The offseason has arrived, and, although there may be a reduction in Cubs news over the next month (while those other teams do their playoff thing … losers), we keep on ticking. Sometimes folks ask me if the site shuts down when the season ends – almost the opposite is true. There’s plenty to discuss from now until Spring Training. We’re Cubs fans, after all.

  • The day after the season ends is pretty always about the post-mortem – how did the Cubs do? What could they have done better? What’s the future look like? and all that. The theme I’m perceiving from those articles is this: everyone bought into the rebuild and attending suckiness in 2012, but patience stretches only so far. Improvement is expected in 2013, even if not playoff contention. My thought on that is, sure, improvement from 101 losses is probably a good idea. But, given the free agent market and the state of the Cubs’ upper minors, I don’t see much reason to expect dramatic improvement in 2013. Believe me, that kills me to say – this job is a whole lot more fun when the Cubs are winning – but I still believe it would be a mistake to go hog wild on spending this offseason in an effort to somehow, magically add 30 wins to the team next year. That kind of turnaround just doesn’t happen very often, and, where it does, it takes a lot more than money (luck, young player development, a couple savvy trades, luck, several unexpectedly awesome seasons from players, luck, and a little luck). Again, though, we are going to see that a huge chunk of the fan base will grow impatient – fresh off the excitement from Theo/Jed/Jason mania, it was easy to get fans to buy into the idea that 2012 was going to be the painful first step in a rebuild. It won’t be quite that easy in 2013, fair or not.
  • So, about those articles – here’s a good one from Patrick Mooney, buttoning up a variety of things, and hitting on that “patience” theme. Here’s an interesting one from Gordon Wittenmyer, which demonstrates a great deal of the looming-lack-of-patience thing.
  • … but I have to point out: Gordon, how can you use quotes from Scott Boras as the backbone for the piece? Gee, I can’t imagine what incentive Scott Boras would have for saying things like, “[The Cubs] have sold you a bill of goods,” “There’s no excuse for the Cubs to be in [fifth] place,” and “That owner is sitting on a Mount Vesuvius of money.”
  • Darwin Barney was bummed to learn that third base/infield coach Pat Listach would not be returning next year. “This is hard for me,” Barney said after getting the news, per “He was one of the first people who really saw what I had and believed in it and voiced his opinion for me a couple years back. It’s tough. He’s going to be fine, he’s got a place in baseball and he’ll find work somewhere for sure. It’s hard to see him go. We spent a lot of time together preparing for these games and putting together the season I had defensively. Whenever I try to give him credit, he tells me, ‘It wasn’t me, it was all you. Don’t think I did anything. The reality is, he did [help]. He turned me on to a lot of different ideas and different things. It’s just sad, it’s sad to see him go.”
  • The wind blew in at Wrigley this year 45 of the Cubs’ 80 home games, going into yesterday’s finale.
  • Starlin Castro is the first player in Cubs history to play all 162 games at shortstop.
  • Lefty prospect Zach Rosscup has been removed from Arizona’s AFL roster, apparently due to some arm troubles. This could mean that the Cubs’ “taxi squad” designee (I believe it was relief prospect Kevin Rhoderick) will be bumped up from taxi squad to full squad, or the Cubs could try and get another pitcher on the roster (or could go with fewer players than permitted).
  • BN’er Doc takes a look at which teams you can, statistically-speaking, expect to see do well in the post-season. Check his thoughts – and graphs! – out over at the Message Board.
  • Apropos of nothing, from White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis: “It was very surprising to see with us winning that we were still second fiddle to the Cubs.”
  • CM

    Welcome to Chicago Youk!!

  • TC

    While its great that Starlin has been an iron man so far in his career (158 games last year, 162 this year), short stop is an extremely physically taxing position, and it can take a heavy toll on a player’s health. I just hope that he is one of those rare few that can play that much without his performance suffering due to the aches and pains of playing a full schedule.

    Coming from a place of almost pure speculation, I’d like to see him get a day off here and there next year so he can be 100% as often as possible. There were times this year where he just looked physically and mentally drained at the plate, and I can’t imagine that helped his sub-300 average this year

  • bails17

    Welcome to Chicago Youk!!!

  • mudge

    I think they’ll be much more competitive next year, having gotten rid of Listach.

