Winter Meetings Tuesday Evening: Escobar, Keppinger, Reynolds, Grilli, Parra, Betancourt, Hoyer

Day Two of the Winter Meetings is in the books. It was a surprisingly quiet day, outside of a couple moves (Victorino and Haren would be the biggest). It was particularly quiet on the Cubs’ front, though we did hear a few interesting rumors. Here’s the latest …

  • Multiple reports have the Tampa Bay Rays as the favorites to land Yunel Escobar in trade, none of which even mention the Cubs as extant suitors. That means either that the Cubs have backed away, the Cubs were never involved, or the Cubs have gone stealth.
  • Speaking of third base options, Jeff Keppinger’s reported asking price is three years and $12 million. Coming off a career year in an extremely weak third base market, I can understand that request. Seems incredibly steep for the Cubs’ purposes, though.
  • Speaking further of third base options, Jon Heyman says the Cubs – among a very long list of other teams – have some interest in non-tendered free agent third baseman Mark Reynolds. He’s been discussed here before, and the story remains the same: intriguing bat, attached to a guy who almost certainly can’t play passable third base. Unless Cubs scouts have identified curable issues in his game at third base, I don’t really know that they should be all that interested. The offensive upside isn’t SO great that you completely ignore the deficiencies at third. A one-year deal with an option year? Sure, why not, given the market. But, thing is, a team that doesn’t plan to use him at third base might be willing to give him much more.
  • Brewers manager Ron Roenicke suggested that reliever Jason Grilli, to whom the Cubs have been attached, is seeking a deal in the $5 to $7 million range (it was unclear if that was total, or per year – given his dominance over the last two years, and the market for late-inning relievers, I’m assuming that’s a per year figure). That would put him on par with some of the larger reliever deals handed out this Winter, including to a couple closers. There is some value to be had in getting Grilli, 36, for a couple years and no more than $5 million. Go higher than that in years or dollars, and you risk purchasing a middle relief egg that you can’t easily shed.
  • There was a Justin-Upton-for-Cliff-Lee-and-cash rumor, sparked by Pedro Gomez, which lasted about 15 minutes before being shot down by every other writer in the industry, and the Phillies’ GM. That’s the kind of thing this year’s Meetings have been missing: crazy rumors that explode on the scene before being widely shot down.
  • The Diamondbacks are reportedly making outfielders Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra available, in addition to Upton. I’ve discussed Parra here before as a possibly intriguing target for the Cubs, but Kubel seems like a weaker fit. He’s on a decent contract – $7.5 million in 2013, $7.5 million club option in 2014 with a $1 million buyout – and offers quality offense, but defensive metrics say he’s terrible in the outfield. The best place to hide him, if you don’t have a DH, is in left field – but the Cubs have Alfonso Soriano (for now).
  • Speaking of Soriano, the Phillies are reportedly dangling Vance Worley and/or pitching prospect Trevor May in their attempt to pick up an outfield bat. Could Soriano (plus a boatload of cash) net the Cubs Worley, who had surgery in September to remove bone spurs from his elbow (but who is expected to recover)? Eh, if everyone believes he’s going to be healthy, he’s a cost-controlled young started with middle-of-the-rotation upside. The Cubs would probably be very intrigued. It’s noteworthy that, in that Phillies piece about their outfield search, five outfielders are named, none of whom is Soriano.
  • Buster Olney says the Diamondbacks have put together a four-team deal that would net them Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians, but the deal, for now, remains dormant. Please pull it off, because four-team deals are a like a shooting star: rare and beautiful to watch from afar. And, hey, who knows? Maybe the Cubs are in there somewhere. There hasn’t been a single trade yet at the Meetings, by the way.
  • The Cubs are considering Yuniesky Betancourt for third base says Carrie Muskat, which is borderline wretch-inducing. Given that he has been hilarious offensively and terrible defensively over the past, well, entire career, it’s not surprising to learn that he’s got a negative WAR since 2009. Maybe a shift from shortstop to third base would help the defense, but that wouldn’t help the fact that he was so undesirable in the clubhouse that the Royals dumped him for nothing last August (his manager essentially called him out for being selfish). This has minor league deal/Spring Training invite written all over it. He’s not even a good platoon candidate.
  • Jed Hoyer took the ball tonight for the Cubs, meeting with reporters. He didn’t share too much, though I might have more on it later. The short version: Carlos Marmol is the closer if he’s still on the team, and the Cubs have spoken to more agents at the Meetings than they have spoken to other teams. So, if something happens, he says, it’s more likely to be a signing than a trade. But it’s possible nothing will happen this week (that’s always a possibility).
  • Obligatory: follow BN on Twitter, “like” it on Facebook.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

