Chris Carpenter makes his season debut today against the Cubs. Think the Cubs will be ready? Or at least as ready as they can be?

  • Dale Sveum on the repeated brain farts on the Cubs over the course of the season: “We have one of these things every three or four days that are not even explainable. You obviously don’t practice staying on a base when a pitcher isn’t on the mound. [These are] things that just boggle your mind, for major league players who have played a lot of baseball to just be looking off into left field before the pitcher is on the mound. These things get unacceptable. And [asking] why are these things happening drives you crazy as a manager because there’s no rhyme or reason for things like that to happen.” And it’s probably no more frequent this year than in previous years. But when your team keeps losing, and there isn’t much else to discuss, the mental mistakes are magnified.
  • Perhaps not unrelatedly, Sveum says he (and the coaches and players) will kick back a bit when the season ends, and try to decompress a bit.
  • Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio says there’s still a whole lot of learning going on in the Cubs’ clubhouse, and he’s asked Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood to take on leadership roles with the pitchers, teaching the young guys whatever they can. I like that, but it’s weird to think that none the veteran leaders are older than 28.
  • Jason Berken’s four strikeouts in the second inning yesterday (one of them coming on a wild pitch) tied a team and MLB record. Lots of guys in that book, most recently Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, for the Cubs. Still neat.
  • Speaking of Wood, he’ll be celebrated at Wrigley Field on Sunday, and he’ll sing the 7th inning stretch.
  • So, MLB has inked/will ink national TV deals with ESPN, FOX, and TBS, which will pay a combined $1.5 billion annually. Spread out over the 30 teams, that’s an extra $50 million coming to each. When we discuss the Cubs’ revenue going forward, we’ll have to remember that $50 million figure, in addition to ticket sales, concessions, and the local TV deals.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at how the Brewers have now blown by the Pirates, and are just 2.5 games out in the Wild Card.
  • Tim

    Brett, if a team does not play on national tv during the season do they get their portion of that money? I do not believe the Cubs have played on fox or espn all year. I remember when Rick Sutcliffe sang the 7th inning stretch for the cubs earlier in the season he made a comment along the lines of hes looking forward to when the cubs are good again and they can start broadcasting at wrigley again. I just wonder if the 50M is paid up front or throughout the season and if the teams who do now play on those channels get some of the money

    • Kyle

      That money is divided equally between each team, regardless of how often they appear on TV.

      • Ash

        Socialists! Small market welfare queens!

    • Spencer

      Cubs/Red Sox was on ESPN. Because of the Red Sox, of course.

  • Ash

    I’d liken it to the last week of school before summer vacation. It’s a long year, and there’s only a few players that have something important to play for. I’m not excusing it, but I can at least understand it.

  • Jeff

    Kyle just want to say I appreciate your insight on the your latest posts. I realize its hard to get your point on this site with so many fans drinking the Epstien and Ricketts cool aid. Also, I think it’s pretty funny that the 50 mil Ricketts will be getting will equal almost the entire Cubs 2013 payroll as it stands right now!

    • Brett

      Jeff, I feel a duty to point out: that long discussion between Kyle and several posters remained exceedingly civil, and I don’t think too many folks didn’t hear and process what Kyle was saying. Kool aid has nothing to do with it, and I’d note that Kyle didn’t once (that I saw) accuse folks of being blind followers. That’s a good starting point for a civil discussion.

      • hansman1982

        Absolutely, Kyle and I have been debating about the same thing for the past 9 months and at no point have either of us used names or phrases to belittle the other. I could/would/but avoid debate with him over this all day.

      • cubchymyst

        After reading what Kyle posted, I’m going to have to say I’ve swayed some in my opinion. I’m still on board with theo’s plan and think the best way to be a contender every year is through building up the farm system. However, not all of the prospects will turn out and it will leave holes that need to be filled with free agents. It will be difficult to fill in every hole in a line up in one off season. If the Cubs really think they are going to start being competitive for a playoff spot in 2014 or 2015 then they need to start filling some holes this year or next. With the new wildcard system I don’t think 2014 is a stretch for that second spot which might require less than 90 wins to get. So I’m starting to lean toward that the cubs should sign a bigger name free agent (Ideally one of the younger ones, e.g. Bourn or Upton) for a 4-5 year deal at a higher rate per year to make it competitive with teams who are offering more years with less annually. As we can see it does not cost a lot of field prospects now matter how good (or bad) they are, and with the Cubs being a large market team they can afford the contract. If a prospects pan out then they can trade the veteran in an attempt restock the farm system. I think the number of bad contracts the cubs had at one time has made people gun shy to the idea signing a bigger name as a free agents. I don’t think this past winter was the right time to sign someone but this coming winter might be.

