Jed Hoyer is Reading This and Other Bullets

Jed HoyerHooray, it’s Spring forward! If there’s one thing parents of a newborn need, it’s less sleep!

  • Add Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer to the (tongue-in-cheek, completely-speculative) list of Cubs personnel who read Bleacher Nation. At the SABR Analytics conference, Hoyer, who was a presenter, apparently noted that he reads Cubs “fan blogs,” and said he respects fan information and analysis on the web (h/t Wendy Thurm for the tweets). I can only assume that BN falls under the banner of “fan blogs,” which leads me to assume that Hoyer is wearing a BN shirt right now and posting about Tony Campana on the BN Facebook page.
  • Dale Sveum remains impressed by what he’s seen from Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, but each will be sent to minor league camp soon, likely after next weekend’s set of split squad games. Sveum added that he doesn’t think a September call-up is probable for either player. I would agree based on experience in the system and age and all that … but Soler’s already on the 40-man roster. Sure, there are minor service time considerations in calling him up, but I’d think that downside would be offset by the upside in getting him some risk-free big league experience. He’s still adjusting to being in the States and being in professional baseball. I could see a situation arising where he’s shown he’s probably going to be ready at some point in 2014, and the Cubs want to start exposing him to the bigs in September.
  • You may think the World Baseball Classic is not a big deal, and, indeed, in the United States it’s treated by many as an annoyance more than anything else. But around the world? It’s huge. The Japan/Brazil game last week was watched in more than one in every three homes in Japan. Wrap your head around that. Bud Selig would, eventually, like to see a U.S./Japan World Series.
  • Anthony Rizzo is pretty excited to be a part of the WBC, and part of a surprising Team Italy run that has them headed to the next round in Miami. Italy lost to the US Team last night, but, still, it’s been a great showing for a team not expected to win a single game.
  • In a far more important tournament update, the CUBS BUNT TOURNEY final four is set: David DeJesus versus Edwin Maysonet on the positional side, and Edwin Jackson versus Nate Halm (the video dude) on the pitcher side. DeJesus is the reigning champ, but the video dude is The Video Dude. Viva The Video Dude.

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

166 responses to “Jed Hoyer is Reading This and Other Bullets”

  1. DB Kyle

    Hi Jed.

    How’s it going. Good? Good.

    Well, here’s the thing. It’s been four years now that you’ve been a GM in the big leagues. You might want to think about getting that first playoff appearance under your belt.


    1. CubFan Paul


    2. Jimmy James

      If all with one team I may agree…it takes time to fix messes and free agency seems to be more watered down very year.

      1. CubFan Paul

        Or you could NOT give jobs to Bryan LaHair, Ian Stewart, & Nate Schierholtz.

        1. Jimmy James

          And who could have played first and third last year that would have made the cubs a playoff team?

          1. DB Kyle

            Albert Pujols and Aramis Ramirez.

            1. Jimmy James

              While I question whether that would have been enough, you realize those contracts would hamstring the team for years and for what? A wildcard and quick exit?

              1. DB Kyle

                It’s a bit more complicated than that.

                For a continuation of this discussion, please see the comments thread on every BN post from Oct. 2011 to Oct. 2012.

                1. Jimmy James

                  I’m sure I’ve seen them…

                2. BWA

                  LOL you are very consistent. Much appreciated

              2. Jimmy James

                I know you probably have the numbers Kyle…I’m lazy, how much better was pujols last year than the combined season of lahair/rizzo?

                1. DB Kyle

                  About a win and a half.

                  1. Jimmy James

                    Cool…I know from the sites you have the stats. I don’t think I could do it and even if I could I am usually five seconds away from a four or two year old grabbing the ipad

            2. another JP

              No way. Two players in regression would have added 30 wins (OK, so maybe 20 if we don’t deal some players, put in AAA guys, etc.) to our total? You know better than that- plus it would have cost over $300M for them. Not a good way to build for the future or impress Jed Hoyer, whom you now know is reading this blog ;-)

              1. DB Kyle

                Rather than rehash the same arguments from last year (not that I wouldn’t enjoy doing it), I’ll just say “it’s more complicated than that.”

                Why would I want to impress Jed Hoyer? I’d rather try to impress the good GMs of the world :)

                1. CubFan Paul

                  I feel sorry for idiots that think signing good players hurts your future because you’re rebuilding.

                  The Angels followed up the Pujols signing with a Hamilton deal. I see no hamstrung future theories by their fans.

                  1. BABIP (MichCubFan)

                    No, they are going to be hurting in a few years. At the very least it will be a major inconvenience to them to be paying for the regressed versions of Pujols, Hamilton, and CJ Wilson while also having to pay big money to Trout, eventually.

                    Signing good players who are 32+ years old as if they are going to hold up their production for the life of their 5+ year contract is not smart unless that is the player who is going to bring your team over the top in the next year or two after signing the deal.

                    The idiots would be the ones who want the Cubs to sign aging players to expensive long term deals.

                    1. Pat

                      Yeah, the cubs should only sign players who do not age or are not expensive. You know, cyborgs and shitty players. That should break the championship drought. The only way to win a championship is by having good players. Available good players (free agents) tend to be older. There’s no way to avoid that if you actually want to win.

                    2. Rich H

                      Lets just be honest about this conversation. Guys like Pujols can not and should not be looked at as typical free agents. Those are the guys that make you relevant. Even after getting Rizzo, I would rather have Pujols. He is a once in a generation player that moves the dial and keeps a team popping.

                  2. another JP

                    No, the idiots are the ones who equate signing high priced free agents with winning. Pujols and Ramirez were signed for mega-bucks and did the Angels or Brewers make the play-offs last year? There’s a good chance neither team makes it this year or next either… how’s that for keeping a team popping?

                    1. DB Kyle

                      It’s a little silly that what Ramirez got not counts as “megabucks.”

                    2. King Jeff

                      I don’t think the Cubs decision to let ARam walk had a whole lot to do with money, but I’m not a member of the front office, so I try to stay away from assuming to know exactly why the front office does what it does. If that makes me an “idiot”, then color me stupid.

                    3. nkniacc13

                      I thought the reason they let Aram go was because they wanted the draft pick that he qualified for and they wanted a jump start on rebuilding

                  3. Jimmy James

                    Give it a couple years…

              2. DocPeterWimsey

                Although I don’t entirely agree with Kyle’s projections, remember that had the Cubs been good last year, then they would not have sold off the assets that made them below-average (as opposed to awful) at mid-season. A big reason why they lost 100 games instead of 90 games is because of who was *not* playing the second half.

                That written, I suspect that Jed & Theo’s threshold for when to sell-off is lower than other FO’s. Add ARam & Pujols to the 2012 Cubs, and you have a team, and you might have another 4-5 wins at the AS break: but that’s just below 0.500. My guess is that the “FIRE SALE!” program is triggered at that point.