147 responses to “Winter Meetings Tuesday Evening: Escobar, Keppinger, Reynolds, Grilli, Parra, Betancourt, Hoyer”

  1. Lone Ranger

    Theo: “Why are we not in stealth mode?”
    Hoyer: “Sorry boss”

  2. Spencer

    Worley is a disaster. There are lots of scary names in this rundown.

  3. Adam

    Getting Parra would be a tremendous move. Not sure why the Diamondbacks are looking to move him.

  4. Adventurecizin' Justin

    I’m surprised that Ty Wigginton’s name hasn’t been associated to the Cubs. So, if we do re-sign Stewart, I’d think TW would be valuable to have around.

    1. Spencer

      He’d be a decent bench player.

  5. Dustin

    Really disappointed the Cubs haven’t done anything yet. Do they have a plan?? I don’t get it. You would think going into this thing you would know who you wanted and to do your best to make it happen. Not even one signing yet is depressing.

    1. Kyle

      We’ve already signed two starting pitchers and a closer this offseason. It’s normal for nothing to happen during the winter meetings. A lot of it is just laying the groundwork.

      I expect to be disappointed later in the offseason, but now is too early.

      1. Adventurecizin' Justin

        Specifically, what moves could Theo and Jed make that wouldn’t disappoint you?

        1. Kyle

          They need to get an average or better ML outfielder and then if they trade Carlos Marmol, one more middle reliever to replace him. (Or if they trade Soriano, two OFers, and the same for any other holes they create via trade). That’s all it would take at this point for me to give the offseason a (barely) passing grade.

      2. @cubsfantroy

        “I expect to be disappointed later in the offseason, but now is too early.”

        I got a good laugh out of this. Thanks. lol

        1. Frank

          Me too!

    2. Lone Ranger

      Patience young grasshopper and trust in Theo and Co.

      1. Jeremy

        Why should we trust them? They have done nothing to earn our trust. All they have done is assembled a 100 loss team, blew a Garza trade opportunity last offseason and made draft picks.

        1. Adventurecizin' Justin

          Then go root for someone else!

        2. Lone Ranger

          You better start warming up to them because they are going to be here for a long time. Or you could find another team. I hear they have a team on the South Side.

        3. Carew

          They didnt ruin any Garza trade…Garza had an injury at a really bad time

          1. Jeff

            They did ruin the Garza trade by trying to get rid of Dempster first, instead of focusing on moving Garza first. It ended up back-firing on them big time. They never got what they thought they could get for Dempster and now with Garza in his last year, we will be in the same position at the trade deadline.

            Just too many bad decisions by the wonder kids.

            1. bbmoney

              That seems like some serious assumption making there without any real facts to back it up.

              Did they ever get an acceptable offer for Garza? If they didn’t regardless of whether Dempster had been moved why would they have pulled the trigger? If you know about any definative great offers they received and turned down, please enlighten me and provide some facts. Otherwise it’s all just speculation.

              It didn’t go great at the trade deadline, but they can’t make someone give them an offer they can’t refuse. And they can’t go all Corleone on another GM.

              1. Kyle

                That’s a loaded question.

                It’s absurd to think that if the Cubs had wanted to trade Garza in the spring, there wouldn’t have been substantial offers. Whether or not they were “acceptable” is up to the front office to decide, and it’s up to them to take the blame when it blows up in their face.

                1. bbmoney

                  You’re absolutely right. It is a loaded question.

                  But when it’s in response to a statement loaded with assumptions about a non-existent “blown” trade…I don’t feel to bad about posing it.

                  If people want to make loaded statements without facts that’s fine. But don’t complain when I point that out by posing simlarly loaded questions about things I don’t know.

        4. Tim

          Our farm system is ridiculously better than it was before they came here. Which is their plan

          1. Kyle

            That came at a steep, steep cost.

            1. MightyBear

              The fight for freedom is costly but we will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.

        5. Cub2014

          In one year they have went from 18th best system to top 5 some have them as high as #2. what did you want 90 losses. They’ve already said be prepared for 1 more year of this.

