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If you missed it, don’t forget to check out the latest episode of the BN Podcast. I was never a podcast person until I started recording one, and now I think I want to listen to many more. If anyone has any quality suggestions – of any kind, doesn’t have to be just sports – drop ‘em in the comments.

  • Buster Olney shares some thoughts on what he’s hearing from teams around baseball about the Cubs: “Over the last week, have heard compliments from other teams about the way that the Cubs are methodically rebuilding, from the ground up.” He goes on to tease us all with, “One more thing about the Cubs: I don’t think Price will be traded until next winter, but by then, they could be well-positioned to land him.” Olney is just speculating, of course, but it underscores the fact that, with patience, the Cubs’ organization could be in a very, very good place one year from today.
  • Matt Garza threw again yesterday, and like his first day of throwing earlier this week, he says it went well. It also sounds like he’s itching to let it all out and face some batters.
  • It’s the All-Star break in the Winter Leagues, and Junior Lake was the Cubs’ sole All-Star representative between the Dominican All-Stars and the Venezuelan All-Stars. He went 1-3 with an RBI (scoring Hanley Ramirez) in the game.
  • Patrick Mooney tells the story of how the Cubs drafted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (then also a pitcher) in the 2009 MLB Draft, and tried to get him to sign on for a little trial baseball run, a la Matt Szczur. Folks at the time – including NFL scouts – didn’t think he could make it in the NFL, so the Cubs’ overtures must have been pretty tempting. Looks like Kaepernick made the right decision. (Then again, who knows what kind of pitcher he’d be right now?)
  • Paul Sullivan talks to new Kane County manager Mark Johnson, who believes the Low-A move from Peoria to Kane County will be good for the prospects playing there – knowing that the Cubs’ brass could always show up.
  • Let’s work a little exercise in clarifying anger – I couldn’t help but notice that a number of you were angry about the Cubs’ reported signing of Korean reliever Chang-Yong Lim to a split minor league/major league contract, and were similarly angry that the Cubs had claimed reliever Sandy Rosario off of waivers yesterday. I won’t try to convince any of you who are angry about these low-risk moves that every (good) team makes that the moves are low-risk, smart moves (I guess I just did). I will, however, try to help you clarify your anger so that you can express your disapproval in a more meaningful way: you aren’t angry that the Cubs are trying to pick up players on the cheap in order to find value and competitive advantage, as every team tries to do. You are angry that, each time the Cubs make one of these minor moves, they aren’t making a major move. Be honest with yourself about the source of your anger, and then we can all have a more meaningful conversation about the real issue – the Cubs’ plans for rebuilding and for 2013 – instead of mouth-pooping back and forth about low-risk, decent-upside, super small moves that every team in baseball makes and would be stupid not to make.
  • On Lim, specifically, let me add: if you expect the Cubs to be uncompetitive in 2013, before really trying to take a step forward in 2014, how could you not see Lim as a perfect signing on a two-year, major/minor split contract with almost no guaranteed money? He won’t contribute anything of value in 2013, but should be ready to go in 2014. If he’s not ready to go, the Cubs won’t owe him much of anything. To those who say the signing makes no sense, I say … that makes no sense.
  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Preach it brother!

  • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com/ Myles – WCSW

    How awesome would it be if Matt Garza came back 100%?

    The answer is very, very awesome.

  • Ben

    Nicely done Brett. Agree with the anger piece. I think we ALL need to remember, the offseason is not over yet. There is still time for a bigger move, and I still tend to think it’s coming.

    Gotta love that other teams are at least complimenting our process. I know some fans are not a fan of the rebuilding process (small moves, takes time), but it really is the best way. Would I be mad if we added Bourne or Sanchez? Absolutely not. However, I won’t blow up even if we don’t.

    David Price would be a huge addition to our team next year. However, I feel like the price starts with Baez, and adds up from there. Be interesting to see how that shakes out.

  • terencemann

    I think it’s also important to remember that the bullpen can be one of the easiest areas of a team to improve in free agency for a team in “build” or “rebuild” mode. With so many quality relief pitchers willing to take 1 or 2 year deals (or 1 year + option deals) it’s an area that can be improved without making the log term commitments like the Cubs want to avoid right now. If the Cubs just get a bullpen capable of keeping them competitive in close games, it would be a huge improvement over last season and that’s something I think everybody wants to see, whether or not you also think the Cubs should be making splashy moves this off-season.

