Did that really happen? At bottom, I believe a lot of Cubs fans’ hostility – particularly in recent years – toward the Cardinals is rooted in jealousy. Sure, they’ve had their douche moments, but mostly, we hate their success because we want to experience that as fans of the Cubs. So, yeah, I really hate what happened last night. Down two runs (after being down 6-0 early) in the 9th, the Cards had a runner on and two outs when each of Yadier Molina and David Freese – down to their last strike – walked. And then, in the most Cardinal way possible, guys named Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma got the hits to tie and win the game. So, the Cardinals move on to face the Giants in the NLCS. At least now I still have something to root for in the playoffs. Freaking voodoo magic …

  • Oh, also, the Yankees beat the Orioles. They’ll face the Tigers in the ALCS. Bummer that both the O’s and A’s were bounced.
  • Patrick Mooney takes a deep look at the Cubs’ third base problem in 2012, and problem going forward. He spends a fair bit of time talking about Kevin Youkilis, which still – to me – seems like a poor fit for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is: why would Youkilis spend any of his twilight years on a team that is expected to be awful for at least the first of those years? Given the dearth of options on the free agent market for third basemen this offseason, he’ll have better options.
  • Doug Padilla continues his look at the positions, with second base on the slate. Obviously it’s a Barney-tastic take, which doesn’t even mention offense until the 9th paragraph. So it is with Darwin Barney.
  • Paul Sullivan does the Q&A thing, and among his thoughts: (1) the key difference between the A’s and O’s and the Cubs right now is young pitching – the Cubs don’t have any that is ready to step up and lead a surprisingly competitive team; (2) the Cubs can’t afford to strike out again this Winter at third base and in the rotation; (3) Paul raises the issue we’ve noted here before – why would a good free agent sign with the Cubs on a short-term deal if he strongly suspects (a) that the Cubs will be bad in 2013 and (b) that the Cubs are just signing him to try and flip him at the deadline?; (4) Paul thinks the Cubs want to keep Carlos Marmol, which just can’t possibly be true – they might end up keeping him, but it won’t be because they want to keep him; (5) Paul didn’t notice player problems with Mike Quade (Matt Garza recently suggested they had issues, and things are much better with Dale Sveum); (6) there’s an interesting exchange about the Cubs getting beat up by some fans when they ask for public funds to renovate Wrigley, but beat up by other fans when they try to, for example, add new seats to generate more revenue.
  • Someone at the Sun-Times (when I look at the page, the author’s name is missing, which I’m sure will be corrected in short order) didn’t care for Tom Ricketts’ essay on the Cubs’ 2012 season and the organization’s charitable efforts … which Ricketts wrote for the Sun-Times. There’s a lot of bluster about a crappy product, a really bad analogy to a grocery store, rips the Cubs for their charity work (which he calls PR crap … most corporate charity is, dude), and then grinds an ax about the Cubs dismissing traveling secretary Jimmy Bank because that wasn’t a very “charitable” thing to do.
  • It isn’t official yet, but Phil Rogers says the Dodgers are going to hire former Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo as their new hitting coach. I’d wish him luck, but I’m hoping the Cubs and Dodgers will be direct competitors for playoffs spots within a couple years. (Well, assuming the Dodgers haven’t fallen completely on their face.)
  • Big Joe

    The second sentence of this article says it all. Could have left it at that.

  • Jeremy

    Good News for today…Baez hit a 3 run bomb today.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Since Joe Girardi is benching A-Rod in the playoffs maybe a Soriano – A- Rod deal could be worked out. How much is A-Rod still owed on his contract ?

    • Kyle

      $108 million guaranteed (including $4 million in pro-rated signing bonuses) and probably $6-18 million in marketing bonuses for home run milestones.

      Also, he can’t play the field full-time so he is pretty much worthless to an NL team.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Have to agree with you its not about winning. Its shocking how many people want a good steak with sizzle and don’t get the whole concept of the magic of the sizzle and smell….

    Its really sad that so many, and now I’m sincere, don’t recognize you can do both. Further, its even more surprising how so many expect people to buy into the losing now and support it financially. I refuse to believe that is the sincere intent of the organization, especially when in 3 years they are off, as owners to one of the worst starts in the history of the organization and certainly by results standards very bad. So while I applaud the efforts in scouting and minor league development, its idiotic to act as though results at major league level don’t matter or have consequences. They do and will. We can argue a lot of things, but unfortunately its always about winning and performing. And in 2012 at the Major League level and even near ML level they didn’t do either. And if Theo isn’t concerned about that, he was the wrong choice. I think you’ll see some surprising aggressiveness out of them this season to move the ball forward and build at the Major League level.

  • Jeff

    Cardinals win because they don’t throw away seasons and start from zero. They can build a farm system by great scouting and not have to drain the MLB team of talent to get high draft picks. Funny Ricketts sent out that letter to season ticket holders. He should be worried. Every season is precious and doesn’t deserved to be thrown away. This is an argument probably not the best for this site because most of you are 50 and under. But how about those who are in there 90 s like my grandfather who has never seen the cubs win the World Series. Doesn’t he deserve for the front office to at least try every year. I think so and that’s something a young gm who never rooted for the cubs will never understand

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      This sounds really good. But instead of simply claiming this, look at the Cardinals lineup (the entire team, including relievers and bench players, largely contributed from the farm system), and give examples of what signings the Cubs possibly could have made last offseason — while maintaining a payroll in the roughly $200 million range — to stand a chance against the Cardinals this year.

      • Kyle

        I get to use hindsight?

        Sign Ramirez, Edwin Jackson, Broxton, Dotel, Joe Nathan.

        Put Rizzo at 1b all season, break camp with Soto and Castillo as your catchers. Rotation should be Garza/Wood/Samardzija/Maholm/Dempster, in whatever order you like. The bench should include Sappelt and not Joe Mather, with LaHair also there as a pinch-hitter with power.

        Cubs are easily 5+ games better at third, 8 games better in the bullpen, a handful of games better in the rotation, maybe a game better at 1b and C, and a couple of games better on the bench.

        I think I’ve got another $60-80 million to work with to stay under $200 million, but I’ll leave it there because that’s a bit of a high number. That team’s not a lock to win 88 games, but it’s definitely got a chance to, which was the standard you listed.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          And even using hindsight, you made a blunder that shows the problem with this plan: Garza goes down midway through the season with elbow problems. Who replaces him?

          You want Sappelt on the bench? Okay, let’s use his minor league stats — which almost certainly would have been better than his major league stats: .266/.314/.376. Super Joe was .209/.256/.324. That’s an upgrade, but not a huge one. And Sappelt may well give some of those back with his defense in center. Given LaHair’s ability as a pinch hitter this season, I don’t know that he provides even a positive WAR in that role. You’re essentially counting on the starting 8 to get you there with no contribution from the bench. What if one of them suffers a freak injury. Who takes over? Certainly not someone in Iowa.

          I’ll give you a 5 game improvement with Ramirez at third.

          Then first base and catcher. Well, Castillo showed he sucks as a backup, so I don’t see where you get any improvement there. In fact, Clevenger was a more than adequate backup until he got hurt. First base? LaHair was sensational for a month. You’re counting on Rizzo outdoing what LaHair — and Baker, who you can’t remove from this equation — did. Seems unlikely. So I’m not sure you get any improvement at all there.

          And 8 games from the bullpen? Better, but no way. Also, unlikely you get all of those guys to sign here and struggle for playing time when they could sign on to be a closer/eighth inning guy on another team.

          AND you used hindsight. Which is all well and good for this experiment, but in actual life, you have to figure you’re going to be wrong on one or two of your signings, so we need to sign yet more guys to make up for being wrong there.

          • Kyle

            I don’t see how Garza’s injury is a “blunder.” It happened, we fill in with who we can. In this case, that’d be Volstad, who was getting starts anyway. Again, we’re just trying to get a team that has a “chance” to compete with the 88-win Cardinals.

            Why would Sappelt be worse in CF than Joe Mather? I find that to be an odd assertion.

            While it’s true we’d need more signings (which we could easily afford), it’s also true that if we were trying to win all season, we could have made adjustments on the fly to improve the holes as they came up, so I’ll call that a wash at worst.

            Same old story: The idea that the Cubs were hopeless with as much money as they had to spend is silly.

  • Curt

    why does it never matter who they put in it always works , jealousy maybe some , but their incredible douschenozzles about it too. go anyone but the cards .

  • Kyle

    “Of the teams on your list, only the 2010 Padres were expected to be bad: ”

    Citation needed.

  • Cubs1967

    rec’d my pack of cubs baseball cards today from Vineline; very much over due as the gift subscription was from May. nonetheless………open the pack-castro-barney-garza-then the legends-ernie-ronnie-billy-fergie-mad dog-gracie-hawk-kid K………..and………and NO Ryno!

    WTF……..just very interesting that he is not included….really Ricketts……i realize no Sammy……but Ryno.

    fix it douche bag………he’s a Hall of Famer………..get him back in the cubs organization or at least to the convention…….pathetic.

    • MichiganGoat

      Um well…. Okay…. Did you at least get the stick of bubble gum? So… Now… We … Know… Why…. You…. Are so frustrated…… Baseball Cards!

    • baldtaxguy

      Ryno probably did not provide permission for the legend card..

  • gutshot5820

    The same people on here that seem brainwashed by the new FO will be the same ones calling for their heads if the prospects get injured and a lot of them do not live up to expectations. It’s almost comical and delusional how Cub fans are planning on an all Cubs prospect lineup in three years. Never going to happen and if it does, we will be pretty bad. I can agree they did a good job so far in improving their infrastructure going forward, but that has more to do with the terrible job Hendry did in those areas than anything Theo did. I want to rate Theo compared to what other top GM’s would have done, not compared to Hendry.

    1/ The improvements in scouting and infrastructure would have been made by any new GM hire that the Ricketts were considering. I can credit from what I see and hear that possibly Theo did a better job than most could have, but did he do a much better job than any other modern GM could have?

    2/ Why does anyone give EXTRA credit to Theo for the recent additions to the farm? ANY new GM of the Cubs would have gone hard after Soler, Almora (top draft pick), Panigua, Cespedes, Darvish, and Puig. In fact, I contend they actually failed in this department considering the Cubs had money to burn over the next two years. In hindsight, I would rather have Darvish or Cespedes than most any of the picks in the first round. Considering the new CBA, the draft pick in the first round is our only real advantage, Hypothetically, outbidding other teams for their services would have saved us two years of suckitude. I believe Theo actually hindered us in this department. Because of his recent failures in free agent acquisitions (in Boston) he is trying to outsmart himself and is only interested bounce back no risk acquisitions.

    3/ Am I the only one absolutely sick of reading about all these low risk acquisitions that other teams DFA’ed? Sure some of them did ok, but none of these turned out to be anything special. In fact, they were horrible or Ok. His low risk free agents had ONE hit and it was Maholm. That’s it. This was the only off season addition that actually turned out great. Did Theo do a better job in this dept than any other top GM considering his resources? Hell No! All his buy low acquisitions DFA are whatever and I’m sick of reading and talking about them.

    4/ Why does ANYBODY give Theo any credit for his recent trade acquisitions? Sure in comparison to a donkey he did a great job, but what about in comparison to what any of the other top GM’s could possibly have done? Any team that dumped most or all of their top players can get top prospects in return and re-stock their farm. DUH!!! What is so special about what Theo did? In fact, I think they failed again in this area. IMO, they failed to get any return for Garza because of their slow approach and they MONUMENTALLY failed with Dempster. Poor communication.

    5/ What happened to Theo’s promise that “every season is sacred” and the Cubs can build up their farm and contend at the same time? IMO, this is the WORST offense of the the new FO. They literally misled and lied to us in the beginning and now they are trying to appear to be honest and forthcoming about their intentions. Hogwash and complete Bullshit.

    6/ What about the Rickett’s promise that every dollar will be put back into the Cubs organization? I’m not really into politics but this statement really rings true of a slimy politician misleading the dumb masses with a few carefully calculated words. It is more important to realize what he did not say, rather than what he did say. He did not say every dollar in revenue will go into payroll and development. Only “organization.” What does that mean? Obviously, all leftover money will go towards paying down their debt and nominal, exorbitant salary for their family members on the board. I have absolutely no problem with this, it’s their money to do whatever they want. My grief is that they are using words to manipulate their public perception in a favorable light as if they are running the Cubs for a charitable cause, when nothing can be farther from the truth. They bought the Cubs and are currently running the Cubs for PROFIT, not charity. It was a very shrewd move to hire Theo and their ability to sway the public and the normally critical, cynical Chicago sportswriters to their side. It is even more amazing when you realize we have the third highest tickets prices and the rich billionaires and their million dollar executives for hire have absolutely convinced the public that it is ok to pay the highest ticket prices in the country and have the worst team in baseball because you know, it’s not about the TEAM, people come to see the Cubs for the “Cubs experience.” WTF, did he actually say that and did everyone actually say, “wow that makes sense?” Don’t worry Cub fans, every dollar you spend will go back into the organization (wink wink).

