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No Bullets today, partly because there are few news items this morning, and partly because I’m going to The Game today (OSU/Michigan). If you don’t hear from me again, it’s because I was brash and decided to wear my Michigan garb to Ohio Stadium. In lieu of Bullets, please accept a tasty slice of the Lukewarm Stove …

  • Christina Kahrl suggests a trade the Red Sox should consider: “Trade to get Alfonso Soriano’s next two seasons and the last year that Matt Garza is under club control, sending Chicago a package of [Ryan] Kalish[Jarrod] Saltalamacchia and minor-league prospects Alex Wilson and Matt Barnes.” Well, I suppose I agree that the Red Sox should consider that one, but should the Cubs? Setting aside the fact that, after the Dioner Navarro signing, the Cubs don’t really have a spot for Salty, unless they’re going to trade Welington Castillo, I’m just not sure about that deal for the Cubs. On the one hand, the implication is that the Red Sox are taking on all or most of Soriano’s salary, which is certainly valuable. And Barnes is a legitimately interesting prospect. But Wilson is a 26-year-old relief prospect coming off a down year at AAA, and Kalish is a fringy young outfielder whom I wouldn’t take in center field over Brett Jackson. So, no, I don’t think I’d be on board for that deal because I don’t see a whole lot of value for the Cubs … but that doesn’t mean I think the Cubs could get more for Soriano and Garza right now. Soriano’s value in that deal is depressed by the Sawx taking on his contract (something I’d hope the Cubs would avoid, in favor of a better prospect return), and Garza’s value is depressed by the last vision of him on the mound being one where he’s grabbing for his elbow. Hopefully the Cubs won’t sell low on him.
  • The Yankees re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $15 million deal earlier this week (despite him reportedly having better offers from other teams), which does not impact the Cubs directly – obviously they weren’t in on Kuroda, and his free agent value was really wonky, given his desire for a short-term deal and possibility of heading back to Japan. But the signing does have a modest impact on the Cubs’ offseason efforts: namely, it reduces the Yankees’ free agent pitching desires by way of a guy who was never coming to the Cubs. That is to say, had Kuroda decided to go back to Japan, the Cubs and Yanks may suddenly have been going head-to-head for a free agent pitcher or two (depending on the Yankees’ backup plans). Now, that almost certainly won’t happen.
  • Further, if the Yanks bring back Andy Pettitte, too, as they want to do, it might make Phil Hughes expendable – while he isn’t as desirable as he may have been a couple years ago, he’s still an intriguing, young, upside starter in the Rick Porcello vein.
  • MLBTR compares two of the Cubs’ possible free agent targets: Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy. The surprise is not that McCarthy is viewed more favorably (except by Tim Dierkes, who actually ranked Liriano the more attractive free agent when considering health), it’s that it isn’t a blowout. For me, it’s McCarthy, and it isn’t close. I’ll take the injury risk in exchange for the much more reliably solid performance. (Assuming the contracts were similar, I mean … which I don’t think they will be. So, if Liriano gets 1/$5M and McCarthy gets 2/$25M, well, then I could be more open to Liriano.)
  • The Royals are open to moving uber-prospect Wil Myers for a front-line starting pitcher, but, no, I don’t think Matt Garza is the guy (injury concern, one year of control, etc.). I also don’t think Jeff Samardzija is the guy, but I wouldn’t be totally crazy about making that swap anyway. To paraphrase Jed Hoyer: the Cubs need more Jeff Samardzija’s, not fewer Jeff Samardzija’s.
  • After picking up Ryan Wheeler from the D-backs, the Rockies could be looking to deal Wheeler – a third base prospect in whom the Cubs reportedly had interest last year – or another third baseman (Nolan Arenado?). Seems like a lot of speculation, but it was worth a mention. So I mentioned.
  • Zack Greinke is believed to be looking for a six-year deal, which, like, dude … ask for more.
  • cjdubbya

    O-H…

  • Cub2014

    Brett all I here is trade for a centerfielder, why not give Tony campana a full
    Look. Last 2 yrs he has hit .260 and .265 and if he improves with
    Contact and bunting he could hit .280-.290 I don’t know the stats but it seems like
    the cubs score more when he plays. Why bring in some vetteran who hits .250
    Besides I think in 2 years almora will probably be their centerfielder

    • MichiganGoat

      Because Campana is bad at getting on base and playing defense.

