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This weekend, CSN’s Dave Kaplan went on an unprompted – but apropos, given the Winter Meetings – Twitter rant about the state of the Chicago Cubs’ organization over the past several years. It was a thing of beauty, and useful to keep in the back of your mind as we observe the events this week in Nashville.

Away we go, in chronological order …

Whew. Throw in some cursing and a “Hallelujah, holy sh*t. Where’s the Tylenol?” and I would have been reminded of ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ (which, incidentally, I watched last night, in an annual tradition).

Kap’s rant didn’t go unnoticed by others in the Chicago media. The Daily Herald’s Bruce Miles gave Kaplan a gentle ear flick:

Miles later made clear that he likes Kap, and Kap emphasized that he wasn’t try to rip on Hendry, just the organization as a whole.

The Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan was a bit more blunt:

And that was before 50% of Kap’s rant was completed.

(I suppose it’s worth pointing out, without too much comment, that Kaplan works for CSNChicago, an entity partly owned by the family that currently owns the Cubs (and hired the current front office), and Sullivan works for the Tribune, an entity whose parent company (the Tribune Company) used to own the Cubs (and hired/employed the former front office). I’m not saying their employers prejudice their respective positions, but I’m sure they partly¬†inform¬†those positions.)

In the end, the tweets made for meta gold, but it’s not like anything Kap said was incorrect. The organization was in shambles two years ago, bloated by useless commitments, understaffed in the front office, uninterested in modern analytics, and unable to consistently acquire and develop future MLB talent. As Theo Epstein said last year, you can’t turn an ocean liner on a dime. It takes time.

  • http://aeryssports.com/a-league-of-her-own/ Julie DiCaro

    Ahahahahahaha!!

    Bruce Miles is the best.

  • Cub Style

    At least someone was listening when I was screaming at the tv to draft Wieters

  • King Jeff

    One question here, does anyone know if Kaplan ended up in Twitter jail with all those tweets in succession? Or is that just for us obsessive fans who tend to over-vent?

  • BD

    Not sure where anybody else stands on this- but I just don’t like Sullivan. And Miles is only a small step above him. (again, IMO)

    From the length of Kapman’s post, and the two shots back at him, this looks like it could’ve been comments on a BN post. It has to be one side or the other, can’t allow for people to have an opinion that doesn’t jive with your own.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Yep.

    That the Cubs system is as good and as deep as it is, I think, largely because Tim Wilken is quite good at what he does even when hampered on all sides (particularly by budgets), not because he is terrible (as many seemed to argue late in the Hendry regime).

  • Jeremy

    If we don’t have a competitive team this season, I’m going to lose a lot of faith. We have been told multiple times that we will be competitive on both fronts (ML level and Farm restocking) and while one has been successful so far a 100 loss season isn’t acceptable. If have to deal with another piece of shit team this year something is wrong.

    • Brian Peters

      Someone has been walking around with his listening ears turned off. I don’t think, when Theo has said the Cubs are going to be competitive, that he meant they would contend for an NL Central pennant. The Cubs’ farm system was DEPLETED by the previous GMs who were too quick to listen to folks like you pushing for the quick fix, which never fixed anything. If you are tired of watching the Cubs struggle, turn tail and adopt the Cardinals as your team. I have 47 years vested in the Cubs. Some folks on here are older than me. We all get frustrated because we want the Cubs to be the Cardinals, Yankees, or Giants. I believe we’ll get there eventually, with the help of men hired to do the most challenging job in baseball…..men who aren’t afraid to state down the barrel of the “you have money….spend it” gun i admire someone who is able to turn their cheek to popular opinion in favor of building a team the RIGHT way. So lose your faith, lose your confidence, I don’t care.

      • Jim L.

        Amen brother.

    • Stinky Pete

      I’m not sure what can happen to change that. You will probably have to deal with another piece of shit team unless the scenario from the other thread takes place and we end up with Headley, Price, Delgado, Hamilton and Bourn. We’ll see.

  • Kyle

    As I keep arguing, the seeds for the improvements in the farm system were sown before Epstein got here. Two excellent classes of Dominican kids and the fantastic 2011 draft class have as much to do with the farm system’s turnaround as anything.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      You just can’t stand the thought of giving Theo any props at all, can you?

