Quantcast

This time of year, in large part because of the hopefulness associated with the offseason, can spur a whole lot of anger from a considerable portion of the fan base.

Re-signing Ian Stewart isn’t sexy. Signing Nate Schierholtz isn’t exciting. Folks get frustrated because, while their rational mind accepts that this rebuilding process is going to take “years,” it’s much harder to confront that fact when you’re swept up in what is supposed to be the excitement of the Winter Meetings. We want Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke rumors, not Ryan Ludwick and Francisco Liriano.

But this is the reality of the “process” in the “rebuilding process.”

Most of us accepted that last year when Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod came on board (I seem to recall that most of us were … happy about that). If you’re able, take a moment to remind yourself that nothing that has happened to this point – or hasn’t happened – isn’t exactly what we were told to expect in this rebuilding process. It can be ugly and painful as we go (“you can’t turn an ocean liner on a dime”), but I remain hopeful about the outcome. And I’m certainly going to allow more than one year to pass before I rip into a multi-year rebuilding process.

To that point, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer recently offered some thoughts on the process of rebuilding, and the time for spending the big bucks.

“We’re certainly going to spend all the money we have to spend, there’s no question about that,” Hoyer told Paul Sullivan. “It’s a good philosophical question. We talk about it all the time. We have money to spend. This is kind of the first place to spend it – at the Winter Meetings. People come here to sign free agents. It’s not the last time. If we can’t find wise ways to spend money, we’ll hold it and find wise ways the next 12 months.

“The Dodgers are a really good example of that in some ways. They had their offseason in August [acquiring $260 million worth of contracts in a huge deal with the Red Sox]. We’re not going to go on a binge just because we have money to spend and make sure we have it spent. [T]here are 12 more months in the fiscal year and we can find other times to do it.

“It’s really important to note ultimately we’re investing money. That’s what we’re doing in [acquiring] players. If you can’t find wise investments, hold off, and there are going to be other times to make a wise investment. You try to be patient. It’s not a sexy thing to talk about – being patient. But I’ll feel a lot better about that than I will about making a big splash on someone you don’t feel really convicted about. You’re probably going to regret that move more later than you will if you’re kind of keeping your powder dry and maybe finding out a more prudent way to spend it.”

I couldn’t put it better myself.

This rebuilding process necessarily involves a “process” –  a painful, slow, loss-filled, low-payroll, “flippable asset”-filled process. When Theo and Jed came on board, it was easy to say, “I’m so excited! I know this will take a few years, but they’re going to do it the right way, and it will be worth it in the end!” But it was an entirely different thing to live it for a year, and to be on the precipice of having to do it all over again for another year or two. I understand that cognitive dissonance, and I’ll forgive anyone who overestimated their own fortitude for stomaching suck. The fact that Year One of this process came on the heels of some unrelatedly awful Cubs teams sure doesn’t help.

But this is the process. It’s here, it’s clear, get used to it.

Yes, the Cubs’ payroll (as of Opening Day) has dropped from about $144 million in 2010 to about $134 million in 2011, to about $109 million in 2012, to what will certainly be lower still in 2013. But, considering that the 2010 and 2011 figures were artificially inflated by the back-end of contracts handed out during the 2007/2008/2009 spending binge (on players, you’ll note, who were no longer productive), it’s a bit unfair to use 2010 as your starting point for the payroll decline. You’ve also got to keep in mind that the reduced payroll in the last two years was largely in service of clearing debris from the roster, and not inking long-term, high-dollar deals on a crappy team for which a band-aid or two was not going to help.

I have no issues with that approach, and I believe that the money “saved” has been, and will be, used in other areas of the organization, as has been promised. I doubt I’ll enjoy the resulting train wreck on the field in 2013 all that much – though I’ll find pleasure where I can, hopefully in the development of young talent, and in the breakout of trade assets – and no one’s asking you to, either. There’s nothing inconsistent with being in support of the long-term rebuild, and being bummed that the 2013 Cubs are probably not going to be competitive. That’s just another piece of the process to stomach.

That all said, as the Dodgers have brought into focus, payroll does matter. Better players tend to make more money than worse players, and better teams – on average – tend to have higher payrolls than worse teams. (There are reasons the Yankees have made 17 of the last 18 postseasons – good decision-making is certainly one of them, but their huge, huge, huge financial advantage and commensurately huge, huge, huge payroll is an even bigger one.)