      • Cub2014

        84 and 85 bob dernier hit .266 with on base of .330 and his speed helped sand berg
        And the cubs score his defense was average and arm was weak.
        Campana hit .265 with .310 OBP if he reached base 5 more times in 2012
        His OBP is .330 besides are the cubs winning in 2013?

        • AB

          This isn’t 1985. Campana’s offenive production for a CF even getting on base 5 more times would rank at the bottom of the national league for centerfielders.

          As long as the argument is Jackson or Campana, it’s going to be Jackson every time.

          • Cub2014

            Well it’s definitely not 1984 this team isn’t close to being to that level
            But campanas zip obs would have had 11th best out of 30 last year, if reached 5 additional times he would have been in 23rd best he is nothing great but why mess around with upton his stats were worse.

        • DarthHater

          Hey, I can find a team in the history of baseball that was able to win its division in spite of having a starting CF almost as bad as Campana! That proves it would be a good idea to start Campana!

          • Cub2014

            Exactly they aren’t going anywhere this year so don’t bring in a
            Centerfielder let him start if he is bad by June get Jackson back up to
            Chicago I don’t think the world series in the future in 2013

            I know it was sarcasm but you made my point

            • MichiganGoat

              Why do we keep having this discussion? Campana is not good, he is really, really fast but that is the only thing he is good at everything else he is below average. It’s amazing how Scrappy Love confuses so many people.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          In ’85 he was bad and so was the team. Those two things are not unrelated.

          However, in ’84 Dernier’s slash line was: .278/.356/.362. If Campana could do that, he’d be locked in as the starter.

        • arta

          wasn’t a Dernier fan but he is by far better than Campana. as i recall and the reason i believe the Phil’s traded him here was he was a 3 month player. Campana is lucky to be the 4th/5th OF’er. JMO.

    • Carne Harris

      I wouldn’t be against it, but they’d have to keep working with him to draw more walks and get rid of his tendency to uppercut and instead learn to slap the ball into the ground. I’m not sure Iowa isn’t the better place for him to work on all that.

    • Jeremy

      I’d rather have a top loading washing machine platooning with a top loading dryer playing center field than Tony Campana.

      • MichiganGoat

        Exactly

      • Carne Harris

        You and Cory Doctorow.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Have a great time at the game Brett. What a rivalry! The best rivalry game I attended was the USC-UCLA game a few times, mostly in the late 80′s, the Rodney Peete-Troy Aikman years. As for my team, the season finially ended yesterday. Good riddance John L. Smith. He is not a head coach but everybodys crazy grandpa. Last week I reported that the leading canidate to be the Hogs next head coach is Gary Patterson and I got quite a few responses to that. Now the leading canidate is Jon Gruden!!!!!! Spider Y Banana to Fayetteville, Arkansas!!! Woo Pig Sooie.

  • John

    I’m going to disagree with you Brett. If the Royals called up today and offered Myers for Samardjiza, I hope the Cubs would immediately take it. Samardjiza isn’t by any means a run of the mill pitcher, he has good stuff, and is starting to harness his potential. However, Myers is and will be an absolute beast, and is ready to come up now. He would be completely adjusted to the big leagues when it’s time to make a run for a title (hopefully 2014 or 2015) and probably would be a .290 + / 35 + a year guy. Those don’t exactly show up every day either.

    • MichiganGoat

      I dunno it’s not exactly Theo’s style to trade away a player that has shown MLB success for a prospect that is a year or two away. I’m sure Theo is more interested in trading away prospects for quality MLB proven players than making a move like this. I can see the upside but I think the safer and smarter move us to stick with what is proven and under control.

  • Fastball

    I don’t like any trades with the rockies . we lost out on the last deal with them. don’t like doing business with the redsux either. keep Sori and extend garza

  • fromthemitten

    GO BLUE THROW A TOMATO AT BRAXTON MILLER FOR ME

  • Fastball

    At our Tailgate behind the varsity club. go O$U Buck$

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    The only reason we got taken on our last trade with the Rockies is because the front office wasn’t here to see that Colvin wasn’t handled properly by Quade and Hendry. The thing that puzzles me to this day is theo/Jed had to have stewart so bad that they couldn’t wait for him to be non tendered.