  • hardtop

    “It was very surprising to see with us winning that we were still second fiddle to the Cubs.”

    thats because everyone knew you’d choke in the end.


    he obvioulsy wasnt around for the 2005 season when, all of a sudden, the white sox fan base tripled… but they had “always been sox fans”.. yeah, right.. so many cubs fans jumped ship that year, it was pathetic.

    if the sox had made a playoff run, youd see a lot more cubs fans getting on the band wagon, especially after cubs loss 101 was recorded. and theyd be pretending that their parents grew up in Bridgeport and that they’ve always loved the sox.
    hell, im so disappointed in the Cubs this season that if, jerry reinsdorf weren’t Satan, i might even consider… nah, i could never do it, ill never give up on the Cubs. Besides white sox fans are the worst! (next to cardinals fans)

  • Matt

    Mt Vesuvius of money, eh Boras? Well Vesuvius blew up and destroyed everything and everybody. I’d say its a good analogy.

  • Noah

    Boras is of the mind that every team should spend every dime of their possible Major League budget every year. But let’s say the Cubs are aiming, once they are competitive again, to be in the $125 million range. Can the Cubs get to $125 million next year and have a team that could compete? Sure. It would be a similar process to what happened in 2007. But it would greatly sacrifice the future.

    The Cubs might only sell 2.5 million tickets in 2013. But once they’re good again, and good consistently as they should be under the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod plan, they’ll be well over 3 million again, year in and year out.

    • mike

      Of course Boras wants them to spend, so he can continue to line his useless, leeching pockets!

  • Kevin

    Does anyone give a rats ass what Boras says?

  • Patrick G

    Can’t believe the seasons over. I started following this site religiously last offseason during winter meetings and it was really fun to see how the Cubs worked. Hopefully this offseason we are active and get some good quality players. Thanks Brett for your work you’ve been doing an awesome job, keep it up!

  • ottoCub

    I’m optimistic that the Cubs will be a better team next year. Not competitive yet, but better. If they make a few key additions over the off-season (a solid inning-eating, strike-throwing #2-3 starter, a consistent experienced bullpen guy or four, and a consistent mid- to high-power right handed hitter) they can rise to a middle of the pack team.

    The pitching will have to come through free-agency. My guess is that front office will take the same approach they did last year — sign a large quantity of cheap pitchers and hope 2 or 3 of them pitch better than expectation.

    The right-handed hitter could come from inside the organization — It seems very important the the front office get a good read on the potential for Ian Stewart. If he can come back strong from wrist surgery (think about how much the surgery helped Aramis Ramirez) he could be that mid-power hitter. But if he can’t (and I am not optimistic), then that piece will also have to come through free-agency. It could be a third-baseman, or it could be a right-fielder.

    • ottoCub

      If these moves don’t pan out, they will be a bottom-tier team again next year. If the players they sign are decent (like Maholm, Reed Johnson, etc) and If the team is not competitive by July, they will be a big seller again at the trade deadline and will lose a lot of games in the second half. We’ll get to watch a lot of prospects in the second half — which is fun, but can also be an extremely frustrating part of a re-building process.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I expect more of the same in this off season as we saw last year.

      I am hopeful that they continue to put bids in on high-upside players like Cespedes and Darvish. A couple of these additions could bring huge dividends in the win-loss ratio.

      • EQ76

        I believe we’ll sign some decent guys this off season… nothing splashy but solid. Our hopes of being a lot better will lie with guys like BJax, Castillo, etc. exploding and being really good for us. Also, we need a lights-out turn around with the pitching staff.. hard to imagine all that happening. Hopefully we can not lose 100 again.

      • Dave

        I found nothing fun in watching the likes of Jackson, Vitters, and the awful assortment of starting pitchers and rellievers who came up this year.
        Rizzo and Castillo looked good but we saw way to many others who had no business being in the major leagues

  • Spencer

    My thing is that “improvement” next season is not going to be measured in terms of wins and losses. It’s pretty hard to get worse from 101 losses. If the Cubs only lose 94 games next year, I’m sure some people that like what Theo is going will say, “SEE?!?! Improvement!”, and some people that don’t like what Theo is doing will say, “Wow the Cubs still lost over 90 games, they suck!”

    I think improvement comes in terms of player development, the draft, free agent signings, and making the top of the farm system better. If the Cubs lose 100 games next year and those things make the team better, then I think it’s an improvement. If the Cubs lose 90 games next year and those things don’t happen, then there isn’t improvement.

  • mak

    While I understand the purpose of the rebuilding, I know that I only have 1-2 more years of living in Wrigleyville, and I desperately want to live here when the Cubs are winning. Totally different neighborhood. Probably raises my property value as well. I’m selfish.