I can accept seeing the Cubs sit out the top of the free agent market this year, and fielding a team with a lower payroll in 2013 than it had in 2012. I have no problem with this because I still believe in the process, and I see the steps being taken in service of that process.

But you know as well as I do: if the process is working, that payroll is going to start creeping back up within a year or two. And the free agent signings will come in a year or two. If those things don’t happen, then – and only then – it will be fair to become suspicious of what’s going on.

Right now, everything is still going according to plan. So choke down the process as best you can.

  • Stu

    So the question that remains which is not being answered is, who is projected to be available in 2-3 years which can then be signed to complete the rebuilding process.

    Anyone?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s kind of a fallacious exercise – go back 2-3 years and you’ll see that many of the “top” free agents this year weren’t considered anything close to that back then.

      But you’re kind of proving the other side of the coin: free agents can’t turn a franchise around. They can only supplement the positive action that’s already taking place.

  • Dougy D

    “you can’t turn an ocean liner on a dime”

    I prefer, “you can’t polish a turd!”

    • DarthHater

      Ahh, but it has been proven that one actually can polish a turd: http://mythbustersresults.com/end-with-a-bang

      • cubsnivy56

        I had to look……………..

    • johnny kelroy

      Well, you can polish a turd, but the problem is that it will still smell like s***…

  • Jeff

    Brett – What exactly is “everything is still going according to plan”? How are you so sure it is indeed going to plan?

  • Blublud

    I agree with the process, but Jed make the point of why we should be spending money. “You cant turn an ocean liner on a dime. We should have sign at least one or two long term pieces this year. A piece or two each year and with in year three, we would be pretty competitive. All this crap about over paying players and calling players “Assets” as got to stop. If I’m a player and all you considered me was an asset, I would not even consider signing. We need to sign Sanchez or Bourn or this offseason is considered a complete waste. I still support the rebuild, but it should start now.

    • another JP

      OK… then let’s call the players what they really are- an “Expense”.

      Feel better now?

      • Lou

        Yet, the Cubs will be getting into the expense game once they decide to sign FAs because if there is anything that’s been discovered about FAs, their value is going up. This is particularly true of FAs with question marks. So, we wait to sign these players or we do it a little at a time to steadily build a competitive ballclub. Think that’s his point, and you missed it. But then again, that’s what most people talking about acquiring FAs have as the backbone of their arguments on this thread.

  • Dustin S

    This artcile very eloquently described my feelings as well. I 100% agree on all points. It’s a bit like restoring a car or a house. At times you reach the point where everything is a big torn apart mess and you wonder…did I make a mistake, will it be worth it, will I ever get to the end? The answer is a reluctant yes, but it’s normal to wonder those things as a fan about now. I have to remind myself of the good points from last year (Rizzo, Samardzija, etc.) and believe it’s going to be worth it eventually.

  • Pat

    My complaint is that we have not made any progress in the “rebuild” this offseason. We’re still in the tear down phase, which is not supposed to take several years. Hell, when the Marlins do it, it usually only takes a couple of weeks.

    • Splint Chesthair

      It’s true that the Marlins are much more efficient when it comes to tearing down their entire team, but what you have to keep in mind about the Cubs over the last 5 years or so is that their contracts were engineered in such a way that it became much harder. It would have been much easier to send Dempster, Zambrano, etc. packing if the previous front office hadn’t given them such bloated, unwieldy contracts. Soriano and Marmol would have been sent on their way by now if it wasn’t for all the no-trade clauses and back-loaded salaries. To continue the “tear-down” analogy, the Cubs needed to completely gut the house, but the walls were still loaded with asbestos.

    • MichiganGoat

      A rebuild and fire sale are two very different things. The Cubs are righting the ship and laying down new foundation that will create a sustainable organization that will compete year after year. A fire sale is basically liquidating all assets and going back to day one in order to save as much cash as possible. The Marlins gambled that a huge spending spree would result in a winner and but asses in the seats- they failed on both fronts and decided to just explode every piece they had that cost them more than a few dollars a year. The Cubs are being surgical with how they build this team and after seeing how the Marlins showed how you can’t buy a winning team- you build a winning team.

  • Kurt

    Brett,

    “…not inking long-term, high-dollar deals on a crappy team for which (Ryan Dempster is) not going to help”

    There, now I get it.