    • Frank

      I have no problem with the Colvin trade. Colvin was done here, and I’m still not sold on him as more than a 4th OF. We traded him and a guy who’s future is as a utility IF for two gambles offering very high rewards. We basically traded two guys with a very good chance to be decent big league players for two guys with an outside chance of being superstars. I’m Ok with that, and while I doubt that Weathers will ever learn control, I’d still love to see what Stewart can do post wrist surgery. Even if he ends up a league average 3rd baseman offensively with plus defense, it outweighs what Colvin is likely to end up being.

      • Frank

        To elaborate, take a look at Colvin’s home/road splits. Very lopsided. Anytime you’re dealing with a player on a team like the Rockies who have a very hitter friendly park it’s something to take heavily into consideration. Especially with a guy who’s likely never going to be a big OBP guy.

        • ssckelley

          Agreed! It drives me crazy that people still pine for Colvin because of how well he produced at Colorado. Colvin had a .687 OPS away from Coors field!

  • william

    i would think the trade would be a little more fair like this
    barnes
    webster
    britton
    kalish
    salty who can also play first to rest rizzo
    for
    garza
    sori where the cubs pick up most his contract
    ridiling

  • http://www.obstructedview.net Berselius

    Would be great to see aOSU win today and have to watch bowl games at home with an undefeated record. Suck it, Jim Tressel.

  • Frank

    Re: Red Sox trade; Barnes is a nice start. Why not on Wilson, but if we’re talking Soriano and Garza, we’re going to need something better in between.

  • supergeek24

    Go blue! Beat Ohio

  • Martin

    When you can get a potential top 5 MLB hitter for a #3 starter (ceiling) who will be 32 by the time your best prospects are making a difference at the MLB level, you do it every day and twice on Sundays.

    While I don’t necessarily agree with their philosophy about basically throwing away the next 2-3 seasons, f they’re going to tank until their young guys are ready, Samardzija has no place on this team. Maximize his value now.

    All that said, my guess is that the Royals would laugh the Cubs off the phone if they offered Samardzija straight up for Myers.

    • Njriv

      Remember Samardzija doesn’t have as much mileage on his arm as other pitchers do at his age.

      • FFP

        Interesting point.

      • Lou

        This is an argument that i’m not sure i agree with. Just because someone doesn’t any mileage on their arm at the MLB level doesn’t mean that age doesn’t play a factor. The mere fact that they haven’t been a starter in MLB baseball also doesn’t mean anything as well.

  • harryddunn

    Go Blue!

  • Nathan

    I am in LA for the Notre Dame USC game. Let’s go Irish!

  • #1lahairfan

    Is it not weird that Red Sox fans think they are giving too much, while we think they are giving too little.

  • Tommy

    That Red Sox trade possibility is horrendous.

  • Jeff1969

    Red Sox fans are even more nuts than us Cubs fans, maybe only exceeded by Yankees fans especially when overrating their players. Also, I think the Royals are going to trade someone, maybe Moustakas, Hosmer, maybe Gordon. They can’t produce pitching, they seem to have loads of injuries & flameouts with their pitchers. I think they feel like they have to go out and get other teams young pitching or young estalished pitchers. Shark, who turns 28 in January, fits that pretty good.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    As a Univ. of Minnesota Golden Gopher grad, I can only hope it ends in a scoreless tie, so wish again Michigan, and you go you Luckeyes. But enjoy the game, it will be a spectacle no doubt.
    Grienke is supposed to get 6 years and 150 million, wow.
    Was looking and see that Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and Justin Verlander are all free agents after the 2014 season. Could the Cubs be keeping powder dry for a run at some of these fellows? Can’t imagine the money they will get though, yikes.

    • Nathan

      Out of the those three Hernandez seems the most likely candidate to go after

  • chris

    Have a good time in my town.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Hey Cubfanincardinalland. As a graduate of Minnesota, do you remember former Gopher quarterback Travis Cole? His mom is my cougar lady friend.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      I do, he was a decent pitcher on the baseball team also, if I remember correctly. He could fire a football.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Yeah, he had a cannon for an arm. He was one of the final cuts of my beloved Steelers. Charlie Batch beat him out, who is starting Sunday at Cleveland. Travis played for a few years for the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena League. His coach was former Cowboy quarterback and punter, Danny White.