        • Brett

          I don’t disagree with any of that, either – I just wish there were better FAs on the market this Winter. I don’t think any of the “big” names this year make sense for the Cubs.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Indeed, I’ve stopped wishing for “big names”: I was upset that the Cubs did not make an effort to sign Chone Figgins a couple of years ago. Whoops……

            (In my defense, his signing was considered the best signing of the winter by a lot of people….)

        • Chris

          I get that not all prospect will make. 20% would be a high success rate. But that makes it all the more important to have as many as possible. I don’t have any problem with the Cubs spending money. And the younger the free agent the better. But I don’t think Bourn is as young as you might be thinking, and they both will probably cost a draft pick, which goes back to my point about acquiring as many prospects as possible. If there are players in free agency that help the club immediately, that won’t cost draft picks, and are willing to take a short term deal, get it done regardless of monetary cost. I’ve scanned the free agent list and there aren’t any players that I would feel are worthy of draft pick sacrificing or a long-term deal. But there may be some guys that don’t get a qualifying offer from their current teams that would be worth giving a 1 or 2 year deal. We’re probably looking at a payroll starting at 60mil next season, so I fully expect there will be at least $20-30mil spent to fill in gaps on this team. Factor in what they’ll have to eat to trade Soriano and maybe Marmol and that should get us back into the $120mil range, which is respectable. They should spend money. It just has to be spent on the right players, at the right time.

        • Mick

          I’m not so sure about a Bourn or Upton because they will require a 4-5 year deal and we’ll be competing with a lot of better teams to sign them. A guy that might be a better fit to our plan and someone we might be able to flip in the short term would be Shane Victorino. Coming off of a down season he might only require a 2-3 year investment at a more reasonable salary and most importantly won’t have the leverage to ask for a no-trade clause. Some other FA’s I think the Cubs could sign and possibly flip at a deadline would be:

          Jeff Keppinger
          Kelly Shopach
          Hiroki Kuroda
          Fernando Rodney
          Matt Capps
          Ryan Madson

          Guys I’d like to sign and keep:

          Carlos Villanueva
          Francisco Liriano
          Brandon McCarthy
          Mike Adams

          • cubchymyst

            The cubs could use another outfielders outside of Soriano and Dejesus because it looks like Jackson is going to be in AAA to start the year to work on his swing. Besides those three the cubs currently have Campana, Mather, LaHair and Sappelt on the roster. I think best option with those players would be a platoon with Sappelt/LaHair (probably not a great option). The Cubs will likely get another outfielder through free agency, and I think Upton be a good grab even at 4-5 years, and even though they might need to give up a 2nd round pick to grab him, because he might still be playing at a similar levels to now. Even if Upton is not gotten another outfielder is going to be added this off season.

            • Drew7

              I think Jackson is the opening day CF’er unless he’s traded. He is what he is, and I think the FO will give him a year to see if he’s worth hanging onto.

  • Jeff L

    Brett, I’m not going to get into what Kyle did or did not say. I just appreciate the things he pointed out on this site. It was nice to finally hear a voice of reason. The truth of the matter is Epstein and I’m sure many others know that Cub fans generally are not a demanding group that proclaims, “we need a winner now!!!” Kyle did point out quotes where Epstein in many ways you can read between the lines said this.

    The truth of the matter is that the Cubs are the 3rd largest market in the US. They bring in millions of dollars in ticket revenue and merchandise. Brett as you just said with your article they are getting an extra 50 mil from the MLB. There is no reason Ricketts should be putting an MLB team on the field with a payroll in the lower half of baseball!!!

    I don’t see Boston or Yankee fans ever standing for this. Before I hear comments that say well go be a Yankee or RedSox fan I want to say I am a die hard Cubs fan. Just because I criticize the way the team is being run doesn’t mean I’m going to jump ship. It just means I’m not a blind follower for whatever Ricketts and Epstein say is “the right way to do things”.

    • Cedlandrum

      I don’t know what Red Sox payroll will be next year, but they just dumped a ton of salary.

    • Brett

      Do you think I’m a blind follower simply because I happen to agree, so far, with about 95% of what Epstein and Ricketts have said and done?

      • DarthHater

        Yes, that is what he thinks, Brett. He is calling you a blind follower. Give in to your anger! Embrace the Dark Side of the Force! 😉

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Only 95%?!?!? Summon the Inquisition!

        • hansman1982

          I prefer to not be called a kool-aid drinker…


          We are the Knights who say ‘Neeee’

          • Cubbie Blues

            Did they change back? I thought they were The Knights who Formerly said Ni and that they are now the Knights that say ecky ecky ecky ecky pakang zoom boing.