  • Rizzofanclub

    If the cubs were serious about rebuilding sign Josh Hamilton to a 3 year deal 90 million. At mid season say we will pay 10 million a year for the next 2 years. Give us your prospects. You can not tell me the cubs would not land 2 top 100 prospects for that. Now i know the big issue is getting Josh Hamilton to sign for only 3 years.

    • LWeb23

      And without a no-trade clause. And without getting a bad reputation with future free agents.

    • MichiganGoat

      Unless that is the only offer he gets I doubt Hamilton would be interested, plus if he “breaks” we are eating 90M.

  • bbmoney

    This is pretty much exactly what I expected from the Cubs once Theo and Jed came on. To be ridiculously bad in 2012. To sign a few risk/reward free agents this offseason and probably be slightly better next year. Then get much more aggressive in FA after 2013.

    I still think they need to sign a quality starting pitcher above all else (kind of an obvious statement I know). Looking at next year’s potential crop of FA SPs, I’d like to see them take a shot at Sanchez even if it’s a year earlier than I really expected them to sign a long term deal. There are some interesting SP names out there next year but who knows if they get extended and most have pretty big question marks.

    • Marcel91

      Alot of people think Sanchez is this years Carl Pavano and I don’t blame them. I’d hate to be carrying his contract at age 33-34. If he actually had some projection left like some similar pitchers at his age and possibly still get better ex Matt Garza then yeah but Sanchez already seems maxed out talent-wise so it’s only downhill from here.

  • Marcel91

    For people who think we should super-speed up this rebuild and make all these trades and sign all these players to ridiculous deals. All I say is easier said than done. The things some of you are suggesting are the same things that got us into this mess in the first place.

    You want to sign the Hamiltons, Grienkes, etc in hopes of them alone making us a contender without any semblance of a developed core already in place. KC developed a core of young players first THEN went after the big fish. Same with Washington, Texas, and even LA. We don’t have that developed core yet but at least, unlike last year, we can say the making of one is here. You have to wait for your window to come, not try and buy one. Our window is 2 years from now. Trying to sign whoever to add a few more wins to next years team does nothing but clog up your team with unmovable contracts on aging players and no roster flexibility. We can instead wait and develop this core group and a year or 2 or 3 from now when that extra 10 wins can mean the difference then you sign that years Grienke or Hamilton while theyre still in their prime.

  • Kev

    The real question, in my opinion, is where the Cubs farm system ranks currently. If they want to be frugal with their major league talent and only look at guys who are coming off of surgery and get them for cheap, that’s fine, but if they’re doing that and not simultaneously developing a lot of young talent, then this plan just isn’t going to work.

    I know we’ve signed some good prospects lately, but I’m still concerned that the number of prospects that we have isn’t enough to translate into long-term success for the club. If we don’t have enough prospects by the time that we decide to finally invest in a bunch of free agents, then we might as well just hire Jim Hendry again.

    • Marcel91

      Well alot of scouts and such have us near the top already even though most of our impact guys are at the lower levels or already graduated. That’s pretty good. The important thing people don’t talk about is the new emphasis on player development and instruction implemented since Ricketts got here. That’s more important than the stats sheet for prospects.

  • jr

    Yes, the Cubs’ payroll (as of Opening Day) has dropped from about $144 million in 2010 to about $134 million in 2011, to about $109 million in 2012, to what will certainly be lower still in 2013. But, considering that the 2010 and 2011 figures were artificially inflated by the back-end of contracts handed out during the 2007/2008/2009 spending binge (on players, you’ll note, who were no longer productive), it’s a bit unfair to use 2010 as your starting point for the payroll decline. You’ve also got to keep in mind that the reduced payroll in the last two years was largely in service of clearing debris from the roster, and not inking long-term, high-dollar deals on a crappy team for which a band-aid or two was not going to help.

    this is a bunch of nonsense. we used to have ownership willing to spend that kind of money, right now we don’t. using semantics to pretend that those previous big numbers don’t count since they were the end of contracts is just silly.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Who are you spending it on, or are you spending for the sake of saying you did?

    • Patrick W.

      I think you’re missing one very important point in what you suggest is “silly.” The big numbers don’t count as “SMART” numbers, which is entirely the point of the argument. Don’t say we used to spend $144MM and so spending $144MM now would be appropriate considering that a great big chunk of that $144MM was just stupid, wasted money.