    3. Marcel91

      Dustin. Have you been under a rock all this time?

    4. DocPeterWimsey

      Also, why not write the same thing for the other 29 teams? These meetings have been dull: it’s been closer to a job fair for free agents than a meeting of GMs.

      Of course, part of the problem is that many teams will wait to make trades until after FA possibilities are exhausted, in order to better preserve their farm systems. The new CBA is making this especially true. Given that several of the big chips have not landed, the agents probably are circling for the time in hopes of elevating the contracts of the medium chips.

  6. Jeremy

    So far the biggest news we have had is signing a color commentator and our manager getting shot.

    1. The Dude Abides

      Don’t forget our recently fired Travel Secretary, Jimmy Banks was named Travel Secretary of the Year this week, the new guy must be really good.

    2. cRAaZYHORSE

      This is a joke …… You know why the Cubs signed Astros broadcaster Jim Deshaies cause he has the Experience in making a last place team seem enjoyable. He call a good game should be fun listening to him on the tube.


    Bone spurs and the Cubs, a match made in heaven . I guess if the Cubs are set to deal Soriano and the Phils give the Cubs Worley i would not laugh. I like Worley and if the Cubs could pry him from the Phils without Soriano/castro/rizzo name and or top 5 players in the minors. i think i might smile.

  8. MightyBear

    If they get Betancourt for third I’m going to scream. Guy had 9 walks last year in 245 AB’s. Everyone on BN had almost as many and we don’t play baseball. He doesn’t work the count, he plays lousy defense, and he’s a clubhouse cancer but other than that he’s perfect. That sure isn’t the “Cubs Way” I had envisioned when Theo rolled it out.

  9. Jeff

    I don’t get it….suck it up and sign Ian Stewart for next year. Compared to what is out there, he was worth the 2.25M gamble.

    If he goes somewhere else and puts up .275 25HR & 75RBI’s, everybody here will be pissed and then it will be why didn’t we sign him????

    We will probably waste 2M on some guy who will hit .250 10Hr & 55RBI’s instead :(

    I will be incredibly disappointed if this week passes by and nothing happens at Third base.

    1. Carew

      I’m a fan of Stewart’s, so I agree. If nothing else really works, at least you get great defense. He’s certainly better than Reynolds and Betancourt.

      1. Jeff


    2. Kyle

      I’ll take the under on all those numbers for Stewart in 2013. Unless it’s at Iowa, then it’s a pickem.

  10. Dustin

    Sources: #RedSox are open to idea of trading Ellsbury, playing Victorino in CF and signing C. Ross or another RF. Keeping doors open.

    Now the Cubs BETTER be linked to this,if true of course!

    1. cRAaZYHORSE

      Free agent Ellsbury yes – Trading king Theo’s babies -no way-

    2. Marcel91

      Why would we want any part of Ellsbury? He had one good year and that’s it. The rest he’s either been injured or not doing much and I would be highly upset if we gave up any good prospects for him.

    3. John

      Jacoby is pretty good WHEN healthy. That said, outside of 2011, he hasn’t been healthy much. I’d rather sign Bourn for 4/68 than deal with Ellsbury and his health issues. Also, Ellsbury is also pushing 30 now isn’t he?

      1. Jeff

        I agree, I’d be okay with Bourn in center and DeJesus in right field, I think if B. Jax can get his swing together, DeJesus could be a small trade chip this summer and B. Jax could man right field.

        I’m curious where the market for Bourn is at, thought Philly would be making news on him.

  11. Dustin

    Well I don’t think they would do it unless they could lock him up long term


    signing Stewart as an insurance at 3b is fine . Whats not fine is having to give Stewart a contract cause the CUbs have no options at 3b. Wish we had that 3b from A’s again.

    1. daveyrosello

      I’m thinking we should have kept Aramis.

      1. Adventurecizin' Justin

        I’m thinking Aramis didn’t want to be back.

  13. Tyron

    Theo an Jed already packed there bags
    An leaft sorry guys , I can’t believe I’m still
    A fan of this shit .

    1. Jeff

      I didn’t really expect much anyways, They already screwed up the third base situation, Soriano is a difficult move, Marmol too, Garza is hurt. Ricketts is NOT GOING TO SPEND MONEY.

      What did you really think they were going to do???? They probably have all their people running around to every other club hoping to pawn Soriano and Marmol off on some desperate club.