                1. DB Kyle

                  That was mostly a joking answer.

                  We’ve gone over dozens of alternative offseasons with all kinds of things being tried differently. I think I’ve made some very compelling cases that they could have been a playoff teaml ast year with a series of savvy moves, but it was a lot more complicated than “add Pujols and Ramirez, playoffs.”

        2. cub2014

          As far as Jed & Theo’s grade card, its way too early.
          I think by now everyone understands what the FO
          is trying to do, lets all be honest and fair we wont
          know if their plan works until the end of 2014. We
          do know that our farm system is ranked anywhere
          from #1 to #8 (obviously not all Jed & Theo’s doing)
          Now in the next 18 months we need to show perennial
          playoff contention on the field.

          1. Dave

            Where have you see the Cubs farm system ranked #1?
            I recall one ranking at #6 but all of the others were higher.

    3. Tarzan Joe

      actaully; the problem is Ricketts family, the Omaha version of the McCaskeys who have spent 4 yrs plus almost 3 prior while the sale from Zell dragged on making the team worse each year(see W-L record under Tommyboy), raised tickets to top 3 in baseball, lowered payroll every year, still do not have a renovation plan approved and if garza-soriano-marmol get moved; w/o knowing what they’ll pay to move each, would be the payroll for 2013 in the low 70′s. the mlb avg is 90M.

      the ricketts don’t deserve cubs fans……….we are way too patience and being told to wait longer; unacceptable.

      1. CubFan Paul


      2. Dave

        I agree. The Rickets need to start having success on the field soon.

    4. DarthHater

      Dear Kyle,

      The Cubs obviously made a decision before last season to do a major rebuild. It was no secret. They made it perfectly clear to the public. You disagree with the decision for reasons that you have set forth ad nauseum at this site.

      You may or may not be right, but it doesn’t change the fact that not only did the FO make the decision that they made, but they have subsequently taken numerous steps consistent with that decision. Those steps, by their nature, guarantee a period of time during which the parent club is unlikely to make the postseason. At this point, it might be remotely constructive to discuss what the next best steps would be, in light of the actual situation that exists at present. But to fill the entire (and now unavoidable) rebuilding period with a lot of yammering about making the playoffs immediately is just tiresome, opportunistic whining.


      Most of the Human Race

      1. Jono

        The “win now” crowd are simply short term, shallow thinkers. They just don’t think about the long term or farm system. All they see is 101 losses and dont care about anything beyond this year. I used to think like this, but then I learned that lesson from the henry era

        1. CubFan Paul

          Or they just want to be competitive while rebuilding. Try thinking outside the box.

          1. Jono

            The status quo is not thinking outside the box.

          2. Jono

            The organization is simply not in a position to win now and build. They’re not the cardinals, yet. You want the financial flexibility to keep our own guys when they come up. To win now, you’d need to risk that future. Thats what the front office means when they say “sustained success”. They want to build a farm system that can sustain success through the ability to build and compete. If the.organization already had that, they wouldn’t be trying to.create it

            1. DB Kyle

              We’re not the Cardinals because we have no ambition to be the Cardinals. The Cardinals have managed to build one of the most successful farm systems of the last two decades, currently ranked No. 1 overall, while also being one of the National League’s best teams in that timeframe.

              They didn’t need any 100-loss seasons to build that farm system. They weren’t scared of risk. They built both the farm system and the major league simultaneously, to great success. Our front office is either unwilling or unable to match that success.

              1. Jono

                theo’s had one draft. And the more money you spend now, the more you can’t spend to lock up guys like rizzo, samardzija, baez, soler, etc in the future. They’re not built to win and build right now. So I prefer to wait for sustained success than sacrifice long term fir short term

                1. DB Kyle

                  If there’s not enough to both win now and lock up those guys, then the front office isn’t doing their job very well. This is a major-market team with one of the highest revenues in baseball (yes, even with the recent cable deals that have been signed).

                  Not to mention, you can win without spending a lot. If the Cubs make better choices with their cheap players last year, they don’t lose 100 games.

        2. DB Kyle

          If you want to compare depth of thoughts on the Cubs, I’d be glad to. I may be many things, but a shallow thinker is not among them.

          2012 and 2013 count just as much as 2017 and 2018. Seasons are finite resources.

          1. Jono

            I would argue that 2015 and beyond are more important bc that’s when we get, or should get, impact prospects coming up. Why is it so important to win 75 games instead of 70 games?

          2. Jono

            To even have a chance at winning now, they’d have to take on free agent contracts that would hinder them when their impact prospects come up.

            1. DB Kyle

              If our front office was doing its job, it wouldn’t be the difference between 70 and 75. It’d be the difference between 90 and 95.

              Good teams have bad contracts. It’s an inevitable part of doing business in this league. Zito didn’t stop the Giants from winning the World Series, twice. Westbrook didn’t stop the Cardinals. Eaton didn’t stop the Phillies.

              You can’t run a good baseball team and be scared of bad contracts. Because if you are, your only choice is to avoid FAs altogether and fight with one hand behind your back. You’ll always come up second-best to the teams that are willing to take those risks.

              1. BluBlud

                I can disagree with you on a whole bunch of things, but this is 1000000% acurate.

              2. Jono

                Theyve had one draft. Or rely on free agency and hinder the future. Im willing to wait for sustained success than mortgage the future

                1. DB Kyle

                  They’ve had two major league offseasons. No matter how much fun it is to get excited over draft picks, that is not all that this front office will be measured by.

                  1. Jono

                    And there’s your short term thinking. Two offseasons to completely mold an organization? Wow

                    1. MJ

                      The Cardinals success coincided with the arrival of Albert Pujols, whom they…….drafted/signed & developed.

                      The Giants success coincided with the arrival of Lincecum, Cain and now Bumgarner, whom they….drafted/signed & developed.

                      The Yankees success coincided with the arrival of Jeter, Williams, Pettite, Rivera, whom they….drafted/signed & developed.

                      The Nationals can walk around puffy chested these days because of the arrival of Harper & Strasburg, etc., whom they….drafted/signed & developed.

                      Almora, Soler, Baez (yes, Hendry draft pick)–????????????????

                      Point is, put together your core, watch it grow. If it turns out like you hope, supplement it with free agent signings & trades. That’s how you build a sustained winner. Not backwards.

                    2. DB Kyle

                      And there’s your thinking. You need to “completely mold an organization” in order to win baseball games?


                    3. DB Kyle

                      The Cardinals drafted Pujols in 1999 after an 83-win season.

                      The Giants and Yankees both drafted those cores while simultaneously refusing to do the kind of “rebuild” the Cubs are doing. Sabean in particular was heavily criticized for not blowing it up and rebuilding, right before he won 2 WS.

                      The Nationals needed seven years of terribleness to build their core.

                      Everyone wants to build a good farm system. The point, as always, is that you don’t need to lose a bunch to do it.