    7/ It is a great idea in concept, that Theo is rebuilding the team and we will be great if we decide to build from the farm. All I can say is WOW!! My question to you is, then what are all the other teams going to do? Are they going to stop developing and scouting because all of the sudden the Cubs decided to join the modern era? Breaking News!!!! This is not a new idea. The Cubs are starting to do what most other teams have been doing for years and years. Just because Hendry did a poor job at this does not automatically mean the Cubs are now better than everyone else at this. We are now just getting to PAR with other clubs. This is not a new, magic formula. To be successful, we need to be extremely lucky in the draft and with injuries and development. Just like ALL the other major league ballclubs. The Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, Milwaukee, Giants, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Padres, etc… they are all going to be doing EXACTLY the same thing the Cubs are. Do you realize that? For every prospect we tout, other ballclubs have someone they like equally. and puhleeease don’t talk about how we have a top ten farm. ANY team that guts their top players for prospects are likely to have an equally good or better farm club.

    8/ Does anybody really realize what it means to build from within? Did you really think through the timeline? The prospects that have any sort of impact value are all playing at low level baseball. First of all the odds against, that one player let alone multiple players reach their potential without injury or disappointment is monumental. Assuming a few do make it, how many years does it take? Two, three years to make the majors and a year or two to adjust and be a solid contributor. That takes us into 2016. LMAO!!!!!!!! I’m assuming the Cubs will be re-investing all their money from the saved payroll back “into the organization” (wink wink).

    9/ The advantage Theo had in Boston to outspend all others in the draft is no longer there. The idea to suck so bad to get the first pick is so Cubs like that it makes me want to vomit. The perceived advantage of having a larger draft pool is murky at best. Most of the “extra” dollars will be going to slot value. Sure, you may pick up an extra player of value if you underslot, but at what cost? Tanking an entire season. So ticket season buyers are willing to sacrifice so the Ricketts can bank “mo money” and for what? An extra pick? I contend you can get the same or more value from that extra pick as you can with a $3-7 million dollar free agent. So where is the value in tanking a full season and your money to support a team that will bank your money and mislead you into supporting them because they are doing something charitable, magical and miraculous that no other team thought of.

    10/ it is my opinion that you will never see the Cubs with a high payroll and in contention until they get public financing for the improvements in Wrigley Field. If they don’t have a deal in place by the time a new TV contract is due in 2014-15, they will NEVER get financing from the public. How can you convince the public and state to give you money when you just signed a new deal for Billions of dollars. NEVER going to happen. The Cubs will not have have an exorbitant payroll until they get public financing support for the stadium. How can they convince the public to give them money and cry “poor” if they are spending 170 million in payroll. NEVER going to happen. They are going to suck and continue to go after low risk players until they get a new deal in place. Even if they get a new TV deal in, it will not be publicly announced until the get the public financing for Wrigley. Mark my words. Btw, I’m not against some public support for Wrigley. It is just my perception that they will intentionally keep payroll low until they get the money from the public.

    • Jeff

      Wow, well said Mr. Gunshot!!

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        I gave up reading it when the jist I was getting was:

        1. Theo is nothing special
        2. Ricketts is cheap

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Yep, agreed Hansman.

        • Kyle

          I didn’t nearly agree with everything he said, but I find those two to be at least reasonably defensible.

          Before we ever got Epstein, I had him about 4th or 5th on the shortlist of about 8 guys I wanted to see in charge of the Cubs. He was on the list, so I wanted him, but he wasn’t nearly my first choice.

          As far as Ricketts being cheap, the money went somewhere this year. They spent significantly less on baseball operations in total than they did even one year ago, and yes that’s including the expansion of infrastructure.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            Ive asked for this before and never got it….what was your shortlist.

            • Jeff

              I for one, wanted Rick Hahn, not some Ivy Leaguer from Boston who wants to experiment with my team to prove he not Lucchiano was right!

              A Home Town boy, who grew up a Cubs fan and understands 108 years of losing.

              • The Show

                Theo was a Red Sox fan growing up, I think he understands the situation to some extent. I mean Hahn has had interviews in the past for other GM jobs, why hasn’t he gotten one?

                • Jeff

                  Because, I think he likes Chicago and if he can’t get the Cubs gig, he will stay with the White Sox. He like it over there and will get the job when Williams eventually gets fired.

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    do you have any sourcing on the him liking Chicago so much he wouldn’t want to go run a ship by himself?

                    He withdrew from St Louis, declined to interview with Pittsburgh…either he is gunshy or getting blocked…

                • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                  I think the Sox have blocked him a few times…he withdrew from the Cardinals position…

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                ummm, Rick Hahn went to Harvard.


                “A Home Town boy, who grew up a Cubs fan and understands 108 years of losing.”

                Yet you slam on the same mold that made Ricketts for just wanting to cash the check?

                I don’t get you Jeff…are you really Jim Hendry, Mark Cuban or a member of the Ben Kryzlldgjklsdjgio fan club?

                • Jeff

                  Mark Cuban…I wish….really

                  1. I would have bought the team, even if I sold everything I owned to get it.

                  2. I would have spent to put a winning team on the field, regardless of a lousy farm system Hendry left us.

                  Hell, the Yankees farm system isn’t that great, but their on TV right now!!!

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    the yankees also had a (reputationally in the least) great farm system when they acquired all of those players…considering CC and Tex are their only big-time free agent acquisitions.

                    • Jeff

                      The Yankees have never had a top tier farm system, they always buy their players. Cano and Jeter are their only home grown players worth a damn.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      the Yankees have had a perennially top ranked farm system…and they only have 2 of their top-tier impact players that aren’t thanks to their farm system so please bring something else up about them…

                      plain and simple, unless you want to spend a crap ton in free agency…a strong farm system is the way to go…

                      now you can build a farm system and an mlb team at the same time and get average results on both for a while which will placate most of the fans…

                      for me, I would rather assemble the farm system as quickly as possible to move on to assembling the top-notch MLB team that wins 86 games in a bad year as quickly as possible

                    • Jeff

                      “the Yankees have had a perennially top ranked farm system…and they only have 2 of their top-tier impact players that aren’t thanks to their farm system so please bring something else up about them…”

                      Sabathia: Cleveland
                      Granderson: Detroit
                      Teixeira: Texas
                      A-Rod: Seattle
                      Swisher: oakland
                      Martin: LA

                      The home grown Yankees that matter: Jeter, Pettite, Riveria, Cano

                      Everybody else was bought

                      Farm system??? last decent prospect??

                      They traded him to Seattle in the offseason for a pitcher who was injured..ha ha

                      The Yankees farm system has always been middle tier, not top tier

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      Sabathia – FA
                      Granderson – Trade Acquisiton (i.e. you need to use your farm system to get guys this way)
                      Teixeira – FA
                      A-Rod – Trade
                      Swisher – Trade
                      Martin – Trade

                      Do you see my point here? This isn’t rocket science…a strong farm system will get you a long way…we can debate how to acquire that strong farm system but the other point is irrefutable…

                    • Jeff

                      That was a nice catch in the outfield by Jackson to rob an extra base hit…former Yankee farm hand right??

                      The Yankees have never really built their team by the farm, they have waited till smaller market teams couldn’t afford their star player anymore , then outbid the other teams or forced a team to trade marginal players instead of watching that player leave in free agency with only a draft pick.

                      Not the way I would like to build my team, there is no honor in that.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      you are right…the Yankees never built their team the way the Royals, Pirates, Mariners, Rays are trying.

                      However, the acquiring guys using guys from their farm system. Honestly, do you think the Cubs could create a package today to get today’s ARod let alone the 2005 (or whenever) ARod?

                    • Jeff

                      No, I don’t think the Cubs could put a decent trade together without losing Baez, which he’s looking like he might be really good.

                      I don’t think the Cubs can trade for much of anything without Theo and Jed getting out some snake oil

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    Also, no guarrantee that Mark Cuban would have been able to run a baseball franchise. It’s one thing to manage an NBA team with their 12 players and 1 D-League team…it’s another to take over an organization with hundreds of employees, 25-man rosters, no salary cap and build a winner.

                    He may have pulled a Steinbrenner, he may have been worse than the Wrigleys…we will never know.

                    • Jeff L

                      Hansman 4 teams left in the playoffs right??? Guess what???? They all fall into the top 9 teams in payroll in the MLB. Cardinals 110 mil in 9th place. Giants 117 in 8th.. Tigers 132 mil in 5th… Yanks 198 mil in 1st.

                      In todays modern baseball without a true salary cap .. You got to spend to have a chance to win.. Bottom line!

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      ok, so you are determining success on making it to the LCS?

                    • Jeff L

                      No I’m determining on winning the WS which is the goal of every MLB team and fan entering the season. Only a hand full of teams in the history of modern baseball have won the WS with a payroll below the top ten in baseball. That’s a fact.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      well just a few days ago success was contention…now it’s making it to the WS (which the goal of the GM should be to build a playoff team…impossible to build a WS team unless you acquire 3-4 aces and even then you have no guarantee (see recent Phillies))

                      See my goal is to see a Cubs contender where you still have some excitement in the farm system. I want whatever Theo did to build that amazing run he made. I don’t give a shit about an individual year I care about the window of contention.

                    • Jeff L

                      Hansman if you want a contender you can see that the teams that are in the playoffs every year have the highest payrolls in baseball. Bottom line is the Rays are not in there every year. You want a contender every year you should be praying that the Cubs start spending money on highend free agents. But I think every goal of fans and teams is to win the WS.

                      Large market teams goals shouldn’t just be making the playoffs but building a championship team. Bottom line! This is professional baseball gentleman.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      you are absolutely correct…yes THANK YOU….the Cubs should be looking to build a championship caliber team not a .500 team that would hope to contend (as illustrated by Kyle)

                      the 2011 Cubs were 20 games out of having a championship caliber team 20 mother fucking games.

                      Think about the last time you saw a team jump 20 games in a single season and have a “foundation for sustained success”

                    • Jeff L

                      Hansman I can name many teams that made that jump. Plus the way Kyle described is we could make the playoffs with 85 to 95 wins and the way Kyle made his points the Cubs could have done it. I completely agree with him. The way you are describing is pain for the next 4 to 5 years. And you and Theo can have fun with that:)

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      well, Kyle is using the power of hindsight to build those teams, I have proven and had him agree before that the only real areas that were highly upgradeable before the season were 3B and backup C (I mean, comeon, backup C), and again, he is using hindsight to project WAR upgrades I could build you a 100 win team doing that

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            Oh and can I get a detailed analysis of the “Theo Epstein is average” line of thinking…

        • Jeff

          I don’t get you Hansman1982, are you really Theo or Tom Ricketts on here trying to defend the lousy state of this ballgame.

          1. Theo is nothing special……… yep, he’s just average and so far as a fan of this team for over 30 years, I am not real happy with the state of this team given the lack of quality free agent pitchers available and the dire state of our pitching in the minors and at the major league level.

          By the time he develops any decent pitchers our young position players will be reaching free agency. You need to wake up and realize that serious competitiveness is 5 to 6 years away and I’m getting too old to wait any longer.

          2. Tom Ricketts is Cheap……..nope, he’s pretty damn expensive or at least going to see the product he has put on the field or the “Wrigley Experience” is. I, unlike you, can see what his plan is for the next few years. People come regardless of what kind of team he fields, so he is going to copy the Tribune’s model of putting out a crappy product and sit back and suck of the profits to repay his $845M investment.

          Bud Selig did not approve the best buyer when the Cubs were sold, He approved the most money and the best jack-off that will continue to exploit the poor Cubs fans.

          • Jeff L

            Thank you Gun Shot, Jeff, Kyle you guys are getting the points i’ve been making on this site for more than a year. Most of these fans on here are so brainwashed they can’t understand the dire states the cubs are in.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            You don’t get me? I am a fan who is ok with a rebuild because I had been asking for it since mid-2010. Just staying true to my word.