    • Kevin

      If you really want to be selfish, allow the Cubs to play all the night games they want and watch your property value increase.

  • Kyle

    Going “hog-wild” is definitely less desirable than it would have been last year.

    Going into last offseason, we needed two SP, a 1b, and a 3b.

    Going into this offseason, we need two SP, a 3b, a CF, and an entire bullpen.

    • Chris

      Kyle, I’ve enjoyed going back and forth with you. I look forward to seeing your free agent wish list names and rationale behind your thinking. I’ll gladly provide the same from my perspective. While we seem to differ greatly on the 2012 season, I have a strange feeling 2013 will be different. For me, the needs are SP, SP, 3B, OF(not specific to CF). While a bullpen arm or two wouldn’t be bad signings, if it were me, I would slow play that market and see what players are left at the end to sign cheaply. I just feel there are enough arms on the team to staff a bullpen, at least to start out. If they contend, maybe they can go get another arm or two. I think they’ll get the SP they need. There are many choices and when the free agency music stops, not all will have a landing spot. I think they are going to be hard pressed to sign a 3rd baseman. We may be looking at Valbuena and a right handed platoon guy to go with him. Not ideal, but that’s the market right now. OF will be interesting. Things I’ve read recently suggest the Rays will offer Upton a qualfying offer, so I’m less thrilled with going after him. I would be more excited if they could figure out a way to pry his brother from the D-Backs. Dipping into the minor leagues to make that move would be well worth it. Jackson, Vitters, Szczur, Lake, Vogelbach, Alcantara, Torreyes,etc., or any number of bullpen arms they have in the minors would be fine from my perspective. They just can’t move Baez, Soler, or Almora. And none of the little starting pitching they have is expendable. Probably not a likely outcome, as I’ve also read Az is more likely to keep Upton around now. But those are the kinds of young core players the Cubs should be looking to acquire, and trading prospects would be acceptable for those scenarios even this early in the rebuild.

      • CF

        Why would Arizona trade Justin Upton for any package of Cubs prospects that doesn’t include Baez, Soler or Almora? Would you trade Starlin for that package of players? That’s the equivalent of Upton to Arizona. The asking price would probably start with 2 of that group.

        • Chris

          Hence why I said unlikely. They can’t even trade Almora yet regardless, so that’s a moot point. Upton’s just an example of a player they should target going forward, that’s all. Many teams have acquired talented players using less than their best minor league talent. The Dodgers did so this year with Hanley Ramirez. When money comes into play, the Cubs can eat additional salary to make things happen, which would require less talent going out the door in trade. The ony logical reason the D-backs to trade Upton would be due to the amount of money he’s going to command from them. If they feel they can no longer afford him, they’ll have two choices. Trade him for the best package they can get, or let him walk away and get a draft pick. Similarly to what they did with Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, they need to take advantage of clubs unable to afford their young players through arbitration and beyond.

          • Ssckelley

            If the Cubs are going to trade prospects it needs to be for a third baseman as there is nobody in the FA market. If I was Hoyer I would inquire on the asking price for David Wright from the Mets. At one time they had interest in Marmol.

      • Kyle

        We need two starting pitchers, a CF, a 3b and a bullpen.

        By my math, we have about $65 million tied up in existing players, including arbitration eligibles (non-tendering Volstad, and Stewart) and minor-leagues with major league contracts. That’s for eight players, and we should be able to have about seven pre-arb players making around $500k each (Wood, Barney, Rizzo, a backup OFer, a backup infielder, and at least two bullpen guys). That’s another another $3.5 million and we’ve got 15 major league jobs tied down.

        We should easily be able to afford a $130 million payroll under the current baseball ops budget, especially now that the Dominican Facility is paid for. So I’ll assume I’ve got another $60 million to work with.

        It’s going to be unpopular, but I think you have to take a run at Greinke. We’ve got the budget room, I don’t care about the 2nd round pick, and we have absolutely nothing in the minors or majors as a long-term solution in the rotation after Wood and Samardzija. If you wait to sign any quality SPs, you might have to wait until you don’t have a protected first-rounder anymore.

        I expect the bidding for Greinke to be insane. I’d be willing to go 8/$200 if I had to, and that might not be enough.

        Beyond that, it’s all just the names we already know. There’s some interesting starting pitchers are pretty much every level of ability, from the mid-tiers down to the flyers like Villanueva.

        I don’t care for Cabrera or Victorino in CF. I would be very interested in Bourn or Upton, and I don’t mind committing money (but would rather short the years, if I could).