      • Kyle

        I’m interested in accuracy. The part I point out is the part most often overlooked. If everyone was overlooking Epstein’s contributions, then I’d be glad to point them out in the name of accuracy.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I think Kap was taking up more of a Ricketts/Tribune beef than a Hendry/Epstein-Hoyer beef.

          • Kyle

            I’ll wait until we actually win some baseball games before I declare Ricketts’ way better.

            • King Jeff

              Hindsight is 20/20, right Kyle?

              • Kyle

                Is it really hindsight if I’m skeptical right now?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Didn’t ask you to.

              But I will in three years.

            • BluBlud

              Come on Kyles, Ricketts is 10 times better, with or without a winning season.

        • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

          You could easily argue that the Dominican classes replaced the 15-25 talent levels with a new wave, then in a few years this wave will have most peter out and be replaced by a new wave.

          The interesting thing to see is the additions (especially in Sickels list since it is fresh in my mind) on the top end of the scale. Where his 2011 and 2012 lists had 7 B- or better prospects we currently have 12 with 29 C or better prospects (up from 24 last year).

        • David

          Accuracy or pretty much any contrarian position?

          • Kyle

            I liketo think of the intersection of the two as my metaphorical house.

            • Carne Harris

              I left a floater in your metaphorical bathroom.

              • Hee Seop Chode

                way to make me laugh out load Carne.

                I think we all have a little Kyle in our Cubbie hearts. Loosing sucks, and I’m sick of it too.

              • md8232

                I left an Upper Decker. (Baseball Ref?)

    • BluBlud

      Correct. People keep talking about the farm system like Theo showed up and wahlah, it’s a very deep system. 95% of the people in the system came from Hendry. We seen how good he and Tim could be when given resources with the 2011 draft. Unfortunately, for him, he wasn’t given those resourses until 2011, or he might still be the GM.

    • King Jeff

      I think Kapman pointed out that he thinks the team started to turn around when Ricketts took over as owner. I’m not sure why you had to bring the Epstein grudge into this.

      • BluBlud

        I’m not sure he bashed Theo. He basicly is saying what you are saying. The ground work was layed by Ricketts and his willingness to spend on prospects, not by Hendry or Epstein.

        • King Jeff

          The point was the conversation and article had almost nothing to do with Epstein, yet here it is again, the Kyle vs. whoever cares to argue with him today about what kind of job Epstein has done so far.

    • BWA

      Yes I agree, but Hendry was finally given money to spend on his last draft class and it was way too little to late. Whoever controlled the money completely neglected the draft for so long and that was unacceptable.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      For the sake of accuracy, 2011 was under the watch of Ricketts, correct? He then chose a Prez and GM who would continue this trend. Theo and Jed have done so. Why not give ‘em credit?

  • EQ76

    So…. maybe we shouldn’t hate on Hendry so much.. I guess he was just doing what he was told… still hard to be that bad at drafting..

  • BluBlud

    Kap bashing of Hendry is uncalled for. Hendry work with what he was given, and to blame him is crazy. He made some bad decision, yes. It was because of his resources. Theo made just as many bad decisions in Boston. It comes with being a GM. When you win consistently, people tend to over look the bad decisions. Lets not pretend like Boston didn’t ship out half of theo’s players since he left. I’m not bashing Thoe either. It’s just part of the job. He was given more to work with in Boston. To blame Hendry for not drafting Wieters when he knew he didn’t have the resourses to sign him is absurd. He made the the right decision based off his resources. Live with it and get over it. He’s no longer the GM.

    • King Jeff

      How is it that everything he said about Hendry was true, yet he was bashing him? I don’t see one place where Kaplan blames Hendry for not drafting Wieters. He said Hendry had a terrible draft record. This is undeniably true. He also said that Hendry was told to spend money on free agents to improve the team at the cost of the draft. This is also true. He also said that no owners had spent to improve the entire organization before Ricketts was hired, which to me, along with the shifting money away from the draft, kind of lets Hendry off the hook. I guess it’s just in how we choose to read what he was saying, because it seemed to me that he made some very accurate statements about the Hendry era, and I don’t see that he even once gave Epstein or Hoyer any kind of praise.