    • ETS

      Plus almost every team in contention wants to add hot bullpen pieces near the deadline and since they are usually short term deals, they are easy to flip into longer term assets.

  • Nate

    What kind of a package would it take to get Price?

    • Cubbie Blues

      Uh … it’s not that kind of site.

  • ETS

    Did Valbuena’s winter league numbers drop off or how did he not make the AS team?

    • fortyonenorth

      Lake: 336/401/496
      Valbuena: 312/435/525

      Couldn’t find the All-Star rosters so don’t know who beat him out.

  • BT

    So we can safely say Big Joe doesn’t work for another baseball team.

  • brickhouse

    The reason there is anger over all the minor moves the team is making is because they need to make major moves. If they were a good team there would be little need to take a risk on so many of these minor moves.

  • Boots

    Check out NPR’s “Planet Money”. It’s my favorite non-cubs podcast :)

  • Rizzo44

    Best one yet Brett! That would be pretty nice addition if we could add Price next year.. But what would it take to get him?? Baez and Almora?

  • Randy

    You would think by now, everyone would understand what the Front Office is trying to do and stop getting upset over these moves. Just accept what is going to happen and be excited IF something big does happen.

  • Brian Peters

    Bravo, Brett!! I, too, occasionally go off the deep end, but I’ve believed in “the plan,” and all of its elements, since day one. I love my Cubbies and get my cackles up when that love isn’t shown by others. Great job!!

  • Brian

    Brett, don’t know if you saw Kenny Rosenthal’s report this morning, but he has the Dodgers likely releasing Juan Uribe. Personally, I thought that was someone that Theo would look to pick up on the cheap if possible (coming off 2 straight injury years). RH bat with some pop for 3b and can spell a few games at SS and 2b with adequate defense.

  • Fishin Phil

    “Mouth pooping” – LMAO!!

  • Tim

    Whether you like the rebuilding the cubs are going through or not, it’s working. In a couple years when this young talent in the lower minors makes its way up the system and continuous good drafts bring in players similar to they’re abilities we are going to have one of, if not the best system in baseball. This is when we will be a scary team in the NL. This is when we will start trading out prospect an for some big players. Like Luke has said, most teams have the pieces to land almost every player but not all farm systems can survive that. Right now the cubs can’t but in a few years we will. That is when we will start adding those big name free agents to fill an empty hole or two on the 25 man roster.

    • ETS

      Here is where you need the mandatory
      “But to give all the credit for our farm’s young talent to Thed Hoystein discounts how good our 2011 draft class was and all the central american talent recruited by Flieta et al.”

      (I think I just inadvertently bought kyle brownie points.)

      • Tim

        I did not give them all the credit. Although minus Baez, we have no impact talent in the upper minors

        • ETS

          I don’t think it’s fair to say “no talent”. We have positional depth in the upper minors, but it is true we lack pitching (although whiteneck et al are coming around) and we lack “star power” in our upper minors.

          • ETS

            Lol at et al in back-to-back responses. You’ll have to forgive my pretentiousness. I was up entirely too early this morning after an already late night.

            – it friday yet?

          • Tim

            By impact talent I was referring to star talent. Our “star talent” is all located in the low minors. Which would be due to theo, Jed, and McLeod

            • Cedlandrum

              that is too narrow of a view and just really dishonest. I mean give credit where it is due.

              • Tim

                And what is this credit in which you speak? I give credit to Henry for Baez, he is the only “potential star talent” we have in the upper minor leagues

                • JulioZuleta

                  Baez is in A ball. That’s not really upper level. What about Rizzo, who is at the highest level?

                  Also, the 2011 draft was the work of Tom Ricketts’ checkbook. Baez looks like a great pick, but none of Vogelbach, Dunston, Maples, Jensen, and the several other over-slotters were some fantastic pick. Every team had them higher on their board, but weren’t willing to pony up the dough. In other words, Ricketss being willing to spend $2.5 million on a 14th rounder should not be misconstrued as Hendry/Wilken uncovering some hidden gem that late.

