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The 2012 Winter Meetings are in the books. The Cubs saved their activity for the last 18 hours or so, agreeing to terms with outfielder Nate Schierholtz last night, picking reliever Hector Rondon in the Rule 5 Draft this morning, and then re-signing third baseman Ian Stewart late this afternoon. Nothing glamorous or sexy, but adequate complementary moves, especially given the expectations for 2013. As for the rest of the league …

  • The biggest news of the day was the Phillies picking up their center fielder for 2013 – speedy 24-year-old Ben Revere from the Twins for pitcher Vance Worley and pitching prospect Trevor May. That takes them out of the market for a center fielder (like Michael Bourn, for example), but could leave them with money to spend elsewhere.
  • (And if that sounds like a good haul for Revere, it is. I reckon that, with escalating payroll commitments for aging players, and an urgency to keep trying to win in the next three years, the Phillies put a premium on a big league center fielder whom they could control for a while cheaply. Revere’s numbers don’t knock your socks off, but his defense is excellent and he’s cheap as all get out. Couple that with Worley’s elbow bone spurs surgery, and it’s a little more understandable.)
  • So, about that Bourn piece. As others are speculating, without the Phillies in the bidding, Bourn could soon run short on legitimate options for 2013. I don’t think it’s likely that the Cubs will make a serious play for him, but I certainly don’t think signing Nate Schierholtz would preclude it if the right opportunity came along. If Justin Upton ends up traded to the Rangers, and Josh Hamilton ends up signing with the Mariners, it is fair to start wondering whether Bourn may have to settle for a shorter-term, lower-dollar deal. It’s happened before.
  • And it isn’t just Bourn. With trades happening in the outfield, the options for guys like Nick Swisher and Cody Ross could be diminished as well. Like I said this morning, the Cubs could come out of this smelling like roses in a couple months when they snatch up a guy looking for a job on the cheap. It’s something the A’s have done well for years, and something the Cubs historically rarely did – more often, the Cubs were leading the market, and getting their team set by December, because that was lower risk. Well, with a potentially rough 2013 on the way … why not take a little risk and wait?
  • (A couple cold water bits on Bourn, though: (1) Teams pop up out of nowhere in these situations all the time, so don’t assume he’s just going to fall into the Cubs’ lap, even if there’s a perfect storm of Upton and Hamilton (remember last year when the Tigers entered the bidding for Prince Fielder out of nowhere, and had him inked within a week?); (2) he, alone, doesn’t make the Cubs a winner in 2013. I’m still not crazy about him at five or six years and $80 to $100 million, so it isn’t like I’m pushing for the Cubs to start aggressively bidding. This is only if his market shifts such that it looks like he can be had on a shorter, cheaper deal, and become an undervalued asset.)
  • What about the Alfonso Soriano impact? Well, the Phillies have been connected to the Cubs about Soriano, but does the Revere acquisition take them out of those discussions? I don’t think so. Revere is being acquired as a cheap, leadoff center fielder. If the Phillies aren’t sold on the Ruf/Mayberry/Brown trio, there’s no reason to think they don’t also want to add a right-handed-hitting power guy in the middle of the lineup, and a corner outfielder would be an obvious fit. In other words, I don’t see the Revere trade as having any impact on possible Soriano talks, if there are any.
  • And don’t rule out the Braves for Soriano. Jon Heyman says they, too, were trying for Revere, in the hopes of getting a left fielder who can lead off. Soriano fills half of that equation, at least. And the Cubs would be willing to eat plenty of cash for the right return.
  • There is a bidding war for Jack Hannahan, which should tell you everything you need to know about the third base market. He could choose a team later today, and Cubs have not been connected.
  • [This is not terribly relevant now, in light of the Ian Stewart signing, but I’d already written before he re-signed, so, here it is.] Speaking of that market, Kevin Youkilis, the best option, has a one year, $12 million offer from the Yankees, as well as some two-year offers in the $16 to $18 million range from other teams, according to Ken Rosenthal (one of those offers is believed to be the Indians, as well as, probably, the Mariners). Obviously that would be a fine deal for the Cubs, but I think you’re not going to see them connected, because they aren’t close to winning. Youkilis wants to win, and he wants to win immediately. That should point him toward the Yankees’ offer, though he might be displaced positionally when Alex Rodriguez returns from hip surgery mid-season. So maybe he won’t like that offer after all.
  • The Braves have re-upped with Reed Johnson, whom they really liked after acquiring him from the Cubs mid-season. He’s a quality bench bat and leader in the clubhouse. He got a one-year deal with an option for 2014.
  • That link also notes that Randy Wells, who was a minor league free agent, signed on with the Rangers on a minor league deal. There were rumors a few weeks back that that was happening, so there you go. Best of luck, Randy.
  • KYCub

    The only way i can protest is to not make my annual pilgrimage to Wrigley in June. If they suck as bad as it looks, I am now leaning towards keeping my money in my pocket. I see no urgency in the front office to make this team competitive right now.

  • Cubman508

    The cubs are announcing the signing of Fujikawa tomorrow at Wrigley…….