      The question as it was presented here is: is the current front office doing anything outside *exactly* what they said they would do? The answer is: No. This is *exactly* what they said they would do. You can decide you don’t care for them doing what they said they would do, but comparing the current strategy to the old strategy is a pretty bad idea when we know that the old strategy *DID NOT WORK*

  • Rizzofanclub

    @Lweb you say without getting a bad reputation with free agents? Isn’t that what the cubs have right now? I’m sure Josh Hamilton would be cool with it if he knows he’s going to a place where the team is in it at the deadline and he’s getting his money. For the record I hope the cubs do not do these type of deals, its just everyone is obsessed with crappy players who may rebound and get a ok at best prospect and spending no money b/c we are rebuilding. I am all about signing free agents when they are avail that are in your plans for 2014/2015 when you compete. For example Anibal Sanchez, BJ Upton, Bourn (if you can get him on a 4 year deal,) Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, resigning Matt Garza and not trading him for some ok prospect when the cubs have a legit #2/3 pitcher who is 29 years old.

  • JR

    “I have no issues with that approach, and I believe that the money “saved” has been, and will be, used in other areas of the organization, as has been promised.”

    “If those things don’t happen, then – and only then – it will be fair to become suspicious of what’s going on.”

    These kind of comments remind me of the mindset of some of the investors I encountered back when I investigated securities fraud: blindly believing what they are told because they desperately want to believe it and criticizing those who actually wanted to see the back-up to see if what they were being told was true.

    Just because some people (like me) believe that spending money on a free agent or two this year will not impair the rebuild process and may make us competitive for a wild card — and as a big market team we have the luxury of doing both — it does not mean we want to abandon the rebuild, or lack the stomach for it, or don’t understand it, or are inherently “suspicious” or are otherwise bad, impatient people.

    I have no idea what Ricketts is doing with the 2013 revenue. I would like to know. He’s charging the ticket prices of a high-spending franchise. I certainly have not heard that the whatever million he doesn’t want to spend this year is going to go into next year’s payroll. In any event, barring something more concrete than his assurances, it is equally plausible that it is going into his pocket.

    • DarthHater

      If you were really a securities fraud investor, then you should understand that a fiduciary’s duties to investors are not comparable to a baseball GM’s duties to fans.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Short of building a time machine, it is impossible for us to know where 2013 revenue will go.

      But we can see where the 2012 revenue went. It went to new facilities in Arizona, the Dominican Republic, signing Soler and Concepcion, expanding the size of the front office, building an expanded scouting and player development operation, and implementing a (hopefully) world class statistical analysis operation (and trust me, that kind of data software does not come cheap).

      There is actually a fair stack of millions summed up in that list. Does it exactly equal the amount of the payroll decline? I have no idea. But I do know the Cubs invested a large amount of cash off the field in 2012, and that lends credence to the idea that the front office is serious and honest when they say that they are continuing to invest in the team.

      Skepticism is always healthy; if we don’t see the same level of non-player investment in 2013 as we did in 2012 despite another decline in payroll, I won’t be a happy camper.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

        Short answer: It does not come within $15 million of adding up to the lost payroll, and probably further than that.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Been meaning to point you to this, which may be of interest to you – it’s the Marlins’ financials from 2008 and 2009. Not perfect, and definitely not parallel to the Cubs, but it’s useful for pointing out some of the “additional” costs of running a franchise that folks might not think of off-hand. Looks to me like there are a lot of costs in the baseball ops department that we might not think of.

          http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4653:florida-marlins-finacnials-2008-2009&catid=7:selection-of-docs&Itemid=25

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

            Didn’t I send you that link in the references for one of the many things that I started on but never got around to finishing?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              You may have, but I saw it back when the Marlins/Blue Jays trade went down. Immediately made me think about our conversations. Hard to find these kind of financial statements floating around out there, so I figured it was a decent starting point.

              • MightyBear

                Keep in mind that these financials don’t always give you the best picture of what’s actually being spent or not. They’re based on the accrual method and some of the bonuses that are reflected in the financials haven’t been paid yet for that period. There are other expenses like amortization and depreciation that don’t affect cash or cash available to be spent. The footnotes will probably give you the most accurate picture on baseball ops expenses.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Yeah, I’m offering it only as an example of some categories of expenses we might not think of on our own.