                  • Cedlandrum

                    The reason people weren’t willing to pony up the dough had far more to do with sign ability then anything. If you don’t think Hendry was the closer with Maples then you are just seeing what you want. Go read the Maples comments after Hendry was fired. He was the closer of that deal. Also you don’t pony up any dough till you sign so any team could have taken the chance the Cubs did.

                    In truth if Hendry had the chance to spend like 2011 we wouldn’t be rebuilding the minors, because Hendry and Wilken are two of the best in the game.

                • Cedlandrum

                  “Our “star talent” is all located in the low minors. Which would be due to theo, Jed, and McLeod”

                  The star talent in the uppers is due to no one. We don’t have any. Daytona isn’t the high minors. But I take issue with the all the talent is in the low minors. I know not all of the top 20 prospects are stars, but it is a good barometer of talent, 11 of the 20 were drafted or signed under Hendry. Here are some: Baez, Vogelbach, Jackson, Maples, Szczur, Amaya, Vitters, Candelario, and others. That doesn’t include guys like Ben Wells or Dunston Jr. who are pretty nice young players.

                  I know what you are trying to get at, but you aren’t being honest about it.

                  • Tim

                    Nice players yes, but no star talent save Baez. If those were the only types of players we have to look forward too it’s going to be another long 100 years

                    • Tim

                      I’m not trying to rip on hendry he was told to win now and he got close. But years of not the best drafting has hurt the organization now.

  • Mat B.

    I don’t mind minor moves. I just wish they were actually trying to make the team better. I don’t see that being the case.

    • Brian

      Mat B., adding flippable pieces that can bring back young talent at the deadline (as long as it works out as planned) will make the team better in the long-run. I just don’t see a ton of players available this year to both help the team now and make fiscal and playable sense for the future.

    • Tim

      These moves don’t on their own make the team much better. But why not pick up players with absolutely no risk for a chance for them to bounce back and have some trade value? Like Brett said in his podcast, not all of these moves work out you are hoping a couple pan out. And you need to make alot of these types of moods to give yourself a good shot. The reason the more competitive teams may not take as many as the cubs is because if they have. Roster full of bounce back guys they aren’t going to be competitive.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Your view is too narrow.
      Instead of looking at how it improves “the team”, we should be thinking about how it improves “the organization”.

      • Tim

        Which is exactly what would happen if a couple of these guys pan out and have some value at the deadline

      • MichiganGoat

        Exactly for the first time in my memory the Cubs are planning on building an organization instead of building for next year. I’m baffled over how many fans don’t get this.

  • https://www.facebook.com/chris.siuty Chris84

    As far as podcasts go, my buddy Justin runs a punk rock record label that also does a comedy albums and a podcast called the “Underground Communique Stand Up Mix Tape.” All Chicago comedians and they’re all hilarious. Good stuff.

    I’m actually really excited that the Cougars are now in the Cubs system. I’m going to try to make it out to a few games this summer.

    • beerhelps

      I’ll have to check that out, thx man

  • Devin

    Thank you for addressing the over the top anger and bickering that has been going on here, Brett. People are having a tough time adjusting to the new FO’s management style. Coming off of a ten year stretch that included signing big names like Soriano, Maddux, and Bradley (people were excited about him), and where you had a feeling that THIS could finally be the year, it’s understandable that people are disappointed in these small signings. But that doesn’t mean that Ricketts sucks or that Jed and Theo are idiots. Just say “I disagree. I think this is a dumb move.” The rest of the BN’ers would be more than happy to explain why the move can help the Cubs. But, of course, this is the internet, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

  • Spoda17

    I agree with the anger piece Brett. If all [we] do is read this blog, and never read any other team’s blog, we are in a vacuum. If you look at any other team, they are doing exactly what the Cubs are doing with these periphery signings. These recent signings are maintenance signings, not “… this dude is gunna put us in the playoffs…”

    I would love a sexy signing, but it is highly unlikely to happen this year; and I don’t think it would be a good idea anyway. If there was a 6-8 year guy that fits long term, then yeah, but that free agent is not in this FA class…

  • Mike

    The Freakonomics podcast is interesting, also the Roster and Rumblings done by the guys at MLBTrade Rumors and MLB depth charts.