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    GO Notre Dame !

  • Rcleven

    Could the woof be at the Cubs door.

    http://instagr.am/p/SaiwbfQXuI/

    • FFP

      OOOooooooooooooo

  • sclem21

    I would say Barnes is more than ‘legitimately interesting’ though that was probably an intentionally vague description and I dont disagree with the assessment of the trade in general (except Navarro’s presence certainly wouldnt preclude me from adding C talent).

    Here he is ranked ahead of Gausman, Nicolino, Paxton, etc. http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/10/8/3474586/preliminary-top-50-pitching-prospects-list-for-2013

    And then there’s this: ‘The big right-hander has everything you want in a future frontline starter. His fastball can get up to around 96 mph and he maintains his velocity deep into his starts. His curve has the chance to be a plus pitch and his changeup is more than serviceable. He got off to a ridiculous start with Class A Greenville and the Red Sox promoted him to High A after he gave up a single run in 26.2 innings. He pitched well in High A ball as well, striking out more than nine batters per nine innings. His command should be excellent in the future, and it may not take him all that long to be ready for Boston.’

    I guess this is just to say I think Barnes is going to be a monster and he is exactly the kind of prospect Id hope to see headlining a package in return for Garza.

  • Jeff

    “I guess this is just to say I think Barnes is going to be a monster and he is exactly the kind of prospect Id hope to see headlining a package in return for Garza.”

    Agreed, but the rest of the players in that proposed trade for Garza and Soriano is a joke.

    Barnes for Garza isn’t even enough.

  • cRAaZYHORSE
  • cRAaZYHORSE

    Ohio State 26 the other team 21 ! good win

  • cRAaZYHORSE
    • MichiganGoat

      Ignored

    • Kyle

      That’s some serious hyperbole. Though he is quite overrated.

      • Navarro66@@

        Theo E. I think the man likes to hear himself speak. . I think in the last 12 years the only GM that actually had any type of success with money ball has been Florida and Tampa Bay but no one give those guys credit. Its a shame that the owners of the Cubs feel the need to steal good money from its fans.and put a terrible team on the field in 12 and maybe the 13 season., To me it seems like the Cubs just want to lose to assure high draft picks. I am embarrassed to be a Cub Fan. But yeah ,I know the argument – rebuilding takes time – meanwhile the Cubs keep stealing money.

        • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

          From whom is anything being stolen? The Cubs don’t have the talent to seriously make a run at third, much less second. Generations of foolish ownership are coming to roost in 2012 and 2013. The team is in much better financial shape than 13 months ago, and Prospect-niks are warming to our talent pipeline because different types of players are coming in than in the past.

          And, so you know, the space goes after the comma.

          • Kyle

            The only foolishness is believing simultaneously that you have a good front office and that they can’t put together a competitive team given vast resources and an entire offseason, let alone working on their second offseason.

            Prospect-niks were warming to our talent pipeline *before* we hired the current front office. The 2011 draft was pretty good.

            • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

              They *can* put together a good team without quality tradable assets. Or many quality FA available willing to come to a team not in contention. If you want to offer a Soriano-like contract.

              Or….

              You can hunker down for two years, develop your talent, sign tradable assets for talent like Chrisian Villanueva, Ronnie Torreyes, and others.

              Yeah, it sucks to cheer for a team that temporarily sucks. But at least we’re doing it in a l,ogical fashion for about the first time in eighty years.

              • Kyle

                “Logical” is not the same as correct, especially in the colloquial sense that it’s being used, i.e. “well, it makes sense to me on a superficial level.”

                It’s a bad plan that locks in the downside and prays for upside down the road.

                • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

                  opposed to the other plan, which the Cubs did in the 2007 offseason and traded present downside for the hope that a series of pennants would turn into $175M payrolls.

                  I really have no idea what you are arguing anymore, other than that this front office is a bunch of morons incapable of even the most simple of tasks.

