hendry and Theo.

    2. Flashfire

      Seems to me like what they’re doing is getting someone else to do the day-to-day BS of the job while he spends 100% of his time focusing on the right talent to acquire — either through the draft or from other teams.

    3. Luke

      I don’t know exactly what Wilken’s new job will be, but if it were up to me he would become a combination ultimate cross-checker, scout trainer, trade target evaluater, in house check on the statistical driven methods of the new front office guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes on a larger role in improving the facilities and staff at the Cubs’ various minor league franchises as well.

  17. cubzforlife

    No one has mentioned the picks the Cubs lost with all the free agent signings.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      The Cubs would not have lost that many picks for a couple of reasons. First, there really were not that many big-name signings, and you only lose picks for those. Second, the Cubs had such lousy records a couple of years that they were not going to lose their picks anyway. So, the Cubs picked Vitters 3rd overall in 2007 despite signing both Sori and Lily in the off-season. In other cases, they got a different first round pick because they let another big name go; so, despite signing Alous in 2002, they picked Bobby Brownlie 22nd in 2002.

      Overall, I think that 2009 was the only year that they did not get a pick in the “normal” first round (they snagged BJax with the 31st pick, so that was supplemental).

      Again, the “the Cubs always signed free agents instead of developing from within” is half a myth: instead, the Cubs usually did not pursue the big name free agents while simultaneously not developing from within.

      1. Scotti

        Brett Jackson was not supplimental.

        1. Luke

          This is correct. The Cubs had the next to last pick in the first round in that draft thanks to their very good 2008 season.

          1. Flashfire

            Happily, it means we have one thing we don’t have to torture ourselves for: the Cubs were one of the few teams that did not pass on Mike Trout (who went #25 that year).

  18. Drew7

    Big V with a HR in the first 2 inning for Boise, making that 4 bombs in the teams last 11 innings. No big deal…

    1. calicubsfan007

      @Drew7: Promotion for the big guy in the near future?

      1. Luke

        Possible, but I’d rather he stay in Boise. Minor league playoff experience may not seem like a big deal to fans of a major league team, but having the experience of needing to perform in a win-or-else environment is valuable. Playoff pressure, even if it is only in the Northwest League, cannot be replicated in practice. I’d rather keep Vogelbach in Boise where he can live through a stretch run and hopefully the playoffs rather than send him to a pressure-less situation in Peoria. We know this kid can crush the ball; let’s see how he handles himself when it matters the most.

        1. MichiganGoat

          I think the Soler promotion has brought on more calls for him to be promoted, but Soler is a rare specimen and V has much to learn and we are in no rush to bring him up.

          1. Scotti

            What, pray tell, does Vogelbach have to learn as a hitter at Boise? Being more slender? Soler and Vogelbach are dissimilar hitters. Vogelbach is a more advanced hitter than Soler in that he uses the whole field (not just left to right but the WHOLE field) and is more than just a slugger. Soler has more experience but has a more limited swing.

            1. hansman1982

              Considering his only real tool is power he has 3 other tools that he needs to develop (the speed thing is a lost cause).

      2. Scotti

        He should have started they year in Peoria in the first place…

        1. MichiganGoat

          And just skip two steps he good but he’s not that impressive, yet. I think people are falling in love with power but it takes more than HR to be successful.

          1. Scotti

            First, I am FAR more impressed with Vogelbach’s hitting mechanics than his power. He’s the second best hitter for average the Cubs have in the system (Torreyes). Second, Vogelbach was NOT drafted this year. He was drafted last year and played at Mesa so he would only skip Boise. It is common for more advanced hitters to skip Boise (Vitters actually skipped Boise, then got hurt and went to Boise after he recovered). Castro skipped Boise AND Peoria.

          2. Scotti

            And, yes, he is that impressive.

            1. Cheryl

              I agree. At the same time that he’s in Boise or elsewhere perhaps Peoria the cubs should see if there’s another position he could play.What I’m afraid will happen with him is that the FO is so set on Rizzo that they’ll trade Vogelbach. We still have to see how well V does after promotions. But if what he’s done so far is any indication he may be in the majors in three years.