            • hansman1982

              Well then, we shall become known as:

              The Knights who Formerly said Ni and then who became the Knights that say ecky ecky ecky ecky pakang zoom boing and then became the Knights who once said Ni and whom are now just the Kerpflunkel

        • Ogyu

          NOBODY expects the Cubbish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to Theo…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weaponry…are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to Theo. And nice blue & red uniforms – Oh damn!

          • Ogyu

            In the early years of the 21st century, to combat the rising tide of sabermetric unorthodoxy, the Cubs FO gave Cardinal Brett of Bleacher Nation leave to move without let or hindrance throughout the land, in a reign of violence, terror and koolaid that makes a smashing film. This was the Cubbish Inquisition…

          • Cubbie Blues

            You forgot about the herring.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              tsk, tsk: we are mixing our Monty Python metaphors. Did none of you pay attention in your English classes?

              • Frank

                That’s it Doc—send them to . . . The Comfy Chair!!!!

                • Ogyu

                  No! … anything but that!!

              • Cubbie Blues

                No, King Arthur was instructed to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring.

        • cubchymyst

          May I suggest a theme song for the inquisition

    • Featherstone

      You’re welcome to criticize the way the team is being run, but comparing us to the Yankees or Red Sox or any other team wont get you anywhere. We are not those teams. Just because we have a similar revenue draw from our fan base does not give us the ability to compete in the way they do. You just cant compare apples to oranges and complain we dont make the same juice.

    • Chris

      Who do they spend the money on? There aren’t that many good options in 2013? Do you want them to gut the farm system again to acquire a couple of players? They need to have a farm system before they can start to use those guys as trade bait. Look, this thing can turn around quickly. They have Castro and Rizzo. Those are clearly pieces for future contending Cubs teams. Samardzija will be in that rotation. Maybe Wood can be too, at the back end. Castillo could catch on a winning team. Barney could play 2nd. You can probably leave the bullpen alone for now, as there are so many young arms to fill those roles. That’s about it for 2013 and beyond. There aren’t that many good free agents to fill the remaining holes, and it would be unwise to overpay a veteran at this stage. Now if they were close to actual playoff contention, I’d be happy to see a veteran overpaid. But it makes no sense to do it now. But, if Vizcaino is added to the rotation sometime in 2013 and shows promise, if Jackson starts to show a little more contact at the plate, now you start to see a nucleus forming. Best case scenario, I fully expect the Cubs to be bigger players in free agency in 2014. Worst case, I’d like to see it happening in 2015. And if there aren’t enough players in free agency at those times, then it’s time to start using the prospects acquired/drafted as trade bait to acquire the best players available for the gaps that need to be filled. When they have built a nucleus to start working with, I fully expect they act like the big market team they are. I’m not a Kool-aid drinker for feeling the theory they are practicing is the correct one. I wanted Hendry to blow this thing up after the 2008 season, as all those players were just getting too old. And before that, there were several times in the 80’s and 90’s where they should have rebuilt, especially when the Tribune Co. would not shell out the money to buy star players. But they were more comfortable with having a couple of marquee names to put butt in the seats. Kyle has made some solid points. We’ve been having an interesting debate. If they spend more money on short term deals for 2013 to try and improve the win/loss record, I’m fine with that. If they’re contending at the deadline, maybe they consider acquiring rather than selling. If not, I hope they continue to trade those veterans for more prospects. The more prospects they acquire, the better likelihood they’ll get a player or two that can be part of a nucleus for building a better ML team. But until that nucleus is established, short term free agent contracts and fiscal responsibility have to be first priority. The Dodgers already swallowed about all they can handle with the Redsox trade. There isn’t another team that will bail the Cubs out of bad contracts should they make big mistakes again.

      There are plenty of ass-clown Cubs fans that have always drank the Kool-Aid. That’s our cross bare as informed Cubs fans. But it’s unfair to paint with a broad brush and call anyone disagreeing with Kyle as a Kool-Aid drinker of all things Theo/Ricketts.

    • Mick

      You said yourself that you’re a die hard Cubs’ fan, doesn’t that make you pretty blind going into each season? Look, I might be a huge fan of what Ricketts has done thus far BUT, 1-An owner shouldn’t be judged off of just one season and 2-Shouldn’t short-term wins and losses be attributed to the players, coaches, or General Manager? I like hearing the opposite sides of issues because it’s usually me who finds the negatives in any plan but It seems a little too far after the fact since they’ve had this rebuilding planned out for a year.