  • mister_rob

    I dont get mad at moves like rosario or drew carpenter, because as you say every team makes them. And claiming guys like that makes more sense than bringing in a bunch of ryan rowland smith types. At least these guys throw hard
    What I do get angry about is watching them jump quickly and give the last rotation opening to a guy like scott feldman. Or even considering nate schierholtz more than a parttime player
    This Lim deal just seems like a whole lot of work and ifs so that maybe we can have a good setup man for a year. We’re going to rehab him, add his trainer and translator to the payroll, all so that we can get his age 37 season possibly?

  • Ron Sposato

    I get tired of people saying make some major moves. The team is not yet ready for major moves, the money would be wasted!

    • Mysterious4th

      That money could be a Milton Bradley kind of waste….or a soriano waste. I think the FO is playing it very very smart. Low risk but high(er) reward deals until they know they’re ready to compete then make the big splash. I am still holding out that they can snag sanchez! Extend garza and get price….

      Price, Garza, Shark, Shanchez, and if one of the scotts pan out or Wood….would be a sweet rotation

  • Mysterious4th

    I like the Lim signing. It is VERY smart. The Cubs won’t pay him until he plays. So, until then they can monitor his rehab and unless he is healthy he isn’t making his money. This makes him work harder to prove himself. Now if this was a major league deal then I could see some irritation.
    Now how many of these same fans that are ticked at this Lim deal were also complaining about the Shawn Camp deal last year? The FO is looking for that diamond in the rough like every other team with little risk.

    • Pat

      They’re going to pay him something. There is no chance he is relocating to the states to make 16,000 a year in AAA. There is some sort of signing bonus involved to get him to agree. I’d guess in the half million range.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Pat’s gotta be right about this – but, relatively-speaking, it’ll still be minimal.

  • Cubbie Blues

    I frequently listen to Dan Patrick’s podcast. It has the right amount of sports / humor / snark / ESPN bashing in it.

  • baseballet

    Well the average male in the United States only lives to be 75. By that cruel math my Dad only has one season left, and I only have 23 (and only one where I can “enjoy” games with him). Ricketts already put a loser team full of unexciting players out there last year, and it looks like we’re in for more of the same this year. That will leave me with only 22 seasons left before I’m dead. Tick tick. These seasons are precious beyond their potential for World Series victories. They’re precious because we love baseball and want to have fun watching it over the course of a season’s 500 hours of baseball. It’s reasonable to grouse as fans of a team when ownership squeezes the joy from the experience of watching that team for years.
    I’m fine with rebuilding, but I’m not fine with Ricketts’s parsimony while the rebuilding takes place. We should at least be given the excitement .500 baseball while they reload the minor leagues and plant Jumbotrons above the ivy. I’m glad the front office is squeezing value at the margins (don’t throw away the tube of toothpaste until you’re sure it’s done), but sign a couple quality players so we have a fifty percent chance at a win every time we tune in. Just a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, please, pretty please with Michael Bourn on top. I feel that ownership owes us that for the loyalty we show and the money we spend.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      All very, very, very fair. And I definitely won’t discount your feelings about being competitive each year. Totally legit.

      I do want to add, though, that (particularly in the new CBA era) it’s a lot easier to reload the minor leagues when you don’t have a .500 team (higher draft picks, more draft money to spend, more international money to spend, can unload “good” major league players for prospects). I don’t think stocking up the minor leagues is as easy as folks think if you’re still trying to field a competitive team (when you started where the Cubs started, anyway). Sometimes those two things work in opposite directions.

      • Cedlandrum

        Well the competitive each year thing was a Theo talking point too. That is the only thing I am frustrated with. They aren’t really trying to be competitive at this point. This team has a big enough market it doesn’t have to be a one or the other. You can spend and rebuild at the same time. Especially when you talk about collecting assets.

        For example a guy like Sanchez. You sign him and in 3 years when your other talent is ready you can always flip him for more talent. I’m not mad yet, but I am getting there.