        At 3b, I don’t see much I like. I really wouldn’t mind giving that to Valbuena and using the savings elsewhere.

        • Ssckelley

          So stick a crapload of money and lose a second round pick but go into next season with Valbuena as your starting third baseman? that is crazy!

          • Kyle

            *shrug* I’ve made my case for it pretty thoroughly.

            Money is a tool meant to be used to acquire useful baseball players. I don’t have a problem with using it that way.

            2nd round picks are extremely overrated. The Cubs haven’t had one become a useful player in the majors since 1984. Other teams have had somewhat better success rates, but in general they are extremely overrated.

            Valbuena has a lot of interesting qualities to me. His peripherals are across-the-board solid, and his defense is extremely good at 3b (actually really good, not just vaguely above average like many of our “good” defenders, such as Stewart). If his BABIP hadn’t been .260, he probably would have had a very solid slash line this year.

            If there were good 3b options out there, I’d be glad to scrap him, but I’m not optimistic.

            • Chris

              Both points are valid. With the current crop of crap, as far as 3B goes, it would not be worth a 2nd round pick, regardless of the value you place on that round in the draft. And using previous Cubs teams as a comparison is probably not the best approach, only because they clearly drafted poorly in comparison to most other teams, prior to 2011. I think we are stuck with Valbuena in 2013. Hopefully somebody surprises from the minor leagues, like Lake or Vitters, but I’m not going to hold my breath. If there were a solid 3rd baseman available, that made sense as a long term signing, I’d be all for sacrificing a draft pick. Maybe they can find a value free agent, but that doesn’t currently look like it will happen. Kyle, given your stance on the 2012 offseason, were you of the opinion that they should have extended Ramirez for 3 seasons? I liked the approach they took with accepting their half of the option and leaving it in his hands. He had a good season, and definitely could have helped the ML team. But I just feel it was time for him to go, and taking the draft pick they got was satisfactory to me. But I’m not as sold on my beliefs here, so I’m curious on your thoughts.

              • Brett

                Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any FA 3B that are going to receive a qualifying offer. Youkilis has an option for the same amount, so he won’t. Who else is even close?

                • Chris

                  Nobody. But even the guys that will be avaiable don’t seem to be better options than Valbuena. Youklis wouldn’t be bad for a short term deal, but I doubt he’ll want to play for a non-contending team like the Cubs.

              • Kyle

                “Kyle, given your stance on the 2012 offseason, were you of the opinion that they should have extended Ramirez for 3 seasons?”

                My preference going into the offseason was to try to go cheap at 3b and focus the money saved on pitching.

                Ramirez got a much cheaper contract than I would have excepted, and I hated what the cheap 3b option we chose, so given those two, I would have rather signed Ramirez to the contract (and yes, I know that means no Pierce Johnson) than do what we did.

                • Chris

                  I don’t think I can disagree with that logic. I too was expecting Ramirez to get an insane offer from a stupid team. I never expected him to have to settle for the Brewers. I could live without the Pierce Johnson drafting had they signed Ramirez, but it would have been difficult to move Ramirez at the deadline, given his 10 & 5 rights with the Cubs. Honestly, I guess I just wish he excercised his option for 2012 and we could have seen what played out. Worst case, they would have worked out a trade for him at the deadline, and maybe they get a player better than Johnson in return. Woulda coulda shoulda I guess…

            • Ssckelley

              I get that, a second round pick is worth giving up if you can get a player to help us make the playoffs. But you spend too much time looking at the free-agent list. If you’re going to put that much money into the free-agent market and turn around and have Valbuena as your third baseman then it isn’t worth giving up all that much. I agree there is not a third baseman on the free-agent market worth having but look past free-agent list and look and see what kind of potential trades there are out there. There is no way the Cubs are going to make the playoffs if valbuena is your starting third baseman.

              • Kyle

                “But you spend too much time looking at the free-agent list.”

                The posts you are responding to was given when another poster asked me:

                “I look forward to seeing your free agent wish list names and rationale behind your thinking.”

                I focused on free agents because I was asked about my free-agent wish list. Nobody knows what’s available for trade this offseason, and in general it would be foolish to depend too much on trades. We have lots of money, we should use it. No need to give up player assets.

                • Ssckelley

                  So you wouldn’t do a Marmol and Vitters for say a David Wright?

                  • Brett

                    The Mets would laugh uncontrollably at that offer.

                    (/hyperbole, but the point remains)

                    • Ssckelley

                      You might be right but wasn’t the Mets interested in Marmol last year? Plus I doubt they resign Wright after his option year.