          • bbmoney

            So….the Marlins local TV deal as of this FS date was for 15 years (starting in 2006). They got $40M up front and it looks like an average of say 15-16M a year after that…so about 275M over 15 years or about 18.33M per for 15 years. Compared to the Dodgers deal that is reportedly close that will get them $200M plus per year……..yikes.

            I know Miami is not LA, so the contracts would never be comparable. But the disaparity is pretty shocking considering it’s only 7 years after the Marlins deal was signed. Let me know if I’m just looking at that information wrong….Note V mostly. Kind of a different financial footing there.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I wouldn’t be surprised if the total cost of setting up the statistical analysis computers, staff, and software came close to eight digits alone. Even small operations in that sphere can easily run into the low to mid seven figures. Something the size of what the Cubs need… and fast… would have been very, very costly.

          • Cubs fandom

            No offense luke, but machines don’t win baseball games, good players do. Allthis additional costhas to start going back into the team. Sanchez or Bourn this year, a few more next year. I down with one more year, but next year we need to be balls to the wall.

            • bbmoney

              Clearly, but, the machines and anlaysis help them identify good baseball players. Or that’s the idea.

          • When the Music’s Over

            I would have to guess 8 figures would be extremely high to build out data analytics capabilities, especially considering that there was likely technology assets already in place to leverage. This isn’t a huge company. Some of the real high end data analytics software tool licenses are $50-100K/year or so, and assuming they have to replace/add some servers and other high end computing tools, you can maybe make a case for another few million (I would guess that to be high end), but I can’t figure out how you would get anywhere close to $10M+ spent in one year.

            If people want to argue that any saved payroll is poured into the team in other areas (meaning the balloon size doesn’t change, but simply takes on a different shape), I would agree that one could possibly make a case for that to be true last year. This year, assuming a baseline MLB salary of $135M or so, you’d have to come up with $50 million of new initiatives to make the equation hold true. I would guess that would be very hard to do.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              They have said previously that dollars can be “rolled over” into future years if there are significant “savings.” Whether that actually happens or what that looks like, we might never know, but I believe it was Jed saying it in response to someone asking something like, “So, will you spend up all the dollars just to make sure you’ve spent them all?”

              • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

                Another one of those quotes that get’s “conveniently” overlooked.

                • When the Music’s Over

                  I didn’t conveniently overlook anything. Must have missed it amongst the rest of the prefabricated, we’re much smarter than everyone else statements that typically get thrown around by the front office.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    um they are smarter

                    • When The Music’s Over

                      How do you know this?

                    • MichiganGoat

                      They are the ones that have built winners, they are the ones that have degrees from the top universities i the nation, they are the top of their game. In a couple of years we will see other teams taking our FO members and making them GM and Presidents. So yeah they are smarter and especially smarter than any of us. Or are you saying you can do this job better?

                    • When the Music’s Over

                      A link wasn’t present on your last reply, so I must make do with this one.

                      a) I neither said I could do their job better, nor that they aren’t intelligent. I have no experience in that industry, and even if I did, it wouldn’t mean I would be any good at it.

                      b) What I was referring to is a fairly consistent, generic, systematic, prefabricated message from the front office. What I guess it assumes is that they don’t believe people are smart enough / have the ability to read between the lines. That was all. Furthermore, to assume one has to have attended top universities to glean the true meaning behind what they say is ignorant, especially when you apply it to everyone. Their is no way they are smarter than everyone.

                      What they are doing behind the scenes is much more complicated. I’d like a bit more honesty and insight from time to time. Maybe they just don’t care to provide any meaningful information. I’d put more stock in that approach. Would fall in line with Bill Belichek.

              • When the Music’s Over

                That would make more sense, though if true, they’d could have a mountain of “saved” cash to invest (in multiple areas) circa 2015. Upwards of an additional $100M if the 2014 payroll looks anything like 2013.

                I want to be clear about one thing here: I am all for the total rebuild. I think it needed to happen in the worst way (ask my friends and they’ll tell you I was calling for it mid-way through the 2010 season), and I think they are on the right track.

                What I don’t agree with is maintaining extremely high ticket prices combined with saving money on expenditures all while attempting this lose on purpose strategy. It abuses fan loyalty in the worst way possible, and suggests to me that when things turn around and winning becomes a regular expectation for the Cubs, that tickets prices have a very strong chance of going through the roof, with 5-10%+ yearly hikes being a distinct possibility.