                  2. Jono

                    For sustained, year-in-year out success? Yes. That’s the plan.

                    1. DB Kyle

                      Then what about all those teams that build sustained, year-in, year-out success without needing to lose a bunch of games to do it? Where’s the Cardinals’ 100-loss seasons in the last 15 years? Where are the Yankees? Where were Boston’s? These are the teams with sustained success, and none of them needed to fail like this team has failed to get there.

                    2. Jono

                      That’s the kind of team they’re trying to build, but it takes the health of the entire organization. The team they took over only last offseason was not healthy enough. The plan is to create an organization that can do both. But it doesn’t happen in one or two years. Most peoples’ guess is that 2015 is that time.

                    3. DB Kyle

                      So if we’re trying to build a team like that, we are we following a path they didn’t use to get there? Wouldn’t it make more sense to be like the Yankees and Giants, who tried to win every year? Or the Cardinals, who built their farm system through savvy drafting in the mid-to-late first round rather than counting on the very top picks?

                    4. Jono

                      What are you talking about? You’re generalizing way too much. Not all situations are the same. Most situations are unique. Right now, the cubs don’t have a healthy enough organization and compete. But they’re trying that kind of organization, but it takes a while. They’ve only been hear a little over a year, only two offseasons, and most people think 2015 is when it should start paying off in sustained success.

                    5. Jono

                      “Here” not “hear”

                    6. DB Kyle

                      The Cubs’ unique situation makes losing even less acceptable. They have the largest market-over-division advantage in all of baseball. They are a large-market team in a small-market division with no big-market teams to share it with.

                      The “health of the organization” is being massively downplayed in an attempt to apologize for the front office’s failures, but it’s not now nor was it then nearly as bad as you are making it out to be.

                      The team had quite a few good young players and tradeable assets. It had a deep farm system that was already on the rise and moving toward being one of the better in the league.

                      But most importantly, they had a ton of money that no one else in their division could spend. If they spend it well, they win. They didn’t.

                    7. Jono

                      Well, at least you have an opinion.

                    8. DB Kyle

                      And if nothing else, you can’t say my opinion is the result of shallow thinking on the subject :)

                    9. Jono

                      Oh, I can still say it, and I will everyday now! ;)

                    10. DB Kyle

                      Like Ian Stewart and Joe Mather last year, the front office threw away all the goodwill they earned from me in the offseason when they let Sveum hint that we might get stuck with Lillibridge *and* Bogusevic. One is bad enough.

                      They drive me nuts because they have proven how smart they can be when they want something. So the things they let slide are even more unacceptable.

                    11. another JP

                      What’s really annoying are the posters that imply those of us who agree with the current FO strategy of building a winning organization are condoning losses. Nothing is further from the truth- we’re just acknowledging that pissing money away on band-aid FA contracts that turn out bad is a waste of resources and the best way of building a winner is to develop talent from within the organization. When you sign players like we did with Marmol, Z, Byrd, Dempster, Fukudome, Bradley, Silva, or Soriano you have very little flexibility in moving that contract.

                      Theo’s on record as saying that the organization lacks impact talent and he’s exactly right. If you judge impact as being a 4.0+ WAR position player or a 3.0+ WAR pitcher, the top tier teams that make the playoffs have between 4-7 such players and several other very good players (WAT @ 3.5+ position, 2.5+ pitchers). Last year the Cubs had two impact players(Shark, Sori) and in the foreseeable future Shark, Castro, and Rizzo project as the only ones capable of consistently being in that class. We realistically need three impact players and the chances of garnering these 30+ yr. old FA that demand over $15M-20M/yr. who can deliver that type of performance is not great. If I’m not mistaken we did submit competitive bids for Cespedes and A. Sanchez, so it’s not like mgmt. isn’t trying. They’ll eventually get there but it’ll take more good drafts and flipping of Maholm-type contracts to acquire the talent needed to trade for a Giancarlo Stanton or Chase Headley.

                    12. DB Kyle

                      If it’s not condoning losses, then how do you feel about the losses? It sure looks like condoning from here.

                      I agree that we lacked impact talent. I don’t agree that we needed to lose 101 games to fix that.

              3. Dale's Ear

                I agree that it is foolish to be afraid of giving out big contracts, but I also take a small issue with your examples here. While those teams are good examples of teams who have had success despite a couple of bad contracts, they are also good examples of teams that relied heavily on homegrown players to achieve that success. The core players on all of those world series teams you mentioned were developed by those organizations, guys like Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval, Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, etc.. etc… All of those guys were the main contributors on those teams that won, not expensive free agent signings. Also it’s not as if they aren’t spending any money, Edwin Jackson is a solid player who got a solid contract and they were in the final hour of bidding for Anibal Sanchez. Basically my point is that while I understand impatience over the process as much as anybody, I have a real hard time criticizing this front office’s strategy. Big expensive free agents are nice and flashy and I wish the Cubs could sign them all, but it seems like the most intelligent approach would be to try to rely on as many homegrown players as possible to be competitive, then add a couple of nice big free agent additions that will push the team over the top once that core and culture is established. Being in a big market is a real advantage here too, I dream of the Cubs one day having a Rays quality farm system with a Red Sox type payroll, with a Yankees winning culture.

                1. DB Kyle

                  “they are also good examples of teams that relied heavily on homegrown players to achieve that success. ”

                  As I keep saying, nobody doesn’t want good homegrown players. This is a false choice foisted upon us fallaciously by people who want to defend the losses.

                  The question is never “free agent signings” or “building from within.” If it is, the only correct answer is “both.”

                  Good teams add good players from all available avenues. They don’t shut down any in their attempt to win as many baseball games as possible.

                  1. Dale's Ear

                    I don’t see how the Cubs have shut down any available avenues. They have spent money internationally, they seem to be drafting well, they tried to sign Sanchez, and actually did sign Jackson. Lots of “good organizations” barely spent anything on this year’s free agent class, and when they did it was usually to retain their own players, not other team’s free agents. I’m not sure which free agents you have in mind that have you so riled up about the Cubs not spending money, but there aren’t really any guys on the list that I’m losing sleep over not signing.

                    1. BluBlud

                      Theo has had one draft and it has been ok. Undderwood and Johnson are great pickup, but I fear we’ll be trashing the Almora pick 3 years from now.

                  2. DB Kyle

                    Most other organizations didn’t have the kind of payroll coming off the books that the Cubs have.

                    In two offseasons, the Cubs’ second-best FA pickup was Paul Maholm. That’s not acceptable for a team with the combination of money and holes that the Cubs have had.

                    1. Dale's Ear

                      Paul Maholm netted the Cubs Arodys Vizcaino their best pitching prospect, so I would give that signing a lot more value than you do. I would also argue that guys like Jorge Soler and Juan Carlos Paniagua were great signings, and David Dejesus has been a solid player who is a great influence on the young players and has a smoking hot wife. Again, I don’t know which players you are thinking the team should have spent all of this money on.