            I’ll go Kyle-style on this:

            “Theo is nothing special……… yep, he’s just average and so far” – I will assume you added and in error and are assuming he is average. I will agree with you and Kyle that 2012 may not have been his best work as head-blame-designee on the baseball side but I am happy with the overall direction. Had Soto and Byrd played to their 3-year averages this would have been a far different situation come June 1.

            “By the time he develops any decent pitchers our young position players will be reaching free agency.”

            Sadly yes, but the dearth of pitching talent in the minors is Jim Hendry’s fault, not Theo’s. In case you didn’t notice he did add 2 starting pitchers to the rotation this year who have years and years of team control.

            “…and I’m getting too old to wait any longer.”

            Ya, unfortunately ownership said that when they fired Dallas Green who had absolutely no success in acquiring and developing top tier talent. If only people hadn’t been so short sighted back then and looked at a 20-year plan and realized individual seasons aren’t as important.

            Look, I hate that we lost 100+ games this year. I hate I get ribbed on being a Cubs fan. But I would rather suck really bad than suck mediocre-ally like 2010 and 2011. Again, this year’s squad was a total of 3 wins worse than last years team before it was dismantled. It’s not that bad.

            Could they have at least had a 78-81 win team during the rebuild and still compiled a strong farm system. Possibly to probably. Would it have taken longer to get that strong farm system, yes, which means more 78-81 win seasons before serious contention and frankly, I want our franchise to get to the point where 2 years of missing the playoffs and an 89 win season will get our PBO/GM ran out of town and the manager fired. I don’t want to settle to be happy for 3 playoff appearances in 10 years.

            Considering we have a guy who did a good job of building a strong team in Boston running the ship I am going to trust that he did everything he could to simultaneously build for this year while maintaining an eye on the future…

            • Jeff L

              “Considering we have a guy who did a good job of building a strong team in Boston running the ship I am going to trust that he did everything he could to simultaneously build for this year while maintaining an eye on the future…”

              He built that team by having no less than the 2nd highest payroll in baseball since he got there. Theo won his two championships in Boston with the HIGHEST PAYROLL IN BASEBALL. Big difference. The only way I would be confident going this way is if Andrew Friendman was the guy behind the wheel of this “rebuilding effort”. Not Theo Epstein who never “built” a team from ZERO. He won with ALOT of funds in Boston

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                1. the 2012 Red Sox had the 3rd highest payroll, yet stunk…why?
                2. the 2010 Cubs had the 3rd highest payroll, yet stunk
                3. the 2009 Cubs had a higher payroll than the Red Sox…yet won 12 fewer games…odd
                4. Theo has operated (and won) in the range of payroll we are looking for (120-140M)
                5. Worst season is 86 wins
                6. So how does the “he won’t spend” theory hold water?

                • Jeff L

                  2004 Redsox 2nd highest payroll in baseball. yes your right it was 127 mil but at the time only 3 teams in baseball had 100 mil and over. You have to understand what was the salaries at the time. When Theo won in 2007 Theo had 143 mil payroll… Now that was 30 mil more than the 3rd highest payroll team. This guy never operated with the RedSox with his team outside the top 3 payroll teams in baseball.

                  Now he wants to operate the Cubs with no more than a 70 mil dollar payroll in 2013… When you had a 127 mil payroll with the RedSox in 2004. This guy doesn’t know how to operate a team with a small payroll he has NO EXPERIENCE DOING IT.

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    you’re right…I didn’t factor in inflation…so we will just have to assume he learned absolutely nothing from his time in boston in what worked with that 2nd highest payroll 5 out of his 10 years. oh, and 2004 was a large percentage of the team he took over for, if I remember correctly.

                    2007 was a team that was mostly his own. $143M in payroll which would be similar to $160M now and I don’t remember him complaining about ownership interferrence then so I will assume he built the team his way that year so I will assume that he is ok with acquiring big time free agents therefore Kyle’s conspiracy theory that the Cubs is his petrie dish is merely plausible not confirmed.

                    • Jeff L

                      That was his in owner Boston that allowed that let him spend what he wants.

                      I have a feeling and its my own opinion.. I think after the big mistakes he made at the end of his tenure in Boston he’s “gun-shy” to try to make a big acquisition now. I think he’s afraid to make a mistake. Plus I think honestly and you can cry that I am wrong but Ricketts doesn’t want to fork over the money for big time free agents.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      well considering he was in on Pujols, Fielder, Cespedes and Darvish all the while staring a $50M bath on Soriano in the eye…I think he is ok with acquiring top-notch talent for the right price.

                      I have heard the Rays praised recently for only trading guys when they get the right deal…well isn’t it about damn time the Cubs start operating that way?

                    • Jeff L

                      Hansman, Don’t be a fool if he really wanted any of those players he could have. Your right Epstein has a track record for when he wants a player he can acquire that player.

                      He won the bid on Dice K with as high of a bid that was needed to require Darvish. Truth is he didn’t have a true desire to really acquire those players. Don’t try to fool yourself.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      you’re right, I don’t think he had a high desire to acquire Fielder…

                      Rumor had it that he was offering Pujols $35M a year on a short term deal.

                      He was the highest overall bidder on Cespedes

                      Several sources have it that the Cubs were #2 in the bidding. (1 source lists the Rangers as being $30M higher than #2 (which is one of the 2 sources from above))

                      You’re right…Theo could have been stupid and committed $60M worth of payroll for 4 players but then again, that would be stupid.

                  • Jeff L

                    Hansman when have the Rays won the WS. They didn’t even make the playoffs this year. Do you want to operate like a low market team like the Rays. If we were in a low market city I would agree with you. You should only operate your fo that way if you have to. Being the Chicago Cubs with Sell outs almost every game if we are even decent. Shouldn’t have to try to operate like the Rays which have yet to win a WS.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      No, I don’t want to operate like a small market team but Theo hasn’t shown me where he is going to act like a small market team other than not spending 10 years 250M on 30ish year old players…

            • Jeff

              “Sadly yes, but the dearth of pitching talent in the minors is Jim Hendry’s fault, not Theo’s. In case you didn’t notice he did add 2 starting pitchers to the rotation this year who have years and years of team control.”

              If your referring to Travis Wood and Chris Volstad, I don’t care how much service time we own of their’s, they suck ASS!!!!!

              Those that love Travis Wood…..no major league team will trade a young pitcher if they think he is a Top of the Rotation Pitcher. No Team will!!!! Wood will never be better that a #5 pitcher.

              Cincy looked at Travis Wood and all they saw was a guy that wouldn’t make their rotation. So they trade with an Idiot GM for a top left handed reliever they needed so badly.

              We got T. Wood, but what could we have gotten for Marshall at the trade deadline, we will never know. What did we get at the trade dead-line??? Nothing spectacular…middle average filler.

              Listen, I don’t hate Theo or Jed, I just don’t think they are being allowed to make this club as competitive as it needs to be..i think we began the tanking process mid season and expect another 2 to 3 years of it, while Ricketts lines his pockets to re-coup the money spent to buy this team and to get public funding for Wrigley renovations.

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                Wait, wait, wait…we should have waited until the deadline on Marshall? Like we did on Garza and now the fan-favorite thing to do is chide Theo for it?

                I was referring to Samardizjia and Wood…while Wood may never be more than a #4 starter to have that under control for another 4 years is a positive thing. I mean we could have Edwin Jackson and his crappiness.

                • Jeff

                  Hendry, not Theo added Samardzija! and a #4 for Wood? What are you drinking, I want some

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    But Theo gave him a legit shot at starting…Kyle himself said that he would have left Shark in the pen…

                    Wood as a #4…if you notice I said that he is not a #4 now but that he may never amount to more than a #4 starter (which really isn’t saying much)

                    • gutshot5820

                      Hansman, you are assuming no other GM besides Theo would have put Samardzia in the rotation. Samardzia only started pitching good in the second half of the prior year and that is when he himself started campaigning to be starter. So, it is fully reasonable to expect that any new GM would have given him the chance, including Hendry himself.

                      Secondly, you keep talking about the Yankees, Red Sox and other teams building through the farm. You are stuck in a pre-CBA paradigm. Get with the modern times. You can no longer outspend your rivals in the draft, therefore you have no tangible advantages in building through the farm than your rivals. The only real advantage left is “smartly” outspending your rivals in conjunction with building through the farm.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      ok so:

                      1. Theo’s success are no better than an average GM wereas his failures are horrendous (i.e. Theo is stupid)
                      2. IF we are no longer able to outspend then history dictates a couple years of top-5 picks will yield amazing dividends later…

                      Again, I want someone to point to an acquisition this season that indicates the Cubs somehow only care about tanking right now. Theo is doing what he was really good at in Boston and leaving his failures there as well.

                      As in, acquire bounce-back guys and prospects who are good and build the team. Some of the bounce-back guys and prospects will fail…just like some free agent signings are busts.

          • MichiganGoat

            “so far as a fan of this team for over 30 years”

            Jeff, Brett set a rule on this “I’ve been a fan for x years” arguement- you lose thanks for playing.

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              I noticed that but I decided to continue on…it may be the beer egging me on…

              just think, there was a fan saying that in 1946…

            • Jeff

              I don’t give a shit about the rule, I’m sure I’ve seen more Cubs losing than you two, and I will find other things to do with my time, because I predict given the current state of the team and the “probability that this team will improve anytime soon, is fleeting

              Try debating with getting all “liquored” up Hansman, all you do drunk is argue, not debate

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                Im sorry but I have spent the last 6 months debating with Kyle over all of this…

                Let me point out the difference between debating and arguing (forgive my extreme nerdiness here but…) from the viewpoint of a state champion debator…

                1. Arguments contain no facts, only passion and feelings
                2. Debates contain facts…which is what this debate has been all about tonight…

                • Jeff L

                  Hansman .. heres a fact for you. No MLB team in the last 20 years has ever built their team the way the Cubs are building and have won a WS Championship. If your goal is to make the playoffs in 6-7 years yeah maybe it could happen. But NO team has ever won a championship in the last 20 years the way the Cubs are building.

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    ahhh, see you are basing this off teams that have no ability to retain the talent they draft and develop…

                    You are also basing this off the old CBA where you could acquire 1st round talent in the 27th round if you paid them enough. New era.

                    • Jeff

                      Yes, new era…your right about that…which is the point you don’t really seem to understand with all your “intelligence and debate state championship skills”

                      This new era will make building a championship team from the ground up even harder….so if that’s the only way your going to do it..i.e. organically, then that will be a 5 to 6 year project before you have enough talent from high draft picks after tanking it every year before you might have enough talent to be competitive.

                      The problem is, that probably still won’t be enough to be competitive to win a division and compete in post season play

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      yup…the ability to build a farm system through mid- to late- round picks has been greatly diminished…unless I am missing something…

                      Truly game changing free agents will be harder to come by…

                    • Bill

                      Theo built a excellent farm system by exploiting the old CBA rules (ie paying overslot money for hard to sign high school players, and acquiring more comp picks than any team in MLB). He doesn’t have that advantage now. The draft pool? Like gutshot said, maybe they get another player, but it’s more likely guys like Boras are going to squeeze more money out those top picks, so I’m not even sure if the draft pool is a big advantage.

                      The truth is the Cubs could have competed for a playoff spot this year AND still built up the farm system. There’s no reason to believe tanking speeded up the buildup process. The Cardinals win every year and still have good drafts. If Theo is the genius so many think then he should be able to draft quality players who aren’t in the top 5 picks. Anyone on this site could draft the top 5 players, the good GM’s are able to identify and draft talent throughout the draft, no matter what their draft position is in a given year.

                • Jeff

                  Here’s a fact for you, this team sucks ass….evidence…101 losses

                  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                    yup…the team sucked this year…Theo built a team that was all of three wins worse than last years team (comparing trade deadline 2012 winning pct to 2011 wins).

                    Then again…at last year’s trade deadline the Cubs were 43-65… .398 winning percentage

                    2012 Cubs – 43-59 – .421 winning percentage


              • MichiganGoat

                You realize you are ARGUEING- right, the whole “I’ve seen more games than you” and getting angry when anyone challenges you is at the heart of a illogical argument. Basically it’s turned into a “I know you are but what am I” discussion tonight.

        • gutshot5820

          Hansman, I think you miss my point. I’m not saying that Theo is a terrible GM. In fact he belongs in the top tier of GMs on any list. What I am saying is that without the monster payroll and monster amateur draft budget,Theo is no more special than any other good GM’s out there . He has no magical powers and this idea of building through the draft is WAY overrated now with the new CBA. It has reached mythical and unrealistic proportions.