    • J

      Hendry sucked. His drafts were horrible. Look at Hayden Simpson 1st round. What a huge pickup. Not!! Look at the Cubs past 10 years of draft picks, then look at Boston’s last 10 years as well. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t take the players that Boston just shipped out right now. Boston has won championships based on their draft picks. The Cubs tried to win championshipps by buying players. It never works like that unless you Yankee money and spend 200 mill/yr. Then when the Cub’s got top prospects in their system they trade them away(Garza deal). The Cub’s have no farm system and what they do have is not even close to being ready for at least 2-3 more years. I am suprised Theo even took the job with how much work he was going to have to do when he got there.

      • BluBlud

        I agree with you. I’m just pointing to the fact that it was the Tribune’s fault and not Hendry. I like Hendry, but it was his time to go. I like Epstein, and I think he is the right guy for the Job. But to blame Hendry for the past when he WAS NOT allotted resourses is crazy. he did the best he could with what he had. The Vitters decision is a perfect example. Draft Wieters and not sign him, or Vitters and atleast get something.

    • Justin

      The reason Cherington shipped out those players is because he wants to create his own team. Look at the latest news on Boston possibly going to sign Victorino. What is that going to do for them? Would you rather have him or Crawford? I really do not get what Boston is doing with shipping out elite players and then turning around and signing Napoli and possibly Victorino. Look at what Boston would have this year if they didn’t ship those players out with the addition of Napoli behind the plate(obviously don’t include Victorino as they wouldn’t have needed him).

      Ellsbury
      Pedroia or Crawford
      Gonzalez
      Ortiz
      Napoli
      Pedroia or Crawford
      Gomes
      Middlebrooks
      Iglesis

      That’s a nasty lineup that would compete this year

  • cheryl

    Wow and Double Wow. We needed to hear this.

  • Spencer

    I can’t really figure Sullivan out. Sometimes it seems like he really hates his job. Maybe it’s all the losing.

    • CubsFanBob

      Isnt Sully a a Sox Fan ?

    • Hee Seop Chode

      +1. I don’t know if he’s tired or what, but he brings no energy and a lot of negativity to his articles. He’s not fun or entertaining to read.

  • MichCubFan

    As bad as they were at drafting, they were even worse at developing players…from the bottom of the minors to the major leagues. So many of our highly touted prospects have had a major flaw in their game which kept them from being successful in the big leagues. Plate approach, strikeouts, defense, pitching command, not defining roles.

    If they would have developed better rounded players it wouldn’t have made their drafts look as bad. But you obviously have to draft people with talent and the ability to learn to fulfill that talent. I am glad we have turned the page.

    You have to go through the right the processes, you can’t just take shortcuts for the instant gratification. We might not contend this year but it will be fun watching Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija, etc. as they continue to develop at the major league level. Then we will also see how our minor leaguers do as they get another year of experience. You have to enjoy the process.

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    Its is what it is, the Cubs stink and the man behind the Cubs worst season in 40 years is Theo Epstein.

    • BluBlud

      Yes, he is partly the blame, but most of his team was set before he arrived. I would have liked to see him resign Ramirez, but other then that, there is not much he could have done.

      • King Jeff

        I agree, other than not re-signing Ramirez, and possibly leaving the bullpen too thin at the beginning of the year, that was probably about as good as we could have hoped for that year.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Yesterday Brett posted Sickels top 20 prospects for each team. 9 of the top 20 were brought in by Theo and Jed in one year. Yeah it is what it is…

      • Kyle

        Sure. But it’s normal to bring in a bunch of new top-20 players within 15 months on the job. He’s brought in a few more than most GMs would have, and he certainly deserves a lot of the credit for that.

        But notice that the other 11, as well as a much larger percentage of the non-top-20 but useful prospects listed on Sickels’ report, were inherited. I didn’t say “Theo Epstein did nothing to turn around the farm system.” I said the seeds were sown before he got here for a turnaround. And they were.

        • bbmoney

          for accuracy’s sake. It hasn’t been 15 months yet. Further, is that really true? At least in a situation where maybe what maybe 1 or 2 (Cashner and……) of the of the previous top 20 have graduated to the bigs?

          I agree things were on the uptick in the farm when Theo took over…but it just shows how far gone Hendry and crew let it go/traded it away for Garza.

          By the way I don’t have a prior year cubs top 20 in front of me…so fact check my comment about guys graduating to “the show”.

          • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

            From last year’s list we graduated Rizzo and Castillo from the top 10 (with Rizzo be a B+ and Castillo a C+).

            • bbmoney

              Thanks for the fact check. Nice that Rizzo is one of those two for purposes of this discussion.

  • MichCubFan

    And is there any free agent out there that you would really want to spend decent money on? Vicorino? Hamilton? Even Greinke has a lot of red flags. As much as a bigger named signing would not fit our team right now, is there really anyone out there who you would want to spend a lot of money on anyway?

  • Rizzonkulous

    And the 2011 draft coincides with when Hendry was basically stripped of power and Ricketts opened up the pocket book to sign guys who were going to be overslot. I should know this, but who had final say on the 2011 picks, was it Wilken? I have a hard time believing that a GM who was already told he was gone was in charge of that draft.

    I agree that the seeds were planted a year prior to Theo with but you can’t downplay the fact that after 1 year on the job you could argue that Theo has already brought in 5 of the top 10 prospects in the system.

    • BluBlud

      correct, but prospects are usually ranked higher, in my opinion, when they are first drafted, then they typically fall. Considering resourses have only been available for 2 years, and the majority of those top prospect have only been there for 2 years, half for each sounds about right. I don’t think Hendry would have been given the resourses to sign Soler and others under the old regime.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        In any given year, there about 4-5 newly drafted players in a Top 100. So I have to disagree that they are usually ranked higher then typically fall.

        • BluBlud

          I ttalking within an individual team, not all of baseball.

    • King Jeff

      I don’t know that Hendry was “in charge” of any of the drafts he oversaw as GM. Maybe someone else is more familiar with how that worked, but I think Hendry pretty much trusted his scouts with the draft and he just relayed the budget concerns from ownership.

  • Stu

    What is the point of a rant like this? The Cubs are charging some of the highest ticket prices and we are supposed to feel sorry for them?

    Sounds like some are looking at this season and seeing empty bleachers around July. So maybe they have to “invest” a little more in “this year’s product”. You have to do BOTH, invest in the prospects AND put the best competitive product out there to justify the prices.

    Theo doesn’t make his money just in flipping veterans for prospects. He will have to take responsibility for the product on the field at some point.

  • Fastball

    A well timed Theo is great post. This must mean that they aren’t going to sign anybody worth a crap. They must be greasing the skids for the hot mess they plan to throw on us.

    Why would Kaplan out of nowhere go on a tangent like that. Was he sitting in his hotel room doing blow or something with nobody to talk too so he went crazy on Twitter? LOL

    We all knew the Cubs were a terrible organization before. What I don’t understand is how Ricketts being so smart as a business man didn’t get a better due diligence report on all things Cubs before he bought the boat anchor.

    • Lou

      You have to remember that Kaplan was totally supportive of the Hendry regime for what he called at the time “going for it” before the 2007 season. Now, he’s looking back in digust? Don’t get it really! And this is a man who self professes that the Yankees are his next favorite team behind the Cubs. Yeah, how’s that ARod contract doing right now for them?

  • Fastball

    That’s Right Stu… Well said… They could put a product worthy of the ticket price on the field every year if they wanted too. But they don’t have too because people show up anyway. The Cubs, Yankee’s, Redsox, Dodgers can get away with it. Well in LA they show up in the 3rd and leave in the 7th so I don’t know how they track attendance.

    • Lou

      If the demand is there, yep, why?

  • Eric S

    Gong back to Prior, when the Cubs came a drafting they actually PASSED on Joe Mauer to get to Prior. Mauer is still playing and Prior well we all know that story.

    • Rizzo 44

      Mauer was picked before Prior

    • David

      I believe it was the Twins who passed on Prior to take Mauer because Mauser was more signable.

      • Boogens

        “I believe it was the Twins who passed on Prior to take Mauer because Mauser was more signable.”

        Plus Mauer was a local kid.

    • Stinky Pete

      Now that’s some hindsight. I hear Hendry actually knew Prior would have a baserunning collision AND get hit by a linedrive.
      Seriously, though…
      Mauer was viewed as a #10-15 pick and the Cubs were said to take Teixiera if the Twins took Prior.

      • Kyle

        He’s a pitcher. When you draft a pitcher, you are accepting the larger injury risk that goes with it.