      The PR they keep sending out is that they are looking at bargain bin signings. They want a cheap outfielder that will turn into the next Ortiz.

      1. daveyrosello

        I’m beginning to dislike the entire Ricketts clan to the eleventy-th power.

        1. hansman1982

          Thank God you guys aren’t fans of the Red Sox. Shit, they just traded away half of one of the best offenses in the game and signed a guy after a down year. Clearly they are punting the 2013 season.

          1. Kyle

            Sons of Sam Horn is pretty entertaining right now, and home to some lively debates about the viability of rebuilding and such.

            1. hansman1982

              There is a franchise that did not need a rebuild. Strong farm system, VERY potent offense. The problem there is sitting in the President’s chair.

              1. Kyle

                I like our farm system better.

          2. Stu

            hansmann1982 are you on the Cubs payroll?

            1. hansman1982

              Damnit – you caught me!

              Nah, I prefer to live at the intersection of Let’s Give It a Try Blvd. and When Theo Actually Constructs a Team of Black Holes of Suck Like the Astros or Marlins Will This Year Then You Can Bring The Pitchforks and Torches Way.

              Thank God my house faces Let’s Give It a Try Blvd.

      2. Turn Two

        Repeat after me, we are not trying to buy a championship for next year. Even if we were this would not have been the off season to do it.

      3. King Jeff

        “They want a cheap outfielder that will turn into the next Ortiz.”
        Yeah, because that would be a complete disaster, to find a breakout player on a cheap deal.

        1. Jeff

          .272 20hr 75rbi’s That’s what Ortiz did his last year in Minnesota, he wasn’t really a “breakout player”

          The point is with advanced scouting there aren’t any “surprise players” out there anymore.

          Teams are holding onto their prospects until they bust or flame out, what you see is what you get.

          I’ll give you a name that I think is intriguing, but requires Soriano to be moved, Tyler Moore. Don’t see it happening though.

          1. King Jeff

            Just this year Josh Reddick and Justin Ruggiano had pretty good years after only having moderate success up until this past season. I think that there is still a fair amount of players, like possibly Tyler Moore, that just need more at bats, and I think it’s a solid plan if the front office looks for a few of these types of guys, because free agency isn’t looking very good in regards to upgrading the lineup.

            1. Jeff

              Giving AB’s to those players is definitely the key, but who really knows what the FO is doing??? Are they asking about players like that?

              If they are going to the Nationals asking about a Tyler Moore and being told it would take a Baez, Voglebach, and Pierce Johnson, then Heck No!

              But if they are not asking then, one wonders who these “bargain break-outs” are???

    2. Adventurecizin' Justin

      If you don’t like their plan…go root for the Dodgers or Yankees.

  14. Justin

    I can’t believe your grammar

  15. Gabriel

    Dale Sveum shot by Robin Yount…

    Thankfully he’s OK, but that is scary stuff! The headline scared me more than the story itself.

  16. gutshot5820

    I mean does it really matter if the cubs re-sign Stewart or not? Valbuena, Stewart, Vitters, etc… are all pretty much the same. We are just talking about the best of the worst choices. i’d just as not sign Stewart and save the money. If he hits like 240 with a 320 OBP, then we are going to be like maybe next year he is going to be better when the wrist heals more. And this goes on perpetually with a lot of non-impact players. I doubt he will ever amount to much, and I’m sure the FO agrees with me since they let him go.

  17. Tim

    I like 80% of what this FO does, but it will be really interesting to see what they end up with at 3B. I really cannot understand why let Stewart walk? 27 year old, still in his prime, good make-up(former highly touted prospect), plus defender, left handed, cheap, one year deal, power potential, barren 3b market ….. It just doesn’t make any sense, and I feel like everything else they have done has made some sense. No way he comes back, many teams need a 3B, and will give him a shot on a major league deal. Especially considering they only need to pay him 3 mil at most.

    1. Believe in 2015

      Does he have good make-up? I though I heard that the Cubs were not that happy with his actions after the injury.

    2. Jeff

      I agree…I don’t see him coming back. I think a bunch of other teams will offer him an incentive laden contract and he will walk.

    3. gutshot5820

      If the FO agreed with your assessment, they would not have let him go and other teams would be knocking down his door to sign him. As it looks now, he might get lucky to sign a 1M minor league deal in a free agent market with no 3rd baseman. So it is quite possible you are WAYYYYYY over-rating his ability.