  • Marcel91

    This message board is starting to turn into Cubs.com’s. Just a bunch of people whining and complaining about everything the cubs do or don’t do. If you can’t handle a true rebuild then simply don’t watch. Most of us here see the light at the end of the tunnel while others want us to make the same bonehead mistakes that got the cubs in this mess in the first place. Look at the Giants, Texas, the A’s, Nats, etc. All those teams have cores that are homegrown and it took a few years of sucking to get to that point. Once their cores developed THEN they spent money in FA or traded prospects for ML players when that 4 war player could be the difference. It’s all about timing and our window is 2-3 years from now. The Nats took ALOT longer to build their core so 2015 doesn’t sound all that bad. Just be patient and enjoy the growth of these young guys.

    • bbmoney

      I really think ‘homegrown’ talent is going to become more and more important given the growing extension craze. The Giants are a great example of this and the success they’ve had the past few years. Texas to a lesser extent has done a lot of the same, although a lot of the talent they amassed came from trades like the Teixeria deal which brought them a haul.

      Now I think that growing craze also might make it more important to snap up available impact free agent’s when you get the chance…..so I can understand wanting to sign Greinke, Sanchez, Bourn, etc. So I’d really still love to see them at least sign one of the mid tier or higher SPs still out there.

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

    Anyone know how much Hughes would be worth in a trade? Would Soriano and a prospect do it?

    • atfinch

      Probably a good amount of cash too to pay off Soriano’s 36 mil or whatever the amount is now. The more I read about this the more I like it. Hughes is not beloved in NY though which could be a good thing for a team trying to trade for him but is worrisome. I hate the Yankees with a passion so I don’t watch them but anyone know why? Is he a choke artist? Injury prone?

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

        I honestly have no idea why Hughes is underappreciated in NY… Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t change the fact that I would gladly welcome him here on the North Side.

    • King Jeff

      Who knows, maybe if the Cubs pick up enough of Soriano’s deal, they might be able to get Hughes straight up. Is Hughes worth taking Soriano’s bat out of this lineup though?

      • atfinch

        I think so if NY would take a lot of the cash of Soriano’s contract. Soriano obviously is up there in age now, but put him back at DH or LF part-time and NY may get a out of him. I mean giving up a 30 homer, 100 RBI and the only guy that could do that again outside for Rizzo is a lot, but to get a 26-27 year old good to potentially very good starting pitcher may be worth while. One issue I realize with Hughes is he only has 1 year left to free agency. We know the FO’s stance on this and I tend to agree – young, controllable pitching for multiple years. If not Hughes then what about Nova? He’s cheap and not eligible for free agency until 2017. And younger than Hughes.

        • atfinch

          *A lot out of him I meant.

        • King Jeff

          I seriously wouldn’t mind having either one, and I don’t think Hughes contract would be an issue because he is still relatively young and should have a lot of productive years ahead of him. My only concern would be replacing Soriano’s production.

  • KYCub

    Why should we have to wait until 2015? Their are no guarantees our ‘homegrown talent’ will develop.

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      The plan isn’t:

      1. Acquire Prospects
      2. Develop Prospects
      3. Field Prospect Lineup
      4. Fire sale and rebuild when this doesn’t work

      It’s:

      1. Acquire Prospects
      2. Develop Prospects
      3. Sell off Prospects at their Peak
      4. Field roster acquired through farm, draft and FA to win
      5. Have enough prospects to do this every year

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        You missed a couple steps Hans. Signing free agents, even expensive ones, is part of the plan, but only players who makes sense. Locking up core pieces to long term deals should be in there too. Radically improving scouting and player development lies at the core of all that.

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          Well, if we want to go full-on 75 page procedure then I missed quite a few steps.

          I was going for bare bones here – what is the plan with the prospects, type thing. Or maybe my sarcasm meter broke too. ;)

  • ruby2626

    Speaking of Garza another one of the prospects we traded for him is possibly going to be Tampa’s starter in right, Brandon Goyer or something. I’m not worried about that SS ever being a great player but Archer is a legit prospect and had some great flashes late in the year.

    The dude who said we don’t spend on free agents has never seen Jorge Soler an dhis $30M play. Don’t look for the Cubs to be near the top of the league spending, our way below market value broadcasting rights income will prevent that. Still curious if there is a way to get out of our Comcast contract.

    Some people are hoping Ellsbury comes over here in another year. Don’t follow the A.L. that closely but the guy went from 32 homers to 4 with a .313 OBP. I know he was hurt but he did bat over 300 times. Talk about a guy playing for a contract, that would seem to be the case.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’d be a bit surprised if Guyer holds on to a starting job. He looked (and still looks) like a fourth outfielder to me, not a long term starter. Archer could be good. Tampa is hoping he basically turns into what Garza is.

    • King Jeff

      I was more disappointed about losing Guyer than anyone else in that deal. I think he can be an everyday corner outfielder right now, and there were probably other guys in the Cubs system that Tampa would have taken instead of him.

  • Trueblue

    Brett, I really appreciate all the great work you’ve put into this site. You have tremendous passion for the Cubs and it shows in this site.

    I would be pleasantly surprised to see the Cubs win 75 games next year. I don’t expect it to happen. Like many Cubs fans I am enjoying the improvement in the minor league program and believe it is necessary to sustain competiveness for years to come. I’m also concerned that we don’t appear to be going after impact players so we can be more competitive. Players that can help us now as well as 3-5 years down the road. We are not going to get all these players we need in one free agent season.