        Mauer was not viewed as a 10-15 pick.

        • Stinky Pete

          He was.

    • Noah

      As other people have noted, this is just incorrect. The Twins had the top pick, the Cubs had the second pick. Prior was viewed as the clear best prospect in the draft, but the Twins did not want to pay what it would take to sign him, so they picked Mauer number 1 and the Cubs picked Prior number 2.

      • Kyle

        The Twins said at the time they liked Mauer better. Given his career, I don’t think that can be completely dismissed. We buy it when our front office says they liked Almora best after they drafted him.

        • Stinky Pete

          They liked him better because he was local and cheaper. Of course they said that.

          • Kyle

            He also turned out to be much better at baseball.

            Mauer got a $5.15 million bonus. Prior got $14.5 million guaranteed over five years. It’s hard to compare the two, but nobody selected later got more than Mather, so it’s pretty hard to say Mauer was a pure signability pick who didn’t belong in the top of the draft.

            • Stinky Pete

              It’s not so hard to say that. I’ve said it twice already with relative ease.

              • Kyle

                Fair point. I’ll revise.

                “It’s hard to say credibly.”

                • Stinky Pete

                  My point has nothing to do with who is better now but the perspective in 2001. What others paid lower draft picks tells me nothing about where Mauer would have gone in the draft. I don’t think you can arrange draft picks from highest to lowest bonus order to determine a “True” draft order or anything. There are too many other factors that go into it.
                  My recollection is that Mauer would have gone early middle. Obviously that is not your recollection. We are at an impasse. Shall we move on?

            • David

              He turned out to be more durable. Definitely not to be ignored, but it wasn’t like Prior wasn’t ” good at baseball”. The guy put up a 7+ war at 22 years old. To ignore that is disingenuous.

              • Kyle

                Prior was very good at baseball very briefly. The ability to show up healthy and perform is part of being good at baseball.

        • David

          Well, no shit. What were they supposed to say? Yeah, we think Prior is a better prospect but we aren’t gonna pony up for him, and besides we think having a homegrown boy will work better for us at the gate? At the time it was thought that while Mauer was also a great prospect the Cubs were lucky to have the twins cheapness let Prior fall to them.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I’m not going to lie, that if the cubs don’t sign a solid (Not star) FA like McCarthy, victorino, or even Keppinger, then I will be ticked. And this season will be on a very leash with me. At least give me the trade deadline to look forward to by being able to looking forward to flipping them for prospects. This roster is pitiful, and I don’t see Feldman or Baker (if even healthy) getting back much of anything in return. If we aren’t going to get a get players that we can flip for a decent return and I have to sit through another close to 100 loss season then I will be seriously piss off. I give them this season if they are content with not picking up anyone like McCarthy, Keppinger, or Victorino.

    • Noah

      But isn’t this sort of a false dichotomy you’re presenting. Isn’t what you’re really saying is:

      If the Cubs make a couple of moves I like, I’ll stick around for awhile longer while they’re bad,

      BUT

      if they don’t make those moves and they’re bad, I will stop going to games/buying merchandise. Until they’re good again. Which could be the next year. Probably at worst the year or two after that. So this all is pretty much hyperbole.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I’m just dying for Theo/Jed to sign a relevant player, that isn’t of the Bargain bin variety FA (baker, Feldman). Pick up a player of more tradable value such as McCarthy. They could definitely flip him for prospects midseason, IF he’s healthy.

        What I meant with I’ll give them one more season, of these piss poor rosters is that I will literally stop going to games, and buying anything Cubs merchandise if they have another 100 loss season. I won’t stop being a cubs fan but I won’t support them financially. Watching on WGN or CSN for free will trump going to the game for $50

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I just want this upcoming season to be worth something. We will for sure be terrible again this season, so if were going to be another near 100 loss season then why not sign a player of McCarthy, Keppinger, or Victorino’s quality who you can just flip at the deadline for a good prospect return. I don’t see Baker or Feldman netting too much at the trade deadline in terms of prospects. I think we could get something in return but I don’t see the cubs getting a player of Christian Villanueva. But idk, we got great value for Maholm with getting visciano. I would say the Baker and Feldman signings were closer to Maholm level, but Maholm had that cheap option year that we don’t have with Baker or Feldman (both also have larger contracts)