                    2. DB Kyle

                      I liked the Maholm signing a lot from the moment they signed it. It’d be a fantastic 6th-best signing over the same time period.

                      I’m in love with the Panigua signing, too, but prospects just don’t belong in the same category. Soler? Time will tell. $30 million guaranteed to a prospect is a huge, huge risk that didn’t have to be taken. But it will be hard to complain if it pans out. They bet on their scouting abilities, and I can live with that.

                      I don’t particularly want to go back over two years of free agency and list all the players that I liked that would have made this team better. There were a lot of them.

                    3. Dale's Ear

                      I can only think of a few that qualify as “big signings”. Pujols was a big one, but he struggled early this season and the Angels didn’t even make the playoffs, Prince Fielder maybe, but his defense is atrocious. C.J. Wilson? Again the Angels didn’t make the playoffs but he was pretty solid for them. Jose Reyes? No thanks. Maybe Buehrle. Nobody was getting Greinke but the Dodgers, Josh Hamilton is a drug addict and maybe even an asshole, Michael Bourn, no thanks. B.J. Upton would have been legit but after him it gets a little shady in terms of talent. Sanchez was targeted but it didn’t work out. Also, I agree that Soler was a huge risk, but isn’t giving someone hundreds of millions of dollars for at least half a decade of past-their-prime play a huge risk too?

                    4. Drew7

                      ” I don’t particularly want to go back over two years of free agency and list all the players that I liked that would have made this team better. There were a lot of them.”

                      With some crude calculations, merely re-signing Ramirez last year and one of Bourn/Upton this year probably takes the projected win total from 77-78 to 81-84, right?

                      Not exactly breaking-the-bank with those two, and all you lose is P. Johnson and this year’s 2nd rounder.

                    5. DocPeterWimsey

                      Here is my objection to Kyle’s line of argument. It basically goes, “if we had signed players A, B, C, D and E, then we could have competed last year.” OK, fine. So, which team did sign players A, B, C D and E?

                      None of them. The X players in question went to X (or maybe X-1) teams. For each of the guys in question, there were multiple teams in pursuit: and thus a low probability that any one of them would get the guy. So, to get all 5 of these guys, you have to get very lucky. (The Texas Rangers learned that this off-season, seemingly coming in 2nd on several key guys.)

                      The only way to guarantee success would have been to make ridiculously high bids that later look silly: such as the Rangers did with their bid to negotiate with Darvish (which probably was twice as high as the competitors), or even as the A’s did with Cespedes (where they essentially offered a 50% higher contract). Sure, you could do that: but there is a reason why it’s rare, and why any team that does it does it only once a year.

                    6. DB Kyle

                      Doc, that’s why I don’t like to answer “here’s who we should have signed” questions. Offseasons are organic and complicated, and it’s not really relevant to just list a bunch of guys after the fact.

                      But people keep asking and I don’t want to dodge the questions.

                  3. Jono

                    It is a choice bc if you lock up too much money now, you wont be able to those prospects for very long. Even big market teams have budgets….except the dodgers. But the cubs aren’t getting a tv deal for $200something million a year

                    1. DB Kyle

                      That’s just not true. If you do your job right as a GM, you will always have enough money to lock guys up.

                      The Hendry Cubs didn’t get into trouble because they gave out big contracts. They got into trouble because they did a poor job of filling around those big contracts with cheap, valuable players. The donut hole in the mid-2000s where our drafts were virtually worthless sank us.

                      And again, that’s almost beside the point, because you can win on the cheap as well if you make enough good decisions. They made a lot of bad decisions last year on the way to 100 losses.

                    2. Jono

                      They haven’t had enough time yet to build an organization to accomplish that. It takes time. Again, 2015 (I think its 2016)

                    3. BluBlud

                      If 2016 role around and this team is just now becoming competitive, meaning playoffs may be even further off, then I would judge this FO a complete failure. 2015 is the absolute latest that we show some competitiveness, and next is more like it.

                    4. DB Kyle

                      If they make better decisions in the short term, they can win and build that at the same time. There’s no reason we should have to choose.

                    5. Jono

                      Thats what I mean, making the playoffs on a consistent basis. And yes, thereis a reason why they can’t build and win now. To win now, they’d have to spend lots of long term money on free agents (which doesn’t even work well). But that will hinder them from holding on to their impact prospects longer term. Even big market teams have budgets

                    6. Jono

                      They simply haven’t had enough time to get the entire organization healthy for long term success

                    7. DB Kyle

                      If they can’t both build and win at the same time, then they aren’t as good as other GMs in their own division and don’t deserve to have the jobs.

                    8. BluBlud

                      Do you know why over spending to sign free agents is ok. Well because if you sign Schierholtz, th e most you can hope to get Is Schierholz, who is a below average player and the worse you can expect is a player who in 2 year may be out the league. If you over pay to sign Alphonso Soriano, the most you can expect is MVP type numbers and even if he never lives up to that contract, he is still 3 time better then Schierholz in his worse season. I’m not a big sign all the free agents guy. I don’t wanna be the yankees. But I would rather give Aram 30 something million then give Schierholz 2-3 million anyday.

                    9. another JP

                      So let’s see if I have this right Kyle… signing a well-known 20 yr. old international prospect to a $30M/9 yr. contract who has his entire career ahead of him is a huge, huge risk that didn’t have to be taken yet signing 31 yr. old Pujols to a $240M/10 yr. contract when his OBP, iso, & walk rates were regressing dramatically is a move Theo needed to make? I’m glad you’re not running the Cubs.

                    10. DB Kyle

                      The Pujols comment was a joke.

                      But yes, the risks are very different. With a 20-year-old prospect, there’s a better than even chance you will never get anything out of him. That’s a different type of risk that the risk that you might pay for a great player and merely get a good one.

          3. Martin

            I would add that anyone who thinks this team will be anything other than middle of the road by 2016 is kidding themselves.

            If Soler and Baez won’t likely make the big leagues until late 2014 at best. It will take at least a year for them to become anything more than replacement level players. That would give the Cubs four quality hitters. Meanwhile, there is little pitching on the horizon (outside of Vizcaino, who is a big questions mark) for the next 3 seasons minimum, and the Cardinals have more MLB talent right now and better prospects rising through their system.

            No one should kid themselves-this “rebuild” will take, in total, 6-8 years minimum. There is literally no contract the Cubs could have added in the last two years that would have blocked a single player coming up from the minor league system, and only the Soler money might have been impacted by a series of major FA signings, given the new CBA.

            The choice wasn’t binary–it wasn’t “lose and be great in long-term, win and mortgage the future.” This isn’t the NBA, where game-changing talent isn’t available after the first five picks of the first round.

            Let’s just be honest here–if this team had spent like the Marlins did last year, it would have been no further from a championship than it is right now.