              1. baldtaxguy

                Yes, time is on our side.

        2. fortyonenorth

          Isn’t Bill Buckner the hitting coach in Boise? Boy I loved to watch that guy swing the bat. I imagine any kid could stand to learn a few things from BB.

          1. baldtaxguy

            I did not know that, very cool.

  19. Mr.Boring

    I am Cubbie Blue. But damn. Are we this sad that we celebrate our front office before the team? Thanks for the info Brett, but we need players not hotshots in ties and sunglasses w/ cell phones. Change is needed, and change take time………… but, damn……… this team stinks at every level. Dale Quade, thanks for your effort but I doubt your here in 3 years.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      The hotshots in the ties and sunglasses with cell phones are the guys who are going to acquire the players. Players don’t just walk onto the Cubs or sprout from the grouting of Wrigley’s locker rooms.

    2. Luke

      I’ll wait until Sveum has a team where half his starters are within shouting distance of league average WAR for that position before I hammer him too much. His current team bears an uncanny resemblance to the Iowa Cubs from earlier this season.

    3. MichiganGoat

      Um having a great FO is necessary before you just starting throwing money at FA, that is what the Cubbies have done since FA started and it has got us nowhere.

      1. Flashfire

        You’re exaggerating. We got the joy of watching first hand one of the great career suicides in sports history. (Milton Bradley)

        1. MichiganGoat

          George Bell & Danny Jackson

          1. Flashfire

            Oh, God, Danny Jackson. *shudder*

            Mel Rojas. Ismael Valdez.

            1. Flashfire

              Ismael Valdez was a bad trade, not a bad signing. My mistake. (And I’d forgotten we traded him right back to the Dodgers for jack. Ah, those were the days.)

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, Valdez was a trade. Jackson was a dumb signing: but the FO was committed to fixing the team even though the FA class did not have anything particularly good to offer. (That winter is what ended Frey’s GM career!)

              1. LouCub

                Jim Frey’s career was toast after he dealt Lee Smith for 2 pieces of garbage and sealed when he was “forced to deal” Palmiero for Mitch Williams to rectify the Smith mistake and to get Mr Viagra away from CindySandberg..

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            What’s really worse, though, is the list of FAs who were interested in playing for the Cubs but who never got offers. OK, some of them would have been busts: but it’s not like anybody but the hardest core of Cubs fans remembers the guys to whom the Cubs were committed…..

            1. MichiganGoat

              Sigh Greg Maddux, we just let him walk

              1. Flashfire

                As I recall the story Larry Himes pissed him off and so nothing short of the deed to Wrigley was going to bring him back.

                I still remember the sports headline from that day saying the Cubs had lost their best pitcher and their starting right fielder (Dawson) on the exact same day, but made up for that by signing a closer (Randy Myers).

                Again: ah, those were the days.

              2. calicubsfan007

                @Michigan: At that time, if I remember correctly (Doc, correct me if I am wrong here), Maddux was so-so before having a career year. Maddux wanted to be paid like a superstar and the Cubs weren’t sure to pay that much for a guy they still probably viewed as a non sure thing. Maddux really became great in Atlanta, not during his first stint here.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Maddux was an early old-school vs. new-school debate. Because of his less than overwhelming W-L record, the old-school thought that Maddux was over-rated. You might recall that Himes made Maddux a big offer mid-season, and Maddux equivocated, but eventually said “I’ll take it.” Himes said “sorry, it’s off the table.” The old-school reaction was that they did not know who was dumber: Maddux for not taking the offer immediately or Himes for making the offer in the first place. (I forget the numbers involved, but they were less than what Maddux got that winter.)

                  There was the belief that Maddux was plagued by “one bad inning” every start and Maddux himself (at Boras’ suggestion, not the Cubs’) got psychological help for that. However, what I think it was was just bad BABiP innings once in a while: the Cubs fielding was not great, and my memory of his “bad innings” were bleeders and grounders getting through rather than well-hit balls. However, that concept was not even around back then.

