theo epstein thinkingI hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday. I’m digging out from wrapping paper, poor dietary choices, and, now, snow. It might take me a few hours to get back in the swing of things …

  • The Chicago Tribune looks at the “best decisions” in 2012 in Chicago sports, and the Cubs’ inclusion is pretty reflective of the year they had: “Kerry Wood made the right call when he retired in May, and went out with a memorable strikeout and a hug from his son while walking off the mound. It was obvious Wood no longer could do the job he was being paid for – setup man for Carlos Marmol – yet his stature in the organization meant releasing him was not an option the Cubs would consider seriously.” That’s probably fair, all things considered, but it got me wondering about the “good decisions” the Cubs made, if we were trying to focus on actual good, productive decisions. Signing Paul Maholm (and subsequently swapping him in a deal that netted Arodys Vizcaino)? Giving Carlos Marmol an early season breather? Working hard on Alfonso Soriano’s outfield defense? Signing Jorge Soler? Dale Sveum’s defensive shifts? The Starlin Castro extension? Any others you think worth pointing out?
  • A profile on Cubs pitching prospect Eric Jokisch, who had one of the most productive years in the Cubs’ system in his time split between High-A and AA. The 23-year-old lefty will probably see some time at AAA next year if the Cubs think he’s ready (and if there’s a spot in the rotation, which, I know, sounds crazy when you’re talking about an organization with “no quality pitching” at the upper levels, but you’re already looking at potentially Alberto Cabrera, Chris Rusin, Nick Struck, Brooks Raley, and Barrett Loux in the Iowa rotation, among many other possibilities).
  • Dallas Mavericks owner – and vogue hoped-for-Cubs-owner back in 2008/2009 – Mark Cuban did an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit and was asked about his pursuit of the Chicago Cubs. How close did he actually get to owning the team? Not very: “Not close at all. When I couldn’t get the owner of the Cubs to sit in a room with me that pretty much told me it wasnt going to happen. I never made a final formal bid.” As I am perfectly fine with how things worked out, I say only that it’s an interesting postscript. Bummer for him, though.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at a variety of things, including a bit on payroll in 2012: “We’ve already seen the final payrolls for 2012, but MLBTR breaks it down by division to see where the most money is being spent. As you may have expected, the AL East leads the pack at almost $130 million per team. The NL East came in second at $111.5 million, but the AL West was close behind at almost $110 million – a figure that could jump next year, depending on whether the Rangers reverse course on their failed bids. The NL West was next, at $98 million, but that will definitely jump next year with the Dodgers eager to sign everyone. The AL Central was second to last at $96 million, and the NL Central rounded things up at just $89 million. The Cubs will start to bring that number up in future years, but the figure underscores the opportunity laying ahead of the Cubs if and when they start to spend big.”
  • Over at the Message Board, folks are starting to discuss a BN get together next year to see the Iowa Cubs. If you want to some input on the date for that game, get over there and offer some thoughts.
  • The CSN Hot Stove crew – featuring Gordon Wittenmyer – discuss the additions of Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva, and what it means for the depth of the 2013 Cubs rotation:
  • Steve

    I think that Theo has done a lot of good moves in this past year. When he got in place we didn’t have very much in the way of young talent. In a years time he has added a lot of young talent, that we can look forward to seeing pretty soon. He not only added talent he added core talent that can be corner stones to any future. When he came we had Castro and Baez. Now we have those kids, Rizzo, Vizcaino, Soler, Almora and some pitching he drafted that should net at least one good one. All the pitching he signed this off season will ensure we wont have to rely on unready kids or street guys that cant be effective, should we make moves at the deadline for more kids. Not to mention the kids he will draft this year. I’m really liking how bright the future is looking for the cubs.

  • Marc N.

    Rizzo, Soler, and Almora for me.

    Castro extension next and probably should be #1. One of these days he will be appreciated.

    I will also write shutting down Matt Garza. Completely unnecessary to have him throw a full season for such a bad team. I hoped they pumped some stem cells in.

  • Jimmy James

    was about to post that since its my local paper, didn’t know if you would see it…..i forget you are all seeing and all knowing :)

    • Jimmy james

      Oh and this was about the jokisch article

  • Marc N.

    Oh yeeeeeah others:

    The Marshall trade
    Maholm and the subsequent trade

    Basically a solid purging of the older players on the roster without much long term use.

  • nkniacc13

    Im going to be interested to watch and see what the cubs get for Marmol and what haren does for WSH. That maybe a great non move or it could be a very bad non move for the cubs

  • http://Bleachernation Oliver

    Help… We need a 3rd baseman
    With a little power and defense and we can be competitive
    Already this year without any more moves.
    We are not that far away from making a run at it.

    Any thoughts

    • hansman1982

      In order for contention to occur 5 of the following things need to happen (in no particular order other than the order in which I thought of them) :

      1. Soriano needs to produce like he did last year
      2. The rotation needs to stay healthy
      3. Castro needs to continue to progress
      4. Rizzo needs to continue to progress
      5. Castillo must be a competent catcher
      6. Schierholtz and Sappelt need to be league average together
      7. Stewart needs to prove that his suckitude has been due to his injuries.

      • Xavier

        Also need a better Ace. Shark is good but obviously David Price is better

      • arta

        i’d say, 2,6,7 won’t happen. 1 doubt. 3 yes, 4 hopefully, 5 ? would be nice to get 5.

        • Spriggs

          I agree with all.

        • hansman1982

          If I had to rank them in terms of likelihood it’d be:

          4, 3, 1, 6, 2, 7, 5

          If I had to rank them in terms of importance I don’t think I’d change much.

  • Timmy

    Resigning Castro and signing Solar were good choices that any other club would have done (plus a lot more). A pretty poor year for Theo, who’s clearly learning on the job at the fan’s expense.

  • Kyle

    It’s a little early to be congratulating ourselves on the Soler deal just yet. We’ve got a lot of money guaranteed to a guy who is a long way from the majors.

    I’ll vote for the Maholm signing. I would have placed it second to the Marshall trade before the season, but none of those three guys were quite as good as I’d hoped.

    • Brett

      Plus the Marshall trade was 2011, technically.

      • Kyle

        I knew that, but I thought I could get away with it. I should have known that was silly to try to sneak that one by :)

        I guess I should really go with the Jackson signing. There was nothing we’ve done in the last year more important to the organization. That *had* to get done.

  • nkniacc13

    I know we had thi up earlier this week but I wondered what was the Cubs best MLB move of the year and what was their best Minor league move of the year?

    • hansman1982

      Best MLB move would have to be Cashner for Rizzo
      Best MiLB move could be moving to Kane County.