          It’s great that Ricketts wrote a letter to all the PAYING fans to just be patient and we will win. HAHAHA, that is so childlike and almost condescending. They are basically telling everyone “trust me” and pony up and enjoy the “Cubs experience” for the next few years while we pocket the money, pay down our debt and get public financing. “Keep paying the highest tickets now and we GUARANTEE we will be great for the next decade.” Sounds more like a snake oil salesman to me. The more money we spend, the better it is for the fans and the Cubs future. LMAO.

          Tell me again how their plan is better than any of the other major league teams? Where is the edge that Theo has over other GMs? Why are the Cubs suddenly going to be in every playoffs for the next few decades if we decide to stink and be patient for the next few yrs? Why are the cubs going to be magical and great and the division rivals are all going to suddenly wither away and suck? So St Louis, Reds, Milwaukee, Pirates, etc.. they are going to step aside because Theo and the Ricketts say the Cubs are going to be great for the next decade? Ridiculous! I have news for you. All our division rivals also have a plan to be in the playoffs for the next decade. They also have a great development structure in place, They are also committed to the draft. They are also committed to low risk good acquisitions and smart trades, So please don’t tell me that in a few years all of the sudden, we are going to be great because all our low ball players are going to be awesome and every prospect on every other team besides the Cubs are going to suck. In fact, I can argue that most of our division rivals have MUCH MORE VALUABLE proven valuable pieces on their major league roster that they can trade for any two or three prospects that equal our young stars in low level ball.

          Now, I would understand if the Ricketts basically said, look we are one of the top revenue teams in all of MLB. We are going to be the Yankees of the National League. We will use all our resources to bear on putting the best available product on the field. We trust Theo, he is one of the smartest GMs in baseball and dollar for dollar he will get maximum value on free agents, draft picks and trades. But we will use our financial advantage to make sure we are in the hunt for the playoffs for the next decade and beyond. Every season is sacred and we will build this organization on parallel fronts. Every dollar that comes into this organization will be put back into payroll and development. Now THAT would get me EXCITED. I can clearly see a plan and an edge that no other team in the NL would be able to match.

          Compare that to, “enjoy the Cubs experience” “be patient and we will get there” “every dollar will be put back into the organization” “rebuild through the farm” “we guarantee we will be for a long time in the future.” LOL It’s almost like a fairy tale, as if they are talking to children. I can see they are building a credible, more organized organization. What I don’t see is a plan that is any better than what other teams are doing and I certainly DON’T see how they can GUARANTEE we will be in the playoffs for the next decade.

          Theo without a huge payroll is reduced to the level of every other modern, forward thinking GM in the league, hoping to get lucky in the draft and avoiding injuries. Theo with a monster payroll is Billy Beane on steroids.

          Especially, with the new playoff format, if everyone believes Theo is smart as they say. If we were truly re-investing every dollar into payroll and development and with a budget of 150-180 million, he can pick up the best free agents possible along with a few trades and contend next year or the year after for the next decade. It is obvious to me this will never happen until the Cubs get their public financing in place first.

          That is all, sorry about the long rant. I’m just stating my opinion. Ricketts and Theo are trying to get you on board that it’s all about the draft and rebuild, when in fact they have their own agenda and are misleading Cub fans.

          • hansman1982

            So what you’re saying is we shouldn’t follow this plan because other teams are trying to acquire good farm systems?

            I disagree on the wording of the letter. Any mention of using our resources would mean giant free agency spending spree to too many fans. This letter just keeps up the we have a plan in place and we are sticking to that plan regardless.

    • Jeff L

      Great read gunshot!!! Too bad Brett is to scared to write the truth on this site. He has too many blind followers on this site that he has to make happy or maybe he’s their leader.

      • Stinky Pete

        I suppose since you are aware of the front office dealings and such you should start your own blog. You could call it “Cubs Truth: I’m so smart”.
        Do you understand why folks like this site? We’re not exactly marching into the desert. We like to read about the Cubs. Brett offers news and insight into the Cubs. It’s a perfect match. If you don’t like it, go away. Simple as that. You make it sound like Brett is trying to Jim Jones us.
        Let’s just pretend Ricketts and Epstein have concocted a diabolical plan to lose consistently. (BWahahahaha.) And Brett is a mere pawn by convincing all of us sheep that everything is going to be okay in a couple of years. SO F’IN WHAT? We are fans, not trustees. My thoughts and feelings on how this team is run don’t matter for ANYTHING and neither do yours. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. Take a look around. There are a lot of more important things to get upset about in this world than baseball.

        • gutshot5820

          Your post is definitely a head scratcher. At the same time you are condemning him for voicing his opinion and applauding yourself and this site for their openness, all the while chasing away others that have any opinions that do not reflect your own views.

          Strong opinions on both sides of an argument without censorship makes good reading and fun, As long as it is within reason and does not go overboard. I don’t have a problem with anything he wrote and I’m sure Brett is man enough to take critiscm along with praise. In fact, that is one of reasons this site is popular, precisely because of people that have different point of views.

          • Stinky Pete

            I accept that I am not much of a writer and often have trouble spelling out my point of view.
            That said, I have no problem with different opinions or points of view. What I take issue with is the assertion that I am a “blind sheep” and that this poster somehow knows the truth that the rest of us do not. Take note, I was criticizing his post not yours. I really don’t have a problem with respectfully stated points of view. Again, I apologize for the disorganized thoughts.

            • Jeff

              Pete, my definition of a blind follower is following a plan that has no history of ever working. Also, following a gm who has absolutely no experience in running a team the way he is running the Cubs. If he was running the Cubs the way he ran the RedSox I would be following him the same way you are. But without any history backing this up and with Epstein having no experience doing what he is doing following him I would call that being a “blind follower”

              • King Jeff

                In other words, if someone doesn’t agree with your assessment of the team and front office, they are a blind follower. No disagreements allowed or there will be generalizations thrown back at you, correct?

                • Jeff

                  Not exactly, but everyone who feels that because part of the plan does work. He’s just missing the other side where you put money into the MLB team. But yes to follow a plan that has no history of working and to have a leader with no experience I would like you to tell me why you believe in this plan that has no history of working. So once again a gm who has never operated a team without a top 3 payroll and a plan that has never brought a team a WS title. The only definition I can come into following this plan is a “blind follower”. I would love to hear reasons you believe in this plan.

                  • King Jeff

                    I believe in this plan because I see progress. I am not of the belief that the Cubs are going to continue to only sign minimal free agents. I think they will spend accordingly moving forward and continue to invest in the future at the same time. I would have loved for them to sign Darvish, but reports are that the Rangers bid 30 million more than anyone else in a blind bid. I think the Cubs offered Cespedes more money than Oakland, which would have been another great signing. I would have liked to see them address the bullpen more. It looked thin, not shaky after they dealt Cashner and move Shark to the rotation. So no, I’m not a blind follower, but I do believe that giving the front office more than one season to turn around a 90 loss team is more than fair. I also don’t see the reason to call everyone who disagrees “blind”, or insinuate that they know less about baseball than I do.

                    • Jeff L

                      What progress do you see??? 101 losses and a gm who already threw away the next season. We can’t even say “wait till next year” He took that away from us LOL. Is the minor league improving… Yes … That’s what happens when you dump your MLB team. I just can’t believe you being a fan of a “Major Market Team” is ok with this. If history was on Epstein’s side and he could say this is a proven working formula to win a WS title I would be following with you. But there is no history and I wont follow Epstein blindly.

                    • King Jeff

                      Yeah, I forgot that they played next season already. I also “forgot” all of those 90 loss teams that came before this one.

                    • Jeff L

                      Did you forget that this was the worst season we have had since 1967… And Epstein already pretty much said in other words that yes they are dumping next season. Maybe you should really look more closely into Epstein rhetoric before following him blindly

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      ahhh, but this season only became the worst season since 1967 because the Cubs sold off at the deadline and went with what was available (basically jack-diddly-squat)

                      At the deadline this year’s team was on pace for only 3 fewer wins than last year’s team. Oh, and the 2011 Cubs were on pace for all of 64 wins at the deadline…but hey, that team was Paul Maholm and Travis Wood away from contention…

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      I think the Cubs offered Cespedes more money than Oakland, which would have been another great signing.

                      I think that you meant to write “should have” in there!

                      However, the A’s essentially trumped the Cubs offer by 50%: the same money over 4 years instead of 6. And in a way, it could be well more than 50%: not only will he make 50% more $$$ over the next 4 years, but Cespedes the chance to be a free agent while still close to his prime. That gives him a chance to cash in well over 50% more in the next two years.

                      People thought that it was a strange offer from the A’s, but nobody expected them to win this year. Sure, if all three rookie starters did well, then maybe: but, seriously, when does that ever happen?*

                      *historical trivia: the A’s were the first team to start 3 rookies in a single post-season series.

                  • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                    I don’t think anyone here wants the Cubs to consistently operate below 100 million dollar payroll. And I will be very disappointed if that is where this team is at in a year or two. The question many of us are raising is when to spend that money. Earlier you criticized Hendry for not positioning himself to go after free agents that fit actual needs. This is what I am hoping the Cubs are doing now by biding time.

                    And as far as this plan of going young and rebuilding from within not resulting in a championship, I can think of one real obvious example. The Marlins were terrible following the 97 World Series and often fielded one of the youngest teams in baseball, and by a combination of players they developed, pieces acquired by trading assets and some key free agents they managed to win it all in 03.

                    • Jeff L

                      The marlins of 2003 didn’t build that team the way the Cubs are building theirs. But, if you want to use that team. That would be 1 team in the last 20 years that won the WS with a payroll in the lower half of the MLB. That would give you a 5 percent chance of building a team based on “History” of low payroll teams in the last 20 years.

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      How did they not build their team with a core of players they developed from within?

                      And as we all have talked about it isn’t one or the other. You need both a strong farm system to develop cheap talent and have assets to trade, and spend money wisely on free agents. That is the argument that we have been putting forward. Not that spending money is bad, but chasing marginal wins with tens of millions of dollars is counterproductive when you don’t have those assets.

                    • Jeff

                      The only difference is that the Marlin’s acquired premium talent like a Hanley Ramirez, and we the Cubs have received mediocre, middle level prospects that are no better than what we already have in our system.

                      We are hoping that by stock-piling mediocre talent that one of these guys might break through and be good. That’s a gamble at best.

                      The hindsight is that this FO has squandered it’s trade assets like Marshall, Garza, etc and in the end will have little of any value down the road to show for it.

                      The best future value we have in the farm system is the guys we drafted or signed internationally, not the mediocre prospects we picked up by dumping our better players.

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      Hanley Ramirez was acquired in 05, and there is the other half of the equation of what they gave up to get him. And in the case of Hanley Ramirez that was a premier, young top of the rotation starter in Josh Beckett. Tell me what Josh Beckett type player this FO has squandered.

                      I agree that the Cubs can’t completely copy the 97 Marlins model because the 97 Marlins had a bunch of good players that could be traded for real value. As opposed to the best trade chip being either a 35 year old SP having a career year before free agency or a left handed setup man.

                    • Jeff

                      Exactly my point, we are worse off than the Marlins because the only way we can get a Josh Beckett is by trading a Starlin Castro.

                      Boston traded away a Hanley Ramirez and never missed a beat, if we trade away a Castro right now, we are further behind in the rebuilding stage.

                      Wake up, this front office has us in a serious pickle that we will not be out off for years to come.

                      Better be prepared for a long rebuild.

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      I agree that the front office is in a tough spot. The disagreement seems to come from the best way to get out of that tough spot. Your solution seems to be overpaying in free agency, and I tend to fall more on the side of what the FO is trying to do with developing assets to trade.

                      And your analogy doesn’t exactly work since Ramirez had played all of two games in the majors prior to being traded along with the other players traded to get Beckett, Lowell, and Mota (it was a blockbuster at the time). The situation is what we are hoping the Cubs will be able to do in the future which is trade away premium talent from the minors without it emptying the system like the trade for Garza did.

                    • Jeff

                      I’m not advocating over spending in free agency, but I am questioning gutting this team the way the front office has and the slow rebuild we are on course for.

                      I am fine with moving Zambrano, just not for Volstad and Dempster.

                      Cashner for Rizzo, had no problem with, but they should have added to the bullpen when they did that move: They didn’t!!

                      Marshall, I have an issue with, not real keen on the return. Plus they weakened the bullpen again and didn’t replace it.