        • Tim

          There is no way anyone is going to say their team is not going to try and compete. Every team has to say things like that

          • Pat

            If he’s going to lie because it’s convenient, or even because it’s prudent, there’s no reason to believe anything he says then. “Of course he’s going to say the goal is to win the World Series, every GM has to say things like that”

    • ETS

      If your dad is 74 then he has an expect 11.21 years left
      http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html

      The 75 figure is life expectancy of an infant.

      [/geek]

      • baseballet

        That government table does not account for the stress on one’s body of being a life long Cubs fan.

        • ETS

          fair point.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      @Baseballet – best of luck to you and your father. well articulated post. If you cut back on red meat, don’t smoke, and exersixe 20 minutes 4 times a week that average death age. Here’s some exciting news, Americans are living longer accross the spectrum:

      The preliminary number of deaths in the United States for 2011 was 2,513,171 (Tables A and 1). The crude death rate of 806.6 per 100,000 population was 0.9 percent higher than the rate of 799.5 per 100,000 in 2010. The estimated age-adjusted death rate, which accounts for changes in the age distribution of the population, reached a record low of 740.6 per 100,000 U.S. standard population, 0.9 percent lower than the 2010 rate of 747.0 (Tables A and 1). Figure 1 illustrates the general pattern of decline in both crude and age-adjusted death rates since 1980. The age-adjusted death rate decreased from 2010 to 2011 by 1.4 percent for males and 0.5 percent for females. The relative magnitudes of significant changes in age-adjusted death rates by sex, race, and Hispanic origin (Table 1) are:
      White males -1.0 percent decrease Non-Hispanic white males -0.6 percent decrease Black males -3.3 percent decrease Black females -1.6 percent decrease Non-Hispanic black males -2.7 percent decrease Non-Hispanic black females -1.2 percent decrease AIAN males -5.9 percent decrease AIAN females -3.7 percent decrease API males -4.2 percent decrease API females -2.6 percent decrease Hispanic males -4.8 percent decrease Hispanic females -2.5 percent decrease

      • Hee Seop Chode

        * that death age will improve (insert complaint about edit button here)

  • OlderStyle

    I just wished they had ripped the band aid off all at once last year and plainly said we’re going to rebuild. I’ve gotten my anger off my chest so that should really be the end of it. Nothing positive comes from dwelling on what we can’t change and getting bitter about it. “Serenity Now…” (thank you Mr. Costanza) I won’t be attending many games or watching much until things change for the better. For a premium cost a fan should get a premium product.
    Why even consider a trade for Price? Tampa will want the Cubs’ first-born for a deal like that.
    I am a little concerned that Jedstein is deliberately trying a new process to building this team. They really seem preoccupied with not “overspending” (whatever that means, the market determines the value) on free agents. It seems that paying for past performance is part of the cost of doing business in MLB. I hope they’re not trying to be too clever and outsmart themselves.
    For the record, I don’t think their is one “right way” to build a club, winning ballgames is the bottom line.

  • butlerdawgs

    Check out Sklarbro Country and County. Podcast put on by the Sklar Brothers if you are familiar with them. It is semi about sports, but they have a lot of really cool guests. Last week they had James Burrows on and talked with him.

  • Cubbie Blues

    What was Lake doing playing CF?

  • jesus zuniga

    Cubs should trade for juan uribe 3 base. Who is now available..??

  • Bryan

    For price how about..

    Shark, Vogelbach (hopefully he dominates this year), and a combination (2) of Lake, Sczuzer, Amaya,Jgohnson, Blackburn..

    that way we keep our “big” 3 almora, baez, soler

    I no this seems like a dream but if all these guys avoid injury and are consistent throughout the year, why not? Lots of potential talent and you no the rays are gonna ask for the house. And i would trade shark so we can keep our top 3 prospects. and vizcaino

    does this seem out of touch?
    Go Cubs Go

    • Cedlandrum

      I don’t know if it is out of touch, but a year from now you don’t know what the prospect status of Voggy, Amaya, Johnson, Blackburn, Lake or Szczur will be. You might be giving up too much with the package you are suggesting or too little.

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