                And yes, I understand supply and demand, but that relationship doesn’t quite apply in the textbook sense to professional sports where the market is imperfect due to an extreme lack of substitute goods. This is where the abuse of fan loyalty comes into play.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’ve repeatedly advocated signing certain free agents, should they be of the kind useful to the long-term and not detrimental to the rebuild, so you aren’t unique there.

      Believing Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, and Jed Hoyer’s very public statements about how they are going to use the revenue that the Cubs generate does not make me “blind,” “desperate,” or otherwise “bad.”

      Believing that the Ricketts family paid through the nose to bring in Epstein and Hoyer (and several more), paid to build a new facility in the Dominican Republic, paid to upgrade the minor league facilities throughout the system (things behind the scenes that cost real money – money they wouldn’t have to spend if they were just in it to pocket profits), and believing that Epstein and Hoyer came to an organization that had no intentions of spending money on a winner (when they could have had their pick of a franchise) … well, now that I would call implausible.

    • DarthHater

      So, what you are saying is that some people (like you) deserve to have their comments fairly interpreted, while other people (those with whom you disagree) deserve to have their comments mischaracterized as blind, desperate, and gullible. Come on, admit it. You work for a 24-hour cable news channel, don’t you?

  • Crazyhorse

    Well that is one way to describe a Cheap Baseball team.

    • Splint Chesthair

      Yeah, they should really be spending AT LEAST $150 million in payroll. After all, that’s what pushed Boston, Philadelphia and the Angels into the playoffs last year.

      • BWA

        This one gave me a good chuckle

      • 1060Ivy

        Hmmm.

        Of greater importance which of these teams is the least likely to make the playoffs this year – Boston, Philly, Angels or the Cubs?

        BTW, why did you decide to exclude the Yankees in your initial list? They had the highest payroll in baseball last year. That’s right they did make the playoffs.

        Better yet, of the teams with the top 10 payrolls in the MLB, how many made the playoffs? 5

        There’s a strong correlation between team payroll and making the playoffs.

        • bloctoad

          After narrowly winning the division, NY nearly got bounced by Baltimore then did get bounced by Detroit. And what was the Yank’s team BA in the playoffs? NY may have been able to limp into the playoffs with that mega payroll but they certainly didn’t win with it. Embarrassing.

        • Splint Chesthair

          Okay, but five of the top 10 payrolls DIDN’T make the playoffs. It’s not how much you spend, it’s what you spend it on.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

            I’d rather be in the group that made the playoffs 50% of the time than the remainder that made it 25%.

            • Splint Chesthair

              Right, and HOW do you accomplish that? What is the difference between the teams that spend a lot and make the playoffs consistently and those that spend a lot and don’t?

              • DarthHater

                What is the difference between the teams that spend a lot and make the playoffs consistently and those that spend a lot and don’t?

                Ummm, one group makes the playoffs more often? ;-)

      • Dave

        To suggest the teams you named with the large payrolls have not been very successful over the years would be incorrect.
        It’s easy to pick out a single season as an example that there is no connect between large payroll and wins. All of those teams have been in the playoffs on a consistent basis.

        • Cubbie Blues

          They have also had ownership in place that has put money not only into payroll, but scouting, front office, facilities … You can’t just throw money at crap and expect it to smell any better. You have to be a good steward of the money you have. If you have a flat tire, but all they have at the store are wagon wheels for five times what your car is worth or a bicycle. I am going to get the bicycle every time and wait for the tire that I need to come in stock.

  • João Lucas

    I’ll forgive anyone who underestimated their own fortitude for stomaching suck.

    I believe you meant overestimated, Brett. And that’s certainly my case!

    • DarthHater

      Those double suckatives get confusing…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I did, indeed. Thanks.

  • Daver

    Thank you for being a voice of reason, Brett. And a pretty damn informative one at that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Daver. I try.

  • Timmy

    Brett does a great job both keeping fans updated and catering to our whims while keeping strong support for the team. So let me say here that my grumblings never reflect his work in any way, though I think my comments are usually on-point.

    I don’t see that solid of a foundation being built, and I see a good 60-70 million dollars a year not being spent on anything but the owners’ new yacht. One can rebuild and field a decent team at the same time. A sports team isn’t dyslexic. It’s possible to do two things at once especially when one has the means and fans to do so.