                    • Brett

                      Even if the Mets wanted Marmol or want him next year, they’re not going to trade away one year of Wright for one year of a closer like Marmol – what would be the point? The only point in acquiring a Marmol is “going for it” in 2013. Dealing Wright would be counterproductive (massively so).

                  • TC


                    • Ssckelley

                      I get it, we dont need no stinking trades! We got 60 million to spend on a shitty free agent class!

                  • Kyle

                    I would do that trade. You would do that trade. Epstein and Hoyer would do that trade.

                    The Mets, however, would hang up on you immediately.

                    • Ssckelley

                      Kyle it was just an example? go back and study the free-agent list some more perhaps you will find the Cubs a third baseman

                • Myles

                  Agreed. If Greinke costs 25, Upton costs 15, and Marcum costs 8, so be it.

              • Stinky Pete

                But they can with Vance Law and Domingo Ramos?

            • Myles

              I’m not sure why you think Valbuena will magically gain 40 points of BABIP. He actually had a higher BABIP than last year and the year before that. His true BABIP could unfortunately be .260-.280.

              Valbuena took a ton of walks this year (11.9%), which is way higher than the MLB average. That’s great; however, he also took a way higher amount than his career average. He could have just “put it together,” and that’s certainly possible, but I feel like that it would be disingenous to assume that’s true. In that manner, he’ll probably regress, even if that is only to average or slightly above average.

              The real problem is his lack of power. If you’re playing third base, you have to provide some semblance of offense, either through getting a base a ton (he doesn’t) or hitting a ton of doubles/home runs (he doesn’t). Alternatively, you could play Brooks Robinson-caliber defense (he doesn’t, though he is a very good defender) while being at least league average with the bat (he isn’t).

              We gave Luis Valbuena 303 plate appearances this year to see if he could play third everyday. He can play the position defensively but he can’t hack it offensively. It’s time to give those 300 PA to Vitters or Cardenas and see if they can be starters in the bigs. Valbuena can sit on our bench.

              • Ssckelley

                Valbuena makes a good defensive utility infielder nothing more.

              • Kyle

                “I’m not sure why you think Valbuena will magically gain 40 points of BABIP. He actually had a higher BABIP than last year and the year before that. His true BABIP could unfortunately be .260-.280.”

                Those were all in very small sample sizes. He has a history of a .340 to .350 BABIP in AAA in much longer sample sizes. He also had a 21.2% line drive rate, which would be indicative of a much higher BABIP.

                I see no reason to think his “natural” OBP would be 20-30 points below league average, and every reason to think his low BABIP this season is due to negative variance.

                “Valbuena took a ton of walks this year (11.9%), which is way higher than the MLB average. That’s great; however, he also took a way higher amount than his career average. He could have just “put it together,” and that’s certainly possible, but I feel like that it would be disingenous to assume that’s true. In that manner, he’ll probably regress, even if that is only to average or slightly above average.”

                I agree. I’d expect soemwhat fewer walks, closer to 9% than 12%.

                “The real problem is his lack of power. If you’re playing third base, you have to provide some semblance of offense, either through getting a base a ton (he doesn’t) or hitting a ton of doubles/home runs (he doesn’t). Alternatively, you could play Brooks Robinson-caliber defense (he doesn’t, though he is a very good defender) while being at least league average with the bat (he isn’t).”

                You are severely overestimating the state of offense at 3b.

                Valbuena put up a .650 OPS even with his low BABIP.
                The average MLB 3b hit for a .754 OPS. It’s a relatively low-offense position right now, or at least medium-offense. With his defense, Valbuena can be a borderline useful starter at the position. I’d prefer an upgrade all things being equal, of course.

                “We gave Luis Valbuena 303 plate appearances this year to see if he could play third everyday. He can play the position defensively but he can’t hack it offensively. It’s time to give those 300 PA to Vitters or Cardenas and see if they can be starters in the bigs. Valbuena can sit on our bench.”

                This is not kindergarten, and we do not need to give everyone a chance to be fair. I have no reason to believe that either of those options are better than Valbuena right now.

                • Myles

                  His LD% rate in over 1100 MLB plate appearances is 19%. That is not going to improve much (and it’s actually league average).
                  His BABIP in over 1000 MLB plate appearances is .269. I think that is much, much more relevant than a BABIP cleaned against defenders like Junior Lake.