                  • Kyle

                    “opposed to the other plan, which the Cubs did in the 2007 offseason and traded present downside for the hope that a series of pennants would turn into $175M payrolls.”

                    No, it is not opposed to that. The entire obsession with the idea that we have to do things one way or the other is exactly why we have so many people believing so many things that are wrong about the Cubs.

                    A baseball team can simultaneously improve their future and their present. You don’t have to choose between them or sacrifice one for the other.

                    “I really have no idea what you are arguing anymore, other than that this front office is a bunch of morons incapable of even the most simple of tasks.”

                    If that’s what you get out of what I’ve said, then you aren’t even trying to read my posts, and that’s OK.

                    • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                      Eventually, Theo will do both portions very well. First, he has to upgrade the minors significantly. To the point where they were when he was in Boston.

                      He has already upgraded the bullpen. And first base. Other spots will improve markedly. But not by next Wednesday. This is his fourteenth month in town. The team will look much better in a year, and free agents won’t require a “You are a terrible team” bonus shortly thereafter.

                    • Kyle

                      “Eventually, Theo will do both portions very well. First, he has to upgrade the minors significantly. To the point where they were when he was in Boston.”

                      And the evidence that he “has to” do this is … ?

                      “He has already upgraded the bullpen.”

                      lolwut? Seriously? The 2012 Cubs fielded the third-worst bullpen in the majors in the last five years. In what universe did Epstein (or Hoyer) upgrade the bullpen?

                      Outside of maybe 3b, no part of the organization has been more thoroughly abused by Epstein’s strategies and Hoyer’s failures than the bullpen.

                      “And first base.”

                      Yes.

                      ” Other spots will improve markedly.”

                      Well, I should hope so, considering his first offseason featured the installation of some of the worst players in baseball.

                      ” But not by next Wednesday. This is his fourteenth month in town.”

                      14 months is not enough time to put together a decent baseball team? Ye gods, the man could pee all over himself and people would applaud him for his innovative work in the field of urine-polymer art.

                      ” The team will look much better in a year, and free agents won’t require a “You are a terrible team” bonus shortly thereafter.”

                      The evidence that such premiums are widespread is scant.

                    • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                      The bullpen, heading into 2012 was a wreck. He played 40 Man Jenga all year long, and the 2012 Pen was hideous.

                      In 2013, Marmol, Camp, Russell, Bowden, Chapman, Dolis, Cabrera, and Beliveau all represent decent options, before we invite in NRI types. No, it isn’t a finished product, but you can’t expect a finished product from a club that has been ruled by front office follies the last 8 decades.

                      The Cubs usually stroll into camp with 5 starting pitching options (Trade Gorzelanny, as it would be foolish to have a sixth starter, right Jim Hendry) and maybe 6 potential relievers. Pitchers never get hurt, right?

                      I’m guessing a 4th or 5th place finish this year, again. There will be more questions answered. And, in your view, more time will be wasted. Because we didn’t throw eleventy scazillion dollars at Upton.

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              You’re right, it is possible to put together a competitive team in 1 offseason. Typically that means tens of millions of dollars in AAV spending or a handful of prospects blossoming in the same season.

              • Kyle

                Or simply making a lot of small, good decisions about your MLB roster.

              • King Jeff
                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Is it really? For one thing, quick turn-arounds are pretty rare: there haven’t been that many in the last couple of years, and those few that we’ve seen have come in a few ways. I’d say that sheer dumb luck has been the biggest factor.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    That should read: “there haven’t been that many in the last decade.”

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              Wait a minute…which prospect-niks were warming? You mean all the ones that were saying our prospects were 4th and 5th outfielder types or backup MI?

              • Kyle

                Baseball America had us 16th in the 2011 rankings, and no it wasn’t all Rizzo and Toreyes that made that difference.

                The consensus among the pundits who knew what they were talking about in 2011 is that the Cubs’ farm system had bottomed out and was beginning to bounce back with a lot of interesting low-minors talent.

              • Kyle

                Another one, from Nov. 21, Kevin Goldstein:

                “It’s not a bad system by any measurement, but it has far more depth than star power”

                Not a bad system by any measurement. Unless it’s Cubs fans’ need to justify whatever Theo Epstein does, then it *was* a bad system by that measurement.

                • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                  The entire Boise starting lineup was prospects in the Final playoff game. That doesn’t happen in Short Season Ball.

                  Theo has had one (count them) draft. He has also had one International signing season.

                  I guess in Fantasy Baseball, it might be easy to make six blockbuster trades in a week. In the MLB, that doesn’t happen very often. Especially when many of your key players can’t be traded yet.

                  • Kyle

                    As I keep reminding people, those Boise prospects were in the system before Epstein got here, despite their repeated attempts to give him credit for them.

                    • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                      On what day did we sign Albert Almora? On what day did we sign Pierce Johnson? On what day did we sign Juan Paniagua? On what day did we sign Stephen Bruno?

                      Here’s a hint. They were all signed after Theo arrived. Prove me wrong, or admit you were.

                      Theo has been good at drafting, and good at developing. I find it highly amusing when people hate Theo’s philosophy so much that they ignore the good he’s doing.

                      And, yes, I hate how he mis-managed Rusin and Raley in 2012. Those were two very poor roster mistakes. So, no, he isn’t above criticism from me.

                    • Kyle

                      “On what day did we sign Albert Almora? On what day did we sign Pierce Johnson? On what day did we sign Juan Paniagua? On what day did we sign Stephen Bruno?

                      Here’s a hint. They were all signed after Theo arrived. Prove me wrong, or admit you were.”

                      I’m perfectly aware of when these players were drafted and signed. But you didn’t say “Boise had a couple of 2012 draftees appear late in the season for him and that was awesome.”

                      Although Panigua never appeared at Boise, so I’m not sure why you threw him in there.

                      “Theo has been good at drafting, and good at developing. I find it highly amusing when people hate Theo’s philosophy so much that they ignore the good he’s doing.”

                      When have I ever denied that Theo is good at drafting? In fact, my argument all along is that his history shows that he is so good at drafting, he doesn’t need to tank the Major League Team to develop a good farm system.

                      “And, yes, I hate how he mis-managed Rusin and Raley in 2012. Those were two very poor roster mistakes. So, no, he isn’t above criticism from me.”

                      It stuns me that you could look past the many terrible roster decisions this year at the MLB level and complain about the treatment of a couple of AAAA starters.

                    • Kyle

                      Instead of doing this piecemeal, let’s just lay it all out. The worthwhile prospects (i.e.not roster fill) on Boise who were acquired under Epstein:

                      Acquired under Epstein:
                      Almora, Johnson, Bruno

                      Inherited by Epstein:
                      Vogelbach, Amaya, Hernandez, Candelario, Contreras, Shoulders, Dunston, Martin, Arias, Pena, Pugliese, Pena, Cruz, Scott

                      Oh, Theo, you’re my hero for putting together from scratch that Boise squad when you came in with nothing, nothing at all to work with!

                    • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                      You said “those Boise prospects were in the system before Epstein got here”. Many were. Some weren’t.

                      And Paniagua played in the post-season. That is why I included him. http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2012_09_09_vanasx_boiasx_1&t=g_box&sid=t480

                      I’m not entirely sure what ‘terrible roster decisions’ he made, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.

          • Navarro66@@

            Well it seems like the Cubs are still losing no different . I suppose you are correct that the Cubs are better off financial since they have signed no major contracts and still have a bad team.

            • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

              I’d say the Cubs were in bad shape, financially, when the had to backload a 1 year deal.

              • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                heh

            • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

              They also have talent in the pipeline, eight and ten deep.They are a year or three away, and finally have proper coaching to help.

              The most effective way to have a good team in the MLB is to draft and develop most of your own talent. If you are buying it (free agency), you miss out on most of the player’s easily cost-effective years. If you trade for whiz-bang talent, you empty your prospect cupboard.

              When Theo has enough talent (he doesn’t yet), he will sign big-name free agents. That so many Cubs fans don’t realize what he is doing is prudent (though by no means a certainty) is an indication of what sort of bufoons have run the show over the last 80 years or so.

              The teams that have been the best over the past 15 years or so (St. Louis, NYY, Boston) have drafted and developed for better than Chicago. Theo will do that for us now, this time with the benefit of early draft picks (for the next two drafts) and large International Draft pools (for the next two years) after starting the run with Albert Almora, Pierce Johnson, and Juan Paniagua (and others), which is a really good start.