  • Kevin

    Maybe with $50M annually the Cubs can finally renovate Wrigley Field.

  • fortyonenorth

    $1.5 billion a good piece of change. Anyone know how many nationally televised games there are each week? Doesn’t seem like all that many. I guess I’d like to know how much the networks (collectively) are paying for each game.

    • fortyonenorth

      “…especially post-season games as those are probably the big moneymakers for the tv channels”

      Yes, the obvious omission in my quick calculation.

  • Andrew

    Is it really 50 million extra a year? Im sure they had been paid for national broadcasts prior to this deal. I’d also imagine that some portion of that will be lost to taxes, and the mlb taking it’s share. Also i’d imagine it is pro-rated based on how many games a team plays, especially post-season games as those are probably the big moneymakers for the tv channels. I’m sure it is some added revenue but to say its a free 50 million dollars they can go crazy with is probably not true.

  • Spencer

    “And it’s probably no more frequent this year than in previous years…”

    Just because it happens to the Cubs year in and year out doesn’t mean it should be written off. Sveum says there’s no reason for these things to be happening, but there is: poor discipline. Maybe “The Cubs Way” manual needs to include a section that explains it is inappropriate to be frolicking about on the bases when the pitcher has the ball.

    Sveum also went on to say that stuff like that doesn’t warrant a benching…even though, by his own admission, this stuff happens 1-2 times a week. Is that the best way to build a culture? Letting these mental errors happen 1-2 times a week with no repercussions? Maybe he just has a stern talking to the player once they get into the dugout, and then waits three days for the next mental error to occur, then has another stern talk. In a year when the manager isn’t being evaluated on winning and losing, these are the areas that need to be looked at and addressed.

    • hansman1982

      The point is that these brain farts may very well just occur naturally regardless of the record but due to the record they get magnified.

      I am sure you could look at the WS winner for every year back to 1895 and find 1-2 mental lapses each week. Just those teams had the talent to overcome those things.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yeah, it’s probably like bad calls by umpires: there are not more of them now, but simply much greater coverage of the ones that happen.

        Even then, the lapses are strawmen when discussing why the Cubs lose. The Cubs lose because they hang too many breaking balls, they fail to smash too many hung breaking balls, they throw too many pitches outside of the strike zone, and they swing at too many pitches outside of the strike zone. Do that with zero mental errors and you have a 90+ loss team…..

  • Hee Seop Chode

    I’ll see Bret’s 95% and up it to 97%. But loosing sucks! Everyone on this site has grown to accept the reality that next years club will suck too….and that’s just so depressing! It’s hard to look foward to you know? I wish we could magically push this thing forward a little.

    What happened to “each year is a” I don’t remember the wording, but something like special opportunity…

    • Chris

      I agree. Losing sucks. But it’s not like we aren’t used to it… What I’ve done to get past the losing is I’ve started paying attention to the minor leagues a lot more. I bought into the MiLB game package and watched Iowa, Tenessee, and Boise a great deal. And now with the Kane County Cougars as the new Low-A affiliate, I’ll be going to many of those games to watch the progress of the first good wave of prospects the Cubs currently have. As they move upward in the system, this pool of players will get smaller and smaller, but hopefully a few of them make it to Wrigley in time to contribute to the next playoff push. And hopefully that push is extended for many years to come. I wish there were more vocal fans like this in the 80’s and 90’s, when the Tribune Co. stole hundreds of millions of our dollars with no clear plan in place, other than to make more money.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Yo Hee Seop…if a baseball team for which you have no control over is depressing you, then it truly might be time for some introspection. I’ve “suffered” for 35 years as a Cubs fan…but, this is the first time I’ve seen a management with some direction…and I’m willing to ride this out yo!

      • Frank

        True–we may not all agree on that direction, but it is a direction . . .

  • Cubbie Blues

    One day, in the not too distant future, I Hope we will be albe to look back on this rebuild and say;

    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he’ll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;

    • Ogyu

      This is dog chow’s finest hour…

  • alsongs

    Going back to the initial thread topic, I believe Sveum and staff have to take some responsibility for all the mental miscues (and well they may). It’s just hard to figure out how it can happen over and over, and be mistakes that 3rd graders make. I can’t figure out where the communication breakdown (Sorry Jimmy) comes from. Are the players letting it go out the other ear or are the coaches not making themselves clear (or not applying appropriate consequences for the farts)?

  • die hard

    One fix may be to name Barney team captain…hes got that fire which earns respect..His work ethic has been great from day one…get the message to him and he will make sure the players get it…fewer lapses = more wins

    • Carew

      I agree