                      Not really like the Maholm trade, Vizciano is 3 years out and we weakened the starting rotation along with moving Dempster. i.e. we started tanking it for a draft pick and what have we added to the starting staff??

                      Plus Garza got hurt…and on and on….

                      So where are we left for the neck 3 years, no major starting pitching depth, so now we will be forced to “over-pay” for starting pitching or not pay for it “what I think will happen this next year” and just be god awful.

                      My scenario would have been to hold onto Maholm and add someone like a Jake Peavy and have a starting rotation of Peavy, Malholm, Garza, Samardzija and one lucky sucky ass pitcher from the lousy options we have to chose from for a #5 starting pitcher.

                      that plan would at least buy us a few years to build up some starting pitchers in the minors.

                      Nope, we are going to have a lousy starting staff which will get even lousier once they trade Garza, either this off-season or at next years trade deadline.

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      So you don’t want them to overspend, but since they weren’t able to land enough pieces without doing that you have an issue?

                      Zambrano had zero value. I am sorry you don’t feel that way, but there was only one team that was willing to take a risk free chance on Zambrano. It didn’t work out, but that situation had very little to do with a choice Theo had.

                      Who did you want to add to the bullpen? You can talk that they needed to address a position that is notoriously volatile in terms of year to year production, but overspending on relievers is exactly one of the things that Hendry loved to do.

                      I understand you don’t like the return, but relievers aren’t worth that much. The Cubs got more than most teams get for a non-closer. And it will be a long time before we know the true outcome of the Marshall trade because of Torreyes, but if Wood is just a guy that can fill a back end of the rotation that is a good return. I agree that we don’t know yet whether he can do that or not.

                      I don’t get where you say Vizcaino is three years away. He was big league ready before he went down with TJS, and he will be throwing next year. I agree that there is a ton of risk involved here, but the upside of a Vizcaino is far greater than Maholm.

                      As far as Garza goes, you can’t complain about the Cubs holding onto him too long and him getting hurt and at the same time moan that they didn’t get enough for Marshall. We don’t know the offers for Garza prior to the injury, and given that he was the one blue chip prospect I don’t begrudge them for holding out for the moon.

                      I think there is an in between option for the next couple of years between the two scenarios, and that is finding more Maholm’s. There are a number of interesting options that Brett has raised here and in other places for a chance to find value. Whether it be guys come off of injury like Marcum or guys looking for a chance to be a full time starter like Villanueva.

                      As far as your rotation goes, assuming that two guys with history of arm troubles in Maholm and Peavy are able to keep it together for three years in their thirties that would probably be better than what the Cubs will roll out next year. But because they traded Maholm for Vizcaino, and because they weren’t concerned with finishing 70 wins as opposed to 60 wins there are multiple opportunities for the rotation to be a lot better for a lot longer in a couple of years. Is it a guarantee? Of course not, but since they are in a tough spot they need to give themselves as many opportunities to net young talent.

                  • Stinky Pete

                    But the thing is, the Front Ofice doesn’t derive it’s power from us “blind followers”. I can shout from the top of the Wrigley scoreboard that I believe in Theo or that Theo is the devil. Either way doesn’t make a damn bit of difference in the world.
                    So yes, express your opinions freely. But try to do so without demeaning others.


  • Kevin

    Now that the ONE (and only one) year dump season is over there is absolutely no reason to repeat the embarrassment If you field another AAA team then lower ticket prices to reflect the inferior product. I know Ricketts & Theo have a plan but don’t overcharge loyal Cubs fans.

  • True(ly) Blue

    Unfortunately I agree with a lot of what “Gutshot5820” has posted. Every other team is trying to do the same thing that Theo and Company are trying to do. The drafting rules are very stringent and a big checkbook now will only help in free agent signings.
    We absolutely need to move forward on “Parallel fronts”. Draft well and sign selective free agents. I’m not sure that rolling over successful free agents is a good thing. Let’s see how the returns from the Malholm trade work out, eh?

  • Kevin

    gutshot5820 is right on…. He told the truth. I wish more people on this site would grow a pair and tell the truth. Take the rose color glasses off and face reality.

    • Matt3

      Here’s some truth for you…Baseball is a game.

  • CBP

    Watching this Yanks and Tigers game couple of names that could be good 1-2 year players are Ichiro and Jose Valverde. Jose has struggled lately but I think he is worth a shot on this team. Also how about Smyly. I know Detriot most likely won’t trade him but he is solid.

  • Jeff

    The only problem with free agent spending, and I’m not opposed to spending, is that teams have realized that drafting is problematic and harder to build an organic team, go ask the royals if it’s easy.

    Teams have started to lock up the premium free agents to be and the ones that do come to market have questions marks surrounding them…C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton..you can get these guys but it cost you primo dollars with alot of risk.

    I point this out, all to say that we must realize the situation we are in…there are not many really great free agent acquisitions out there, we have very little to trade left in the system. Now the approach is, hey we said that when we were hired it’s not a re-build…oh wait..it’s a rebuild.

    Just really poor planning on either the message the front office put out or the plan they thought they would enact once they got the job.

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      I agree with the first two paragraphs…

      The rebuild thing though is a little off…I think there was a quote from Theo that effectively said:

      “We can’t call this a rebuild because that would imply there was something here to begin with…”

      • Jeff

        Hey, it’s been fun debating…lol We are all Cubs fans at heart, no other sane person would be up this late discussing a 101 loss team. I have to get some sleep, I have insomnia but I only let it win so much…lol

        I’m sure we will disagree some more later..peace out

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          Good night sir…thank you for the civil debate tonight

  • arta

    whew, lol.

  • Roy Hobbs

    Right on gutshot.

    With u all the way man.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    If only the Cubs had made every possible perfect move before the 2012 season, if only every single free agent the Cubs wanted was willing to sign with the Cubs, if only every single player on the roster had stayed perfectly healthy and productive, if only the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons mattered less than the 2012 season …

    Then maybe the Cubs could have won 85 games in 2012!

    Damn this front office! I curse them from the perch I built upon hindsight, improbable guesses, a lack of information, and righteous anger!

    • Ron Swanson

      Well good morning to you, good sir! :)

    • hansman1982

      That sums up an hour of debating in three paragraphs.

      • MichiganGoat

        But but but how many years have you been following the Cubs?

        • hansman1982

          I’ve been a cubs fan since the days of Jesus so I am the greatest one of all!!!!

    • Kyle

      Our front office is utterly incapable of turning 71 wins into 85+ with $50-60 million to spend, unless they hope every possible thing goes right.

      That’s not the ringing endorsement you think it is.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Dude. Kyle. *You* are the one who put together the very foundational analysis for my point – the ONLY way the Cubs could have gotten to 85+ wins in 2012 in hindsight is if EVERY single signing went their way. You did the analysis yourself, for crying out loud!

        • Kyle

          I was just being conservative for the sake of argument and trying to meet people halfway. Plus, I figure if I have to use the hindsight that Garza got hurt and Byrd forgot to hit and such, I should get some positive hindsight too.

          My real dream offseason would have flipped the bird to the Dominican Academy and used the CBA changes (that took money out of amateur acquisition) as an excuse to bump the payroll up to $150 million. Darvish would be in our rotation, Samardzija would be an ace in the bullpen, no one would have ever heard of Anthony Rizzo, we’d be giving up comp picks rather than accumulating them, etc. It’s so far removed from what happened that I don’t feel like going through all the arguments for it and would prefer to focus on how we could have “built for the future” and put a lesser but still competitive team on the field.

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            And Brett’s argument pretty much still holds even with your dream offseason.

          • Kyle N


            Again, it’s tough to say now in hindsight, but would you have been okay matching the $150MM (bid posting + contract) Texas offer on Darvish? One-upping them?

            I fully believe that baseball salaries are destined to go way up, especially for the elite level talent. If Bryce Harper and Mike Trout don’t do something in their respective sophomore seasons to warrant serious, serious concern, then it’s a no-brainer to think they’ll get $30MM+ AAV contracts at some point.

            It’s the pitchers that I am more interested in. They are more fragile, more likely to experience ineffectiveness and ultimately drop off a cliff. FA pitchers (in their late-20s/early 30s after their big contract) don’t turn out like CC Sabathia very often at all. The demand for pitchers will drive their price tags up, but I have to believe that many FOs will look to construct their rotations through young rookies and mid-level, under-the-radar types like Baltimore and Oakland this year. It just seems to make more sense to pay the bigger bucks to a mega-upside position-player.

            • Kyle

              Absolutely. We are desperately short on pitching and Darvish is as close to the ideal starting pitcher FA as there will ever be.

              It’s a risk because of the history of Japanese pitchers and arm injuries, but it’s a risk the Cubs needed to take.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Wait. You’re anti-Dominican academy, too? That was the best $7 million the Cubs spent all year…

            • Kyle

              “Anti” is probably too strong of a term. It wouldn’t have been my choice on how to spend the money.

              With the new CBA, I’m not remotely convinced that it will pay off in any meaningful way. It’s another example of the Cubs getting to the party late and trying to copy market inefficiencies that have already corrected themselves.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                … except that only like one other team has a high-end facility in the Dominican Republic, and in a system where you can’t just outspend other teams on signing bonuses for Latin kids, you have to woo them in other ways. The Dominican facility is example of seeking out a NEW inefficiency, not being late on one that’s already been exploited.

                It sounds like we see that one literally exactly oppositely.

                • Kyle

                  According to this link 28 of the 30 MLB teams operate an academy in the Dominican Republic:


                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    That’s from 2007, and I’m fairly certain one of those 28 teams was the Cubs. “Operating an academy” is not the same thing as what the Cubs are doing now.

                    • Kyle

                      So why is what the Cubs are doing now going to make a significant difference?

                      Extra scouting looks? Hoping a kid turns down extra money from another team because he had a nicer bed in our academy?

                      Maybe you are right, but it all seems a bit dubious to me.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Maybe I’m assuming too much in terms of what you’ve read/seen before.

                      My understanding is that the other “facilities” that exist for kids down there are hovels. A state of the art facility for the Cubs not only provides a nice little extra incentive to sign (because the money will be increasingly flat between teams – it’s not about turning down more money from other teams, it’s about choosing the Cubs’ $50K over the Orioles’ $50K), but it also attracts more of the talent to come play there as teenagers (events, showcases, workouts, etc.).

                      This is a totally hypothetical discussion, because I can’t pretend to know any of this stuff for certain (and I’ve definitely never been there to see it myself). But it seems to me that when money is flat, you want an edge. This is a big one.

                    • Dr. Percival Cox

                      Brett, do you know if they room at the facility while they’re training or is this the equivalent of an American baseball school where they come work out there in the day and then go home at night?

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I do know that, yes, there is going to be a significant live-in quarters section of the academy.

                    • Dr. Percival Cox

                      So that alone would seem to bolster your argument that this place is a huge asset to the Cubs. In a country with a per capita GDP of roughly $10k/year (roughly 1/5th of the United States), the chance to live in rooms built to American levels of luxury and eat food prepared to American athlete specifications would be an enormous benefit to these kids, even if they Cubs technically can’t pay them more than $50k.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      there ya go, and the kids that do stay there should have better nutrition, medical care and fitness routines than the kids who don’t live there so when they do sign they should be in a better position to develop and succeed in the farm system.

                      Now the Cubs NEED to continuously update and grow the facilities.

                  • King Jeff

                    Most of those academies are just camps with guest instructors from MLB teams. There are only two or three nice facilities down there and the Cubs facility will blow all of them out of the water. What is currently happening is that each facility hosts several MLB teams as teachers and instructors at the same time. The Cubs will have the only full-time facility, controlled by one team. I think Boston is also trying to work out a similar arrangement to host it’s own prospects.

                  • King Jeff

                    If you want advantages, I think the best one is that the Cubs are going to have the best handle on what and who a prospect is before they come stateside. No issues with education, possible drug use, or visa/ID issues. I think that in itself is a huge plus.

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                So you’d rather take that $7M and buy a year of Coco-Crisp rather than build a facility in a baseball hotbed that might attract a couple more prospects to come in to the system than without it?

                Wow, that seems like a piss-poor investment of capital.

        • Jeff

          Brett….your talking about Paul Maholm and David DeJesus…two freaking signings!!!!

          The front office didn’t do crap with free agent signings, it traded away Zambrano for a crappy Volstad and Marshall for a mediocre Wood. Mid-season they traded away Dempster and Maholm and did not get back one starting pitcher on the cusp of the big leagues that could be put into the starting rotation.