              But, no, it won’t be accomplished by next Thursday.

              • Kyle

                “The most effective way to have a good team in the MLB is to draft and develop most of your own talent. If you are buying it (free agency), you miss out on most of the player’s easily cost-effective years. If you trade for whiz-bang talent, you empty your prospect cupboard.”

                The most effective way to have a good MLB team is to acquire good baseball players by all means necessary. You don’t draft an entire team, you don’t sign an entire team in free agency and you don’t trade for an entire team. Justifying abdication of one front of talent acquisition by saying how cool the others are is not a real argument.

                Drafting well is good. Signing good free agents is good. Doing both is best.

                “When Theo has enough talent (he doesn’t yet), he will sign big-name free agents.”

                I get that’s the idea. But it’s a bad idea. You are throwing away your most precious resource: time, for no good reason other than it seems aesthetically pleasing to chase that sort of efficiency.

                “That so many Cubs fans don’t realize what he is doing is prudent (though by no means a certainty) is an indication of what sort of bufoons have run the show over the last 80 years or so.”

                This isn’t some sort of new idea. Epstein is enacting a combination of the MacPhail and Wrigley plans.

                “The teams that have been the best over the past 15 years or so (St. Louis, NYY, Boston) have drafted and developed for better than Chicago. Theo will do that for us now, this time with the benefit of early draft picks (for the next two drafts) and large International Draft pools (for the next two years) after starting the run with Albert Almora, Pierce Johnson, and Juan Paniagua (and others), which is a really good start.”

                Those teams are precisely the point. They drafted and developed well without needing to tank seasons. So why does Epstein feel he needs to tank seasons to draft and develop well? Is he not as good at drafting and development as those franchises’ executives?

                “But, no, it won’t be accomplished by next Thursday.’”

                How convenient. It will be accomplished in some vague future that leaves him with no accountability for the failures and all the credit for any eventual success.

                • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

                  The Wrigley plan was what? MacPhail didn’t clean house of people who thought walks were time wasters.

                  Theo is having the basics taught to the kids in the minors. When Baez homers on a take sign, he gets benched. The guy teaching technique to the minor league hurlers was doing the same for David Price a few years back.

                  The reason St. Louis, Boston, and NYY don’t tank is because, this is kind of important, their teams are already good. You might get massive doses of pleasure from your team finishing with 74 wins. Me, not so much. Theo has a plan, and his plan was better served trading Maholm, Dempster, Soto, and others for prospects. It wasn’t harmed by Berken, Hinshaw, Socolovich, and other forgettable pitchers, as the 2nd Draft Spot is better than the third, fourth, or fifth. The added International Money might help add another Soler, or the next Aroldis Chapman.

                  2012 stunk. 2013 might not be much better. If Wrigley had valued investing in the minors (He didn’t.), or if his successors changed things (They didn’t, until 2011), this wouldn’t even be being discussed.

                  When Theo can get a 12 million a year talent for 12 million a year (instead of 15, since we aren’t competitive yet), he might just do that.

                  • Kyle

                    “The Wrigley plan was what? MacPhail didn’t clean house of people who thought walks were time wasters.”

                    The last Wrigley was deathly afraid of spending money on a bad team and hated the idea of wasting any money on a non-contending team.

                    MacPhail modernized (at the time) the drafting and development process of the organization and led us quickly to a top farm system.

                    “Theo is having the basics taught to the kids in the minors. When Baez homers on a take sign, he gets benched. The guy teaching technique to the minor league hurlers was doing the same for David Price a few years back.”

                    Congratulations. In the meantime, a team that wasn’t us won the World Series and we all got one year older.

                    “The reason St. Louis, Boston, and NYY don’t tank is because, this is kind of important, their teams are already good.”

                    So maybe we should try to copy them? Or at least not reference them as “proof” of what we’re doing, when they are doing something different.

                    “You might get massive doses of pleasure from your team finishing with 74 wins. Me, not so much.”

                    I don’t particularly care what you get pleasure from. I care about what makes the Cubs most likely to win one or more World Series championships.