    I do strongly disagree that you should throw away seasons. I don’t believe 100 loss seasons should be accepted by any fan base as well as management. The Cubs should be trying to field a team that should make the playoffs every year. We don’t have to win a 100 games but at least be in contention for a wild card spot while we continue this rebuilding process. Anything can happen if you are the hot team at the right time in the playoffs. But you have to be in the playoffs to make that happen. Every year should be treated as special and sacred. You should always strive to win especially when the resources are at hand to possibly accomplish this.

    A final thought: Many of the people on this site are die hard Cubs fans like myself. Many of us probably grew up watching them on WGN and it has stayed with us every since. My sons both play high school baseball and love the sport. Over the last two years their interest in the Cubs has really diminished as the team has been horrible. It will be interesting to see the impact on the next generation of Cub fans if we continue to have many more bad truly hopeless seasons.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Thank you for the well thought out post and I can agree with a lot of what you said. I have the same concerns you have for the future generations. It has become an impatient world. I myself (that was for you Brett) can take growing pains and can see the goal in the future. I would love to get a couple of big guys but sadly they just aren’t out there right now for when we are going to be competitive.

      • Trueblue

        Thanks for the reply Cubbie Blues.
        One positive thought regarding how quickly a season can turn around is in 2006 when we lost 66 games. We then went on to win the division the following 2 years with 85 and 96 win seasons. I’m on board with the rebuilding of the minors. It is the right thing to do. However, it does not have to be at the expense of the big league club. The proof for me will be at the end of the 2013 campaign. If the Cubs, end up winning 75 games or so and show improvement then I will be very excited. Another 90-100 loss season would be a shame and I would be very disappointed with the direction of this team.

        • Cubbie Blues

          You can’t look at the final record to find the progress. Last year wouldn’t of been as bad if we didn’t sell off at the trade deadline. Same can be true for next year and may be. We got some good players back in the minors to bolster up. The FO would be taking a different angle if the FA class was better, but sadly it is not. There are still a couple of arms out there I would like to see them acquire.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Even when the cubs aren’t that good they were still interesting to watch. There was always a player or two that was worth watching. At this point all there is is a bunch of unappealing players with no pizazz to them. Who would really pay to watch one cub? Starlin Castro? Sure if I want to watch a guy daydream and run the bases looking behind himself then he’s my guy.

    Theo signs guys that I never even heard of or I thought had retired from baseball. Manny corpus? Shawn camp? All those waiver pick ups that are now gone. Who runs a team that way?

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      Starlin Castro’s continued growth, development and maturation will be interesting to watch.
      Anthony Rizzo maintaining his 2012 success and building upon it.
      Samardzija maintaining his 2012 success
      Is this the year Barney develops power? (answer is no, but it’ll be a fun exercise on May 1 when he is hitting .310/.340/.425 and follows that with his usual collapse)
      Will Soriano’s knees hold up?
      Can Marmol be effective?
      How many games will Ian Stewart play before he hurts himself?
      Is this the game where DeJesus’ wife gets drunk and streaks on the field?

      All viable things to watch in 2013.

      • Cubbie Blues

        How many games will Ian Stewart play before he hurts himself?

        That is the funniest sentence of the night. I’m serious Hansman you should give comedy a try.

        Is this the game where DeJesus’ wife gets drunk and streaks on the field?

        Yes please. Although I would have to be at the game. Guess there always the chance that someone records it and post on YouTube because it would be censored out.

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        Sorry pal. None of that interest me.

        But you go ahead and watch for me if you have the time.

        Next.

    • bbmoney

      I get your point.

      I personally enjoy watching Starlin (when he has his head on straight), Rizzo, Garza (when healthy), Shark, Castillo, Barney and I’m excited to see if guys like jackson and Vitters can contribute if given another shot. Sadly I can only name 5 or 6 guys I’m really excited to watch, which is too bad, but I’m an optimist I expect that to change in the next couple years.

      Shawn camp did get resigned by the way and was dangerously decent last year. Not trying to be a jerk, just factual, sorry.

      • Nathan

        Do not forget about the upside Viscaino brings to the table. That is another thing to watch for this season.

  • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

    Something different to discuss instead of arguing over comments by others. MLB Contracts has the Cub’s payroll at 65 Million, add in another 17 Million for Arbitration Eligible players, Garza, Shark, and the kids and we are up to 82 Million.

    Would it kill Rickett’s wallet to shell out a 5 year and 20 million contract to put Josh Hamilton in right field?

    Considering all the salary coming of the books in 2013 & 2014, it’s not like we couldn’t afford the short term costs.

    • gutshot5820

      You are forgetting there is a good chance we are going to trade Marmol and Soriano. Our payroll is going to be ridiculously low.

    • Spencer

      Ken Rosenthal said the Mariners have discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in range of $20M to $25M per season. If Marmol and Soriano are indeed traded, I wouldn’t hate that for Hamilton at all.

      I think we’ll have to eat some of the money on one or both of Marmol’s or Soriano’s contract to be able to trade them, but if we can get like $10M of salary relief from them, I can def get behind that sort of deal for Hamilton.

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        If it’s a three-year deal I would happily do that and NOT trade Soriano. Our payroll would still be shy of $110M with flexibility. Contention might be a possibility next year with him in the lineup.

        Although, I think I remember him saying he hates playing (or does worse (which the stats do not bear that out)) day games.

        • Spencer

          Yeah, I dunno if Chicago is appealing to him or not. He needs to talk to Mark Grace.

        • Whiteflag

          I thought it had something to do with having too much free time at night more than stats

        • bbmoney

          3 years at 20-25per. yes please.