                  1. calicubsfan007

                    @Doc: good point. Should we get the psych help for a certain Cubs pitcher who has the one bad inning problem? (=

                    1. hansman1982

                      Absolutely, Volstad’s problems seem to be mental. He cruises for however long and then will give up a hit, homer, something and you can just see him going “Damnit, not again.” and it all falls apart.

                2. DocPeterWimsey

                  Oh, and Maddux was great in 1992, and really good in the prior years. (He was very unlucky in 1991.)

                  1. calicubsfan007

                    @Doc: I probably put too much value into wins and losses.

                  2. Flashfire

                    The other thing about Maddux in ’92, he won 20 games and the Cubs lost 6 games where he gave up 2 or fewer runs in 7+ innings pitched, and another one where he gave up 2 earned runs in 6.1 innings. He was pretty okay in 1992.

              3. DocPeterWimsey

                I was thinking about Thome (we’re going with Choi!), young Gaetti (we’re going with Gary Scott!), Ventura (we’re going with old washed up Gaetti!), Lofton (we’re sticking with Patterson!), Beltran (we’re still sticking with Patterson!), and probably others that I’ve blanked from my memory. I do remember Glen Allen Hill (while with the Yankees, shortly after his 2nd stay on the Cubs) once commenting that players thought that the Cubs were just cheap: although “everybody” knew that the Cubs pulled in the most money (not true, but players are not accountants) and “everybody” was interesting in playing for the Cubs, nobody ever got a decent offer from them. Obviously, that was a lot of hearsay and generalization, but it probably reflected what players said to each other.

                (My guess is that it was more position players than pitchers, but who knows who “everybody” actually is….)

                1. Flashfire

                  For the people ripping Wilken’s ability to identify talent, the crap in Doc’s post is how insane things were *before* he got here — because the Cubs had no idea how awful their own players were. That stopping is decent praise in itself.

                  My favorite, though, was the trade that never should have happened: Kyle Lohse for RIck Aguilera.

          3. Ben

            George Bell turned into Sammy Sosa & Ken Patterson midseason…..I am very glad George Bell was a Cub

    4. baldtaxguy

      Damn!…Yes we need a quality front office and I prefer to have it before drafts and free agent signing periods. Damn!

  20. Mr.Boring

    In the long run I hope all of you are right and I’m wrong. I’m at home this Friday night without date, so I’m frustrated with everybody:) BTW, I shot 97 today playing golf…….. Which is worse, watching this Cubs offense or hacking out a 97 on a short City course in Des Moines?

    1. calicubsfan007

      @Mr. Boring: Personal opinion, watching the Cubs offense. At least with golf, you are in good company. I hope that it was 97 in 18 holes though, otherwise, I might have to change my opinion. If this makes you feel better, I got a 99 one time. (=

  21. Mr.Boring

    Yes Calicusfan007, my dog 16 is years old dog and is great company. And my 97 was on 18 holes. That damn rotating clowns mouth really threw me for a loop. I knocked it into the shaved-iced machine three times. Done laughing at myself.

    EVERYBODY….. this is the best website for our pathetic passion. Give Brett his due. He deserves every penny you can donate.

    Brett……. Tip-Top Charlie Brown. No more complaining this weekend. Don’t burn the burgers.

    1. calicubsfan007

      @Mr. Boring: haha, nice. Sounds more like a mini golf course with the clown face, or a trippy normal golf course!

  22. Flashfire

    Vogelbach just struck out. I think they should probably release him.

  23. Eric

    sounds good to me. The more respected high end talent evaluators with past success the better. I’m just glad Wilken is staying on. Since we can’t overspend in the draft the next best alternative is to have the largest/smartest collection of scouts and talent evaluators in all of baseball. That way in the draft and trades you hit much more than you miss. I’m happy about this.