        3. Martin

          Had the team been better at drafting and developing during the Hendry era, they’d be fine right now.

          The fact that the Cubs spent a ton of money between 2005-2009 has no bearing on where they are right now. For example, with absolutely perfect draft/development between 2005-2010, the Cubs could have had the following lineup right now:

          1. Kipnis 2B
          2. Castro SS
          3. Ellsbury CF
          4. Rizzo 1B
          5. Wieters C
          6. Soriano LF
          7. ______ 3B
          8. W. Myers RF

          Ian Kennedy SP
          Matt Garza SP
          Jeff Samardzija SP
          Scott Baker SP
          Drew Smyly SP

          Every one of these players were drafted after a Cubs’ pick that never made the major leagues. None of this would have been affected in the least bit by the dead money on the payroll over the last five years. Imagine having a core like this last summer when Pujols came available. Or, for that matter, Hamilton this year.

          Of course, no team has perfect draft and development. Realistically, no team could have put together this perfect of a draft history for the last five years. The point of this is not to do a “what if,” but to demonstrate the value of drafting and development regardless of where you draft.

          It’s not the salaries that killed the Cubs during this time. With just some development and drafting skill, the Cubs would have been in a position to be in contention right now, not stuck as one of the worst teams in baseball. And if Epstein, Hoyer, et. al. are as good in developing and drafting as we think they are, they could put together a great series of drafts while still fielding a contending team.

      2. DB Kyle

        Dear Most of the Human Race,

        You may call yourself that, but you’re really just Cubs fans seeing things through Cubs-fan colored glasses.

        Here in what we call “the real world,” results matter. And Jed Hoyer is 0-for-3 and nobody thinks much of his chances to change that in his ourth attempt.


        1. bbmoney

          Kyle you’re a smart guy. You’ve posted lots of great things on here for a while. But it’s kind of silly when you keep making this 0-3 statement, which is true, but then I see you respond to other posts with “it’s not that simple”.

          Well it’s not that simple. You’ve shown your ability to understand things like confounding variables and importance of considering the situations players are hitting in (park factors) or positional value….but to completely throw that out the window and just say 0-3 when he took over a crappy cubs team and a low budget padres team (which was 1 game away from the playoffs in his tenure) borders on comical.



          1. DB Kyle

            So our front office is only capable of winning when they inherit a good team or have ideal conditions?

            That’s not inspiring.

          2. BluBlud

            I agree, but at what point do we judge the FO on actual big league success. Season 3, 4 or 5. When you add players in your 2 years such as Valbuena, Volstad, Mather, Schierholtz and several others and expect these players to be not just minor league filler or major league backups in bad situations, but every day players, it’s does make it seem as if you don’t know what you are doing. There is a reason Schierholz signed with the Cubs, because none of the other 29 teams in baseball offered him a starting job.

            I don’t agree with Kyle about Judging Theo and Hoyer just yet, but at some point the judging has to start. There can no longer be an off-season after this one where we are offering a Schierholz a starting job, or coming into a season facing the prospects of Valbuena having to be our starting 3rd baseman or even worse, having to decide if Brent Lillibridge will make our roster at all. These roster decisions are horrible, I don’t care who your GM is.

            1. Dale's Ear

              You judge them on big league success now, you just have to have the right perspective on the semantics of the word “success”. I think most fans think of “success” as playoff contention but I personally prefer to look at it in a more micro way. For example, if Starlin Castro cuts down on his errors and raises his OBP over .340 that is a success to me. If Brett Jackson can learn to limit his strikeouts and make an impact at the major league level this year that is a success. Obviously this kind of judgement has to be applied to every player and coach in the organization which is difficult, but I think if you look for things like this and try to ignore the win-loss column for another year or two (max) you might find yourself enjoying baseball a little more this summer.

              1. DB Kyle

                That definition of success is very good for making fans feel better about bad teams, but it’s not useful for deciding which baseball teams are most likely to win the World Series at any point in the future.

                1. Dale's Ear

                  Then please use your definition of success to tell me who will win the world series in the near future so I can hit up my bovada account. Not everyone is as cynical about this as you, so for those that are patiently accepting the process involved in this rebuild I felt like this kind of mindset might help them should the team be garbage again. Watching the young players develop is exciting, especially for fans who haven’t had a real homegrown star pan out in the last decade.

              2. BluBlud

                Honestly, I’d rather Castro hit .200 with a .250 OBP and the Cubs make the playoffs then him have a .340 OBP and the Cubs miss the playoffs. I know individual success contributes to team success, and I all for watching Rizzo, Castro, Castillo, Shark and Barney improve. But if we win 61 games again, it means nothing. I like most of the moves the FO made this off-season. All but the Schierholz signing, and not adding more IF depth, but next off-season they need to do much much better.

                1. Dale's Ear

                  Obviously I would sacrifice any individual player’s stats and development for world series contention, this is just a thought of cautious optimism to keep in your head while we’re choking down another losing season.

            2. mudge

              Let me know when the judging starts. Do we wear robes, and sit with downturned mouths in a park somewhere? What difference does it make, what anyone on this site thinks? None whatsoever. Enjoy the game.

              1. bobo justis

                “What difference does it make, what anyone on this site thinks? None whatsoever. Enjoy the game.”

                Omigod. For the first time ever someone said something that makes sense.

      3. N8theGr8

        DarthHater: Committed to hating. Go Cubs, go hate.

  2. RoughRiider

    Video Dude had better be looking for a up and in pitch. I’m rooting for him. Just because.

  3. Clark Addison

    Sign him.

  4. cjdubbya

    Any truth to the rumors that Jed Hoyer’s BN posting name is die hard? Because that would be funny.

    Also, I think I’ve added a guy to my “I want your autograph” list when I head to AZ in two weeks (TWO WEEKS!). Brett, I’m thinking you need to mimic the Tony Campana love-in segment from the podcast a couple weeks ago for The Video Dude. (Yes, we have to show respect to the guy by referring to his title in caps)

    1. Rich H

      I think it would be hilarious if he was our version of Theo Epstein. Now that would be comic GOLD.

  5. Die hard

    MLB not expanding worldwide has vestiges of racism back in the day of the Negro Leagues …. makes me sick

    1. BluBlud


    2. 100 Years of Tears

      Maybe there’s context to this statement that I’m unaware of… but taken by itself, this makes no sense.

      Are you thinking there should be MLB teams all over the world? There are already players from every corner of the earth playing on MLB rosters. It makes no sense to add teams worldwide. How would you coordinate travel schedules? What about the parts of the world that are in winter while we’re in summer? /confused

      1. Die hard

        Scheduling is not the issue…. It’s taking a few poor kids out of other countries and forcing a form of servitude on them…. Sound familiar? …. Would be better if other cities around the world to join MLB given MLB is using their kids….baseball in Chicago and other Northern cities before May 15 and after Sept 15 can be in pretty cold temps …. Require all parks to have Miller Park roofs if not in equator countries…. many ways to work around climate

        1. Pat

          Forcing a form of servitude? What the hell are you talking about? These guys willingly sign free agent contracts. Every single one of them has the option of staying in their home country and playing some form of ball. They pay won’t be nearly as good, but that’s their choice, isn’t it?