          He’s an interesting case. I can see him signing where he feels the most comfortable even for a little less money just because of his history. But I’d hope the Cubs would at least seriously try if he ends up signing for 3 years.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          In 2012 he actually hit a little better during the day.

          • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

            Ya, which is why I found his comments odd. If I remember correctly he claimed he was having issues hitting during the day and got red contacts to try and help the situation. Maybe they worked really well.

            • Tim

              Wherever he signs, do you think his contract will include if he relapses again, the team is able to release him with no penalty/ not having to pay him the rest of his contract?

              • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

                It will either have that or the team will pruchase a substantial insurance policy on him.

                I’d say both.

            • Cubbie Blues

              Or, that is a cover up and he doesn’t like having all the free time in the evenings.

              • Whiteflag

                ^ Probably more of an issue than people want to believe.

      • Whiteflag

        I think that’s a fair price, but Hamilton in Chicago concerns me too much.

        • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

          What’s the worry??? We can just hire Mark Grace to drive him to the ballpark on game day.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Now that is snark of the highest order. Love the name change and Monty Python reference by the way. King Jeff is formally known as Jeff as well.

            • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

              I know, a third Jeff started posting so I changed my name. Prince Jeff didn’t sound right, I didn’t want to be in the shadow of King Jeff, so after listening to some Purple Rain, I became a Formerly Know As

      • Cubbie Blues

        I would totally be on board for a 3 year deal. Unfortunately he will probably get more or stay where he is at.

        • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

          A five year deal would put him at 36 which is when his skills will start declining, I’d be okay with wasting Rickett’s money for five years.

          • Cubbie Blues

            You have to remember that his body is much older than his age. He will decline much faster than most.

        • Spencer

          I say offer it, too. 3 years/75M. It’s probably a waste for 2013, but it could pay off in 2014 and definitely 2015.

          • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

            It would turn the ship I think, add some real talent to the line-up. Face it, Soriano, Marmol and Garza are all probably traded by July and their contracts will be history. Maybe we can add some serious pieces in those trades to go to Tampa Bay and get David Price in a trade with some of our young talent when his price gets too high for them in 2014.

          • King Jeff

            Seriously, I would go up to 90 million for 3 years. I know that’s probably a high price, but I think adding Hamilton to the team and a bullpen arm or two would make this team a wild card contender as is. They need a couple of more minor pieces to fill out the roster, but I think a big bat like Hamilton would be huge.

          • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

            I don’t think it’d be a waste in 2013. I think it would have us close enough to the front to buy at the deadline and make a run.

  • daveyrosello

    Haven’t heard any talk at all this week about Jose Valverde, isn’t he a FA this year? He’s a pariah in Detroit for his late-season problems, but every closer not named Mariano goes through slumps now and then. Would love to keep Marmol and add Valverde, the Cubs would at least have a top-notch bullpen:

    9th inning/closer: Marmol or Fujikawa
    8th inning/setup: Marmol or Fujikawa
    pre-setup, LHP: Russell
    pre-setup, RHP: Valverde
    middle relief: Camp and Rondon
    LOOGY: Beliveau?

    • bbmoney

      I know that most teams have a LOOGY. When did they become so mainstream?

      I have a hard time believing it’s really a good use of a roster spot. But there are a lot smarter people than me making these decisions. Either way, killer acronym.

      Bullpen actually might be ok this year.

    • Spencer

      he may be on the cheap cause he failed so hard last year in detroit. that said, he’s 34, but i would like signing him more than i woulda liked grilli.

  • Nathan

    This might be because I live in Las Vegas and do not catch many games at Wrigley because of traveling purposes and so on, but I have been a huge fan of what the FO has done so far. Obviously, everyone wants to see a winning product on the field every year because we are all passionate fans. I watch virtually every game from home year in and year out, and also follow up on what the guys in the minors did every night before I go to bed. I am a believer that the reason the Cubs are so bad right now is mainly due to the fact it was such a mess when Theo got here, he need to start from scratch. Most people would agree that 2014 and beyond is what the new FO had in mind when they took over. Next offseason should be an exciting one, starting with going after Felix Hernandez. Hoyer, Epstein, and the rest of the crew are trying to strive for consistency. Hopefully in a few years that is paying off greatly.

  • Rizzo44

    I’ve been hearing a couple of interesting things. Like were going after Mark Reynolds for 1 or 2 years to just have fun with a power hitter, trading Soriano and a lot of prospects to the Marlins for Stanton, and still going after Michael Bourn.

    • Eric

      Most of that sounds like complete bullshit. Where are you hearing that? Because they are bullshitting you wherever it is.

    • DB

      Soriano + a lot of our prospects wouldn’t be enough for Stanton. Others teams would easily beat that offer.

  • Eric

    I’m still hoping for a Garza, Shark, Soriano and Marmol deal/delt that brings in Perez, Olt, Bauer, Skaggs, Price sort of deal. Why can’t we do complete rebuilds like the marlins, not half ass rebuilds.

  • Stu

    This site is obviously a pro Cubs Management site with very little critical analysis of overall decision making with regards to profit making. It becomes very obvious especially with the sometimes childish posts like Rizzo-OMG and others.