  24. Jonski

    Jonski is 1 person and I don’t use multiple accounts.ive made 435 comments on in 2 years and even less on Bleacher nation in the 6 months .That in it self should tell people I came to this blog to get informed and learn.When the smoke clears I will follow Brett on facebook or twitter and yes im dead serious when I say I want to be banned from commenting .To much negative shit in Cubs nation and life is to short!

    1. BeyondFukudome

      Oh, please keep coming back! Life would be so much less meaningful without constant updates about Jonski’s posting habits, Jonski’s reading habits, Jonski’s twittering habits, and Jonski’s desires for Jonski’s future commenting.

  25. Curt

    omg really people this is Chicago cubs information and all things that are cubs, not a freaking English class , grammar while important is not the end all be all, so lighten up Francis , enjoy the site and yr fellow cubs fans , leave the nitpicking to cardinal. And whitesox dousche nozzles .

  26. notcubbiewubbie

    if the dh comes to the national league i will quit watching baseball. why in these modern times do we always have to cheapen every sport. from the dh to the elongated putter in golf, why oh why can’t we just leave the purest forms of sports alone. do you really want boring american league games that last 3.5 to 4.0 hours? the pitcher should always have to get in the batter’s box. say it ain’t so brett.

    1. TWC

      If that’s the case, kid, your baseball watching days are numbered. Enjoy the next three seasons or so, Cause there ain’t gpnna be much more “pure” NL after that — if not even sooner.

      FWIW, I don’t really disagree with your premise though. I just feel the impending inevitability.

    2. LouCub

      If the DH comes to the NL, it would suck or purists, agreed but if it alowed the Cubs to keep both Rizzo and Vogelbach in the line up with Baez, Soler, Castro, Almora…LOOK OUT!!!

  27. Ron Swanson

    Part of what has drawn me to the DH in recent years is the continued decline in pitchers with the ability to hit. Or even bunt. It seems like there are fewer and fewer pitchers that take pride in being a threat of any sort and become an automatic out. It’s just not interesting anymore.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      I doubt that it has anything to do with “pride.”. I would point to two other factors. One is that jumping between leagues is more common than ever, and pitchers do not work on bunting in the AL. The other is that teams are becoming more and more stats savvy, which has had two ramifications. One, more managers are sticking the lowest OBA guys at the bottom of the order, which reduces opportunities to bunt. Two, more managers realiz that getting outs on the mound save far more runs than blown sacrifices cost; thus, pitchers are better off going over heat charts than they are practicing bunting against BP tosses that are nothing like real pitches.

  28. 5412

    Hi Folks,

    Boy I hope this is true, certainly good news. It sounds to me like it could be a stepping stone for Wilkens to be GM down the line. Would we be so lucky as to have Kenny mvoing on?

    There are still a lot of folks who do not understand just how much the Tribune cut corners. After the last draft under Hendry, Randy Bush was quoted as saying something like, “We were given the budget and instructions to sign our top 20 draft picks. They have never done that before.”

    Here is a link to a Tribune article which is quite telling: It is about 3/4 of the way down.–20120322,0,1856642.story

    Hoyer states the Cubs had the smallest scouting and player development group in baseball. They went from 90-120 in the department, a 33% increase. They went from part time Randy Bush, to 5 full time people in their advanced scouting department.

    We were light years behind the competition; due primarily to the Tribune’s lack of commitment, and budgetary commitment to anything that was considered long term.

    Keeping Wilkens and growing the department is a good thing. I would not be surprised if Wilkens will not be spending a whole lot more time on the road.

    Maybe Theo will have to start spending more time with hizzoner Mayor Emmanuel.


    1. dabynsky

      That seems to be the thing that everyone forgets about the Tribune’s spending spree. The major league payroll went way up, but we were behind in spending in just about every other facet of the game. That is why this mess is so bad right now with the high minors and major league roster so devoid of talent.

  29. More on the Chicago Cubs’ New Scouting Director Jaron Madison, and on Tim Wilken’s Promotion | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] on Friday – and then made official on Saturday – the Chicago Cubs hired a new Scouting Director, and shuffled the current Scouting Director (Director of Amateur Scouting, that is) up the front [...]