                  We have a very good picture of Luis Valbuena at this stage in his career. He’s a guy that can walk but can’t hit. He’s a guy who can field but has no power. In parts of 5 seasons, he’s never once approached even the league average in either OBP or SLG; in fact, his SLG was THE SAME AS IAN STEWART’S THIS YEAR. Let that sink in for a second.

                  You are right, this isn’t kindergarten. We don’t NEED to give anyone a chance to be fair. What this is, however, is a unique time in our development where we can actually try pieces like Adrian Cardenas and Josh Vitters in a setting in which they won’t negatively affect us too much (we are not in contention, and we won’t be next year). It’s kind of what we did with…for example… Luis Valbuena. We played him in spite of his OPS+ of 79 (in a position of medium offensive expectations that skew on the power side: in 700 PA, Valbuena would have hit around 12 HR), and found that he could play defense but not much else. That’s is the definition of “25th man on MLB roster”. What more are we accomplishing by sitting through PAs 1100-1600 of replacement-level 3B #2,546 when we have actual baseball players that could play better (and who cares if they are worse)?

                  “I have no reason to believe that either of those options are better than Valbuena right now.”

                  That’s right, you don’t because they had no opportunity for steady PA at the major league level. Instead, they either sat on a MLB bench (Cardenas) or played the PCL (Vitters). You may have no reason to believe that they are better but I still have no reason to believe they are any worse. When in doubt, give the guy who you know less about a chance, especially when your team is so terribad.

              • fortyonenorth

                I know it in vogue to assign expectations based on position, but I don’t really understand that approach. It’s not like we’re assembling a football team where match-ups are critical, i.e. where you want your offensive tackle to be better matched against the other team’s DT. Isn’t the the objective (on offense anyway) is to put together a batting order that matches-up well against opposing pitching? That’s why they call it a “team.” Otherwise, we could just add up stats at the end of a game and declare W-L based on how the position players fared against each other.

                Now, granted, you have to get your pop from somewhere, but as long as the ball leaves the park, it really doesn’t matter where the guy’s playing, right?

                • Kyle

                  Each position has its own defensive requirements, which limits the population from which you can draw them, which means they will have different average offensive ability levels.

                • Drew7

                  Right, but the point of doing this is to put production into perspective. Castro with a .750-something OPS is very good for a SS, but not for a 1B’man.

        • baldtaxguy

          “It’s going to be unpopular, but I think you have to take a run at Greinke.”

          Totally agree with this. It would be consistent with the “parallel fronts” statements made by the FO. In fact, given his age, it would link the two “fronts” as the Boise/AZ (and Baez) wave of players materialize into the majors. I see no explanation as to why a move for Grienke is not the priority.

    • Ssckelley

      You have filled enough comment pages about this season basically saying the same thing over and over, it is over and nothing changes the past.

      • Kyle

        It’s a Cubs site where we talk about the Cubs.

  • arta

    Phil’s just made Sandberg 3B coach. heard on Waddle and silvy.

  • Kevin

    All I can say is “Go Phillies!”

  • Curt

    get used to it youkilis, I live in Iowa and its a Hawkeye state even if we’re bad and is good no one cares if isu is good much like when the sox won the series on 2005 the cubs still drew better why ? Because no one cares about the sox give for some due hard sox fans generally speaking , whitesox win so what. Cubs win series , call htd national guard to keep city from bring burned .

  • Kevin

    Does anyone believe Laura Ricketts would be a better spokesperson for the Cubs rather than her brother Tom? I believe she would get the attention and respect the Cubs need.

  • Dustin S

    It’s always a balancing act in a rebuild for the FO. Publically they have to say they will be active in the offseason to improve, look to get better, make changes, etc. to appease unhappy fans and keep up season ticket and merchandise sales. They can’t just come out and admit, “yep we’ll be lucky to lose less than 90 next year”. But Brett’s right, a 30 game turnaround within 1 season historically is the very top of the curve. A full season of Rizzo will help, but that’ll be offset by no Dempster or Maholm for the half-season we had them.

    Realistically, if we hope some younger guys pan out, Jackson improves dramatically, they could do ok in 2013. No WS or title, but maybe .500 if we get lucky. 2014+ is when things will get fun.

    BTW, singing the “Go Cubs Go” song after the rare win got really hard the second half of this season. I get the tradition and fun of it, but the lyrics about this being the year and all were awkward to sing in a 101 loss season.

  • Stu

    Boras is right about the CUBS. They have and will continue to have a ton of cash. The Wrigley family figured it out. The Tribune company figured it out. They will not spend money until they have to.

    What other business can ask customers to purchase their entertainment on the HOPE of a good product? There is still no good reason not to sign a major league player for a position of need when there is NO ONE that is being blocked from the minors.