    What continues to be sold to the Cub faithful is that Theo/Hoyer have access to information that no one else in MLB has access to. How else would they have an edge to eventually win?
    The future will always be a crapshoot and placing a religious-like fervor to flawed human beings is borderline insane. It will always end badly.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Posters like rizzo are well known idiots here. Anytime someone says”I hear that we are going after x player” I have to laugh. Where is he ” hearing it” from. Probably tiny voices in his head. The kid needs to back away from his mom’s laptop and seek some help immediately.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I still find it odd how frequently we see the claim that this is a “pro Cubs Management” site. There are so many responses, none of which are actually worth making, but, God help me, I’m weak …

      (1.) At a really general level, of course I’m pro Cubs management. I’m pro Cubs (aren’t you?), so I want the management to do well (don’t you?).

      (2.) This particular management group has had one year to work. One year. I believe in their track record, so, with just one year (one year) under their belts, I’m going to keep believing in them for a little longer than just one year (one. year.).

      (3.) If you think folks around here – me included – can’t be critical of Cubs management, you clearly weren’t here during the Jim Hendry era (and you weren’t). When the management deserves criticism, it receives it.

      (4.) You’ve conflated “criticism,” by the way, with “critical analysis.” They are very different things, and I assure you, I trade frequently in the latter.

      (5.) RizzOMG (as an example) is funny, silly, and takes the edge off. If you’re so self-serious about baseball, might I suggest that you take a step back, and recognize that we’re all talking about a game. It’s supposed to be fun. That’s the very reason it exists.

      • Tommy

        I find no. 4 especially well-stated!

        And you said all of that without name calling on the people that disagree with you.

        • CubFan Paul

          ‘And you said all of that without name calling on the people that disagree with you’

          nor did he ask him to leave his site..

        • King Jeff

          I like number 5 the best. I’m pretty sure the reason this site blew up the way it did, is not only because of Brett’s writing, but because we all have fun here cheering for and talking about the Cubs.

          • Alou and Vinegar

            I agree with number 5 also. I don’t post much but have been reading since 2009. While it is great to have many more posters and opinions, it seems like it is getting to an almost political state where people draw a line in the sand as either wanting to pick high in the draft, acquire players only to flip them, etc. etc. vs those who expect the Cubs to be in on every big dollar free agent. The truth is somewhere in the middle and most people realize this. Where things jump the track is where a few posters don’t know when to stop and let it go ( not talking about Kyle. He makes a lot of good points).

      • MichiganGoat

        Well stated my friend, I remember the times B.R. (before Ricketts) when we all complained about this team’s ownership was destroying the future if the team. I remember you being critical even angry at Hendry on multiple occasions, but this was all before the site took off and readership and comments grew at an exponential rate. You do one if the best jobs at reporting the stories, offering realistic insight, and adding great humor. Unfortunately there are posters on here that confuse being critical with complaining; confuse patience, vision, and a plan with WTF are you doing today; and confuse being a fan with being a sheep. It’s been a testy couple of days and the “WTF WE HAVEN’T SPENT ANY MONEY” crowd has gotten rowdy. You are the best at what you do and don’t let the anyone make you feel otherwise.

      • Joepoe123

        Debate!!!!

      • MXB

        had to look up the word ‘conflated’…that sounds like ‘lawyer speak’ :D

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Sorry. Some of it sticks with you …

      • The Dude Abides

        Brett – quick question I’m sure I missed, what was the timeline Theo laid out to when he will put a team on the field to compete for the division and/or World Series? I think it is easier to put up with the rebuilding plan if we know the FO timeline. A business plan if you would for accountability purposes.

      • Josh

        Reading some comments on here some people make me think they would rather the Jim Hendry’s and the suits that had the cubs so bad for so long (minus a few years) still running the team. Personally I’d rather the the guys who ended Bostons World Series streak. Brett said it best it has been a year (1). Everything about the Cubs was horrible before Theo/Jed got here. From the minors to the FO to the team needed rebuilding and now everybody is mad because they are rebuilding the Cubs the right way. Personally I’m glad they aren’t out there signing every big name guy to a long term multi million dollar deal. I see the blueprints of building from within all over the league so I’ll take my chances on Theo/Jed over Hendry or whoever came before.

        • RoughRiider

          Green was doing a pretty good job.

        • Kyle

          I want the guys who ended Boston’s WS streak too. When those guys show up, let me know, because the guys we have now seem to have more in common with the ’00s Pirates than the ’00s Red Sox.

          Do I want Jim Hendry back? No.

          But I can’t help but note:

          Jim Hendry’s career as a GM: 9.5 seasons, 766-768, .499 Win%, three division titles
          Jed Hoyer’s career as a GM: 3 full seasons, 222-264, .456 Win%, no playoff appearances

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Cuz Hendry had nothing to do with the 2012 Cubs record…

            • Kyle

              He sure didn’t make it 10 games worse than it was when he left.

          • bbmoney

            That’s a bit simplistic. It’s not an apples to apples comparison. There are always confounding variables.

            Not a perfect comparison, but that’s a lot like measuring two hitters against one another and not considering park factors which I know you’d rail against because you’re smarter than that.

          • Josh

            Yea but Kyle when you have to rebuild the organization from top to bottom it won’t happen over night and in Jed’s defense he did take over two teams remarkably bad Hendry’s record is all his. Jed has taken two rebuilding jobs and wasn’t on one but what two years and this one a year I mean come on give them a chance.

            • Kyle

              If rebuilding an organization from top to bottom causes you to lose so many baseball games consistently, I’d question the wisdom of rebuilding an organization from top to bottom.