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          It really is not feasible to have a league in more than one continent when you play games as frequently as MLB plays. Teams are expected to play in City A on Wednesday and City B on Tuesday. The east coast / west coast trips are hard enough on players (as anybody here who’s done those trips routinely would understand). So, it really has to be restricted to the north western hemisphere: you might be able to add Mexico, but that’s about it.

          The shame of it is that Australia is slowly developing into a decent baseball country, and it’s actually better to do that stuff during Ozzie “winter” than Ozzie summer: it’s just too effin’ hot during most of the summer! However, the trip is a killler, and it would be much more than a day before a team is ready to play ball.

  6. Die hard

    The argument that there aren’t good ballparks in other countries is laughable when considering the state of Wrigley Field—- I am sure that if MLB announced a new International division of 8 teams one from each country money would be found to upgrade… Imagine the Cubs playing the Venezuela team 3 there and 3 here …. Would be huge and plenty of profits for all from new expanded fan base and would decrease tensions among countries

    1. Boogens

      I’d rather go back to having a 3 game home and away series with the Sox.

  7. Jp3

    Wow, do the other countries have $80 per ticket to spare to pay for there team’s salaries or are we suppose to fit the bill for that too?

  8. Jp3

    I’m pretty sure people in Venezuela aren’t going to pay for Soriano’s contract… So we’d be adding another few Kansas City Royals type clubs? Sounds like fun, I’m in

    1. Rich H

      I expected Mexico City team for about 20 years now since the Astros and Padres started doing an Exhibition there before the season starts. It would definitely not be a small market team.

  9. Norm

    I don’t know…Szczur was on 40 man last year and didnt get a call. Assuming everyone on 40 man will get a taste seems a bit much. Soler would have to be raking it in AA for more than a few at bats, Castro-AA style, me thinks.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Szczur sucked last year. Not a very good comparison.

  10. Gcheezpuff

    I’d like see the Cubs win a World Series before we introduce any international teams or division. In all honesty, international baseball is interesting, but I like the separation between the US (and canada) season and any international play. I think the mistake was made when they named it the “World Series” instead of just going with something like MLB championship. I think international stuff should be part of the Olympics. Just add baseball and the argument is done. We have our own NFL, NBA, and soccer leagues… Why should we not have a US (and Canada) baseball league only and then do international play in a separate tournament like we do today. If we added international teams, are US players gonna sign contracts with teams outside the US for more money or will thier be restrictions on players only being able to play on teams in thier own country? I think it would be a mess either way. Not interested in changing baseball to this degree.

    1. Die hard

      You nailed it when saying foreign born Solers would sign with their country’s team…. That’s why being blocked and that’s why should happen….. Another form of Ugly Americanism fueling hate for us

      1. Pat

        Right, because the only reason he wanted to leave Cuba was the lack of a MLB team there.

        1. Jp3

          No kidding. That’s why every non-American born player rides in the bow of a fishing boat with no toilet to another country for the sole purpose of gaining us citezenship because they love playing ball in their native land so much…

          1. Die hard

            Both of you get it…. now if MLB would notice

  11. Fastball

    Being a baseball guy, player and coach most my life. I find it really interesting that the Chicago Cubs are so fundamentally poor at the Major League Level. A video guy can be in the final 4 of a bunting tournament. Everybody thinks that’s funny and awesome. I think it speaks loudly to just how bad this team and organization is on fundamentals. We have Major League Baseball Players who can’t bunt a baseball at all. We have a Video Guy who can. If I was running this organization the Video Guy would not be in the tournament if he is going to make all the professionals look stupid inept and a perfect illustration of what is and has been wrong for a very long time. Maybe there should be a Pitcher mechanics tournament and a Hitters mechanics tournament as well. How a kid who was one of our top prospects can make it all the way to AAA and then get a call up with the worst mechanics at the plate ever. Can’t see or hit 50% of the balls thrown in his direction during a game. My kids in highschool have better hitting mechanics. The pitchers mechanics are just god awful. You watch a Cubs pitcher at any level and tell me which one has perfectly honed mechanics that he has based his development since he was 12. Not many. That’s why we don’t have any pitching depth. BUNT TOURNAMENT….. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A FUN THING. That’s until the Video Guy made it into the Final 4.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Teams that make post-season regularly also are filled with guys that cannot bunt; moreover, they usually are managed by people smart enough to *not* to bunt except with pitchers or when the advanced runner will end the game if he scores.

      This is the key: bunting simply is *not* a fundamental of baseball in the sense that guys who can bunt still might be unable to contribute anything to winning and guys who cannot bunt still can contribute a ton to winning. Yes, people have been repeating that it’s a fundamental for years: but have you never noticed how long the list of false things that people repeated as truth for years is?

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        You got it right Doc. Only guy who ever should be bunting is the pitcher, and when he gets to two strikes, let him hit away. Giving away outs is the dumbest thing in baseball.

    2. RoughRiider

      What you don’t realize is that when all the other kids were out playing baseball, football, basketball and soccer, all the video guy did was take videos of him practicing bunting. For years that’s all he did. Night and day in fair weather or foul he was out there giving it his best. It’s finally paying off. Here’s to you bunting video guy !!!

    3. Kev

      Well, maybe Video Dude is going to make Sveum, Theo, Jed, etc. realize “Oh shit, our fundamentals suck,” in which case, maybe this will ultimately help the team to have better fundamentals in the long run. You’d hope that’s what would happen from this, anyway.

      The Video Dude abides.

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        I am telling you guys, the word is going to come down from the top for the video guy. It’s not your day kid, were going for the short price on Jackson. He coulda been a contenda.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        Well, the other thing is: how well would Video Dude do against a real MLB pitcher who knows that a guy is trying to bunt? Bunting in batting practice will have diddly-squat in common with batting in a real sacrifice situation, when the pitcher is is going to be trying to bust a guy up and in (to get a pop up), drop the pitch low and away (to get the guy to bunt foul or simply miss), etc.

        I do remember once hearing the Atlanta Braves announcers point out that although nobody ever talked about it, Greg Maddux excelled at getting good bunters out. He promptly got the bunter to pop out to the catcher, and Greg ended the inning 2 pitches later, so Don Sutton only was able to just begin pointing out that nobody talks about the pitcher’s side of that: and they didn’t resume the discussion in the next inning! I still would love to know how much more detail Sutton could have provided. (People almost always discuss baseball from the batter’s perspective: but the pitchers really are playing an entirely different game.)