    If it is true that they are 2-3 years away with can’t miss prospects(debatable), why can’t they sign the best OF talent, 3B, Starting Pitching, etc. Why is it that after they went on a spending spree, they made the playoffs. Just stating a fact.

  • Big Daddy

    What about trying to sign Daiske on an incentive laden deal. Also trade a b-level prospect for Chone Figgins and salary relief. I think both would be good reclamation projects.

    • Drew7

      Chone Figgins makes Ian Stewart look like Brooks Robinson. He is the worst position player in baseball.

  • Mick

    Wow, that was a difficult season to follow for the Cubs. We all should have known that going into it that the plan was to evaluate what we had on all levels of player and front office personnel, rebuild the farm system which involved trading any and all veteran contracts, and to clear as much payroll as possible heading into the future. If you were to judge the FO on these plans, then I’d say the season was a success. Now that we’ve accomplished these goals, I’d be very suprised if the front office didn’t make a plethora of free agent acquisitions this offseason. Also, we’ve still got a few tradeable assets like Soriano, LaHair, Marmol, and Vitters I’d like see moved this offseason.

    I disagree that blowing our entire wad on guys like Greinke or Bourn would be a wise decision. I believe that the Cubs should immediately target Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino, Shaun Marcum, Ryan Madsen, Matt Capps, Darren Oliver, and Jeff Keppinger. Just about all of these guys combined could be had for around the same amount of money as Greinke and Bourn by themselves. The guy I really want is James Shields from the Rays. If we could put together a package of Jackson, Vitters, Soriano, and Marmol I’d do it contingent Shields signs an extension. Our lineup and rotation would look like this:

    CF Victorino
    RF DeJesus
    LF Cabrera
    1B Rizzo
    SS Castro
    3B Keppinger/Valbuena
    C Castillo
    2B Barney

    SP Shields
    SP Garza
    SP Marcum
    SP Shark
    SP Wood

    RP Oliver
    RP Capps
    RP Madsen

    • Spencer

      Melky may be on the cheap next year cause of his little PED thing. But I don’t think I’d want a player like him on the Cubs. Plus, this is contingent on the Cubs being able to trade Soriano.

      • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

        I´d take Melky in a second if the terms and length were reasonable (2 years @ 10 MM) hoping he would perform at this years level w/o performance enhancers. If not, we´ve lost very little and the upside is pretty solid.

        In short, I think it´s possible the Black Scholes price might be greater than what the market assigns.

      • Mick

        It’s moves like signing a guy like Melky that everyone regrets not making after the fact. If we could get him on a 2-year deal w/an option on a 3rd, it’d be hard not overlooking his one miss-step. Plus, every team in hot pursuit of an OF will be targeting Hamilton, Bourn, or Victorino. Chances are none of these guys will want to come and play for a 100-loss team.

        If we can’t find value in a Soriano trade then we keep him until the deadline and see what transpires. At the deadline guys like Keppinger, DeJesus, Garza, Marmol, Oliver, Capps, and Madsen could all be dealt netting a HUGE return. If all else I believe the free agent strategy should be again to sign free agents who can easily be traded at the deadline.

    • Chris

      I guess this is fine, but how many more wins does this get them? And if an opportunity comes up where they can acquire a Giancarlo Stanton (just hypothetical), but then can’t because they have no financial flexibility thanks to the great 2013 free agent bonanza. I want to see the Yankees. Not the same old Cubs. All stars at every position. They have the money and it’s realistic to think it can happen. If there was a solid free agent in this pile of goo, I’d say sign them right away. But there isn’t. I feel like I’ve seen this team already, and it fell short. Sign short term guys, consider trading them at the deadline if the team isn’t contending, keep building the core player pool, keep stacking prospects for trades and/or development. Agree or not, that is the plan they are already moving down. There will be value free agents to sign this offseason and I look forward to seeing if Jed and Theo can make the right signings for this team.

      • Kyle

        So we can’t acquire good players because we might want to use the money later on good players?

        I know what you are trying to say, but you aren’t thinking in through. As I’ve argued all offseason, too many Cubs fans are misdiagnosing why the Cubs were bad in recent years. They weren’t bad because of spending, they just failed to produce enough significant help from the farm system. But you don’t need to abandon spending in order to improve the farm system, you just need to draft better and develop better.

        First, Stanton is still pre-arb for 2013, so he’d be making $500k. We’d be able to fit that in. He won’t be enough money to be hard to fit into a budget for quite some time, until he is deep into his arbitration years. So bad example, but I know what you were going for.