    So I think something else is up here. Theo is taking a hard hit on this one, perhaps, because of our new bad owners. Or, Theo is too immersed in trying to look good to put himself on the block yet. These deferments are meant to keep us off his back while he figures out how to run an organization. Perhaps he wasn’t as central to Boston’s success as he seemed at first, as their press has often speculated over the past 3 years? What has he done that’s good that another team couldn’t have easily done, plus more? I’ll happily eat my words if we win a championship, but for now I think his work has been a huge wash.

    • Jeff

      Well said Timmy.

      • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

        just you wait, someone else will show up and make you change your name :)-

        • MichiganGoat

          There are like 100 Jeffs on here

          • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

            Growing up I never knew another Jeff, now they are everywhere..I want my name back…lol I’m just yanking his chain, goat :)

  • Saving Grace

    When Theo came to the Cubs last year everyone i knew was so excited.They all thought the Cubs were going to go all Red Sox and spend their way to a title.
    I told everyone i hoped they would
    1 Hire Sandberg as manager
    2 Build a strong international scouting team…As Ricketts told Theo he wanted to do
    3 Take 3 years to rebuild the farm system with high draft picks..2011,2012,2013,2014 drafts.2011 was from the former regime
    4 Gut the team of dead weight
    5 That everyone would be patient
    6 That the winter of the 2014 season would be when they would look to start into real free agent spending.By the start of the 2015 season the Cubs should be in position to realistically contend

    I personally like the track their on to rebuild and establish a strong foundation within the system.
    The young core that is in the minors is still 2 years away.
    The club needs 2 more high slot strong draft classes i think yet
    If they look to add a few pieces during the winter or year via trade and then a few in free agency in the winter the team is on pace for contention in 2015

    Free agents aren’t a realistic approach to long term contention.

    A strong farm system with plug in free agents is

    I hope Theo,Jed and the fan base all stay patient and look to 2015 as a start to being a perennial contender by the Chicago Cubs

  • Muck

    Ok so if they’re really looking to be able to really make an impact in a couple years like 2014ish thats when they can spend all that money you guys want. Our tv contract ends that year and if the Cubs can do what a couple other teams have done with their contracts we could get a LOT of money from that and when we have rebuilt completely and all the prospects and our future roster are ready to go THATS when we can sign those big free agents to really complete our team. Spending money on a josh hamilton now won’t make us instantly better. Maybe we’ll finish idk 70-92. Congrats 30 million down the drain.

  • Dan

    Hey Theo, and Jed snce you guys are so intent n signing hasbeens/neverwas type plyers on the cheap instead of getting great players whie their available why dont you try and pry John Kruck from baseball tonight on a one year league minimum deal as a bench bat, as well as give Rizzo a breather at first once every few weeks.Then go after Herold Reynolds of the MLB Network as a bench bat and could spell Barney ever so often since your keen on losing. I understand rebuiling but you have to get the players when they are available which you are obviously not doing, and even the ROYALS let m repeat ROYALS!!!! who have been terrible for almost 3 decades not to mention in a small market went out and made a blockbuster trade to go for it! While the Cubs are in a major market and arnt spending anything. Im not saying spend like the dodgers but try and compete atleast and make a big signing or two.

    • mudge

      rebuiling… you mean rebiling?

    • Muck

      Ya the ROYALS!!! Traded away 4 pretty damn good prospects for a guy who will most likely leave after 2 years and davis who won’t help much but will be a good asset. While the Rays have 4 guys they will get 5 good years out of each or could trade away for even better guys. they know what they’re doin

  • North Side Irish

    Bill Shaikin ‏@BillShaikin
    Magic: #Dodgers owners putting in $100m to stadium renovations this winter.
    Retweeted by Will Carroll

    Cue the Ricketts is cheap crowd…

    • MichiganGoat

      Cue the Ricketts is cheap crowd

      Give it a couple of hours I’m sure the late night crowd will be all over this and many other things

  • Hee Seop Chode

    My issue with the offseason this far is that I don’t see long term assets added. Who is on the team that will be there when the Cubs win a WS? Are the Cubs closer to winning a WS now than they were at any point after acquiring Rizzo?