    • Marcel91

      So signing two quality starting pitchers, who could provide the most value of any FA’s this year, and a closer before December is them not making any moves? Just because they arent making the moves you want them to make doesn’t mean anything. Cubs are actually receiving quite a bit of praise around the league for their approach to this offseason. Just sit back and watch them work.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Baker and Feldman are decent signings. They got good value for the contracts, but I don’t see the cubs getting much value at the trade deadline for them. But you’d have to say a McCarthy signing would be much more exciting then either the baker or Feldman signing. McCarthy will almost surely be a more effective starter IF he’s healthy and will most likely net a much better return in prospects.

        • Marcel91

          McCarthy also comes with greater risk and more investment for a guy who could flop. He gets a bit more hype than the other two and for that reason alone would probably net a nicer package. I’m not against them signing McCarthy but don’t underestimate the Baker/Feldman signings. It may not be a Maholm level return(we only got that because he had an extra year of control) but if we can get a package similar or better than what we got for Dempster i’ll consider it a win.

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            You gotta risk it to get the biscuit

  • Marcel91

    What gets lost in this is how much of an idiot Paul Sullivan is. He, along with other tribune writers, should just keep their mouth shut when it comes to the cubs as they often have no idea what they’re talking about.

  • MightyBear

    We can beat this to death but the point is exactly correct – until Ricketts bought the team the Cubs haven’t had an owner who cared about winning or the organization since 1932. That’s why they haven’t won in 100 years. Kyle’s point is correct – the farm system did start turning around before Theo got here. You know who told us that – THEO. He said that when he got here that the Cubs finally got it in the 2011 draft where they spent money and let Wilkens do his job. I don’t want to hear about the Tribune spending money because they never spent money until they were going to sell the team. The Cubs now have an owner who cares about winning. He brought in the best young executive in the game and is giving him free reign to run the team as he sees fit. Which is long term first, short term second. All he needs is progress this year and everything will be hunky dory. As far as Hendry goes, he’s actually a pretty good GM and a good guy. He’s the only Cubs GM ever to work for three different owners and they all had different orders for him. Two of which didn’t include building a solid organization.

    • mudge

      ditto, MightyBear.

    • David

      Wow. Nicely done.

    • Lou

      Yep, gotta agree. People have to turn quickly on Hendry but they fail to realize all the teams fielded before this guy became GM, and there was even a rebuilding effort through Dallas Green before he was ousted by the Tribune Co, that is.

  • http://www.thesportsfeast.com/category/ncaa-bb/mvc BAIRSDEN

    Hendry is to blame for awful FA signings, however Theo has some of those to his own credit. Ownership was to blame for the awful drafts that were a result of a understaffed and underfunded scouting department. Theo and Ricketts are resigned to the idea of not financially “going for it” till atleast 2014. If we compete with the current plan then Theo will get the pleasure of looking even more awesome.

  • Spencer

    Kap’s response to Bruce: @BruceMiles2112 Correct. The point of today’s tweets were not to rip Hendry but to show how the entire organization was poorly run.

  • DarthHater

    Here we are in the middle of the winter meetings with all kinds of interesting and potentially new stuff to talk about and instead we have to have a post like this that is guaranteed to do nothing but regenerate the umpteen-zillionth repetition of the same old hackneyed arguments between the Theo haters and the koolaid drinkers. No thanks.

    • Spencer

      this is a really good point.

    • TWC

      You gotta keep the lights on sometimes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Give me a break. The post had nothing to do with Theo, and it is made because it JUST happened and is interesting. It’s not like I’m not covering everything else today. That’s the kind of comment that gets my britches all bunched up, fair or unfair.

      • MightyBear

        Easy big fella.

  • Stu

    Why some people have to rationalize a bad product is beyond comprehension. Are the Cubs operating in the red? Do they not have a large projected operating profit guaranteed for next year?

    So what if they have to eat an occasional bad contract? It hasn’t stopped the profit machine in the past. I’m not saying to overpay for talent, but if you have a glaring need to fill to be competitive, you have to pay market rates. Especially when your prospects are at least 2 years away.

    Why do some feel that the ownership has no responsibility to field a competitive team when they clearly have the money to do so?