              • Josh

                Wow 2 years of losing compared to the hundred before. If we aren’t looking better by the end of year 3 yea I’ll probably be sitting right here with you complaining about the FO.

          • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

            That means he was about .500 in San Diego – not too shabby.

    • FFP

      Stu,

      sometimes childish posts

      , if that’s what they are, are going to be unavoidable on any site. Their existence here proves nothing. The general responses to them might prove a great deal. Perhaps we should ignore them. Or maybe, help educate (with respect and civility) the poster so that he becomes a greater asset to this community. For example, I’d love it if the poster you cite here would link back, or at least (try to) name his source. (He probably can’t here, and learning that the “some people say” intro is detected by readers of a site who are used to critical analysis as attempted cover for “I just made this up” might be enough for him today).

      If we

      the Cub faithful

      are not placing a religious-like fervor to flawed human beings

      , then what does “faithful” mean?

      What you state is “obvious” in this post eludes me. But, I am still working on my first cup of coffee. I look forward to

      critical analysis of overall decision making

      you contribute. Although I am more concerned with that analysis as it relates to future wins than profits, we both know that the two are related.

      • FFP

        apologies for my horrible quote mechanics here

        • TWC

          Are you kidding? I love it. It was like … poetry, man.

          • FFP

            Californian,
            Vesuvio, City

            Lights.

            Beat.

            man

    • JR

      Stu, you’re obviously not reading thru all the comments. Their is plenty of people critical. I think the Cubs FO has a lot to prove. For example, they WAY over played their Garza hand. His value sucks now. I am not high on the Dempster return (Demp was a jerkoff, so not completely their fault). The Stewart trade looks bad. The Big Z trade was worthless. I am not as high on their first rd. pick as a lot. I think Almora has a good chance of being close to his ceiling aready with all the baseball and training he’s had already.

      But with that said they have a plan and are sticking to it and not worrying what fans/media are thinking. I respect that.

      • Nathan

        Whether you like or dislike the Garza trade it can’t be put on Theo or Jed as they were not here yet. Dempster ruined the Cubs trade with the Braves, and they were still able to pull of a very good prospect in Villanueva. Zambrano sucks at this point, so who else could they have gotten? And as for the Stewart trade…I do not think anyone actually likes the trade as of now, but the Cubs had a whole at 3rd base, and Colvin does not look like he is gonna be anything but a 4th outfielder with some pop. They took a shot at receiving a bounce back candidate in Stewart..not every trade works out amazing.

        I

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I think Almora has a good chance of being close to his ceiling aready with all the baseball and training he’s had already.

        ?? You want guys who have tons of baseball and training: there certainly is no correlation between having it and peaking early. The opposite correlation certainly exists: lots of “toolsy” “athletic” draft picks who were great at multiple sports wash out in the minors because they do not have well-honed baseball talents.

  • Eric

    Would love Hamilton ofcourse. But it’s just not going to happen. Since Theo and the boys came over we’ve done nothing but pillige the bottom of the barrel for scraps. And please don’t lecture me about their plan, I was and still am a supporter of that. But that was if the plan was to suck for a couple years and compete in 3-4. Passing up guys like Bourn or Upton at 5 year deals (who would only be wasting one year) is what you have to do if you even begin to imagine competing in 2014.

  • BluBlud

    I don’t think this site is Pro Cubs mangement. Brett, I think you give a fair and balanced approach to all things cubs. After all, you are not in the front office, and your articles, with exception to the facts that you report, are your opinions. This site is by far the best Cubs site on the internet, and there is not even a close 2nd.

    However, there are some people(few, but some) who attack others for disagreeing with the direction the front office is taking this team. If Theo/Jed makes a move and they disagree with it, they are accused of being trolls or anti-Cub and asked to go somewhere else. That is not fair to those people. Some are doing it just to stir the pot, I do agree. But some people, like Kyle, will make a lot valid points, but because people see him as a “troll”, they over look the valid points and just instantly attack. I think we as Cubs fans should not attack each other. We should be able to argue/discuss our valid points without having to call names. If there’s is someone on here justy absolutely trolling, then we will all attack them. But the regulars who are here everyday, or like myself who constantly refreshes my curser on this site atleast 100 times a day, are here cause we obviously love the Cubs, and our opinions are what we feel will make the team betters.

    Brett, thanks for the site though man. If I go more then a couple hours without checking, i feel empty. HAHA

    • MichiganGoat

      BluBlood you are correct and I must admit I guilty of attacking the Ricketts is cheap, Theo is dumb crowd and should resist the urge to attack. However there are some that require the criticism and yes there are few anti-Theoites that make valid points but I cannot ignore ignorance and people that have no vision or patience with a FO that had been operating for only one year, but I guess I should just avoid the growing voices that are just complaining to complain- its just not my style. After all I am just a goat or a sheep ;)

      • CubFan Paul

        few anti-Theoites that make valid points but I cannot ignore ignorance and people that have no vision or patience with a FO that had been operating for only one year, but I guess I should just avoid the growing voices that are just complaining to complain

        OR maybe the few anti-Theoites just want to be f’n competitve to a degree while rebuilding