      1. Tim

        Gutshot, there already have been reports that 6 or 7 teams are interested in him, including teams who are contenders(yankees). I would bet you anything you want he signs a major league deal. Look who the other 3B options are…. we are now currently talking to Y. Betancourt, are you f-ing kidding me??? Who would you rather have?

        The overall point is, Stewart is right in the FO’s wheel house, everything about him is what the Cubs are trying to do, age, price, position, defense, etc…. He matches the signings we have made since the new FO came into power. Since the market for 3B is bad, why not take a chance on a guy like Stewart?? Maybe he falls on his face, what would you have lost? 2.5 mil and a roster spot, who cares? Seems like a pretty small risk, especially if we end up playing Valbuena 125 times at 3B this year, YIKES

      2. Jeff

        Way over-rating….okay. Lets put it this way, what could Ian Stewart do? Play solid defense, hit left-handed, has the power to hit 30HR and drive in 100RBI’s.

        That’s a projection, not what he will do. what could he do if healthy and gets some breaks?

        What other third base option out there can you say projects as well as him? Not many.

        Hey, it’s all a gamble, so I say through 2M down and roll the dice one more year. Valbuena had 100 more at bats that Stewart and only hit .019 points better.

        I don’t hear anybody screaming that he sucks

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          I don’t hear anybody screaming that he sucks

          Maybe I got lost in the pronouns, but if the “he” in that sentence is referring to Stewart, then there is at least one stalwart here who has been screaming, shouting, bellowing and several other words I could list if I had a thesaurus handy that Stewart sucks at a level usually achieved only by Twilight movies!

          1. Smitty

            Doc, I think there are many other movies that show the depths of suckitude that Stewart show that are much deeper than the Twilight movies… I can think of about 10 “Lifetime”movies the Mrs. made me watch that are much worse than that Twilight crap.

            That said, I’m starting to get worried about 3B. Vitters is not showing it and our other inhouse options are little.

            1. Internet Random

              I don’t watch many Lifetime movies, but I doubt there could be ten of them that suck as hard as Twilight.

          2. Jeff

            He being Valbuena.

            Come on Doc, I know he didn’t hit very well, that’s why he had surgery. His defense was very good though.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Oh, I’m not the stalwart in question! (I actually thought and still think that Stewart was a decent gamble; he didn’t work out, but hence the word “gamble.”)

              And, yeah, Valbuena is pretty weak. However, it does not seem that he has a heck of a lot of fans here.

        2. cubchymyst

          I wanted to see Stewart retained for the same reasons. He was worth the gamble in the weak 3B market. If he is bad again let Vitters sink or swim the second half.

        3. Hardtop

          He’s never put up numbers like that, even when healthy, younger, and playing in coors field; so I don’t know why that would be even a vaguely reasonable projection.

          1. Jeff

            In 2009 he hit 25hr and 70 RBI’s in 425 plate appearances, everybody thought, hey, the average wasn’t great but maybe he’s about to turn the corner.

            So it’s not a strech to think he couldn’t do 25 and 75, the reference to 30 & 100, was idealistic, if the sun, moon and stars aligned. Ok, watch him sign with the Yankees and go put up those numbers. A-fraud is a DH now anyway.

            1. Tim

              Jeff is right, Stewart could very easily hit .250 with 20 bombs 75 rbi’s, .350 obp, and play good defense. Doc and hardtop you guys haven’t provided any reasonable 3B options as alternatives to Stewart. The only other guy I have seen the Cubs linked too who wouldn’t make me vomit is Yunel, and he would cost prospects plus more money. There is simply no one as cheap as Stewart was going to be who had the “potential” to be an above average 3B. The FO misjudged the free agent/trade market, unless they have something crazy up their sleeve.

              It also has nothing to do with winning this year, signing Stewart to a major league contract wouldn’t have set us back. It was a mistake

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                In all honesty, I would consider trying to sign Steve Drew and moving him to 3rd. Of course, he still views himself as a SS, so that would make it a little more difficult. Also, he’s got the Drew DL gene, which isn’t a great thing.

                Now, that’s sort of a desperation idea. However, several teams other than the Cubs are hurting for a 3Bman, so the trade price is going to be very high. People really have to abandon the idea that teams are going to part with the hot young 3Bmen that we covet without the trade including names like Upton or Price. I am not a Vitters fan, and I’ve seen enough Valbuena’s in between the Penguin and ARam. So, creative thinking might be necessary.