          They claimed a bunch of crappy players that couldn’t cut it with other teams and brought up young players not ready for the Majors.

          They have put us in a huge black hole with starting pitching and we are way behind the eight ball to recover from this.

          I think Kyle’s point is more that they neglected the big league club for sake of the impending rebuild they will be dragging us through. You can still rebuild the farm, you don’t have to drop to a 50M payroll while you do it though.

          • Kyle N

            I don’t think I’m the only one who beleives Zambrano had to go. When players quit on their team, retire, un-retire, apologize profusely only to be end up a walking time bomb on the cusp of screaming “WE STINKS,” then you have to get him out of your organization. You have to take what you can get. Don’t get me wrong, Volstad was bad, but his advanced numbers say he shouldn’t have been quite this bad. Meanwhile Zambrano outperformed his advanced numbers early, came back down to earth in a fiery crash of ugliness and was ultimately booted out of the rotation. 4.49/4.47/4.84 ERA/FIP/xFIP split for a whopping 0.8 fWAR. Whoopdie-freaking-doo. I shudder when I try to imagine Zambrano having to pitch for the 2012 Cubs.

            I also don’t understand at all you can mention “a huge black hole for starting pitching” and yet mention the Marshall trade as a negative. Travis Wood gives the organization a cheap and viable fifth-starter option on a team that is sorely lacking in any sort of SP..

            • Jeff

              “Don’t get me wrong, Volstad was bad, but his advanced numbers say he shouldn’t have been quite this bad.”

              If you haven’t watched Volstad until this year, he has spent the last three years not establishing himself as a rotation starter in Florida, why anyone who looked at his past three years thought he could come to Chicago and finally get, it is beyond me.

              The point was not that they shouldn’t trade Zambrano, it was they should have asked for anyone else but Volstad….and NO NO NO, you do not have to take what you can get…that’s called a bad trader!!!

              As far as Marshall is concerned, I don’t understand this, we would lose him to free agency crap…we are the Cubs…why couldn’t we sign him to a 5 year extension????

              What we did is trade him for a guy who couldn’t even make the starting rotation with a division rival! Think on that one.

              No team, I repeat again, NO TEAM, trades away a guy they think can be a top of the line starter. I would rather have Marshall with a chance to extend him to a contract much like the one Cincy did, than 4 more years of a mediocre T. Wood.

              • King Jeff

                I’m sorry I didn’t see Volstad get into a fight with any teammates in the dugout, or smash any gatorade coolers when he sucked, and I definitely didn’t see or hear about him walking out on the team. Getting anything for Zambrano made it a good trade, no matter how delusional you are about his value. He was going to be released if he wasn’t traded, meaning that the Cubs would have paid his entire salary and received no return.

                • Jeff

                  Yep, Volstad just sits there with a blank stair on his face when he serves up Gopher balls to opposing hitters, walks to the dug out with a shrug of the shoulders and tells reporters he will go out there next time and try and be better…blah blah blah!!!!

                  I’d take a good cooler beating any day of the week over the pitcher beating I constantly see out there!!

                  Getting “Anything” for Zambrano did not make it a good trade.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Just so we’re clear – and I’m not picking a side here – we all do know that Zambrano was so bad that he was bounced from the rotation of a crappy Marlins team, right?

                    • Jeff

                      Yes, but who was worse this past season? Zambrano or Volstad?

                    • King Jeff

                      Which part of the year Jeff? Zambrano was good for about a month and a half, the rest of the year, he was worse than Volstad was.

                    • Jeff

                      King Jeff, you need to go look at his stats and stop making statements based off of your bias to get rid of him because you think he quit on the team.

                      His last two months in the pen were not horrible, he finished with a 4.49 era, not a 6.31 of Volstad. He can’t drop that era significantly in the pen compared to starting.

                      As a starter he was a hell of alot better than Volstad.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      It doesn’t matter Zambrano was a cancer that had to eradicated from this team. Every team knew that the Cubs had to drop him and hence the return was going to be mediocre and getting Volstad was as good as we could get. This complaint is ridiculous, why are so many people acting like this trade is Lou Brock 2.0? Get over the ridiculous crying over the Zambrano trade. Move on!

            • Kyle

              “When players quit on their team, retire, un-retire, apologize profusely only to be end up a walking time bomb on the cusp of screaming “WE STINKS,” then you have to get him out of your organization. ”

              When a player quits on his team, he has to go. Unless he’s Ryne Sandberg, in which case you welcome him back with eager arms. Or if he’s Kerry Wood, and you root for him to become the color commentator and give him a special one-day sendoff.

              When a player is a walking timebomb who attacks his teammates and coaches, you have to cut ties with him. Unless he’s Ron Santo, then you make him the face of fandom in your franchise.

              When a player’s off-the-field habits are setting a bad example for the rest of the team, you have to run him out of town, unless he’s Mark Grace (okay, that doesn’t work because he actually did get run out of town, albeit against many fans’ wishes).

              • King Jeff

                What about when it’s one guy doing all of those things and not three different guys cherry picked from history?

                • Kyle

                  Depends. What color is his skin?

                  • King Jeff

                    Wow, you really show your true colors sometimes.

                    • Kyle

                      Don’t recall trying to hide them.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I think you misread – you’re talking about what actually happened. I was talking about the mythical scenario that would have yielded the Cubs 85 wins in 2012, which Kyle had laid out many times over the last few weeks, and which so many folks seem to think would have been so easily accomplished in 2012.

            • Kyle

              Besides, I don’t get the “We had to have guaranteed to win 85+ or it was pointless” perspective.

              If Soler never hits 20 HRs in the majors, was his signing pointless? If the No. 2 pick in the draft is a college arm that succumbs to repeated arm injuries before reaching the majors, was it a wasted pick?

              Getting yourself into probability range of a great season has value too, even if the odds are against you.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                We’ll just go ’round and ’round – getting to 85 wins in 2012 wouldn’t merely have been pointless, it could have been WORSE than pointless. Holding onto Dempster and Maholm for the second half would have made the Cubs better, yes? And, after the close of the season, would they have been better off or worse for the future? Pretty obviously worse (though you’ll probably fight me on that, too, for reasons only you understand).

                Granting that, it’s all just a sliding scale – signing a bunch of bullshit short-term players (magically, mythically, they all sign! They’re all healthy! They all perform well! hooray! 85 wins and a missed playoff spot! double hooray!) so you have the woo-hoo luxury of having them on the roster in 2013 makes no sense. It hurts the team in 2014 and beyond. It is frequently worse than pointless.

                We’ll never agree on this, and I am finding increasingly difficult to even understand how someone as obviously intelligent as you can keep espousing such a facially ridiculous hindsight driven ball of poo.

                • Kyle

                  “We’ll just go ’round and ’round – getting to 85 wins in 2012 wouldn’t merely have been pointless, it could have been WORSE than pointless. Holding onto Dempster and Maholm for the second half would have made the Cubs better, yes? And, after the close of the season, would they have been better off or worse for the future? Pretty obviously worse (though you’ll probably fight me on that, too, for reasons only you understand).

                  Granting that, it’s all just a sliding scale – signing a bunch of bullshit short-term players (magically, mythically, they all sign! They’re all healthy! They all perform well! hooray! 85 wins and a missed playoff spot! double hooray!) so you have the woo-hoo luxury of having them on the roster in 2013 makes no sense. It hurts the team in 2014 and beyond. It is frequently worse than pointless.”

                  No, you are absolutely right. There are times when hurting the MLB roster is better for the team’s long-term chances. The trade deadline was one of those times, but going into an offseason with a big-market club with significant payroll flexibility is not one of those times.

                  “We’ll never agree on this, and I am finding increasingly difficult to even understand how someone as obviously intelligent as you can keep espousing such a facially ridiculous hindsight driven ball of poo.”

                  It’s not hindsight. Some of us have been arguing against rebuilding since before the rebuilding actually began.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    I thought it was pretty clearly established that we were discussing the idea that you can put together an 85-win Cubs team in 2012 in hindsight (as you have before, and as the overnight crew was fighting about), and now we were discussing why, even if everything broke right and that did happen, it would have been pointless. Did we cross tracks?

                    As for the grander rebuilding discussion, I’ll never say you haven’t argued that all along (though, I mean, you were one of the most vocal proponents of trading Garza before 2012, so … ).

                    • Kyle

                      Once it became clear we were rebuilding for that offseason, I wanted to do it as right as possible. Plus, I never trusted Garza’s 2011 season for a few reasons.

                      Generally, these conversations go something like this:

                      “We could never have built an 85-win team with what we had and what was available this offseason!”

                      Me: “Sure we could have, here’s how.”

                      “Why does Kyle think it’s okay to build just an 85-win team?”

                      As you said, it’s a sliding scale (and it’s all counterfactual anyway, we don’t know how these players would have performed in different sets of circumstances). With the resources the Cubs had available to them, they could have blown right past 90 wins and challenged the Reds for the division, although it would have taken sacrificing some future. If you want to sacrifice absolutely no future whatsoever, then you are talking about a .500 to 85-win team as your optimistic projection, sure.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            Well see, they actually did get a ML starter in those trades but then someone else screwed the pooch.

      • Kyle

        And more to the point, the result would be a lot more good baseball players on the roster going into *this* offseason. Good baseball players (even those horrible 30+ guys) don’t magically disappear after a single seaseon.

        We filled one hole last season, created a new one, and another developed organically. Net result: One more hole going into this offseason than last.

        And it’s only poised to get worse if we don’t get very proactive, very quickly. RF is already pretty blech and is set become a flat-out hole after this season. We’re pinning a ton of catching hopes on a guy who hit worse than Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters at AAA this season. LF is always a trade or knee blowout away from becoming a problem. Even if we sign two quality starting pitchers this offseason and don’t trade any, we’re looking at at least one hole in the rotation, and that’s in the most optimistic view possible.

        That’s what we’re facing for 2014 *before* the possibility that any holes open up to player attrition (as CF did this offseason).

        MLB rosters require constant maintenance. By letting things go for a year, we’ve given ourselves a severe uphill climb to try to catch up, let alone get ahead. If we don’t begin to catch up this offseason, it can bury us.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          I’m sorry, did you really just trash a CATCHING prospect for hitting worse than an outfield or 3B prospect? Really? (I’m also not sure where you’re getting that, Jackson OPSed .817, Castillo .852 — and his .394 OBP was by far the best of the 3.)

          I’m just spitballing here: maybe we can wait a few years and fill those holes with players developed internally or trade maturing prospects for cost controlled major league regulars, setting us up to make the BIG FA signings (Verlander, Wright, Hernandez) that push us over the top.

          • Kyle

            Not trash. Simply reminding people to get a little cautious before assuming a position is filled when a prospect has two good months.

            “Waiting a few years?” How many is a few? How many years do we have to throw away waiting on prospects before maybe the math doesn’t add up?

          • Kyle

            “(I’m also not sure where you’re getting that, Jackson OPSed .817, Castillo .852 — and his .394 OBP was by far the best of the 3.)”

            You are looking at his combined AA and AAA numbers.

            His .800 OPS in the PCL was lower than either Jackson or Vitters’. Does that mean I think he’s a worse hitter? No. Do I think people need to remember something like that before they decide that our starting catcher for the next five years is decided? Yes.

            • Dr. Percival Cox

              Fine. His .375 OBP was better than both of them. Shocking that this front office would be interested in a catcher who simply doesn’t make outs, so long as he can play defense. (The real question with Castillo.)

              • Kyle

                A .375 OBP in the PCL doesn’t translate well.

                Using the online MLE calculator, that projects to a .302 OBP in Chicago.

                For comparison’s sake, Rizzo posted a .405 OBP in Iowa and a .342 in Chicago.

                Jackson posted a .338 in Iowa and a .302 in Chicago.

                Vitters went from .356 to .193

                Valbuena went from .378 to .310

                If there’s one lesson Cubs fans should have gotten out of 2012, it’s that the transition from Iowa to Chicago is a lot more difficult than intuition would expect.

                All of which isn’t to say that I don’t want Castillo to be our starting catcher in 2013. I just think we better be prepared with a Plan B for both the near and longer-term future.

                • Dr. Percival Cox

                  You change your arguments more often than you change your underwear.

                  First, it was: he’s worse than Vitters and Jackson.

                  Now, its: the numbers really don’t mean anything. He’s a questionable prospect.

                  This is why debating with you is so much fun.

                  Yesterday, it was: yes, the Cardinals have a really good farm system, and they got it without losing seasons. That’s what we should do.