    • Tim

      Didn’t anybody take debate in college.. Geez

    • DarthHater

      Kyle is obviously not a troll and I don’t think anyone accuses him of such (and anyone who made such an accusation would himself be trolling). I agree with a lot of the perspective articulated by Kyle and others who are critical of a rebuild that does not move on multiple fronts to make the MLB team as competitive as possible as soon as possible. But I am also prepared to be patient and am not prepared to always assume the worst and jump to exaggerated negative conclusions about every single thing that happens day after day. There are plenty of people at this site who not only do the latter, but do it in an annoying, smart-ass tone that is bound to rub others the wrong way. Next thing you know, we are all calling each other names and hassling Brett over whether he should be banning anybody from the site. Of course, as a Sith Lord, I find all this most pleasing…

  • Walter Sobchak

    I like the idea of still signing Stewart back…..He is no risk high reward with the non-guarunteed deal in place……and with the numbers being floated around at winter meetings the Stewart signing was good…..did anyone want Keppinger @ 3yrs 12 mil …..thats not using your money wisely….also we shouldnt let the winter meetings dictate anything…..now teams have a better outlook of what they need overall….in the next coming several weeks I wouldnt be shocked to see the cubs getting calls about Sori and Marmol…..and hell teams will probably be calling about Stewart as well……Ground work was laid and Sori and Marmol will have REAL value coming up before spring training !

  • Fastball

    The FO is not going to go after any top free agents this off season. Not even a Bourn type.
    They got blasted this morning on ESPN Chicago for their approach. My worry is that we are putting our eggs into one basket with the type of rebuild that is in progress. It is a large gamble hoping they are picking the right players and not doing a rebuild on at the MLB and MiLB levels in concert. I hope Baker and Feldman amount to something average. I thought about the past last night. I don’t really care about the past regimes attempts. I will give credit to the Hendry regime for one thing. He put a winning team on the field while Lou was the manager. Hendry made a critical error thinking he needed to be more left handed and broke up that winning team after one season. Hendry made mistakes with Wood and Prior as well. But we have to remember something. Chicago and Cubs fans all over the country wanted a WS more then than we do right now. We were good and we had really good players and we should have won. Lou had us right there and we should have won but we clinched to soon and lost our intensity and ran into an Arizona team that was hot. Same happened with the Marlins we just got jinxed same with the Padres. Hendry made some gambles on players like Dempster that worked out. He mis-managed talent like Wood and Prior but they were going for it because Cubs fans all over the world would have rioted in the streets if they shut those two down like the Nationals did with their pitcher this year. Hendry thought we needed to be more left handed and broke up the chemistry on a team that won more games than any other team in baseball. A major mistake. Cubs Nation just wants a team that has a chance at the playoffs right now and every year going forward. To think that Theo is going to put us there every year is kind of silly. I fully get what he is doing and I support what he is doing in the farm system. There is nothing in his way or preventing him from continuing this approach of farm system development every year. That should be one of his two top priorities. Farm System Development and Winning at the ML level every single year. Is he going to make it to the playoffs every year? No… I don’t care what anyone says that will not happen. I don’t think you have to be a 100 win team to get to a WS. The Giants and Cardinals have proven that. In the NL Central you only need to win about 87 games win the division most years. Theo could put a team together that could do that if he wanted too. Look at the Giants. Outside of stellar pitching and their catcher they don’t have anybody who jumps out at you in their lineup. They have a great manager, a field general who knows how to get the most out of what he has. The Cardinals were the same way. Besides Pujols they didn’t really have any superstars. This past season they didn’t have any superstars. Pitching, defense and a little bit of offense put them in it late in October again. They barely made the playoffs two years in a row. The Cubs could be closer to the playoffs than a lot of people think with pitching and solid defense. The Giants rode the coat tails of Scutaro for christ sakes. The Cardinals rode the coat tails of a scrub short stop and some other clown who nobody every heard of. You got to have pitching, guys who go deep in games every start and a bullpen who has pitchers who throw strikes and can throw in the mid to upper 90’s. We have guys who can’t throw hard enough to break a window. Russell and Camp. A few more pitchers and the Cubs can do a lot better than people think. We won’t amount to shit if we trade Marmol. We need both he and Fuji and a couple others to shut games down before the 9th inning. The Cubs don’t lose in the 9th. They lose in the 7th and 8th or even earlier. We are already behind late in the game. Our starters can’t pitch 7 innings repeatedly. We put in shitty pitchers in the 5th and 6th and the game is over by the end of the 7th. That’s what needs fixed. This team needs to learn how to win 1 run games. We have a small ball lineup that doesn’t know how to play small ball. We have a bunting tournament in ST. Whooptiedooo. This team can’t bunt a runner over to save its life. We have the fastest guy in baseball who never get’s put in a game at the right time to steal 2nd and 3rd with 0 or 1 out so we can win a game. We have runners on base often with 0 or 1 out and the next 3 batters strike out looking terrible doing it. Thats what pisses me off. Hit a opposite field grounder, hit a sac fly move a runner. This past season we just had a bunch of individuals on a 25 man roster who played to keep their spot. There never was any team baseball going on. Sveum needs to change that. I am all for a youth movement if they are not going to sign any veterans this off season. Bring up these talented kids and let them play in Chicago and learn at the big league level. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We have talent let them play a few levels over their head. If we don’t bench them for a Valbuena when we know we aren’t going to the post season they will improve. I’m done… back to work…

    • Eric

      I think I would enjoy reading what you posted, but I couldn’t. Please break up a long post like that with paragraph indents. It’s really easy to lose your place when it’s a huge wall of text like that.