    I’d also like to point out that, while it makes for good conversation, it is not the job of fans to know how to most appropriately spend money. I don’t understand the often stated reply “well who would you like to Cubs to spend all of the money on?”; as though it is not appropriate to request a greater immediate investment in competitiveness unless you know the best way to achieve it. If I had an 8 figure computer system helping me, I’m sure i’d have great ideas for trades, signings, and many other creative ways to improve. If not, pay for analytics?

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    Via MLBTR: Dodgers exploring option of a penis extension.

    • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

      Via MLBTR: Dodgers set to spend 4yrs 38 Million on a penis extension

      • MichiganGoat

        but it has an opt out clause after year two… ;)

        • Cubbie Blues

          And has social anxiety. Definitely doesn’t help to get your head in the game.

  • Internet Random

    Bert Tailor, voice of reason.

    Fred Garvin, male prostitute.

  • Andy

    Stay the course. We are going through a necessary valley. Finishing in the middle of the pack with some 3 year contracted mediocre free agents would cause more harm than good. Play the kids and supplement with the right players when you have more momentum with talent showing.

    I just wish we could see better signs from the pitching side of things. I think that seems to be a significant weakness in the organization in my opinion. I don’t see enough pitching lighting it up this upcoming year from AA or AAA. I hope they draft a college pitcher in June.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    I am disappointed by this offseason so far but I can understand why we basically got crap. Everyone says sign a free agent who will be a part of that 2014-15 team that will be ready to contend. I’m with you but first you have to figure who that is. Second you have convince him to sign with us. Third you’ll have to overpay. I would like to see more trades but teams either don’t want what we have to offer or the front office don’t like the other teams offer. I’m all for the rebuild but I think we can put a respectable team on the field while doing it. I will root for the team real hard from my couch but I won’t pay high prices to see an awful team.

  • Timmy

    Why is everyone so concerned that we’ll over pay by a few million when the owners can afford a 160 million payroll by ESPN account? What, so a billionaire has to give one million more to the player that we actually go to the game to see? We’ve joined plutocrat logic in place of our own desire to win.

    • MichiganGoat

      The 160M number might be correct but I wouldn’t trust anything ESPN puts out these days.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    What everyone needs to realize is that Theo Epstein cannot fail as his legacy, his dream of being a hall of fame baseball executive hangs on winning in Chicago – Rickets knows that standing money is what he will do but you do it the right way – you build it, then you add to it(say a top notch free agent next year) then you use your developed asset for the next big thing- once the farm is established – they will become the Yankees because you only play 9 at a time.

    • Tomasy

      Yes this is exactly right. Fans have started to think in favor of owners’ interests instead of their own. “The owner doesn’t want to pay an extra million? Yes, Yes, we enjoy losing and are so very glad he just bought an extra Jaguar for himself.” They’re profiting off of our fandom that they had no place in developing. Now they’re destroying the team and plan to sell it in 2-3 years at a profit.

  • Derrick

    Its Funny to me that Cubs fan comment and take shots at what the Dodgers are doing But drink the Theo and Ricketts Kool-Aid of Expensive tix, Low payroll and 100 Losses. SMH

    • MichiganGoat

      its funny you don’t get what it means to follow a plan but I guess I’m just drinking the Kool-aid

      • Derrick

        Oh I get it 100% but why are Tix prices through the roof after 100 Losses and the Possibility that next years team might be a lil worse. If we are suppose to be okay with The “plan” we need some justification for paying $80 to watch a 100 Loss team

        • Jeff

          Bottom line is DONT pay 80 dollars to watch a 100 loss team and spread the word!!! Ricketts family will have no reason to spend on the big league team unless he see’s that were not willing to pay for what could be the worst team in baseball!!!

          Don’t show up to games thats all a fan can really do to show it wont stand for this is a large market like Chicago :)

          • spearman

            jeff, I’m scared it may be worse than 100. We actually had a decent rotation and sucked. Demp, Garza( healthy 1st half), Shark, & Maholm. Now we have Garza, Shark, Wood, Baker, & Feldman? Maybe Ricketts will use the money made for later use.

        • Rich G

          The Cubs are free to not spend ‘stupidly’ on free agents.

          I’m also free to not spent my money stupidly on them while they’re horrible.

          As a side note, I wish the Cubs would not get so much credit for spending (the presumably saved from team payroll) money on the AZ facility. Last I looked, the AZ taxpayers were on the hook for a big chunk of that cost.

      • spearman

        check your tongue, it may be red and/or blue.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+