                  Today: screw Anthony Rizzo, drop the Dominican academy, get some good 30+ guys in here NOW. No TIME to develop internally.

                  So the entire argument you made yesterday about the Cardinals is out the window so you can win this one.

                  And, I know, you’re going to have a response for this because you’re an excellent debater. The type that wins multiple awards and law scholarships in college. (That’s not snark — it’s absolutely true, and a compliment.) But, really, it does make it frustrating to engage with you, and, I think, leads to the anger surrounding your posts.

                  • Kyle

                    The fact that you misunderstand the arguments doesn’t mean they’ve changed.

                    Both of the Castillo-related points you refer to (and in the second case, severely misunderstand) are one-and-the-same: A reminder that the transition from the PCL to the NL is much more difficult than merely eyeballing a guy’s stats and saying “.375 OBP, he’s good at getting on base!” Properly adjusted minor league stats (i.e. Major League Equivancies) are just as predictive as major league stats. They most certainly do not “mean nothing” or whatever words you tried to put in my mouth. And Castillo’s minor league stats point to a borderline case: A guy who might hit enough to be a starting catcher and might now. We should be prepared to deal with either possibility.

                    As for the latter, you completely miss the point yet again if you think those two arguments are incongruent. My point all along has been that scouting and development is by far the most important factor in developing a strong minor league system, and that diverting resources from the major league team is a false efficiency. The Cubs could have blown the doors open on MLB payroll, forfeited a bunch of picks to sign guys like Prince Fielder or whoever, and I’d *still* expect the minor league system to improve significantly because Jason McLeod is in charge of it. Good scouting and development is what leads to lasting success in the farm system, and the Cubs could have easily done that in parallel with using their market-size advantage to apply their considerable resources to the MLB roster.

                    • Dr. Percival Cox

                      Yes, it’s all on me. Your posts consistently turn into mud slinging contests because everyone else is stupid. That’s gotta be it.

                • jt

                  OK, now please consider that I am just asking:
                  Vitters’ OBP has always been BA dependent.
                  Jackson’s OBP has always been heavily dependent upon his BB rate.
                  Castillo has had a 21.1 BB rate in the minors. actually, for the past 3 yr’s it has been a lot higher than that.
                  It would seem that the transition to MLB a decent OBP would be tougher for a player who leans hard on BA.
                  Should that be taken into consideration when evaluating Castillo’s chances of maintaining a decent OBP?

                  • Kyle

                    Possibly. I do think .302 is a bit harsh.

  • Randy

    You know these same people that are complaining the Cubs are not spending money, are the same ones who complained because Jim Hendry spent to much money on Free Agents and not enough on player development. People forget that the cubs are in this position because we spent to freely and never developed any good talent. Every other good team in the league keeps pushing out superstars from their own farm system. If you guys want those studs, guess what you have to be drafting higher and smarter to get them. Once we start to get the right pieces together, you since the free agents that will push you over the top. Our team has so many holes that there are not enough good players on the market that are going to make the Cubs a World Series favorite next year so why waste future money just to be a middle of the pack team and block the ability to judge what talent we have in the farm system with over priced veterans. If you can’t wait a few years to let this develop after all the years we have already been through, you probably are not a TRUE CUB FAN!!!

    • Jeff

      “You know these same people that are complaining the Cubs are not spending money, are the same ones who complained because Jim Hendry spent to much money on Free Agents and not enough on player development.”

      I think the complaint is more centered that he spent them on the wrong free agents, not that he spent money. And that he drafted a bunch of first round busts….a bunch!

      He signed Soriano when we had Lee and Ramirez but needed a left handed power bat. He signed Soriano to an inflexible long-term contract. He never looked more than a year ahead and his trades toward then end were not as good as back in 2003.

      He should have put himself in a position to add a Cliff Lee or a Mark Texiera (or similar players) when they hit free agency or were about to be traded but he had backed himself into a roster and payroll hole he couldn’t not escape from and had no flexibility to make moves.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        He signed Soriano when we had Lee and Ramirez but needed a left handed power bat.

        What left-handed power bat was available that winter? I’m counting none.

        He should have put himself in a position to add a Cliff Lee or a Mark Texiera (or similar players) when they hit free agency or were about to be traded

        Free agency for both players was a few years down the road. (Of course, CLee was not really in the mix at that time: prior to ’08, he’d had only one really good season.) Moreover, the Cubs simply did not have the prospects of the caliber of the ones who were traded in the various Teixiera trades. (Not all of the prospects worked out, but the trades did include guys more highly ranked than the Cubs had at that time.)

        Now, we can fault Hendry for deciding to go with Choi instead of signing Thome in ’02/03: but I don’t think people realized that Choi’s bat speed was permanently gone, and Hendry still spun a good deal to get DLee for Choi. We can fault Hendry for not trading Patterson while Corey’s stock was still high with some teams after ’03: but it’s not clear that he passed on any All Star level replacements, either. (Beltran was not a free agent for another year or two, and he wasn’t everything that Boras’ pamphlet made him out to be.)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Whoops: I effed up the quotes above…..

    • Kyle

      No, we’re not.

      I never had a problem with Hendry’s spending in general. He had a tendency to overpay for mediocre relievers and (probably directed by the Tribune) he went a year or two too far on Soriano’s contract.

      But for the most part, he used the Cubs’ financial advantages well. Or at least adequately. It wasn’t the reason the Cubs were bad. The reason the Cubs were bad was because he failed to draft and develop well. Somehow, the two (spending and developing talent) have become intertwined in people’s minds, but they aren’t really meaningfully connected.

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        Yes, using that financial advantage worked so well that we made the playoffs a plethora of times and literally had a worse team last year than we had this year (if you factor out the Cubs regulars playing in August/September 2011 so Quadster could keep his job).

        Plain and simple, the Cubs need a good farm system to contend…Theo is building that farm system…

        The quickest and easiest way to do that is to trade off guys at peak value who are not long-term assets when seasons don’t go the right way. Now, you may disagree with the players being acquired but really your recipe and Theo’s recipe for this season are different.

        • Kyle

          We made the playoffs 3 times in 9 years despite having a horrific scouting and development staff.

          I’d wait until Epstein actually beats that before calling scoreboard. He’s 0-for-1.

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            yes, so imagine what that will be like when we have a farm system to support that financial advantage! When we can acquire a decent SP without unloading the farm system, when we can bring the next man in from the Iowa rotation without cringing…

            • Kyle

              Sounds wonderful. How many years do we have to throw away to get it?

              • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                I’d say whenever you fall out of contention at the deadline and have short-term assets that are performing well.

      • King Jeff

        I think the reason they are so intertwined is because for so long the Cubs refused to have more than one or two scouts running everything. Now they have a huge department, dedicated to just scouting. I think some of us see some of the money that would have gone to free agents this year, instead go towards improving a severely underdeveloped part of the organization. I know spending on MLB payroll and scouting and development aren’t mutually dependent on one another, but they aren’t exclusive either.

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          By all accounts I read in the offseason the Cubs weren’t sitting on the sidelines in free agency. They had offered $6M a year to Cespedes, $20M to talk to Darvish (and would therefore been prepared to spending another $10M a year on Darvish) and had interest in acquiring Pujols and/or Fielder but on their terms not on Pujols’ and Fielder’s.

          Sure I am disappointed that we sucked so bad…but rather than bitch and moan about it I do have faith that one of the best Exec’s in the game has a better idea of how to build a team than I do.

          • Jeff L

            Hansman how is he one of the Best Execs??? I’m really curious. He won two titles in Boston with the 2nd highest payrolls in baseball. If he followed his formula with the RedSox he would have bid at least how much he bid for Dice K which 51.1 mil… Darvish winning bid was 51.7… So I think Epstein would know the range of the bid he would have to make. It was rumored his bid for Darvish was in the 30 mil range. You got to admit Dice K was a big part of the Red Sox winning the WS. So, Epstein is not using the formula he used to win a WS in Boston as what he is using in Chicago

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              Ok, apparently I have no clue about this…I mean he did build a franchise that consistently won over 85 games…like literally every year and did it with mostly home-grown or traded for guys (kinda like the Yankees) which is where the financial advantage the Cubs have takes over.

              Looking at the 2011 Red Sox (Theo and Tito’s greatest failure at 89 wins) we find 4 of their top 12 in terms of payroll came from free agency. Lackey, Ortiz, Dice-K, Crawford. Ortiz I will throw out of this discussion because he was initially signed for $1.25M (hardly a big time acquisition) after he was non-tendered by the Twins.

              The remaining three accounted for $39M that means that Theo had $130ish million coming from players the farm system acquired. It’s not like he went out and spent money wildly to get the wins. He acquired built and developed a farm system that allowed for him to get any player any year.

              Now, when he started he was lucky enough that the Red Sox had a successful MLB franchise; however, by their 2007 title only 1 player remained on the big league roster from his first day as GM…Jason Varitek. So clearly he did something very well.

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              Oh and the thought was that Darvish wasn’t going to sign for a team if the posting was at the level of Dice-K…

              • Kyle

                And that thought was wrong.

                I don’t get the “conventional wisdom” defense. If the standard is conventional wisdom, why hire an expensive front office?

                • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                  from the report that was leaked the Cubs did have the 2nd highest bid…in a blind bid it’s 95% luck and 5% brains…

                  • Kyle

                    *debates on whether or not to get into the viability of those sorts of reports*…

                    Nah, not worth it.

                    Congrats on their second place and the participation trophy. I hope that doesn’t continue to become the theme of their future offseason as it was the last one.

                    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                      ya that’s not a debate I’m willing to get into right now…

                      It may still prove to be a bit of good fortune that the Cubs missed out on Darvish…we will see how year 2 goes but I do wish we had acquired him.

                      I don’t think “hooray we got 2nd” was a theme last year. I think them going to the negotiating table and sticking by their stated goal was the theme.

            • Kyle N

              That Boston team had Manny Ramirez (who at that time was one of the most talented and feared right-handed hitters on the planet), David Ortiz, (a shrewd Epstein pickup), Nomar Garciaparra, a past-his-prime but still strong Pedro Martinez among others before he ended up bidding on Dice-K, signing Schilling, etc. (The previous Red Sox regime put the big pieces in place, but a smart baseball man knows when you have those pieces for your lineup or for trade chips – in Nomar’s case – you can wheel and deal much more optimistically)

              To compare the Boston Red Sox at that time to the Cubs of today is downright laughable.

              Texas has been a WS contender for the last couple years, had a solid star-studded lineup, and was looking for an incredibly talented player (albeit a risky NPB one) to counterpunch the Angels and put them over the top. That is pretty much a carbon-copy of what the Red Sox had and eventually did prior to 2004.

              If the reports of everyone else’s lukewarm bids on Darvish are true, it shows how many people were down after Dice-K’s recent maladies/ineffectiveness, worried about other NPB players (along with guys like Tsuyoshi Nishioska), and that Texas was in a position similar to the 2004 Red Sox. Just because Epstein bid a certain price for Dice-K in Boston meant that he *had* to bid the same for Darvish in Chicago. The situations were different. (You can argue whether he should have anyways, and that has been talked about and is the topic.). You don’t have to be on the verge of a WS to make the Darvish-type signings. The risk (potential negative impact on your club down the road) is much lower when you *are* in that favorable scenario. .

              The “formula” you are talking about can’t be replicated when the equations are incredibly different. (Chicago 2011-12 and Boston Red Sox (2003-04)

              • Kyle N

                Apologies, should clear up that Dice-K was prior to 2007 and how Epstein used the same situation to get him and maintaining a strong post-2004 WS bunch of teams.

                My two arguments were kind of merged there without clarification on the 2007 team.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              He won two titles in Boston with the 2nd highest payrolls in baseball

              True. And tweaking the 2002 Sox into the ’03/’04 Sox was a lot less difficult that tweaking the 2011 Cubs into a contender. However, the ’07 team was built through a combination of free agents, trade acquisitions and farm-hands. Moreover, that team was built over several years, not just one.

              But Darvish is a pipe dream. A team like the Rangers that felt it was one piece away from being completely over-the-top was prone to over-bid on him. Moreover, it’s quite probable that Darvish would not have signed with a non-contender like the Cubs. Remember, the Rangers had to negotiate with him after they bought his rights: had those talks broken down, then Darvish would have been back in Japan.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                I left out the key point. We cannot say that Theo is not following his Sox formula when his Sox formula played out over several years. Remember, Theo did “break it up” after the ’05 season with an explicit goal of building a new winner by 2008. However, he was breaking up a team that made post-season 3 straight years. That made the ’06 Sox a pretty decent team still.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      I think you’re wrong here. I criticized Hendry for his spending — in fact stopped following the team altogether in 2010 and 2011 I was so sick of him — but am a complete supporter of Theo. I think it’s fair to say that it’s entirely different groups doing the criticizing.