              2. DocPeterWimsey

                Oh, I would also add that ARod’s injury just made things a little worse for the Cubs because the Yanks now need a 3Bman. However, Cashman is discovering what Hoyer knows: they are hard to find! (Actually, Cashman is savvy enough that he knew that already: but knowing it and living it are two different things.)

                1. CrAzyhorSe

                  We did not lose our 3b to injury- Theo just refuse to sign Aram – gave 10 mil to DJ to play colvin old spot. But Cashman will sign a 3b and utility inf.

                  I predict the yankees will actually get 2 -3b/ss (jeter will need a rest)

                  1. DocPeterWimsey

                    How is the fact that the Cubs didn’t lose a 3Bman to injury remotely relevant to what I wrote?

                  2. DocPeterWimsey

                    Also, how will the Yanks get such a 3Bman? They have no prospects. There are no teams willing to part with good 3BMan for salary relief. They actually want to bring down payroll.

                    This is not a great combination! (As Cashman himself put it regarding the 3B market right now, beggars cannot be choosers….)

                2. CrAzyhorSe

                  One will be a trade – As , dodgers, twins – And they will either sign Youk or Keppinger

                  1. DocPeterWimsey

                    The Yanks do not have anything that the A’s, Dodgers or Twins want, and none of these teams really have what the Yanks want.

                    The Yanks won’t sign Youk: he’s asking too much for a guy ticketed for the bench after May. And if they sign Keppinger, then the Yanks really are being beggars. (Color me not a fan….)

                    1. CrAzyhorSe

                      i look at thinggs differently- Arod is done at thirdbase. The Yanks will need two players at 3b and ss.

                      Signing Kep / twins /As

                      Signing Youk – / the Yanks need gorden

                      thats what i think could be best for the Yanks
                      that if they dont bring back whats his name

        4. Kyle

          Lots of people think that Valbuena sucks.

          I’m not at all confident in him. But he had much better peripherals than Stewart, he’s cheaper, he’s better defensively, he doesn’t come with health questions, and if he succeeds he’s under team control for more years.

          So given the choice, why would you ever choose Stewart?

  18. Brittney
  19. Lone Ranger

    OF Alfredo Silverio is Rule 5 eligible. I think the Cubs should give this guy a look.

    1. louis

      Was he injured this year?

  20. cubchymyst

    Maybe the front office have more faith in Jackson, Vitters, and Lake then initially thought. Lake has yet to have a season at AAA so he is a year away according to front office policy about 500 at bats in AAA. Use a Platoon stop gap in the outfield and 3rd for the first half of the season then let vitters and jackson sink or swim the second half.

  21. Fastball

    Old man Ricketts has changed the combo on the vault and Tom can’t get in. We are screwed. Okay if we have to move into disaster recovery mode for next season I do this.
    I say screw it we are going young as hell. Put Baez at 3b and Junior Lake in RF or CF.
    It’s nly 2 young raw guys we can live with that. Let those two grow up in the Majors. Seems everybody is doing that these days with at least one of their kids. Maybe the fans will come out and watch a team with two budding future stars playing at Wrigley. Hell bring Soler up too. Got nothing to lose. Might win 70 games just because we are young and unscouted and have a lot of enthusiasm. Let them play in the Majors now. All 3 can hit and have power. If they hit .220 each that’s better than what we had last year.

  22. Frank

    I can’t believe that people on here and other sites get so upset when we don’t bow down and worship king theo. he’s going to be here a long time? Jim Hendry was here a long time. We are rebuilding,I get it. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a respectable major league team. They have done a nice job with the pitching but the offense is horrible. The minor league system is improved a lot. I have heard nobody rate it top 5 and would be really shocked to be even top 10. This is America and just because I may not agree with everything king theo does. Doesn’t mean I have to get a new team!

    1. MikeL

      I think people are upset because even if someone other than Theo and Jed had been put in charge after Hendry was fired the Cubs still would be looking at 2-3 bad years. A lot of people thought Theo and Jed were miracle workers that would turn the Cubs into world series champions overnight….that was NEVER going to happen. The cubs were in AWFUL shape and it was going to take a long time to repair them. This is why you don’t neglect your farm system and over pay for free agents.