                    “Theo has a plan, and his plan was better served trading Maholm, Dempster, Soto, and others for prospects.”

                    It’s a bad plan. Yeah, grabbing some marginal prospects and one decent sore-armed reliever that we are praying can start was a good move once we got to July, but the mistake was putting us on that path to begin with.

                    “It wasn’t harmed by Berken, Hinshaw, Socolovich, and other forgettable pitchers, as the 2nd Draft Spot is better than the third, fourth, or fifth. The added International Money might help add another Soler, or the next Aroldis Chapman.”

                    Pretty unlikely. The Soler’s and Chapman’s will just wait until they are old enough to avoid the IFA cap. You’ll get the pick of the 16 y/os, which is a very dicey game.

                    “2012 stunk. 2013 might not be much better. If Wrigley had valued investing in the minors (He didn’t.), or if his successors changed things (They didn’t, until 2011), this wouldn’t even be being discussed.”

                    If Epstein had the franchise’s best interests at heart and not his own curiosity, we wouldn’t be discussing it either.

                    “When Theo can get a 12 million a year talent for 12 million a year (instead of 15, since we aren’t competitive yet), he might just do that.”

                    There is more to winning baseball than monetary efficiency.

    • DarthHater

      Theo Epstein, the most overrated GM of all time

      It must be true, because some imbecile said it on the internet and then some other imbecile posted a link to it. That’s enough for me.

      • MichiganGoat

        But what if the imbecile is also a mega douche… Then it got to be true, right?

        • DarthHater

          Yea, but calling an imbecile a megadouche would be unkind… ;-)

  • Byron Browne

    All last season I’ve heard the drumbeat that “pitching and defense brings a team to the world series.” Then i read how some Cubs fans desperately want us to get rid of our two best pitchers and a gold-glove second baseman.Makes sense, doesn’t it?

    • Kyle

      People who say that don’t know what they are talking about.

      Scoring more runs than your opponents brings you to the World Series. There’s two halves to that equation, and pitching/defense is only one of them.

      • Byron Browne

        This is true, but my comment was more directed at the fickleness of some Cub fans. They would prefer Adrian “hands of stone” Cardenas to play second, but then criticize Castillo for his defensive abilities. Some consistency on what it takes to win would be welcomed.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Who wants to trade Samardzija?

      • Byron Browne

        See some of the posts earlier today, Samardjiza and what ever it takes for Will Myers.

    • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

      I would consider trading Barney.

      Logan Watkins represents Barney 2.0. If Darwin Barney (who is still relatively cheap) brings in difference-making talent, it would be foolish not to consider it. His value will probably never be higher.

      • Byron Browne

        But it seems that for some fans, the priority is getting rid of Barney, and secondarily who is going to play second. Of course if a better player that fits the Cubs’ need is available for Barney, go for it. But until then, quit with the “anybody but Barney” mantra.

        • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

          I’m not with the “Anybody But Barney” Brigade. That said, if the projected difference between Barney and Watkins is less than the difference between the guy we’d receive and the guy we have, I’m still open to dealing Barney.

          He is our best tradable asset.

      • jt

        One of Watkins, Barney or Valbuena has a chance to be a decent 2B; not a sure thing but a good bet.
        Add Rizzo at 1B, Castro at SS and Castillo at C and half of the position rebuild is done.
        DeJesus and Soriano can be viewed part of the rebuild but are place savers. They don’t have a place saver at 3B or one of the OF spots.
        Shark seems to be a long term front of the rotation guy. Wood seems to be a long term back of the rotation guy. Garza is an interesting question mark(?). So they need one or two front end rotation guys and a back end rotation guy to complete the rebuild.
        They don’t have a spot starter. They need a spot starter.
        They have a bunch of young healthy studs in the BP who may or may not be ML material. They have a bunch of question marks in the BP(?).
        They don’t seem to have a bench. A bench can be build rather quickly. They don’t seem to have a bench.
        They have a lot of stuff already done. They have holes that are well defined. They have some questions that need to be answered.
        And they have a bunch of guys who may or may not be ready in 3 or so years.

        • jt

          meant to say the rebuild of position players is halfdone.

        • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

          Watkins will get 3000 MLB at bats. Not necessarily all in on place, but he would start in Houston by September.

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