    • Troy

      I like what you wrote. Obviously you have a lot of passion about this team as do many of us on here.

  • Kyle

    I’m kind of tired of hearing “high-reward” attached to a player who has fewer 1.5 WAR seasons than either Neifi Perez or Lenny Harris.

    • http://none millhah

      man i miss neifi :)

  • Troy

    Consequently, I was listening to Peter gammons tell his story about how Larry Himes ran this organization. The rumor at the time that Maddux was going to the Braves and Peter asked Himes if this was true….Himes replied: Yes he’s not a number one anyway, his numbers were good because of Mike Morgan.

    My point is this: You have to have front office that uses every resource available, not just gut feelings.
    This FO has built systems and processes to take emotion and gut feelings out of the equation. It’s not about how sexy the player seems its about what the numbers say the team needs. It’s not about money, its about putting together a team that can win year in and out. Its not just spending money because you can, just like every business you have to be wise with your spending and be responsible with your resources. I have run businesses for nearly 20 years and know team building isnt about bringing on the people with the sexiest resume, its about building your team with the type of people who will follow your plan. The Cubs have a plan, we have to be patient and see how it works. I think many of us will be excited about this team in the near future.

    • Frank

      I nearly threw up at the mere mention of Larry Himes . . .

      • MightyBear

        Me too. Don’t even mention Larry Himes or I may have a fit. He is my most hated person in Cubs history. I hate him more than the f’ing goat.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    The farm is slow to develop.
    Signing free agents is fast.
    To time it right, meaning, to have the farm give you that steady stream of contributors at the same time you sign great free agents, you have to give it a head start to the signing free agents phase.

    That’s what phase of the rebuild we’re in. Acquiring as much talent for the farm as possible. Not because they want to find their cornerstones to build on, like the Starlin Castro’s, but just to have a steady stream of contributions to the majors, guys like Darwin Barney or Travis Wood or James Russell, that can supplement the cornerstones (who can be bought when that stream is ready to contribute).
    If you sign a 6 year $90M contract to a CF because he’s young enough to be good in 2 or 3 years, that’s $15M less you have to sign that GREAT free agent that’s available in 2 or 3 years.

  • preacherman86

    I know this is late in coming, but for all the Nate Schierholtz haters I just wanted to give a brief look at what we are getting in Nate Schierholtz over last years CF options. Now I know he is not going to play center, but essentially that is the production he is replacing on the offensive side at least. I took the combined stats of five guys featured in center last year for the Cubs (Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, lil Tony, Reed Johnson, and Super Joe), and realizing they didn’t spend all their time in CF collectively paired there stats down to 550 AB’s. Here are the numbers.
    Cubs CF 2012
    avg – .230
    rbi – 38
    obp – .274
    ops – .658 – not including Marlon, which would drop the OPS even further to the area of .570-.580
    hr – 9
    bb – 38
    runs – 61
    sb – 28 – remember lil Tony had 30, and we still have him on the roster, he began last year not playing for the Cubs too
    WAR – (-.5) – not weighted appropriately, simply an average of the WAR’s of the guys playing CF last year

    ….and Nate Schierholtz – stats averaged up to 550 AB’s(actual stats in parentheses which was 241 AB’s)
    avg – .257
    rbi – 48(21)
    obp – .321
    ops – .725
    hr – 14(6)
    bb – 52(23)
    sb – 7(3)
    WAR – (.6)

    If you really look at the stats it is fair to assume that Nate Schierholtz is a significant upgrade over what we were seeing in CF last year for the Cubs on the whole. Yes he figures to score less runs and steal less bases, but remember on those two stats how many times Tony came in to run and swiped a bag or two and scored as a pinch runner, which he will still be for the Cubs. So Schierholtz of last year was far and away better than the Cubs product on the field in center from 2012. Now if that is not encouragement enough remember the FO is buying low on a guy they feel can bounce back and with regular time put up better numbers yet. All in all, those who wanted a return to last years picture of CF, hold on, this guy is a significant upgrade to what we saw last year scampering around in centerfield.

    • brickhouse

      Your whole post is incorrect since he was not brought in to play CF. He was brought in to play RF where his numbers will rank toward the bottom in all of baseball.

      • preacherman86

        Brickhouse, maybe I remind you he is coming in to replace our centerfield production from last year. Our right field production will still be there this year, aka – DeJesus, so in reality the production you ought to compare to isn’t the right field from last year, but center field production from a year ago. I wasn’t comparing Schierholtz to other right fielders in baseball mind you, but was simply comparing the production Schierholtz had, in a down year they say, to the production we are replacing on OUR CLUB. We still have Soriano and DeJesus, so Schierholtz is there to replace the CF production from last year. And he is much better than what we got out of CF last year, even on a bad year. And at the 2 or 2.5 million whatever he got, its cheaper than the mix of Super Joe, Marlon Byrd, Reed, Tony, and BJax as well. So if you want to compare the Cubs to the rest of baseball, yeh we are still not elite or even competitive maybe, but strictly looking at the overall evaluation of our team: Schierholtz is a better bat at less dollars collectively than we had out of the third outfield spot last season!

        • preacherman86

          apologies on the first sentence grammar error, typed it on my iphone and it auto finished “may” to maybe

    • Tommy

      That was a great post, Preacherman. And you didn’t even list the strikeout numbers!

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