        Second, and more importantly, the Cubs should always have spending flexibility. This year’s Cubs left at least $20 million on the table, and probably more, in spending flexibility. Right now, including some of the infrastructure money that was spent this year as one-time expenses, they should have anywhere from $50 to 70 million to spend.

        Let’s say I go crazy and spend all that. Oh no, they won’t have any flexibility for 2014, right? Nope. That offseason, the contracts of Garza (TBD, but probably about $13 million), Marmol ($9.8 million), DeJesus (4.25 million, minus $1.5 million buyout) all expire, plus anyone I signed to a one-year deal the year before. That’s an instant $30 million or so in flexibility, assuming revenue hasn’t gone up. And I should be able to replace some of them with cheap, pre-arb talent, because our farm system is so good.

        After 2014? Soriano’s $20 million comes off the books, plus presumably anyone I signed to a 2-year deal in 2012 or a 1-year deal in 2013.

        The flexibility will always be there as contracts roll off the books, especially so long as you have a productive farm system to replace players. If you are doing it right, you don’t have to avoid spending up to your budget just because you are scared of missing out in future seasons.

    • Trigo

      What about Freddy Sanchez to 3b. He is coming off of back surgery and could be a good 1-year option.

      • Tommy

        I’d take a 1 year flyer on Freddy Sanchez for sure.

        • Brett

          I really don’t see it. He’ll be 35, coming off a season in which he didn’t play at all, and has always been a touch overrated because of the empty batting average. Non-roster invite to Spring Training? Sure. Guaranteed deal as a bench guy? Maybe. Signing him to be a starter? Naaaaaaaaw. Naw. Nah.

          • Tommy

            You may be right, but the Cubs don’t seem to have any even average options right now. Maybe the Mets won’t pick up the option on David Wright. Ohh, I’m just dreamin’!

            • Luke

              I wouldn’t be horrified if the Cubs stuck with a mix of Stewart and Valbuena at third next season, at least to start the year. That would allow Vitters to get another 200 ABs or so in Iowa before finally getting an extended look in the second half of the season. If he misses, give Lake a shot in 2014. If he misses, Villanueva won’t be too far from being ready. If he misses, Baez should be ready to step in.

              And I don’t think Baez is going to miss. He could, but so far things look good in that department.

              • ssckelley

                They may not have a choice. Unless the Cubs can pull off a trade there is nothing in the free agent market.

  • Mysterious4th

    Seriously, Youks comment just made my day. The cubs lost 101 games and the sox were pretty good this year and yet the cubs are still Chicago’s team. The white sox seem to be that shameful step child that he pays no mind too.

    Anybody think ozzie might be a thought to replace valentine as the red sox skipper?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It’s not just the Chicago media that pays them no mind: look at how little attention the ChiSox collapse got in the national media. OK, it was not quite up there with what the Braves and Sox did last year, but losing 10 of 12 games in the heat of a pennant race is pretty awful. However, I saw only one discussion of it on ESPN: and they tried to blame it on lack of clutch hitting after the ChiSox stranded (gasp!) five whole runners in a loss to the Rays.

      • Mysterious4th

        I watched them bite the dust and everyday laughed. Sox fans hate cub fans and I think it’s because cub fans are loyal and generally optimistic/respectful when sox fans remind me of a convicted felon that only knows dirty ways to make money. Lol.
        No matter how bad the cubs suck the true fans stick around! And there has to be more true cub fans then true fans to any other team.

        I have been saying it since the trade deadline that the cubs should go after anibal sanchez and ervin santana for SP. As for 3B give stewart a shot to prove he’s healthy after the surgery. Since we are not expected to compete why not let him have a shot? In ’14 does anybody know of 3B FA’s? I think stewart would be a pleasent bounce back surprise. And he’s the ideal theo & co player they’re looking for in this rebuild…even if he’s a temp filler at 3B. I need to find a link the ’14 FA class….anybody got a link they’d care to share?

  • fortyonenorth

    Curious about the Stewart thing. He received his full salary even though he was injured, right? Then why wasn’t he “with” the team the remainder of the year. Garza hasn’t pitched since the trade deadline, but he was there everyday. Who makes these decisions? I would assume the team could mandate that he suit-up, but they didn’t.

    • Brick Thompson

      stewart is obviously a punk ass. he could have been in the dugout every game but he would much rather chill at home collecting fat checks. f#$@ him. Garza is a true ballplayer though.