    4. Hansman1982

      Wow, couple things:

      1. Who, exactly, on the Cubs roster do you want bunting with any consistency?
      2. Why on earth do you want them bunting?
      3. What pitchers have these “perfect” mechanics? Prior supposedly had perfect mechanics.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Pah! Prior’s mechanics were documented as perfect by a bunch of functional biologists at Standford. They were worried about stress, strain, torque, etc., on a bunch of muscles that baseball people don’t know: and which undoubtedly never scored a run in baseball….

        Seriously, the other huge problem with the “mechanics” is that amateur coaches ideas of “perfect pitching mechanics” suffer two huge flaws. First, it’s one-size-fits all: however, what would be good mechanics for a guy with long limbs relative to his torso will be different for those for a guy with shorter limbs relative to his torso.

        But the bigger one is that their ideas of good mechanics are entirely based on how “smooth” it looks: that is, if Pitcher A would generate less splashing with that motion in water than Pitcher B, then A has better mechanics than B, right? Of course, how fluid it looks on the outside has nothing to do with how much stress (and, in the end, strain) it’s putting on soft-tissue on the inside. Moreover, *ever* type of pitching motion is going to put a ton of stress on some parts of the arm: being an MLB pitcher simply never was a selective gradient in human evolution, after all.

  12. (not that) spencer

    My favorite cubs blog is Bleed Cubbie Blue.

    1. King Jeff

      Yeah, you seem like an Al Yellon kind of guy.

  13. ActionJackson

    It just amazes me how dense some people are. People just don’t see what is going on here. The Cubs (Ricketts and Theo and Co.) are taken a team and minor league system that they inherited and totally doing a rehab and revamp. It TAKES TIME!!! They are building a strong minor league system and building a strong core for the future while gradually getting rid of the large contracts and older players on the MLB team that has handcuffed this team for the past 5 years or so (yes they have had to fill in spots with below average players for the time being but that is planned……hence 1 and 2 year contracts). Yes, the payroll is dropping but people don’t realize what they are preparing for. For them to drop the payroll into that 70mm-80mm range or lower will give them the room needed next year or the year after to make a move for some free agents but even more important be able to give extensions to some of there own young players OR trade and take on some larger contracts for players like Price or Stanton (examples only) who will require large contracts when the time comes. If cubs were to have a $130mm -$150mm payroll now it would hamper them from aquiring players or making improvements. Then fans would bitch and moan….blah blah blah…..we have a high payroll….whaaaa……can’t sign good players or trade for good players…whaaaaa. Well it takes Payroll space to sign good players and it takes a strong minor league system to acquire players like Price and Stanton etc… payroll space to keep them!!!

    Basically what the cubs are doing now is building and preparing themselves to be a contender every year. It takes time!!!! I definitely wouldn’t want alot fans on here planning my future or investing my money because in 2-3 years I wouldn’t have anything!!!!!!

    1. DB Kyle

      Your mistake is assuming that we don’t see it. We see it better than you, I suspect.

      It takes time to build a good farm system, yes. But good teams have long been proving that you can have a good MLB team while building it. The Ricketts Cubs’ failure to do so is not an example of how it has to work.

      1. Cerambam

        Oh my god. We get it.


      2. David

        Except you can’t reload your farm system by throwing money at it with the new CBA. That’s why we were willing to dish out 30M to Soler before the rule changes took place.

        As for spending in free agency, I believe it’s unwise to give out more than two large contracts in one offseason. Teams that go on spontaneous free agent spending sprees always end up regretting it, for two reasons. First of all, so many big FA deals end up being bad contracts. So your chances on hitting on 3 or more big contracts that DON’T end up being albatrosses is extremely small. Secondly, adding a lot of payroll at one time means less comes off in the next few years, and you have less to spend in the next 1-2 years. This is why I believe we went so hard at Sanchez/Jackson. We need a lot of pitching, both short term and long term, so signing a big money pitcher was really needed this offseason to gradually put the pieces together. Next offseason I would guess we’ll go two more fairly big deals, not including an extension for Shark.

        1. DB Kyle

          Throwing money at the farm system has never been a prerequisite for having a good one. Good scouting and development trumps all.

          1. David

            By throwing money, I mean being able to go overslot on any HS guy you really want. Any team could spend as much on the draft as they wanted, now the better team you have the less you have to spend. Obviously scouting and development are huge, but the new CBA absolutely handicaps teams that were willing to spend more than most in the draft and IFA. There is no denying building a strong farm system isn’t as easy because of the new CBA.

            1. DB Kyle

              It’s not easy. If our front office isn’t up to the task of accomplishing things that aren’t easy, we should probably replace them.

              Because there’s another team in the division whose front office managed to pull it off, and they don’t look like they are going anywhere anytime soon.

              1. Lou

                And yet here’s another, ALBEIT VERY LARGER ISSUE, to Kyle’s point. If we’re condoning losses now for wins later, who’s to say that we’ll even get to that point where we have “sustained success”. In the NL Central, neither the Cards, nor the Reds, nor the Pirates for that matter are going lie down. In the new playoff format, if winning one’s division is extremely important as an avenue to the playoffs, who’s to say that in head-to-head competition the Cubs will consistently get beyond the 90-win mark. I see the NL Central, from a competitive standpoint, on the rise. There’s this part of me that fears that divisional play will bring down the Cubs win total when it’s all said and done, and the Cubs will have a more challenging time getting past the 90-win threshold. Being more of a 85-90 win team.

      3. Jono

        theo’s had one draft

    2. another JP

      It’s the same whiners time after time who have all the answers. Most are anti-Ricketts and prolly not even Cub fans. I’d rather listen to the baseball analysts, e.g., Rick Sutcliffe, that are amazed at the improvement of talent on this years’ roster compared to last year when determining whether Cub management is succeeding or not.

  14. justinjabs

    I would love to eat another week and a half of the immediate MLB offseason and have our “World Champions” fly out or stay in and host the Japanese series champions. That would be super cool. When does their season even end?

  15. Katie

    I agree the entire front office is reading BN. However, I believe they are wearing the banana hammocks not BN tee shirts.

  16. DPRagen

    A few questions to ponder. Are the Cubs in a Theo induced death spiral? If they are is it being done deliberately or is it the result of simple incompetence? Theo seems to confirm he is doing so deliberately one day then implies the opposite the next day. First he reduces payroll by not resigning Aramis Ramirez then later gives a 30 million dollar contract to a rookie who hasn’t played even an inning of professional baseball. If the worst happens and revenues spiral down faster than expenses can be reduced how long will Joe Ricketts wait before he pulls the plug? Is bankruptcy and a new city the Cubs ultimate fate? A Cassandra’s viewpoint perhaps but stranger things have happened. Wouldn’t this be the logical result of 100 years of incompetence?

    1. David

      Not sure if serious….