      1. Smitty

        At the time we signed/extended those contracts that we have been bemoaning I know I was happy. I was happy because it seemed that we were all in and going for it. We were all in and I was fine with the future being damned because we were “finally” spending money on FA’s that were decent(arguable) and trying to go get the Central and see what happens.

        We never “went for it” and we definitely “never” spent money.

        Shoot folks, our GREATEST free agent we ever signed was Andre Dawson. Why did we get to sign him, because he gave us a BLANK CHECK!!

        We “might” have another ownership group that is going to keep the pocketbooks closed. We “might” not have gotten the right group of people to lead us to World Series. We “might” always suck like we did last year.

        We WILL suck like we did last year. We WILL spend money(most likely starting next year). We will contend for the Central and see what happens.

        But unfortunately for us, we have to wait. Bud damn you all, we have been “waiting” for EVER so you should quit complaining and realize this is our burden to bear as Cubs fans.

        We will wait, we will complain, we will agree, will will be happy, we will be sad, we will be victorious. Maybe not soon, but the law of averages say it has to happen.


      2. Kyle

        Respectfully disagree.

        And it’s not an either/or situation. You can address your farm system properly and “overpay” for free agents.

        1. MikeL

          Not really.

          If you give players contracts that are far too long, too big, and have no trade clauses in their contracts, they become virtually immovable and you end up blocking your younger players. This is pretty much what got Jim Hendry fired. Sure, you can trade some of those younger players for talented veterans, but you weaken your farm system and may not do much to improve your team because the over paid veterans that are remaining might be dead weight and unproductive. In the end you end being a decent .500 team year after year, and not a playoff team. In the end, you are left with a farm system you have to rebuild from all of those trades and go back to free agency to try and fill the holes while you are developing your farm system. In the end, you are in danger of going through the same cycle over and over.

          1. Kyle

            1) What young players were ever blocked by aging veterans under Jim Hendry?

            2) Everyone is movable. You just have to accept the concept of a sunk cost.

            1. MikeL

              Soriano and Marmol are considered to be fairly immovable (I know that marmol is a bit of a stretch, but he is still there). Together, the two will cost nearly thirty million alone. That is thirty million we can’t spend on free agents and if you want to release them outright that number goes up to 45 million.

              Here is the other thing you are missing thought kyle, the free agent market is not that deep this year. I know you have mentioned some names, but they aren’t the type of players that would put your team over the top. I don’t want to spend money on free agents just to spend money. It seems like you and I have been over this before. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you should be spending it now, especially if you have much better options a couple years down the road. A successful organization thinks 5-10 years into the future, not just a year or two ahead.

              1. MikeL

                *A successful organization thinks about the next 5-10 years when making decisions, not just a year or two ahead.

                1. CrAzyhorSe

                  in five to 10 years your theory on this front office will be answered. meanwhile………

                  1. MikeL

                    Which is exactly my point, crazyhorse. It takes time before we can judge a front office and giving them only one year to judge them makes no sense. I am not saying it is going to take 5-10 years to make the Cubs into contenders, but they are planning on building a team competes every year for the next decade….not just for a couple years. Now, you can argue you might see some red flags, fine. But to hear some people say things like, “Theo doesn’t know what he is doing” is totally absurd.

                    1. Kyle

                      It doesn’t take time to see the trajectory. I’m not criticizing their drafting ability or free agent signings. I’m criticizing their plans.

                      If you lose for five years, “compete” for a decade and make the playoffs half the time, then you haven’t really done any better than Jim Hendry.

                2. CrAzyhorSe

                  I did not say you are wrong rather i judge in the present – i can speculate about the future and judge that as well The future looks good yet the present is the present .

                  1. MikeL

                    No, Crazyhorse I know I was talking to you, but I wasn’t really aiming that rant at you. I was just ranting about others.

              2. Kyle

                We’ve had deals in place for both Soriano and Marmol in the last six months, so that makes the “Unmovable” theory a little shaky, to say the least.

                I’m quite familiar with the relatively weak state of the FA class. What you are missing is that it’s not going to get any better, but they could make this team significantly better. It’s not “spending money to spend money.” It’s spending money to make your competitive baseball team better, especially when the alternative is just sitting on the money.