  • MichaelD

    I think the part about the draft was great, however, the last tweet really does not tell the story on spending money at the major league level. In truth many of the Cubs’ free agent and extensions were great. Lilly, DeRosa and Alou might have been three of the top 10 most successful free agent signings of the decade regardless of team. The DLee and Ramirez extensions worked out well. The bargain-bin signings of Dempster and Jim Edmonds were great pick-ups. Even the Soriano signing helped bring about two division titles. Yes there were bad signings such as Bradley, Eyre and Z’s extension, but I think the good definitely outweighs the good.

    The problem was that the organization was good to excellent on free agent signings and abysmal on drafting. The way to fix that problem is not to expect to be perfect on free agent signings and still abysmal on drafting but to be at least adequate on drafting.

    • King Jeff

      Shawn Estes, LaTroy Hawkins, Cliff Floyd, Kevin Gregg, Aaron Miles, and Kosuke Fukudome were all Hendry free agent signings too. He was okay at it, but not anywhere close to excellent.

      • MichaelD

        LaTroy Hawkins that is a good one I forgot about. That may be the most frustrating one since his disappointment was timed the worst (2004). However, at the time that was one of the most praised moves.

        Maybe excellent was going too far, but most of the bad moves that you listed were low dollar amount signings (Miles, Floyd).

      • Spriggs

        Nady, Burnitz, and JJones were not excellent signings either. Pierre and Marquis are debatable, but neither were “excellent”.

        • Stinky Pete

          Not to take away from the main point, but is there some kind of research out there that compares bad signings by GMs? Curious how many other “bad signings” there were while these guys were signed.

        • MichaelD

          Also, just to point out that Pierre and Gregg moves were trades and not free agent signings. I was never personally a fan of the Pierre trade. If I listed trades, I’d put the DLee, Ramirez and Lofton trades as great and the Pierre one to the negative.

          Someone made a list of the top non-extension free-agent pitcher signings of the last few years, and the Lilly signing came out number 2 or 3.

  • Patrick W.

    For what it’s worth, the Vitters draft over Wieters in 2007 wasn’t ridiculous.

    Here’s what Keith Law had to say at the time:

    The Cubs were hoping to get Vitters, and they got him. Vitters is a very advanced bat that will be above average both with average and power at the pro level. He has tremendous bat speed, and he will get much stronger as he matures. His arm/glove are playable at third base, but he might surprise in the future with more work and instruction.

    Of course he had Wieters number 1 on his board that year. The Cubs were just 8 months away from Geo Soto’s All-Star, Rookie of the year performance, and Wieters, who debuted in 2009, is 3 years younger than Wieters.

    • Marcel91

      Exactly. People acted like they could see the future back then but the truth is nobody in the business questioned picking Vitters at 3. The draft is just a crap shoot to begin with. Hell David Wright was a supplemental pick.

      I just wish Vitters would have actually gotten that instruction Law mentioned but we all know that didn’t happen until Ricketts, theo, and co came and actually decided to do something about player development. People forget Vitters STILL has room to grow being only 23. Time is ticking though.

    • Patrick W.

      The last paragraph is mine, Law’s, obviously.

  • Stu

    I want someone to show how signing the best available 3rd baseman, CF, holding on to Soriano and signing another frontline SP prevents them from making a lot of money this year AND being competitive.

    • Marcel91

      The only true frontline starter on the market is Grienke(who couldn’t handle chicago). The rest are a bunch of 2-3 types who want to be paid like frontline guys. To answer your question, even if they did do all the things you mentioned this team is still further from competing than just that.

      • Stinky Pete

        Couldn’t handle Chicago? What?

        • bbmoney

          Isn’t that less of an issue (the anxiety thing) since he performed really really well the last month+ in LA?

  • Alou and Vinegar

    Bruce Miles is dead on about Kaplan and how he talked up Hendry up until the last couple of years. In fact it was often said that Kaplan got a lot of his “scoops” straight from Hendry(and Crane Kenney). I don’t think the new front office views Kap quite the same way. They will use him as a mouthpiece when it suits them and thats about it.

    If you watch CTL, Kap talks out both sides of his mouth all the time. Bashes people and then sucks up terribly when they acutally come on the show. He’ll bash Theo in a couple of years if the Cubs aren’t yet a playoff team. No need to take him seriously.

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