    2. TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      Isn’t this the plot to the movie ‘Major League” ?

      1. fromthemitten

        we’re not signing guys out of the California Penal League jet

        1. Jp3

          In all honesty I’ll take a guy out of the California Penal league if they’re throwing 100+ like Ricky Vaughn was… Better than what we have now

  17. Mike F

    Fastball couldn’t be more right and those arguing that bunting is of little import are talking out their ass. Bunting, like hitting the cut off man, is part of fundamental baseball. It drives the stats, not vice versa. Teams that win, are always fundamentally sound.

    Yeah, sure it doesn’t matter, and the Cubs are have done a great job there. LOL. Thats why we’ve won so often the last 100 years over say the slackers like the Cardinals. People like Weaver and LaRussa can win consistently in any era and organizations that preach fundamentals will always win. Situational baseball is always important and over the years the Cubs have been fundamentally weak. Then again, maybe it is immoral to ask a beast like Barney to be able to effectively bunt when it counts.

    1. Drew7

      “Play for one run early, lose by one run late”

      -Earl Weaver

      Funny how you pick Weaver – the first manager to realize that giving away outs is dumb – to try and prove your point.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      Earl also said “Play for one run, score one run; play for three runs, win the game.” LaRussa was another manager who didn’t give away outs: he, too, was a bit of a stathead (although he developed it quite independently of others). And that’s the key: the good managers have always known that giving away outs is fundamentally bad. Guy like Gene Mauch didn’t: and they bunt away half a dozen to a dozen rallies a year, and cost their teams 1+ win for every 1 win their “fundamentals” get them.

      What it comes down to is this: a guy who cannot bunt might still be a fundamentally sound player, whereas a guy who can bunt well has yet to demonstrate that he has any skills that can contribute to winning game-in and game-out. *That* is the definition and diagnosis of a fundamental skill in any sport: it has to contribute to winning game-in and game-out, not once in a blue moon (while contributing to losing once in a full moon).

      1. jt

        ’74 Belanger had 20 sac’s and ’75 he had 23. His BAs for those yr’s were 0.225 and 0.226. In ’76 his BA climbed to 0.270 and his sac’s fell to 11.
        I would guess that Weaver preferred the sac to the DP.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Like everyone else, Earl had his “God Gap.” Belanger was playing because of his glove, as was not uncommon at that time. But it was Weaver who ended this: he was the one who said “let’s move Ripken to SS: the runs he’ll generate with his bat will more than make up for the runs he loses with his feet at SS.” He already had done this with Bobby Grich at 2nd base, as Grich was also considered “too big” to play middle infield. Weaver’s loathing of giving away outs with the bat played a big role in this, and it set up the modern high OPS, low UZR SS.

          (Actually, it’s quite possible that SS ranges are just as good as they were then: people saw only how pretty a guy looked fielding a ball, and modern players do so much more work in the off-season that many of them have much better range than they would have done working like 1970′s players did.)

          Long before they called it “Moneyball,” Weaver was talking about the importance of slugging (doubles as well as HR) and drawing walks. The whole “playing for a 3 run homer” now is considered “well, let’s wait for luck.” But Weaver meant: “get guys on base, don’t make outs, and hit the ball hard.” It was not about shots-in-the-dark: it was about flooding the basepaths and bopping the ball. And it’s a big reason why he was so outspoken about hating sacrifice bunts.

          1. jt

            This is a quibble, but it is not.
            Belanger started to get a lot of innings the same yr Weaver started managing, 1968… the year of the pitcher.
            Under Weaver Belanger continued to get over 400 PA’s until after his 35th birthday.
            In that era it was important to get as many innings from the teams best pitchers as possible. That meant limiting pitches. That meant good defense.
            What you state as to Gritch and Ripken rings true. But they were both very very good fielders.
            Yes, Weaver hated to give away outs. Yes, Weaver loved the slug. But when it came to attaining the balance of his given universe he did, at times, give away outs.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, neither Ripken nor Grich were good fielders. It is true that they didn’t make errors, but neither covered much ground: and range is much more important than fielding percentage. (Weaver had some inkling about that, and his arguments about why to play those guys tacitly spoke to it.)

              Weaver was very vocal about his disdain for sacrifice bunts. Part of it was his enmity with Gene Mauch, whom Weaver regarded as a horrible manager because Mauch hurt his teams so badly with sacrifice bunts. So, why the apparent disconnect with Belanger? That is simple: Weaver eventually *stopped* seeing shortstops as an analog of pitchers – i.e., guys who were out there for a reason other than their batting – and started seeing them as batters who played a position.

              And Weaver is still correct: there is a weak but negative correlation between winning and sacrifice bunts by position players. That is, the teams who bunt with position players loser more games than teams with similar stats who bunt less. Earl was right, Mauch was wrong: and that means that bunting is not a fundamental for winning.

              1. jt

                1975 Gritch was 2nd in E’s at 21 and first in RF/9 at 6.10
                Turning DP’s both Ripkin and Gritch were always way way above the avg.
                At ages 28, 29, 30 (prime) Ripkin had a dWar of 3.4 in each year. I don’t know, is that pretty good?

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Both errors and RF are subject to a bit of sampling error. And the versions of dWAR metrics that give Ripken that high a dWAR are flawed. (Some of them attribute too many runs per out.) dWAR is a *wonderful* idea: but the execution still needs to be worked out.

                  My argument is this. A guy who can tell where a pitch will be 10′ from the pitcher’s hand is one step towards being a fundamentally sound player. A guy who can make contact with the ball is one step towards being a fundamentally sound player. A guy who can drive the ball is one step towards being a fundamentally sound player. A guy who can do all three is a fundamentally sound player all around: regardless of whether or not he can bunt.

                2. DocPeterWimsey

                  It occurs to me that we are omitting two other factors in this discussion. One, the O’s (starting under Weaver) were one of the first teams to really keep track of where opposing players hit balls. Sure, everybody sort of did in the backs of their heads, but Weaver took it a step further. Ripken was renowned for making up for poor range by good positioning: something that would be lost now when everybody does it, but that still was ahead of the rest of the teams in the 1980′s. Grich probably was doing this in the 1970′s already.

                  Regarding Belanger, he didn’t just bunt for SH: he bunted for hits. Even back in “the good old days,” official scorers would tally attempted bunt hits as SH if they advanced runners. I am wondering how many SH Belanger got when he was actually trying to reach base. (Earl would not have disliked that quite as much: and you really didn’t want to piss him off, as he was a pretty nasty little guy!)

              2. jt

                I’m not defending unbridled use of the bunt. But given a teams limited resources, it can under particular circumstances, be the best option. D. Barney is a better hitter than Belanger was but….

  18. another JP

    I hate losses but not as much as Yankee or Card fans because if I did I wouldn’t be a Cub fan, would I? JUST LIKE YOU.

  19. N8theGr8

    Jed is committed to BN.