                There’s no such thing as “over the top” in baseball. There’s a few awesome teams, a bunch of middling teams fighting for the remaining playoff spots, and a couple of terrible teams. If you are in the middle group, you have a chance to win the World Series. A team with the Cubs’ resources should never be in the last group.

                Whatever better options there are a few years down the road, we will have money for them, too. We aren’t close to running out of money.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  What Soriano deal are you referring?

                  1. hansman1982

                    The time that he shot down a trade to San Francisco. Whether or not there was something actually there or he just poo-pooed SF before substantive talks is a different story.

                    1. CubFan Paul

                      he also turned down a deal to Baltimore last year. and a Dodger deal fell thru or Sori.

    2. Carew

      I find it funny that nobody else calls him king theo, or even hints at it

    3. DarthHater

      I can’t believe that people on here and other sites get so upset when we don’t bow down and worship king theo.

      Rise up people! King Theo has been deposed by the Duke of Douchebag!

  23. Itzscott

    Yes Frank, we’re serious…. You’re out! You need to get a new team.

  24. bbmoney

    I’d like to commend Brett for his excellent work and writing again. There is always something that makes me chuckle even if I don’t like the news. My favorite from above, “That means either that the Cubs have backed away, the Cubs were never involved, or the Cubs have gone stealth.”

    Stealth mode baby.

  25. cubfanincardinalland

    I can’t believe I just read Ian Stewart and 30 homeruns and 100 rbi’s in the same sentence. Good bye and good riddance.
    Stewart always had that ballplayer cool down perfect. Just please don’t look up at the scoreboard when they are showing my stats, where it says I am hitting .180.
    So he gets hurt again, goes home with the old lady, and collects his 2.2 million from the Cubs. And then he has the audacity to hard ball the Cubs in negotiations. Adios, thanks for the loyalty Ian.
    Teams lining up to sign him. Right. In the Pacific Coast League.

  26. #1lahairfan

    If Ian Stewart can play 150 games a year I am confident that he would hit 25 HRs and 70 RBI’s a year.

    The question that the Front Office will have to face is: Can he play a full season? Not can his production that will come if he is healthy.

    In my opinion since he had surgery we should take that risk and sign him to a $2 million deal with a vesting option.

    1. Kyle

      He promised he was healthy last year, then he sucked.
      He sucked in 2011 before he reported any problems with his wrist.

      It’s entirely possible that he just sucks at hitting, regardless of the health status of his wrist.

    2. CrAzyhorSe

      You are correct with the IF. Last year a selected group of Cub fans were against a trade for Ian Stewart . Everyone knew he had a wrist injury yet the cubs still traded Colvin and did not resign Aram thus creating a void at third base. This year Ian is back from wrist surgery, most players need a full season of conditioning . If the Cubs sign Stewart and he fails its a black eye for Theo. Imagine If Stewart fails at third or even if he brings in sub par numbers Theo Epstein is responsible for this gigantic mistake at third base.
      Stewart had a wrist injury the year prior compounded with a wrist surgery this past summer, and he stank both years we are expected to believe he will be the player Theo Epstein hoped for? Ian Stewart as an insurance policy? Maybe. But to basically give him the job because he is our best option? Stupidity.

      1. Jeff

        We all agree that Stewart has not lived up to expectations, but what options do we have?

        Vitters is not ready, Valbuena is no better than Stewart, Texas might trade Olt but not to us, we have nothing they want.

        What’s out there on the free agent market? No one that isn’t as much of a risk as Stewart is.

        1. Kyle

          Don’t make me dig up the “better options than Ian Stewart” list.

        2. CrAzyhorSe

          You are correct in your assessment, What options do we have at 3b and WHo is responsible for our present options,

  27. JPB

    Hey jeff I have looked over all of your comments and u just sound like an idiot

    1. Jeff

      I guess your mother never told you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say about other people, don’t say anything at all.” If you want to be disrespectful to me as a person, instead of just disagreeing with my opinion, you prove to everyone on this forum who the real idiot is.

  28. KYCub

    Maybe we can make the “best prospects” playoffs next year. I am tired hearing about prospects!!!! Can anyone say Lance Dickson.

  29. IndyCubsFan

    Everyone read that Svuem got shot in the ear while on a hunting trip?! Good grief!

  30. cheryl

    Vitters has been a “top prospect” of the cubs for a while. Will he ever be ready? I’d rather take a chance on a one year signing of the Japanese third baseman than some of the alternatives out there now.