  • Kyle

    “Yes, it’s all on me. Your posts consistently turn into mud slinging contests because everyone else is stupid. That’s gotta be it.”

    What mud-slinging contest? You misunderstood my arguments, I clarified. No mud has been slung.

  • Kyle

    “So that alone would seem to bolster your argument that this place is a huge asset to the Cubs. In a country with a per capita GDP of roughly $10k/year (roughly 1/5th of the United States), the chance to live in rooms built to American levels of luxury and eat food prepared to American athlete specifications would be an enormous benefit to these kids, even if they Cubs technically can’t pay them more than $50k.”

    To be clear, the kids enter the academy as kids, *before* they can sign with any MLB team. They don’t sign with the Cubs so they can enter the academy.

    The idea is that the Cubs’ brand is so improved in the DR that they become a team that, if the money is roughly equal, kids want to sign with.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Source that, please. I can’t find anything that says that’s its intention.

      • Kyle

        Oops, my bad. I misunderstood what the Cubs were doing with the academy.

        Complaint withdrawn.

    • King Jeff

      You make a good point. It’s not just the DR though. The Dominican Republic doesn’t have the same restrictions on entering and leaving the country as the states, so it draws kids in from all over Latin America. They aren’t the only one, but if they are the best one, it has to be a huge boost to scouting and player development, and with the percentage of those prospects that are from Latin America, it makes it pretty invaluable in my opinion.

  • Jeff

    THE STARTING ROTATION: Other than Garza and Samardzija, what do we have that isn’t a major question mark and a serious long term project?

    Garza is in the last year of his deal. If we trade him, then that weakens the diminished rotation and I have little faith other teams would trade fairly given his history of injuries and closeness to free agency.

    Samardzija is the only bright spot.

    please don’t mention Germano or Berken as potential starters.

    When you look at what is available on the free agent market or think of trades, considering what little we have and what we would have to sacrifice to get a starting pitcher, the future outlook becomes very bleak :(

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Here’s the thing, there was a great comment Brett pulled from a former Cardinal exec. Keep in mind, here’s a organization in Baseball like Green Bay. Really at the smaller end of the market. The individual indicated Cardinal fans would not allow the ownership and management to just throw away seasons. I don’t know and really no one does, but when Theo talked at the end of the season, he seemed to be saying multiple years will be the cost of a winner and even went so far as to indicate if the got luckily and really worked hard maybe they could shave off a year. I read that as a breath taking statement. I have zero clue but read it as dampening expectations and smoke. Maybe its wishful, but if it isn’t there’s a problem here.

    The Cardinals have a simple formula. They dedicate themselves to winning, excellence at both levels. People view them as a class organization. That don’t talk much from ownership and management, and don’t make themselves the center of attention. They don’t talk about strategy and they don’t speak in terms of “assets”. They utilize every tool available ever year to make themselves better at the Major League Level. They practice consistency at the minor league level and place incredible emphasis on teaching, teaching and more teaching at the minor league level. I can’t stand the Cardinals, but maybe we and Theo should take note of this organization that has a simple formula that is age old for consistency and winning. I wanted Theo and like him. But right now, he’s not performed well at the Major League Level and some of the things he’s said, sorry just aren’t right. No one is asking him t win the world series next season. What we are asking, is not right off seasons, not exempt management from accountability, not to de-emphasize he importance of winning by just cavalierly accepting another 100 loss season or worse. And most importantly, not to blab stuff like he did at the end of the season. It was a manifesto for embracing losing.

    I believe he is the right guy and wants to win, however, his recent rhetoric, as much as I hate to admit if he believes it, as Boras indicated, is bull. You don’t have to dedicate yourself to losing for clumps of years to win. We should learn from out enemies to the South.

    • Randy

      So you obviously didn’t watch the 1990’s when the Cardinals were not winning anything. And if you compare them to what the Cubs have now you are sadly mistaken. They started the 2000’s off with guys named McGwire, Edmonds, and Rolen. Then they brought up some guys named Pujols and Molina from their minors which allowed them to dominate for the last decade. They also had one of the greatest Pitching coaches in the game during those years. This allowed them plenty of time to develop young talent and trade for players that only had to fill minor roles. They build a culture there, that when they made mid-season trades, those players took discounts to stay there.
      If you noticed this new management is starting a trend to get to that point. If Hendry was still here, Jeff S. would still have been a reliever this year instead of giving him a chance to prove himself. Who knows where Sean Marshall’s career could have gone if the Cubs had allowed him to Start the season he had his best spring instead of telling him to be a reliever for the rest of his career. The biggest problem is the Cubs have nothing in terms of pitching right now and that is what you need to win. If you had not noticed all the studs were locked up before the season ended. If you think the Cubs would not have kicked the tires on Hamels or Cain to boost this staff you are nuts.
      Stop crying about 2 years of being near the bottom. I want the Cubs to win a World Series with players I can watch for for years that are true Cubs and not have to buy a World Series with a bunch of players who only care about money.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        The Cards made it to the NLCS in ’96 and finished above .500 a total of five times in the decade. That counted as a bad a decade.

        When an NLCS trip and five winnings seasons is bad for a franchise, that franchise is doing something undeniably right.

        • Randy

          So the Cubs finished above .500 6 times between 2001-2010 and won the division 3 times and yet everyone is talking about how bad the organization has been because of 2 season? Guess we just don’t have enough true Cub Fans to care, everyone wants to remember how great our biggest rivals are.

          • Kyle

            The 2000s for the Cubs were quite underrated.

      • Frank

        Can’t agree more. My only hope is while Cubs fans are bitching and moaning about everything the Cardinals do, our front office is brainstorming on how to replicate their success.

        When you bring up enough Matt Craigs and Lance Lynns, at what point does it become talent recognition and player development? Yeah, David Freese was a Padres fringe prospect acquired as a PTBNL for the ghost of Jim Edmonds. But perhaps rather than luck, they did enough scouting of the Padres system that they recognized something in him and developed him into what he has become.

        We put together this dream team front office. That was the big move of the last offseason. If the plan was to sign Pujols or Fielder, they may as well have let Hendry do it. They should spend the next few yeas using the Cardinals and A’s as a template, not the Red Sox and Yankees. When we put something together that way, then break out the check books to fill the remaining needs.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Give me a break with the Cardinals as some model organization. They stunk for 15 years until 2000, when they found the best player in baseball who dominated the game for 10 years and carried them. The Cardinals won 83 games in 2006 and went on to become what is considered by many to be the worst World Series winning team in history. They won 88 games this year, 14 of which were against a AAA Houston team.
      In the last 6 years this model team won the worst division in baseball a whopping one time. Some domination. They are an aging team, that those who watched closely during the season, you can see the wheels starting to come of the wagon. I expect them to get smoked by a much better Giants team this week, and you will see a steady decline of this over rated club.

      • Kyle

        They’ve won 17 playoff series in the last decade.

        The Cubs have won one in the last century.

        • Kyle

          Typo. Merely 14.

          • cubfanincardinalland

            They were great from 2000 to 2006. They should have been, they had the best player of the last 50 years. The 03 and 04 teams were the best in baseball. Those teams choked, and ironically were immensely better than the two teams that won.
            The last seven years they have averaged 85 wins. Won the division one time. Hell, the Cubs have won the division more times than the Cardinals since 2006. You can win bar bets with that bit of trivia. Kind of team that should give the Cubs hope,they show that you don’t have to be dominant to have success. Play good ball for a couple months, sneak into the playoffs, and get hot at the right time.

            • Kyle

              That’s inaccurate. They have, in fact, won the division twice in the past seven years.

              • Chet Masterson

                I see your name all the time under the most recent posts lately. I honestly don’t read more than a couple of them so it’s unfair of me to ask you to read my one measly post; but just let it go.

                The Cardinals win more frequently than the Cubs. No one can deny that.

                The Cardinals have had some AMAZING good fortune lately. They’ve been down two their last strike in playoff series’ four times in the last two years and have overcome all of them.

                The Cardinals have had some great free agent results and great fill-ins for injured players. Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Jamie Garcia & Lance Lynn, to name a few.

                To deny their success is to be blind, but to deny their good fortune is similarly blind.

                You freaking out about any of this won’t change anything the Cubs or Cardinals do, so just let it go.

                Good day.

                • Kyle

                  I absolutely won’t deny their luck.

                  Much like with the Red Sox, I’m less jealous of their postseason luck than I am of their ability to put up good teams with consistency.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              The 03 and 04 teams were the best in baseball.

              No, the ’04 and ’05 Cards (not the ’03) were the best teams in the National League. However, the disparity between the AL and NL was huge then: there were a couple of years when both the best NL teams and worst AL teams split interleague play!

              The ’04 Cards actually hung close against a vastly superior Sox team: all 4 games in the sweep were close. The ’05 Cards simply got unlucky against the Astros in the playoffs: and that can happen in a short series. (The Astros were a very hot team going into post-season, if you recall, and I think that they were the best NL team the last month of the season.)

              The Cards have had a simple but effective formula. They put a lot of plus hitters (plus slugging and/or plus batting eye) at most of their positions. They put together a staff typically of solid but not eye-popping starters: many years there is not a “Cy Young” ace, but the #3 and #4 starters are much more effective than their counterparts on other teams.

              And, of course, they had Tony LaRussa creating such wonderful clubhouse chemistry….. :-)

              • Bill

                I’m not sure I agree with the “many years there is not a “Cy Young” ace. Seems to me the Cards annually have a Cy Young caliber pitcher. A couple years ago they had two. Most of the recent years Carpenter has been with them and he’s been an ace. Wainwright is an ace. When it comes to postseason I’d rather have either of those guys pitching over Dempster and Zambrano (who were the Cubs ‘aces’ in a couple playoffs).

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  ’09 was the only year like that. The Cards didn’t have a Cy Young type this year and they didn’t last year, either. (Carpenter has not been an “ace” in a while, although he’s still a good pitcher.) In earlier years, they sometimes had one guy with Cy Young type numbers and a bunch with solid but unspectacular numbers. Other years, it was just a bunch of guys with solid but unspectacular: and that’s fine, as it can get you to post-season.

  • gutshot5820

    If Prior and Wood were able to stay healthy and continue to improve as starting pitchers, the Cards record in our division over the last decade would not have been so great and the Cubs would have been dominant in that era.

    • Jeff

      If Bartman would have left his ball glove home on that fateful night

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Some of this gets ridiculous. But don’t bitch about Hendry and then run and behind him when faced with obvious folks. The Cardinals, an organization I can’t stand, has a long standing winning approach. I’m a Theo fan, but if he’s genuinely committed to losing to win, he’s another sweet Lou. In other words an empty suit who comes opposite of what we thought we were getting. Its a multi-task world. And no one has suggested that the Cubs have to win next season. But that idea Cub fans should embrace a couple or more 90-100 loss seasons is idiotic. No organization worth damn puts up with that as an objective, and then tells its fans to embrace it now so you can be there when the winning starts.

  • Stevie B

    Its the middle of October and it has come to this ^^^^

    Subjecting myself to much more of this and I’ll be forced to set myself on fire…

  • SIU Cubbie

    Here are my reasons for hating the Cardinals.
    LUCKY EVENT # 1. They would not even be in the playoffs without the rules changing. Even though the so called Cardinal fans are throwing Albert under the bus, they would not be in the playoffs with the benefit of this rule change

    LUCKY EVENT#2 The worst call in playoff history allowing the Cardinals to tp upset the Braves. A 220′ infield fly.

    LUCKY EVENT #3 They face the Nationals without Strasburg.

    LUCKY EVENT #4 They bring up a utilty infielder from the minors to replace Furcal and he bats ,400.

    LUCKY EVENT #5 When was the last time Beltran played a full year.

    LUCKY EVENT #6. They had either the 9th or 10th worst record of any of the playoff teams (They tied Detroit’s record) . It could turn out that they face each other in the WS.
    So they play all season to eliminate 2/3 of the teams and the worst teams of the top 1/3 battle in the WS? Chipper Jones said that they should let all teams in the playoffs and just play one game until one is left.

    I’m not jealous of the Cardinals. I just wish they did not advance on shithouse luck.

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